The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


misinformation

Tali Sharot – The Power of Noticing What Was Always There

Shermer and Sharot discuss: the best day of her life • the evolutionary origins of habituation • habituation at work, at home, and in the bedroom • Why don’t we habituate to extreme pain? • marriage, romance, monogamy, infidelity • depression • depression, happiness, and variety • negativity nias • creativity and habituation disruption • lying and misinformation • illusory truth effect • truth bias • moral progress • preference falsification • pluralistic ignorance.

Dannagal Young — How Media, Politics, and Identity Drive Our Appetite for Misinformation

Shermer and Young discuss: how do you know if you are wrong, or that someone else is wrong • the evolution of reason: veridical perception or group identity? • the 3 “Cs” of our needs: comprehension, control, community • open-minded thinking • intellectual humility • political polarization • echo vs. identity chambers • social media • lies • disinformation • Donald Trump • democracy • science and morality • solutions to identity-driven wrongness.

Dan Ariely — What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational Things?

Shermer and Ariely discuss: What is disinformation and what should we do about it? • How do we know what is true and what to believe? • virtue signaling one’s tribe as a misbelief factor • the role of complex stories in misbelief • emotions, personality, temperament, trust, politics, and social aspects of belief and misbelief • the funnel of belief • social proof and the influence of others on our beliefs • a COVID-23 pandemic • social media companies…

Testicle Tanning and Perineal Sunning

Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the evidence that “testicle tanning” or red light therapy increases testosterone levels. She also discusses a related fad: butthole tanning, also known as butt-chugging, but better described as perineal sunning. Why do people fall for these fads? The answer is complex.

eSkeptic for March 10, 2022

Announcing Skeptic 27.1: Transgender Matters — an overview of the debate, research, and policies; supporting kids who identify as transgender or who are experiencing gender dysphoria (marked distress at an incongruence between gender identity and biological sex).

Kelly Weill on Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything

Michael Shermer speaks with journalist Kelly Weill whose work covers extremism, disinformation, and online conspiracy theories in current affairs. The conversation is based on her book Off the Edge which tells a powerful story about belief, polarized realities, and what needs to happen so that we might all return to the same spinning globe.

eSkeptic for March 1, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with journalist Kelly Weill whose work covers extremism, disinformation, and online conspiracy theories in current affairs. The conversation is based on her book Off the Edge which tells a powerful story about belief, polarized realities, and what needs to happen so that we might all return to the same spinning globe.

Trans Reality: “I Didn’t Know There Was Another Side”

Social psychologist Carol Tavris thoughtfully explores and questions “affirmative trans medicine,” the latest dangerous medical practices bubble. Few question the mystifying explosion of cases of gender dysphoria among adolescents and the proliferation of clinics to treat them. Vulnerable teens and baffled parents resort to internet misinformation and succumb to biased media influence, while experts spurn exploratory therapies and promote untested treatments that have long-term effects. Dissenters are vilified and silenced as being transphobic.

eSkeptic for January 25, 2022

Social psychologist Carol Tavris thoughtfully explores and questions “affirmative trans medicine,” the latest dangerous medical practices bubble. Few question the mystifying explosion of cases of gender dysphoria among adolescents and the proliferation of clinics to treat them. Vulnerable teens and baffled parents resort to internet misinformation and succumb to biased media influence, while experts spurn exploratory therapies and promote untested treatments that have long-term effects. Dissenters are vilified and silenced as being transphobic. PLUS: Michael Shermer Speaks with Johnjoe McFadden…

Steven Koonin on what climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters, based on his book Unsettled

According to Steven Koonin, when it comes to climate change, the media, politicians, and other prominent voices have declared that “the science is settled.” Koonin avers that the long game of telephone from research to reports, to the popular media, is corrupted by misunderstanding and misinformation. Koonin says that core questions about the way the climate is responding to our influence, and what the impacts will be remain largely unanswered.

eSkeptic for November 20, 2021

In episode 228, Michael Shermer speaks with Steven Koonin about what climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters, based on his book Unsettled. Plus, we annouce a 6-hour seminar with Bart Ehrman on Dec 5, and recap Michael Shermer’s Substack posts this week.

John Petrocelli — The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit

In episode # 207, Michael Shermer speaks with experimental social psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University, John Petrocelli about his research that examines the causes and consequences of bullshit and bullshitting in the way of better understanding and improving bullshit detection and disposal.

eSkeptic for September 7, 2021

In episode # 207, Michael Shermer speaks with experimental social psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University, John Petrocelli about his research that examines the causes and consequences of bullshit and bullshitting in the way of better understanding and improving bullshit detection and disposal. PLUS, the newest issue of Skeptic magazine (26.3: UFOs and UAPs) is now available in print and digital formats.

Lee McIntyre — How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason

Science deniers are not merely uninformed—they are misinformed. How can we get them to change their minds and accept the facts when they don’t believe in facts? In episode 203, Michael Shermer speaks with Lee McIntyre about how to talk to science deniers such as flat earthers, climate deniers, and others who defy reason, and why it’s important to do so.

eSkeptic for August 24, 2021

Science deniers are not merely uninformed—they are misinformed. How can we get them to change their minds and accept the facts when they don’t believe in facts? In episode 203, Michael Shermer speaks with Lee McIntyre about how to talk to science deniers such as flat earthers, climate deniers, and others who defy reason, and why it’s important to do so.

Red Alert: Anti-Vaccination in the Age of COVID-19

Raymond Barglow and Margret Schaefer discuss the anti-vaccination movement in the age of COVID-19.

11-03-30

Since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, a storm of misinformation about earthquakes and natural disasters has followed. In this week’s eSkeptic, professor of geology and author of the new book Catastrophes: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and other Earth-Shattering Disasters, Dr. Donald R. Prothero shines a scientific light on some of this misinformation and discusses the difficult nature of earthquake prediction.

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