CAMP 2018: The Science of B.S. Detection Tip Sheet

By Leezel Tanglao


KC Cole, science writer, author, radio commentator, and professor (@kccole314 )

The lead

Science is the art of learning how NOT to fool ourselves, and can teach us a few tricks that come in especially handy for journalists. Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it can’t make a difference.

The Top Five

          • Perception: As a reporter, what you get back depends on what you throw out there.
          • A lot of things that don’t make sense are still true.
          • Measures: Numbers can be used to say anything. So be careful how things are framed.
          • Confirmation bias is default. Everybody has to work against it.
          • Why it’s really important to have affirmative action: You really need to have role models and inclusion.

    The Surprise

    How do you know it’s true? Find as many lines of evidence, if they all point to the same place – it’s preponderance of evidence.

    The Resources

    Books: “Weapons of Math Destruction”, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” books by KC Cole