A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

Daniel J. Levitin. Dutton, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-95522-1
Levitin (The Organized Mind) equips readers with tools to combat misinformation—bad data, false facts, distortions, and their ilk—in this useful primer on the importance of critical thinking in daily life. Levitin divides information (and misinformation) into two categories: numerical and verbal. He begins with an examination of both deliberate and uninformed misuses of statistics and how to spot them. The concepts explored in this section are perennial favorites of critical-thinking instruction, including plausibility, “Axis Shenanigans,” and the different types of probabilities. The second section, on evaluation words, explores less trodden grounds; particularly the discussion about expertise, which explores the concept in the context of individuals and institutions, and the ways that this expertise can be misapplied or misinterpreted. In his final third of the book is dedicated to the scientific method and how it actually works, as opposed to pseudoscientific imitations. In all three sections Levitin explores material that has often been written about elsewhere, but the book still serves its purpose as a valuable primer on critical thinking that convincingly illustrates the prevalence of misinformation in everyday life. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-0252-6
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-670-06994-1
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