Michael Specter - The Danger of Science Denial

There is an epidemic of growing proportions afflicting ever-increasing numbers of unsuspecting victims: poor, alarmist, fluffy and discombobulated thinking. We are drowning in a sea of logical fallacies, strangling each other with accusations of guilt by association, beating each other with ad hominem accusations, deluding ourselves into thinking that we can make our points through non-sequitur tangents, and living under the false assumption that post hoc ergo propter hoc is a universal and infallible causal principle.

Not only is our reasoning faulty, we also seem to suffer from a bad case of selective belief, falling prey to innumerable instances of cognitive and statistical biases. You'd think I'm making this stuff up, but the more extraordinary and sensationalistic claims people make, the less evidence we seem to demand from them... this is worse than the Twilight Zone.

In the following impassioned presentation, Michael Specter (author of Denialism), makes the important case that poor thinking and a willful reluctance to accept scientific consensus translates itself into devastating practical consequences, usually affecting the most vulnerable instead of the idiots who promote these ridiculous forms of propaganda.

And of course, a lack of critical thinking skills is not subject to any particular political ideology, as the following cartoon quickly demonstrates:

Check out some fascinating details about the placebo effect.

Learn some of the science behind genetically modified food.

Or watch what would happen if doctors only practiced alternative medicine :)
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