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Cognitive Dissonance is the motivational mechanism that underlies the profoundly human reluctance to admit mistakes or accept unwelcome scientific findings—even when those findings can save our lives. Because of the intense polarization in our country, a great many Americans now see the life-and-death decisions they must make in living in the time of the pandemic as political choices rather than medical ones. This dynamic is playing out among the many people who refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing. While the evidence shows that these methods are the best we have at present to slow and control Covid-19, some people, convinced that the virus is a hoax or that masks impair their breathing or their freedom, would sooner jeopardize their health and everyone else’s than accept that evidence — or admit to being wrong.
This event is part of Skeptical Inquirer Presents, a series of live online presentations from leading experts in science, skepticism, medicine, media, activism, and advocacy, all devoted to the cause of advancing science over pseudoscience, media literacy over conspiracy theories, and critical thinking over magical thinking, hosted by the brilliant and hilarious comedian Leighann Lord, co-host of the Point of Inquiry podcast.