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Here Be Dragons: An Introduction to Critical Thinking

Here Be Dragons is a free 40 minute video introduction to critical thinking. It is suitable for general audiences and is licensed for free distribution and public display. Most people fully accept paranormal and pseudoscientific claims without critique as they are promoted by the mass media. Here
Dragons offers a toolbox for recognizing and understanding the dangers of pseudoscience, and appreciation for the reality-based benefits offered by real science. Here Be Dragons is written and presented by Brian Dunning, host and producer of the Skeptoid podcast and author of Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena, and Executive Producer of The Skeptologists.

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  1. There is a black hole at the center of our galaxy. Astrophysicists have found a lot of evidence for that. Maybe he should check what really is known in science before he gives examples of pseudoscience.

  2. This guy makes the unforgivable mistake of positing, once again, that if it hasn’t been proven by modern science, it’s not true. As if there is a science testing center somewhere in America that undertakes the arduous task of testing literally everything. The truth is 180 degrees away: scientists test what they want to test, not what should be tested – not that these are never the same. Doctors follow a process of critical thinking they learned during their residency, which may be different than evidence-based medicine. Case in point; a large study conducted in the past 5 years proved that annual full-body skin scans do not increase a patients chances of surviving skin cancer. When I asked my dermatologist about said study he said “well, what ware we supposed to do?” Gee, I thought you were a doctor, not a robot. How about you guys figure it out? I did. Does this mean all doctors are bad? Certainly not. The point is that the presence of science is in no way a guarantee that evidence is holding sway over opinion.

    • I completely agree! I am not religious, but who am I to say that God does or doesn’t exist for sure, I have no idea, and I think its supposed to be this way, in fact, its a characteristic that bonds us together more than divides us, but our arrogance that stems from insecurity of the unknown causes people to take irrational stances on how we humans came about. The Big Bang, Evolution, or aliens are all plausible possibilities. Its our arrogance which is truly just derived from our fear that causes humans to be so utterly arrogant to act like they know for sure. A person is not a man or woman of science if they cannot prove what they claim does or does not exist.

    • Hi. I realise this is a very old comment, but it’s worth a shot. I was interested in the study ‘proving’ ineffectiveness of skin cancer screening, but try as I might, haven’t found it online. I haven’t even found mention of a study ‘suggesting this, let alone ‘proving’ it. I don’t want to dismiss it, so if you happen to read this would you be so kind as to direct me to said study? Thanks very much.

  3. Ad hominem attack.

  4. This guy is 100% right.. notice at the end he tries to sell you a bunch of books? LMAO Clown!

  5. this guy is an idiot and this doco is a load of rubbish. Some of the correlations and blanket statements he makes are ridiculous. I agree that the burden of truth is on the proposer but this doco is not only rubbish but potentially harmful. He makes it seem like its wrong to question anything or challenge the status quo, a potentially harmful idea. the comparisons to star trek and other rubbish just show that he is not to be taken seriously just like a lot of the topics he talks about…

  6. I appreciate his passion and some  points. There is a self righteous and condensending tone that bypass any political, social or economic context.  For instance: the reason many alternative health products claim only loose purposes on labels, when it is clear  they are forbidden to claim that the product prevents or cures any ailements.  A few logical consideration with some more consideration of: social, political and ecomonic factors and the strength of the current medical paradigm are overlooked points in this documentary.

  7. vitamin C, organic ketchup and yoga!? What a bunch of hooey!… Seriously though, this guy has got to be a poe. I can’t even finish watching this.

  8. Ha, I saw the rating of 4.8 stars and assumed it was this low because the documentary is a bit boring. How did you all you people defending all the new age crap and conspiracy theories even end up watching this video?

  9. Sounds like 90% of the comments were made by Deepak Chopra reading New Age idiots. No wonder you’re all so angry.

  10. Made it halfway. This guy is correct in his skepticism of herbal remedies and alternative medicine, however he has gone out of his way to use chosen ignorance as his main reasoning tool in dealing with the pharmaceutical industry and real world events such as 9/11. It takes real effort to ignore all points of evidence when dealing with things a little more complicated than ghost stories. This guy is spewing venom for the ignorant.

  11. These comments are a JOKE! I’m betting 99.9 percent of the pissy comments were made by people who just finished checking their horoscope before they came here.
    I thought the documentary had some flaws.. so what. The brunt of the content was excellent, and I watched it twice.

  12. I’d say the average person would by into shit like herbal remedies because they are misinformed and they find it comforting you could say a lot of us are anti logic and anti reason

  13. Well… I do like the wrath. Let me quote Lazyboy: “Don’t be mad at other people because they know more than you, it is not their fault.” The movie, seen as a movie, is not great. It’s kind of just one man talking. His points though are hard to dismiss, unless of course you just plainly dismiss them.

    In this movie there is an elephant in the room – he almost dares to go there, but then back off – is God a dragon, or (perhaps less offensive to some) what about religion? Or at least ‘creationism’ and ‘intelligent design’ should be on this list…

    By the way he more than once states that pseudo-science could one day be proven thus turned into real science, but de facto isn’t. Science, and programs about science, can always one day be proven wrong and/or outdated by … science!

    To those saying he is guilty of psuedo-science himself… he’s not ‘doing’ science here. This movie does not contain science, it is a view on science and the world. Science trumphs believes. You are welcome believe otherwise.

    Statement:
    – Individuel experience is not evidence.
    – Anecdotal evidence is not evidence.
    – Lack of evidence is not evidence.

    In short: The brain is not fool proof, though it is proof a fool (all of us in some way according to this movie).

    Summary:

    Watch it if you are tired of people value opinion as much as knowledge.

    Don’t watch it if you want a good, well-made documentary; or if you are a Dharma (a close-minded ‘hippie’ – yeah, you don’t know who you are), then also look away.

  14. This film is just propaganda to steer us away from what we really are and what is really happening.

  15. This guy is not so off-base. Critical thinking and scepticism are essential in modern consumerist life. If you hold all claims subject it to critical analysis and consider the source, and compare it to independent sources you would be much better off. Reject all marketing and advertising claims out of hand. Everything supernatural, by definition is most certainly the least supported and usually suspect explanation. However to be balanced in approach is to also consider the possibility that the currently accepted theory is wrong.

    I think personally he is too critical, and trusts the authorities more than he claims.

  16. He’s absolutley patrionizing and placing things like green tea alongside middle aged theories? This is an absolute waste of time, meditation has done wonders for my life, and so has reflexology. This is not critical thinking, its closed minded. Open minded people will try things and decide themselves whats right and wrong. I feel sorry for him, because all he sees is science, he will never understand the beauty and mystery in life, because all he sees is everything is an equation.

    The questions to do with 9/11 were terrible questions to ask!  If you were to ask real conspiracy theorists, he would not be able to give an answer.

    He doesnt seem to realise that the word ‘energy’ has two different meanings. one for the spiritual energy and one for scientific energy, they are two compelety differnt things.

    Hes basically saying, hey no opinon listen to science only, do not think otherwise. Hes like Bush. 
    you cannot put yoga, organic food, in the same place with psyhic healers.

    “science never suppresses good science”  this sentence is the biggest lie he said. throughout our history, science has supressed science, remember the marjuana law?

  17. I think everyone has figured this out……..the fucking music!!

  18. sure the guy has found his market niche too. I guess theres a lot of bullshit among alternative and holistic approaches, but its far from meaning everything is wrong and pointless. this documentary shows as little proof to sustain its claims that it can be called with one word only: PSEUDOSCIENCE 🙂

  19. I have a feeling that all the commenters below were sent to this documentary because they believe in stupid crap….

  20. And anyway who DID fly into those buildings?

  21. Started off as a good idea but the maker has taken an uncritical view of some of what he sees as unscientifically based ideas. I’m especially disappointed at the uncritical acceptance of authoritative cobblers like NIST’s 911 fiction.

  22. Most stuff is good in the documentary however, the bit about 911..the reasons he gives may be true in that none of them logically link the gov’t etc..but the buildings falling at nearly free fall speed AND the collapse of WTC7 proves a controlled demolition.  There’s simply no other explanation, your eyes can tell you the truth on this one and you don’t need anyone else’s opinion to know for yourself.  controlled demo=conspiracy

  23. Most stuff is good in the documentary however, the bit about 911..the reasons he gives may be true in that none of them logically link the gov’t etc..but the buildings falling at nearly free fall speed AND the collapse of WTC7 proves a controlled demolition.  There’s simply no other explanation, your eyes can tell you the truth on this one and you don’t need anyone else’s opinion to know for yourself.  controlled demo=conspiracy

    • Most of the stuff in that doc was complete bull. Healthy and organic food and supplements are basically self explanatory in what they do for health. All the guy did was point out indicators of non-mainstream thought, but if you follow mainstream practices, you’re quite likely to end up with: Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, heart failure, osteoporosis, obesity, etc. and on countless drugs to treat those conditions for the rest of your life. Basically, its a pharma PR doc.

  24. Waste of time.  Propaganda crap piece of crap crap uncritical misinformation crap!

  25. Waste of time.  Propaganda crap piece of crap crap uncritical misinformation crap!

  26. Waste of time.  Propaganda crap piece of crap crap uncritical misinformation crap!

  27. “science never suppresses good science” , i do get his point on critical thinking but he is contradicting himself when he says that statement, as if science was a self conscious being, he ignores the fact that science is practiced by humans, and humans have different interest that may or may not be opposed. trough out the documentary he is just simplify a lot socio-political-economic issues IMO.

  28. “science never suppresses good science” , i do get his point on critical thinking but he is contradicting himself when he says that statement, as if science was a self conscious being, he ignores the fact that science is practiced by humans, and humans have different interest that may or may not be opposed. trough out the documentary he is just simplify a lot socio-political-economic issues IMO.

  29. Decided to stopped watching after i saw the Ginko.
    Hows that critical thinking, ass holes. i turned my fucking life around by eating right and using super foods.

    • When he showed the supplements, yoga, and organic foods in the slideshow as examples of pseudoscience (and in a ridiculing like fashion), I just stared in disbelief.

  30. Decided to stopped watching after i saw the Ginko.
    Hows that critical thinking, ass holes. i turned my fucking life around by eating right and using super foods.

  31. A waste of bandwidth.  Don’t bother.

  32. A waste of bandwidth.  Don’t bother.

  33. A waste of bandwidth.  Don’t bother.

  34. lol! this pile of trash, by far… has nothing to do with actual ‘critical thinking’. Just awful.

  35. the worst thing i’ve seen since 05

  36. This was painfully bad.

  37. It looks to me like the introduction to critical thinking here is the ability for us to critically think that this is a load of bullshit.

    Excellent work and a fantastic false positive! (either that or I am giving this jerk off too much credit)

  38. Pro Pharma pundit.

  39. they have lumped organic food and yoga with psychic readings and spiritual healings.. this documentary is terrible

  40. anyone here with a brain can tell this is a peace of shit doc !!

  41. anyone here with a brain can tell this is a peace of shit doc !!

  42. half fact half fiction. this is great political disinformation propaganda great work guys.

    this man and his Infamous amount of misleading “crittical thinking” bullshit is rediculious!

  43. Oh, you’ve got to be joking me.
    This is utter fucking rubbish. “Let’s see some modern day dragons.”
    Sir Ernest Drake would be dissapointed.

  44. A self proclaimed skeptic? Critical thinking has been practiced by philosophers for a long time and all would agree skepticism is detrimental to true critical reasoning. At best skepticism is a “guilty until proven innocent” approach. Does this host seem to approach things objectively to you? opinions have no place in critical thinking. He may be right about all of this shit but he cannot prove his point any better than the products he attacks. So his word or thiers? what a joke.
    A good idea for a documentary, but poorly done.

    • I do agree that this documentary is crap, but I will say skepticism is useful in science. On that same vein though, this guy is not a skeptic at all (to use his own term he’s a pseudoskeptic). True skepticism is not relying on hearsay, but to actually test hypothesis to see if they are true or they actually work.

  45. Painful. Haha I have taking a few critical thinking classes and this ain’t it.
    An embarassing example of a shitty documentary.

  46. crap crap crap

  47. I appreciate you for making this publig. I learned a lot related to telekinesis.

  48. This Guy is a lizard man related to the queen and sticks red herrings in his pompous ass

  49. Sounds like a fellow Redditor 😀

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