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Distorted View of People

We All Have Misperceptions

A clear example of the perception gap that exists between how well people think humanity is progressing vs. the actual facts is...

The Case for Scientific Humanism

In the April 2001 issue of Scientific American, I began this column with an entry entitled “Colorful Pebbles and Darwin’s Dictum,” inspired by the British naturalist’s remark that “all observation must be for or against...”

What We Say Matters

"We live in troubling times.  The news in the past months have shown how conflicted our world is and how disconnected we are despite being the most technologically connected ever. In my opinion, it has made the need for..."

(What Makes Us) Trustworthy?

"It is only natural that we care mostly about ourselves. Our immediate family. Our friends. Maybe our neighbors. And just maybe the community we live in. That’s the way...”

Mind the Gap

"Mainstream media often delivers an avalanche of bad news, while the abundance of good news goes mostly unmentioned, and thus unheard and unseen. So, the gap between what’s real and what’s perceived...”

Are We Boiling Frogs?

"Like boiling frogs losing their lives, Something is being stolen from us that many are not aware of losing. Many are being manipulated by the less credible..."

Media Literacy – We Could All Use a Bit More of it!

"If you believe everything you read and hear about violent conflict, the environment, human health and poverty, you might think that the world has become a very troubled and dangerous place. The facts tell a different story."

Poverty in Perspective

"Is the world going to starve? Declines in poverty and famine depend on continuing population stabilization, peace and autocracy (lack of dictatorships). The WorldBank reports the rate of poverty is..."

Education – Are We Making Progress?

"One of the moments I’d like to take back was a teenaged argument with my Dad, when I’d called him ignorant and illiterate. Whether an accurate title or not, Illiterate may be one of the most hurtful words in any language. Due to advances in education around the world, the word applies..."

Healthcare – Are We Making Progress?

"Because I’m a child of the 60’s, I was raised prior to the mumps or chicken pox vaccines. When I was ten years old, the mumps showed up while I was sitting in a barber’s chair. That was the exact moment..."

The Disconnect Between Pessimism and Optimism

"According to the latest data, people are living longer and becoming healthier, better fed, richer, smarter, safer, more connected–and, at the same time, ever gloomier about the state of the world. How can we explain pessimism in a world of progress?"

40 Ways the World is Getting Better

"This list of 40 ways in which the world is getting better, gives all of us grounds for optimism about the future."

Voters’ Perception of Crime Continue to Conflict with Reality

"Despite double-digit percentage decreases in U.S. violent and property crime rates since 2008, most voters say crime has gotten worse during that span...”

Dueling Claims on Crime Trend

"President Obama and republican presidential candidate Donald Trump disagree on crime rates in America. Are we safer or in more danger now than we were a decade ago?”

How to End Poverty in 15 Years with Hans Rosling

"Eradicating global poverty in a single generation is the number one ambition to be announced at this weekend’s Sustainable Development Summit in New York. But is it possible?"

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales Creates New Service – Wikitribune

"Wikipedia's founder is launching a news service with no ads, called Wikitribune. It's independent of Wikipedia and relies on journalists, some of them paid, and volunteers."

The Truth About Crime Rates in America

"Crime rates in America are lower than ever, but Americans have no idea. Why is the perception of crime in America so high?"

What it Means to be Poor in Global Standards

"The share of the global population that is poor plunged from 29% in 2001 to 15% in 2011, elevating the living standards of 669 million people..."

The United States is Not an Apocalyptic Wasteland

"The Harvard cognitive scientist tells us how life is always getting better, despite what Trump has said. Donald Trump's rise to power was driven in part by an apocalyptic narrative according to which, in a phrase, you are in grave danger...”

Are We Foundamentally Good or Evil?

"The argument over whether humans are fundamentally good or evil has been raging on in earnest since 17th and 18th-century philosophers Hobbes and Rousseau put forward opposite theories of human nature and morality...”

What is Driving the Rise of Fake News (and News Literacy Lessons to Spot it)?

"The “fake news” phenomenon was on vivid display in social media during the bitter 2016 presidential campaign. A typical example of the nonsense was a story, shared a million times on Facebook, stating falsely that Pope Francis had endorsed the Republican candidate, Donald Trump..."

Mind Over Mass Media

"New forms of media have always caused moral panics: the printing press, newspapers, paperbacks and television were all once denounced as threats to their consumers’ brainpower and moral fiber..."

Why Worldview Threats Undermine Evidence

"Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to..."

Americans’ Fear of Foreign Terrorists is Overinflated

"The refugee crisis emanating from Iraq and Syria have prompted calls for heightened immigration restrictions to keep our country safe. But is it really true that immigrants pose a unique terrorist threat?”

Global Extreme Poverty

"The share of poor people has declined very fast – in fact faster than ever before in world history. In 32 years the share of people living in extreme poverty was divided by four, reaching...”

Many Americans Believe Fake News is Sowing Confusion

"Many Americans (23%) say they have shared a made-up news story – either knowingly or not....”

Five Facts About Crime in the U.S.

"Learn the truth about crime in America...”
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