Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Theory of Change #042: Matthew Browne on why internet gurus like Jordan Peterson became so popular

Theory of Change #042: Matthew Browne on why internet gurus like Jordan Peterson became so popular

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We certainly have our problems, but humans have come a long way since we emerged as a distinct species roughly 300,000 years ago. Most recently, the key to our progress has been the idea that you gain more knowledge by questioning what you know to begin with.

Socrates’s idea of “questioning everything” was a great one. And it led to a lot more great ideas, chief among them? The scientific method of developing hypotheses and then testing them.

It’s worked out great for us so far. But in the last few years, the development of readily accessible mass publishing has made it so that the tools of gaining knowledge can be turned against knowledge itself. For a lot of people questioning everything has been reimagined into questioning everyone—except for yourself. Call it the “Zombie Socratic Method.”

As finite mortal beings, it’s always been easy for humans to delude ourselves, but now, social media has made it so that millions of people can get rich by helping us destroy knowledge rather than gain it.

Joining us to discuss is Matthew Browne, he’s a professor at Central Queensland University in Australia where he does research on gambling, addiction, and delusional reasoning. Those interests have also led him to be the co-host of “Decoding the Gurus,” a podcast that closely examines the techniques of a variety of individuals who have built up followings selling everything from “alternative medicine” to political conspiracies.

Matthew Browne on Twitter:

Decoding the Gurus website:

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