Science can be counterintuitive. People can have a hard time ignoring personal accounts or stories that seem to contradict scientific evidence, especially when they really want to believe something is true. “Sure, systematic studies don’t show that GMOs are harmful, but my father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate ate a papaya, and he died sometime after that.”
Personal accounts and anecdotes are like stormtroopers. As anyone who’s seen a Star Wars movie knows, the number of stormtroopers doesn’t matter. Sure, they can hassle locals for hauling droids. They might even give R2-D2 a scar or two. But stormtroopers never determine the scope of the overall war.
Craig A. Foster is Chair of the Psychology Department at SUNY Cortland. He is a social psychologist who conducts research on pseudoscience and scientific reasoning.
Check out the article that inspired this talk right here!
And here’s Craig’s article on Tom Brady’s pseudoscience!
On July 12, AIPT Science and the New York City Skeptics co-presented the first ever AIPT SciPhi-Fest, a virtual festival of science, philosophy, and philosophy of science, as seen through a pop culture lens. Subscribe to the New York City Skeptics YouTube channel to see videos of every talk, to be posted in the coming weeks!
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