23 March 2017

Bullshit! Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data Syllabus

We came across this syllabus the other day and can think of many ways in which these open access materials and their analysis can be used in anthropology classrooms, communication skills courses, as well as numerous other applications.

On their homepage, the authors write:
The world is awash in bullshit. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Higher education rewards bullshit over analytic thought. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. 
The authors identify the following learning objectives:

After taking the course, you should be able to:
  • Remain vigilant for bullshit contaminating your information diet.
  • Recognize said bullshit whenever and wherever you encounter it.
  • Figure out for yourself precisely why a particular bit of bullshit is bullshit.
  • Provide a statistician or fellow scientist with a technical explanation of why a claim is bullshit.
  • Provide your crystals-and-homeopathy aunt or casually racist uncle with an accessible and persuasive explanation of why a claim is bullshit.
Some of the highlights include:
  1. Robert Matthews (2000) Storks deliver babies (p=0.008). Teaching Statistics 22:36-38
  2. The Principle of Proportional Ink 
  3. How do you know a paper is legit?  
  4. Musicians and Mortality 
These are just a few of the many gems found in this treasure trove developed by Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West from the University of Washington.

All open access resources. The latest in 'personal education'.

Quick Links and further reading: