• People in crowds do not spontaneously de-evolve into subhuman beasts

    This episode's guest, Michael Bond, is the author of The Power of Others, and reading his book I was surprised to learn that despite several decades of research into crowd psychology, the answers to most questions concerning crowds can still be traced back to a book printed in 1895.

    Gustave's Le Bon's book, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, explained that humans in large groups are dangerous, that people spontaneously de-evolve into subhuman beasts who are easily swayed and prone to violence. That viewpoint has informed the policies and tactics of governments and police forces for more than a century, and like many prescientific musings, much of it is wrong.

    BondListen in this episode as Michael Bond, explains that the more research the social sciences conduct, the less the idea of a mindless, animalistic mob seems to be true. He also explains what police forces and governments should be doing instead of launching tear gas canisters from behind riot shields which actually creates the situation they are trying to prevent. Also, we touch on the psychology of suicide bombers, which is just as surprising as what he learned researching crowds.

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    Great Courses PlusThis episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries taught by
    Neil deGrasse Tyson. Everything we now know about the universe—from the behavior of quarks to the birth of entire galaxies—has stemmed from scientists who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    sssThere is no better way to create a website than with Squarespace. Creating your website with Squarespace is a simple, intuitive process. You can add and arrange your content and features with the click of a mouse. Squarespace makes adding a domain to your site simple; if you sign up for a year you'll receive a custom domain for free for a year. Start your free trial today, at Squarespace.com and enter offer code SOSMART to get 10% off your first
    purchase.

    PatreonSupport the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    The Power of Others: Peer Pressure, Groupthink, and How the People Around Us Shape Everything We Do

    Michael Bond's Website

    Gender Quotas and Tight Cultures Study

    Gustave Le Bon's "The Crowd"

    Army Manual for Dealing With Civil Unrest

  • What we think about when we try not to think about global warming

    In this episode, psychologist Per Espen Stoknes discusses his book: What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming.

    StoknesStoknes has developed a strategy for science communicators who find themselves confronted with climate change deniers who aren't swayed by facts and charts. His book presents a series of psychology-based steps designed to painlessly change people's minds and avoid the common mistakes scientists tend to make when explaining climate change to laypeople.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Great Courses PlusThis episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries taught by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Everything we now know about the universe—from the behavior of quarks to the birth of entire galaxies—has stemmed from scientists who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    sssThere is no better way to create a website than with Squarespace. Creating your website with Squarespace is a simple, intuitive process. You can add and arrange your content and features with the click of a mouse. Squarespace makes adding a domain to your site simple; if you sign up for a year you'll receive a custom domain for free for a year. Start your free trial today, at Squarespace.com and enter offer code SOSMART to get 10% off your first purchase.

    Mack WeldonThis episode is also brought to you by Mack Weldon who believes in smart design, premium fabrics and simple shopping. All of their products (shirts, socks, sweats, underwear) are naturally antimicrobial (which means they eliminate odor). They want you to be comfortable, so If you don't like your first garment, you can keep it, and they will still refund you. No questions asked. Go toMackWeldon.Com and get 20% off using promo code SOSMART.

    PatreonSupport the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    Links and Sources

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    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    The Leadership LAB

    Per Epsen Stoknes Website

    What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • How to change people's minds on social issues with "deep canvassing"

    Oddly enough, we don't know very much about how to change people's minds on social issues, not scientifically. That's why the work of the a group of LGBT activists in Los Angeles is offering something valuable to psychology and political science – a detailed map of uncharted scientific territory.

    Over the last eight years, and through more than 12,000 conversations, The Leadership LAB has developed a new kind of persuasion they call deep canvassing. Volunteer's go door-to-door, talking to strangers, and often change their attitudes about things like same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

    Unfortunately, the first scientist to measure the technique's effectiveness also committed scientific fraud by copy/pasting some data from another study and cutting corners in other ways, creating a wave of negative publicity that threatened the reputation of the people who created the technique, even though they were just the subjects of the study and not involved in the wrongdoing.

    In the show, you will meet two scientists who uncovered the fraud and got the paper retracted, and then decided to go ahead and start over, do new research themselves, and see if the persuasion technique that the original researcher was supposed to be studying truly worked.

    Can you reduce prejudice with a single 20-minute conversation? Can you flip people's opinions in just one encounter? Learn what the latest science has to say about deep canvassing in this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Great Courses PlusThis episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries taught by
    Neil deGrasse Tyson. Everything we now know about the universe—from the behavior of quarks to the birth of entire galaxies—has stemmed from scientists who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    This episode is also sponsored Casper Mattressesby Casper Mattresses. Buying a Casper mattress is completely risk free. Casper offers free delivery and free returns with a 100-night home trial. If you don't love it, they'll pick it up and refund you everything. Casper understands the importance of truly sleeping on a mattress before you commit, especially considering you're going to spend a third of your life on it. Get $50 toward any mattress purchase by visiting www.casper.com/sosmart and using offer code "sosmart." Terms and Conditions Apply.

    Mack WeldonThis episode is also brought to you by Mack Weldon who believes in smart design, premium fabrics and simple shopping. All of their products (shirts, socks, sweats, underwear) are naturally antimicrobial (which means they eliminate odor). They want you to be comfortable, so If you don't like your first garment, you can keep it, and they will still refund you. No questions asked. Go to MackWeldon.Com and get 20% off using promo code SOSMART.

    PatreonSupport the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    Dave FleischerDave Fleischer has been a professional mind changer for more than 30 years, and has directed the Leadership LAB since 2010. Previously, he created the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and worked as an organizer for the National LGBTQ Task Force.

    Josh KallaJoshua Kalla is a PhD student at the University of California Berkley. He studies political science and how voters make and change their minds.
    David BrookmanDavid Brookman is an Assistant Professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and studies political science as well as persuasion and perspective taking.

    Laura GardinerLaura Gardiner (at the time of this recording) was the national mentoring coordinator for the Leadership LAB and helped manage their experimental persuasion canvassing project. Laura spent eight years with the team before moving on to other pursuits.

    Steve DelineSteve Deline is a field organizer at the Leadership LAB. He started as a volunteer in 2009 and helped create the LAB's video documentation project, which, according to their website, "has since captured more than 2,000 conversations between canvassers and voters on film and become integral to the team's ability to develop new approaches to persuasion."

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Deanna Klingbeal who sent in a recipe for chocolate waffle cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    The Leadership LAB

    David Brookman

    Joshua Kalla

    Irregularities in LaCour 2014

    Durably reducing transphobia: A field experiment on door-to-door canvassing

    Video: Watch a Voter Change Her Mind

    Image courtesy of The Leadership LAB, screenshot of video linked above.

    Music:

  • How the "separate spheres" ideology is still affecting us today

    Common sense used to dictate that men and women should only come together for breakfast and dinner.

    According to Victorian historian Kaythrn Hughes, people in the early 19th Century thought the outside world was dangerous and unclean and morally dubious and thus no place for a virtuous, fragile woman. The home was a paradise, a place for civility, where perfect angelic ladies could, in her words, "counterbalance the moral taint of the public sphere."

    By the mid 1800s, women were leaving home to work in factories, and they were fighting for their right to vote and to get formal educations and much more – and if you believed in preserving the separate spheres, the concept that men and women should only cross paths at breakfast and dinner, then as we approached the 20th century, this created a lot of anxiety for you.

    Despite their relative invisibility, a norm, even a dying one, can sometimes be harnessed and wielded like a weapon by conjuring up old fears from a bygone era. It's a great way to slow down social change if you fear that change. When a social change threatens your ideology, fear is the simplest, easiest way to keep more minds from changing.

    In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we explore how the separate spheres ideology is still affecting us today, and how some people are using it to scare people into voting down anti-discrimination legislation.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron who sets the highest quality standards for their community of artisanal suppliers, family-run farms, fisheries and ranchers. For less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers the best ingredients along with easy-to-read, full-color recipes with photos and additional information about where your food came from. Check out this week's menu and get your first three meals free with free shipping by going to www.blueapron.com/YANSS

    This episode is also sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    Terry Kogan

    Terry Kogan clerked for the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and practiced law in Boston before joining the University of Utah where he teaches law concerning contracts, copyright, trusts, art, and sexuality. According to his official bio, "He has spent the past decade considering the rights of transgender people, in particular issues surrounding the legal and cultural norms that mandate the segregation of public restrooms by sex."

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Mark P who sent in a recipe for oatmeal engineers. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    Terry Kogan

    Sex-Separation in Public Restrooms: Law, Architecture, and Gender

    The Weird History of Gender Segregated Bathrooms

    Gender roles in the 19th Century

    Campaign for Houston

    This Anti-HERO Ad Is the Definition of Transphobia

    South Park Takes on Trans Issues … and It's Great

    Feds issue guidance on transgender access to school bathrooms

    Houston Voters Reject Broad Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

    Who's behind the new LGBT bathroom laws?

    Image Source – Currier and Ives Lithograph in the Public Domain

    Music:

  • The most logical logical fallacy of them all, the existential fallacy

    Hypothetical situations involving dragons, robots, spaceships, and vampires have all been used to prove and disprove arguments.

    Statements about things that do not exist can still be true, and can be useful thinking tools for exploring philosophical, logical, sociological, and scientific concepts.

    The problem is that sometimes those same arguments accidentally require those fictional concepts to be real in order to support their conclusions, and that's when you commit the existential fallacy.

    In this episode we explore the most logical logical fallacy of them all, the existential fallacy. No need to get out your pens and paper, we will do that for you, as we make sense of one the most break-breaking thinking mistakes we've ever discovered.

    This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the tenth in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is sponsored by Bombas – game-changing socks. Bombas decided to take socks seriously, by designing the most highly engineered, best-fitting, comfortable socks humans have ever imagined – and they look cool too. Go to Bombas.com/SOSMART for 20% off your first order.

    This episode is also sponsored by Casper Mattresses. Buying a Casper mattress is completely risk free. Casper offers free delivery and free returns with a 100-night home trial. If you don't love it, they'll pick it up and refund you everything. Casper understands the importance of truly sleeping on a mattress before you commit, especially considering you're going to spend a third of your life on it. Get $50 toward any mattress purchase by visiting www.casper.com/sosmart and using offer code "sosmart." Terms and Conditions Apply.

    This episode is also sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    BobBob Blaskiewicz is an assistant professor who teaches, among other subjects, critical thinking at Stockton University. He also writes about logic and reasoning at skepticalhumanities.com, and is a regular guest on the YouTube show The Virtual Skeptics.

    julia-galef-headshot

    Julie Galef is the president and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, a non-profit devoted to training people to be better at reasoning and decision-making. She is also the host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast and writes for publications like Slate, Science, Scientific American, and Popular Science. This is her website.

    Vanessa Hill is an Australian science writer and stop-motion animator who hosts BrainCraft, a PBS series exploring psychology, neuroscience and human behavior. She previously worked for Australia's national science agency, as a science reporter for ScienceAlert, and has appeared in TIME,The Huffington Post, Scientific American, and Brain Pickings. Her Twitter page is here.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Samatnha Menzies who sent in a recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    BrainCraft

    Center for Applied Rationality

    Skeptical Humanities

    Your Logical Fallacy Is

    PBS Idea Channel

    A Guide to Logical Fallacies

    Stephen Downes on the Existential Fallacy

    Rationalwiki on Existential Assumptions

    Image Source – Paul K, CC Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

    fish-face

  • How you can avoid committing the "conjunction fallacy"

    Here is a logic puzzle created by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.

    "Linda is single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with the issue of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in demonstrations. Which of the following is more probable: Linda is a bank teller or Linda is a bank teller AND is active in the feminist movement?"

    In studies, when asked this question, more than 80 percent of people chose number two. Most people said it was more probably that Linda is a bank teller AND active in the feminist movement, but that's wrong. Can you tell why?

    This thinking mistake is an example of the subject of this episode – the conjunction fallacy. Listen as three experts in logic and reasoning explain why people get this question wrong, why it is wrong, and how you can avoid committing the conjunction fallacy in other situations.

    This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the ninth in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is sponsored by Bombas – game-changing socks. Bombas decided to take socks seriously, by designing the most highly engineered, best-fitting, comfortable socks humans have ever imagined – and they look cool too. Go to Bombas.com/SOSMARTfor 20% off your first order.

    This episode is also sponsored by Squarespace. Creating your website with Squarespace is a simple, intuitive process. You can add and arrange
    your content and features with the click of a mouse. Squarespace makes adding a domain to your site simple; if you sign up for a year you'll receive a custom domain for free for that year. Head to Squarespace.com and use the offer code "SoSmart" for 10 percent off your first order.

    This episode is also sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    BobBob Blaskiewicz is an assistant professor who teaches, among other subjects, critical thinking at Stockton University. He also writes about logic and reasoning at skepticalhumanities.com, and is a regular guest on the YouTube show The Virtual Skeptics.

    julia-galef-headshot

    Julie Galef is the president and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, a non-profit devoted to training people to be better at reasoning and decision-making. She is also the host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast and writes for publications like Slate, Science, Scientific American, and Popular Science. This is her website.

    Vanessa Hill is an Australian science writer and stop-motion animator who hosts BrainCraft, a PBS series exploring psychology, neuroscience and human behavior. She previously worked for Australia's national science agency, as a science reporter for ScienceAlert, and has appeared in TIME,The Huffington Post,Scientific American, and Brain Pickings. Her Twitter page is here.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Justin Near who sent in a recipe for Monster Cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    BrainCraft

    Center for Applied Rationality

    Skeptical Humanities

    Your Logical Fallacy Is

    PBS Idea Channel

    A Guide to Logical Fallacies

    Extensional versus intuitive reasoning: The conjunction fallacy in probability judgment.

    Looking at "Linda": Is the Conjunction Fallacy Really a Fallacy?

    The Conjunction Fallacy at Bias123

  • Why you judge things on the basis of the source of information

    We often overestimate and overstate just how much we can learn about a claim based on where that claim originated, and that's the crux of the genetic fallacy, according to the experts in this episode.

    The genetic fallacy appears when people trace things back to their sources, and if you traced back to their shared source the ad hominem attack (insulting the source instead of attacking its argument) and the argument from authority (praising the source instead of supporting its argument), you would find the genetic fallacy is the mother of both kinds of faulty reasoning.

    You might be in danger of serially committing the genetic fallacy if your first instinct is to ask where attitude-inconsistent comes from once you feel the twinge of fear that appears after a belief is threatened.

    In this episode, listen as three experts in logic and rationality when we should and when we should not take the source of a statement into account when deciding if something is true or false.

    This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the eighth in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is sponsored by Bombas – game-changing socks. Bombas decided to take socks seriously, by designing the most highly engineered, best-fitting, comfortable socks humans have ever imagined – and they look cool too. Go to Bombas.com/SOSMART for 20% off your first order.

    This episode is also sponsored by Exo Protein. If you want to eat sustainably and responsibly, it's 20 times more resource-efficient to raise crickets for protein than cows. Exo, has made crickets easy to eat by making protein bars with cricket flour. These bars are not only high in protein and Omega 3s, but are also low sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and most importantly, they're absolutely delicious. This makes sense, because a 3 star Michelin chef developed the recipes. Go to exoprotein.com/sosmart, to get a sampler pack with all their most popular flavors for less than $10, with free US shipping.

    This episode is also sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    BobBob Blaskiewicz is an assistant professor who teaches, among other subjects, critical thinking at Stockton University. He also writes about logic and reasoning at skepticalhumanities.com, and is a regular guest on the YouTube show The Virtual Skeptics.

    julia-galef-headshot

    Julie Galef is the president and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, a non-profit devoted to training people to be better at reasoning and decision-making. She is also the host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast and writes for publications like Slate, Science, Scientific American, and Popular Science. This is her website.

    Vanessa Hill is an Australian science writer and stop-motion animator who hosts BrainCraft, a PBS series exploring psychology, neuroscience and human behavior. She previously worked for Australia's national science agency, as a science reporter for ScienceAlert, and has appeared in TIME,The Huffington Post, Scientific American, and Brain Pickings. Her Twitter page is here.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Jon Schnapp who sent in a recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    BrainCraft

    Center for Applied Rationality

    Skeptical Humanities

    Your Logical Fallacy Is

    PBS Idea Channel

    A Guide to Logical Fallacies

    Image Source – Micah Baldwin, CC Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

  • How you make excuses in order to maintain your beliefs

    Without realizing it, you sometimes apply a double standard to the things you love, believe, and consider crucial to your identity.

    If you do this while arguing, it is sometimes called special pleading. You search for exemptions and excuses for why a rule or a description or a definition does not apply to something that you hold dear while still applying those standards to everything else.

    You also use special pleading to explain away how something extraordinary failed to stand up to scrutiny, or why there is a lack of evidence for a difficult-to-believe claim that you personally think is credible.

    One of the tools used by special pleaders is called moving the goalposts. Whenever your opponent eliminates one of your claims, you alter your claim just a smidge so that it remains right outside your opponent's rhetorical grasp. When they do it again, you move your claim a bit more.

    In this episode, listen as three experts in logic and reasoning dive deep into the odd thinking behind the special pleading fallacy and how you move the goalposts to keep from seeming incorrect.

    This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the seventh in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is brought to you by the MIT Press, publishing Marc Wittmann's Felt Time The Psychology of How We Perceive Time. Read more about Felt Time and a few other new science, philosophy, language, and technology titles at mitpress.com/smart.

    This episode of You Are Not So Smart is also brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create you own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and 10 percent off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code SOSMART.

    This episode is also sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    BobBob Blaskiewicz is an assistant professor who teaches, among other subjects, critical thinking at Stockton University. He also writes about logic and reasoning at skepticalhumanities.com, and is a regular guest on the YouTube show The Virtual Skeptics.

    julia-galef-headshot

    Julie Galef is the president and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, a non-profit devoted to training people to be better at reasoning and decision-making. She is also the host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast and writes for publications like Slate, Science, Scientific American, and Popular Science. This is her website.

    Vanessa Hill is an Australian science writer and stop-motion animator who hosts BrainCraft, a PBS series exploring psychology, neuroscience and human behavior. She previously worked for Australia's national science agency, as a science reporter for ScienceAlert, and has appeared in TIME,The Huffington Post, Scientific American, and Brain Pickings. Her Twitter page is here.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is JP who sent in a recipe for Portuguese Pine Nut Cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    BrainCraft

    Center for Applied Rationality

    Skeptical Humanities

    Your Logical Fallacy Is

    PBS Idea Channel

    A Guide to Logical Fallacies

    Image Source – "A Special Pleader," painted in 1893 by
    Charles Burton Barber sent through the Deep Dream GeneratorWikimedia Commons

  • How to get the most out of realizing you are wrong by using Bayes' Theorem to update your beliefs

    You don't treat all of your beliefs equally.

    For some, you see them as either true or false, correct or incorrect. For others, you see them as probabilities, chances – odds. In one world, you live in certainty, in the other, uncertainty.

    In this episode we explore why you gladly update some beliefs yet refuse to update others.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is brought to you by the MIT Press, publishing Suzana Herculano-Houzel's book The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable. Read more about The Human Advantage and a few other new science, philosophy, language, and technology titles at mitpress.com/smart.

    This episode is also sponsored by Casper Mattresses – obsessively engineered American-made mattresses at a shockingly fair price. And now, you can get $50 toward any mattress purchase by going to
    casper.com/sosmart and using code sosmart

    This episode is also brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    If you love the show and want to support its continued production, become a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free as well as show extras and original content just for patrons. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    In this episode you will learn from two experts in reasoning how to apply a rule from the 1700s called Bayes' Theorem not only to numbers you can plug into formulas, but also to the beliefs you carry around in order to make sense of the world.

    julia-galef-headshotJulia Galef is the president and co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, a non-profit organization that training people and organization to make better decisions. She is also the host of the Rationally Speaking Podcast and has written for Slate, Science, Scientific American, and Popular Science.

    NeilAMansonNeil A. Manson is a philosopher and professor who teaches at the University of Mississippi. He teaches logic, philosophy, religion, philosophy of science, and medical ethics. His research concerns the design argument, and he assembled an anthology on the topic titled: God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science.

    In the show, Manson explains the math side of Bayes' Theorem, and Galef tells us how Bayes' Theorem makes it possible to see all of your beliefs as being in "grayscale," as neither black nor white, neither 0 nor 100 percent, but always somewhere in between, as a shade of gray reflecting your confidence in just how wrong you might be given the evidence at hand.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Andreas von Normann who submitted a recipe for Navette Provencale cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

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    Previous Episodes

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    Cookie Recipes

    Understanding Bayes' Theorem

    An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem by Luke Muehlhauser

    Rationally Speaking

    Center for Applied Rationality

    Julia Galef

    Neil A. Manson

    Image Source: Popular Science Monthly Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons

  • Why we are unaware of how unaware we are

    Each one of us has a relationship with our own ignorance, a dishonest, complicated relationship, and that dishonesty keeps us sane, happy, and willing to get out of bed in the morning.

    Part of that ignorance is a blind spot we each possess that obscures both our competence and incompetence.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is also brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    If you love the show and want to support its continued production, become a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free as well as show extras and original content just for patrons. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    In the case of singing, you might get all the way to an audition on X-Factor on national television before someone finally provides you with an accurate appraisal. David Dunning says that the shock that some people feel when Simon Cowell cruelly explains to them that they suck is often the result of living for years in an environment filled with mediocrity enablers. Friends and family, peers and coworkers, they don't want to be mean or impolite. They encourage you to keep going until you end up in front of millions reeling from your first experience with honest feedback.

    David DunningWhen you are unskilled yet unaware, you often experience what is now known in psychology as the Dunning-Kruger effect, a psychological phenomenon that arises sometimes in your life because you are generally very bad at self-assessment. If you have ever been confronted with the fact that you were in over your head, or that you had no idea what you were doing, or that you thought you were more skilled at something than you actually were – then you may have experienced this effect. It is very easy to be both unskilled and unaware of it, and in this episode we explore why that is with professor David Dunning, one of the researchers who coined the term and a scientist who continues to add to our understanding of the phenomenon.

    Read more about the Dunning-Kruger effect from David Dunning himself in this article recently published in the Pacific Standard.

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    Previous Episodes

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    David Dunning

    We Are All Confident Idiots

    Scientific Evidence That Self-Promoters Underestimate How Annoying They Are

    20 Minutes of X-Factor Auditions

    Ignorance and Surprise: Science, Society, and Ecological Design (Inside Technology)

    Image Source: Picserver via Creative Commons 3 – CC BY-SA 3.0

  • How to spot and avoid the "No True Scotsman" fallacy

    When your identity becomes intertwined with your definitions, you can easily fall victim to something called The No True Scotsman Fallacy.

    It often appears during a dilemma: What do you do when a member of a group to which you belong acts in a way that you feel is in opposition to your values? Do you denounce the group, or do you redefine the boundaries of membership?

    In this episode, you will learn from three experts in logic and argumentation how to identify, defend against, and avoid deploying this strange thinking quirk that leads to schisms and stasis in groups both big and small.

    This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the third in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is brought to you by Trunk Club. Like Netflix for clothes, a professional stylist helps you define your new look, and then your new clothes arrive at your doorstep in a special trunk. Keep what you want, return the rest. Get started today and Trunk Club will style you for FREE. Plus FREE SHIPPING both ways! Click here for this special offer.

    This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    Barbara Drescher is a cognitive psychologist and skeptical activist who lectured at California State University and currently serves as educational programs consultant for the James Randi Educational Foundation. Her website is ICBSEverywhere.com.

    Jesse Richardson is the founder of YourLogicalFallacyIs.com, a fantastic website where you can learn about fallacies and critical thinking and easily share what you discover. He is an award-winning creative lead on a number of other projects including School Of Thought.

    Mike Rugnetta is the writer and host of PBS Idea Channel produced by PBS Digital Studios. On Idea Channel he applies philosophical and critical concepts to pop-culture ideas and other more-familiar topics in an effort to better explain to a general, internet-savvy audience the strange and abstract propositions he explores in wonderful detail.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, You Are Now Less Dumb, and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Ashley Crutcher who sent in a recipe for poop cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

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    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    ICBSEverywhere

    Your Logical Fallacy Is

    PBS Idea Channel

    A Guide to Logical Fallacies

    Image Source – CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Why human brains are prone to the black and white fallacy

    Why do you try to drain the world of color when backed into a rhetorical corner?

    Why do you have such a hard time realizing that you have suggested the world is devoid of nuance when you are in the heat of an argument, reducing all every wavelength to black and white, and all choices to A or B?

    In this episode, you'll learn from three experts in logic and arguing why human brains are prone to the black and white fallacy and the false dichotomies it generates. You'll learn how to spot this fallacy, what to do when someone uses it against you, and how to avoid committing it yourself.

    This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the third in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is brought to you by Trunk Club. Like Netflix for clothes, a professional stylist helps you define your new look, and then your new clothes arrive at your doorstep in a special trunk. Keep what you want, return the rest. Get started today and Trunk Club will style you for FREE. Plus FREE SHIPPING both ways! Click here for this special offer.

    This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    This episode of You Are Not So Smart is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and ten percent off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code SOSMART.

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    Barbara Drescher is a cognitive psychologist and skeptical activist who lectured at California State University and currently serves as educational programs consultant for the James Randi Educational Foundation. Her website is ICBSEverywhere.com.

    Jesse Richardson is the founder of YourLogicalFallacyIs.com, a fantastic website where you can learn about fallacies and critical thinking and easily share what you discover. He is an award-winning creative lead on a number of other projects including School Of Thought.

    Mike Rugnetta is the writer and host of PBS Idea Channel produced by PBS Digital Studios. On Idea Channel he applies philosophical and critical concepts to pop-culture ideas and other more-familiar topics in an effort to better explain to a general, internet-savvy audience the strange and abstract propositions he explores in wonderful detail.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, You Are Now Less Dumb, and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Andrew Leman who sent in a recipe for Salty Triple Chocolate Pistachio Cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    ICBSEverywhere

    Your Logical Fallacy Is

    PBS Idea Channel

    A Guide to Logical Fallacies

    Image Source – CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Why your brain creates straw men and doesn't realize it

    When confronted with dogma-threatening, worldview-menacing ideas, your knee-jerk response is usually to lash out and try to bat them away, but thanks to a nearly unavoidable mistake in reasoning, you often end up doing battle with arguments of your own creation.

    Your lazy brain is always trying to make sense of the world on ever-simpler terms. Just as you wouldn't use a topographical map to navigate your way to Wendy's, you tend to navigate reality using a sort of Google Maps interpretation of events and ideas. It's less accurate, sure, but much easier to understand when details aren't a priority. But thanks to this heuristical habit, you sometimes create mental men of straw that stand in for the propositions put forth by people who see the world a bit differently than you. In addition to being easy to grasp, they are easy to knock down and hack apart, which wouldn't be a problem if only you noticed the switcheroo.

    This is the essence of the straw man fallacy, probably the most common of all logical fallacies. Setting up and knocking down straw men is so easy to do while arguing that you might not even notice that you are doing it.

    In this episode, you'll learn from three experts in logic and arguing why human brains tend not to realize they are constructing artificial versions of the arguments they wish to defeat. Once you've wrapped your mind around that idea, you'll then learn how to spot the straw man fallacy, how to avoid committing it, and how to defend against it.

    This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the second in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. The first episode is here.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is brought to you by Trunk Club. Like Netflix for clothes, a professional stylist helps you define your new look, and then your new clothes arrive at your doorstep in a special trunk. Keep what you want, return the rest. Get started today and Trunk Club will style you for FREE. Plus FREE SHIPPING both ways! Click here for this special offer.

    This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    This episode of You Are Not So Smart is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and ten percent off go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code SOSMART.

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    Barbara Drescher is a cognitive psychologist and skeptical activist who lectured at California State University and currently serves as educational programs consultant for the James Randi Educational Foundation. Her website is ICBSEverywhere.com.

    Jesse Richardson is the founder of YourLogicalFallacyIs.com, a fantastic website where you can learn about fallacies and critical thinking and easily share what you discover. He is an award-winning creative lead on a number of other projects including School Of Thought.

    Mike Rugnetta is the writer and host of PBS Idea Channel produced by PBS Digital Studios. On Idea Channel he applies philosophical and critical concepts to pop-culture ideas and other more-familiar topics in an effort to better explain to a general, internet-savvy audience the strange and abstract propositions he explores in wonderful detail.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Andrew Leman who sent in a recipe for Chinese New Year Cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    ICBSEverywhere

    Your Logical Fallacy Is

    PBS Idea Channel

    A Guide to Logical Fallacies

    Origins of Straw Man Fallacy

    Image Source – CC BY-SA 3.0

  • The best logical fallacy of all: The Fallacy Fallacy

    If you have ever shared an opinion on the internet, you have probably been in an internet argument, and if you have been in enough internet arguments you have likely been called out for committing a logical fallacy, and if you've been called out on enough logical fallacies in enough internet arguments you may have spent some time learning how logical fallacies work, and if you have been in enough internet arguments after having learned how logical fallacies work then you have likely committed the fallacy fallacy.

    This episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast is the first in a full season of episodes exploring logical fallacies. In the first show of this series you will hear three experts in logic and debate explain how formal arguments are constructed, what logical fallacies are, and how to spot, avoid, and defend against the one logical fallacy that, after learning such things, is most likely to turn you into an internet blowhard.

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    This episode is brought to you by Trunk Club. Like Netflix for clothes, a professional stylist helps you define your new look, and then your new clothes arrive at your doorstep in a special trunk. Keep what you want, return the rest. Get started today and Trunk Club will style you for FREE. Plus FREE SHIPPING both ways! Click here for this special offer.

    This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

    This episode is brought to you by Casper Mattresses. Get $50 toward any mattress purchase by going to casper.com/sosmart and using the code: sosmart. Casper delivers a mattress straight to you, and you can try for 100 days. If you are not happy – they'll pick it back up!

    Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

    BarbaraDrescherBarbara Drescher is a cognitive psychologist and skeptical activist who lectured at California State University and currently serves as educational programs consultant for the James Randi Educational Foundation. Her website is ICBSEverywhere.com.

    JRJesse Richardson is the founder of YourLogicalFallacyIs.com, a fantastic website where you can learn about fallacies and critical thinking and easily share what you discover. He is an award-winning creative lead on a number of other projects including School Of Thought.
    MikeRugnettaMike Rugnetta is the writer and host of PBS Idea Channel produced by PBS Digital Studios. On Idea Channel he applies philosophical and critical concepts to pop-culture ideas and other more-familiar topics in an effort to better explain to a general, internet-savvy audience the strange and abstract propositions he explores in wonderful detail.

    In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, "You Are Now Less Dumb," and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode's winner is Natalja Kusnezova of Kopeysk, Russia who sent in a recipe for peach cookies. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

    Links and Sources

    DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

    Previous Episodes

    Boing Boing Podcasts

    Cookie Recipes

    ICBSEverywhere

    Your Logical Fallacy Is

    PBS Idea Channel

    A Guide to Logical Fallacies

    Image SourceCC BY-SA 3.0