Skeptic Check: Are You Sure You’re Sure?

Nuclear fission powers the Sun. Or is it fusion? At any rate, helium is burned in the process, of that you are certain. After all, you read that article on astronomy last week*.

You know what you know. But you probably don’t know what you don’t know. Few of us do. Scientists say we’re spectacularly incompetent at recognizing our own incompetency, and that sometimes leads to trouble.

Find out why wrongness is the by-product of big brains and why even scientists – gasp! – are not immune. Plus, a peek into the trash bin of history: the biggest scientific blunders and the brighter-than-bright brains that made them. Including Einstein.

*Oh, and the Sun burns hydrogen to produce helium. But then, you knew that.

Guests:

   David Dunning – Psychologist, Cornell University. His cover story, “We Are All Confidence Idiots,” appeared in the November/December issue of The Pacific Standard.

   Robert Burton – Neurologist, author, On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not

and A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves

   Brendan Nyhan – Political scientist, Dartmouth College

   Mario Livio – Astrophysicist, Space Telescope Science Institute, author, Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe