Here Be Dragons

This has to be one of the most useful free videos I have watched on the internet in a long time. Usually learning about critical thinking skills involves dry reading or listening to lectures by abrasive self important people with poor social skills. Not so here. This free 42 minute video is entertaining, easy to understand, and draws from popular culture for examples. It is educational, fun and useful

You can even download your own copy and freely make a DVD out of it by going here

or just watch it online:

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5 thoughts on “Here Be Dragons”

  1. Interesting, to be sure. It would have been better if he had acknowledged that scientists (and their layman fans) can and do commit errors in critical thinking too. Otherwise, it comes across a bit too much like “everything that says science is good is good, everything that says science is bad is bad,” which is just as uncritical as the opposite perspective.

  2. Buzzard, I’ve had that problem with “those guys” before, but I felt that he was more hip to those issues then the others even if he wasn’t perfect about it. I liked how he made it a point to say that it is human nature to like interesting explanations, that some unprovable beliefs have positive effects on people, and that debunking isn’t a way of life, just a tool to remove impediments to progress. He came across as more human and less judgmental.

  3. I guess I probably haven’t seen as many others of these as you have, so maybe it’s harder for me to appreciate the concessions he makes.

    I do remember reading a book on a similar subject once several years ago (I got it for 50 cents at a book sale or something), and the author was going on about how anyone who believes in God is an idiot because it’s been proven that spiritual phenomena are due to chemicals and electricity in the brain. I was thinking, “But isn’t all human thought due to chemicals and electricity in the brain?”

  4. There are smart people who have unprovable and groundless beliefs. Anybody can see that. That is there to be observed. Human beings aren’t perfect. People aren’t going to listen to people “preaching” the values of critical thinking if those doing the preaching themselves ignore observables.

    It makes me wonder if “those guys” write and speak to help people learn how to avoid being duped, or if they do it out of an ego thing.

  5. Probably some of each. There are lots of people who are entirely sincere about wanting to convince (or “educate”) people of a particular point of view, but they don’t take the time to think about how what they say will be received by people who don’t already agree with them. Or else they think about it, but they’re just not very good at optimizing their message to best suit their audience.

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