News sources abound across the internet and social media, and the subtleties of what constitutes journalistic integrity are vanishing. At the same time people are becoming increasingly skeptical of the claims of experts and institutions. The result? People hear what they want to hear – we gravitate toward those information sources that confirm our preexisting biases. This tendency to gravitate toward the like-minded, cognitive scientists tell us, is deeply human, even biologically hardwired.
At the same time, intelligent people everywhere recognize that there is a problem, and that the current situation is exacerbating divisions between people at a historical moment when our collective problems are more complex than ever before. In an anchorless, politically polarized intellectual landscape, what constitutes wise skepticism? Which sources should we doubt and which should we trust?