Individuals looking for reaffirmation of their skepticism of, or those looking to walk out from the shadows of pseudo-science.
There is no skill building here. The book lays out the world as the author (and for the most part the scientific community at large) sees it; but provides nothing for the reader that can be used to build on their existing critical skill set. An individual struggling to shake off belief in the existence of Bigfoot may find this book useful; but if you are a professional looking to add something to your toolkit with regards to your own critical thinking process, the author has nothing to offer you. Don't waste your time.
I have listened to several lectures in this series and loved every one. Not so much this one, though. I keep rereading the title to see if it might give me some indication where I went wrong. But, no. That's no help.
Going into the lecture, I was expecting Professor Novella to instruct us on ways to use the scientific method to think about things in a critical way. That's not what this lecture is about at all. Instead, it is about how to think critically about science.
In the first two or three sessions he does touch on some practical uses of critical thinking, and then again in the final session. The rest of the time he spends talking about scientists who have made mistakes and people who believe in kooky ideas, like cult teachings.
I initially chose this lecture over, say, Important Pharaohs of Egypt, because of something I recently heard on the news. The White House held a press conference to let people know that the government healthcare website was safe and had not been hacked. Normally I don't pay much attention to White House press conferences, but this one struck me because there was no news report before hand to indicate that the website was unsafe. This, therefore, led me to think that this was the result of a logical fallacy. Someone was poisoning the well. Someone who is opposed to government healthcare started a rumor, and people who weren't using their critical thinking skills spread it around, thus causing the White House to address a problem that did not exist.
Because of this, I wanted to know more about how our brains work, and why people let themselves get carried away by things they haven't fully thought through. Not about the drudgery of scientific proof.
There is one thing about this lecture that I did like, however. While I was sitting there listening, trying very hard to learn something new, I realized that my level of critical thinking is above normal. Learning by not learning. Hmm...
I'm not saying this is a bad lecture. It will be very interesting to someone who has never heard this information before. It's very important to learn how to call BS when it needs to be called. But I didn't find this lecture helpful. Perhaps I am just to skeptical about everything already.
Greetings. My brother introduced me to Audible in 2011. Since, nothing but enjoyment. Hopefully my reviews are very useful to you. Enjoy!
Yes I would. Very informative and exposes the listener to things going on that impact your life that you know nothing about and no way to offset it. It provides very useful info regarding nearly every aspect of your life. The narrator/professor speaks in layman term. Very pleasant to listen to.
With a bit of research I feel I could have given just as good a course myself. It's terrible to listen to an author who doesn't follow his own advice, one who uses contradictory ideas to prove his own theories. I found myself arguing with this professor quite a lot because of not very well articulated references.
I received some good points on critical thinking but felt the author promoted his own point of view more than being objective as he was telling us to be.
I found this narrator a tough listen.
I would describe this as 11 hours and 56 minutes of talking points, with most of the underlying supporting research and references left out. You will get a lot of good cocktail party conversation out of this, but you will have to do your own research if you are going to make any kind of informed judgment as to the potential validity of what is being presented.
The title of this presentation is way off the mark. If you are looking for Effective Communication Skills technique, you need to look elsewhere.
I'm a big fan of non-fiction books about the way our minds work, the way our logic works, etc... Books like "Thinking: Fast and Slow" are fascinating but at times can be overwhelming in their depth and length. This set of lectures is a concise yet all encompassing overview of the whole subject. It's got enough depth to sink your teeth into, without beating over the head with too many example, and it moves from subject to subject at a pace that keeps things interesting. You'll definitely want breaks to process some of the information, as listening to 5-6 lectures straight might make your eyes glaze over. But overall, this is the best of the great courses, in my opinion.
Dr. Novella is very good at communicating, which made this course easy to listen to. Of course the content was excellent as well.
I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about how science, skepticism, or critical thinking.
The Professor engages in a tour of how flawed your brain is and how you cannot trust your brain. He also offers examples to illustrate the point but I found several inane.
For example, he a made a point to state that a pilot diverted his ship because of a UFO but turned out to be a Mylar balloon. Obviously he does not consider that the term UFO means "unidentified flying object" which is what the pilot reported.
From a lecture series on critical thinking, I expected the words and sentence structures to be a little more precise. It got a little loose thus clarity was lost.
He also offers a lot of evolutionary explanations and uses a "bandwagon" fallacy to support evolution. He speaks of gaps in evolution as if it is mere details instead of very large holes in evolutionary theory. Instead of embracing this critical thinking he dismisses it with an ad hominem "Evolution Deniers".
Then he engages in the construction of logical argument. Given that he argued that your brain is flawed and cannot be trusted, why should anyone take the arguments and logic from someone else's brain?
BHis explanation on logical argument is a bit weak. You'd be better off getting a quick primer. He confuses terms and conflates them.
Have not finished the lectures but am not finding them worthwhile
This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to and my favourite so far of The Great Courses
Professor Novella is easy to listen to, simplifies topics so they are understandable without 'dumbing it down' for his audience.
Everyone should to listen to this and use these tools of critical thinking in everyday life.