About This Episode
Why do rational people believe irrational things? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice break down media literacy, the psychology behind conspiracy theories, and how to combat our cognitive biases with author of Conspiracy: Why the Rational Believe the Irrational, Michael Shermer.
No one joins a cult thinking they’re wrong, so why does it happen? We talk about what it means to be a skeptic. Was 9/11 an inside job? Was the moon landing a hoax? Was the 2020 election rigged? Learn why popular conspiracy theories gained traction, what their fundamental problems are, and how to argue against them. Does the media make us more susceptible to conspiracies?
What cognitive biases stop intelligent people from making intelligent choices? Discover proportionality bias, confirmation bias, and hindsight bias. How do you know what to believe? If a conspiracy theory was a criminal trial, could you get enough evidence? What questions can we ask ourselves to avoid being biased? What would it take to change your mind?
Why do we often accept the supernatural but not real science? Why are there so many vaccine skeptics, but no antibiotics skeptics? Should Internet gatekeepers censor misinformation? Does being more educated make you less susceptible to conspiracy? All that, plus, is there such a thing as being too skeptical?
Thanks to our Patrons Zachary Vex, Alexandru Dolipschi, Chris Knopp, Gianni Gaetano, and D’Angelo Garcia for supporting us this week.
NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.