Monday, January 30, 2017


Some University of Washington philosophers are teaching a course this coming spring term on critical thinking. A very specific aspect of critical thinking. Their course title is "Calling Bullsh*t" without the asterisk. Right away, though, I'm disappointed. In their syllabus, the second week's required reading will be a chapter from Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. But Sagan was as much a purveyor of bullsh*t as anyone, especially when accusing others of purveying bullsh*t. The title of the book is one example. Here's another. People who laud themselves as skeptics are only skeptical about what they want to be skeptical about.

(cross-posted at Agent Intellect)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL - Love the comment about Sagan. Brilliant showman, vary biased in some areas.

In my experience, one who tells the truth clearly, impartially and succinctly doesn’t need to “call bullsh*t.” Thomas Sowell is one. When he writes or speaks, the falsehoods can only be missed if one wants to miss them.

Calling BS isn’t an argument; it’s an admission that one hasn’t one. He may be correct, but if he’s unable to show why he is, he’s unlikely to persuade. If one is correct, he owes it to his audience to give them arguments unclouded by emotions that a skilled opponent can use against him.