Monthly Archives: November 2020

Wonders, Not Miracles

Galileo Galilei, regarded as the father of modern science

by Lawrence Rifkin MD

As a pediatrician, I have a seemingly endless collection of hilarious stories. A toddler came in for a visit carrying along his security object—a spatula. Later that day, an otherwise perfectly well-adjusted mother admitted to me that she is terrified of cantaloupes. Then I treated a teenage patient who had been camping and made the fateful and unenviable decision to use poison ivy as toilet paper. Continue reading Wonders, Not Miracles

The Backfire Effect

© Darrell Arnold Ph.D.– (Reprinted with Permission)

I first heard about the “backfire effect” in a work by Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. (Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (the authors of the New York Times bestseller, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness) have also referred to it in various contexts.) Continue reading The Backfire Effect

Election Recounts and the Backfire Effect

Charles Sanders Peirce.jpg

Doubt is an uneasy and dissatisfied state from which we struggle to free ourselves and pass into the state of belief; while the latter is a calm and satisfactory state which we do not wish to avoid, or to change to a belief, in anything else. On the contrary, we cling tenaciously, not merely to believing, but to believing just what we do believe.
~Charles Sanders Pierce “The Fixation of Belief”1 Continue reading Election Recounts and the Backfire Effect

From Democracy to Demagoguery

Senator Joseph McCarthy (R), an American demagogue

© Darrell Arnold Ph.D.– (Reprinted with Permission)

In American politics today an extraordinarily large percentage of the population believe not only ideas that disagree with mainstream science but also in conspiracy theories. Continue reading From Democracy to Demagoguery