Monday, September 26, 2016

NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "A Field Guide to Lies"

"Why we believe what we read on the internet" PBS NewsHour 9/21/2016

My advice.  Never believe ANYTHING that you cannot independently verify, or is from a source that provides no links back to itself, or to documents that are quoted in the post.


SUMMARY:  In the digital age, we have access to all the information that we could ever want.  But that means there’s also a lot of misinformation out there.  How do we know what’s true and what isn’t?  That’s what Daniel Levitin attempts to teach readers of his new book, “A Field Guide to Lies.”  Jeffrey Brown sits down with Levitin to learn how we can sift through the digital field of information.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain said that.

And imagine what he would make of the Internet, when everything is available and we’re sure we know so much.  But do we?

The Twain quote appears at the beginning of a new book titled “A Field Guide to Lies:  Critical Thinking in the Information Age.”

Our guide is Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and bestselling author of books, including “This Is Your Brain on Music” and “The Organized Mind.”

And, Dan, welcome to you.

Your starting point, we’re bombarded with information, but it’s harder than ever to know what’s true.

DANIEL LEVITIN, Author, “A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age”:  We’re making more and more decisions every day.  I think a lot of us feel overloaded by the process.

And, as you say, it’s getting harder and harder to know, when you find things on the Internet, what you can believe and what you can’t.  And there isn’t really anybody doing it for us.

JEFFREY BROWN:  And you see this everywhere.  You go through both data, numbers, and — and, well, everything, right?


I mean, it’s in Facebook and in statistics and in things that politicians say.  And it’s in headlines.  It’s in representations that a salesman might make to you.  It’s everywhere.

JEFFREY BROWN:  It’s clearly annoying you, right, as a scientist.  You don’t — you just don’t like this world.


DANIEL LEVITIN:  Well, I like a world where each of us has the tools to be able to make able to make our own decisions.

I don’t think I’m always right, but I would like to empower people to come to sound conclusions using a systematic way of looking at things.

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