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Critical Thinking in a New Information Age: The Nature of Intellectual Inquiry

Author(s): David A. Wright

Edition: 1

Copyright: 2020

Pages: 326

Details: Electronic Delivery EBOOK | 180 days |

Critical Thinking in a New Information Age introduces critical thinking skills to the non-scientist, the vast majority of us. As will be shown, science is not necessarily well understood and is indeed not always a well-respected way of knowing in our culture. Science should be seen as an extraordinary way of critically thinking about nature and the best path to making many choices in and understanding life. The publication emphasizes the way science “thinks“ and not so much the content of scientific discoveries. In this new information age of the Internet, it is not necessarily so important how much you know, but rather, how well you can think about what you find in the vast amount and variety of information that can be served up online, seemingly instantaneously. No doubt, lack of knowledge or ignorance can harm, but the beauty and beast of the Internet, in particular, is that knowledge and ideas are readily available via websites, search engines, blogs, video, and social media.

Introduction
Chapter 1 What Is an Intellectual?
On Arrogance


Chapter 2 Categories of Knowledge
Science
Technology and Engineering
Humanities
Arts
The Confluence of Knowledge


Chapter 3 Philosophy as the Foundation
Metaphysics
Natural Philosophy Confronts Sacred Philosophy
Epistemology
Ontology
Political Philosophy
Aesthetics
Ethics


Chapter 4 Thinking Scientifically
Step 1: Observation
Step 2: Hypothesis or Theory
Step 3: Experiments, Tests or Measurements
Step 4: Conclusion
Step 5: Prediction
Step 6: Consensus

Chapter 5 Comparing Ways of Knowing
Faith and Reason
Passion, Love and Science


Chapter 6 Logical Fallacies
1. The Ad Hominem Fallacy
2. The Ad Hominem TuQuoque Fallacy
3. The Circumstantial Ad Hominem Fallacy
4. The Ad Hominem Abusive Fallacy
5. The Authority Fallacy (Ad Verecundiam)
6. The Appeal to Belief Fallacy
7. The Common Practice Fallacy
8. The Consequences of a Belief Fallacy (Argumentum ad Consequentiam)
9. The Emotion or Affective Fallacy (Argumentum ad Passions)
10. The Flattery Fallacy (Argumentum ad Superbiam)
11. The Novelty Fallacy (Argumentum ad Novitatem)
12. The Appeal to Pity Fallacy (Ad Misericordiam)
13. The Popularity Fallacy (Argumentum Ad Populum)
14. The Ridicule Fallacy
15. The Spite Fallacy
16. The Tradition Fallacy
17. The Bandwagon Fallacy
18. The Begging the Question Fallacy (Petitio Principii)
19. The Biased Sample Fallacy
20. The Burden of Proof Fallacy (Ad Ignorantiam)
21. The Composition Fallacy
22. The Division Fallacy
23. The False Dilemma Fallacy
24. The Gambler’s Fallacy
25. The Genetic Fallacy
26. The Guilt by Association Fallacy
27. The Hasty Generalization Fallacy
28. The Ignoring a Common Cause Fallacy
29. The Middle-Ground Fallacy
30. The Misleading Vividness Fallacy
31. The Poisoning the Well Fallacy
32. The Post Hoc Fallacy (Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc)
33. The Questionable Cause Fallacy
34. The Red Herring Fallacy
35. The Relativist Fallacy
36. The Slippery Slope Fallacy
37. The Special Pleading Fallacy
38. The Spotlight Fallacy
39. The Straw Man Fallacy
40. The Two Wrongs Make a Right Fallacy

Chapter 7 Cognitive Biases
1. The Confirmation Bias
2. The Appeal to Novelty Bias
3. The Belief Bias
4. The Impact Bias
5. Occam’s Razor Bias
6. The Ostrich Effect Bias
7. The Pareidolia Bias
8. The Prejudice Bias
9. The Risk Bias
10. The Selective Perception Bias
11. The Bandwagon Effect Bias
12. The Barnum–Forer Effect Bias
13. Change Blindness Bias (Multitasking)
14. Just-World Hypothesis Bias
15. Zero-Sum Balance Bias
16. IKEA™ Effect Bias
17. The Halo Effect Bias
18. Cheerleader Effect Bias
19. Placebo Effect Bias
20. Memory Inhibition Bias and the Google Effect
21. The Anchoring Bias
22. Choice-Supportive Bias
23. The Conservatism Bias
24. Parkinson’s Law of Triviality (Bike-Shedding Effect)
25. The Framing Effect Bias

Chapter 8 The Demarcation Problem: Pseudoscience
1. Pseudoscience Ignores Facts
2. Pseudoscientific “Research” Relies on the Anecdote
3. Pseudoscience Ignores Contrary Evidence
4. Pseudoscience Does Not Follow Any Scientific Method
5. Pseudoscience Ignores the Placebo Effect
6. Pseudoscience Holds That Cultural Myths and Traditions Are True
7. Pseudoscience Argues by Reduction to Absurdity
8. Pseudoscience Is Not Concerned With Verification by Enumerated Test Results or Evidence Discovery
9. Pseudoscience Is Not Logically Consistent
10. Pseudoscience Loves Mysteries
11. Pseudoscientific Theories Do Not Change
12. Pseudoscience Argues From Ignorance
13. Pseudoscience Argues From Mystery
14. Pseudoscience Ignores Culturally Recognized Authority
15. Pseudoscience Ignores the Ordinary and Promotes the Extraordinary
16. Pseudoscience Loves Neologisms
17. Pseudoscience Cherry-Picks Measurement and Test Results
18. Pseudoscientific Claims Are Not Utterly Shareable
19. Pseudoscience Loves to Tell Stories
20. Pseudoscience Appeals to Magical Thinking
21. Pseudoscience Relies on Anachronism


Chapter 9 The Demarcation Problem: Quasi Science
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) 
Quasi-Experimentalism


Chapter 10 What Is Critical Thinking? 
Remembering the Alamo
Skepticism
Have UFOs visited the Earth?
Suspending Disbelief
On Myths
Fake Images
Evidence-Based Medicine
Chiropractic
Homeopathy
Acupuncture

Chapter 11 Conspiracy Theories
NASA’s Conspiracy Against a Flat Earth Theory
Tobacco’s Disinformation Conspiracy
Marketing Controversy and Doubt
Evaluating a Suspected Conspiracy
1. Correlation Does Not Mean Causation.
2. The Conspiracy Claims Unaccounted for Power
3. The Conspiracy Theory Is Impossibly Complex
4. The Conspiracy Requires Many Conspirators, Especially Over Time
5. The Conspiracy Seeks World Domination
6. The Conspiracy Theory Embraces the Trivial and Creates Significance Where There Is None
7. The Conspiracy Theory Raises a “False Flag”
8. The Conspiracy Theorist Distrusts Whoever Is on the “Outside”and Does Not Recognize Culturally Sanctioned Social and Governmental Authorities 
9. The Conspiracy Theorist Is Biased by Only Accepting Explanations and Evidence Supporting the Conspiracy.


Chapter 12 Final Thoughts

David A. Wright

Born in Dallas, TX, David Wright graduated from the University of Dallas with a B.A. in Art (printmaking) and all-levels teaching certification. David likes to say that he has a diverse portfolio, having worked as a janitor, construction worker, truck driver, and bartender. Upon receiving an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas, he taught and directed educational programs in Rome, Italy, first for the University of Dallas, and then for the Dallas County Community College District. Following his European adventure, David leveraged his creative abilities to become a graphic designer, which early on, led to the Internet and a career in digital marketing, in which he rose to the level of Associate Vice President at a major advertising agency. Coincidental to his digital marketing career, David started teaching a course at UTD entitled “The Nature of Intellectual Inquiry” in 1991. He continues to teach this course. David’s areas of interest have always been about interdisciplinary studies, critical thinking skills, and especially the intersection of science and society on the Internet.

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