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Monument, CO, US | Member Since 2013

  • 4 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 110 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015

  • The Art of Critical Decision Making

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Michael A. Roberto
    • Narrated By Professor Michael A. Roberto

    Learn to approach the critical decisions in your life with a more seasoned, educated eye with this fascinating 24-lecture series that explores how individuals, groups, and organizations make effective decisions. The heart of this accessible series is a thorough examination of decision making at three key levels. First, you'll look at decisions made at the individual level, where, among the many things you'll learn is that intuition is more than just a gut instinct and, in fact, represents a powerful pattern recognition capability.

    PHIL says: "Very rewarding, fulfilling its promise"
    "Good course but broad brushes a lot"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The political and PR POV were glossed over, especially in the Shuttle disasters.

    Richard Feynman's analysis stated that management inexplicably believed the probability of failure to be 1000 times less than their working engineers. Feynman concludes "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled"

    The Shuttle disaster was more than poor decision making. It bordered on a cavalier incompetence by management but the course painted the management in a much better light.

    Case studies have strengths and weaknesses because what is presented is only what supports the conclusion. The shuttle disaster are but one. Having read some of the analysis on these events, I think that the course really misses the mark here and Incredibly, partially blamed the engineer for not making a better case!

    What did you like best about this story?

    The last part of the course had good material. In the end it emphasized techniques to ferret out problems that can be solved earlier vs later.It provided techniques that will help foster discussion, debate and result in better decisions

    What about Professor Michael A. Roberto’s performance did you like?

    Very good performance although there was a tendency at times to use straw man arguments.

    Was The Art of Critical Decision Making worth the listening time?

    Very good course. Offered a lot of very good ideas and techniques to combat group think and other decision making pitfalls.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist

    • ORIGINAL (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Michael Shermer
    • Narrated By Professor Michael Shermer

    Despite our best efforts, we're all vulnerable to believing things without using logic or having proper evidence—and it doesn't matter how educated or well read we are.

    Sam Motes says: "Don't be deceived, this is a great listen"
    "Dogmatic with little critical thought"

    There were a couple of good chapters, but for the most part full of inconsistencies and fallacies.

    His delivery is mostly wooden, like he is reading a script. Otherwise, he is smug, condescending and arrogant. He assumes evolution is absolute truth, so much for critical thinking.

    My background is science and engineering and his errors drove me crazy.

    Bottom line: He does not address why people would take shortcuts in reasoning and critical thought. He misses on incentive analysis. A real waste of time

    Read Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics. It is much better at critical thought and the means of investigation. Sowell is fair, entertaining and presents based on evidence and not wild conjecture and speculation like this guy.

    The problems with this lecture are too numerous to mention but let me list a few.

    He predominately falls into several logical fallacies and hypocrisies. His favorite fallacies are the Appeal to Authority, Appeal to Expertise, Bandwagon and Appeal to Ignorance and he maddeningly misuses the term Begging the Question. In addition, he does not have the same skepticism for evolution, climate change as he does UFOs, creation, etc. Nobody should get a pass. Otherwise, all they have to do is exclaim peer review and science and you salivate like Pavlov’s dog.

    Error 1 - He conflates experimental with observational science as if the quality of the data is the same. Experimental science allows for control of the variables and repeatability. This allows for reruns to correct for critiques and errors. Observation science has no such control and is left to speculations and assumptions on the data collected.

    Error 2 - Dogmatic respect for science and scientists surprisingly without any skepticism

    For example, given the Climate Science data, models and prediction, a cursory review would raise huge red flags. Clues? Notice that any outcome cold weather, hot weather, more snow, less snow is always evidence of Climate Change? It is thus irrefutable, untestable and NOT science.

    The same is true for macro evolution which he assumes is true. Anything that is found is attributed to evolution. Thus, how can it be refuted? So – not science.

    He had a segment on the “god helmet” which uses magnetism to induce various experiences such as out of body experience and demons. This is to support that there is no soul, angels, or supernatural. Of course it really doesn’t. It is like saying that we found the parts of the brain that process vision so there is nothing external that imparts the images but simply a manifestation of the brain.

    Taken to its conclusion, how do we know that a more sophisticated helmet does not induce our entire life experience?

    This is a manifestation of Barkley philosophy where our experience is nothing but mind? Hmmm

    He spends most of his time on arguments against UFOs, aliens, etc but very little on the important stuff. He assumes evolution is absolute truth, i.e. dogma. This is his religion, which he uses to explain and discount the other religions.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Steven Novella

    No skill is more important in today's world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in an effective and responsible way. What's more, at no point in human history have we had access to so much information, with such relative ease, as we do in the 21st century. But because misinformation out there has increased as well, critical thinking is more important than ever. These 24 rewarding lectures equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to become a savvier, sharper critical thinker in your professional and personal life.

    Jason says: "Clear thinking is valuable beyond measure!"
    "Full of Contradictions"

    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

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Grant Hardy

    Western philosophy is a vast intellectual tradition, the product of thousands of years of revolutionary thought built up by a rich collection of brilliant minds. But to understand the Western intellectual tradition is to get only half the story. The Eastern intellectual tradition has made just as important a contribution-and is also the product of thousands of years of cumulative thought by a distinct group of brilliant thinkers. Their ideas demonstrate wholly different ways of approaching and solving the same fundamental issues that concerned the West's greatest thinkers, such as . the existence of God; . the meaning of life; and. the nature of truth and reality.This epic and comprehensive 36-lecture examination of the East's most influential philosophers and thinkers-from a much-honored teacher and scholar-offers a thought-provoking look at the surprising connections and differences between East and West. By introducing you to the people-including The Buddha, Ashoka, Prince Shotoku, Confucius, and Gandhi-responsible for molding Asian philosophy and for giving birth to a wide variety of spiritual and ideological systems, it will strengthen your knowledge of cultures that play increasingly important roles in our globalized 21st-century world.

    Michael says: "Great Lectures among the best of the Great Courses"
    "Among the Best Great Courses = Don't Miss"
    What did you love best about Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition?

    Dr Hardy has a complete mastery of the material. It sounds like he is recalling from memory and it comes across as very conversational. He brings to light the genius of the philosophical thought from India and China and then includes Japan and Korea.
    The history of the East is enlightening

    What other book might you compare Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition to and why?

    The closest comparison is to The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida. However, I think this was better.

    The performance was outstanding. Mastery of the material. Conversational and Enthusiastic. You could tell he loved the material and he could not wait to tell you all about it.

    The Story was great. Dr Hardy was careful to repeat any lists and he went through them methodically and clearly.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    Favorite part.

    There were many interesting and entertaining parts. You learn about "one hand clapping" and "shooting the messenger"

    However the most memorable part that I paused and listened to over and over was:
    Study Extensively
    Inquire Carefully
    Ponder Thoroughly
    Sift Clearly
    Practice Earnestly - Zhu Xi

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I cried when it was over. I wanted to continue to hear more. I will definitely be listening to this one again and take more notes.

    Any additional comments?

    Thought provoking
    You will definitely come away with a better appreciation of Eastern thought. You will also have a lot that can be applied to your life, like the following:
    Knowledge and Action Must go Together

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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