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UCSF Talk -- How to Think, How to Be

A talk about critical thinking and information literacy, presented at UC San Francisco on November 21, 2016.

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UCSF Talk -- How to Think, How to Be

  1. 1. How to Think, How to Be Presented at UC San Francisco Marcus A Banks November 21, 2016
  2. 2. Topic General principles of critical evaluation of sources, which apply to everything from wiki entries to journal articles to news stories to textbooks.
  3. 3. Premise More Nobl e Less Noble Human Motivation
  4. 4. Call to Action Be a more thoughtful reader, watcher and listener.
  5. 5. Facts and Erroneous Information
  6. 6. Settled Facts (A Partial List) 2 + 2 = 4 Yellow and Blue Make Green There are 180 degrees in a triangle A square is a rectangle, a rectangle is not a square
  7. 7. Typology of Erroneous Information Overstatement Mis-statement Lies
  8. 8. Overstatement: Passion
  9. 9. D. Robert Worley, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/d-robert-worley/conservatives-progressives_b_1879200.html
  10. 10. Wayne Besen, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-besen/in-defense-of-liberalism_b_116941.html
  11. 11. Overstatement: Passion These are strongly held claims, honorably made. Rhetorical over-reach occurs, but without a conscious attempt to evade, mislead or deceive. Signs of a passionate overstater: They have argued the same points the same way for many years They frequently use phrases such as “well, we’re all entitled to our opinion” and “guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.”
  12. 12. Mis-statement: Bad Incentives
  13. 13. Scientific Studies with John Oliver
  14. 14. Mis-statement: Bad Incentives Novelty and Bold Claims Publish or Perish Scholarly Publishing Errors or Fraud in Articles Retraction of Scientific Papershttp://retractionwatch.com/
  15. 15. Misconduct accounts for the majority of the retracted scientific publication. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212247109 http://www.pnas.org/content/109/42/17028.full.pdf?with-ds=yes
  16. 16. http://www.pnas.org/content/109/42/17028.full.pdf?with-ds=yes Misconduct accounts for the majority of the retracted scientific publications. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212247109
  17. 17. http://www.pnas.org/content/109/42/17028.full.pdf?with-ds=yes Misconduct accounts for the majority of the retracted scientific publications. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212247109
  18. 18. Mis-Statement: Bad Incentives More disturbing than the excesses of passionate overstatement An active intent to deceive Explainable – not justified ethically – as the consequence of perverse incentives behind academic advancement Change those incentives, change the behavior
  19. 19. Lies: Bad Character
  20. 20. Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/viral-fake-election-news-outperformed-real-news-on- facebook?utm_term=.lcmRm0pBz#.lhV04Gx82
  21. 21. Source: http://bzfd.it/2fKLQzZ Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/viral-fake-election-news-outperformed-real-news-on- facebook?utm_term=.lcmRm0pBz#.lhV04Gx82
  22. 22. Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/viral-fake-election-news-outperformed-real-news-on- facebook?utm_term=.lcmRm0pBz#.lhV04Gx82
  23. 23. Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/partisan-fb-pages- analysis?utm_term=.ge1amjXW1#.oqoKRL7W3
  24. 24. Lies: Bad Character An active intent to defame and deceive Not reversible by shifting incentives Responses by shaming are futile, as this entire mode is shameless
  25. 25. Why Lies Work Confirmation Bias: We all gravitate toward information that confirms our pre- conceptions, and recoil from information that challenges our ideas System 1 Thinking (Daniel Kahneman): The mind generally makes rapid decisions on the basis of limited and/or false information
  26. 26. Be a more thoughtful reader, watcher and listener. How to Think, How to Be
  27. 27. How to Think, How to Be Proactively call on System 2 Thinking. The conscious mind that actively challenges our mental short cuts and lazy thinking. Hard but invigorating work. Support good and engaging journalism. Trust Project: http://thetrustproject.org/
  28. 28. Do not despair. The Internet is still just a baby, so the infantile behavior we see online is not so surprising. The Web remains the greatest tool for knowledge creation and sharing ever known. We can help it grow
  29. 29. Thank You!

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