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Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era

Daniel Levitin | 55:00


I'm here to introduce Dan Levitan. So he's here today to talk about his new book, which was originally published in hardcover under the title field guide to lies, which is why it was advertised that way, but the paperback just came out like this week, Tuesday, and they retitled it weaponized lies wonder why, to make it a little bit more trendy, Dan level than to talk a lot more about lies.

Thank you. Thank you all. I'm delighted to be back at Google.

I want to talk about the current state of facts and pseudo facts in the world and perhaps in the White House. I feel that well, one of the reasons we reissued my book and paperback with this update data title is what I want to talk about. I'm eating to feel that our country is in a crisis that could possibly set us back 400 years. And I know that sounds dramatic. And I'm not talking about politics, I'm talking about reversing the age of reason, which ushered in a period of unprecedented intellectual, economic, cultural and social growth. The Enlightenment, as it is also called, drew a line in the sand between rumor and fact, between testable hypotheses, and anecdote. And between demonstrable facts and nonsense. Prior to the age of reason, people who heard voices in their heads might have been burned at the stake or drowned as witches. By the 20th century that we had identified a biological disease called schizophrenia that causes these voices in the head. We've developed drugs to treat it, the Age of Reason led us to the germ theory of disease, penicillin. And although it took us a while, and still isn't ubiquitous women's rights, child labor laws, and a reduction in racist attitudes around the world, all thanks to the age of reason, to evidence based thinking, but until the last few months, I think it allowed us as citizens to engage in a constructive discussion with elected officials and public policy makers about public policy matters.

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