This Is Your Brain on Conspiracy Theories

Humans Just Can’t Handle What Evolution Gave Us     Wild conspiracy theories have polluted our country these days, and everyone is rushing to figure out why so many Americans are sucked into these clearly false and highly paranoid ideas. Apparently, 50% of Republicans believe that Hilary Clinton and others are involved in a child pornography ring run out of a pizza parlor, 42% believe that hydroxychloroquine is effective against Covid-19, 30% of them are aligned with that nutty Q-Anon stuff, and about 68% believe that Donald Trump won the election. But…

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“I’ve Done My Research.” But Have You?

Why an internet search is not research   William Iven@Upsplash   Every time someone says, with conviction and pride, “I’ve done my research,” I laugh out loud. What they really mean is, “I looked it up on the internet.” Calling that move “research” is like looking at someone’s driver’s license and believing you have the full measure of the person just because you know their name and address. Or asking a bunch of friends what they know about something and then taking whatever looney thing they say as fact.   Cruising the…

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The Bernie Meme—An Example of Cultural Diffusion

Knitters and Others are Spreading the Bern     The Bernie meme is giving us all a lot of laughs now that we have a new president as well as a vaccine coming our way. There’s Bernie on the Eifel Tower, sitting in the New York subway, hanging out with Batman, and on and on. Every time I see one of these altered photos I burst out laughing, and as an anthropologist, I am also so please to see the swift cultural appropriation of a cold guy at a traditional Western ceremony…

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Are Humans Designed to Trash the Planet?

There Might Just Be an Antidote to Our Ingrained Selfishness     The answer is yes.   According to biologist Bobbi Low of the University of Michigan and science writer Matt Ridley, humans are innately selfish beings who lean toward consuming all the planet’s recourses for themselves with little or no regard for others. But, they argue, with a shift of focus that very same selfishness could also be harnessed to slow down the process and possibly save the earth for future generations.   Although this article is twenty-eight years old, it…

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