SIO50: Michael Shermer on Evergreen and Gender Studies

Back for a second time is Michael Shermer! He’s the editor of Skeptic Magazine and has been a very prominent voice in the community for decades. After our last conversation, a couple of things happened. One was the gender studies hoax, which was explained and endorsed by his magazine. The other was the Evergreen incident, which Shermer tweeted about and wanted to know my thoughts on. We discussed both of these at length!

Refer to my earlier episode on Evergreen for those references

Faculty of color say they are receiving death threats; President disappointed in protesters, may discipline; Weinstein second Tucker Carlson appearance; Sokal’s response to the gender studies hoax; Feminist glaciology TED talk.

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12 Comments on "SIO50: Michael Shermer on Evergreen and Gender Studies"

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What kind of Germany does Michael Shermer’s wife come from? We have had Turkish immigrants since the 50s. The refugees coming right now are from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea and a lot of other places and they just come through Turkey sometimes.


I was wondering exactly the same, plus, his claim that we have “issues” was as vague as possible.

Psycho Gecko

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Germany also has certain things that can’t be said in recognition for historical wrongs done to other races, particularly denying some rather important events from the early 20th century. Unlike the n-word, a person can be arrested for it saying certain things. Sounds like the sort of thing that doesn’t exactly support Shermer’s argument.


Holocaust denial is a punishable offence in Germany (and a number of other European countries), so yes, you can go to jail for publicly declaring that none died in the gas chambers. For prominent cases, Google for Horst Mahler and David Irving

Psycho Gecko

Already aware of David Irving. Historiography (I know, the much-hated social sciences strike again) sometimes uses books like “Lying About Hitler” written by the expert historian from his trial about said trial. You can get some funny looks for walking around campus carrying a book with the words “Lying About Hitler” prominently displayed over a picture of the man’s face.

Mark William

The day of absence is in essence, blacks going on strike for a day to illustrate their value, so flipping this ritual would be for whites to voluntarily go on strike for the day to show their value. Obviously, that’s not the intent of this. All the actions of many of the staff and students have made it abundantly clear that participation, was the “voluntary” choice to not be considered “literally Hitler.”
The reaction to Bret Weinstein’s email exposed this for what it was. “Hey, hey, ho, ho, racist white folk got to go.”

When I was six, I realized I didn’t believe in god. It didn’t seem realistic. I kind of stuck with that assumption for 15 or 20 years. But, while I was in graduate school, I had a conversation with a religious studies professor, and it occured to me that my atheism, at it’s core, was based on the rejection of a six year-old’s idea of god. I had read all the atheist books, watched all the youtube debates, seen all the Renaissance art, and travelled to Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, building a very nuanced and thorough identity as an… Read more »
When they attack Islam, Sam Harris and others put a lot of weight on what “Islamists” say, and correctly so, in my opinion. There is no reason not to take someone’s assertions on their face value and always assume they do not mean what they are saying. Weinstein clearly says there was no force or coercion involved. If he just came to campus without making a fuss, the only thing that would have probably suffered was his “allyship” status. He has said this multiple times and yet, these prominent skeptics pretend that he means something else when he utters those… Read more »
Psycho Gecko
Ok, so I’m finally back where I can comment on this episode. Interesting. I was prepared to cringe, but that might be my anti-Shermer bias. I’d say you could interpret my comments through that lens, but apparently that’s too much postmodernism for a lot of skeptics. First, anyone else pick up on Shermer trying to use the fallacy of relative privation in this? I’m glad Thomas called him out on his trying to paint students at Evergreen as going after Weinstein as if he was biggest racist around. Why not go after Richard Spencer? Hey, while we’re at it, why… Read more »
Fan from Finland
OK episode. But I kinda felt like you mostly just repeated what you said in the last episode, and Shermer is just too much of a nice guy to argue back. 😛 I still disagree with the way you frame Evergreen as a “both sides” kind of thing. Like, I could concede all your points about Weinstein: The day of absence isn’t such a big deal, his e-mail was insensitive, going on Fox was ill-conceived, he was opposed to equity-based hiring in the past, and so on. I can grant all that, and even then none of it comes even… Read more »
Cee Jay

Excellent questions FinlandFan. I think you’re right to point to identity politics being the root of current political turmoil.