The Michael Shermer Show # 307

Nicholas Dirks is a strong advocate for academic and scientific collaboration across disciplines and recently helped launch the International Science Reserve which compiles technical and human resources scientists to call upon in times of crisis. His work focuses on the critical issues at the intersection of the humanities, social sciences, and the natural sciences, including distrust of science and vaccine hesitancy.

Shermer and Dirks discuss: vaccine hesitancy • why antibiotics do not generate the same distrust • vaccines and autism • COVID-19 and its differential effects on people • the lab-leak hypothesis vs. the zoonomic hypothesis for the origin of SARS CoV-2 • Anthony Fauci and the CDC • climate denial • how trust in science has changed over the past century • the politicization of science • how to talk to someone who doesn’t trust science or scientists.

Nicholas Dirks, President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), is an internationally renowned historian and anthropologist. He leads the Academy in promoting science-based solutions to world challenges, including pandemics and global warming. His work at the Academy facilitates the dissemination of scientific information, supports broad access to science education, studies counter bias in academia and the laboratory, and supports scientists across all stages of their careers. He was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has taught at UC Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, and Columbia University. His website is

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