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How weird beliefs thrive: pseudoscience and conspiracy theories

Time Tuesday 8 February, 2022 at 10:15 - 11:30
Place Zoom:

The talk is primarily intended for doctoral students at the Faculty of Science and Technology, but other University staff including post doc fellows are welcome to participate.




We live in an era dominated by science and technology, and yet pseudoscience and science denialism remain rampant. How can such beliefs thrive in this day and age? If we want to understand the enduring appeal of pseudoscientific beliefs, we have to look at the make-up of the human mind. Pseudoscience can achieve widespread acceptance by tapping into evolved cognitive mechanisms, thus sacrificing intellectual integrity for intuitive appeal. Science, by contrast, defies those deeply held intuitions precisely because it is institutionally arranged to track objective patterns in the world, and the world does not care much about our intuitions. This gives science a distinctive disadvantage with respect to many pseudosciences. Moreover, pseudosciences mimic the superficial trappings of science, thus benefiting from the cultural prestige enjoyed by science.

Event type: Lecture

Maarten Boudry, PhD in philosophy at Ghent University. Webpage:

Frankie Ekerholm
Read about Frankie Ekerholm