You Have No Idea How Wrong You Are
Simon Oxenham covers the best and the worst from the world of psychology and neuroscience. Formerly writing with the pseudonym "Neurobonkers", Simon has a history of debunking dodgy scientific research and tearing apart questionable science journalism in an irreverent style. Simon has written and blogged for publishers including: The Psychologist, Nature, Scientific American and The Guardian. His work has been praised in the New York Times and The Guardian and described in Pearson's Textbook of Psychology as "excoriating reviews of bad science/studies”.
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I've just discovered what might just be my new favorite lecture on Youtube. Pseudonymous philosopher Sisyphus Redeemed describes a sample of the many ways we have been wrong throughout history and looks at the implications of our capacity to be certain we are right, when in fact we are wrong. In a whistlestop tour of some fundamental principles in psychology and philosophy, we learn how we are likely to be wrong about: Our beliefs, our emotions, why we believe our beliefs, when we change our minds, why we change our minds, the accuracy of our perceptions, the accuracy of our self-evaluations and how wrong we are. "We're not just wrong, we're wrong on every conceivable level of resolution" - admittedly somewhat of an exaggeration, but a thought provoking point which is toned down to more reasonable terms later in the talk. The talk is humorous, entertaining and enlightening and packed full with interesting historical anecdotes.
"Being right is far less important than realizing what we don't know... how much better would the world be if people in general were more capable, more comfortable with admitting that they sometimes can be a stranger to themselves, that they are not entirely familiar with why they did what they did or said what they said. How many friendships could have been salvaged.. how many marriages could have been saved, how many wars could have been averted, if people were more willing to admit they were wrong?"
For a little further reading, check out Isaac Asimov's essay on The Relativity of Wrong (Skeptical Inquirer).
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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