Though the new Presidential administration in America offers a possible return to normalcy, it’s clear that from the past four years, our sense of truth, and how to communicate with one another, may be forever changed. Conspiracy theorists, driven by inflammatory rhetoric online, have made their presence known in American politics, and we are now forced to try to understand their line of thinking. What emotions drive conspiracy thinking? What creates “filter bubbles” of people who believe this or that truth? Dr. Michael Shermer has long been searching for the roots of group thinking, and when it tips over into group delusion. With Rabbi Mitelman, he discusses how we can approach these viewpoints with understanding and compassion, without getting pulled in.
Michael Shermer, Ph.D. is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the host of the podcast The Michael Shermer Show, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. For 18 years he was a monthly columnist for Scientific American. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Why People Believe Weird Things and The Believing Brain, Why Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, The Moral Arc, Heavens on Earth, and Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist.