The book... I Need You!

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Re: The book... I Need You!

#101  Postby shh » Sep 20, 2010 1:51 pm

lol, Is that sarcasm? :lol:
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#102  Postby sennekuyl » Sep 20, 2010 9:52 pm

No. I do think they are great. Just because I saw a situation where they may put off a particular demographic, does not change the appreciation for the charm they have themselves.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#103  Postby atrasicarius » Sep 20, 2010 10:36 pm

hackenslash wrote:I've actually been thinking about that a bit. How about Oh, Really? (An Everyday Guide To Assessing Claims)?

:this:
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#104  Postby Zwaarddijk » Sep 20, 2010 10:41 pm

Audley Strange wrote:
shh wrote:
Audley Strange wrote:One of my major pet peeves might be worth pointing out, that the only thing one should take from words written, is the explicit meaning of the words written. To project and extrapolate and infer that which is not written may provide some form of meaning but that meaning is often erroneous and biased based on the flawed assumptions of the reader.
I'd agree with that, I think I'd link it to something on language generally, and contradictions as well though, because I can also think of times where people say "that's not what I mean" but I know it's what they said. :naughty2:


Well even a brief understanding of what general semantics is ( :grin: ) would seem essential to me. But you are right. When people do that to me. I find it annoying when the say something, I hear what they say, question it and they say "oh you know what I mean" when I clearly don't. In communication, one shouldn't have to fucking guess.



I think you are mistaken here. Language would work way less efficiently if it weren't for it being more or less "built" (metaphorically) on a bunch of evolutionarily tuned heuristics. Everyone extrapolates - even you. So don't be judgmental about it.
On occasion, heuristic methods fail, obviously. Whether they fail for a given conversation most of the time has to do with concentration, interest in the topic at hand, differing assumptions and knowledge, etc. A good piece of advice then would be: don't try and tell someone something that they're incapable of properly grasping. Just nod and look happy and hope something approaching the result you wanted to achieve has been obtained.

Furthermore, the way people encode information in speech is not necessarily completely compliant to formal logic. It's more often wrapped in commonsensical shortcuts, and anyone trying to be superior by pointing out how illogical some way of expressing something is generally fails to appreciate how cleverly memetical evolution in general has optimized communication and the compression of information in language (visavis the hardware on which language runs, viz. our brain and for most languages, our voice and hearing organs).

A final point about language and communication - is the primary use of language really the perfect copying of ideas into another mind? I'd suggest that misunderstanding is a source of memetic ~mutations that further go through a reaper function whereby misunderstandings with no benefits are less likely to survive than misunderstandings with benefits - so expressing a half-assed idea sometimes might produce a better result for someone that misunderstood it (in a better way than it originally was expressed), and thereby it'd have enriched mankind. Also, a lot of communication is not so much about transferring perfect ideas anyway, but about transferring sufficiently close approximations.
If you cannot reach close enough approximations for your purpose*, you should probably change your approach. A screwdriver isn't very useful when you need to hammer in nails.

* how do you measure that, even? How would one know whether one were using a flawed metric for it?
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#105  Postby theropod » Sep 26, 2010 12:48 am

Hmm,

Somehow this thread fell off my radar. Consider any help I may offer formally offered. :clap:

(Now off to read what I've missed to date). :cheers:

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Re: The book... I Need You!

#106  Postby Blitzkrebs » Sep 26, 2010 4:46 am

It must feature pictures and artwork, which I am willing to provide in exchange for only 50% of your earnings. Some ideas:

- cartoons depicting how thoroughly fucked life would be if various creationist flood models were accurate.
- caricatures of leading creationists
- a cartoon at the beginning of every chapter summerizing the contents there of

That's all I have at the moment.
ikster7579 wrote:Being rational is just an excuse for not wanting to have faith.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#107  Postby Bud's Brain » Sep 30, 2010 2:55 pm

:coffee:
So many Christians, so few lions.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#108  Postby LarianLeQuella » Oct 01, 2010 7:11 pm

Consider my help in whatever way offered!

I did a presentation for my daughter's school on skepticism and the like and made sure to point out that it is NOT cynicism or denialism. If you want to do some sort of thing like that for critical thinking. Sometimes defining what it is NOT can help, since too many people fall into that trap of not really understanding what something is, and only going by what they may erroniously have been told.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#109  Postby z8000783 » Oct 02, 2010 7:20 am

hackenslash wrote:I've actually been thinking about that a bit. How about Oh, Really? (An Everyday Guide To Assessing Claims)?


Oh, Really? An Everyday Guide To Determining Reality

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I don’t simply believe in miracles - I rely on them
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#110  Postby Loke » Oct 19, 2010 3:35 pm

Has the cover or blurb been considered?
So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence

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But wisdom is proved right by her actions

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Re: The book... I Need You!

#111  Postby hackenslash » Oct 19, 2010 3:39 pm

Not really. Those things will stem from the content, I suspect. Having produced quite a few albums, that's how it usually happens.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#112  Postby Ronja » Oct 22, 2010 5:32 pm

Darwinsbulldog wrote:Hmmm..., a vital part of critical thinking is loading up the brain with relevant information on the topic. The best way to get information is from original research and the papers that present that information. I think I will write a little piece on how to read scientific papers. We all know that there is a "literature" [cough!] of pseudo-scientific clap-trap, and so being able to tell the difference is vital.

You are absolutely correct, academic reading skills are a part of a critical thinker's necessary toolbox. I would love to collaborate on this part, but preferably by proofreading / commenting around Winter Solstice, because I'm going to be super-busy until then.

Do check out the contents and literature list of the handouts I put together when I taught scientific writing in English in a whole semester paper-writing seminar format 2002-2005, some of that stuff should be useful (though unfortunately very little of what I used then was from online sources - the handouts were traditional paper copies). There was even a little bit about reading there, in the "beginning" part.

Full source listing is at the end of this page: http://www.tml.tkk.fi/Opinnot/Guides/T- ... /Handouts/

1. Basic concepts about SciWri: http://www.tml.tkk.fi/Opinnot/Guides/T- ... cture.html
2. How to begin (includes how to find literature and read it): http://www.tml.tkk.fi/Opinnot/Guides/T- ... nning.html
3. The parts of a scientific/scholarly article: http://www.tml.tkk.fi/Opinnot/Guides/T- ... tails.html
4. Writing, presenting, and reviewing well: http://www.tml.tkk.fi/Opinnot/Guides/T- ... nuing.html
5. Good scientific/scholarly English: http://www.tml.tkk.fi/Opinnot/Guides/T- ... guage.html
6. LaTeX & BibTeX: http://www.tml.tkk.fi/Opinnot/Guides/T- ... ormat.html
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#113  Postby Oldskeptic » Oct 24, 2010 9:53 pm

@Hackenslash:

Somehow I missed this thread until now. I like the idea of the book, especially that it might actually happen. In fact I’ve had the same sort of idea for a while, just not a conviction to see it through. I have made a start though, and I donate the first part of it. Use it as you see fit; in its entirety, as fodder for thought, or not at all.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Think About It!
How we often do it the wrong way - How to try to do it better


Introduction


Everyone thinks that they think logically, we do, just not all of the time. Everyone thinks that they are rational, we are, just not all of the time. Everyone thinks that they are open minded, we are, just not all of the time. Many of us, though, do not like to think of ourselves as skeptical because the term seems to bring up ideas like cynical and or contrary for no good reason, and there were probably good reasons for this in the past. Not logical or rational reasons, but good reasons in that they can be explained by how people reason - more on this later.

Why do we often think about things the wrong way? Because our brain, all though it does quite a bit of thinking in the off hours, did not evolve to do much thinking. Our brain evolved to promote survival in a hostile environment, and the main concerns were finding something to eat and not getting eaten in the process - more on this later.

How can we try to do better if our brains did not evolve to think logically or rationally? Because a byproduct of being able to figure out how to find enough to eat and how not to get eaten is being able to try to figure out other things when our brain is not occupied by the two main processes - more on this later.

There is a common quip on internet forums among skeptics, “Do you have any evidence for this?” It goes like this someone posts something like, “ All that skeptics want is evidence.” then the quip, “Do you have any evidence for this?” It’s amusing as an inside joke, but it’s not really what being a skeptic is all about. There is no need to be skeptical about everything in daily life. In fact if the human brain had evolved as a skeptical organ there would probably be no humans around today. Is it a lion or a shadow that looks like a lion? It does not matter, thinking about it is not the best thing to do. Running to safety is the better option, then think about it.

The brain, yours and mine, jumps to intuitive conclusions everyday all day long about things that are of minimal importance. We would not be human or able to function the way we do without this process, but concerning things of more importance our brains are equipped to think about it logically and rationally. Part of what we all need to learn is what to spend time thinking about and how to go about it.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

I’m a former working board member of Writers @ Work http://www.writersatwork.org/ (The hospitality suite coordinator.) I know a bit about putting sentences and paragraphs together, and I edited my daughter’s accepted peered reviewed submission to a scientific journal. Also I'm a pretty good researcher, and have many ideas and thoughts on this subject. I would be happy to lend any help that I can.

One of my thoughts is that irrational thinking is pretty much the default, everyone does it, some of us just do it more. In my opinion it’s not an us against them scenario. This book, again my opinion, should not be confrontational, controversial Ok. It should make everyone that reads it want think about it. From the “hopelessly credulous” to the solipsistic cynic. That’s a pretty high goal I’ll admit but why not shoot for the moon in the hope of hitting a few ducks?
There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher will not say it - Cicero.

Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead - Stephen Hawking
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#114  Postby ChasM » Oct 27, 2010 2:45 am

How 'bout a chapter on cognitive biases (along the lines of Kahneman/Tversky's experiments)? Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a classic summary of research on how messages that affect/exploit cognitive biases shut down critical thinking. Realizing that there are significant blind spots in human thinking seems like a good place to start.

Edit: ditto Oldskeptic - maybe a short primer on evolutionary psychology: the survival value of assumptions, etc.

Also, invite some psychology peeps in on the discussion - Lazar, as I recall from chats in RDN, was doing his PhD in psych. And, I'm sure, there are plenty of others who would be interested in contributing to this project.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#115  Postby Ronja » Oct 29, 2010 9:42 am

NineOneFour wrote:Does this help?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OLPL5p0fMg[/youtube]


That is a brilliant video! Thanks for the experience, 914, even though I have no idea (yet) how exactly those themes / issues may come into the book project. :thumbup:
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#116  Postby ChasM » Nov 05, 2010 12:26 pm

I hope the book project is still viable.

Cali posted the following which (of course) hits the nail right on the head:
Calilasseia wrote:
my_wan wrote:Ever notice how extremely common it is for religiously oriented people to call that a personal attack? So common I think it's why they get in trouble so easy here. Could it also have something to do with the way the claims of Matt are considered good arguments? I have my blind spots to, but just wondering if there's a common thread in this....


This is a frequently observed part of the supernaturalist aetiology, which points to another important difference betweeen supernaturalists and the critical thinkers here. Namely, that the critical thinkers regard ideas as disposable entities. If appropriate critically robust evidence is presented, that informs us that a particular ideas is a bad idea, then the critical thinkers toss that idea into the bin, and look for a better replacement. A process that mirrors the way science works, namely, test one's postulates against reality, and if reality says that the postulates in question are plain, flat wrong, then the postulates are tossed into the bin, and a new set brought into the arena for testing. Amongst the bad ideas that science has discarded via this process include the alchemical view of the elements, phlogiston, vitalism etc. Indeed, one can visualise the scientific process of discarding bad ideas, and keeping the ones that survive test to destruction, as being akin to a Darwinian selection process, but I digress [...]
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