From climate skeptics to anti-vaxxers: Science explains why humans are so good at being wrong

And science teaches us how to see through these fallacies and continue to stay curious about the world VIDEO

Topics: Jenny McCarthy, Science, climate skeptics, anti-vaxxers, it's okay to be smart, Video, Wrong, ,

From climate skeptics to anti-vaxxers: Science explains why humans are so good at being wrongKristin Cavallari, Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey (Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser/AP/Charles Sykes/Paul A. Hebert)

Did you ever play old-school Nintendo? Did you ever blow on the cartridge to make it work? Did you know why you were doing this? Well, this technique for getting your game to work wasn’t actually doing anything. So why did we do it?

Joe Hanson at PBS Digital Studio’s “It’s Okay to Be Smart” explains why humans are so susceptible to such logical fallacies — like blowing on a cartridge. “Why are we so good at being wrong?” Hanson asks.

In the simplest of terms, human brains are pretty darn good at seeing patterns: This helped us out when we were figuring out that the red berries made us sick, but the blue berries were safe to eat.

It turns out that “our brains are so good at picking up patterns, sometime we see them when they’re not there,” Hanson explains. This leads us to look at conclusions and filter out all other evidence that doesn’t support our conclusions. (For example, climate deniers, who somehow filter out 97 percent of climate scientists who say that man-made climate change is real.)

Science is a way to grind down those fallacies and see past the tricks our brain plays on us.

“Science, above all else, requires a desire to disprove ourselves,” Hanson says. “It’s that sharp tool that we use to poke holes in our ideas to make sure that they’ll float.”

As Hanson says, “Stay curious,” and watch the eye-opening video below:

h/t It’s Okay to Be Smart

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...