the Art of Skepticism in a Data-driven World
The world is awash in bullshit, and we're drowning in it. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. These days, calling bullshit is a noble act. Based on Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West's popular course at the University of Washington, Calling Bullshit is a modern handbook to the art of skepticism. Bergstrom, a computational biologist, and West, an information scientist, catalogue bullshit in its many forms, explaining and offering readers the tools to see through the obfuscations, deliberate and careless, that dominate every realm of our lives. They instruct readers to ask: Who is saying it? How do they know? What do they have to gain by persuading me? Are the numbers or results too good or too dramatic to be true? Is the claim comparing like with like or apples and oranges? Is it confirming your personal bias? In this lively guide to everything from misleading statistics to "fake news," Bergstrom and West help you recognize bullshit whenever and wherever you encounter it--in data, in conversation, even within yourself--and explain it to your crystal-loving aunt or casually racist uncle. Now more than ever, calling bullshit is crucial to a properly functioning community, whether it be a circle of friends, a network of academics, or the citizenry of a nation.
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