Episode Archive for September 2012

Dan Ariely - The Honest Truth about Dishonesty

September 24, 2012

There is no doubt that our world is populated with cheats and liars. Most of us, slaves to the availability heuristic, think of major cheaters like Bernie Madoff, Tiger Woods, and Barry Bonds as inflicting the most damage onto society. But just how honest are we, with others and with ourselves? The surprising finding from several studies conducted by Dan Ariely and his collaborators is that we all cheat. What’s worse, the consequences of these little everyday deceptions can sometimes far outweigh the ill effects of even the biggest lies. Following up on his previous books demonstrating our irrationality,…

Phil Zuckerman - The Sociology of Irreligion

September 17, 2012

How many atheists are there in the world? Where do they live? What kind of people are they, and how do they get that way?

Are they happy? Are they prosperous? Do they drag their societies down into a cesspool of immortality—as is often alleged—or, is it precisely the opposite?

All of these questions are amenable to scientific study. With, like, data. It’s just that people didn’t much bother—until now.

One pioneer in the sociological study of atheists is Phil Zuckerman, professor of sociology at Pitzer College. He’s the author of Society Without…

Rick Hayes-Roth - TruthMarket

September 10, 2012

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to make American politics just a little more rational, just a little more evidence based?

Wouldn’t it be even nicer if there was a website, or an app, that helped that process along?

Maybe, just maybe, a promising innovation called TruthMarket can help with the problem. It’s a site where people who care about the truth crowd-fund campaigns dedicated to either proving the veracity of true claims, or the falsity of wrong ones… where, in essence, you make money by showing definitively that you’re right.

Peter Ditto - Morals, Facts, and Libertarians: New Developments in the Science of Ideology

September 03, 2012

Several times on this show, we’ve discussed the topic of ideological asymmetry. In other words, are people of all political persuasions equally biased, equally prone to reasoning based on their emotions to support prior commitments?

new scientific paper (PDF) has recently come out that reopens this question, so naturally, we had to invite on one of its authors. His name is Peter Ditto, and he’s a social psychologist at the University of California-Irvine who has been a leader in the study of emotional, or motivated, reasoning.

At the same time, Ditto also studies the psychological…