Ivory Embassy: Challenging beliefs in 2023 and 2024.

Did we challenge your beliefs and trigger thinking in 2023?

Ivory Embassy ends the year with power! Because of your support, we have been able to publish posts that enhance your thinking, communication, and problem-solving. Thank you for sticking with me throughout the year and challenging your beliefs; you’ll be better off in the long term.

As we reach the end of 2023, some of you have noticed that Ivory Embassy’s format has changed slightly. You’ve noticed that we now publish more consistently and that the topics have become more geared toward questioning commonly expressed beliefs. That’s right! Ivory Embassy encourages critical thinking, independent thinking, and communication. We want to expose you to different angles of the discourse, challenge widely held misconceptions, and open up the scientific, philosophical, and psychological discussions affecting society. How? By asking questions few dare to ask and by challenging widely held beliefs.

This approach is nothing new that I came up with. Researchers, especially in academia, are trained and encouraged to evaluate scientific results critically and skeptically. We don’t assume something is correct merely because results or selected scientists say so; it shouldn’t matter who presents these results. As you might recognize, this skeptical approach is one of the pillars of the scientific mindset.

However, something changes once scientists leave the academic research world and enter the media environment, especially social media. We start fearing the very thing we’ve learned to embrace: questioning everything, including our own beliefs. Scientists get pacified, and skepticism gets frowned upon.

Why is that? And how does a lack of questioning affect science and our society? Even worse, since certain social media platforms tend to incentivize drama, we commonly experience a formation of tribes, including among scientists. These tribes may argue that scientific misinformation poses dangers to our society, claim science is under attack, and participate in mocking and silencing misinformed individuals.

Ivory Embassy offers you an alternative to these tendencies. As a scientist, former researcher, and current communicator and coach, I want to flip this attitude upside down. Instead of applying us-vs-them rhetoric, mocking “them,” and shutting down fringe opinions, we should ask ourselves how we can improve our position toward scientific conduct and communication. In other words, we should introspect.

Santiago Gisler YouTube profile.

That brings me back to Ivory Embassy’s continued efforts. As always, I’ll analyze topics as I would during a seminar or journal club, where scientists typically question research results. I’ll share my (sometimes unpopular) takes on science, philosophy, and psychology, keep pushing for increased transparency in science and technology, and engage in topics on improving critical thinking and communication.

We have published articles about topics that affect your thinking and communication during the year. They have highlighted issues in the content and knowledge we consume, including issues related to transparency, conflicts of interest, and open discourse. These are some of the topics we discussed in 2023:

The importance of developing a scientific mindset and critical thinking

Forehead with Curie and Einstein silhouette. Think like a scientist.

We kicked off 2023 by discussing the importance and benefits of implementing a scientific mindset, even if you’re not a scientist. We highlighted how a scientific mindset allows you to approach and navigate the world curiously. Scientists and non-scientists can and should practice the pillars of a scientific mindset, allowing you to approach information and problems in life as rationally and analytically as possible.

Read the post here:

Think like a scientist: The power of a scientific mindset

Learn how to think, communicate, and solve problems

From my first post until today, my aim has always been to give you the tools to think independently and critically. No force-feeding. “Give [someone] a fish…” My readers know the drill. I may have more or less popular views (although I always try to have an evidence-based perspective), but I never expect you to share these blindly with me. Disagreements are OK. In fact, they’re more than OK; they’re vital for continued learning. That’s why you now and then see articles here at the Embassy that teach you how to develop critical thinking, independent thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. Implement these to enhance your thinking, become harder to BS, and solve problems like a pro.

Read the posts here:

How to convince people: Evidence is not enough

3 ways to overcome procrastination: strategies from a perfectionist

Reveal your Dunning-Kruger effect for growth: Are you overconfident?

Slice through complexity and sharpen up with Occam’s razor

Can critical thinking be taught? Yes, and 5 ways to learn how to think critically

Use a story hook to grab their attention immediately (examples of hooks)

How AI models affect our thinking, communication, and everyday lives

Political bias of AI models.

We published no less than three articles about how large language models (LLMs) and generative AI can impact our lives. We discussed AI models’ biases and lack of transparency, which affect the type of information landscape we experience and the ideas we develop because of these. We also asked what would happen if AI took over content creation and if it’s plausible.

Read the posts here:

The AI Apocalypse: Are we losing our ability to think critically?

Hidden biases in AI models revealed: But are you surprised?

AI transparency issues: time to reveal the black box

Exposing the biases, transparency issues, and tribalism that threaten discourse

Is anti-science on the rise? If so, what should we do about this? Is the most established and loud scientific narrative also the correct one?

Rather than questioning science, people might be questioning its lack of transparency.

Those who’ve followed this blog know where I’m going with these questions. If we want our society to trust science and scientific evidence, we must start by inspecting ourselves, so-called introspection. Unfortunately, we experience questionable approaches to societal problems, such as stigmatizing opposing views, mocking non-scientists, and encouraging technocracy without scientific evidence – albeit with a scientific disguise. Our anti-science series tries to expose the problems within the scientific community and our society that affect our values. We also discussed possible solutions.

Read the posts here:

From Galileo to COVID-19: The perils of banning scientific dissent

Revealing hidden agendas: A crucial skill for critical thinkers

The rise in anti-science? Hidden figures and shifting villains

Anti-science (Part 2): Are they questioning science or its transparency?

Cognitive ability impacted Brexit: Leave decision-making to the experts?

I don’t say this enough, but I’m incredibly grateful to have you as part of this project. Your support and kind words have kept me going (apart from my inability to give up on some projects). If this is your first time here, I hope to see you join this tribeless community of (aspiring) independent thinkers and communicators. You’ll learn how to identify glitches in information and approach them skeptically and rationally.

If you’re up for it, consider joining our Newsletter below so you don’t miss our updates. Also, if you have enough, please consider supporting me with a Ko-Fi donation to encourage more discussions like this (you’ll find the Ko-fi button somewhere below as well).

Until then, I wish you a fantastic start to the New Year!

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This is Ivory Embassy

Ivory Embassy’s blog aims to ignite and inspire your curiosity and independent and critical thinking—molding a scientific mindset one step at a time.

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