RG_balony_and_strong_inference

RG_balony_and_strong_inference - Evolutionary Dynamics of...

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Evolutionary Dynamics of Sexual Conflict EEB 187-2 Miles Meyer 2/9/08 Reading Guide  for Sagan's "Balony Detection" and Platt's "Strong Inference" 1.  What did Francis Bacon suggest about self-deception and science? Bacon said that humans are biased due to will and affections that may be  unconscious to them.  He says that one would have “science as one would” meaning  that people will rather think something as truth if they really believe it, and may  reject other possible explanations due to impatience, or stubbornness.  He basically  states that affections of people can get in the way of truly understanding science. 2.  Sagan talks about "self-deception" without the words.  What does he say? Sagan seems to refer to self deception as “humans being human”. 3.  According to Sagan, what is the relationship of science to deception? Sagan believed that science and the popular ideas and opinions of the public about  scientific objectivity can be used to deceive people, he notes that through paid  endorsements, real scientists will shill for companies, basically lying for money.  He  also states that scientists must use skeptical thinking and their baloney detection kit  to overcome self deception or biases and reach truths. 4.  What is Sagan's definition of "skeptical thinking"?  How does it relate to deception? Sagan (1996) defines skeptical thinking as “the means to construct, and understand,  a reasoned argument and—especially important—to recognize a fallacious or  fraudulent argument.”(p.210). This is related to deception because skeptical  thinking can be thought of as a process for individuals to recognize when they are  being deceived, and how to protect themselves against deception. 5.  What are Sagan's tools of balony detection?  List what he says to do. a. There must be independent confirmation of the facts. b. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgable proponents of all  points of view. c. Arguments from authority carry little weight, don’t believe everything you hear. d. Spin more than one hypothesis, thinking of all the possible ways something can be  explained. e. Do not get overly attached to your hypothesis, compare it with other hypotheses. f. Quantify everything that you can, to better discriminate among competing  hypotheses. g. When faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well, choose the 
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Evolutionary Dynamics of Sexual Conflict EEB 187-2 simpler one. h. Ask whether the hypothesis can be falsified, or be tested for validity.
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2008 for the course EEB 187-2 taught by Professor Gowaty during the Winter '08 term at UCLA.

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RG_balony_and_strong_inference - Evolutionary Dynamics of...

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