How to survive in the post-truth era Part 2

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Remember: many individual cases — is not proof

If you prove that global warming is a fiction, citing the extreme cold and blizzards that happened in a certain city last winter, there is reason to question the rightness of the argument. Similarly, the effectiveness of homeopathy is not proved by the fact that someone’s aunt was healed thanks to the wonderful “dummies”. Every rule has exceptions.

Proving his point, people often try to reverse this ratio and throw an exception for the rule.

In this case, you need to be careful and to return this proportion from head to foot.

After that — does not mean owing to that

If you ate Breakfast oatmeal for dinner and felt sick, it is unlikely to ascribe pathogenic properties of oatmeal. Meanwhile, what people do, resort to the trick of post hoc ergo propter hoc. An example of such thinking is ridiculed in “the Story of the monastery’s chaplain” of the medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer: cock and named Chanticler believes that the sun rises again and again because it wakes him up with a song. Don’t be like Chanticleer — not to be confused with the temporal relationship of cause and effect.

Do not rely on the false balance and a misplaced pluralism

The diversity of points of view, which is necessary in politics or aesthetics, and not always appropriate where we are talking about facts. The desire to achieve a balance between the opposing views, often leads to failure: “a point of equilibrium between the rational and the crazy shit is… crazy crap”. If 98% of climate scientists believe in the reality of global warming, the point of view of the remaining two percent is unlikely to pay as much attention.

Intuition often deceives us

If “the sixth sense” tells you the correct solution to the problem, find reason to doubt it. Sometimes intuition really fails (when you get round a dark alley, or rush into the corner to hit put on him a soccer ball), but in the case of rational dispute she is not your helper. You need facts and logical arguments, not feelings, which can lead anywhere.

Doubt their own objectivity

People often pay attention only to information that confirms their existing beliefs. If you believe that you are a good and intelligent man, in whose life everything happens, and your mom said the same to her opinion you will listen more often than to the opinion of the chief, who criticizes you.

Based on such confirmation bias are many omens and superstitions.

If someone broke the pot, and then burst into a quarrel, that fact is well remembered, while other broken pots just fade from memory. To come to the correct conclusion, it is necessary to consider the totality of facts, not only the most beloved and enjoyable of them.

Follow the rules of the game and their violation

Imagine that someone asks you to prove that humans evolved from anthropoid apes. In this case, you can show the remains of the intermediate forms — for example, Australopithecus. But where, I ask you opponent, intermediate form between APE and Australopithecus (as well as between Australopithecus and humans)?

You can present new evidence to how much the stubborn opponent will be not enough. Between the two forms is always possible to insert another link. The same principle works logical fallacy “God of the gaps”, when due to some unknown mystical reason. If we don’t know something, it does not mean that it is unknowable in principle. Most likely, you just need to wait a bit.

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Use methods of scientific thinking

The scientific method, whose foundations were laid in the seventeenth century, has since served people a considerable service (see increased life expectancy, the treatment of many diseases, alleviating hunger, increasing leisure time, etc.) But we still somehow neglected, convinced that know how to think wisely. Meanwhile, reasonable thinking is not something obvious.

Scientists comprehend the world, using the method of deduction and hypothesis. First you need to gather as much information as possible about a particular phenomenon, then formulate a hypothesis that allows him to explain and then make a prediction based on hypothesis.

The forecast must be verifiable confirmation or refutation based on new observations and experiments. This, of course, a slow process, because it is we are often not satisfied. But, correct results are more or less guaranteed.

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