Every day we make many decisions, some can be conscious, but many goes under our radar.
It is in our nature to collect, process and disseminate information relatively fast. In this, we are not as rational as we would like to think, rather very prone to misinformation and cognitive bias.
Especially nowadays, when the amount of information can be overwhelming, it is important to develop awareness and apply critical thinking to help distinguish facts from opinions.
We, as part of the Kavli institute of science delft, aim to bring the tools and approaches used in the scientific world to a more general context. By raising awareness to logical faults, emphasizing the need to place information in a broad context and considering complexities instead of over-simplification, we hope to contribute to conversational manner.
During times of pandemic and accompanied restrictions, reaching highschool/primary schools is far from trivial. However, especially during these times, when overflow of information has implications for health and society, these tools we wish to provide are of need. We therefore start by approaching the teachers themselves, aiming to provide them with a working frame, constituting of clear guidelines and examples, to be further implemented during class discussion. As a study case, we examine climate change denial, and demonstrate the logical faults and psychological biases that objectors use in such discussions.
The strategy to manipulate conversation is not limited to climate change in any way, and we continue by demonstrating our toolset on various questions that are relevant for everyday life: from Tik-Tok to Capitalism, Porn and gender issues.
Our first masterclass was held (in a hybrid format) recently, December 2021, in the teaching lab here at theTUD. The masterclass was conceptulated and delivered by Dr. Michal Shemesh in coordination with the Onderwijs network of zuid Holland, led by Renée Prins. During, the teachers participating heard few interesting examples that demonstrate the manner in which arguments can seem convincing, but still be completely false, based on emotions and wishes, rather than facts and logic. After summary of basic rules, we continued with active discussion on lead topics. By this we realized that even when the guidelines are fresh in our minds, our own psychology can lead to logical faults. We summarized by emphasizing the need for awareness and practice.