Critical Thinking with Mr. Leech

De Anza College, Philosophy 4
Recent Tweets @

observationsandphenomena:

Observations & Phenomena features Professor Dave Leech, Dr. Tim Brigham and David Metcalfe in conversation on anomalies, science and contemporary culture. Summoning the spirit of science to celebrate a new age of reason. 

Articles discussed:

Is Participating in Psi Research a Good Idea -http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.com/20…

The Secret Science of Spiritual Healing -http://www.viewzone.com/spiritualheal…

Anniversary of Monkey Man Alert! -http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-… (With additional insight from Rangers sight pygmies in Way Kambas National Park - http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/20… )

Witch Hunt of the Week: 

Witch Doctors and Con Artists - A First-Hand Account of Witchcraft in Africa, by Justin Chapman -http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/13-04… 

Quotes of concern in this week’s Witch Hunt article: 

“I wanted to see some mob violence, but it’s probably better that we got back on the boda-boda and booked it out of there, following the healer who also rode on a boda-boda. I didn’t think we were in danger but Luke told me that the crowd knew they could be identified on television and so when the police left they could potentially attack us.”

“How interesting. How bizarre.”

Divination technique used to decide this episode’s sequence: I Ching 

Diviner: Professor Dave Leech

Result: Hexagram 49: Revolution (Molting)

Follow us on Twitter: @obsrv_phenom

Dear Students,

As many of you are wondering what’s new with me, here’s a partial update. My colleagues David Metcalfe and Prof. Tim Brigham have started up a podcast on some of the stranger things we have talked about in class. We will be posting new episodes every couple weeks on http://observationsandphenomena.tumblr.com/. One of the next few episodes will becoming to you live from Bolivia, where I will be conducting extensive research into indigenous religious practices. I hope you all enjoy this, more soon!

My best,

Snr. Leech.

Week 10 - Science and Transhumanism and Psi

Monday - 11/26 - Movie “The Transcendent Man”. HW: Movie Journal

Tuesday - 11/27 - Transcendent Man (continued). HW: Movie Journal

Wednesday -11/28 -Vaughn read: p.389-397. Ex. 10.3 #3-5

Thursday - 11/29 - Psi lecture from John Kruth of the Rhine Center.

Vaughn Read: 397-409. HW: 10.2 #3-5

Additional pages on different schools of Transhumanism (not required):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_cosmism

http://cosmistmanifesto.blogspot.com/2010/09/download-or-buy-cosmist-manifesto.html

Week 11 - Science and Final review

Monday, 12/3 - Quiz 9 Review. Read 416-421. 10.1 #1-5

Tuesday, 12/4 - HW: 10.1 #7,8,10, 11

Wednesday, 12/5 - Chapter 10 Quiz.

Thursday, 12/6 - Final Review.

***Monday 12/10 - In class FINAL QUIZ.***

Please note, the FINAL PAPER assignment was emailed out on 12/1. If you did not receive it, email the instructor IMMEDIATELY. Final Paper due 12/14 via email.

(via The Rhine Bio-Energy Lab)

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT - GUEST LECTURE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE RHINE CENTER, JOHN KRUTH! THURSDAY, 11/29. 1130AM SHARP.

Hi Students,

Just a reminder that John Kruth, the Executive Director of the Rhine center, will be skyping into our class at 1130 sharp to review the research findings of the  Bio-Lab - which tests for the existence of bio-energy and bio-photons. You can read more about it here: http://www.rhine.org/what-we-do/current-research/235-a-study-of-human-biofields-by-bill-joines-ph-d.html

John is an excellent lecturer and scientist, so I ask that you arrive on time and be respectful of his time by not using your laptops or cell phones. After he is done with the tour he is is open to Q&A.

Looking forward to this special event! Best —DL—

Follow-up Links:

Rhine Education research and standards

The Global Consciousness Project

Researchers shut down habits with bursts of light

Rhine Education center

White Papers (scientific literature)

Meta analysis of predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli

Experimental evidence suggestive of anomalous consciousness interactions

The unsustainable nature of Psi: A summary and hypothesis

Non-conscious activation of placebo and nocebo pain responses

Monday - Chapter  review thus far. Read pg. 372-374. HW: Ex. 9.10.

Tuesday - Conspiracy Theories - In class exercises.

Wednesday - Chapter 9 Quiz.

Thursday - Thanksgiving. No class.

Week 8 - Chapter 9 - Inference to the Best Explanation
CT Question of the Week - Ask one of your Professors after they speak about a controversial topic: What’s really the problem here? One paragraph, due by Monday 11/19.
Monday - 11/11 Armistice/Veteran’s Day. No class.
Tuesday - 11/13 -Paper Due. Read pages 342-349. HW: 9.2 (do all non-starred questions) AND 9.4 #1-5 (do non-starred).
Wednesday -11/14 - HW Ex. 9.1 #10 - one paragraph. Read pages 353-361 (end with Scope)
Thursday - 11/15. Read 361-370. HW 9.7 #1,3,5.
Also: Paper late due date #1. - half grade down - A to an A-.

Week 8 - Chapter 9 - Inference to the Best Explanation

CT Question of the Week - Ask one of your Professors after they speak about a controversial topic: What’s really the problem here? One paragraph, due by Monday 11/19.

Monday - 11/11 Armistice/Veteran’s Day. No class.

Tuesday - 11/13 -Paper Due. Read pages 342-349. HW: 9.2 (do all non-starred questions) AND 9.4 #1-5 (do non-starred).

Wednesday -11/14 - HW Ex. 9.1 #10 - one paragraph. Read pages 353-361 (end with Scope)

Thursday - 11/15. Read 361-370. HW 9.7 #1,3,5.

Also: Paper late due date #1. - half grade down - A to an A-.

Week 7 —> Inductive Reasoning - Chapter 8. Enumerative & Analogical Induction.

CT Question of the week (due Wens., 11/7):  While watching a TV commercial ask yourself “How sound is the reason they are giving?”

Monday 11/5 - HW Ex. 8.3 #1-5 and Ex. 8.5 #1-5

Tuesday 11/6 -  Ex. 8.7 #1-7 and Field Problem #1 (p.332) (Note: CT Question due tomorrow)

Wednesday 11/7 - No HW.

Thursday 11/8 - Chapter 8 Quiz. Intro to Inference to Best Explanation (Chp.9)

**** PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MID-TERM PAPER IS DUE NEXT TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13. LATE PAPERS (WITHIN THE WEEK) ARE DOCKED A HALF GRADE. AFTER A WEEK A FULL GRADE.

CT Weekly Question - When confronted with a decision this week, ask yourself: what does making this decision imply? Do you think your own decision is strong or weak?

10/29 -Mid-term Paper Requirements review. Read p.194-200. Ex. 5.3 #6-9. Field Problem #3 (p.206).

10/30 -Field Problem #2. Ex. 5.1 - #1-10.

10/31 - Ex. 5.1 #11-21 & CT  Weekly Question. Happy Halloween!

11/1 - Intro to Inductive Reasoning & Chapter 5 Quiz.

Week 5
CT Weekly Question - Ask your best friend after they have told you about a specific problem of theirs: Why do you say that’s the problem? Was their answer strong or weak and why do you judge it as such. Due Thursday, 10/25
10/22 - Quiz Review & Movie - The Corporation - Movie Journal (HW)
10/23 - Movie Continue & Class Discussion. Movie Journal Due.
10/24 - Chp. 5 - The Fallacies - Read p.176-183. HW Ex. 5.2 #5-11
10/25 -Read p. 183-194 (to end of Irrelevant Premises) HW Ex. 5.2 #18-23
NB- mid-term paper assignment to be handed out in class.

Week 5

CT Weekly Question - Ask your best friend after they have told you about a specific problem of theirs: Why do you say that’s the problem? Was their answer strong or weak and why do you judge it as such. Due Thursday, 10/25

10/22 - Quiz Review & Movie - The Corporation - Movie Journal (HW)

10/23 - Movie Continue & Class Discussion. Movie Journal Due.

10/24 - Chp. 5 - The Fallacies - Read p.176-183. HW Ex. 5.2 #5-11

10/25 -Read p. 183-194 (to end of Irrelevant Premises) HW Ex. 5.2 #18-23

NB- mid-term paper assignment to be handed out in class.

The following is the promised article on mind training for Intelligence agencies. Note how important it is to be aware of the psychological impediments to clear thinking that the CIA is actively training their agents with tools to hack their own biases.

"Let’s start with the individual. Every day an analyst has to sort and evaluate a barrage of incoming facts, stats, and figures to come to a coherent understanding of an issue. This involves a lot of thinking and decision-making – which falls squarely into the domain of psychology. The report focuses many of its recommendations on research “regarding how individuals think.”

It mentions several known psychological quirks that can obscure that thinking. Hindsight bias, or the “knew-it-all-along effect,” is the tendency to exaggerate how well you could have predicted an event, after the fact. Outcome bias is the tendency to judge decisions by how things turned out, rather than by how well the decision was made. These biases are universal, but certain “de-biasing” exercises can help. The report recommends that all analysts be required to “consider alternatives to a known (or assumed) outcome and identify events or data which would support alternative assessments.”…

What to do? Once again, the report has a specific workout designed to beat those communication errors. Manipulation checks would have someone interpret an analysis, and then compare it with the original intent of the analyst. Think-aloud protocols would have people just say whatever comes to mind as they’re reading an analysis, to detect any misinterpretations. And to top it off, throw in a little inter-departmental cross training to get analysts to experience different roles, take on new assignments, and see new perspectives. Hopefully swapping places with a CIA agent for a day will give an analyst “greater flexibility and insight when dealing with a new situation.” That is, if they ever make it back to work.”

Week 3 and 4 - 10/9-10/18 - Analyzing Media Claims (Vaughn Chapter 4) and Understanding Media (McLuhan)

You are required to read all of Chapter 4 and there will be four in-class assignments for the McLuhan portion.

Week 3 CT Question - Due Thursday, 10/11. Ask someone, not yourself, during a conversation in which they make any type of a claim: “Seriously, how good is the evidence for that?” and turn in one paragraph about it.

Tuesday 10/9 - Vaughn Ex. 4.3 #1-5 and McLuhan Enhancement exercise. Read pages 123-130.

Wednesday 10/10 - Vaughn Ex. 4.2 #8-16 and McLuhan exercise. Read 130-139 - including “Further Thought” (p.134/135). Note CT Weekly question also due tomorrow.

Thursday 10/11 - Vaughn Field Problem #2 - Please visit RedIceCreations.com and find a controversial article and answer the questions on p.166 (that is, in exercise 4.4). 1.) Is the story slanted toward or against a particular group mentioned in the story? How? 2.) Are there instances of loaded or biased language or emotional appeals in the story or headline? If so, give examples. 3) What is the main source for the story?

WEEK 4 Assignments

CT Question of the Week: Due Thursday, 10/18. Ask someone who has completed college: What else did they consider as a major and why.

10/15 - RedIceCreations example due. McLuhan Retrieval Exercise & Ex 4.1 #1-10

10/16 - McLuhan Reversal Exercise & Ex. 4.1 #11-19

10/17 - Chapter 4 Quiz. Please bring scantron. CT Question due tomorrow.

10/18 - In class movie and Movie Journal assignment