Category: Critical and Creative Thinking

  • Toolkits for Clear and Critical Thinking: Remembering Carl Sagan’s “Baloney Detection Kit”

    Toolkits for Clear and Critical Thinking: Remembering Carl Sagan’s “Baloney Detection Kit”

    It’s one thing to call on people to think critically. It’s another to know how to do that. Like all skills, critical thinking almost never comes naturally; it must be learned, and in many cases this is because it runs counter to instinct. Humans are very good at pattern recognition, as it appears to have […]

  • Dealing with Misinformation about COVID-19

    Disease is one of those stresses on our systems that prompts and promotes the spread of misinformation. All of us are hungry for information about how to respond to this disease, but with that desire comes a certain level of credulousness that lets in misinformation. Check out the latest podcast from the Center for Inquiry […]

  • Memes vs. Facts: What the President Said

    On January 5 (yesterday), the President spoke to the nation about possible executive actions to address gun sales and safety. Memes began circulating immediately (see right), likely dusted off and reshared from previous second amendment “debates” but recycled for this moment. Do they accurately reflect the content and intent of the speech? Or, are these […]

  • Bad Science Writing: College Paper Edition

    Writers are born young. Good writers learn their craft through practice, trial, and error. Failure is the best teacher. Given my view of writing, there is much my own University’s weekly campus paper, the SMU Campus Weekly, can learn from this recent article that claims to assess the “Paleo diet.” [ARTICLE] I got so upset […]

  • Science and its Opposite: Social Media Story About Walnuts Labeled as Drugs by the FDA

    A social media story crossed my feeds today, and in the spirit of spending a small fraction of my online time addressing issues of science and its opposite, pseudoscience, I thought I’d dissect the claims in the story and look at the evidence behind its claims. Someone on Facebook shared an Oct. 14, 2014┬ástory from […]

  • I am not a psychic

    For the first day of class yesterday, I tried a new trick. We usually poll the class about issues that have a real science component, like vaccination or alternative medicine. It helps us to understand what they think they know. We added a new component yesterday, something we’ve talked about doing to a few years […]

  • General Mills, Cheerios, Food Labeling, and Science-Based Policy Making

    General Mills, Cheerios, Food Labeling, and Science-Based Policy Making

    General Mills (in a blog post written by Tom Forsythe) announces that Cheerios, a flagship cereal for the company, will no longer be made with genetically modified ingredients [1]. What’s wrong with this announcement? General Mills is adding labels to its food products, like Cheerios, that read “not made with genetically modified ingredients.” However, this […]

  • Claim Assessment – Winter Break Edition (“The Ford Dealer” Email)

    I’ve been seeing a lot of friends and family over the last week during the Winter Break. One of my friends presented me with an email – it’s unclear whether they wanted me to read it and agree with it or read it and debunk it. It was a chain email, and after reading the […]