Truth And Lies

Update: 2017-06-239
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We live in a time where the line between fact and fiction is increasingly blurry — where each us can live in a constructed reality. This hour, TED speakers share insights on navigating a world where even the facts are up for debate. TED speakers include historian Deborah Lipstadt, writer Michael Specter, cybersecurity expert Laura Galante, journalist Stephanie Busari, and writer Carrie Poppy.

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

support for the Ted Radio Hour and the following message come from Quicken loans creator of rocket mortgage racket mortgage lets you apply simply and fully understand the entire mortgage process so you can be confident you're getting the right mortgage to get started goats are rocking mortgage dot com slash idea is this the is the Head Radio Hour each week the groundbreaking had the Ted Technology Design at Stanford and Ted conferences around the world gift of the human had to believe in impossible the true nature of reality beckons just beyond those talks those ideas adapted for radio NPR guy rise and the show to date truth and lies ideas about navigating a world where facts seemed to be up for debate whether in or history or was a presidential election and why some people refuse to believe things that most of us way when he first heard this idea about how the style which I think I left the really I laughed and said You know those are like the flatter earth people or the Opus is a life people it was stupid this is Deborah lips that she's a professor of history at Emory University Atlanta where she focuses on the Holocaust and she remembers hearing about Holocaust in Ayers back in the nineteen eighties even though she thought the idea was absurd she was curious about who these people were so she started to look at their arguments all they were saying things like gas chambers were in possibility they were saying that survivors when making this all up and if they were Jews who were somehow persecuted they deserved it for other reasons and they did something else they found a new name revision this is simply out to revise mistakes in history I described them as wolves in sheep's clothing this was not a cognitive labs they came to this topic with an anti Semitic view so that the prism through which their view of history of this history was reflected with shaped was Ben was a the anti Semitic racist pro not for the the button Ayers made themselves a year they published a journal they founded an institute the used footnotes and ever felt the best way to expose them was to write a book about them and what happened next here's Deborah list at the Ted stage I published my work the book was published denying the Holocaust The growing assault on Truth and Memory and I was done with those folks and ready to move on then came the letter from penguin UK I opened the letter and informed me that David Irving was bringing a libel suit against me in the United Kingdom for calling him a Holocaust in Ayer who was David Irving David Irving was a writer of historical works most than about World War two and virtually all of those works took the position that the Nazis were really not so bad and the allies were really not so good he knew the documents he knew the facts but I somehow twisted them to get this opinion this was a man who not only was the Holocaust era but seemed quite proud of it here was a man and I quote and said I'm going to sink the battleship as its due there was a man who pointed to the number tattooed on the survivors arm and said how much money have you made from having that number had to do when you are we this was not a man who seemed at all shame the reticent about being a Holocaust denying the the the the what if what if the books say that I was pretty harsh on him in the book but if I devoted if three hundred words to him that's a lot there are a couple of references brief references but I think he chose me because other people had written her e negative things about him even more extreme than I had written but he waited so I think an American someone from as the Brits say across the pond wrote about him because to defend yourself against libel charges in the United Kingdom is very onerous and very expensive because the burden of proof is on you to prove the truth of what you wrote unlike in the United States with David Irving its own suit the year he would have to have had to prove the falls why why would he deny something so painfully and obviously true my sense was that he loves to be a contrarian him he loves to do the quote unquote outrageous he was very of Adolph Hitler so I think there were a lot of things operating there including the desire to take a contrary point of view because he knew that would get a lot of attention now lots of my academic colleagues counseled me Deborah just ignore this task was going to believe him anyway but he was the proper if I didn't fight he would win by default and if he won by default he could then legitimately say my David Irving version of the Holocaust is a legitimate version and what is that version there was no plan to murder the Jews they were no gas chambers there were no mass shootings Hitler had nothing to do with any suffering that went on and the Jews have made this all up I couldn't let that stand and never face the survivor a child of survivors I couldn't let that stands and consider myself responsible his starry so we fought spoiler alert we won the the judge found David Irving to be a racist an anti Semite he lied he distorted and most importantly he did it deliberately showed a pattern in over twenty five different major instances not small things many of us in this audience right books we always make mistakes that I would let that second editions but these are always moved in the same direction blame the Jews exonerate the knots what we need is follow his footnotes back to his source and what did we find not in most cases and not in the preponderance of cases but in every single instance we made some reference the Holocaust that his supposed evidence was distorted half truth they changed sequence changed we didn't prove what the the we proved that what he said happened and by extension all desires to see the cogs them what they get their arguments from him was not true they don't have the evidence to prove the new just have period of time which which I guess was like six years of your life going back and forth to London and facing this man in court you was hard for you and it did take an emotional toll on you it was very difficult because every day they'd be survivors in the courtroom but it wasn't just from survivors one day David Irving was in court and it was an Ayers like to do because they have to explain how when the allies got to the concentration camps how come they found people there who look more like cadavers them like real people so what the NIE or say David Irving amongst them is that all they were being very well taken care of by the Germans but then the allies bombed the pharmaceutical factories the food factories the roads leading to the camp and the Germans couldn't take care of them so that's what they look so terrible walking was making that claim and Richard Evans was on the stand are our lead hysterical witnessing and challenging him very strongly on it I happen to look at the gallery and there was an elderly gentleman I would say he was in his and he looked very distressed I didn't know what was about paid too much mind and at the end of that session I saw that he was standing I was part of the British army that liberated the camps and Madame it calls me to hear that man say that what we found in the camps was because the Germans couldn't take care of these people he said any pause he said Madam and get the bastard matter the walked off the and that was powerful to it just gave me a sense that there were a lot of people felt the lot was riding this case when you think about the outcome of the trial was that it was it was done was at that point were you able to serve pre doubt and say OK Holocaust denial is has just been quashed no I will I'm smart enough and I'm sorry Lee have you know the wisdom of experience to know that it hadn't been totally squashed I knew it wasn't over I didn't think we would see the prejudice the anti Semitism resurrected come to life again the way we've seen it now what he's saying look we're not seen anything that compares to the Holocaust we not seen anything that compares to the antisemitism of decades past but was seen to what I call soft cord and I'll be not denying the facts but brief writing the facts and what didn't I are trying to do and it's not just the Meyers its other groups as well it's white supremacists it's um people make all sorts of extreme claims about vaccines about climate or whatever to take totally unfounded statements which we might call lie dress them in the AG extreme opinions and once they become part of the conversation then they encroach upon the facts and it is the modus operandi that I saw a monk in Ayers and little did I ever imagined I would see it in so with the So why is my story more than just the story of a quirky long six year difficult lawsuit American press are being dragged into a courtroom what message does it half I think in the context of the question of truth has a very significant message because today we live where truth is on the defensive we must go on the offensive when someone makes an outrageous claim even though they may hold one of the highest offices in the land if not the world we must savor them where's the proof where's the evidence we must hold their feet to the fire we must not treated as if their lies are the same as the truth and fact are under assault him the job ahead of us is great the time to fight the short and we must act now the bank the shirt ever lips that she teaches history at Emory University boy there's a movie about the trial it's called denial you can find Evers full talk that caught the show today truths and lies ideas about living a world where facts seem to be up for debate and Guy rising listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR to Hey Everyone Just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who helped make this podcast possible first is a recruiter dot com If you're looking for top talent with zipper critter dot com You can post your job to one hundred plus job sites with just one click led zipper gooders powerful technology match your job to the right candidates used their simple dashboard to find the right hire that's why eighty percent of jobs unzip recruiter get a qualified candidate in just one day try zip recruiter for free and zipper critter dot com slash radio our thanks also to racket mortgage by Quicken loans bracket mortgage gives you confidence when it comes to buying a new home or refinancing your existing online with racket mortgage you can apply simply can't understand all the details so you can mortgage confidently to get started or racket mortgage dot com slash ideas just kept equal Housing lender licensed in all fifty states and MLS consumer access dot org Number thirty thirty before we get back to the shell ever wonder what would be like to live in the plastic senior or how long it would take to get to the nearest star outside our solar system well if your answer is yes you have to check out NPR's first ever podcast especially for kids and their grownups and I'm one of the hosts it's called WOW in the world and it's about the wonder all around us so if you know curious kids between the ages of four and ten check it out and got on a limb here and say they are gonna love it you can find wow in the world on Apple podcasts at NPR dot org slash wow or however you get your podcasts make it it's the Ted Radio Hour from NPR and I rise and the show today ideas about truth lies sand the I want to stop by this word in nihilism and what is it what's your definition of nihilism is something that is kind of rejecting an obvious truth for a much more comfortable lie this is Michael Specter he's a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of a book called nihilism tend to write about science and society often genetic sometimes the environment public health actually to be more specific he writes alot about climate change vaccines and GM owes so you can imagine what his email inbox looks like when Michael gave his Ted Talk Back in two thousand ten he was really mad he was mad about all the denial isn't out there people wrap themselves in their beliefs and they do it so tightly that you can't set them free not even the truth will set them free and listen everyone's entitled to their opinion or even a title to their opinion about progress you know you're not entitled to you're not entitled to own stocks sorry not this took me awhile to the stock actually ends I'm kind of a hopeful note that things are going to get better that people are going to agree on facts again but if you ask Michael today seven years later oh I think it's much worse today I don't see how we couldn't say it's worse than it was when I get to talk and shout to me is very distressing and in his more Michael Specter from the Ted stage the modern medicine our ability to feed the billions of people those are triumphs of the scientific method into my mind scientific method is one of the great accomplishments of humanity the kid born in New Delhi today can expect to live as long as the richest man in the world a hundred years ago think about the incredible fact lies a true smallpox smallpox killed millions of people on this planet it's gone vanished we vanquished it in the rich world diseases that threatens millions of us are just a generation ago no longer exist hardly to fury of rubella polio doesn't know what those things are but here's the thing that keeps me up tonight we're on the verge of amazing amazing events in many fields and yet I actually think we have to go back hundreds three hundred years before the enlightenment to find a time when we battled progress when we fought about these things more vigorously and on more fronts than we do now this guy was a hero Jenna Fox he took one of the worst scourge of mankind away from us polio poof gone the kind the middle not so much his name is Paul said he just developed a Rota virus vaccine with a bunch of other people it will save the lives of four hundred five hundred thousand kids in the developing world every year pretty good right looks good except upon those around talking about vaccines and says how valuable they are when Paul speaks in a public hearing she can't testify without armed guards he gets called home because people like to tell them that they remember where his kids go to school and why because Paul made a vaccine moon let let's talk about facts for a moment what are the facts about vaccines about the measles vaccine MMR vaccine the the polio vaccine what were the facts about the socks are that in general they are incredibly incredibly safe and that if you gave a hundred million children the basic set of vaccines and then you took a hundred million children and didn't get them enormous numbers of the un vaccinated would be sick and die and the ones who are vaccinated would be fine now if you vaccinate a hundred million people a couple people's immune system are going to go haywire as a result for those people in for their parents that's a tragedy and it is ridiculous to pretend it isn't but it's also ridiculous not to do the math which includes enumerated in the denominator because when you talk about facts and you have to say is there a risk and the answer is always yes but you also have to ask what the risk of not doing things is and the risk of not doing something like vaccinating your children is a norm so there are millions of people who take issue with this idea that vaccines are safe who had the same access to all the data and facts that you have and I have but who have come to a completely different conclusion so what explains why why thing we have to step away just from vaccines I think this is true in many areas of life now and people can see radically different things and take radically different things out of the same data and part of it is fear I think we're afraid of loosing control of our world people are anxious that they can't control their lives and so they want to say no Gigi think that I mean oftentimes people who could deny things that you might view is just painfully obvious truths they claim to be skeptics and skepticism is a widely accepted view nose scientific perspective and it's a requirement yeah the problem with skepticism is the bad mood skepticism is questioning the scientific method is one in which you try things out and then you try to poke holes in the new SU you will be able to poke holes in and if you do then great this doesn't work if it does work use that until you find something better for the last four hundred years that system has brought us the modern world does the changes are very Germanic and we sometimes act as if things are getting worse the like for example when it comes to genetically engineered foods are GM owes its another topic where Michael says the scientific consensus is pretty clear Every single for every grain of rice every sprig of parsley every brussel sprout has been modified by man there were tensions in the Garden of Eden there wasn't any cantaloupe Christmas trees we made it all we made it over the last eleven thousand years and some other work to someone who didn't go with the stuff that didn't know we can do in a more precise way the arrests absolutely was finding all the things I constantly hear are too many chemicals pesticides hormones we don't want companies packing once we know what companies owning sidenote my response to all of that is yes you're right let's fix it it's true we've got a huge huge problem with this isn't science this has nothing to do with science its laws its morality its heady stuff the idea that we should not allow science to do its job because we're afraid it is really very dead and it's preventing millions of people from prosper the students at Bard College where I sometimes teach in the first question I ever ask any of them is how many of you try to avoid hitting him most and they pretty much all raise their hands and I say fine and then I see how many of you have heard of vitamin A rice to rice that's been infused with the vitamin it doesn't have an affair is fed to hundreds of thousands and millions of kids in Southeast Asia and Africa they would go blind and if that is not owned by any company the patent is free there's no profit making motive attached to it in any way whatsoever when I asked students what they think about that they all say Wow that's great so I say fine when our It All Pro Gym in this class and we have to work out the details I mean it seems like a lot of mistrust and and denial is a rejection of science isn't really about the science at all but it's it's more about rejecting authority institutions and power yeah I think that's true and I think that's understandable people have been lied to they know that corporations don't always tell the truth they know that governments don't always tell the truth but I also think there's a solution that's a very difficult solution but it's the only solution which is education I hate to pick on scientists because it's been a lot of time around them they don't reach out very much I've been reading about this for now decades and if there's one thing I can promise you facts are not enough the They don't I won't say they don't matter but they're not an option you need to connect with people on a basic level about things and when you do that the they respond but we don't sit down and talk to them we just preach the Michael Specter writes for The New Yorker his book his call to nihilism you can see his entire talk at Ted that come on the show today a truth and lies ideas about what happens when that roof gets distorted in such a way that makes it kind of hard to tell what's real in this case it's questioning whether the elections in the US are fair question whether the democratic institution that's most scenic part of legitimacy for the American presidency is all a sham this is Laura Golan today she's at a cybersecurity consultant I discuss cybersecurity nk of the intersection of politics and technology and Laura's talking about the hacking and the leaks that happend during the US election two thousand sixteen there is renewed confidence that Russia is in fact behind the cyber break ins of damage to the political process in the United States by foreign hackers to influence the election so just a refresher last summer the Democratic National Committee was hacked and a collection of emails from senior Democratic leaders was leaked and published by WikiLeaks and some of those e mails made it seem like the DNC wasn't neutral in the primary election battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and when that information goes public the way that gets picked up by the press in the way that those emails are portrayed start to play into that very concept that the US process and the concept of voting with all sort of a sham or being Papa tears by the parties and wasn't something that was really organically based on people's on sentimental and in their vote in the primaries the soap I think we see is an opening that the Kremlin was interested in figuring out how to explain which is a lack of trust in the standard institutions that America had seen entrusted for its democratic process you never going to get with any of this in particular with Russia Professor plum in the parlor with a pipe break but what was clear is regardless of the outcome Russia stood to benefit if the US political system was in chaos the the and by the hour America's democratic institutions the hackers created a climate a climate that need a more plausible to deny the truth and the Internet need that process happens seamlessly with the dependence that we have for not just our news diet really for how we're thinking about our collective experience as people in this country ominous the world is just so intensely derived from the internet right now in use your smartphone is more your reality then walking down the street the So it's now time to figure out what seems fake what seems real why that's the case in you don't yet have the same on Spain feeling our new son to the back your neck that you get when you're walking down the street and there's a shady character walking down rocker trust something that they say are taken at face value not have that feeling here's Laura de latte on the Ted stage as our realities are increasingly based on information that were consuming in the home of our hands in from the news feeds that were scanning and have had some stories that we see trending the Russian government was the first to recognize how this evolution he turned her mind into most display table device on the planet in your mind is particularly explain table if you're accustomed to an unfettered flow of information now increasingly curated your own tastes this panorama of information it's so interesting to you gives a State or anyone for that matter perfect backdoor into your mind is this new brand of state sponsored information operations that can be that much more successful more insidious unheard of for the target audience includes the media to decipher care drives you can hash tag trending on Twitter or chum the waters with fake news directed audience is primed to receive it all tactics he's Russian operations then you've got shot effectively camouflaged in your operations in the mind of your target this for Russia's long called reflexive control it's the ability to use information on someone else so that they make a decision on the report favorable to you in the why why are we so susceptible to that kind of manipulation we love tht again there on the west we love having all this information coming at us that we get kind of pick and choose what we like or eight so the more that we have asserted the say of information at our fingertips and we get to choose what pieces we want to consume the more we feel like we've helped construct our troops but if there's two dishes on that buffet that never would have banned their natural he right or look extra enticing were more willing to choose that so
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