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Resisting the Knowledge Dementors: The Truth about "Post Truth"

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Resisting the Knowledge Dementors: The Truth about "Post Truth"

We have teamed up with other Skeptics in the Pub Groups across the UK to deliver online talks during the pandemic....and we are still going strong!

Live event link: https://www.twitch.tv/sitp

We are said to live in a “post-truth” era in which “fake news” has replaced real information, denial has compromised science, and the ontology of knowledge and truth has taken on a relativist element. Professor Stephan Lewandowsky argues that to defend evidence-based reasoning and knowledge against those attacks, we must understand the strategies by which the post-truth world is driven forward. He departs from the premise that the post-truth era did not arise spontaneously but is the result of a highly effective political movement that deploys a large number of rhetorical strategies.

His focus is on three strategies: The deployment of conspiracy theories, the use of “micro-targeting” and “bots” online, and agenda-setting by attentional diversion.

In this talk, Professor Lewandowsky presents evidence for the existence of each strategy and its impact, and how it might be countered. Professor Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol. He was awarded a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council in 2011, held a Revesz Visiting Professorship at the University of Amsterdam in 2012, and received a Wolfson Research Merit Fellowship from the Royal Society upon moving to the UK in 2013. He was appointed a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science (UK) and a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science in 2017. In 2016, he was appointed a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry for his commitment to science, rational inquiry and public education. In 2019, he received a Humboldt Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation in Germany.

His research examines people’s memory, decision making, and knowledge structures, with a particular emphasis on how people update their memories if information they believe turn out to be false. This has led him to examine the persistence of misinformation and spread of “fake news” in society, including conspiracy theories. He is particularly interested in the variables that determine whether or not people accept scientific evidence, for example surrounding vaccinations or climate science. His interest in the cognitive implications of climate change, and the conflict between human cognition and the physics of the global climate, has led him into research in climate science and climate modeling. He was appointed Visiting Scientist at the CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere laboratory in Hobart, Tasmania, in August 2017. He has published more than 220 scholarly articles, chapters, and books, including numerous papers on how people respond to corrections of misinformation and what variables determine people’s acceptance of scientific findings. (See www.cogsciwa.com for a complete list of scientific publications.) Professor Lewandowsky also frequently appears in print and broadcast media and has contributed nearly 90 opinion pieces to the global media on issues related to his research.

About Skeptics in the Pub - Online We are a coalition of UK-based Skeptics groups. Formed as the Covid-19 epidemic brought our country to a standstill, we are working to deliver high-quality online events focusing on Science, reason, and critical thinking.

New to Skeptics in the Pub or Twitch or both? We anticipate that Twitch or SitP may be new for some of you so we will have early doors at 6:45 to welcome new attendees and answer any questions you may have. A useful guide to Twitch here: https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-twitch-4143337 You don't need a Twitch account to watch the talk only if you want to take part in the chat. You won't need an account to ask questions in the Q&A though. More details on accessibility, inclusion and safety here: https://sitp.online/online-safety

Safety & Comfort

We aim to be an inclusive organisation, welcoming attendees from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders. The directors reserve the right to remove any attendee whose continued presence represents a real or perceived threat to the smooth running of our events, or the security and comfort of other attendees. Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.