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A field guide to lies : critical thinking in the information age

Author: Daniel J Levitin
Publisher: New York, New York : Dutton, [2016]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process -- especially in election season. It's raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports revealing the ways lying weasels can use them. It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish  Read more...
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Daniel J Levitin
ISBN: 9780525955221 0525955224 9781101985588 1101985585
OCLC Number: 934676963
Notes: Includes index.
Description: xi, 292 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: Thinking, critically --
Plausibility --
Fun with averages --
Axis shenanigans --
Hijinks with how numbers are reported --
How numbers are collected --
Probabilities --
How do we know? --
Identifying expertise --
Overlooked, undervalued alternative explanations --
Counterknowledge --
How science works --
Logical fallacies --
Knowing what you don't know --
Bayesian thinking in science and in court --
Four case studies --
Conclusion: Discovering your own --
Appendix: Application of Bayes's Rule.
Responsibility: Daniel J. Levitin.

Abstract:

We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process -- especially in election season. It's raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports revealing the ways lying weasels can use them. It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information? Levitin groups his field guide into two categories -- statistical information and faulty arguments -- ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. Infoliteracy means understanding that there are hierarchies of source quality and bias that variously distort our information feeds via every media channel, including social media. We may expect newspapers, bloggers, the government, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically correct, but they so often aren't. We need to think critically about the words and numbers we encounter if we want to be successful at work, at play, and in making the most of our lives. This means checking the plausibility and reasoning -- not passively accepting information, repeating it, and making decisions based on it.

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