Shane Snow (@shanesnow) is an award-winning entrepreneur and journalist, author of Dream Teams and Smartcuts, and the blogger who wrote How to Debate and Make Progress by Curbing Intellectual Dishonesty.

What We Discuss with Shane Snow:

  • What is intellectual dishonesty, how does it undermine meaningful debate, and what can we do to recognize it in ourselves and others?
  • Why the cognitive diversity of differing perspectives and open-mindedness of intellectual humility make for healthy discourse.
  • The six recurring problems in discourse: dodging, logical fallacies, deception, dirty debate, little accountability, and false endings.
  • What we have to gain by rooting out intellectual dishonesty when it appears in ourselves and others.
  • How to pull discussions back from the brink of intellectual dishonesty and put them on an honest track.
  • And much more…

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Discourse and debate are more effective when we learn to be honest with ourselves and curb the subtle behaviors that get in the way of trading real ideas. Iron sharpens iron and when we argue with one another in the right way, we get smarter, we hone our ideas, and we make ourselves and the world around us better for it.

In this episode, Shane Snow returns to the show (check out his first appearance here) to talk about his recent in-depth blog post, How to Debate and Make Progress by Curbing Intellectual Dishonesty. We’ll go over intellectually dishonest tricks of the trade that can confuse the issue, distract us from the real conversation, and are ultimately used to control the way we think and behave. Consider this your cognitive self-defense dojo against intellectual dishonesty. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

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More About This Show

If you’re intellectually honest — as Shane Snow outlined in his book Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart — you’re able to collaborate with others in a way that welcomes the cognitive diversity of different viewpoints, stir up ideas with the cognitive friction that results, and have the intellectual humility to change your mind if these viewpoints turn out to be persuasively more truthful than your own. Intellectual dishonesty, on the other hand, is the opposite. Your own viewpoint supersedes whatever truths are uncovered during discourse or debate, so you’re willing to protect it in ways that aren’t quite on the level.

“Like saying things that don’t make sense as if they make sense — knowing that they don’t make sense,” says Shane. “Engaging in conversations where you’re dodging answering the question or you’re using some tricky tactic to avoid telling the truth. Those are examples of being dishonest, but it’s shaded differently than blatant lying.”

To dig deeper into just how differently intellectual dishonesty is shaded from blatant lying, make sure to set aside some time to read Shane’s very own mega-post that inspired this episode: How to Debate and Make Progress by Curbing Intellectual Dishonesty. It’s got pie charts, illustrations, videos, and facts aplenty — just make sure to hang your political hat at the door, because there’s no doubt your side of the aisle is called out to some degree! But if you want to hold your representative to higher standards for truth, why don’t you send them a copy of Shane’s article or a link to this podcast?


If you enjoyed this session with Shane Snow, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:

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