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This College Class On 'Historical Frauds' Could Be The Key To Fighting Pseudoscience

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posted on Apr, 4 2017 @ 11:35 PM
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I know a few people, myself included, that could have used a class or two like this.



Pseudoscience has been enjoying a major resurgence as of late, thanks in large part to the leadership of our conspiracy theorist in chief, President Donald Trump. Public trust in scientific research ― not to mention in the concept of evidence itself ― has been steadily eroding as “fake news,” “alternative facts” and conspiracy theories are on the rise. To some extent, this is understandable. As we’re inundated with more and more information, it’s increasingly difficult even for intelligent and thoughtful people to differentiate what’s real from what’s uncertain or flat-out false. So, how can we protect ourselves from becoming victims of pseudoscience? Critical thinking is an important first step. The stronger a person’s critical-thinking skills, the less likely they are to fall victim to non-evidence-based ways of thinking.


Continue reading here:

A university course designed to teach critical thinking has been highly successful in dispelling misinformation and conspiracy theories.


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edit on Wed Apr 5 2017 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 4 2017 @ 11:52 PM
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But I read scientific research every day and much of the evidence created by the research is misapplied or the parameters don't match reality. Yet the interpretations coming from this research are said to be real when in fact they are not half the times.

I like to look at the research myself most times, so much of the research is being twisted.

This article deals with Trump, half of what he says is true, the other half is not. I have noticed that most Media is twisting things too, everything is becoming pseudoscience nowadays. We live in the time of the deceiver when profit and pride seem to form reality.

Half the fact checking sites are spewing all sorts of twisted conclusions too, their beliefs interfere with proper full analysis of things. Most times there is not a clear right or wrong, half truths plague our society.


edit on 4-4-2017 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2017 @ 11:59 PM
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a reply to: AJSuperFan1776

I went to a liberal arts college that entirely focused on critical thinking. Although I took a lot of math and physics and computer science, I also took stuff like philosophy (where they teach you how to make good arguments) and in math, we did a lot of work with proofs. In addition, there was a common core, which required a ton of different classes to broaden my scope. It's been a while, so I don't remember the specific classes anymore. I was on the debate team for a semester, and wish I could have been on it longer to learn the art of good debating. I was also a psychology major, which included classes on designing and running experiments using the scientific method.
edit on 05amWed, 05 Apr 2017 00:01:21 -0500kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 12:49 AM
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So, I'm seeing a lot of things in this article, and the short video that wen't along with it.

The video was interesting, especially the poll.

The poll was "Do conspiracy theories threaten to undermine our foundations of democracy".

Now, two points on that: 1. If government was transparent, and not so closed doors and deviceive, it would go a long way in not creating the doubt. 2. It says a lot about those who trust people in control, they're wearing blinders with their heads in the sand if they believe they have your best interest at heart. Governments throughout history, especially those that fell, did not have the people's best interests at heart. Skepticism is an important part of being a discerning person.

As far as your article, in short, people lie, and the lies become more complex when there is more to be gained; Especially in a control or financial means. People will skew facts and truths to suit their needs, especially if it benefits themselves, regardless of cost to the one(s) on the end of the lie. This is the reality of the world we live in.

To quote part of your linked article


It’s difficult to overestimate just how important these skills are in today’s world. Pseudoscientific beliefs can have devastating effects. Thanks to the growth of the anti-vaccine movement, outbreaks of preventable diseases like measles are on the rise. Meanwhile, conservative politicians continue to dismiss climate science and enact policies that will have dire consequences for the environment, and ultimately, for communities across the globe.

The success of the course also underscores the enduring significance of a humanities education, as publicly funded arts and education programs come under assault by the Trump administration and by many Republican-led states.

“The students learned to utilize the humanities to better understand the human experience, ask questions about the world and information around them, and to understand how misinformation can dehumanize, influence inequalities, and in extreme cases harm others,” McGill said. “Humanities helps to answer the ‘So what? Who cares?’ questions about misinformation.”


So we are to roll over and take the "truth" being pushed at us?

Seems truth is pushed at the cost of the people, for the benefit of money, on the beliefs and skewed data of those who want to make more money.

Climate-science, vaccines, etc all benefit big groups who stand to make lots of money off of these things, and their benefits are questionable over-all; while driving up the costs for the people, and have negliable benefits to the people.

But don't take my word(s) for it, I don't wear a lab coat, nor do I have a fancy degree. I do follow the money tho, and read the reports and the science articles. I see how it all impacts the people in negative ways which are brushed under the carpet for the benefit of a few.

But, that is the conspiracy theory, isn't it. Are they telling us all the truth, or just what they want us to know. Compulsory feel-good science is just as dangerous as pseudoscience, and fake news.



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 01:00 AM
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I didn't learn the difference between # and shoe-shine in school.
Complete waste of my time.
The most important lesson I ever received was from my great gramps.
"Figure it out."



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 06:59 AM
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a reply to: rickymouse

It is and always has been a battle for your brain. Everything you might think on your own is false or at the least invalid or simply crazily wrong. Only we, official government and official science, knows the truths and if we choose to not disclose the truth but lie to you, that is our prerogative. After all, the US government made that a law not too long ago. How else can we maintain control in the age when info can be so widely dispersed in a couple of seconds? You think today has too much fake news, just wait. After all, control of the populace, the taxpayers, is the key.



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 08:12 AM
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a reply to: rickymouse

I agree. All "good" and "objective" science is subjectively determined. In other words, People's opinion play's a huge role on what we consider to be misinformation.

Critical thinking is just half of it. When you have data points and information connecting dots to a conclusion sometimes the dots ARE really connected!



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 08:15 AM
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a reply to: AJSuperFan1776

If it were a serious class on critical thinking it would have to talk about the role of the observer in the equation. What I thought the class was about was more like an indoctrination of a particular interpretation of historical conspiracy theories. I think any class worth its salt would have to discuss the idea of propaganda and "official stories" with the topic.



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 08:52 AM
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originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: rickymouse

I agree. All "good" and "objective" science is subjectively determined. In other words, People's opinion play's a huge role on what we consider to be misinformation.

Critical thinking is just half of it. When you have data points and information connecting dots to a conclusion sometimes the dots ARE really connected!


At least half of the evidence or data seems to be misapplied in this country. Also the evidence is generated most times to promote a certain product or agenda. This is a major problem we have, but we are bound to accept this evidence in the way that people running the show want us to believe is real.



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 09:25 AM
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a reply to: Cygnis
It's amazing that they would use Measles as a means to drive home a point--Measles has such a miniscule probability of severe risk to the individual, and provides a much better natural immunity to the disease, that it actually makes more sense to contract the disease than to pump the vaccine into your body many times throughout one's life.

The same thing goes with citing climate science (which, btw, is NOT settled science by any stretch of the often overused imagination of many), which has so many holes and inaccuracies in the AGW (and other) model(s) that it's impossible to keep track anymore.

And this is an article advocating critical thinking? Holy hell...


edit on 5-4-2017 by SlapMonkey because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 10:00 AM
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I enjoy conspiracy theories. If not for some entertainment, then for the lesson in critical thinking they offer. Thats why theyre presented as theories. They make you ask the who, what, why, and how, as well as, 'what if...'

The article seemed quite condescendingIt also seemed to take some stabs at people such as myself, who uses CT's for the same lessons theyre promoting. Whats wrong with questioning the official narrative?. IMO, critical thinking is why a majority of CT's exist. Or did I just misunderstand what I just read?

Im assuming the author of the article, being that he is MSM, must always go with the official narrative, and doesnt realize what happens If you take the critical thinking models presented, and apply them to say.... the JFK assassination.
Are you going to find out that the official narrative is spot on?
Or that something isnt right?

Or, is something not right with Sagans methodology? And it makes whatever the official narrative is right all the time?
Uh oh!!! Is that another CT?!

Interesting article regardles. Thanks for sharing!
edit on 5/4/2017 by Brian4real because: Grammer



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 10:56 AM
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originally posted by: Cygnis

Now, two points on that: 1. If government was transparent, and not so closed doors and deviceive, it would go a long way in not creating the doubt.



I agree with this part of your comment 100%!



originally posted by: Cygnis

So we are to roll over and take the "truth" being pushed at us?



And this is where you lose me. The quote from the article you used talks about asking questions, learning from the experiences of others, etc...

I don't equate that with rolling over and taking anything. That sounds like more like proper learning to me. If you're not talking to others and having your beliefs challenged then you're just creating an echo chamber for yourself.



posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 11:27 AM
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originally posted by: Brian4real
Whats wrong with questioning the official narrative?.


Maybe I missed something but I don't think that the article suggests that simply questioning things is wrong. It simply gives you the tools to properly follow up on those questions.

Personally, I was a hardcore conspiracy theorist for about 10 years (2002ish-2012ish) and I didn't simply decide to start believing "official narratives" like a switch had flipped or something.

I started learning about how to better research things, be more objective, and learn to spot logical fallacies and things of that nature. The purpose for doing this? I was constantly arguing with people who didn't believe the same CTs as me. I was convinced that these people (who I felt were intelligent despite our disagreements) could be shown the error of their ways if I had more solid research and could also point out how they were being deceived via logical fallacies.

Taking this approach led to the opposite of the intended outcome. Learning to spot fallacies and misleading tactics only led me to realize that most (if not all) of the CT information I was taking in was chock full of that sort of thing. That realization also made me examine how I'd been "researching" CTs over the years and I discovered that I had been leaning heavily on good ol' confirmation bias. Before too long, the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

Now, that being said, are there still some things that I find to be "fishy"? Of course I do. JFK comes to mind. But I also look at JFK CT stuff and I see so much of the red flags of disinformation so I really don't know what to think about based on the currently available evidence. At the end of the day, most of the non-official JFK evidence is coming from sources who are trying to profit from book sales or speaking engagements and that doesn't sit well with me.

So to me it seems that this class is helping others to gain the skills that I (luckily, thankfully) gained on my own for the exact opposite purpose. That's not swallowing the official narrative w/o question, it's simply thinking critically. You can apply it to both CTs and official narratives. If this class were teaching people to blindly accept official narratives and also teaching them about confirmation bias, the students would pick up on that utter hypocrisy and attendance would be null. Those two conflicting ideas cannot co-exist in a healthy mind.

Here's a bit of an example of how the things being taught in this class could potentially lead someone away from the "official narrative". Think about the lead-up to Dubya's invasion of Iraq. The "official narrative" was that Saddam had WMDs and was somehow involved in the 9/11/01 WTC attacks. They used logical fallacies to push these narratives. The evidence available did not support their claims. Therefore, anyone who would have gone through a class like this prior to that would be lead away from the official narrative, not toward it.

Confirmation bias goes both ways. Simply believing the official narratives because they are ...you know..."official"...that's confirmation bias. Automatically dismissing all official narratives because you think the government/MSM only tells lies...that's also confirmation bias. Correct critical thinking should prevent either of these from happening.



posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 12:40 PM
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a reply to: AJSuperFan1776

You know, I liked your reply better than the article! I definitely had a misunderstanding in my reading. Or perhaps, i went on the defensive, and didnt allow myself to read it clearly after reading the term, "conspiracy theorists".

I couldnt agree more with you on all of your points. Especially your mention of teaching yourself how to think critically, as Ive done the same.
IMO, CT's (mostly) are useful as a constant, ongoing lesson in critical thinking. They even share the same anagram/initials.
CT-Conspiracy Theory
CT-Critical Thinking



posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 02:50 AM
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originally posted by: SlapMonkey
a reply to: Cygnis

The same thing goes with citing climate science (which, btw, is NOT settled science by any stretch of the often overused imagination of many), which has so many holes and inaccuracies in the AGW (and other) model(s) that it's impossible to keep track anymore.

And this is an article advocating critical thinking? Holy hell...



Nothing is settled, we are still learning. Maybe in the next millennia we may be able to say things are settled, but not in the current time.

Hubris... it will be the downfall of all.




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