UPCOMING SKEPTALKS

John Cook, Ph.D.

 

WHAT:  What To Do About Misinformation (in Four Dimensions)
Misinformation is a complex problem pervading many aspects of society, with technological, psychological, social, and cultural aspects. Countering misinformation requires tackling the many-headed beast from a variety of disciplines and directions. The 4D Project synthesizes four research themes: Detect, Deconstruct, Debunk, and Deploy. Detection involves training machine learning models, in collaboration with UK-based political scientists, to automatically detect and categorize climate misinformation in real-time. Deconstruction uses a critical thinking methodology developed with University of Queensland philosophers to analyse and identify reasoning fallacies in misinformation. Debunking can take a variety of forms, and Cook will outline his collaboration with US-based communication researchers to experimentally test different approaches and improve psychological understanding of misinformation correction. Deployment involves putting into practice the theoretical insights from the first three themes. For example, the Cranky Uncle game, developed with the U.S. creative agency Autonomy, combines critical thinking, inoculation theory, and cartoons in the form of a smartphone game that builds players’ resilience against misinformation.

WHO: John Cook holds a Ph.D. in cognitive science from the University of Western Australia. Currently he is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub. His research focus is understanding and countering misinformation about climate change, with an emphasis on using critical thinking to build resilience. In 2007, he founded Skeptical Science, a website that won the 2011 Australia Museum Eureka Prize for the Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge. In 2013, he published a paper quantifying the 97% scientific consensus on climate change which was highlighted by President Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. In 2015 at the University of Queensland, he led the development of a Massive Open Online Course on climate science denial, that has received 40,000+ enrollments from over 185 countries. He co-authored the college textbooks Climate Change: Examining the Facts and Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis, as well as the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand. In 2020, he published the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change applying critical thinking, inoculation research, and cartoons to engage and educate readers about climate misinformation. He is also a recipient of the Friend of the Planet award from the National Center for Science Education in the US.

WHEN: Thursday 12 August 7:30pm PDT (02:30 UTC)

WHERE: Online. Click HERE

HOW: Presented FREE by the Bay Area Skeptics

WHY: Because we’re curious creatures.

Richard Saunders

WHAT:  Que Sera, Sera. Is the future ours to see? The Great Australian Psychic Prediction Project.

For more than 10 years, Richard Saunders has been compiling and researching psychic predictions made in Australia covering the years 2000 to 2020. With over 3000 predictions in the database, what conclusions can we draw about those who claim to be able to see into the future? How many of the thousands of predictions turned out to be on the money, how many were too vague to score and how many were just plain wrong? This talk will also detail the work of Richard’s online team of researchers from around the world, including the Bay Area, who have for over a year met each week to pour over and mark the predictions. A sneak-peek into the results of the project before official publication.

WHO: Richard Saunders lives in Sydney, starred as the “Skeptical Judge” on two seasons of the TV show “The One: The Search for Australia’s Most Gifted Psychic.” He is also the host of the weekly podcast “The Skeptic Zone,” now in its 14th year. Richard is also an origami expert and children’s author, CSI Fellow and life member of Australian Skeptics.

WHEN: Thursday 9 September 7:30PM

WHERE: Online. Click HERE

HOW: Presented FREE by the Bay Area Skeptics

WHY: Because we’re curious creatures.

WHO: Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

WHEN: Thursday 11 November 7:30PM

WHO: A.J. White

WHAT:   Dangers of the “Lost Civilization” Trope

WHEN: Thursday 12 December 7:30PM

 

Previous SkepTalks:

  8 July 2021  Tilting at Strawmen & Other Tricks of Climate Denial Enablers – Mark Boslough
10 Jun 2021  The Truth Behind False Memories – Jill Yamashita
13 May 2021  Vaccine hesitancy in the era of COVID – Tara C. Smith
  8 Apr 2021  Why storytelling is vital to science communication – Sara ElShafie
11 Mar 2021  Haunted Humanity: The Fringe Is Not Fringe, and That’s a Big Deal – Daniel Loxton
11 Feb 2021  From Junk to Genes: The birth of new miRNA genes in the human genome – Nathan Lents
14 Jan 2021  The Continuing Relevance of America’s Eugenic Legacy – Paul Lombardo
10 Dec 2020  Deepfakes, GANs and Visual Misinformation – Nick Dufour
12 Nov 2020  The Debate about Dark Matter:  Is the Matter Settled? – Don Lincoln
  8 Oct 2020  Facilitated Communication: Holding on to (False) Hope – Janyce Boynton
10 Sep 2020  Mad Myths: The Case for Using Persuasion to Promote Critical Thinking – Jay Diamond
13 Feb 2020  Big Data: What it is, how it’s used, where it’s headed – Mike Olson
12 Dec 2019  Are you sure that sippy-cup is safe? – Layla Katiraee
  7 Nov 2019  Why Do People Reject Good Science? – Eugenie Scott
10 Oct 2019  Shit Students Say: Chem trails, hollow earths, and other strange ideas – Steven Newton
12 Sep 2019  Successful Skepticism: Creating Lasting Community – Tucker Phelps
  9 May 2019  The Bitter M&Ms of Climate Change: Misconceptions and Misinformation – Brad Hoge
11 Apr 2019  The Year in Anti-Science-Education Legislation – Glenn Branch
14 Mar 2019  Australia’s Psychic Detectives and Psychic “Predictions” – Richard Saunders
14 Feb 2019  What Would Darwin Say to Today’s Creationists? – Eugenie Scott
10 Jan 2019  Common Misconceptions About CRISPR Genome Editing – Kevin Doxzen
13 Dec 2018  BAS BAH Fest
  8 Nov 2018  A Skeptic’s Guide to Planet Hunting – Josh Lofy
11 Oct 2018  Beyond a Candle in the Dark – Mick West
13 Sep 2018  When a Biology Meets a Biology – David Almandsmith
10 May 2018  Common Misconceptions in Anthropology – Julie Hui
12 Apr 2018  Skepardy! — Bill Patterson
  8 Mar 2018  A Quirky Colloquium Quashing Quantum Quackery — Miriam Diamond
  8 Feb 2018  The Human Drive to Explain — Tania Lombrozo
14 Jan 2018  Neuroscience and the Great Questions — Ransom Stephens
14 Dec 2017  Top Ten Myths of Homelessness — Carrie Sager
  9 Nov 2017  Myths of Mass Extinctions — Kevin Padian
12 Oct 2017  Hurricanes and Heat Waves: Is This Climate Change? — Brad Hoge
11 May 2017  Beyond the Choir – Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia — Susan Gerbic
13 Apr 2017  An Invisible Plague: the Growing Threat of Tuberculosis — Lauren Popov
  9 Feb 2017  Are Saturated Fats Bad for You? Separating Fat from Fiction — Kent McDonald
12 Jan 2017  Harry Houdini vs. Psychics & Mediums — Mark Tarses
29 Dec 2016  Too Good to be True? – Richard Saunders
10 Nov 2016  Myths of Astronomy — Thomas Targett
  9 Apr 2015  Herding Cats and Teaching Science — Dan Pemberton
12 Feb 2015  Quantum Pseudoscience and the Nature of Mind — Russel Willcox
  8 Jan 2015  The Manson Family, Cults, and the Psychology of Commitment – Dr. Patrick O’Reilly
10 Oct 2012  Writing About Vaccines When Evidence Doesn’t Matter — Liza Gross
12 Sep 2012  Gay Conversion Therapy: You Make Me Sick — Sheldon Helms
  8 Aug 2012  Documentary & Skype — “In God We Teach”
11 Apr 2012  A Skeptical View of Climate Change Skeptics — Mark McCaffrey
14 Nov 2011  Climate Change: From the Biotic to the Exotic — Minda Berbeco
12 Oct 2011  A Unicorn in Your Tank: Magic Tablets That Won’t Improve Gas Mileage — Yau-Man Chan
14 Sep 2011  Catastrophes! — Don Prothero