Penn Jillette's Bullshit Detector

Belief is our default setting. We are wired to believe, and we'd rather believe a completely nonsensical answer than to have to face to the possibility that we don't know. Belief is easy. Questioning and investigating require work, and we are lazy.

But since belief comes so easily and automatically to us, there are many who try to exploit that cognitive quirk for their own ends, and they get us to believe in the most insane and asinine ideas one could imagine. Don't believe me? Just look around!

There are some tools we can use to protect ourselves from this kind of mental exploitation. Learning how to spot common logical fallacies is one, and in today's video, magician Penn Jillette offers some other tips, starting with the fact that the things we should question the most are the things that we desperately want to believe, and moving to the basic but important insight that it is all-too-easy for us to make category mistakes, and to equate things that should not be equated, like the kinds of things that should be thought about and the kinds of things that should be felt.

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