E104: Critical Thinking: Inoculating Yourself Against False Beliefs w/ Rob Palmer


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Our brains evolved on the African savannah well enough to allow Homo Sapiens to survive in that harsh, unforgiving environment, and go on to populate the planet. But the thinking organ which developed to prevent our death at the hands of predators and the elements is far from perfect. We are primed to trust the opinions and anecdotes of those in our close circle, and the pronouncements of those in authority. We conclude that something is true based on inadequate personal experience, less-than-perfect memory, faulty logic, and a host of cognitive biases. These tendencies can lead us to believe in things which do not comport with reality, and often lead to bad decisions, and even harm. In this talk, Rob Palmer will discuss these topics from a skeptical perspective, because understanding our innate cognitive failings can help us all think more rationally, better avoid errors, and hopefully live better lives.

Rob Palmer is a skeptical activist who works to educate the public about critical thinking by contributing to Wikipedia as part of The Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project (GSoW), and by writing for Skeptical Inquirer as The Well-Known Skeptic. His column covers contemporary skeptical issues, and he has interviewed conference speakers, podcasters, YouTubers, scientists, activists, and TV personalities as diverse as Cosmos producer/writer Ann Druyan, Thomas Westbrook (Holy Koolaid), Seth Andrews (The Thinking Atheist), and actor/activist John de Lance (Q of Star Trek). Hosted by Eric Wells, the RfR Support Group Director and Helen Greene, RfR SGL & Helpline Agent Recorded on September 13, 2021

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