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Carol Tavris describes dissonance theory and how self-justification and self-deception often keep people from changing their minds even in the light of compelling contrary evidence, because the evidence is often dissonant with one’s self-image. She details the implications of dissonance theory for the persistence of psychic charlatans and other peddlers of the paranormal, and how it may explain how someone like Sylvia Brown can live with herself, and also how it may explain how believers remain so gullible about such unsupportable claims. She describes confirmation bias as a component of dissonance theory. She talks about how dissonance theory applies to the skeptic movement, both in terms of suggesting the best strategies for engaging the credulous, and in terms of fostering skepticism about one’s own skeptical views. And she argues that skepticism should be affirmative rather than destructive in its approach, and focused on both critical thinking and creative thinking alike. Also in this episode, The Honest Liar, Jamy Ian Swiss, talks about who psychics really see when they look in the mirror.
7/21/2009 - The message of skepticism and critical thinking is the opposite of what people want to buy, since we’re not promising impossibly easy answers to real problems. To spread our message, we have to make it commercially desirable. How can we make skepticism commercial? The answer is simple, but fair warning: It requires a lot of hard work.
187: The Anthropomorphic Divide
KMO welcomes Noble Ape creator Tom Barbalet to the program to discuss the nature of intelligence. Is survival the best indicator of intelligence? Is there anything special about so called "general intelligence?" Tom thinks that the leading Singularitarians proceed in their thinking about simulation, technology, and intelligence based on some very naive premises. Has the technological singularity already occurred? Tom gives his reason for thinking that it took place in the 1980s.