9 ways to find reality in a post-truth world

[ This is post #11 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] Millions upon millions of people have latched onto a dangerous version of “alternate reality,” wherein they believe that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election. Before we get on our high horse and condemn or ridicule them, we need

Cognitive Fallacies, Part 2

[ This is post #10 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] This second part on cognitive fallacies will cover another four of the most important cognitive fallacies described in The Skeptics’ Guide, by Dr. Steven Novella. Dunning-Kruger Effect I described this in the post about conspiracy theories, so I won’t

Cognitive Fallacies, Part 1

[ This is post #9 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] Scientific skepticism requires a scientific attitude. What is that? Lee McIntyre, in The Scientific Attitude – Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience – sums it up nicely: “The scientific attitude can be summed up in a commitment to

Information Networks

[ This is post #8 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] Two definitions: dilettante (plural dilettanti or dilettantes) An amateur, someone who dabbles in a field out of casual interest rather than as a profession or serious interest. (sometimes offensive) A person with a general but superficial interest in any art or a branch of knowledge. amateur (plural amateurs) (now rare) A lover of something. quotations  A person

Risk and Uncertainty

[ This is post #7 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky worked for decades on this problem, and Kahneman was ultimately awarded the Nobel Prize for it. Amos Tversky had unfortunately died, but he was an equal contributor. They analyzed every day actions and tried

Automatic System 1 and Deliberative System 2

[ This is post #6 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] What happens when you view this image? Most people immediately sense anger, and possibly danger. If you encountered this person on the street, you might very well back away. You would probably be very cautious if you engaged in

Senses and reality – part 2

[ This is post #5 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] In Part 1 on this subject, I looked at the vision system as a demonstration of Donald Hoffman’s FBT (Fitness Beats Truth) theorem. In this part, I’ll look at some of the other senses – touch, hearing, smell, and

Our senses and “objective reality”: part 1 – vision

[ This is post #4 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] Homo sapiens has been around for around 200,000 years. Today, we ridicule “flat earthers.” But for 99% of the time homo sapiens existed, everyone was a flat earther. When we consider that somewhere between 30% and 65% of the

Conspiracy Theories, Part 3

[ This is post #3 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] In Part 1, I looked at some of the more prominent conspiracy theories and their prevalence. In Part 2, I examined the “building blocks” of conspiracy theories, the logical fallacies that, when put together, form the foundation of most

Conspiracy Theories, Part 2

[ This is post #2 in the series, “Finding reality in a post truth world.” ] In Part 1, I looked at some of the more prominent conspiracy theories, their prevalence, and the dangers they pose. In Part 2, I’ll examine the underpinnings of conspiracy theories, showing how they rest on cognitive fallacies that we