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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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We Need Doubt and Skepticism More Than Ever

August 29, 2013, 5:53 PM

I think that doubt and skepticism are crucial in the age we live in, and I think they’re, in some ways, even more crucial today than they have ever been, because we live in a world of mass communications.  

While we have the Internet and we have blogs and we have Twitter and Facebook and things like that, the major media tends to be controlled by corporate forces.  And I don't mean for this to sound sinister.  I’m just saying it’s a fact of life that we are surrounded by points of view and by propaganda that is heavily messaged and it’s meant to persuade us of something. 

Maybe the things they’re trying to persuade us of are right.  Maybe they're wrong.  But I think that we need to have enough information and enough knowledge to say, wait a minute, I don't think so.  Let me go check that against some other sources.  So you have to know how to check against other sources and you have to have enough knowledge to be able to say I don't think so.  I want to know if that's true.  I want to have alternate ways of verification. 

That's what doubt and skepticism is about.  It’s about rationality.  It’s about thinking for yourself.  It’s about having an independent mind.  And, in an age of almost the complete domination of these powerful media of communication by small numbers of people, that's what's going to keep us a democratic society. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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We Need Doubt and Skepticis...

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