Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist : The Great Courses: Professional

  • by The Great Courses, Michael Shermer
  • Narrated by Professor Michael Shermer
  • Series: The Great Courses: Professional
  • 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Despite our best efforts, we're all vulnerable to believing things without using logic or having proper evidence—and it doesn't matter how educated or well read we are.
But there is a method for avoiding such pitfalls of human nature, and it's called skepticism. By using rational inquiry and seeing subjects from a scientific perspective, we can approach even the most sensitive claims with clear eyes to ultimately arrive at the truth.
During 18 lectures that will surprise, challenge, and entertain you, you will learn how to think, not just what to think—and you'll come to understand why extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
You'll discover how skepticism can help differentiate between real science and pseudoscience, as well as between "scientific" history and pseudohistory—distinctions that have serious educational and political implications.
Fascinating case studies illustrate how you can apply the methods of skepticism to detect specious claims and faulty logic in any scenario you encounter such as:

The methodology employed by Holocaust deniers
Arguments made by proponents of creationism
The biology of near-death experiences and the sensed-presence effect
Psychic abilities and other "paranormal" phenomena.
As you learn how our brains work to form beliefs, you'll examine the classic fallacies of thought that lead us to experience mistakes in thinking and to form bad arguments in favor of our beliefs.
Is there a God? Is there life after death? Is there a basis for morality without God? Skepticism 101 doesn't shy away from controversial questions, nor does it give final answers. What it offers are methods and hard evidence for rationally evaluating various claims and positions, and an opportunity to understand why you believe what you believe.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not just for Scientists

Excellent review of how science knows how things work, and the limitations of the scientific method.
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- RLH88

A good start to critical thinking

Would you consider the audio edition of Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist to be better than the print version?

I've never seen the print version.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked each section delving more in depth with a good amount of background information.

What about Professor Michael Shermer’s performance did you like?

At the end he refers those more interested in the subject to checkout the magazine and even contact him with questions, which I've done and he responds. Even with the dumb stuff .

What did you learn from Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist that you would use in your daily life?

I'm still going to get nailed with my own cognitive biases but it's always good to remind yourself that they exist which is a good way to minimize the effect.

Any additional comments?

I've read some of the books he mentions, Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World was amazing and my first introduction to his baloney detection. This started out a bit of a rehash on those themes so I expected to not learn a whole lot of new information. A few sections in and the material was much more expanded upon with more background. I'm a fan of VS Ramachandran and Oliver Sacks so if you like those books I think this is a good diversion whilst waiting for their next. I would love to see volume 2 eventually.

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- Feisty Donut

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses