Why We Lie to Ourselves

Skeptic Michael Shermer thinks we deceive ourselves because "we did not evolve a baloney-detection device in our brains to discriminate between true and false patterns."

Skeptic Michael Shermer thinks we deceive ourselves because "we did not evolve a baloney-detection device in our brains to discriminate between true and false patterns." We are "natural-born supernaturalists," Shermer says. "Souls, spirits, ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens, intelligent designers, government conspiracists, and all manner of invisible agents with power and intention are believed to haunt our world and control our lives. Why? The answer has two parts, starting with the concept of 'patternicity,' which I define as the human tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise. The face on Mars, the Virgin Mary on a grilled-cheese sandwich, Satanic messages in rock music..."

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Oumuamua, a quarter-mile long asteroid tumbling through space, is Hawaiian for "scout", or "the first of many".
  • It was given this name because it came from another solar system.
  • Some claimed Oumuamua was an alien technology, but there's no actual evidence for that.

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less

7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Photo by Raunaq Patel on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
  • Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
  • These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
Keep reading Show less