Skepticism

Michael Shermer Supports Trump, Because Skepticism is a Joke

Michael Shermer, famed skeptic and alleged creep, is apparently supporting Donald Trump during this year’s Presidential Election. When recently interviewed on KRCW, an NPR affiliate, he had this to say:

“Things I like about Donald Trump? First of all, this idea of deal-making. And not providing, say, a 14-point plan on every single thing he’s gonna do. Well, as he points out, and this is true, like the boxer who has a plan for every round of the 12-round match, and then gets punched in the nose in the first ten seconds and that’s the end of his strategy.”

Shermer is basically quoting convicted rapist Mike Tyson here:

“People were asking me [before a fight], ‘What’s going to happen?,’ ” Tyson said. “They were talking about his style. ‘He’s going to give you a lot of lateral movement. He’s going to move, he’s going to dance. He’s going to do this, do that.’ I said, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.’ “

It would almost be hilarious that a supposed intellectual thinker can’t handle a 14-point plan to some of our country’s most complex problems. Of course, it isn’t hilarious, because Donald Trump is a terrifying blight upon humanity that thinks Muslims should be banned from the United States (EDIT: his supporters also think LGBT people should be banned from the U.S., but Trump has not yet commented on this proposal).

Here’s how ridiculous Shermer’s “reasoning” sounds when you apply to other contexts: “I’m being accused of murder, so I sought legal advice from one of the best lawyers in the world. He had a really complex 14-point strategy to help me clear my name, but it was just too much. Instead, I’m hiring my racist uncle – he really tells it like it is!” I’m curious what Shermer thinks about Trump’s positions on climate change & gun control, given that Shermer has somehow managed to make sense on those topics in the past. Oh who am I kidding – it doesn’t matter! What matters is that Trump has no plan – and that’s a good thing.

He also called Trump’s braggadocio and speaking style, “kind of charming and amusing” and said it’s good that Trump is “not very religious.” Great! Trump’s Islamophobia will fit right in with organized atheism’s. Maybe Trump can speak at the next Reason Rally.

All of this is literally only surprising if you haven’t been paying attention to what a shitshow organized skepticism is. It makes perfect sense that someone with Shermer’s reputation would support the carrot-colored man-baby who thinks it’s okay to call Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig” and can’t handle the concept that women have to use the restroom. R.I.P., what’s left of organized skepticism!

Update: Apparently Michael Shermer totes doesn’t support Trump! He just says a lot of positive things about him – because reasons!  

Featured Image by David Fayram

Courtney Caldwell

Courtney Caldwell

Courtney Caldwell is an intersectional feminist. Her talents include sweary rants, and clogging your social media with pictures of her dogs (and occasionally her begrudging cat). She's also a political nerd, whose far-left tendencies are a little out of place in the deep red Texas.

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26 Comments

  1. March 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm —

    Finding out about Shermer was the final nail in the coffin of my excitement for organized Skepticism. I still consider myself a skeptic as well as atheist, but I focus on feminism mostly these days.

    • March 6, 2016 at 4:33 pm —

      Honestly, I’m not even sure what Shermer is thinking. Were Trump not running for president, most of us would write him off as some conspiracy theorist. But since he’s also the Republican frontrunner and the GOP has a much more excited base than the Dems, he’s far more dangerous than your run of the mill Mike Adams or David Icke. (At least Art Bell was entertaining.)

      Oh, Farrakhan endorsed der Trompf. Seriously.

  2. March 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm —

    There’s a military saying “No plan survives first contact with the enemy”. But you still go in with one, so you can have a clear view of what the goal is and have a starting point to improvise from. It’s an argument for not applying your plan by rote regardless of what happens, and to build a plan with some flexibility. It’s not remotely an argument for not having a detailed plan in the first place.

  3. March 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm —

    I don’t agree on the implied conclusion that organized skepticism is dead. It seems the author is very much writing from a narrow perspective.

    First off, I think this is mostly an issue about the conservative culture, and the kind of ultra-liberalism that has failed to include feminism in the US, rather then having to do with organized skepticism in and of itself. Take Sweden where I live: we are organized skeptics in for example our organization VoF, (loosely translated into “science and education”). We still fight within a patriarchy off course which means we have issues too about people not being aware of structures affecting women and lgbtq-people negatively. But we are very much alive, very skeptical, quite organized and without many of the faults of Michael Schermer.

    I do think this is an example of “taking the part to be the whole” and drawing conclusion from a limited set of data. Isn’t skepchick, which I admire, also part of organized skepticism? I also think the style of the piece above has a sort of hate speech character about it, being very agressive and derogatory, thereby borrowing part of what I think IS bad about organized skepticism today: hate, trolling, misunderstanding, chauvinism and lack of empathy. I’m sure it’s meant tounge in cheek using irony and trying to turn chauvinism on it’s head. But I think the time is right for re-consilidation, reforming a movement with good potential by taking away the bad and finding the good.

    I have gotten so much good from organized skepticism. It changed my life. By just looking at some parts of organized skepticism, in one country, of course you are going to reach a limited understanding. I am convinced we are bigger then that and continue to be an organized skeptic based on that conviction, and get confirmation from others that what we do is bringing about good change.

    These things are my opinions and I try to be open toward arguments against mine and evidence that would disprove my subjective conclusions.

  4. March 4, 2016 at 1:23 pm —

    Hemant Mehta asked Shermer about this, and Shermer’s response is worth taking into account: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/03/04/michael-shermer-im-not-endorsing-donald-trump/

    • March 4, 2016 at 1:37 pm —

      So he did support Trump, but in the last few weeks has become concerned about a few of his positions???

      What the feck would those be, his position on his sausage-like fingers, or his position on the size of little Trump! Has Trump expressed any new positions in the last few weeks?

      • March 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm —

        Oh, FFS. He did not “support Trump”. He said he liked some of Trump’s positions. Those two things aren’t even remotely the same.

        I like some of Sanders’ positions — in fact, IStandWith.com puts me at 90% agreement with him. But he’s the last person I would ever want as president. (Sorry: second last. I don’t support Trump, either.)

        • March 5, 2016 at 4:49 pm —

          Um, he was introduced by the host on KRCW as “a supporter of Trump.” Shermer did not correct the host but went on to praise Trump. Maybe he was pretending to support Trump for the publicity. Maybe he did support him but hadn’t done his homework before going on the radio to support him. I don’t know which is worse, but what I do know is that it is not unreasonable to report him as a Trump supporter with an update now that he no longer is (or no longer is pretending to).

    • March 4, 2016 at 1:38 pm —

      404’d!
      …actually I seem to get a 404 for anything friendly atheisty on patheos right now.

      • March 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm —

        Ok, never mind. Apparently whatever problem was causing that existed just long enough for me to comment on it, and then fled into the night.

    • March 4, 2016 at 1:39 pm —

      Lance,

      Well I’m glad to hear that he’s not really endorsing Trump. Still he should have been a bit more careful with what he said and how he said it.

  5. March 4, 2016 at 1:43 pm —

    Wait… Did Trump actually advocate banning gays from the US? I obviously knew about the Muslim thing, but this is the first I’ve heard of that. What did I miss? Google is failing me.

  6. March 4, 2016 at 1:48 pm —

    I do find it quite interesting that Trump is apparently “not very religious” considering he recently complained about the IRS targeting him for audits based on his deeply held religious convictions.

    (Don’t get me wrong, in no way do I believe that Trump holds convictions, deep, religious, or of any other kind, but I do find it interesting that it would be a selling point when he attempts to sell himself as the opposite of it. It’s almost as if he’s nothing more than a two-faced salesman trying to get support from all sides while not actually making any statements he can be held to.
    (Again, don’t get me wrong – I do know that’s the literal translation of politician.))

  7. March 4, 2016 at 2:36 pm —

    So… shouldn’t you change the headline since Shermer came out publicly and said he is not supporting Trump? I feel like most people skimming Facebook or various other outlets are just going to remember the headline and not bother with the footnote correction at the bottom of the article.

    • March 6, 2016 at 1:21 pm —

      No. The headline says he supports Trump, which is true, unless he decides to claim the interview was somehow fraudulently edited. Shermer’s statement said, “To date I have not decided whom I am voting for, and I am not publicly endorsing anyone,” which this article never claimed he did.

  8. March 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm —

    Time for the Skeptics Guide to the Universe to have another fawning uncritical interview with Michael Shermer, this time as a political expert.

    By the way, I wonder how disappointed Dave Silverman is that he won’t be able to schmooze fellow conservative Donald Trump at CPAC this year? At least there will be plenty of other racist, sexist, anti-environmentalists to try to recruit to American Atheists this weekend. Just another data point that “not very religious” doesn’t make you a good person.

  9. March 4, 2016 at 9:14 pm —

    I saw this guy once, and was struck at how shallow and uninformed he was. He mostly spoke in slogans, solicited laughs, would walk back when called out, etc. Not much changed. His statements in the other linked article about Kasich belay an incredible lack of knowledge (Kasich wants an official gov’t Evangelical mission to the Middle East, thanks women for “getting out of the kitchen”, etc) as did his corrections about Trump (doesn’t want to use military!).

    Amazing how people bow and scrape to Shermer, in light of his statements like this, and his “I didn’t say Trump was good” claim.

  10. March 5, 2016 at 12:36 pm —

    Alex Rudewell needs to learn two things: First, the definition of the word “support”, particularly as it is used to connote political endorsement during an election, and second, the meaning of the verb “quote”.

    First, Shermer does not support Donald Trump. He merely mentioned some of the aspects of Trump’s platform that he agrees with, but that is does not mean he endorses him, as he has made it clear that he has understandably grown concerned about other aspects of Trump’s behavior and platform, since making that initial statement:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/03/04/michael-shermer-im-not-endorsing-donald-trump/
    To say that Shermer “supports” Trump, therefore, is a lie of omission, to put it mildly.

    Second, making a statement that you can compare for similarity with another statement made by another person is not what a “quote” is. To quote someone means to repeat what they said word for word, often explicitly attributing the statement to its originator. Trump did no such thing with “convicted rapist Mike Tyson”, but merely made a statement that bore a similarity to something Tyson once said.

    To report these comments to as an explicit “support” of a political candidate in a presidential election, and and act of “quoting” a rapist, shows that you either don’t have a firm grasp on vocabulary, or are a knowing, deliberate liar. In either case, you’re not qualified to write anything for public consumption, lest you think making readers more ignorant and more dumb is a genuinely positive practice to which you aspire.

    • March 6, 2016 at 7:57 am —

      For someone who isn’t supporting Trump, he sure is saying a lot of good things about him and a lot of trash about all the other candidates. The only non-positive thing he has said was that he has “…since grown concerned about some of Trump’s other positions…” You know, other than all those positions where he likes Trump. The ones that he repeated in that mail.

      I agree, he hasn’t actually said the words “I endorse Trump for president,” but when someone repeatedly says good things about a specific candidate, trashes all other candidates, and when pushed for criticism, makes a vague reference to “other positions”, it’s hard not to take that as being, if not an endorsement, then certainly something very close to it.

      He says he hasn’t decided who to vote for yet, but who else would he vote for? The one of unelectable guys? The woman with “a closet full of bad baggage”? Or maybe one of the untrustworthy, overly religious candidates?

      Claiming that this doesn’t constitute support for Trump is pure sophistry. You might not like the idea that Shermer gave public support to Trump, but he did. Arguing semantics isn’t going to change that.

    • March 6, 2016 at 12:33 pm —

      And you need to learn that there is more than one definition of the word support and while you are looking up words check out the implications of the modifier “basically”.

      Your protestations amount to, ” you have used words in a way that I wouldn’t to accurately describe someone in a way I don’t like, I therefore believe you are being unfair “. Duly noted and dismissed, next?

    • March 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm —

      Luigi, the fact that Shermer was introduced as a “supporter of Trump,” which he didn’t correct before going on to say what he liked about Trump, does in fact show that he supports (or at least supported, or pretended to support) Trump. Do you apply your own logic to yourself? Does this mean you “either don’t have a firm grasp on vocabulary, or are a knowing, deliberate liar”?

  11. March 6, 2016 at 7:41 pm —

    Well, this alone would take the ‘alleged’ away from Shermer’s status as an Official Creep.

    Just because someone is deity-free doesn’t necessarily mean they are rational or trustworthy. The ‘old school’ skeptical gang was peppered with Randroids and deranged libertarians…like Shermer. I suppose a similar cabal of red-diaper Stalinists would have been just as ‘atheistic,’ and just as potentially corrupt.

    Atheism and skepticism have to exist with a big enough frame of reference to put marginal creeps on the margins, where they belong.

  12. March 7, 2016 at 9:36 pm —

    And now misogynist apologist Hemant Mehta is defending Shermer by claiming he didn’t actually endorse Trump because he didn’t use the exact words ” I endorse Trump” or something. Shermer also apparently has been living under a rock as he seems to have only just discovered Trump is a horrible monster this week. Is there no racism or misogyny in the atheist movement Mehta won’t defend? Friendly Atheist indeed http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/03/04/michael-shermer-im-not-endorsing-donald-trump/

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