Michael Shermer Popular Books

Michael Shermer Biography & Facts

Michael Brant Shermer (born September 8, 1954) is an American science writer, historian of science, executive director of The Skeptics Society, and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, a publication focused on investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. The author of over a dozen books, Shermer is known for engaging in debates on pseudoscience and religion in which he emphasizes scientific skepticism. Shermer was the co-producer and co-host of Exploring the Unknown, a 13-hour Fox Family television series broadcast in 1999. From April 2001 to January 2019, he contributed a monthly Skeptic column to Scientific American magazine. Shermer was raised in a non-religious household, before converting to Christian fundamentalism as a teenager. He stopped believing in God during graduate school, influenced by a traumatic accident that left his then-girlfriend paralyzed. He identifies as an agnostic and an atheist, but prefers "skeptic". He also advocates for humanism. Early life and education Michael Brant Shermer was born on September 8, 1954, in Los Angeles, California. He is partly of Greek and German ancestry. Shermer was raised in Southern California, primarily in the La Cañada Flintridge area. His parents divorced when he was four and later remarried. He has a step-sister, two step-brothers, and two half-sisters.Shermer attended Sunday school but said he was otherwise raised in a non religious household. He began his senior year of high school in 1971, when the evangelical movement in the United States was growing in popularity. At the behest of a friend, Shermer embraced Christianity. He attended the Presbyterian Church in Glendale, California and observed a sermon delivered by a "dynamic and histrionic preacher" who encouraged him to come forward to be saved. For seven years, Shermer evangelized door-to-door. He also attended an informal Christian fellowship at "The Barn" in La Crescenta, California, where he described enjoying the social aspects of religion, especially the theological debates.In 1972, he graduated from Crescenta Valley High School and enrolled at Pepperdine University, intending to pursue Christian theology. Shermer changed majors to psychology once he learned a doctorate in theology required proficiency in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Aramaic. He completed his BA in psychology at Pepperdine in 1976.Shermer went on to study experimental psychology at California State University, Fullerton. Discussions with his professors, along with studies in the natural and social sciences, led him to question his religious beliefs. Fueled by what he perceived to be the intolerance generated by the absolute morality taught in his religious studies; the hypocrisy in what many believers preached and what they practiced; and a growing awareness of other religious beliefs that were determined by the temporal, geographic, and cultural circumstances in which their adherents were born, he abandoned his religious views halfway through graduate school.Shermer attributed the paralysis of his college girlfriend as a key point when he lost faith. After she was in an automobile accident that broke her back and rendered her paralyzed from the waist down, Shermer relayed, "If anyone deserved to be healed it was her, and nothing happened, so I just thought there was probably no God at all."He earned an MA degree in psychology from California State University, Fullerton in 1978. Career Cycling After earning his MA in experimental psychology in 1978, Shermer worked as a writer for a bicycle magazine in Irvine, California. He took up bicycle racing after his first assignment, a Cycles Peugeot press conference, He completed a century ride (100 miles) and started to ride hundreds of miles a week.Shermer began competitive cycling in 1979 and rode professionally for ten years, primarily in long distance ultramarathon road racing. He is a founding member of the Ultra Cycling Hall of Fame.Shermer worked with cycling technologists in developing better products for the sport. During his association with Bell Helmets, a bicycle-race sponsor, he advised them on design issues regarding expanded-polystyrene for use in cycling helmets, which would absorb greater impact than the old leather "hairnet" helmets used by bicyclists for decades. Shermer advised them that if their helmets looked too much like motorcycle helmets, in which polystyrene was already being used, and not like the old hairnet helmets, no serious cyclists or amateur would use them. This suggestion led to their model, the V1 Pro, which looked like a black leather hairnet, but functioned on the inside like a motorcycle helmet. In 1982, he worked with Wayman Spence, whose small supply company, Spenco Medical, adapted the gel technology Spence developed for bedridden patients with pressure sores into cycling gloves and saddles to alleviate the carpal tunnel syndrome and saddle sores suffered by cyclists.While a long distance racer, he helped to found the 3,000-mile nonstop transcontinental bicycle Race Across America (known as "RAAM", along with Lon Haldeman and John Marino), in which he competed five times (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1989), was an assistant race director for six years, and the executive race director for seven years. An acute medical condition is named for him: "Shermer's Neck" is pain in and extreme weakness of the neck muscles found among long-distance bicyclists. Shermer suffered the condition about 2,000 miles into the 1983 Race Across America. Shermer's embrace of scientific skepticism crystallized during his time as a cyclist, explaining, "I became a skeptic on Saturday, August 6, 1983, on the long climbing road to Loveland Pass, Colorado", after months of training under the guidance of a "nutritionist" with an unaccredited PhD. After years of practicing acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, negative ions, rolfing, pyramid power, and fundamentalist Christianity to improve his life and training, Shermer stopped rationalizing the failure of these practices.Shermer participated in the Furnace Creek 508 in October 2011, a qualifying race for RAAM, finishing second in the four man team category.Shermer has written on the subject of pervasive doping in competitive cycling and a game theoretic view of the dynamics driving the problem in several sports. He covered r-EPO doping and described it as widespread and well known within the sport, which was later shown to be instrumental in the doping scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong in 2010. Teaching While cycling, Shermer taught Psychology 101 during the evenings at Glendale Community College, a two-year college. Wanting to teach at a four-year university, he decided to earn his PhD. He lost interest in psychology and switched to studying the history of science, earning his PhD at Claremont Graduate University in 1991. His dissertation was titled Heretic-Scientist: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Evolution of Man: A Study on the Nature of Historical Chan.... Discover the Michael Shermer popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Michael Shermer books.

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  • Secrets of Mental Math synopsis, comments

    Secrets of Mental Math

    Arthur Benjamin & Michael Shermer

    These simple math secrets and tricks will forever change how you look at the world of numbers. Secrets of Mental Math will have you thinking like a math genius in no time. Get ...