Steven Hassan is an expert on cults. A former high ranking member of the Unification Church, aka the “Moonies”, he’s been helping people escape the rabbit hole since his own escape in 1976. Now he’s a mental health professional who’s the author of four books on cults and teaches at Harvard Medical School.

We discuss cults, the intersection between cults and conspiracy theories, and his controversial new book: The Cult of Trump.

  • Freedom of Mind: https://freedomofmind.com/
  • Steven on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CultExpert
  • Steven on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cultexpert/
  • Combating Cult Mind Control: https://www.amazon.com/Combating-Cult-Mind-Control-Best-selling/dp/0967068827
  • The Cult of Trump: https://www.amazon.com/Cult-Trump-Leading-Explains-President-ebook/dp/B07MGS7LZS/

Elizabeth Loftus is an expert on memory. A Distinguished Professor in several fields*, her work focusses on false memories, how they can be accidentally created and how they can be deliberately manipulated. We discuss many aspects of memory and how it sometimes relates to the world of conspiracy theories.  We touch on UFOs, Chemtrails, 9/11, Jeffery Epstein, and the moral panics of the 1980s.

*In my introduction, I mangled together the various departments where Professor Loftus is a professor. The correct list is:

  • Psychological Science;
  • Criminology, Law and Society
  • Cognitive Science
  • Law

Links to topics discussed

Dr Michael Shermer is founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic. He’s written several books on science and skepticism and his latest work is an audio-only 12-part course, for Audible and The Great Courses, called Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories: What We Should and Shouldn’t Believe—and Why. We cover the full spectrum of conspiracies, their history and context, their social and psychological causes and their very real effects. We discuss real and false conspiracies, and how to tell the difference. We then finish up with UFOs, the Intellectual Dark Web, and the Skeptical Movement.

Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories can be found on Audible or via Amazon.

Seth Shostak is the Senior Astronomer for the SETI Institute and former Director of Center for SETI Research. A popular science communicator, Seth has hosted SETI’s weekly radio show (and now podcast) Big Picture Science since 2002. We discuss the work of SETI, and some of the more interesting developments. We also talk about the UFO “Disclosure” conspiracy theory, which suggests the US government is covering up evidence of extraterrestrial encounters and is (perhaps) on the verge of disclosing this information. We also discuss the related cultural phenomenon,  Storm Area 51.

  • SETI Institute: https://www.seti.org/
  • Big Picture Science: http://radio.seti.org/

David Keith is Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He is also executive chairman of Carbon Engineering.  Because he’s a well-known expert in the largely theoretical field of geoengineering (deliberately modifying the Earth’s climate) he has become an often demonized target for conspiracy theorists who think that the climate is actually being secretly modified using “chemtrails.”

We discuss the actual state of Geoengineering research (just starting to do very small scale tests), the plausibility of doing it secretly (almost none), and Professor Keith’s experiences with the chemtrail theorists over the last decade.

 

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