Online PhD Course - Calling Bullshit
Organizers: Thore Husfeldt, Nina Stausholm
Lecturer: Thore Husfeldt
Dates of the course: 9 November 2020 - 7 February 2021
Room/Online: The PhD course will be held online
The course is the ITU equivalent of the “Calling Bullshit” course by Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West at University of Washington. The full course description for Bergstrom and West’s course can be found at: https://www.callingbullshit.org/syllabus.html. We will follow essentially the same schedule and reading material.
The reading material covers different aspects of bullshit in various settings: social/news media, misleading/non-representative data, visual representations of data, conclusions based on machine learning/algorithms, publication bias etc. See the program for a more elaborate description of the topics.
As phrased by Bergstrom and West: Our aim in this course is to teach you how to think critically about the data and models that constitute evidence in the social and natural sciences.
Our learning objectives are straightforward. After taking the course, you should be able to
- Remain vigilant for bullshit contaminating your information diet.
- Recognize said bullshit whenever and wherever you encounter it.
- Figure out for yourself precisely why a particular bit of bullshit is bullshit.
- Provide a statistician or fellow scientist with a technical explanation of why a claim is bullshit.
We will be astonished if these skills do not turn out to be among the most useful and most broadly applicable of those that you acquire during the course of your college education.
The book “Calling Bullshit: The art of skepticism in a data-driven world” (CB) by Carl Bergstrom & Jevin West, videos from their course “Calling Bullshit” at University of Washington (see this link) and supplementary material
The book "Not Born Yesterday" by Hugo Mercier (2020)
Exam: Active participation. Three page essay on bullshit of your own choice.
Credits: 2 ECTS
Amount of hours the student is expected to use on the course:
Participation: 10 hours
Preparation + exam: 45 hours
How to sign up: Send an email to Nina Stausholm at firstname.lastname@example.org