A Skeptic's Skepticism Wavers
Regis NicollRegis Nicoll's weblog
- 2014 Dec 14
“I just witnessed an event so mysterious that it shook my skepticism.” That from Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptic Society and editor of Skeptic, its official magazine.
A skeptic’s skeptic
Michael Shermer, in short, is a skeptic’s skeptic, whose skepticism is most strenuously exercised against all things supernatural. With a full-throated materialistic bent, he argues that all phenomena are reducible to natural causes ultimately explainable through science.
In his writings, interviews, and debates, Shermer projects an intellectual swagger that has become fashionable in freethinking circles. A number of years ago in a PBS panel discussion on religion, when the topic of the Resurrection came up, he pressed a Christian physician for how (how!) God did it. By presuming that the Resurrection must have occurred through a clever medical manipulation to be credible, Shermer’s question was designed to ensure that naturalism wins.
It was also designed to make his Christian opponent appear badly misinformed, intellectually challenged, or worse. For in our enlightened scientific age, smart people everywhere know “there is no such thing as the supernatural or the paranormal,” Shermer reminds us. “There is just the natural, the normal, and mysteries we have yet to explain by natural causes.”
Such unswerving confidence in naturalism seals the imagination from any consideration of supernatural causation, even for things currently inexplicable by science (e.g., dark energy, quantum behavior, abiogenesis, consciousness, the Big Bang, etc.). However, when life collides with our worldview, it can create cracks in our ideological foundation and shake our confidence. This past June, Michael Shermer experienced just such a collision. Continue reading here.