A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information by Daniel J. Levitin

By Daniel J. Levitin

From The New York instances bestselling writer of THE equipped brain and this can be YOUR mind ON song, a primer to the severe considering that's extra beneficial now than ever.

We are bombarded with additional info on a daily basis than our brains can process—especially in election season. it really is raining undesirable facts, half-truths, or even outright lies. New York Times bestselling writer Daniel J. Levitin shows how you can realize deceptive bulletins, records, graphs, and written experiences revealing the methods mendacity weasels can use them.

it really is turning into tougher to split the wheat from the electronic chaff. How will we distinguish incorrect information, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from trustworthy details? Levitin teams his box consultant into categories—statistical infomation and defective arguments—ultimately displaying how technological know-how is the bedrock of severe considering. Infoliteracy capability figuring out that there are hierarchies of resource caliber and bias that variously distort our info feeds through each media channel, together with social media. We may possibly anticipate newspapers, bloggers, the govt, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically right, yet they so frequently usually are not. we have to imagine seriously concerning the phrases and numbers we come upon if we wish to prevail at paintings, at play, and in benefiting from our lives. this suggests checking the plausibility and reasoning—not passively accepting info, repeating it, and making judgements in line with it. Readers learn how to steer clear of the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. Levitin's captivating, pleasing, available advisor may also help an individual get up to a complete lot of items that are not so. And capture a few mendacity weasels of their tracks!


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Extra resources for A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

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As another example, it has been suggested that wealthy individuals are more likely to vote Republican, but evidence shows that the wealthier states tend to vote Democratic. The wealth of those wealthier states may be skewed by a small percentage of super-wealthy individuals. S. presidential election, the Republican candidate, George W. Bush, won the fifteen poorest states, and the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, won nine of the eleven wealthiest states. However, 62 percent of those with annual incomes over $200,000 voted for Bush, whereas only 36 percent of voters with annual incomes of $15,000 or less voted for Bush.

Because of shifting baselines. ) Now, suppose you read that the average number of children per family in a suburban community is three. You might conclude then that the average child must have two siblings. But this would be wrong. This same logical problem applies if we ask whether the average college student attends the average-sized college, if the average employee earns the average salary, or if the average tree comes from the average forest. What? All these cases involve a shift of the baseline, or sample group we’re studying.

Once you do that, your graph looks like this: From this, it looks like you’re just as likely to die from smoking as from not smoking. Smoking won’t harm you—old age will! The trouble with double y-axis graphs is that you can always scale the second axis any way that you choose. Forbes magazine, a venerable and typically reliable news source, ran a graph very much like this one to show the relation between expenditures per public school student and those students’ scores on the SAT, a widely used standardized test for college admission in the United States.

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