Steven Pinker interview: Why humans aren’t as irrational as they seem

To explain the paradox of a smart species that embraces fake news, conspiracy theories and paranormal woo, we need to rethink rationality, says psychologist Steven Pinker


8 December 2021

New Scientist Default Image

Jennie Edwards

HUMANITY faces some huge challenges, from the coronavirus pandemic and climate change to fundamentalism, inequality, racism and war. Now, more than ever, we need to think clearly to come up with solutions. But instead, conspiracy theories abound, fake news is in vogue and belief in the paranormal is as strong as ever. It seems that we are suffering from a collective failure of rationality.

Steven Pinker doesn’t buy into this disheartening conclusion. In his new book, Rationality: What it is, why it seems scarce, why it matters, the Harvard University psychologist challenges the orthodoxy that sees Homo sapiens