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Speaking Rationally with Steven Pinker

Network for Responsible Public Policy

Although Harvard cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker enjoyed teaching his students about the interesting puzzles that cause humans to behave irrationally, he realized that as interesting as those puzzles were, they did not explain some of the deeper and more destructive tendencies at work today.  “Why do people believe that Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizzeria or that jet contrails are mind-altering drugs dispersed by a secret government program?”  How is it possible, he asks, that a species could develop a Covid 19 vaccine in less than a year while at the same time producing so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theories? “We face deadly threats to our health, our democracy, and the livability of our planet … yet among our most fierce problems today is convincing people to accept the solutions when we do find them.”

On September 28th, two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Pinker joined the Network for Responsible Public Policy to discuss his latest book “Rationality: What it is, Why it seems scarce, Why it matters.” His book and presentation contain his unique blend of scientific rigor, thoughtful analysis, and humor (including an excellent sample of Jewish humor) to explain why humans behave the way they do and what we can do to enable ourselves to make better choices, both as individuals and as a society.

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