Course Schedule

Course Schedule

Note: I will try as hard as possible to keep to the following schedule, but it is nevertheless subject to adjustment, as needed.

Week 1
Topic: What is critical thinking? and The big picture: context
12/9 Introduction (powerpoint)
14/9 Context (powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Fallacy of quoting out of context (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: Talk Origins: The quote mine project
Optional Reading: “Obama’s Imperial ‘I’: spreading the meme” (Language Log)
Optional Reading: Controversial Gay-Parenting Study Is Severely Flawed, Journal’s Audit Finds (Chronicle of Higher Education)
HW 1 assigned 14/9
Remarks on HW1

Week 2
Topic: Cognitive biases I
19/9 Cognitive Biases 1 (powerpoint)
Due: Homework 1
Optional Reading: Gilovich Chapter 2
21/9 Cognitive Biases 2 (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Gilovich, Chapter 3
HW 2 assigned

Week 3
Topic: Cognitive biases II
26/9 Cognitive Biases 3 (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Gilovich, Chapter 4
Optional Reading: “Loftus and Palmer” (Simply Psychology)
HW 2 due
28/9 Cognitive Biases 4 (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Base Rate Fallacy” (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: “The quiet scandal of the HIV home test” (CNN)
HW 3 assigned

Week 4
Topic: Logical fallacies
3/10 Fallacies 1 (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes’ Theorem” (Eliezer S. Yudkowsky)
5/10 Fallacies 2 (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Debunking Handbook” (Cook and Lewandowsky)
Optional Reading: “Ecological Fallacy” (Freedman)
HW 4 assigned 5/10

Week 5
Topic: The scientific method, Experimental design, and Causation vs. correlation
10/10 The Scientific Method (Powerpoint)
12/10 Experiments (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “No Bacon Shortage in 2013″ (International Business Times)
Optional Reading: “How the Web Prevents Rape” (Slate)
Optional Reading: “Lucia de Berk: A Martyr to Stupidity” (Bad Science)
Optional Reading: “First Recorded Experiment? Daniel 1: 1-16″ (Omni Brain)
HW 5 assigned

Week 6
Topic: Controls, blinding, placebos, nocebos
17/10 Randomization and Controls (Powerpoint)
19/10 The Placebo Effect (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Knee Surgery No Better than Placebo” (ABC News)
Optional Reading: “The Depressing News about Antidepressants” (Newsweek)
Optional Reading: “Acupuncture for Pain No Better Than Placebo — And Not Without Harm, Study Finds” (ScienceDaily)
Optional Reading: “No to homeopathy placebo” (Edzard Ernst, The Guardian)
Optional Reading: “Placebo Ethics” (Science-Based Medicine)
HW 6 assigned

Week 7
Topic: Statistical power, and statistical and clinical significance
HW 6 due
24/10 Evaluating Results (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “What is a Null Hypothesis?” (Null Hypothesis: The Journal of Unlikely Science)
Optional Reading: “Statistical Hypothesis Testing” (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: “Thou Shalt Not Report Odds Ratios” (Language Log)
26/10 Statistical Power (Powerpoint)
Important: No HW 7

Week 8
Topic: Meta-analyses
31/10 October 31st Lecture (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Dangers of Chinese Medicine Brought to Light by DNA Studies (Science Now)
Optional Reading: “Symptoms Commonly Associated with MSG and Other Excitotoxins” (Say NO to MSG)
Optional Reading: “Why MSG Allergy is Fake Science” (Jeremy Goldkorn, The Guardian)
Optional Reading: “Breaking Down Traditional Chinese Medicine” (NY Times Green Blogs)
Optional Reading: Naturopathic Cancer Treatments versus Reality” (Respectful Insolence)
2/11 November 2 Lecture (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Is It Dishonest to Remove Outliers from Our Data? (Psychab)
Optional Reading: “Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon:An argument for multiple comparisons correction”
Optional Reading: “Precognition Studies and the Curse of the Failed Replications” (Chris French, The Guardian)
HW 8 assigned.

Week 9
Topic: Priors: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
7/11 Meta-Analyses (Powerpoint)
9/11 Extraordinary Claims (Powerpoint)
HW 9 assigned

Week 10
Topic: Experts, authorities, and the appeal thereto
14/11 Authority (Powerpoint)
16/11 HW 8 Discussion (Powerpoint)
HW 10 assigned.

Week 11
Topic: Decisions under ignorance
21/11 Decision Theory (Powerpoint)
23/11 Decisions Under Ignorance (Powerpoint)
HW 11 assigned

Week 12
Topic: Decisions under risk
28/11 Decision Rules (Powerpoint)
30/11 Last Class (Powerpoint)
no homework assigned on 30/11

Week 13
Topic: Wrap-up, catch-up, summary & conclusion
5/12 Review (Powerpoint)