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

By Daniel J. Levitin

ISBN-10: 0525955224

ISBN-13: 9780525955221

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

We are bombarded with additional information on a daily basis than our brains can process—especially in election season. it truly 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, information, graphs, and written stories revealing the methods mendacity weasels can use them.

it really is turning into tougher to split the wheat from the electronic chaff. How can we distinguish incorrect information, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from trustworthy info? Levitin teams his box consultant into categories—statistical infomation and defective arguments—ultimately exhibiting how technological know-how is the bedrock of serious pondering. Infoliteracy capability figuring out that there are hierarchies of resource caliber and bias that variously distort our details feeds through each media channel, together with social media. We may possibly count on newspapers, bloggers, the govt., and Wikipedia to be factually and logically right, yet they so usually are usually not. we have to imagine significantly in regards to the phrases and numbers we come across if we wish to prevail at paintings, at play, and in profiting from our lives. this suggests checking the plausibility and reasoning—not passively accepting info, repeating it, and making judgements according to it. Readers discover ways to stay away from the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. Levitin's captivating, wonderful, available consultant may also help someone get up to an entire lot of items that are not so. And trap a few mendacity weasels of their tracks!


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Additional info for A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

Sample text

For those born in 1850, the average life expectancy for males and females was thirty-eight and forty years respectively, and for those born in 1990 it is seventy-two and seventy-nine. There’s a tendency to think, then, that in the 1800s there just weren’t that many fifty- and sixty-year-olds walking around because people didn’t live that long. But in fact, people did live that long—it’s just that infant and childhood mortality was so high that it skewed the average. If you could make it past twenty, you could live a long life back then.

But averages can be deceptively complex. There are three ways of calculating an average, and they often yield different numbers, so people with statistical acumen usually avoid the word average in favor of the more precise terms mean, median, and mode. We don’t say “mean average” or “median average” or simply just “average”—we say mean, median, or mode. In some cases, these will be identical, but in many they are not. If you see the word average all by itself, it’s usually indicating the mean, but you can’t be certain.

Don’t just accept a claim at face value; work through it a bit. When conducting plausibility checks, we don’t care about the exact numbers. That might seem counterintuitive, but precision isn’t important here. We can use common sense to reckon a lot of these: If Bert tells you that a crystal wineglass fell off a table and hit a thick carpet without breaking, that seems plausible. If Ernie says it fell off the top of a forty-story building and hit the pavement without breaking, that’s not plausible.

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

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