17.062 new on WWW: Critical Thinking on the Web 5/03

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Jun 06 2003 - 01:55:09 EDT

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

                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 62.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Fri, 06 Jun 2003 06:51:52 +0100
             From: Tim van Gelder <tgelder@unimelb.edu.au>
             Subject: May Additions to Critical Thinking On The Web

    5 Jun

    in Argument Mapping, and Teaching

    Maps Improve Critical Thinking, by Charles Twardy.
    "Computer-based argument mapping greatly enhances student critical
    thinking, more than tripling absolute gains made by other methods. I
    describe the method and my experience as an outsider. Argument mapping
    often showed precisely how students were erring (for example: confusing
    helping premises for separate reasons), making it much easier for them to
    fix their errors." [5 Jun 03]

    4 Jun

    in Great Critical Thinkers - Chomsky

    But for a view from the other side, see
    <http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/21/may03/chomsky.htm>The Hypocrisy of
    Noam Chomsky, by Keith Windschuttle. Australia's roughest intellectual
    street-fighter goes a round with the greatest heavyweight of the Left. A
    knockout blow, or a kick below the belt? [4 Jun 03]

    3 Jun

    in Intelligence

    Compendium of Analytic Tradecraft Notes
    CIA-produced guide to good practice in producing and delivering
    intelligence. Lots of good material here for the intelligence analyst
    wanting to improve critical thinking, or the critical thinker interested to
    learn more from intelligence analysts. [3 Jun 03]

    in Miscellaneous and Fun

    <http://www.sar.bolton.ac.uk/ltl/Workbooks/at_p3.htm>Thinking critically
    about theories in psychology, Learning to Learn, Bolton Institute
    Useful overview of how to tell whether a theory is any good. "they should
    meet the standards implied by the criteria of comprehensiveness, parsimony,
    clarity of constructs, internal consistency, testability, empirical support
    and heuristic value." [20 May 03]

    12 May

    in Health and Medicine - Essays

    <http://www.1freespace.com/ziggyzap/naturopa.htm>The Truth about Natural
    Therapists by Helen Chyrssides
    Intrepid reporter consults 25 randomly-selected naturopaths about a
    supposed feeling of tiredness; she found out "I may have everything from
    poor digestion and a malfunctioning liver to intestinal parasites, breast
    cancer, a blocked ovary, thyroid imbalance and brain lesions, and that I
    could be pregnant (I'm not). They have told me that the true colour of my
    eyes is green or blue, though I'm of Greek ancestry and all my Greek
    relatives have brown eyes, to exercise more, eat less meat, eat more meat,
    cut out dairy foods, consume more dairy foods, avoid wheat, tap water and
    startling noises. In consultations costing from $35 to $170 I have been
    urged to buy supplements ranging in price from a few dollars to over
    $9000." [12 May 03]

    9 May

    in Intelligence (new section)

    Intelligence by Seymour M. Hersh
    Discusses how "the Cabal," a small group in the Pentagon, dominated
    intelligence in the lead-up to the 1993 Iraq war, including promoting the
    view that Iraq had extensive WMD, weapons which (at time of writing) have
    not been found. Contains interesting insights into the nature of
    intelligence and the kind of political and bureaucratic forces which can
    corrupt it. See also this
    with Hersh. [9 May 03]

    in Language and Thought - Reviews


    as a Block for Asians by Emily Eakin, New York Times
    Discussion of William C. Hannas' book The Writing on the Wall, in which he
    argues (according to Eakin) "because East Asian writing systems lack the
    abstract features of alphabets, they hamper the kind of analytical and
    abstract thought necessary for scientific creativity." I don't know whether
    Hannas is right, but it is an interesting idea. And if true, it would help
    explain the apparent "scientific creativity gap" between the West and East
    without reference to different intrinsic abilities. In that sense, it is
    anti-racist thesis. Nevertheless, it is amusing to see the PC-squirming of
    various people quoted in the review. [9 May 03]

    5 May

    in Health and Medicine

    <http://www.policyreview.org/FEB03/gorman.html>Prevention Programs And
    Scientific Nonsense by D.M. Gorman
    Discusses the cancer of anti-science and pseudo-science in the area of
    critical evaluation of programs aimed at promoting health. Seems like in
    many areas the patient is already dead. The article covers some standard
    terrain, but adds some interesting touches. I liked the idea of "lapses
    into reality": it is difficult for postmodernists to consistently maintain
    their confused affectations of rejection of notions such as truth and
    rigorous evidence, so occasionally they fall into playing the game they
    purport to reject. [5 May 03]

    4 May

    in Health and Medicine

    <http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15744>Sex, Lies and Abstinence
    by Jennifer Block.
    Allowing ideology to trump truth and objective inquiry is hardly a
    prerogative of the left/progressive/PC crowd. "Revising the CDC website is
    just one of the many ways the Bush administration has sought to distort and
    suppress scientific inquiry, not to mention sound public health policy,
    that contradicts its so-called family values..." [4 May 03]

    1 May

    in Language and Thought - Reviews


    textbooks: Only men bake cookies in these parts by Merle Rubin Review of
    The Language Police, How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn by
    Diane Ravitch.
    Horrifying. "Ravitch made it her business to investigate "the Language
    Police." What she discovered about the roots and ramifications of this
    eerily Orwellian system is the story told in this book. As the subtitle
    suggests, it is a story of how pressure groups -- left-wing and right-wing,
    large and small -- have managed to control not only the language, but even
    the very subject matter and ideas that appear in the textbooks being used
    in our schools." [1 May 03]

    30 Apr

    in Health and Medicine


    More May Be Too Many by Gina Kolata
    Discusses evidence that "vitamin supplements cannot correct for a poor
    diet, that multivitamins have not been shown to prevent any disease and
    that it is easy to reach high enough doses of certain vitamins and minerals
    to actually increase the risk of disease." Sample of what Kolata finds:
    "Vitamin E supplements can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes,
    and studies of vitamin C supplements consistently failed to show that it
    had any beneficial effects. "The two vitamins that are the most not needed
    are the ones most often taken," Dr. Russell said." [30 Apr 03]

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