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The founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer, will be this year's featured speaker at Tennessee Tech University's Harry and Joan Stonecipher Lecture on Science and Society at 7 p.m., Thursday, in Derryberry Hall Auditorium. A book signing will be held after the lecture.

Shermer is also the executive director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at the California Institute of Technology and the co-host and producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, "Exploring the Unknown."

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 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, Tom Snyder, Donahue, Oprah, Lezza, Unsolved Mysteries 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 is the author of "Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design," as well as the recently published "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 about 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," about Holocaust denial and other forms of pseudohistory. 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.

According to the late Stephen Jay Gould (from his foreword to "Why People Believe Weird Things"), “Michael Shermer, as head of one of America’s leading skeptic organizations and as a powerful activist and essayist in the service of this operational form of reason, is an important figure in American public life.”

Shermer received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, his master's degree in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his doctorate in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University. He was a college professor for 20 years, teaching psychology, evolution and the history of science at Occidental College, California State University Los Angeles and Glendale College.

The Stonecipher Lecture, which is free and open to the public, was created to fund the appearance of leading scientists such as Shermer to speak about the interrelationship between science and contemporary society.

Stonecipher, a 1960 Tennessee Tech physics graduate, is the former president and chief operating officer of The Boeing Co. and worked for major industrial firms including General Motors, General Electric, Sundstrand and McDonnell Douglas.

For more information, contact TTU's College of Arts and Sciences at 372-3119.