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

By Daniel J. Levitin

From The New York occasions bestselling writer of THE equipped brain and this is often YOUR mind ON track, a primer to the serious pondering that's extra invaluable now than ever.

We are bombarded with additional info every day than our brains can process—especially in election season. it is raining undesirable facts, half-truths, or even outright lies. New York Times bestselling writer Daniel J. Levitin shows the best way to realize deceptive bulletins, data, graphs, and written studies revealing the methods mendacity weasels can use them.

it is changing into more durable 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 advisor into categories—statistical infomation and defective arguments—ultimately displaying how technological know-how is the bedrock of severe considering. Infoliteracy capability knowing that there are hierarchies of resource caliber and bias that variously distort our details feeds through each media channel, together with social media. We could anticipate newspapers, bloggers, the govt., and Wikipedia to be factually and logically right, yet they so frequently aren't. we have to imagine severely in regards to the phrases and numbers we come upon if we wish to prevail at paintings, at play, and in benefiting from our lives. this implies checking the plausibility and reasoning—not passively accepting details, repeating it, and making judgements according to it. Readers learn how to stay away from the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. Levitin's fascinating, wonderful, available advisor might help somebody get up to an entire lot of items that are not so. And seize a few mendacity weasels of their tracks!

 

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Example text

If we don’t separate correlation from causation, we can claim that Vigen’s graph “proves” that Nic Cage was helping to prevent pool drownings, and furthermore, our best bet is to encourage him to make fewer movies so that he can ply his lifesaving skills as he apparently did so effectively in 2003 and 2008. In some cases, there is no actual connection between items that are correlated—their correlation is simply coincidence. In other cases, one can find a causal link between correlated items, or at least spin a reasonable story that can spur the acquisition of new data.

If you’re trying to convince stockholders that your company is doing well, you might publish statistics on your annual sales, and show steadily rising numbers. But if the market for your product is expanding, sales increases would be expected. What your investors and analysts probably want to know is whether your market share has changed. If your market share is decreasing because competitors are swooping in and taking away your customers, how can you make your report look attractive? Simply fail to report the relevant statistic of market share, and instead report the sales figures.

Author. Title: A field guide to lies : critical thinking in the information age / Daniel J. Levitin. Description: New York : Dutton, [2016] | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016007356 | ISBN 9780525955221 (hardcover) | ISBN 9781101985588 (export) Subjects: LCSH: Critical thinking. | Fallacies (Logic) | Reasoning. gov/2016007356 While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers, Internet addresses, and other contact information at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors or for changes that occur after publication.

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