YOUR DECEPTIVE MIND: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills
Our current Great Courses lecture series is entitled "Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills," presented by Steven Novella, M.D., an Academic Neurologist at the Yale School of Medicine. In this course, Prof. Novella explores the innate flaws, assumptions and biases built into our brains which tend to warp our perceptions of the world and the way we think about it. Dr. Novellla will also detail the tools of critical thinking designed to counter these natural flaws, assumptions and biases. This course consists of 24 30-minute lectures, which I will present in eight 90-minute sections.
The three lectures we will be watching during our sixth session will be:
16. Great Scientific Blunders
Learn how important skepticism is as a first response to scientific claims by surveying blunders that resulted from a lack of critical thinking. Among them: the claimed existence of “n-rays,” cold fusion, Lord Kelvin’s calculations for the age of the Earth, and a psychologist drawn into reports by patients convinced they were abducted by aliens.
17. Science versus Pseudoscience
Many claims label themselves as scientific—but are they really? Break down the concept of pseudoscience by exploring some of its most prominent features (or warning signs), including its tendency to work backward from desired results, its shifting of the burden of proof onto others, and its bold claims that go beyond evidence.
18. The Many Kinds of Pseudoscience
Deconstruct several specific examples of pseudoscience to see how its various features work. You’ll investigate the pseudoscience behind iridology (the idea that our irises reflect our health), photographs that claim to capture ghosts, psychic abilities such as precognition, spontaneous human combustion, and more.
Upcoming in session seven are:
19. The Trap of Grand Conspiracy Thinking
20. Denialism - Rejecting Science and History
21. Marketing, Scams and Urban Legends
Hope to see you at our sixth session!