One thing I’ve realized during the past 5 years or so is the mind-boggling amount of crap information that’s passed around as absolute truth. Of course, the arrival of the internet only hugely magnified this problem, so we live in an age where it can be extremely difficult to know what’s true and what’s not.
It seems like everyone around is trying to manipulate our thinking, taking advantage of human biases and weaknesses in logic to convince us to believe what they are trying to sell. Politicians do it, companies do it, religious organizations do it, etc etc.
In this post, I’ll list a number of great resources that have helped me in this journey to really understand how things work and cut through the crap. I’ll keep updating this list over the years.
- Science-Based Medicine – Discusses popular health-related topics like vaccines, homeopathy etc.
- PainScience.com – All about pain and associated treatments. Learn what works and what doesn’t.
- Skeptic.com – Many topics covered and also a great podcast (Science Salon)
- LessWrong – Deep resource into philosophical arguments, rationality and logic.
- Behavioral Scientist – Discusses many current topics from a behavioral science perspective.
Otherwise intelligent people can somehow believe utterly illogical things and be immune to any rational reasoning to convince them otherwise. I know first hand, having been brought up in the Catholic church and remaining a strong believer well into my twenties until life and education gradually showed me the innumerable fallacies in the teachings and religions in general. The question then arises on how to realize what biases and deep subconscious beliefs might be holding you back from clear and rational thinking and judgment. I suggest getting familiar with the following concepts to start building up your immunity to fake news and bullshit:
What also helped me is traveling around the world and talking to many people from different backgrounds and cultures, which made me realize that my way of seeing the world was just one of the thousands of other human realities and that there was nothing special about it, including the fact that many of my own beliefs were illogical and built on years of exposure to certain ideas that however lacked any scientific or historical substance.
Another important growth tool for me was and still is weekly work with a psychotherapist. I liken psychotherapy to obtaining the source code for the software that runs you. It then becomes an exercise of going through all that source code and tweaking things as necessary, an exercise which I find extremely interesting and rewarding.