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:
19. The Trap of Grand Conspiracy Thinking
Theories about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The existence and power of the Illuminati. The Roswell incident. Grand conspiracies such as these are cognitive traps that result from our attempts to make sense of our complex world. Examine both the compelling nature of conspiracy thinking and ways to determine which theories are true and which are just pseudoscience.
20. Denialism - Rejecting Science and History
Dr. Novella introduces you to denialism, a subset of pseudoscience that seeks to deny established science. By exploring the features and tactics of denialism, as well as
extreme examples of it at work, you’ll shed light on how critical thinking helps you sidestep the more subtle forms of denialism we’re all susceptible to.
21. Marketing, Scams and Urban Legends
Ever since its creation, the Internet has revolutionized our access to facts and become a veritable “Wild West of Information.” Gain tips for using critical thinking to filter the wealth of information out there in chain emails, popular scams, and other everyday outlets that exploit human psychology.
Upcoming in session eight are:
22. Science, Media and Democracy
23. Experts and Scientific Consensus
24. Critical Thinking and Science in your Life
Hope to see you at our seventh session!