Schedule and Readings

Week 1
3/9 Introduction (Powerpoint)
6/9 Context: The Big Picture (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Fallacy of quoting out of context” (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: “In Hobby Lobby We DON’T Trust” (Freedom From Religion Foundation)
Optional Reading: “Cherry Picking: Fallacy of the Day” ((Pseudo-)Science Blog)
Optional Viewing: “TV Tricks of the Trade — Quotes and Cutaways” (Youtube, potholer54)
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)
Announcement: HW1 is due on 10/9. You can submit it via hard copy or by email to michael (dot) dracula (dot) johnson (at) gmail (dot) com

Week 2
10/9 Cognitive Biases 1: Illusory Patterns (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Gilovich Chapter 2
Optional Reading: “I’m Not the Troll, But I Think They Caught One In Their Sample” (Pharyngula)
Optional Reading: Timeline of Jeremy Lin’s Rise to Linsanity and Journey to Where He Is Today
Optional Reading: “Regression to the Mean and Owning Some Chumps” (The Psychology of Video Games)
Optional Reading: “The Doom Switch and Pseudo-Improvement with the Regression Fallacy” (Drag the Bar)
13/9 Cognitive Biases 2 (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Gilovich, Chapter 3
Optional Viewing: Pitfalls of Thinking: Confirmation Bias (1/2)” (C0nc0rdance)
Optional Viewing: “Psychology of Belief, Part 3, Confirmation Bias” (AntiCitizenX)
Optional Reading: Letter to the Editor: “The Best Class I Ever Had: Why Understanding Racism is Hard” (Satya Putumbaka, The Statesman)
Optional Reading: “Confirmation Bias (And Stereotypes) In Action…” (Economists Do It with Models)

Week 3
17/9 Cognitive Biases 3
Optional Reading: Gilovich, Chapter 4
Optional Reading: “Loftus and Palmer” (Simply Psychology)
Optional Reading: Elizabeth Loftus Interview: “I Could Have Sworn…” (Slate)
Optional Viewing: “How Committed Are You?” (Julia Galef, youtube)
Optional Reading: “Under the Threshold: Is There More Than Meets the Eye” (FDU Magazine)
Optional Reading: “COUNTER-ATTITUDINAL ADVOCACY: EFFORT VS. SELF-GENERATION OF ARGUMENTS” (Current Research in Social Psychology)
Optional Viewing: “John Edward Does a Psychic Reading of the GST Studio Audience” (Strombo, YouTube)
Optional Viewing [WARNING: Strong Language]: “The Biggest Douche in the Universe” (South Park)
Optional Viewing: “BBC Bullshit Detectors Exposes Three Mediums” (ItsMeCactusJack, YouTube)
20/9 NO CLASS (Day after Mid Autumn Festival)
HW2 is here

Week 4
24/9 Cognitive Biases 4: Probability
Optional Viewing: “Why your maths skills can be biased” (youtube, DrawMeWhy)
Optional Reading: “Base Rate Fallacy” (Wikipedia)
Optional Viewing: “Counting Carefully: The Base Rate Fallacy” (youtube, Simple Scientist)
Optional Reading: “The quiet scandal of the HIV home test” (CNN)
Optional Reading: “False Result Fear over DNA Tests” (Nick Paton Walsh, The Guradian)
27/9 Ancient Aliens (Powerpoint)
Required Viewing: “Ancient Aliens: The Series” (Season 1, Episode 1: The Evidence)
Optional Reading: “Ethics and Ancient Aliens” (Jason Colavito)
Optional Reading: “Flying the Saqqara Bird” (Martin Gregorie)
Optional Viewing: Ancient Aliens Debunked
Optional Reading: Ancient Aliens Ate My Homework

Week 5
1/10 NO CLASS (National Day)
4/10 Logical Fallacies 1
Optional Reading: “An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments” (Ali Almossawi)
Optional Reading: “Logical Fallacies Handlist” (Dr. L. Kip Wheeler)
Optional Reading: “Appeal to Authority” (The Nizkor Project)
Optional Reading: “The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations”
Optional Reading: “Critiquing a Classic: The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations” (Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine)
Optional Reading: “Don’t Waste Your Time with This Survey” (Pharyngula)

Week 6
8/10 Logical Fallacies 2 (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Debunking Handbook” (Cook and Lewandowsky)
Optional Reading: “Ecological Fallacy” (Freedman)
11/10 The Scientific Method (Powerpoint)
Homework 3 is here

Week 7
15/10 Experimental Design (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)
18/10 Randomized Controlled Trials (Powerpoint)
Optional Viewing: “Public Reaction to White Male vs Black Male Stealing a Bike” (marvalllman, Youtube)
Howmework 4 here

Week 8
22/10 Placebos (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)
Optional Reading: “Can we finally just say that acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo? Can we? (2012 edition)” (Respectful Insolence)
25/10 Nocebos
Optional Reading:
“Deepak Chopra, placebo effects, and The Secret” (Respectful Insolence)
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: “Refugees of the Modern World” (Joseph Stromberg, Slate)
HW5 is here

Week 9
29/10 Statistical Significance, Effect Size, and Sample Size (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading:
“How to Read and Understand a Scientific Paper: A Guide for Nonscientists” (Violent Metaphors)
Optional Reading: “What is a Null Hypothesis?” (Null Hypothesis: The Journal of Unlikely Science)
Optional Reading: “Statistical Hypothesis Testing” (Wikipedia)
Optional Viewing: “What Is a T-Test?” (StatsCast)
Optional Reading: “Belated Retraction of Seralini’s Bad Anti-GMO Paper (Pharyngula)
Optional Reading: “Tenured Faculty Tie Shoes; Crowd Cheers Wildly” (Tenured Radical)
Optional Reading: “Odds In the News” (Family Inequality)
Optional Reading: “Thou Shalt Not Report Odds Ratios” (Language Log)
1/11 Placebo Medicine (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Chinese Herbal Formula Reduces Hot Flashes Linked To Menopause” (Medical News Today)
Optional Reading: “Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine” (Slate)
Optional Reading: “Chairman Mao: The Real Inventor of ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’” (Respectful Insolence)
Optional Reading: “I Kind of, Sort of Might, But Not Really, Believe in Astrology” (Katie Heaney, Pacific Standard)

Week 10
5/11 Problems with Science
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)
Optional Reading: “How Science Goes Wrong” (The Economist)
Optional Reading: “Trouble at the Lab” (The Economist)
Optional Reading: “Bad Science” (Language Log)
Optional Reading: “False Positives: Fraud and Misconduct are Threatening Scientific Research” (The Guardian)
Optional Reading: “Half of researchers have reported trouble reproducing published findings: MD Anderson survey” (Retraction Watch)
Optional Reading: “Does Scientific Misconduct Cause Patient Harm? The Case of Joachim Boldt” (Retraction Watch)
Optional Reading: “The Rise of the Evolutionary Psychology Douchebag”
8/11 Metaanalyses (Powerpoint)
HW6 assigned. Due 15/11

Week 11
12/11 Experts and Authorities (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “How to Spot the Crackpot– Pseudoscience in Pakistan” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, The Express Tribune)
Optional Reading: “We Fact-Checked Snapple’s ‘Real Facts’” (The Atlantic)
Optional Reading: “Diploma Mills Infest Beijing” (The Economic Observer)
Optional Reading: “Christopher Monckton” (DeSmogBlog)
Optional Reading: “Deepak Chopra Gets Upset, Tries the Harvard Gambit” (Steven Salzberg, Forbes)
Optional Writing: SCIgen — An Automatic CS Paper Generator
Optional Reading: “Science Reporter Spoofs Hundreds of Open Access Journals with Fake Papers” (Retraction Watch)
Optional Reading: “Stones, Glass Houses, etc.” (Pharyngula)
Optional Viewing: “What the Bleep Trailer” (Youtube)
Optional Reading: “EXPELLED!” (Pharyngula)
15/11 Bad Journalism (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Doubtful News
Optional Reading: POLITICS — Hong Kong NOT World’s Most Racist State After All (Hong Wrong)
Optional Reading: Journalism Warning Labels (Tom Scott)
Optional Reading: “The Quality and Independence of British Journalism”
Optional Reading: “Making Studies out of Nothing at All (Taylor Kubota)
Optional Reading: “Wave Goodby to Global Warming, GM, and Pesticides” (The Independent)
Optional Reading: “Chinese Newspaper Retracts Hoax Story about Father’s Misguided Blind Date” (Huffington Post)
Optional Reading: “Jonah Lehrer, Bob Dylan, and Journalistic Unquotations” (Language Log)
Optional Reading: The State of Science Writing circa 2012: The summer of our discontent, made glorious by the possibilities of our time” (The Panic Virus)
Optional Reading: “Malcolm Gladwell” (SHAME)
Optional Reading: “Digital media cause shallowing of scientific research” (Language Log)
Optional Reading: “The Business of Newspapers is News” (Language Log)
Optional Reading: “Death of Li Wangyang” (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: “Snowden: UK government now leaking documents about itself” (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)
Optional Reading: “George Will: Liberated from the Burden of Fact Checking” (The Loom)
HW8 is here (Due 22/11)

Week 12
19/11 The War on Reality (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Ask an Expert: Do Animals Get Sunburned?” (Smithsonian Magazine)
Optional Reading: Members News (ideas4writers)
Optional Reading: “The Real War on Reality” (Peter Ludlow, The Stone)
Optional Reading: “This Is Why Your Activist Group is Failing so Hard” (Peter Ludlow, Leiter Reports)
Optional Reading: “The Heartland Institute” (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: “Group Marches against Falun Gong on National Day” (SCMP)
Optional Reading: “Large-Scale Anti-Falun Gong Campaign Triggers Fear of Political Oppression in Hong Kong” (Bad Canto)
Optional Reading: “Burger Box: One of the Best Restaurants I’ve Visited in Central” (OpenRice)
Optional Reading: “Yelp Deems 20% of User Reviews “Suspicious” (Market Watch)
Optional Reading: “Confessions of a Fake Web Traffic Buyer (Digiday)
Optional Reading: “Fox News: City Ordinance Protecting LGBT Employees Is “Reverse Discrimination” (Media Matters)
Optional Reading: “Speech and Kirk Cameron” (Whatever)
Optional Viewing: “Communist Media Produces Fake News on 2020 Olympic Games” (YouTube)
Optional Reading: “DEA Accused Of Leaking Misleading Info Falsely Implying That It Can’t Read Apple iMessages” (TechDirt)
Optional Reading: “Snowden: UK Government Now Leaking Documents about Itself” (The Guardian)
22/11 Prior Probabilities: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: Legco Question on Stop and Search
Optional Reading: “The Big Lie of ‘Flight’: Miracles Land Planes” (The Atlantic)
Optional Reading: “Of SBM and EBM Redux. Part I: Does EBM Undervalue Basic Science and Overvalue RCTs?” (Science Based Medicine)

Week 13
26/11 Hyperskepticism (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Why We Can’t Help Ourselves from Caring about Things that Don’t Matter” (The Wire)
Optional Reading: “When Ignorance Begets Confidence: The Dunning-Kruger Effect” (Psychology Today)
Optional Reading: “Evidence-Based Medicine: More Than a Coin-Flip” (Respectful Insolence)
Optional Reading: “The Charge of Hyperskepticism/ Hyposkepticism” (Dia Pente)
Optional Reading: HK’s Slutwalk 2013 Protests Victim Blaming & Rape Myths” (Hong Wrong)
Optional Reading: “Hong Kong’s Official Rape Statistics Vastly Lower Than Grim Reality” (South China Morning Post)
Optional Reading: 10 Reasons You Should Stop Being So Irrationally Upset about Your Hair Being Repeatedly Set on Fire” (Coyote Crossing)
29/11 Review Part I (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science” (Chris Mooney)
Optional Reading: “A Scanner to Detect Terrorists” (BBC)
Optional Reading: “John Derbyshire On Abolitionist Porn And Antebellum Economics” (vdare)
Optional Reading: “‘Climategate’” (FactCheck.org)
Optional Reading: “The 5 Most Popular Ways Statistics are Used to Lie to You” (Cracked)

Week 14
3/12 Review Part II (Powerpoint)
6/12 Last Day of Class: Review Part 3 (Powerpoint)
Optional Reading: “Want to Slim?” (The Daily Mail)
Optional Reading: “P-Value Fallacy on More or Less” (Bayesian Biologist)
Optional Reading: “Heirarchy of Evidence (Wikipedia)
Optional Reading: Embargo Watch
Optional Reading: “Poor, Poor Ida, Or: Overselling an Adapid” (Laelaps)