Think Like a Scientist: Learn How to See the World Differently | Ma'en Al-Zubaydi | Skillshare

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Think Like a Scientist: Learn How to See the World Differently

teacher avatar Ma'en Al-Zubaydi

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

20 Lessons (1h 12m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:02
    • 2. Types of enslavement

      1:46
    • 3. Why our brains are vulnerable

      2:42
    • 4. Are you different?

      1:34
    • 5. The scientific method

      2:52
    • 6. Fact vs Theory

      2:08
    • 7. The scientific community

      1:51
    • 8. The scientific consensus

      3:11
    • 9. Developing intellectual humility

      3:35
    • 10. Accepting our ignorance

      2:49
    • 11. Listening to opposing views

      5:14
    • 12. Personal experience with developing tolerance

      2:17
    • 13. Critical thinking

      4:05
    • 14. Types of persuasion

      4:36
    • 15. Understanding arguments

      5:43
    • 16. Understanding evidence

      2:57
    • 17. Thinking in abstraction

      5:50
    • 18. Thinking in statistics

      5:42
    • 19. Thinking in probability

      5:57
    • 20. Thinking in spectrums

      5:07
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About This Class

Ready to perceive the world the way scientists do? 

We are born vulnerable to manipulation and deceit, and many people have surrendered their freedoms to others because of this weakness. This course will change the way you think and transform your brain into a superior thinking entity that will render you immune to any attempt of deception, manipulation, or control.

This class will also change the way you absorb the information and think about the world like scientists do. Develop more complex thoughts, perceive reality better than most people do, and make life judgments accordingly.

The course is designed to, step-by-step, transform you from an average to a superior thinker.

Section 1 Explains our vulnerability to deception and why every human possesses this weakness

Section 2 Shows the difficulty of finding the truth and therefore why not anyone can come up with truthful claims about the reality of the world we live in

Section 3 Prepares your mind for change, this is the first step to transform you into a superior thinker!

Section 4 Shows you how to systematically judge the merit of any information you receive, enabling you to filter out misinformation people use to deceive and manipulate you

Section 5 Teaches you thinking skills that enable you to form more complex thoughts about the world making you a truly superior thinker who forms more accurate thoughts and makes better life judgements than most people do

Are you sceptical that a one-hour course can change your life like this? Join me in this class and see for yourself

Meet Your Teacher

I am university lecturer with a PhD in Computer Science and four year teaching experience. I teach Java programming, cloud computing and game Unity game development. I have two Android apps active on the market (Novellectual) with 50k+ downloads.

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Welcome to how to think Smart course. My name is Dr. manager Beidi, and I am an academic and a lecturer in computer science. In the first section, we will dive into the human mind, explain its weaknesses, and understand why simply possessing this human brain makes us vulnerable to false information, false beliefs called mentality superstition, without really knowing it. In the second section, we will explore the best methodology humanity has developed for finding the truth about the world. This will help us appreciate how difficult it is to find two answers to our questions and why should we question any beliefs we hold that did not pass through the systemic process of finding the truth. In the third section, we will prepare our minds for change, realize our ignorance, and remove the updraft defenses our brains put up every time we receive information we disagree with. I will also suggest brain exercises that can improve brain tolerance for opposing arguments and allow the brain to properly review arguments before making a judgment about them. And the fourth section, when our minds are primed for accepting positive change, we will learn to filter and review information that we absorb every day so that we are consistently able to filter and true information while blocking out false information. And finally, in the fifth section, we will develop thinking skills that will help us form the correct set of beliefs and ideas based on the external information we receive from our environment and people. Once you have mastered these skills, you will be able to form more complex thoughts and achieve a bigger picture understanding of the world around you far better than most people do. This will lead you to making better decisions in your life, your family, and your community. 2. Types of enslavement: There are many ways people exert control over their fellow human beings. But if we are to categorize them into two main categories, these categories are the enslavement of the body and the enslavement of the mind. Body enslavement in our times manifests in crime such as sex and child trafficking, forced labor. And these practices of enslavement are internationally recognized, condemned and criminalized. And most importantly, this type of enslavement is recognized by its victim. Do. Because as a victim, you know, you're being enslaved. You are aware of the parallels of your situation, at least in most cases. The second type of enslavement is the enslavement of the mind. People whose brains have been hijacked by a radical ideology, political movement, or a cult. Very often these people would resolutely refuse the notion that they are enslaved. They will tell you that they remain free thinkers. And perhaps it is you who is wrong and brainwashed. They will not recognize the parallels of their situation, that their freedom, their fortunes, and sometimes their own lives are being sacrificed in vain. The fact that mind enslavement cannot be recognized by its victims is the reason why this type enslavement is far more widespread in the world. Holding wrong beliefs or ideas is like having cancer because your body does not fight it. Therefore, if your mind is not equipped with the proper thinking skills, you will remain vulnerable to bad influence regardless of how confident you believe that such thing would never happen to you. 3. Why our brains are vulnerable: So why our brains are vulnerable to manipulation? And other words, why are we susceptible to false information or bad influence? The first of two reasons that I believe are most relevant to answer this question is one that relates to our evolutionary history. Our species has survived thousands of years of harsh and dangerous environments that presented many threats to our survival every day. And many of these threats will kill you on your first slip-up, never giving you a chance to learn from experience. It was therefore evolutionary necessary for the young to heat the commands of the adults with that question, because learning only from personal experience can sometimes prove fatal. Don't touch fire, don't eat that poisonous plant, and so on. Children that he did commands without question have survived long enough to have their own children. Why those who chose to ignore commands experienced these deadly pleasures and died young before passing their genes to newer generations. So by natural selection's, the genes that prompted children to consider everything you tell them to be true now dominates our species. This is why it is fairly easy to manipulate or recruit children into any cause or dogma or movement with that question. And if these children are not properly educated and equipped with the proper thinking skills, they will carry this vulnerability into adulthood. The second reason we are vulnerable is that our brains usually tend to jump to conclusions in order to save us both energy and time. We tend to quickly jump to conclusions whenever we encounter new information, despite the lack of evidence that supports our quick conclusions, this trait has helped our ancestors survive their environments by making quick decisions in harsh environments. But on the other hand, it also hinders us from adequately processing new information before making judgments, which could cause false ideas to take root in our brains and become ingrained into our beliefs. These are some of the traits that make our brains vulnerable to manipulation, called mentality and superstition. And the main point to drive here is that because you possess the same biological brain as your fellow human beings, you are just as vulnerable. So accepting the fact that your brain is not invincible is the first step to take towards developing the proper tools to fortify your brain against those who would drop you of your rights to think independently. 4. Are you different?: So now that we learned about the types of control and the risk to our ability to truly think for ourselves. The question is, are you different? Would this never happened to you? To break this down, let's first agree that you certainly believe this happens to other people. People you disagree with. For example, you believe that your set of beliefs is true and that their set of beliefs is false. Because if you believed otherwise, then you wouldn't have held these set of beliefs in the first place. We can also agree that those people you disagree with thing the same as you. They will also argue with equal assertiveness. That is you who is ignorant, and it is you who holds the full set of beliefs, not them. So in an argument, both parties that possess the same biological brain are absolutely sure of their position. Yet in reality, often only one can be true. What does this show us? It shows that believing something to be true does not prove it to be objectively true. Since one party of the discussion must be wrong, and that party could be you. Therefore, you should not be content with holding a certain belief if you have not trained your brain to properly review and scrutinize every piece of information that receives before using that information to form an opinion or belief. Because you could always be on the wrong side of an argument. 5. The scientific method: Truth is sought for its own sake. Finding the truth is difficult. And row 2, it is rough. For the truths are plunged in obscurity. These are the words of the resin and his work titled Doubts Concerning Ptolemy. And these words remain true today. Finding the truth about the world is an extremely difficult task of progressing through a rigorous, structured, scientific process that ends up with you being challenged by your peers on everything you did before you allow to publish your truth. So in this class I will summarize the scientific process just to help you appreciate how difficult it is to be right about any topic worth talking about. So think of a scientific idea you want to prove correct. First, you need to read every scientific piece written about the ideas field of study. This is in order to understand what the community has so far discovered and what remains to be discovered. This will also stop you from searching for answers that were already addressed by someone before you. Say, for example, I have an idea about how workplace environment can improve employee productivity. Reading the published literature first will make me realize that the questions about the workplace productivity have already been answered and disperse me from taking a research project to answer questions already answered by researchers before me. Fewer observations, however, have not been addressed before. And they're worth studying. And you have to structure them within research questions and form testable hypotheses around these questions. The next step is to collect data from the outside world because source of your answers, not your personal opinion or thoughts. The data you collect must be based on predetermined analysis plan because otherwise, you may risk collecting useless data. And there is no undo button in research, if you make a mistake, you lose months of work and you have to collect data all over again. Following step is analyzing your data, often using complex mathematical techniques to finally findings and answer the questions you research started with. This is the summary of the scientific method. A very grueling process that often wanna make you pull out your hair. This is the best method humanity came up with for finding the truth. And any claim someone makes that has not passed through this method should be taken with a grain of salt. Actually buckets lot of salt. 6. Fact vs Theory: People tend to throw the term theory a lot in discussions and often labeled scientific theories as just theory is not facts. And this is supposed to somehow diminish the series merit. But in fact, developing a theory is a very desirable achievement in the scientific community. So let's get straight here. What is a fact and how is it related to a theory? Facts are mere observations about the world we live in. Nothing more. Many sets of facts like DNI cycle have existed before we came to the world and will remain for long after we are gone. So scientific work does not produce facts. Facts already exist. Science actually starts with observing facts and end up with producing Series. Think of Isaac Newton's journey with gravity. It started with him observing the fact that apples fall to the ground and ended up with the Newtonian theory of gravitation. So what is a theory? A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of the fact that reflects our species understanding of why and observed fat is the way it is and how it can be predicted to occur in the future. So how do we get from facts to theories? We do so through the use of the scientific method explained in the previous class. Day crane fourfold example. It is a fact that it rains once and a while, right? Scientists observing rainfall will wonder why rainfalls and will then come up with a different set of testable explanations, which we refer to as hypothesis. These hypotheses are then put to the test to determine their merit. We scratch off the ones that did not pass the test. And the ones that did are grouped into a theory. So developing a theory is what you aspire to achieve as a scientist, not just discovering fat. 7. The scientific community: So what is scientific consensus and why is it always the rational position to take on any subject where consensus has been reached? Before we address that, we need to start with those who reach scientific consensus. Consensus is reached by members of the scientific community. Many people think of this community as a bunch of scientists doing science who could sometimes be right and sometimes be wrong. And not everything they say should be taken as absolute truth. But if we are to accurately characterize this community, we should come up with the following points. The scientific community is composed of some of the brightest minds that have undergone rigorous training on how to discover, explain, and predict the world we live in. To qualify into their ranks, you have to be academically gifted, work very hard at school from a young age, study at University for about ten years, and then embark on a journey of research projects that do not always promised returns for your efforts. And other words, scientists are humanity's best professional truth hunters. And they are the best at their profession. Believing that a normal everyday person can challenge scientists on science is no different from believing that this person can also play with professional footballers have the Champions League. When scientists reach an agreement on something, it is not a matter of matching opinions. It is a matter of matching. The research conclusions were their tests results point at the same thing. And that is what we referred to as a scientific consensus. 8. The scientific consensus: So a consensus is an agreement reached between members of the scientific community based on independent research and diverse that yielded similar findings. This is an incredible and very rare achievement because it is very hard for independent scientific studies to reach a consensus. Because the world we live in is incredibly complex and has tons of variability. So tests based on different research methods done by different researchers will have varying results. So having all the variability in the world and the variability in testing arrive at the same set of explanations and outstanding achievement for science. So a scientific consensus still may not be a perfect representation of the truth, but it is definitely the best weekend achieve as humans. Now, what does that mean for us who are not scientists? Simple. The reasonable and intelligent position to take on any subject in life that we ourselves are not experts on is the position of the scientific consensus. Well, one can argue, what if the scientists turn out to be wrong? Would it have been reasonable to have disagreed with them? And the answer to that is no. Because when scientists get things wrong, we know eventually because they have been corrected by their fellow scientists, not us. So if you have defined a scientific consensus which turned out to be false, it was not because you were trained in the field or you conducted your own tests to arrive at your own conclusions. It was because you struck by scientists will remain the ones who will consistently deliver the best representations of reality, which makes them the most reliable and trustworthy people to do it. If you disagree with this idea, let's consider this thought experiment. Say ion Ronaldo are about to take penalty kicks. I have never been trained in football or its ways. And Ronaldo is Ronaldo. Would it still be possible for an Aldo to Mrs. kick and I to score mine? Yes. Absolutely. But would that make me a better player than Ronaldo? Would I now be worth millions of dollars as an athlete and expected contract for Man United instead of him? The answer is no. Simply because despite that setback, you will be the one that will consistently score penalties and deliver results where I only got lucky ones. This will be evident if we both take a 100 penalties each. On this scale, my luck would have run out and my lack of football skills will manifest in me missing most of my kicks. While Ronaldo's ability and training will manifest in him scoring most of his penalties. This is no different from science. Professional scientists will always remain the ones who will consistently produce results. In scientific inquiry's not us. 9. Developing intellectual humility: One of the common characteristics one would notice speaking to scientists is their intellectual humility. Intellectual humility is presenting a very humble view of your ideas. Even though you are very confident of their merit. Scientists usually expressed their thoughts in a way that first shows them to be not sure about what they say. And second diminishes their credit for being the authors of these two. You will see award winning professor saying things like, I'm not the most expert person on the subject. I may be wrong, but I think this idea is so and so thus appearing uncertain of what they say. Also when they present their research findings, they want say things like I found or I discovered. Instead. They will say, the tests have shown this conclusion to be true. Again, distancing themselves from their work and diminishing their credit for reaching the conclusions they have reached. Now, a few dive into the souls of scientists, you will see that they believed the opposite of what they say. And award winning professor knows they are one of the top experts in their field. They want arguably be wrong if they instead said, as the most expert person on the subject, I believe so. And so because it will can be, for instance, I fresh PhD graduate, I'm the most expert person in the world in my thesis topic. Simply because I was the only one researching it for a period of four years. And this holds true for most PhD graduates, let alone a research professor that has been researching a small area of science for decades. They know that they are experts, but eight on sale because no scientist wants to appear arrogant, which is a characteristic that often goes hand in hand with being ignorant. Scientists also knows that being the one who developed the study and conducted the tests, they own the credit for their findings. We do surely know that tests don't conduct themselves and papers don't pride themselves to. Still, whenever scientists presents their papers, they distance themselves from the work and tried to claim as little credit as they can, only for the reason not to appear arrogant. In contrast, how many times have you come across social media scientists that after two hours of Googling information, they express what they learned, what they believe with absolute unwavering convictions. They want say, I may be wrong. But, so and so I've only started learning about this two hours ago. No, they'll say We are definitely correct. And if you disagree, then you are ignorant, uneducated one, How dare you not to think about things from our point of view, observing those who know and those who don't. It can be argued that those who know have developed humility as a result of learning, and those who remain ignorant have remained arrogant. So to prepare your mind for learning, you have to practice humility. And it starts with accepting ignorance, which we will talk about in the next class. 10. Accepting our ignorance: So understanding our ignorance and accepting it is the first step to prepare our minds for accepting new perspectives and be open for change. We often view ignorance has shameful to the point that we use this word to insult others. We want to distance ourselves from ignorance because it is not characteristic of human civilization. Human civilization is in fact very knowledgeable. The advances mankind has made in science and technology speaks of our collective wisdom. But what we sometimes fail to realize is that while we are collectively wise as human society on an individual level, our very ignorant doesn't matter how many years we spent earning. As individuals, we will always remain more ignorant than wise. Consider yourself as an example. Say that you chose to study electrical engineering at school. The moment you made this decision, you have also chosen to remain ignorant in medicine, law, political science, and every other subject available. And the school you went to, you have even chose to remain ignorant. And other engineering disciplines like mechanical and civil engineering, say that you continue school, do higher degrees to learn more about your discipline, you will become an expert and authority on a very narrow subfield of electrical engineering. But you will remain ignorant in the other subfields that you did not specialize in, at least compared to your fellow academics who did specialize in these other subfields. And scientists know this very well. That the more you learn, the more you realize there are so much more things out there that you don't know and probably never will. When I read the literature around my thesis research area, I found many gaps in knowledge worth researching, but I can only focus on the few that I chose. And I accepted that I will remain ignorant regarding the ones that I didn't. And that is when I learn to accept what every scientists have learned to accept that we as individuals, remain more ignorant than knowledgeable and will likely remain so for the rest of our lives. But that is okay. So instead of thinking about what you know, spur thought, thinking about what you don't. And if you don't have the will or the time or the resources to learn, then it is okay to accept that you will remain ignorant. And in that case, the most rational position to take is to accept the word of the experts. The same way you expect others to accept your word when you speak within your area of expertise. 11. Listening to opposing views: So the next step in preparing our minds for learning and accepting change is listening to opposing views. Listening to opposing views does not mean that we're wrong about what we believe in. But it helps us understand the complexity of people, the world, and how reality is perceived by different people who like you have the same brains and thus the ability to think. So the ability to listen to opposing views is always a winning strategy. Because if your view is false, then you have improved intellectually by changing and adopting a better view, or at least had the opportunity to do so. But if your view is true, then you have learned about the other views around an issue, given you a better understanding of it. And you end up wiser because of that. So you can never lose when listening to people you disagree with. I want to throw a term here, which I call the selfish listener. If you Google the Sturm, you'll see it interpreted differently by different people. But the way I define it is to care more about learning than teaching. Whenever I'm in a discussion or debate. It is to be more concerned with improving your intellectual power than to be concerned with improving the other person. So whenever I enter a discussion, my primary objective is to emerge a wiser person. And whether the opposite side learned something or not, it's up to them. This approach will tackle two big learning barriers our brains setup when we debate people with opposing views. The first barrier is becoming emotionally triggered. When hearing opposing views. We often get frustrated by people who oppose us. We cannot understand why they see the world so wrong. And sometimes we even think they want to offend us by the things they say. The second barrier to listening is a common practice of preparing your response. While the opposite person is laying their argument, usually based on the very first phrase they speak. The problem with this is because your mind is preparing your response. It is not listening, and it's not learning. And that's how we often end up in shouting matches or talking over each other. So how being a selfish listening removes these barriers. First, we tell our brains that every information it absorbed is an opportunity to learn. We are not concerned with why the opposing person's views so warped or whether they're trying to offend us. Our only concern as selfish listeners is to absorb as much information from that person. We can later process and think about it with the second barrier, it is more obvious because my interest is selfish. My concern is not to prepare replies, to educate the opposing side, but to only absorb information. So when the opposite side is speaking and laying down arguments, it is in my interest to carefully listen to what they say. It is to try to fully understand their view. And to do that, my brain must not be engaged in anything but receiving information. Once you finish and I carefully examined their argument, I will take my time. Remain silent as I prepare my reply. They might think that the response baffled me because I paused before applying that they got me. And that's fine. I'll give them the win. Because my soul and first is to learn, not to educate and not to an argument. This approach does not apply to formal debates or competitions, of course, where you have to win arguments and when the audience. But in private discussions, I do use this approach to the point that I turned to beat into interviews where my replies don't necessarily always challenge my opposition, but tried to further explored their mind and see how they view a certain issue in a deeper sense. But of course, this must not always be your approach. In some cases, we do need to educate others. We need the best idea is to win and spread in society. But this is definitely an approach you want to have in your arsenal enable your brain to learn and gain more wisdom. One of the benefits you develop using this approach is that you become a more curious person who breaks out of echo chambers. You become more interested in people different from you than people similar to you. Whenever I listen to people with opposing views, I want to learn more about how and why they develop these views. What life experiences that they live through, what kind of society they grew up and do other people with similar experiences, think like them or differently? And why. Opening these doors has offered me many opportunities to learn about people, the world, and its complexities. It definitely needs labeling them as ignorant or diluted and simply moving on because there must be nothing worse learning from them. 12. Personal experience with developing tolerance: A great regular exercise that I used to do is to watch content that I consider offensive to my views and beliefs. My brain was shocked at first, but the more I absorbed content of the assault, the more I became numb to it. So I sort of developed a six kin a few. Well, as my brain got used to being offended, I became better at remaining calm. And what I also learned from this is that remaining calm is a skill. It is not enough to know it. I had to practice it in order to get used to it. So, for example, I started listening to political speakers on the opposite side of the aisle. Other people may start listening to speakers that criticized their face, their principles in a way that could be perceived as offensive. But what's time? They can develop thicker skin and have better control over their emotions through this exposure. A lot of people advocate safe space for thoughts and while that might have its uses, I think it's dangerous not to expose myself to opposing ideas. It is always better for me to listen to the other side and practice controlling my emotions than not, the skull alone can change societies for the better. There are many authoritarian states that criminalize people for expressing unpopular views. And they labeled these crimes with phrases like damaging public sentiment. So practicing the skill is key to a tolerant, free and progressive society. Besides becoming better at controlling my emotions. I also gained a decent understanding of opposite political views because I watch more of their content that I do watch content that align with my political views. Culturally speaking, I also like to engage with people of other cultures than people my own culture, mainly because I know people of my culture, I know what they think, I know their beliefs. So I tried to make friends from other cultures because that is where the learning opportunities are. So engaging in this exercise improves my personal tolerance, provides me with opportunities of learning and improves my overall knowledge of the world and the people in it. 13. Critical thinking: So now that we know how to prepare our minds for accepting change, we need to learn how to verify the information we absorb, how to think and assimilate through information while blocking misinformation. To apply this, we need to critically evaluate information that will likely go into shaping our beliefs and convictions. But let's start with defining the skill we need for this critical thinking. Critical thinking is an umbrella term that refers to a set of different analyses of information that we apply to form a judgment. It is a very complex subject and there are entire books written on it. However, because we intend to use it casually in our everyday lives, not try the teeth says, we will tackle a very small subset of it. And if we master that skill, it will significantly impact our ability to identify and resist misinformation. So how do we become skilled critical thinkers? A one word answer for it is to compare. Whenever you hear a claim about a topic of importance to you, you need to compare it with the opposing claims from different sources and evaluate the set of evidence presented by each source. Do things however, you need to keep in mind when using this process. The first is to emotionally distance yourself from the claim presented. And the second is to consider your personal expertise or training in the subject being discussed. So whenever I confront a new claim, regardless of how passionately it is presented to me, the first thing I do is to block it from triggering an emotional response from me. It doesn't matter how appealing it is or how convincing it sounds. I'll be like, Okay, idea received. Let's see what other people say about this. I even search the idea with negative keywords like why this idea is false or wrong. And I see what articles and videos I get. I'll look at who are the authors and what evidence they present in each article or video. And this is when my own expertise come into play. If I am an expert within the field being discussed, in other words, I either went to school to study it or I professionally earn money from working in that field. I am more confident in my ability to evaluate the evidence presented behind each claim and will ultimately form my final judgment. If not, then I will not delude myself by thinking I can evaluate evidence of a topic I know little about. So instead, I will evaluate the expertise of the authors. And if it's a case of an amateur presenting a claim versus a professional, I'm always more inclined to side with the professional. And this will work in most cases because misinformation is often created and spread by people who have no training or expertise in the topic. And if you apply this critical thinking process, you will find that their claim is being challenged by people who have training and expertise in the field. And your safer bet always resides with the latter. This class begs for real-life examples and I would love to share some from experience, but this is a Skillshare course and for all intents and purposes, I have to keep impartial and apolitical As much as I can. However, on my YouTube channel, I will be reacting to videos and applying the methods explained in this course. But ultimately it is up to you to revisit every belief you formed and scrutinize it again using the simple process and in green critical thinking into your skill set to be ready to use the next time you encounter new information of interests that may change what you believe about something important in your life. 14. Types of persuasion: There are three types of ways people use to convince you of their points of view of their ideas. Convince you or manipulate you, whichever their intention is. And understanding these three types will help you figure which approach is being used on you and how you should react to it. Because regardless of how truthful the idea is being pushed on you, you still have to put some thought before accepting it and you shouldn't be ready available for quick changes of mind. So the three types of persuasion are ethos, pathos and logos, trust, feel and think. The Ethos approach occurs when people tried to convince you of an idea by establishing trust in their person, usually by presenting their credentials along with the idea they want to communicate. If a doctor diagnose you with a certain type of illness, you would believe them not because you also know medicine, but because they are qualified to diagnose your condition and you trust them. But there are many uses of ethos where people tried to convince you of false credentials in order to manipulate you or maybe even steal your money. Think of online financial success gurus who claim to have made millions from online businesses yet want to share their secrets with you so that you also become successful. So whenever people use this approach on you, you need to establish if their credentials are true and also if they are sincere and their intentions towards you. And the two ways I check for credentials are training and earnings. Training means I have been educated and most importantly, tested in order to become qualified. Earnings mean, did the person I'm listening to make money from the skills and expertise they claimed to have. And can they prove these earnings? If they cannot prove their training or earnings and they have failed to prove their credentials and their author's approach will not work on me. The pathos approach applies when people tried to convince you of something by invoking an emotional response from you, like fear, sympathy, anger, sadness, etc. Now people trying to persuade you by triggering your emotions does not always mean the idea must not be true and that their intentions are insincere. However, it is good to learn to spot this approach. And as we discussed in the previous class, to distance yourself emotionally from their appeal. Do not allow them to trigger your emotions and prevent them from circumventing your brain and thereby immediately when you over to their side. And this is always my go-to reaction when someone tries to appeal to my emotions, I'll be like, Okay, I get what you're trying to do. I understand where you're coming from, but I still need to go and establish if what you're saying actually true. I will take your argument through the critical process described earlier. I will do my own review where I compare your argument, two opposing arguments, and evaluate the evidence each authors presented and their credentials before reaching a decision on who I should believe. So the key reaction here is to train yourself not to respond emotionally. So if you ever attend a rally or a speaker event where the eloquent orator is delivering a highly emotional speech with energy and passion. And the attendees are like all, this is the best speech I've ever heard. You'd be like, No, this doesn't work on me. But if I'm interested enough, when I go home, I'm going to research everything. They said. The last approach is logos. This is when people tried to persuade using structured arguments, reference to studies and statistical evidence. And this is my go-to approach. I always tried to reason with people. And my biggest frustration using this approach is when I apply to people who are not intellectually equipped to appreciate the power of arguments and evidence. So in order to react properly to this approach, we need to understand the structure of arguments and what constitutes evidence. So that whenever someone argues logic with us, we are equipped to understand their argument, evaluate their evidence, and reach a decision on whether to believe them or reject their claim. 15. Understanding arguments : In the previous class, we discussed the logos approach where people try logic and reason to convince you of their ideas. In such cases, you should expect them to present you with valid arguments. So what is an argument? Logic? An argument is a demonstration of evidence of a statement. So evidence is a big part of it. Also, an argument encapsulates all the part that attest to its truth. It is independent of who speaks it, and it contains all the parts necessary to be assessed by the listener. If we break an argument down, we will find two parts. The evidence or premise, which supports the acceptance of the other part, the conclusion. Now in an argument, you can have as many pieces of evidence as you need, but you can only have one conclusion. Consider this argument. Ships are made of wood. Wood floats, therefore, ship slowed. As you see, you have two pieces of evidence. Ships are made of wood and wood float. But based on this evidence, we present a single conclusion. Ships float. Unfortunately not all arguments are this clear. Most arguments we encounter are complex and breaking them down is not easy. Consider this. I have trained at my local gym three days a week since January 2016. Since last year, it takes me one hour tour cout. So tomorrow and I work out, it will take me an hour to finish my workout. Break this argument down, and you'll find three premises. I have trained at my local gym three days a week since January 2015. Since last year, it takes me one hour to work out. And tomorrow I will work out. And this is the conclusion. It will take me an hour to finish my workout. You'll get better at quickly breaking down arguments with more training and experience. But a good practice for spotting conclusions is to look for words like so does. And therefore, while words that indicate premises are words like since and because. The two types of arguments you will encounter are deductive and inductive arguments. And deductive arguments. The truth of the conclusion is the logical consequence of the truth of the premise. In other words, if all the premises are true and the argument is valid, it makes the argument sound, which means the conclusion must be true. And your position is that you must accept it, even if that entails you changing your mind. And that's key because people who never change their minds are people who never learned anything. So in summary, deductive arguments guarantee that the conclusion is true, the premise is true, and the argument is valid. Inductive arguments, on the other hand, only predict conclusions to be true to a certain degree. Which means if the premises are true, then the conclusion is likely to be true. And if the conclusion is very likely to be true based on the premises presented, then we call the argument strong. To show the difference between deductive and inductive arguments, consider this example. All cars are vehicles. John on the car. Therefore, John owns a vehicle. This is a valid, deductive argument. And because the first premise is factually correct, cars are vehicles. And so if John does actually own a car, then it is a guarantee that John owns a vehicle. Because again, with valid deductive arguments, if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. Now consider this example. Most vehicles are cars. John owns a vehicle, therefore John owns a car. Now, there are many types of vehicles, but cars are the most prevailing type. So this premise is true. And say John does in fact, on a vehicle. So this premise is also true. Does this however, guarantee that John owns a car? No. Even if both premises are true, John might turn out to own a truck or a motorcycle tire, vehicle. Still until we find out our money should be on him owing a car, because it is the most likely scenario. C, because this argument only predicts that John on the car. We can see that this is an example of an inductive argument. And also because the likelihood that John on the car is high, we can see that this is a strong argument. And even if eventually it turns out to be false, it is reasonable at the time to accept this argument as it is presented to us. So in short, when presented with a sound deductive argument or a strong inductive argument, we should accept and change our minds. Otherwise, we should reject these arguments. 16. Understanding evidence: It's starting to understand types of evidence. This is important because if people provide bad evidence while they're trying to reason with you, you need to know how to spot that and refute the argument. The main two types of evidence you will often encounter are anecdotal evidence and empirical evidence. Anecdotal evidence is based on very limited personal experience, which is then highly generalized in order to present a reliable fact that you can deduce conclusions from. It is biased. It is usually based on a single few observations. It doesn't follow the scientific method. Therefore, it is highly unreliable. The second type is empirical evidence acquired through observation or experimentation studies that are scientifically designed and usually performed on large sets of subjects. The collected data is then analyzed statistically to produce results which makes this type of evidence highly reliable. Consider the following arguments and underlying evidence of each. Stop signs are barely visible. Yesterday, I saw a driver who didn't see a stop sign, kept going and crashed into an incoming car. Compared to this, stop signs are very visible. The stop sign installed on farm street has reduced accidents whereby 80 percent from last year. Now the first argument's conclusion is based on anecdotal evidence. It is based on the opinion of a person who observed a single case study only. So it is highly biased. It did not account for other factors that may have caused the accident, such as the driver may have been texting and driving. The second arguments evidence, on the other hand, is based on empirical evidence. It is based on the result of an observation study of many cases of cars crossing the stop sign over an entire year. The data was then statistically compared to the previous year before the sign was installed. So we can clearly see which evidence sounds more convincing. Even though admittedly, the first evidence is more dramatic. More interesting. You probably want to know what happened after the driver survive. And that is contrary to the second evidence, which sounds no different from any other boring statistic. But now we have learned to look passed the interest and the drama and instead focus on the strength of evidence provided. So as a result of this, we reject the first argument and we accept the second argument after, of course, we fact check the statistic that the second argument cited. 17. Thinking in abstraction: Welcome to the sinking skill section, which will start off with discussing thinking and abstraction. Abstract thinking is an essential skill to master because it enables you to separate ideas from the situations you experience. And then go on and apply them to a new and different situations that you'll experience in the future. You know how everybody talks about understanding the bigger picture of things that we experienced in life. Abstract thinking is the key to seeing that bigger picture and having an overall wiser outlook on life that most people have. To best explain this concept, we need to compare it to its opposite, which is concrete thinking or concrete thinking focuses on material objects and how they interact here and now. Concrete thinkers are too literal. They will fail at grasping any concepts that govern how these objects interact. To then apply these learned concepts to a different set of objects at a later time. Abstract thinkers, however, will succeed at grasping the concepts from the situation and seeing the underlying patterns which can then be applied to a different situation. Let's consider this basic example to illustrate the difference between abstract and concrete thinkers. Here we have four squares that can be moved around. And if we align them in a certain way, we get a bigger square shape. Now, what pure concrete thinkers learn from this is that if they got four squares together, they can organize them to form a bigger square. And for them to apply what they learned in the future, they need the same exact problem to solve. Foursquare's that need to be aligned. What abstract thinkers learn, however, is that squares are four sided shapes and that some four-sided shapes can be aligned together to form a bigger similar shape. So if they encounter a problem with four rectangles instead of squares, they will be able to align them into a bigger rectangle because they have learned the underlying concepts behind organizing squares. And they are able to apply what they learned to a different problem. But will these beginner abstract thinkers be able to solve a triangle problem based on what they learned? Probably not. That's because they were not able to abstract the square shape problem to a more than a concept of four-sided shape. So when they encounter a problem with a three-sided shape, their minds cannot see the application from the square problem. However, better abstract thinkers will further abstract the square shape problem they saw to a concept of regular shapes. And that some regular shapes can be grouped together to form a bigger similar shape. So if they encounter the triangle problem, they will recognize that triangles are also regular shapes. And what they learned from the square problem through abstraction can be applied to this triangle problem. So now that we have established what abstract thinking is, let's try to apply the skill to a real-world example and see how being abstract thinkers can improve the quality of our thinking and thus our lives. Say, you happen to be in a relationship with an emotionally abusive partner called John, sorry to all the jobs out there. As concrete thinker, you cannot separate the behavior from your partner because concrete thinking is always connected to people or things. So you will think that this particular partner is the problem. And if you replace this partner with another, then the problem will be resolved. Now because you fail to learn what abuse is, in principle, what personal traits are associated with abusive behavior, you will risk ending up with another abusive partner because in your mind, John was the problem that the abusive nature of John. But as an abstract thinker, you can think of the abusive behavior abstract from the partner. Think about what is abuse, what personality traits are associated with it, and what tells signs to look for to detect abusive behavior early on in a relationship. The skull alone will dramatically reduce the chances of you choosing another abusive partner. Because, you know, your real problem is with abuse itself, not just John. So the question remains, how do we think an abstraction? This skill requires time, thought, and experience. But every time you encounter an issue that requires thought, do the following. Step back from the problem. Do not get stuck on details on people or things. Ask why a person or a group or people act this way? Why does an object behave in this manner? Analogies, can I draw from other life experiences? What can be learned from this experience without mentioning the people or things in it. Apply the skill to every aspect of your life, your relationships, jobs, politics, habits, and see if you're understanding of these aspects of your life will change and ultimately improve your thinking and your quality of life. Someone said, great minds discuss ideas, average mine discuss events, small minds discuss people. Do that. I say abstract minds discuss ideas. Average mine discuss events and concrete minds discuss people. 18. Thinking in statistics: Statistical thinking is another skill that we need to train our minds to apply. Thinking from a statistical perspective helps us to view the world in a more objective and accurate manner. This is because the truth sits within statistics, not our biased personal perspectives. As a study field and statistics, we want to analyze data to make sense of the world. But because this is a life-skill class, not an academic class, we're not going to go into how to collect and analyze data. Instead, we will learn how to think in numbers rather than single cases. Whenever we think about the world around us. In other words, we're conducting informal statistic techniques to make estimates that will help us make better judgments and our lives. This skill alone will set you apart from the majority of people that would refer to instinct or anecdotes to make judgments because they're untrained on how to think in a statistical manner that will definitely yield better judgments. In a nutshell, statistical thinking will help you see the world more clearly and make better judgments than anecdotal thinking. To showcase this, let's consider the following example. Say someone asks to people of their opinion about seat belt safety. Do you believe seatbelts can save your life in an accident? Assume that both person a and person B. Think anecdotally. Person a answer's no. My friend had an accident while wearing a seat belt which got stuck. The car went up in flames and she couldn't exit the car and tragically died. So seatbelts don't necessarily save your life. Person B answers, Yes. I had an accident and it's not for the seat belt. I would have been flung data the car and landed into the pavement. So seatbelts do save your life. Now, let's break these answers down. First, notice that when a and B attempted to answer the question, they referred to a single case to make their judgment. Second, Who do you think is right and who is wrong? Well, both are right. Seatbelts don't necessarily save your life, but do also save your life sometimes, right? But that's not the point. The point is, should we wear seat belts or no? Which is the better judgment. To find out. We have to think statistically. In other words, enlarge numbers of cases, not just referring to a single case. So say we consulted statistics regarding last year's accident and found that 80 percent of people who wore seat belts have survived against 50% of people who did not wear seat belts and survived car accidents. The bird worldview of seat belt use and fatality rates shows us that it's better to wear seatbelts. Statistically speaking. And because we refers to statistics now, our personal experience, we made a better judgment. So does that mean Person B have better judgment than a given that a advocated for wearing seat belts? No. Because his judgment was drawn from a single case also, which means if he happened to recall an experienced similar to person a is anecdotal thinking would have led him to judge against wearing seat belts, or at least not finding them necessarily useful. In other words, b is not wiser than a ribose. Think the same way. The difference is b just got lucky with his answer. The key thing to learn here is that anecdotal thinking can equally land you on both sides of the argument. And then only luck will make you write. Statistical thinking, however, will more than often land you on the right side of an argument, and therefore, never referred to a single experience when making a judgment, always think in large numbers of cases. Now, let's see how statistical thinking helps us in more real-life examples. In light of the pandemic, some people will say, masks don't work. My partner wore a mask and still got the virus. And that may be true. Masks sometimes do not prevent a particular infection. But I'm still gonna wear a mask because they do work statistically. Which means enlarge number of populations of people that don't wear masks, the virus will spread more rapidly than in a similar population that does wear masks. So masks may not help you on that unlucky day, but they do prevent infections statistically. Another example, your friend comes along and pitches you an idea for a new social media platform is such a good idea because it made Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter founders into billionaires, right? So you can't go wrong with this business venture. Maybe. But if you account for the hundreds of social media startups that failed, then this could fail. Also, statistically speaking. This is also called survivorship bias, where people solely focus on the success stories when making a business or career decision. But the key point to take here, if you think statistically about things you are more likely to end up correct? So remember, always think in big numbers when deciding on something. Always think statistically. 19. Thinking in probability: In this class we will learn about probabilistic thinking and how to incorporate it in our everyday lives. A lot of things that happened in the reality we live in happened because simply they weren't the most likely to take place, not because they were destined to take place. Probabilistic thinking helps us estimate the chances of something happening and make life decisions accordingly. The aim here is for us to prepare more for things that have a high chance of happening and prepare less for things that have low chances of happening. This is essential because the majority of people conduct their lives. Two possibilities instead of probabilities of these possibilities. Which can often lead to people wasting time and resources towards things that may never materialize, making them look irrational in their behavior. Think of someone who just bought a lottery ticket and is feeling very lucky. How would you describe them if before the lottery prizes drawn the quit their job in anticipation for the change of their lifestyle when they win the jackpot. You may describe them as too optimistic if you want to be kind. But some will describe them as severely irrational or maybe even delusional. And the reason for that is that they are preparing their lives for an event that has one in 8 million chance of happening. Because they prepared for the possibility of them winning. The probability of them winning. One thing to note is that the actions they took, such as quitting their jobs, are perfectly reasonable if they have actually won the jackpot, which means these actions are not inherently irrational. The conduct of these actions, however, in preparation for an unlikely event is what is irrational. Because in the very, very likely event that they don't win, they will still likely owe rent, food, and bills, and may need to revisit the boss to get their job back. So now that we establish the marriage of probabilistic thinking and acting according to probabilities. Let's find out how we can intuitively think probabilistically and make decisions based on the probability of outcomes. A good way of estimating the probability of an event is to group it with all the alternative events that may take place instead and estimate the probability of each. So returning to the earlier example, the possibilities are obvious, either winning the jackpot or not winning it. These two possibilities have combined outcome probability of a 100 percent. In this case, we don't need to estimate because the winning odds are publicly available. So the odds of winning the jackpot are 18 million. Not winning the jackpot, which by the way includes winning lesser Prizes, have a combined probability of 70000099900998 million chances of happening. So it is far more rational to conduct your life as if you will not win the jackpot rather than as if you will win it. Being rational, of course doesn't mean always being right. Because on this instance, you could have won the jackpot like other people did in the past. And the last week you spent working while waiting for the draw would have been better spent daydreaming, right? Still, your most rational course of action should always be according to the most likely outcome. One other way people tried to irrationally be the odds is by linking independent possibilities together. Where if this event happened, then that event will definitely follow. Even if such events are related somehow, they could still be independent of each other and you need to train yourself to spot this. Take, for example, the roulette wheel at the casino. The table will display a list of hot numbers and cold numbers. This is to dilute players into thinking they can form a strategy around that information. One player might think, hot numbers are hitting too often, which means they will keep on coming, so I need to bet on them. Another player might think code numbers didn't have in awhile, so their time must be coming, so I should bet on them. Well, both are wrong because every betting ground is a totally independent events from the betting rounds before it. So it doesn't matter what the past outcomes are, the chances of any single number hitting is and will remain one and 37 every time. This means that the chances of getting a number two on the perfectly functioning, we'll, after hitting the same number or a 100 times in a row, is equal to the chances of hitting two. After missing this number for the last 100 turns, the chances remain one and 37. Irrational players will resist that thinking. They might see if you don't get number two for a long time, It's ought to hit 2ND. And that is false because the wheel is not bound by that logic. It doesn't owe you a certain number. All the numbers have an equal chance of hitting every single round. So if you have been playing the lottery for the past 30 years and never hit the jackpot. Remember, reality does not owe you one. You will still have the same chances of winning the next row as the person who just bought their first ticket. Check the history of lottery winners and you'll see that some have been first-time player. So keep in mind that life events are governed by probability. So thinking in this way will enable you to think about and prepare for life better than most people do. 20. Thinking in spectrums: In this class, we will discuss thinking in spectrums as opposed to thinking in black and white. People often try to simplify life by reducing it to two polar opposites rather than a spectrum of values sitting in between these two extremes. This polarized thinking not only oversimplifies reality, but also causes us to experience extreme emotional wings and even take extreme measures in reaction to us only thinking in black and white. See you have a best friend, that message you every day. You might describe them as the best friend ever, which is extreme. And therefore your feelings about them might be extremely favorable. See that this friend of yours does not reply for a whole day without a reason. If you are the type of person who would consider this a betrayal of friendship or make your feelings switch to the other extreme where this person becomes immediately terrible and not the friend you thought they were, then you may be used to be thinking in extremes, especially if that friend calls you the next day, they'll Giovanna accident they had and that's the reason they didn't pick up your call. If you will, then immediately forgive them and consider them again, the best friend ever. These huge swings in opinion and emotion are not only harmful to your psyche, but are also very irrational as they do not represent the complexity of life. Furthermore, they showcase that you do not think in spectrums. Say that you think in spectrums, not in extremes on a spectrum of friendships, there are many descriptions that sit in the middle. Friendships can range from terrible, too bad to neutral, to Good to Great, and finally to the best ever. Now for the sake of this argument, let's assume that messaging everyday is a measure of a great friendship. If you place your friend on the great spot on this friendship spectrum, then while you expect them to message you every day, if they don't message you for a day, it's fine because you have rated this friend reasonably on the friendship spectrum. And for a great friendship rating, it's okay not to message each other every day and you shouldn't expect an apology if you didn't hear from them for a day. So do you see how switching your thinking from extremes to spectrums will immediately help you view the world more accurately and even think more maturely. If yes, then how do we go about thinking and spectrums? To better understand how to think in spectrums, we need to understand normal distribution. Normal distribution is a concept in statistics that represents the distribution of data. If you measure most things in life and put the data on a graph, they will form a bell shaped curve where the values of most data sit around the center. Many parents, for example, see their children in school as either hardworking students or not. If they are not a students, they must not be working hard enough, right? That is because the C student abilities in two extremes, either excellent or poor. But if they understand normal distribution, they will know that student's abilities fall on a normal distribution where there are very few poor students, very few excellent ones, and most will be average or around the average. And that's how life is. You can't change it. If you measure the same students again on their athletic ability. You will also see a bell-shaped curve distribution where there are very few poor athletes, few gifted natural athletes, and most will be average athletes. Athletic clubs understand this very well and that's why they conduct selection rounds to find this part of the curve. To drive this point further, let's take all the academically gifted students in school and put them Advanced Learning class where the exams are ultra hard. These previously a students will also fall in the normal distribution. You'll have relatively few poor students, few students who are now the best of the best and most will be average. So it doesn't matter how you break the data apart, it will most likely fall on a bell curve normal distribution. There are of course, other types of distributions, but normal distribution is the most common. So applying this type of thinking on our current and past friendships, we can see that we had really few terrible friends, few really good ones, but most were just average friends. You didn't experienced bad friends because you deserve it. Most of your friendships are none average because you're boring, is because friendships like most things in life, are more normally distributed. So in order to think in spectrums, we need to consider all the middle values between the two extremes we used to focus on before. And understand that most things we measure in life will most likely be centered around the average value of that spectrum.