How to Think Critically
- How to Think Critically I: Extraordinary Claims (March 30, 2007)
Assertions should be examined with greater skepticism in proportion to the amount of previously established knowledge they contradict.
- How to Think Critically II: Salience (May 22, 2007)
Most people consistently overestimate the probabilities of rare events and underestimate the probabilities of common events.
- How to Think Critically III: Randomness (July 28, 2007)
A failure to grasp statistical principles of randomness and chance leads people to develop all kinds of superstitious beliefs.
- How to Think Critically IV: Falsifiability and the Burden of Proof (November 30, 2007)
People who make positive claims have the obligation to support them with evidence, and we should never believe claims that cannot be tested.
- How to Think Critically V: Double-Blind Tests (December 29, 2007)
The double-blind experimental method is an invaluable way to weed out human preconception and bias.
- How to Think Critically VI: Bayes' Rule (February 22, 2008)
The mathematical principle called Bayes' rule is a tool for assessing conditional probabilities, which people are usually not very good at estimating by intuition.
- How to Think Critically VII: Risk Assessment (May 30, 2008)
Several simple rules of thumb help to counteract common faults in human beings' judgment of risk.
- How to Think Critically VIII: Mills' Methods (August 27, 2008)
Philosopher John Stuart Mill's five rules for rational thought are still worthwhile and useful today.
- How to Think Critically IX: Testimonials (December 26, 2008)
Although testimonials are nearly worthless as evidence, humans continue to be swayed by them.
- How to Think Critically X: Memory & Confabulation (March 28, 2009)
Human memory is basically reconstructive, and as such, often falls victim to subconscious priming and leading questions.
- How to Think Critically XI: The Null Hypothesis (October 29, 2010)
The assumption of chance prevents us from being deceived by spurious and imaginary connections between unrelated events.
- How to Think Critically XII: Anchoring (December 1, 2010)
The brain's tendency to use the first number it sees as a basis for all subsequent estimates is well-known and widely exploited by marketers.