FLORENCE – The Jones Thomas and Carolyn Stroman Hunter Chair in English Literature at Francis Marion University will present Dr. Michael Shermer, skeptic and distinguished scholar. Shermer is also founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the executive director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, and Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University, as the spring 2012 Hunter Lecturer.
Shermer will read from his work on March 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cauthen Educational Media Center’s Lowrimore Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
Shermer’s latest book is The Mind of the Market, on evolutionary economics. His last book was Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, and he is the author of Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown, about how the mind works and how thinking goes wrong. His book The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Share Care, and Follow the Golden Rule, is on the evolutionary origins of morality and how to be good without God. He wrote a biography, In Darwin’s Shadow, about the life and science of the co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace. He also wrote The Borderlands of Science, about the fuzzy land between science and pseudoscience, and Denying History, on Holocaust denial and other forms of pseudo-history. His book How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God, presents his theory on the origins of religion and why people believe in God. He is also the author of Why People Believe Weird Things on pseudoscience, superstitions, and other confusions of our time.
Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years (1979–1998), teaching psychology, evolution, and the history of science at Occidental College (1989–1998), California State University Los Angeles, and Glendale College. Since his creation of the Skeptics Society, Skeptic magazine, and the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, Tom Snyder, Donahue, Oprah, Leeza, Unsolved Mysteries (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!), and other shows as a skeptic of weird and extraordinary claims, as well as interviews in countless documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown.
The Hunter Chair in English Literature funds two lectures per year. The Jones Thomas and Carolyn Stroman Hunter Chair in English Literature at FMU was established in 1991 by three sisters - Dorothy Hunter Thames Ellis, Adelle Hunter West, and Hattie Costa Hunter King - as a memorial to their parents, Jones Thomas and Carolyn Stroman Hunter.
Hunter lived in Marion County, was once mayor of Marion, contributed to many different organizations throughout the Pee Dee area, and operated a successful Ford dealership in Florence for 40 years. Mrs. Hunter came to Marion as a school teacher and was active in church work and taught Sunday School for more than 50 years. She was a charter member of several literary clubs, garden clubs, and community organizations.