Schick T., Vaughn L. How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age
New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. - 368 p.
One cannot avoid thinking, sidestep decision making, nor elude the bombardment of poor logic and irrationality so abundant in society. It makes perfect sense to learn to become as clear a thinker and decision maker as possible. Schick and Vaughn, in their Critical Thinking masterpiece "How to Think About Weird Things" dive head first into the fundaments of rational thought, the aspects of human nature that produce irrationality, and the means to think as productively as possible. Ripe with examples from absurd lines of thinking to common complex fallacies, the book covers all pertinent aspects of critical thinking. Put best in their own words on page 2, the authors state: "You hear a lot of `whats', but seldom any good `whys'. You hear the beliefs, but seldom any solid reasons behind them - nothing substantial enough to indicate that these assertions are likely to be true. You may hear naiveté, passionate advocacy, fierce denunciation, one-sided sifting of evidence, defense of the party line, leaps of faith, jumps to false conclusions, plunges into wishful thinking, and courageous stands on the shaky ground of subjective certainty. But the good reasons are missing. Without good `whys', our beliefs are simply arbitrary, with no more claim to knowledge than the random choice of a playing card. Without good `whys' to guide us, our beliefs lose their value in a world where beliefs are already a dime a dozen." While this thinking may not resonate with everyone, the reality is that it should. If society as a whole shifted to more rational thought and a consistent standard of scrutiny among all beliefs, there would be a lot less friction on this planet and a lot more level headed views. How to Think About Weird Things offers a comprehensive overview of rational thinking aimed at causing such a positive shift, and thus I recommend this book to any serious thinker.
New Edition, New Material.
Important Continuing Features.
Introduction: Close Encounters with the Strange.
The Importance of Why.
Beyond Weird to the Absurd.
A Weirdness Sampler.
The Possibility of the Impossible.
Paradigms and the Paranormal.
Logical Possibility versus Physical Impossibility.
Aristotle on Demonstrating the Laws of Thought.
Just because something is logically or physically possible doesn't mean that it is, or ever will be, actual.
Just because you can't explain something doesn't mean that it's supernatural.
Quantum Mechanics and ESP.
On Knowing the Future.
Tachyons and Precognition.
The Psychic Scorecard.
Looking for Truth in Personal Experience.
Seeming and Being.
The Will to Believe or Disbelieve.
Looking for Clarity in Vagueness.
The Blondlot Case.
PK Parties and Self-Delusion.
Tracking Down Bigfoot.
The Loch Ness Monster.
False Memory Syndrome.
Remembering: Do We Revise the Past?
Past Life Remembered or Cryptomnesia?
Denying the Evidence.
Spooky Presidential Coincidences.
God's Salvation Church.
The Availability Error.
When evaluating a claim, look at all the relevant evidence, not just the psychologically available evidence.
The Representativeness Heuristic.
Against All Odds.
What Are the Odds? You Wouldn't Believe It.
Rationalizing Homo Sapiens.
It's reasonable to accept personal experience as reliable evidence only if there's no reason to doubt its reliability.
Relativism, Truth, and Reality.
We Each Create Our Own Reality.
The Crime of Gabriel Gale.
Just because you believe something to be true doesn't mean that it is.
The Sokal Hoax.
A Closer Look at the Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon.
Reality Is Constituted by Conceptual Schemes.
On Good Myth and Bad Myth.
The Relativist's Petard.
Knowledge, Belief, and Evidence.
Babylonian Knowledge-Acquisition Techniques.
Reasons and Evidence.
The more background information a proposition conflicts with, the more reason there is to doubt it.
Coherence and Justification.
Sources of Knowledge.
The Appeal to Faith.
The Appeal to Intuition.
The Strange Case of Ilga K.
The Appeal to Mystical Experience.
The Miracle of Marsh Chapel.
Julius Caesar—A Confirming Instance?
Arguments Good, Bad, and Weird.
Claims and Arguments.
Hypothetical Induction (Abduction, or Inference to the Best Explanation).
Appeal to Authority.
Appeal to Fear.
Science and Its Pretenders.
Science and Dogma.
Science and Scientism.
Confirming and Confuting Hypotheses.
The Hollow Earth.
Criteria of Adequacy.
A hypothesis is scientific only if it is testable, that is, only if it predicts something more than what is predicted by the background theory alone.
Falsification and Psychoanalysis.
Other things being equal, the best hypothesis is the one that has the greatest scope, that is, that explains and predicts the most diverse phenomena.
Other things being equal, the best hypothesis is the one that is the most conservative, that is, the one that fits best with established beliefs.
Creationism, Evolution, and Criteria of Adequacy.
Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? .
God the Extraterrestrial.
Probability and Belief.
The Army and ESP.
The Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.
How to Assess a "Miracle Cure".
Personal experience alone generally cannot establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Placebo Effect.
Firewalking to Weil-Being.
A Shark's Tale.
The Doctor's Evidence.
Weasels Are on the Loose!
The Failure of Therapeutic Touch.
The Appeal to Tradition.
Scientific evidence gained through controlled experiments—unlike personal experience and case studies—generally can establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.
Single medical studies generally cannot establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.
When the results of relevant studies conflict, you cannot know that the treatment in question is effective.
New study results that conflict with well-established findings cannot establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.
Test-tube studies alone generally cannot establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.
Animal studies alone generally cannot establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.
Is It Right to Promote Unproven Treatments? .
Observational studies alone generally cannot establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.
Acupuncture, Advocacy, and Science.
Case Studies in the Extraordinary.
The Search Formula.
Step : Examine the Evidence for the Claim.
Step : Consider Alternative Hypotheses.
Step : Rate, According to the Criteria of Adequacy, Each Hypothesis.
The Experience behind the Ouija Experience.
Alien Astronauts from Yesteryear.
The Roswell Incident.
Communicating with the Dead.
The Biblical View of Souls.
The Amityville Horror—Mongers.
Spontaneous Human Combustion.
Moody's Crystal Ball.
Epilogue: Mysteries in Perspective.
Just because something seems (feels, appears) real doesn't mean that it is.
When evaluating a claim, look for disconfirming as well as confirming evidence.
Just because a group of people believe that something is true doesn't mean that it is.
There is an external reality that is independent of our representations of it.
There is good reason to doubt a proposition if it conflicts with other propositions we have good reason to believe.
When there is good reason to doubt a proposition, we should proportion our belief to the evidence.
Just because someone is an expert in one field doesn't mean that he or she is an expert in another.
If we have no reason to doubt what's disclosed to us through perception, introspection, memory, or reason, then we're justified in believing it.
Other things being equal, the best hypothesis is the one that is the most fruitful, that is, makes the most successful novel predictions.
Other things being equal, the best hypothesis is the simplest one, that is, the one that makes the fewest assumptions.
We should accept an extraordinary hypothesis only if no ordinary one will do.
Case studies alone generally cannot establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.
When claims of a treatment's effectiveness are based solely on case studies or personal experience, you generally cannot know that the treatment is effective.
Clinical trials limited by lack of a control group, faulty comparisons, or small numbers generally cannot establish the effectiveness of a treatment beyond a reasonable doubt.http://www.twirpx.com/file/2140180/http://www.twirpx.com/file/2140108/