16.394 new on WWW: additions to Critical Thinking

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Dec 30 2002 - 02:13:10 EST

  • Next message: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty

                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 394.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 07:08:51 +0000
             From: Tim van Gelder <tgelder@trinity.unimelb.edu.au>
             Subject: Latest Additions to Critical Thinking On The Web

    30 Dec

    in Experts and Expertise

    <http://www.jacketmagazine.com/17/>Ern Malley Feature from Jacket Magazine
    Can poetry critics distinguish serious poetry from nonsense dressed up as
    poetry? The "Ern Malley" hoax suggests they have serious problems. Poetry
    criticism is akin to reading horoscopes - try hard enough and you can find
    some apparently profound meaning in just about any babble. This website is
    a rich repository of resources on one of the great literary hoaxes of all
    time. [30 Dec 02]

    29 Dec

    in Cognitive Biases and Blindspots - Essays

    <http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,858608,00.html>Hostages to
    Fortune by David Newnham
    Interesting, entertaining essay on why we are superstitious and the
    survival of superstitions in an age of science. "Ask a psychologist, a
    sociologist or an anthropologist what makes us superstitious... and they
    will tell you the same thing. When people feel that they have no control
    over events, they will suspend their belief in the rational and step into a
    world where the rules seem more flexible." On the down side, the essay does
    ramble, is disjointed and confuses the topic of cold reading with that of
    superstition as a response to anxiety founded upon our inherent weaknesses
    in identifying correlations and causal connections. [29 Dec 02]

    23 Dec

    in Skepticism

    <http://www.watchingyou.com/woowoo.html>The Woo Woo Credo from Watching You
    Dot Com
    "To be a proper woo-woo, you must follow these rules: 1. Never look for the
    simplest, most obvious cause of something. Refrain from mentioning Occam's
    Razor (it's your nemesis)... [40 more]. As compiled from various posts on
    sci.skeptic and alt.fan.art-bell. Original idea by Reality Check." [23 Dec 02]

    16 Dec

    in Postmodernism - Essays

    <http://www.vocabula.com/VRNOV02Halpern.asp>The Meaning of Objectivity Part
    1 and <http://www.vocabula.com/VRDEC02Halpern.asp>Part 2, by Mark Halpern
    Quality philosophical discussion of the dangers of postmodernism, if at
    times a little melodramatic: "PM, problematic and potentially dangerous
    even in normal times, is for a civilization under deadly attack a corrosive
    acid that weakens us where we are most vulnerable: not in our airports or
    office buildings or shopping malls, but in our will and our spirit. It is
    bitter beyond irony to observe that what began as an attempt to prevent us
    from being tyrannical and intolerant to others has become a weapon in the
    hands of those who would be so to us." NOTE: to read this you will need to
    subscribe to TVR (well worth it). [16 Dec 02]

    14 Dec

    in General Resources

    <http://www.christianlogic.com/index.html>ChristianLogic.com by Nathianel
    and Hans Bluedorn
    A website all about logic for Christians, with a home-schooling
    orientation. In many ways this is a wonderful, delightful site, with lots
    of interesting material and useful resources. Even as an atheist, I can't
    help admiring the authors for their efforts, though it seems to me that
    logic should be used not only to defend one's faith but to subject it to
    critical scrutiny and to question its fundamental tenets. [14 Dec 02]

    12 Dec

    in Definitions

    <http://assets.cambridge.org/0521009847/sample/0521009847WS.PDF>What is
    critical thinking and how to improve it (pdf file) by Alec Fisher
    Nice introductory survey of many of the most well-known or influential
    definitions of critical thinking. A chapter from Fisher's recent book
    Critical Thinking: An Introduction. Fisher is one of the leading figures
    in the field. [12 Dec 02]

    8 Dec

    in Language and Thought

    <http://www.sourcetext.com/grammarian/less-than-words-can-say/>Less Than
    Words Can Say, by Richard Mitchell, the Underground Grammarian
    The entire text of Mitchell's excellent book on bad language and its
    <http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=pas de deux>pas de deux with bad
    thinking. "Words never fail. We hear them, we read them; they enter into
    the mind and become part of us for as long as we shall live. Who speaks
    reason to his fellow men bestows it upon them. Who mouths inanity disorders
    thought for all who listen. There must be some minimum allowable dose of
    inanity beyond which the mind cannot remain reasonable. Irrationality, like
    buried chemical waste, sooner or later must seep into all the tissues of
    thought." [8 Dec 02]

    7 Dec

    in Hoaxes and Scams - Essays


    Best Friend by Stephen Budiansky
    Dogs are running a gigantic scam on humans. "Dogs are not merely emotional
    con artists: they are also intellectual con artists. They've learned not
    only to fake love; they've managed to convince us that they are a lot
    smarter than they really are. In both cases they play us for the saps we
    are." [7 Dec 02]

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