Jan 6 • 56M

David Aaronovitch on conspiracy theories

Believe everything I say

Daniel Ross
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Interviews with the experts, entertainers and academics in the weird, wonderful and creative world of behavioural science.
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A very happy New Year to you all! I hope you had a restful, reflective holiday period and feel energised by the coming of 2022. There is no dry January on A Load of BS. It’s time for much needed refreshment.

Vodkast & Soda

In my 2021: My Year of Total BS essay, I shared with you some personal ruminations on BS and this publication’s motivation.

Put simply, the raison d’être of A Load of BS is to try to explain why we do the things we do.

I invited you to participate even more vigorously in this community. I’m really excited that, since last week, I’ve lined up three sharp minds to guest contribute to my Monday BS newsletter: Phill Agnew, Tom Morgan and Jonathan Luff. You’re all welcome to submit ideas. Email me directly at danielsjross@gmail.com or send me a Tweet @danielsjross if that interests you.

Furthermore, I’d like to include your questions in my podcasts. My next two conversations are with Melissa Hogenboom and Dave Trott.

Melissa is a science journalist for the BBC who wrote ‘The Motherhood Complex’, a rigorously researched exposé of the mountainous challenges that women endure in motherhood - from fighting a system which, despite progress and better intention, is still greatly skewed in favour of men’s needs, to the creation of a new identity in the face of physical and psychological change.

Dave is an advertising legend having founded three extraordinarily successful agencies, written five books on creative thinking and been voted Most Creative Agency In the World by Advertising Age.

If you have a question or thought you’d like me to share with Dave or Melissa, please add in the comments below or email me directly at danielsjross@gmail.com and I’ll credit you in the show.

The Cosmopolitan David Aaronovitch

Talking of explaining why we do the things we do, this week’s podcast to kick off the new year is with journalist, author and broadcaster David Aaronovitch. While David’s frames of reference are dazzlingly broad, here we focus on conspiracy theories, the subject of one of David’s books Voodoo Histories.

As an aside, I’m going to write something in the coming weeks on today’s sensemaking crisis in the age of COVID. You may have caught sight of Joe Rogan’s recent interview with Robert Malone, newly barred from Twitter for his “repeated violations” of their Covid-19 misinformation policy. Google ‘mass formation psychosis’ but that’s for another day.

Talking of conspiracy theories, mine’s a Virgin Mary. Stone cold sober, today we explore:

  • Why we choose to believe what we believe

  • What's so attractive about conspiracy theories

  • Jews in conspiracy theories

  • The elitist, moral high ground that believers typically take

  • Combatting conspiracy theories

  • QAnon and departures from reality

  • The importance of truth

  • The real agency we have over social media algorithms

  •  And what David is truly optimistic about for the future

As cool as ice

Today’s sponsor of A Load of BS is CrankWheel. From Iceland originally, these guys are as cool as ice and are sweeping up new clients like crazy as more of us get Zoom fatigue and want simpler ways to engage virtually with colleagues.

Some people have the ability to paint a picture in a few words. CrankWheel is for the rest of us. CrankWheel gives you zero friction screen sharing during voice calls. You send a link to the person on the other end of the line and they enter that seamlessly on any browser, any device. No log ins, no registering, no what's my bloody password! CrankWheel is particularly great for those first sales calls or for onboarding new customers. It's really for any business looking to engage with customers more efficiently. I’m personally delighted to be supporting the guys.

A Load of BS subscribers can use CrankWheel unlimited for 2 months by signing up at get.crankwheel.com/loadofbs.

One for the road

Can I ask you a small favour before I close up? Go to Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts, and leave me a 5 star review. It does me the world of good in this cold Winter weather ❤️.

And if you haven’t signed up here yet for all my writings and pod archives, now is the time.

New Year’s Resolution #1

Next week, I’m talking to experimental psychologist and leading scholar in evolution and human behaviour Dr Jesse Bering about fetishes, afterlife and other taboos.

Be of good cheer, don’t be a stranger, come in and say hello; and enjoy the show!

Daniel 🍾