Michael Shermer - Quotes

There are 55 quotes by Michael Shermer at 95quotes.com. Find your favorite quotations and top quotes by Michael Shermer from this hand-picked collection about life, faith, thinking. Feel free to share these quotes and sayings on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr & Twitter or any of your favorite social networking sites.

Being deeply knowledgeable on one subject narrows one's focus and increases confidence, but it also blurs dissenting views until they are no longer visible, thereby transforming data collection into bias confirmation and morphing self-deception into self-assurance. ---->>>

Scientific prayer makes God a celestial lab rat, leading to bad science and worse religion.

Scientific prayer makes God a celestial lab rat, leading to bad science and worse religion.

We do not just blindly concede control to authorities; instead we follow the cues provided by our moral communities on how best to behave. ---->>>

Myths are stories that express meaning, morality or motivation. Whether they are true or not is irrelevant. ---->>>

I say you don't need religion, or political ideology, to understand human nature. Science reveals that human nature is greedy and selfish, altruistic and helpful.

I say you don't need religion, or political ideology, to understand human nature. Science reveals that human nature is greedy and selfish, altruistic and helpful.

Scientists are skeptics. It's unfortunate that the word 'skeptic' has taken on other connotations in the culture involving nihilism and cynicism. Really, in its pure and original meaning, it's just thoughtful inquiry. ---->>>

Religious faith depends on a host of social, psychological and emotional factors that have little or nothing to do with probabilities, evidence and logic. ---->>>

In principle, skeptics are neither closed-minded nor cynical. We are curious but cautious. ---->>>

We think of our eyes as video cameras and our brains as blank tapes to be filled with sensory inputs. ---->>>

But because we live in an age of science, we have a preoccupation with corroborating our myths. ---->>>

Flawed as they may be, science and the secular Enlightenment values expressed in Western democracies are our best hope for survival. ---->>>

Human history is highly nonlinear and unpredictable. ---->>>

In my experience, people are usually fired for reasons having to do with budgetary constraints, incompetence or not fulfilling the terms of a contract. ---->>>

Being a skeptic just means being rational and empirical: thinking and seeing before believing. ---->>>

Conspiracies are a perennial favorite for television producers because there is always a receptive audience. ---->>>

Mysteries once thought to be supernatural or paranormal happenings - such as astronomical or meteorological events - are incorporated into science once their causes are understood. ---->>>

The reason people turn to supernatural explanations is that the mind abhors a vacuum of explanation. Because we do not yet have a fully natural explanation for mind and consciousness, people turn to supernatural explanations to fill the void. ---->>>

But there is only one surefire method of proper pattern recognition, and that is science. ---->>>

A Hubble Space Telescope photograph of the universe evokes far more awe for creation than light streaming through a stained glass window in a cathedral. ---->>>

In comparison, Google is brilliant because it uses an algorithm that ranks Web pages by the number of links to them, with those links themselves valued by the number of links to their page of origin. ---->>>

The natural inclination in all humans is to posit a force, a spirit, outside of us. That tendency toward superstitious magical thinking is just built into our nature.

The natural inclination in all humans is to posit a force, a spirit, outside of us. That tendency toward superstitious magical thinking is just built into our nature.

The case for exploiting animals for food, clothing and entertainment often relies on our superior intelligence, language and self-awareness: the rights of the superior being trump those of the inferior. ---->>>

We should be exploring consciousness at the neural level and higher, where the arrow of causal analysis points up toward such principles as emergence and self-organization. ---->>>

When religious believers invoke miracles and acts of creation ex nihilo, that is the end of the search for them, whereas for scientists, the identification of such mysteries is only the beginning. Science picks up where theology leaves off. ---->>>

We know evolution happened because innumerable bits of data from myriad fields of science conjoin to paint a rich portrait of life's pilgrimage. ---->>>

Skeptics question the validity of a particular claim by calling for evidence to prove or disprove it. ---->>>

For solving a surprisingly large and varied number of problems, crowds are smarter than individuals. ---->>>

Mammals are sentient beings that want to live and are afraid to die. Evolution vouchsafed us all with an instinct to survive, reproduce and flourish. ---->>>

The reason is that in a group, individual errors on either side of the true figure cancel each other out. ---->>>

Ever since college, I have been a libertarian - socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility. ---->>>

You have to know evolution to understand the natural world. And that cannot be a threat to people of faith. There's a serious problem if you are forced by your faith to reject the most well-supported theory in all of science. ---->>>

Anecdotal thinking comes naturally; science requires training. ---->>>

Tenure in any department is serious business, because it means, essentially, employment for life. ---->>>

Either the soul survives death or it does not, and there is no scientific evidence that it does. ---->>>

In the long run, it is better to understand the way the world really is rather than how we would like it to be. ---->>>

One, I am skeptical of the effectiveness of nutritional supplements. ---->>>

Science is not a thing. It's a verb. It's a way of thinking about things. It's a way of looking for natural explanations for all phenomena. ---->>>

Skepticism is not a position that you stake out ahead of time and stick to no matter what. ---->>>

There are checks and balances in science. There's somebody checking the people doing the science, and then there's somebody who checks the checkers and somebody who checks the checker's checkers. ---->>>

As a social primate species, we modulate our morals with signals from family, friends and social groups with whom we identify because in our evolutionary past, those attributes helped individuals to survive and reproduce. ---->>>

Having a Nobel Prize or being a famous scientist will get you a week to a week and a half, metaphorically speaking, of a hearing for your new idea, but after that, it's going to tank if you don't have the evidence and support for it. ---->>>

In order to displace a prevailing theory or paradigm in science, it is not enough to merely point out what it cannot explain; you have to offer a new theory that explains more data, and do so in a testable way. ---->>>

One of the features of a democracy is the disentanglement of the sacred from the secular because in religiously pluralistic countries, no one can legitimately claim special status by faith membership. ---->>>

Science operates in the natural, not the supernatural. In fact, I go so far as to state that there is no such thing as the supernatural or the paranormal. ---->>>

The actual atoms and molecules that make up my brain and body today are not the same ones that I was born with on September 8, 1954, a half-century ago this month. ---->>>

No single discovery from any of these fields denotes proof of evolution, but together they reveal that life evolved in a certain sequence by a particular process. ---->>>

But the power of science lies in open publication, which, with the rise of the Internet, is no longer constrained by the price of paper. ---->>>

Dualists hold that body and soul are separate entities and that the soul will continue beyond the existence of the physical body. ---->>>

Plato wove historical fact into literary myth. ---->>>

Providentially, learned habits can be unlearned, especially in the context of moral groups. ---->>>

The principal barrier to a general acceptance of the monist position is that it is counterintuitive. ---->>>

Through no divine design or cosmic plan, we have inherited the mantle of life's caretaker on the earth, the only home we have ever known.

Through no divine design or cosmic plan, we have inherited the mantle of life's caretaker on the earth, the only home we have ever known.

When alien abductees recount to me their stories, I do not deny that they had a real experience. ---->>>

I always accepted the libertarian position of minimum regulation in the sale and use of firearms because I placed guns under the beneficial rubric of minimal restrictions on individuals. ---->>>

My libertarian beliefs have not always served me well. Like most people who hold strong ideological convictions, I find that, too often, my beliefs trump the scientific facts. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality:
Born: 09-08, 1954
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Die:
Occupation: Writer

Michael Brant Shermer (born September 8, 1954) is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. The Skeptics Society currently has over 55,000 members (wikipedia)