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Scientific” Group Scientific” Group Thinking - 1 Thinking - 1 The “scientific” The “scientific” group overestimates group overestimates its its invulnerability invulnerability or high moral or high moral stance. stance. The group The group collectively rationalizes collectively rationalizes the decisions it makes. the decisions it makes. Demonizes Demonizes or stereotypes or stereotypes outgroups outgroups and their leaders. and their leaders.

“Scientific” Group Thinking - 1 The “scientific” group overestimates its invulnerability or high moral stance. The “scientific” group overestimates its

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Page 1: “Scientific” Group Thinking - 1 The “scientific” group overestimates its invulnerability or high moral stance. The “scientific” group overestimates its

““Scientific” Group Thinking - Scientific” Group Thinking - 11

The “scientific” The “scientific” group overestimatesgroup overestimates its its

invulnerabilityinvulnerability or high moral stance. or high moral stance.

The group The group collectively rationalizescollectively rationalizes the the

decisions it makes.decisions it makes.

DemonizesDemonizes or stereotypes or stereotypes outgroupsoutgroups and and

their leaders.their leaders.

Page 2: “Scientific” Group Thinking - 1 The “scientific” group overestimates its invulnerability or high moral stance. The “scientific” group overestimates its

““Scientific” Group Thinking - Scientific” Group Thinking - 22

Has a Has a culture of uniformityculture of uniformity where where

individuals censor themselves and others so individuals censor themselves and others so

that the that the façadefaçade of group unanimity is of group unanimity is

maintainedmaintained..

Contains Contains members whomembers who take it upon take it upon

themselves to themselves to protect protect the groupthe group leader leader, , by by

keepingkeeping from him/her theirs or other group from him/her theirs or other group

members’ members’ informationinformation..

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““Scientific” Group Thinking - Scientific” Group Thinking - 33

The The groupgroup exhibitsexhibits a a tremendous self-tremendous self-

confidenceconfidence, leading to a , leading to a sense ofsense of entitlement entitlement

and of belonging to an and of belonging to an eliteelite community of community of

experts.experts.

It forms an It forms an unusually monolithic communityunusually monolithic community, ,

with a strong with a strong sense of consensussense of consensus, whether , whether

driven by the evidence or not, and an driven by the evidence or not, and an unusualunusual

uniformityuniformity of views of views on open questionson open questions..

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““Scientific” Group Thinking - Scientific” Group Thinking - 44

These views seem related to the existence of These views seem related to the existence of a a hierarchical structurehierarchical structure in which the ideas of a in which the ideas of a few leadersfew leaders dictatedictate the viewpoint, strategy, the viewpoint, strategy, and direction in the field.and direction in the field.

In some cases, a In some cases, a sense of identificationsense of identification with with the groupthe group, akin to identification with a , akin to identification with a religious faith or political platform.religious faith or political platform.

A A strong sense of boundarystrong sense of boundary between the between the group and other experts.group and other experts.

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““Scientific” Group Thinking - Scientific” Group Thinking - 55

A A disregard for disregard for and disinterest in the ideas, and disinterest in the ideas,

opinions, and work of opinions, and work of expertsexperts who are who are not part not part

of of thethe group group, and a preference for talking only , and a preference for talking only

to with members of their community.to with members of their community.

A tendency to A tendency to interpret evidence optimisticallyinterpret evidence optimistically, ,

to to believe exaggeratedbelieve exaggerated or incorrect or incorrect statementsstatements

of results, of results, andand to to disregarddisregard the possibility that the possibility that

their their favourite theoryfavourite theory might be might be wrongwrong..

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““Scientific” Group Thinking - Scientific” Group Thinking - 66

This is coupled with a tendency to This is coupled with a tendency to

believe believe results results areare true because true because they are they are

“widely believed,”“widely believed,” even if one has not even if one has not

checked (or even seen) the proof checked (or even seen) the proof

oneself.oneself.

A A lack of appreciationlack of appreciation forfor the extent to the extent to

which a research program ought to which a research program ought to

involve involve riskrisk..

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Shared science ethics - 1Shared science ethics - 1

Science succeeds because scientists Science succeeds because scientists comprise a community defined and comprise a community defined and maintained by adherence to a shared ethic.maintained by adherence to a shared ethic.

It is adherence to an ethic, not adherence It is adherence to an ethic, not adherence to any particular fact or theory.to any particular fact or theory.

There are two basic tenets to this ethics:There are two basic tenets to this ethics:

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Shared science ethics - 2Shared science ethics - 2

If an issue can be decided by people of good If an issue can be decided by people of good

faith, applying rational argument to publicly faith, applying rational argument to publicly

available evidence, then the issue must be available evidence, then the issue must be

so regarded and decided.so regarded and decided.

If, on the other hand, rational argument If, on the other hand, rational argument

from the publicly available evidence does from the publicly available evidence does

not succeed in bringing people of good faith not succeed in bringing people of good faith

to agreement over an issue, society must to agreement over an issue, society must

allow and even encourage people to draw allow and even encourage people to draw

diverse conclusions.diverse conclusions.

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Shared science ethics - 3Shared science ethics - 3

Science succeeds because scientists adhere, if Science succeeds because scientists adhere, if

imperfectly, to the two principles, requiring that:imperfectly, to the two principles, requiring that:

We agree to argue rationally, and in good faith, We agree to argue rationally, and in good faith,

from shared evidence, to whatever degree from shared evidence, to whatever degree

shared conclusions are warranted.shared conclusions are warranted.

Each individual scientist is free to develop his Each individual scientist is free to develop his

own conclusions from evidence. But is also own conclusions from evidence. But is also

required to put forward arguments for those required to put forward arguments for those

conclusions for the consideration of the whole conclusions for the consideration of the whole

community.community.

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Shared science ethics - 4Shared science ethics - 4

These arguments must be rational and These arguments must be rational and

based on evidence available to all based on evidence available to all

members.members.

The evidence, the means to obtain it, and The evidence, the means to obtain it, and

the logic of the arguments used to the logic of the arguments used to

deduce conclusions from it, must be deduce conclusions from it, must be

shared and open to examination by all.shared and open to examination by all.

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Shared science ethics - 5Shared science ethics - 5

The ability of scientists to deduce reliable The ability of scientists to deduce reliable

conclusions from shared evidence is based on conclusions from shared evidence is based on

the mastery of tools and procedures developed the mastery of tools and procedures developed

over time. They are taught because experience over time. They are taught because experience

showed they lead to reliable results.showed they lead to reliable results.

Each member of the community recognizes Each member of the community recognizes

that the eventual goal is to establish that the eventual goal is to establish

consensus, which may emerge quickly or take consensus, which may emerge quickly or take

time.time.

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Shared science ethics - 6Shared science ethics - 6

Membership in the community is open to Membership in the community is open to

everyone.everyone.

Considerations of status, age, gender, or any Considerations of status, age, gender, or any

other personal characteristics, may not play other personal characteristics, may not play

a role in evaluating a scientist’s evidence a role in evaluating a scientist’s evidence

and arguments, and may not limit his access and arguments, and may not limit his access

to information and to the means of to information and to the means of

dissemination of evidence and argument.dissemination of evidence and argument.

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Shared science ethics - 7Shared science ethics - 7

Entry to the community is, however, based Entry to the community is, however, based

on two criteria:on two criteria:

First, the mastery of some of the crafts of a First, the mastery of some of the crafts of a

scientific subfield, to the point where you scientific subfield, to the point where you

can independently produce work judged by can independently produce work judged by

other members to be of sufficiently high other members to be of sufficiently high

quality.quality.

Second, the allegiance and continued Second, the allegiance and continued

adherence to the shared ethic.adherence to the shared ethic.

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Shared science ethics - 8Shared science ethics - 8

While ortodoxies may become established While ortodoxies may become established temporarily in a given subfield, the temporarily in a given subfield, the community recognizes that contrary opinion community recognizes that contrary opinion and research programs are necessary for the and research programs are necessary for the community’s continued health.community’s continued health.

Scientists give up the need to feel they are Scientists give up the need to feel they are right all the time. In exchange, they become right all the time. In exchange, they become members of an ongoing enterprise that over members of an ongoing enterprise that over time achieves what no individual alone could.time achieves what no individual alone could.

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A thinking mapA thinking map We have looked at a large number of pieces We have looked at a large number of pieces

of of reasoning typesreasoning types, and now we need a , and now we need a thinking mapthinking map of how to best of how to best analyseanalyse, , understandunderstand, and , and evaluateevaluate them. them.

The thinking map, below, is a list of The thinking map, below, is a list of key key questionsquestions you should you should askask when when evaluatingevaluating all all sorts of sorts of argumentsarguments – whether – whether someone else’ssomeone else’s or or your ownyour own..

We separate these We separate these ““Right QuestionsRight Questions”” into into FallaciesFallacies, , ClarificationClarification, , AnalysisAnalysis andand EvaluationEvaluation, , JudgingJudging CredibilityCredibility, , Causal Causal ExplanationExplanation..

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Fallacies - 1Fallacies - 1 A A fallacyfallacy is a is a reasoningreasoning “ “tricktrick” an author might ” an author might

use while trying to persuade you to accept a use while trying to persuade you to accept a

conclusion.conclusion.

Once you have identified the reasons for a Once you have identified the reasons for a

conclusion, you want to conclusion, you want to determinedetermine whether any whether any

fallaciesfallacies were were usedused. If so, you will not want to . If so, you will not want to

accept the conclusion based on that reasoning.accept the conclusion based on that reasoning.

Thus, Thus, looking forlooking for fallaciesfallacies in an important in an important stepstep inin

determining conclusion determining conclusion acceptanceacceptance or rejectionor rejection. .

httphttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy

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Fallacies - 2Fallacies - 2

Ad hominemAd hominem: An attack, or an insult, on : An attack, or an insult, on the person rather than addressing the the person rather than addressing the person’s reasoning.person’s reasoning.

Slippery slopeSlippery slope: Making the assumption : Making the assumption that a proposed step will set off an that a proposed step will set off an uncontrollable chain of undesirable events, uncontrollable chain of undesirable events, when, in fact, procedures exist to prevent when, in fact, procedures exist to prevent such a chain of events.such a chain of events.

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Fallacies - 3Fallacies - 3

Searching for perfect solutionsSearching for perfect solutions: Falsely : Falsely

assuming that because part of the problem assuming that because part of the problem

would remain after a solution is tried, the would remain after a solution is tried, the

solution should not be accepted.solution should not be accepted.

EquivocationEquivocation: A key word is used with two : A key word is used with two

or more meanings in an argument, such or more meanings in an argument, such

that the argument fails to make sense once that the argument fails to make sense once

the shifts in meaning are recognized.the shifts in meaning are recognized.

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Fallacies - 4Fallacies - 4

Appeal to popularityAppeal to popularity (ad populum): An (ad populum): An

attempt to justify a claim by appealing to attempt to justify a claim by appealing to

sentiments that large groups of people have sentiments that large groups of people have

in common; falsely assumes that anything in common; falsely assumes that anything

favoured by a large group is desireable.favoured by a large group is desireable.

Appeal to questionable authorityAppeal to questionable authority: Supporting : Supporting

a conclusion by citing an authority who lacks a conclusion by citing an authority who lacks

special expertise on the issue at hand.special expertise on the issue at hand.

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Fallacies - 5Fallacies - 5 Straw personStraw person: Distorting our opponent’s point : Distorting our opponent’s point

of view so that it is easy to attack; thus we of view so that it is easy to attack; thus we

attack a point of view that does not truly exist.attack a point of view that does not truly exist.

Either-orEither-or (false dilemma): Assuming only two (false dilemma): Assuming only two

alternatives exist when it is possible that there alternatives exist when it is possible that there

are more than two.are more than two.

Wishful thinkingWishful thinking: Making the faulty assumption : Making the faulty assumption

that because we wish X were true (or false), that because we wish X were true (or false),

then X is indeed true (or false).then X is indeed true (or false).

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Fallacies - 6Fallacies - 6

Explaining by namingExplaining by naming: Falsely assuming : Falsely assuming

that because you have provided a name for that because you have provided a name for

some event or behaviour that you have also some event or behaviour that you have also

adequately explained the event.adequately explained the event.

Glittering generalityGlittering generality: The use of vague, : The use of vague,

emotionally appealing virtue words that emotionally appealing virtue words that

dispose us to approve something without dispose us to approve something without

closely examining the reasons.closely examining the reasons.

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Fallacies - 7Fallacies - 7

Red herringRed herring: An irrelevant topic is presented to : An irrelevant topic is presented to

divert attention from the original issue and divert attention from the original issue and

help to “win” an argument by shifting help to “win” an argument by shifting

attention, away from the argument and to attention, away from the argument and to

another issue.another issue.

Begging the questionBegging the question: An argument in which : An argument in which

the conclusion is assumed in the reasoning.the conclusion is assumed in the reasoning.

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Fallacies - 8Fallacies - 8

Hasty generalization fallacyHasty generalization fallacy: A person draws : A person draws a conclusion about a large group based on a conclusion about a large group based on experiences with only a few members of the experiences with only a few members of the group.group.

Faulty analogyFaulty analogy: Occurs when an analogy is : Occurs when an analogy is proposed in which there are important proposed in which there are important relevant dissimilarities.relevant dissimilarities.

Causal over simplificationCausal over simplification: Explaining an : Explaining an event by relying on causal factors that are event by relying on causal factors that are insufficient to account for the event or by insufficient to account for the event or by overemphasizing the role of one or more of overemphasizing the role of one or more of these factors.these factors.

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Fallacies - 9Fallacies - 9 Confusion of cause and effectConfusion of cause and effect: Confusing the : Confusing the

cause with the effect of an event, or failing to cause with the effect of an event, or failing to recognize that the two may be influencing recognize that the two may be influencing each other.each other.

Neglect of a common causeNeglect of a common cause: Failure to : Failure to recognize that two events may be related recognize that two events may be related because of the effects of a common third because of the effects of a common third factor.factor.

Post hoc fallacyPost hoc fallacy: Assuming that a particular : Assuming that a particular event, B, is caused by another event, A, event, B, is caused by another event, A, simply because B follows A in time.simply because B follows A in time.