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Michael Shermer’s Immoral Arc

March 24, 2015

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Dr. Michael Shermer

In Shermer’s 1997 book Why People Believe Weird Things, he changed a quote of mine in which I referred to myself as a “€œrevisionist,”€ altering it so that I call myself a “€œdenier.”€

Shermer admitted to me in a recorded conversation that he lied to the readers of Skeptic magazine by claiming that the phony “€œgas chamber”€ I examined at the Majdanek camp was made of wood and not brick (important because brick can retain traces of cyanide gas):

Me: That part where you claim I was in the wooden not the brick building during my investigation, makes me look stupid, like I didn”€™t know wood from brick.

Shermer: Well, it sorta came down to, that was the final segment of the article that needed to be done, and uh, uh, with, with like, one night to go, uh, and, and that was, the best I could do.

Me: What do you mean, the best you could do?

Shermer: That was the best I could do to answer your questions. Either that or leave them out entirely, which I didn”€™t want to do.

Me: But you realize though, at this point, that that wasn”€™t the wooden barrack that I was in. You realize that we”€™re talking about the brick building and not the wooden barrack.

Shermer: Yeah.

Me: And you know that I could have told you that, if you”€™d just asked me.

Shermer: Right. [pause] Well, I didn”€™t.

In the same conversation, Shermer admitted purposely slanting his article to deceive his readers about the strength of the revisionist case:

Me: I just want to get an honest answer on this. You admit that you slanted the article.

Shermer: What do you mean by slanted?

Me: That you engineered it with a few omissions here and there, and a few oversimplifications here and there, to make the revisionist position on the gas chamber/genocide issues seem a little less strong than it could be if you had been a little more objective.

Shermer: Yes.

Me: You do admit that?

Shermer: Yes.

I”€™ll add that in 2007 Shermer copped to posting a fraudulent “€œnews”€ story claiming that the National Park Service was formally embracing Creationism on orders from President Bush. Shermer later admitted that the story was “€œabsolutely false,”€ and that he”€™d been “€œduped”€ into believing it (I shouldn”€™t make fun of him, considering the money I made in “€˜94 by selling him magic beans).

That Shermer would champion the Google “€œincorrect facts”€ ranking policy shows the gulf that exists between the man he is and the man he believes himself to be. How else could such a dishonest man write a book with the haughty title “The Moral Arc”? I honestly don”€™t think he sees himself as a liar; he’s far too narcissistic. Yet his inability to confront his true nature leaves him baffled when those around him doubt his credibility, as in the case of the rape allegations that were publicly leveled against him in 2013 by a fellow skeptic. It was entirely a “€œhe said/she said”€ situation, and quite a few skeptics did not buy what Shermer said. I have no special insight into the allegations, but I can say that Shermer has no one but himself to blame when even his own comrades don”€™t take him at his word.

I suspect that, should the Google “€œincorrect facts”€ plan ever launch, Shermer will be perplexed by his diminished search rankings. He”€™ll wonder why the “€œtrustworthiness”€ model doesn”€™t favor him, and, in the style of today’s crop of smug, arrogant “€œskeptics,”€ he”€™ll blame everything but his own actions, and he”€™ll look everywhere but inward.

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