Dr. David Robert Grimes - Paranoia for the people: Conspiracy theories in the 21st century
Time & Location
About the Event
Skeptics On The Fringe Presents:
Dr. David Robert Grimes, Postdoctoral Fellow, Queen's University Belfast / University of Oxford - Paranoia for the people: Conspiracy theories in the 21st century
Conspiratorial ideation (e.g., the moon landings were faked, climate-change is a hoax, vaccination is dangerous etc.) is the tendency of individuals to believe that events and power relations are secretly manipulated by certain clandestine groups and organisations. Public acceptance of these ostensibly explanatory conjectures remains high, even when they are non-falsifiable, lacking in evidence, or demonstrably false. To exacerbate the problem, social media provides fertile ground for conspiracy theories to rapidly propagate, and dedicated echo-chambers can insulate these beliefs from critical examination. In this talk, we'll examine what makes conspiracy theories so virile, including recent mathematical models that aim to understand the viability of such beliefs, and models of how they spread. And we'll see how much damage such claims can cause, and why in our hyper-connected era its more imperative than ever before to combat false narratives.
Dr David Robert Grimes is a physicist and cancer researcher, currently based at the Queens University Belfast and a visiting researcher at University of Oxford. His research focuses chiefly on the application of radiotherapy physics, and oxygen modelling, and academic work on factors influencing public perception and understanding of science. He is also a science writer and frequently contributes to the Guardian, Irish Times and BBC on a wide spectrum of science, society and philosophical topics. He was joint recipient of the 2014 Nature / Sense about Science Maddox Prize for Standing Up for Science.
Twitter - @drg1985
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