Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World
Publisher: Random House
ISBN 10: 0525509186
ISBN 13: 978-0525509189
It's not just fake news. Bullshit is everywhere. Now, two science professors give us the tools to dismantle misinformation and think clearly in a data-saturated world.
The world is awash in bullshit, and we're drowning in it. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. These days, calling bullshit is a noble act.
Based on Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West's popular course at the University of Washington, Calling Bullshit is a modern handbook to the art of skepticism. Bergstrom, a computational biologist, and West, an information scientist, catalogue bullshit in its many forms, explaining and offering readers the tools to see through the obfuscations, deliberate and careless, that dominate every realm of our lives. They instruct readers to ask:
• Who is saying it?
• How do they know?
• What do they have to gain by persuading me?
• Are the numbers or results too good or too dramatic to be true?
• Is the claim comparing like with like or apples and oranges?
• Is it confirming your personal bias?
In this lively guide to everything from misleading statistics to "fake news," Bergstrom and West help you recognize bullshit whenever and wherever you encounter it--in data, in conversation, even within yourself--and explain it to your crystal-loving aunt or casually racist uncle. Now more than ever, calling bullshit is crucial to a properly functioning community, whether it be a circle of friends, a network of academics, or the citizenry of a nation.
About the Author
Carl Bergstrom is an evolutionary biologist and professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington, where he studies how information flows through biological and social systems at scales from intracellular control of gene expression to the spread of misinformation on social media.
Jevin West is an associate professor in the Information School at the University of Washington (UW). He is the director of the UW's Center for an informed Public and co-director of the DataLab, where he studies the science of science, the impact of technology on society, and coordinates data science education at UW and the eScience Institute.