Here Be Dragons

Here Be Dragons, is a documentary about critical thinking. Explaining how the vast majority of the population will accept dragons, or their logical equivalents, than to actually try to learn and understand the principle of how things actually work, this documentary is an excellent introduction to critical thinking.

Here Be Dragons is written and presented by Brian Dunning, host and producer of the Skeptoid podcast, author of Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena, and Executive Producer of The Skeptologists.

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34 Responses to Here Be Dragons

  1. ti says:

    what utter shite

    • Yakuzi says:

      As mentioned at 35:08, I don’t support the harm Brian Dunning is doing. While critical thinking is of the utmost importance in our society and should be the focus in schools and the media, Brian Dunning fails to practice what he preaches, and accepts some ‘facts’ without looking at all the data objectively or critically (i.e. 9/11 and the pharmaceutical industry, please do your home work properly).

  2. sebb says:

    i am critical to what he says… he isnt openminded wake up dudes

  3. Denise says:

    Critical thinking is extremely important in todays highly commercialized society. We are saturated (thereby brainwashed) with information about “stuff” but true critical thinking will allow us to question the validity of psuedo-science as opposed to real science. I found this doc quite informative, and believe that it ought to be shown to high school students, maybe even younger students. I hope that my own children will view this and make up their own minds.

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  5. bob whatsit says:

    Look out for people claiming that something is a conspiracy theory in order to deem the claim is irrelevent. Also look out for strawman arguements.
    This guy, while on the money at times is also dismissive of certain arguements irrationally. While i do not support the 9/11 truth people I do not go so far as to dismiss all their arguements as red herrings, some are very rational and do need explaining.
    There is a phenomena known as Irrational Skepticity, where by one becomes so skeptical their skepticism becomes a block to any new information or opposing ideas.

  6. sdfgsd says:

    this guy is definitely not a critical thinker.

  7. cuidado! says:

    this guy is more brainwashed than the majority, and his arguments are far from critical
    “it is respectable to believe our best theories even if you don’t understand them” ?!?! how can you call yourself a critical thinker and then blindly follow what modern science tells you, even encouraging others to reject any results obtained without the “scientific method”, even though there are actual studies showing that scientists fake results for money, or fame, or simply because they dont agree with the real results. even einstein ignored the advances in quantum physics simply because he wanted to believe in an ordered universe. how can we really trust someone just because they tell us that they have better tools for analyzing reality? how can we believe that someone, just because they are a scientist, will not lie or cheat or make stupid mistakes?

    he presents ancient wisdom as being synonimous with the ignorance of europe during the dark ages: it seems hes not aware that the ancient indians (5000 years ago, if im not mistaken) not only knew that the earth was round, but had calculated its circumferance almost exactly. i present this example – although there are more if you do your research – to illustrate that the occidental world has been brainwashing its inhabitants to believe that the rest of the world is inferior, while western “knowledge” is millenia behind that which has been available to our species.

    as for his arguments on 9/11, i cannot imagine a more idiotic one. who crashed the planes into the towers? really we dont know, since i cannot believe that they have discovered the passport of one supposed terrorist (unscorched it may seem) in the rubble of an inferno which they say was so hot that it melted the supports of the building… the arguments he makes, sarcastically, for the idea that the us government was responsable are, in fact, red herrings. there are, however, many legitimate arguments (like the way in which the supports were cut, not melted) which he does not mention, either because he is trying to debunk this theory and has therefore selected the most rediculous arguments in order to support his own, or simply because he has not done his research.

    i could go on, but im reaching the limit of upsetting myself – what a dangerous world we live in when a man giving lectures on critical thinking shows himself to barely be able to think for himself.

    • nick says:

      Car manufacturers didn’t suppress technology?

      Ok then why did Ford go on a multimillion dollar campaign against electric cars?

      That’s right before Ford brought out his first line of cars, the majority of cars were made to run off electricity and not gasoline.

      Well that was until the smear campaigns that Ford ran. They were in fact so effective that within several years of lobbying against electric cars, the manufacturers quit making them and people quit buying them.

      But no that’s not car makers suppressing new technology…

      And what about the car race that Shell does every year where they try to see who can get the highest gas mileage. With some of the cars passing 100 MPG! Yet the best we can do is a measly 25 -30??

      Umm a car from the 1930’s used to get 15-18 miles to the gallon and the low mileage was due to the fact that gasoline wasn’t nearly as refined as it is today, yet that was 82 years ago. And look at where we are today… No they’re not suppressing ANYTHING!

      Be careful I used “Red Flags” so don’t listen to me I’m a wack job!

    • BUKKI says:

      Should we accept some theories without understanding them? Could a scientist lie cheat or make a stupid mistake? Can a scientist fake results for money, or fame or because they don’t agree with the results. Of course they could, so could the guy trying to sell you the snake oil.
      The Scientific method requires scientific findings to be published, specifically for peer review by other scientist in that field. Experiments and studies are reproduced and tested to confirm or disprove the validity of the claim.
      There is much at stake for a legitimate scientist in faking results or making a mistake, when those published results are discredited so is the scientist in question. Their ability to keep their job or get a new one will be negatively impacted. The scientist, who exposes a fraud, or even an innocent mistake, gains a great deal of prestige and with that recognition improves their ability gain important postings or access increased funding.
      The Scientific Method isn’t perfect but it is the best method we’ve ever devised to separate out false claims, mistakes, and just plain bullshit from reality. It is self-correcting and requires an open mind but not so open that your brain falls out.

  8. Henry says:

    And some stunning examples above of exactly what was discussed in the lecture. I only wish it was possible to round up people who fail basic ‘logic’ tests and use them for medical/science testing or organ harvesting so at least they would be useful to some degree. How much better off our species would be, but of course you’re sooo much smarter then everyone else and have all the answers.

  9. QUEST says:

    this guy doesnt know what he’s talking about…
    he’s a republican and an athiest! (assumtion)
    he’s really CLOSEMINDED~

  10. Realms says:

    What is wrong with you people? he is describing exactly what is wrong with society, Being critical of something with NO scientific evidence is a lot different from being critical of something WITH scientific evidence (e.g Evolution ). Reflexology, Chiropracting , Astrology, 9/11 conspiracy , Area 51 and last but not least RELIGION etc etc etc are all things that not only have no credible evidence to support them but all the credible evidence is AGAINST them

    @QUEST “and an atheist!” A assume you mean that bad way but really its a compliment there’s no indication hes an atheist but rather a skeptic that doesn’t believe made up rubbish

    • Lloyd says:

      I can’t believe how many people even after watching this video still don’t actually understand what ‘critical thinking’ is – it’s amazing how much you clearly don’t listen, and most of you ‘pissed off’ people are clearly either 9/11 conspiracy believers, people who use pseudo-sciences to heal themselves and other such bullshit.

      I mean if I firmly believed in any of that ludicrous rubbish and watched this documentary I would be very upset, offended and my intellect certainly would feel under attack so I can see why there are so many peed off people on the comments boards, because they have no argument – the best comments are those that just say “What a load of shit”. All that says is “I don’t have a leg to stand on to argue against you, I am too stupid”.

      Great documentary, and yes I have ‘faith’ in the sense I don’t need to understand the very finite detail of Einstein’s theories in terms of the ‘math’ but through ‘consensus’ (A word used widely in science and scientific methodology) I can take others word for it, that is what he’s saying – he’s saying don’t waste your time on critically thinking about E=MC2 or E=2MC2 you can assume that’s already been done and a consensus reached by humanity – WHICH IT HAS!! (We all know there are 1000’s of scientist across the world who understand it intrinsically) and you can’t be an expert in all fields.

      Some people on these comments boards are now telling me I’m being dumb for believing the scientists!!! Einstein’s laws are consistently being proven, from GPS synchronizing timing accounting for time-delay between space and ground!?!? To Newton’s theories being applied in order to land on the moon!

      If there is one thing I am totally sick of, are conspiracies…..They go nowhere and I wish humanity would kick this stupid 50,000 year old habit of explaining unknown truths.

    • Rob Brozer says:

      He talks about pseudo science, fallacies, etc. but never once mentions religion as a hypothesis without any credible evidence. He also promote James Randi which pricked my ears immediately. I don’t know who this guy is but he seems to be some sort of puppet, possibly for the James Randi Foundation or perhaps some religious or other mind control operation. Interesting to see that he was gaoled i 2014 for fraud.

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  13. Ann says:

    actually very disappointed in this documentary. although extolling the virtues of critical thinking it starts off by implying that anything even remotely unconventional is the equivalent of “here be dragons”. total rubbish.

    • bukki says:

      Until there is some verifyible, testable evidence; all claims, conventional or otherwise, should be viewed skeptically. That doesn’t mean wrong, it just means that the claims are unverified.

      Plate techtonics was introduced around the turn of the last century, as there was no method known by which continents could plow through the earths crust it was not accepted. When enough evidence was finally accumulated the theory was accepted by the scientific community and some time after that the theory became mainstream. It is still possible that the continents are moved about the globe by fairy dust but until we gain some credible evidence for the existence of fairies and their magical dust, Plate Tectonics is the Theory that best fits the associated facts. New evidence could change that.

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  15. Henrik O says:

    Pardon my english, it’s a bit rusty.

    I think he’s just scratching the surface of this issue.
    Listen to what cuidado! has to say about money corrupting sience, I think there might be some truth in that.
    What we ought to seek is not science, but truth. And as we all know and have learned throughout time, nothing is ultimately true. Which means that what we ought to seek is probability and what is most likely to be true.

    I believe that Critical thinking is not all about beliving in scientists or “critical thinkers” like this guy. I think that it’s to question what you choose to believe in and not just to blindly bellieve. There’s everything from parallel universes to The universe itself , so how can we be sure? It’s all just about numbers, like he said, but he ain’t got all the info. If we open up our eyes wider that fingerpointing and getting our opinions through and start to question our own opinion, then you’ll be one step closer to what is true.


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  17. Eugene says:

    Halfway through this video I was curious to see Brian Dunning credentials and yes, he has none about which he speaks about. Though he does use some tricks he learned in video class when he went to college.

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  20. Henrik O says:

    Also.. I was expecting dragons

  21. Zack says:

    “Science never suppresses good science.” Quote of the day right there…

  22. Gary Albrecht says:

    Is this guy serious?

    I painfully managed until the point where he starts banging on about september 11 when my own critical conscience kicked in… “Dude, why the [email protected]*K are you still watching this idiot?”

  23. offero says:

    An interesting review for this can be found at : <— Thought number 23 (titled "here be dragons")

  24. Bob says:

    Convincing people of pseudo science can be difficult. Many people will not only resist explanation but will get angry at you for questioning them. You can lose friends. They will rather believe professional advertisers and sales promoters of useless products than their no nonsense next door neighbour. It is human nature not to want to be ridiculed or shown up as wrong.

  25. Steve says:

    I switched off after the guy who was being naive at the beginning about organic foods and medicines mentioned about 9/11 being a false flag/self inflicted wound as if his naivety about the former somehow discredited his correct opinion on the latter.

  26. mail says:

    presenting his opinion as “critical thinking” Is this a joke? Or is it just him….

  27. David says:

    …I bet all the religious zealots crapped their pants during this video.

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