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.