Here’s video of Michael Shermer at TED explaining why people believe silly things (like dowsing rods and aliens). Very awesome.
On a personal note, Shermer’s writing was instrumental in my de-conversion. Why People Believe Weird Things was among the many books I read when I was relatively new to skepticism, and it got through to me even more effectively than Harris, Dawkins or Dennett.
In general, it’s easier for people to understand atheism through the lens of skepticism than to try to make a direct case for atheism. That’s exactly what Weird Things does. Or at least, what it did for me.
Plus, he’s a libertarian. So, bonus points.
He wrote a series of articles for True/Slant explaining the libertarian position on the need for moderate regulation of the free market.
You know that hypothetical question that people sometimes ask that goes something like “Who would you choose to have dinner with?” I’d pick Shermer. Hands down.