The Curiosity Podcast

Inside Pseudoscience And Conspiracy Theories

Renowned skeptic Dr. Steven Novella, host of "The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe" and author of the NeuroLogica Blog, joins the Curiosity Podcast to explain how to tell the difference between reality and fantasy – and why it's sometimes hard to do so. He brings years of experience as a neuroscientist and researcher to take a look inside the minds of both skeptics and those who believe in pseudoscience and conspiracy theories.

Dr. Novella is an academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to his work on "The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe" podcast, he is the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society. His NeuroLogica science blog covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society. Stream or download the podcast using the player below, or find the episode everywhere podcasts are found, including iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Gretta.

Fake News?

On this episode of the Curiosity Podcast, Dr. Steven Novella discusses:

  • The difference between scientific skepticism and being a contrarian.
  • Reasons why people believe in pseudoscience and conspiracy theories even in the face of overwhelmingly contrary evidence, and how to effectively question those beliefs.
  • How to interpret scientific evidence that contradicts itself.
  • How public discourse has changed over the last couple of decades and the surprising direction skepticism and critical thinking are taking in today's social media world.
  • What a "motivated believer" is and why information like objective facts can't combat motivated reasoning.
  • How to think critically and challenge your own beliefs.
  • Why it would actually be in a science communicator's best interest to prove a pseudoscience like the idea that vaccines cause autism (and why that in itself is an argument against a lot of pseudoscience).

Plus: Dr. Novella's thoughts on flat earth conspiracy theorists, his conclusions on climate change, and more. Click here to follow along with a written transcript of this episode (and share clips with your friends).

Podcast Show Notes And Links

Steve Novella at TAM2013 introducing the panel Medical Cranks and Quacks
Written By Cody Gough September 26, 2017