Saturday, June 28, 2008

Heavy company.

As stated the purpose of this blog is to share ideas and to publicize my so-called writing career. Should it at times appear self-indulgent, well, caveat emptor.

Stumbled across this today:

http://andrewlias.blogspot.com/2007/09/fermi-paradox-further-reading.html


It includes me in the same categories as Carl Sagan and Michael Shermer. I admire the late Carl Sagan very much. He was a great educator, science promoter and writer.

As for Shermer, years ago, before burn out set in, I was an enthusiastic supporter of Shermer and contributed eagerly and without pay to his magazine. Actually, I suppose one could say that Shermer, like so many others, was one of the factors that contributed to the burn out. At first, I supported him eagerly, as Shermer, unlike the folks at CSICOP, treated local skeptics groups and their officers with respect and was more skilled than CSICOP at public-relations and media-use, an area where CSICOP often seems to embarrass itself.

I actually had lunch with him once but he consistently spent the time trying to get me to write unpaid articles for him and encouraged me to abandon the project I was involved in at the time. (A true crime project that fell through that involved Asian-American gangs and one gang in particular.) I found this discouraging, but part of a pattern.

As time went on, it became obvious that Shermer uses people and does not value their time. His magazine prints lies, and then does not offer corrections or retractions, except in extreme cases and only after much nagging. (He's done this at least twice and in both cases it made people I know and care about, people actively involved in the skeptics movement at the time, look bad and he did not even care.) He uses his platform as "media science guy" to issue tirades about things he knows nothing about and his attitude and expertise in the area of theology are at the childishly simplistic level of many skeptics (and college sophmores) who assume that all religious belief is easily disprovable and inherently unsophisticed, particularly Western religions and Christianity in particular. (Some of these people, for instance, assume that all Christians believe the Book of Revelation to be actual prophecy sent by God instead of a historical document that was written in a particular time by particular people for a particular, motivational purpose.)

Shermer is a typical Los Angeles resident, and like many in that area, in my opinion is driven more by a desire to appear on TV than any sort of integrity.

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