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Why won’t we fight misinformation, teach critical thinking skills?


Satchel
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27 minutes ago, hayden_horn said:

but it also comes with helping kids to develop a meaningful bullshit filter, 

This is priority 1b, right behind the triple-1a of reading, writing, and 'rithmetic.  We're obviously poised on the brink of a world where not only can images be faked, but now video footage can be faked, to the point where it's virtually impossible to tell fact from fiction.  It's simply vital that people be able to suss out the fake from the real.  Good luck, world.

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Getting back to the OPs point, a "Critical Thinking" class is a valuable thing in-and-of itself, but a class for "Critical Thinking to Fight Misinformation in Media" is a fucking mine field.   The world is not black-and-white and the nuanced grayscale of politics makes picking case studies for the class a lot harder than it may initially seem.   I think there are far fewer cases of "Holocaust didn't happen" level of misinformation than people pretend.   

While there are a lot of stupid people out there, I always keep in mind that for every opinion I hold, there is some equally smart person that has the exact opposite opinion.  

 

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10 hours ago, Captainant said:

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) 

HOTS you say

 

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Getting back to the OPs point, a "Critical Thinking" class is a valuable thing in-and-of itself, but a class for "Critical Thinking to Fight Misinformation in Media" is a fucking mine field.   The world is not black-and-white and the nuanced grayscale of politics makes picking case studies for the class a lot harder than it may initially seem.   I think there are far fewer cases of "Holocaust didn't happen" level of misinformation than people pretend.   
While there are a lot of stupid people out there, I always keep in mind that for every opinion I hold, there is some equally smart person that has the exact opposite opinion.  
 

It does not seem to difficult to create a curriculum that includes:

What is an editorial and how does it differ from a news report/article.

Key words that suggest bias.

How to verify citations and resources.

Compare/contrast the same news story from various media outlets.

Etc, etc…
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7 minutes ago, Patricio Swayze said:


It does not seem to difficult to create a curriculum that includes:

What is an editorial and how does it differ from a news report/article.

Key words that suggest bias.

How to verify citations and resources.

Compare/contrast the same news story from various media outlets.

Etc, etc…

What exactly do you have in mind that they would teach for your "verify" line item? 

  • Have them check Wikipedia? 
  • Have them check _insert_fact_checking_website_of_your_choice (that 50% of people are going to claim is biased)?   
  • Have them find and read original peer-reviewed scientific, medical, or statistical articles? 
  • Have them track down a full video/transcript of an event being reported on?   

Having a good idea that something is wrong is one thing, but 'verifying' it is hard and takes a long time.  You can short-cut the process and stop at 'trusted' sources, but of course different people will trust different sources. 

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Patricio Swayze said:


It does not seem to difficult to create a curriculum that includes:

What is an editorial and how does it differ from a news report/article.

 

I would love to see the curriculum for that course, because a shit-ton of folks in journalism just skip the fuck out of it.

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What exactly do you have in mind that they would teach for your "verify" line item? 
  • Have them check Wikipedia? 
  • Have them check _insert_fact_checking_website_of_your_choice (that 50% of people are going to claim is biased)?   
  • Have them find and read original peer-reviewed scientific, medical, or statistical articles? 
  • Have them track down a full video/transcript of an event being reported on?   
Having a good idea that something is wrong is one thing, but 'verifying' it is hard and takes a long time.  You can short-cut the process and stop at 'trusted' sources, but of course different people will trust different sources. 
 
 

I suppose what I mean is from the very basic (date, location, etc) by comparing to other news articles (or even looking at fucking map) to the more complicated. Fact checking in that sense, which is about as black and white as it gets.
The key is knowing an editorial or even using certain words in a simple news article should signify bias or at the very least, lazy journalism.
When it comes to the “why”, that is certainly more complicated. That is when teenagers need to understand the concept of perspective as well as bias.
I’m not sure why this idea has to be scary or offensive to any political party.
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The problem is there is no longer a clear demarcation between editorial and hard news. That is not a left or right issue it’s just reality

I know. But that is exactly what needs to be taught. Just because Tucker Carlson says something doesn’t mean it’s the truth (lulz, not even adults understand that).
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16 minutes ago, Sawbonz said:

The problem is there is no longer a clear demarcation between editorial and hard news. That is not a left or right issue it’s just reality

Maybe it is not the children that need education on toxic misinformation, maybe it is the fourth estate that needs to reacquaint themselves with principles of journalism.  

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5 hours ago, Satchel said:

I don’t understand how anybody can believe a kid being able to reason his/her to the truth about Hillary Clinton eating babies is a bad thing.

5 hours ago, WhatTheBuck said:

They’re expected to believe it. They’re not supposed to ask for proof. 

That's how you know the Qanon stuff was a true financial scam from the beginning - the people who invented it didn't put any effort into making it look like it was grassroots/created by true believers.  These aren't people who truly believe they were abducted by aliens, or who see mysterious gunmen in photos of the Grassy Knoll.  These are people fucking around and throwing shit on the wall and seeing what sticks.

They had an idea to grift people and/or play a prank, and they wanted to do it quickly - they couldn't wait around for a years-long grass-roots effort to build into a conspiracy theory.  Instead, they followed some kind of checklist:

  1. Select somebody the right hates - Hillary, plus Hollywood (Oprah, Justin Bieber, Tom Hanks were also linked).  They want to believe the worst about Hillary and Hollywood.
  2. Throw in something so horrendous that surely it can't be made up - child trafficking (throw in the word "sex" to make it sound really bad)
  3. Throw in a reason that ties back into old, established, conspiracy theories - drinking the blood/fluids of children to stay young, an age-old conspiracy theory used against Jewish people.
  4. Throw in a realistic-sounding scientific basis - Adrenochrome, something studied in the 1950s but eventually dropped, but is now a fake drug supposedly produced from the blood/fluids of the kids, that keeps Oprah, etc. young.  Selecting "Adrenochrome" means that they can pretend that what was claimed to be studied in the 1950s though the 70s was actually a cover for something else.
  5. Pick a setting - in the original story that brought qanon to the masses,  Comet Ping Pong pizza in Washington, D.C., that was frequented by politicians, and claim it had a non-existent basement (which is obviously hidden, duh!). There were also other settings.

There were plenty of....not quite trial runs, but things that laid the foundation for this, such as the underground Walmart warehouses in Texas that were used by FEMA, the military exercises in Texas by US Army Special Forces (Jade Helm, which many of us correctly guessed was meant to match up with their movements across Syria).  And Jeffrey Epstein was conveniently trafficking children for sex, and knew a lot of celebs and politicians.

It's such a batshit conspiracy theory when you lay it out, but because it's so over the top, weak-minded people automatically assume that there's no way anybody would be lying about something so crazy (Ye Olde Bigge Lye), and there's no way they'd accuse Hillary or Oprah or whoever of child trafficking unless it was true.

I participated in the JFK conspiracy stuff back in the late 80s/early 90s, although I became more of an observer than a follower.  While there were clearly grifters (and they usually couldn't hide it very well), there were truly a bunch of people that were affected in some way by JFK's death, and it was people who were alive when it happened, or people later on who feel like the world would be so much better if he had lived, if RFK had lived, etc., that Vietnam would have turned out differently (maybe they lost a relative in Vietnam), or they were troubled by all of the truly shady shit around JFK.  I felt like these people believed in that stuff, and they had plenty of proof to back up a lot of what they believed, given all of the Mafia and Cuban stuff.

But with this Qanon shit, it's just weak-minded people who hate Hillary, hate the left, hate Hollywood.  Qanon provides them another reason to hate.  They know believing it upsets people, so all the better.

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5 hours ago, hayden_horn said:

this is a topic i care about quite a bit, as you know, but i will find it interesting in the new paradigm.

you know what i do and what i cover, and how fucking interesting it has been with covid affecting everyone, which has caused all kinds of branches of innovation that we might have been already there but unable to previously flower.

we're doing all sorts of shit from home, and learning is the next horizon. i'll be especially interested in how public schools innovate, because it has become more than clear to me than ever that daily education, and hell, the daily fucking workday, is simply a model based around childcare. that's it. it might have started as something different, but i don't really think so.

however, my kids have learned all kinds of shit in school. however, we've had a situation that we're dealing with my youngest where he just cannot go to high school. yet he's somehow pulling a b in some classes? so it's clear that school is about more than what is being taught in the classroom.

this sounds stupid, but think about harry potter. yeah, the setting is the school but almost nothing happens in the classroom. sure, it's used for a demo or two, but all their major learning is done through real world application. 

that's the model i think we need to see evolve. practical education that prizes, oh, i don't know, education over behavior and attendance and sitting in your desk for x amount of minutes being quiet. kids today simply are not inured to a world of quiet, and guess what? that's fucking okay, because neither are adults. they need to learn to operate in this noisy world somehow. they need to learn with screens and an online world. when i was in school you'd get in trouble for looking things up on the internet. now that seems fucking crazy. if it's on the internet, 9 times out of 10, with actual factual things, it's true. i tell my kids to google stuff all the time. fuck a dictionary or an encyclopedia. they don't need to waste time with those skills.

but it also comes with helping kids to develop a meaningful bullshit filter, and i think it is working. even older teachers are pretty fucking hip to what the kids are into these days. if we could just catch up education from the 18th century, it would be great.

Your post is almost Gatto-like: faculty.bard.edu/hhaggard/teaching/sci127Sp20/notes/GattoSevenLessonSchoolteacher.pdf
 

The first chapter/essay/screed lays it out pretty clearly, the seven things schools teach:

1. Confusion

2. Class position/hierarchy 

3. Indifference 

4. Emotional dependency 

5. Intellectual dependency

6. Provisional self-esteem

7. Constant surveillance 

Gatto isn’t always 100% right, but he’s usually not wrong and points out some big picture, systemic things that are broken in education. Even the way we think and discuss education is wrapped up in this broken system. Schools may be filled with wonderful teachers, but the system is filling kids’ heads with a bizarre view of what an education should be. It’s a bizarre view that we were all taught, so we don’t even see how preposterous it is.

Regarding public schools teaching media literacy and critical thinking, you can rant and rave on how it should be, but anything that can be politicized will be, so make alternative plans just in case.

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10 hours ago, Mole said:

Your post is almost Gatto-like: faculty.bard.edu/hhaggard/teaching/sci127Sp20/notes/GattoSevenLessonSchoolteacher.pdf
 

The first chapter/essay/screed lays it out pretty clearly, the seven things schools teach:

1. Confusion

2. Class position/hierarchy 

3. Indifference 

4. Emotional dependency 

5. Intellectual dependency

6. Provisional self-esteem

7. Constant surveillance 

Gatto isn’t always 100% right, but he’s usually not wrong and points out some big picture, systemic things that are broken in education. Even the way we think and discuss education is wrapped up in this broken system. Schools may be filled with wonderful teachers, but the system is filling kids’ heads with a bizarre view of what an education should be. It’s a bizarre view that we were all taught, so we don’t even see how preposterous it is.

Regarding public schools teaching media literacy and critical thinking, you can rant and rave on how it should be, but anything that can be politicized will be, so make alternative plans just in case.

Great post, and last page my posting of the "This is Water" Kenyon College commencement speech was not just to make fun of neon moon for being a dead-eyed, cow-like human with no independent and critical thinking ability (though some of it was that), but it was more to highlight the conversation around how do you teach "how to think".

The commencement makes the argument that a liberal arts education, as the cliché goes, teaches you how to think so that when you enter the real world you are equipped to deal with it. It being, misinformation, other people, etc.

So then you have this tension between what is higher education then?

Is it a liberal arts education teaching you how to think while you explore the higher order crafts that make us creative and intelligent human beings (i.e. the humanities), which costs a ton of money (therefore skewed towards the privileged class) and has no direct application to getting a job with a great value and ROI post-college?

or

Is it a place to learn a discipline, to learn the technical how-to's and rote mechanization of a rules-based job (accounting, computer science, engineering, etc.) that is in demand and valuable in society that you can theoretically build a life upon?

Edited by HamsterHookah
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8 minutes ago, HamsterHookah said:

Is it a liberal arts education teaching you how to think while you explore the higher order crafts that make us creative and intelligent human beings (i.e. the humanities), which costs a ton of money (therefore skewed towards the privileged class) and has no direct application to getting a job with a great value and ROI post-college?

or

Is it a place to learn a discipline, to learn the technical how-to's and rote mechanization of a rules-based job (accounting, computer science, engineering, etc.) that is in demand and valuable in society that you can theoretically build a life upon?

You are presenting a false dichotomy. You can practice the humanities without committing wholely to them as a career path. Granted, that also requires society to not place a premium on extracting every moment of productive time from individuals so they have the energy and will left to express themselves. 

I think most of what's killing the arts is a braindead and uncritical MBA-like approach to EVERYTHING in this country. It's all just metrics and measurements as the goals, rather that advancing an outcome. This is especially evident in our public education system of no child left behind where standardized testing reigns supreme and stifles other, more creative and critical thinking curriculum out of the classroom. 

 

What you are framing it as has only the logical outcome of "we should cut the arts because they're unprofitable", where we should be focusing less singularly on profit and productivity so that we aren't boxed into a corner of needing to specialize in order to have the space to think critically and be creative 

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3 minutes ago, Captainant said:

You are presenting a false dichotomy. You can practice the humanities without committing wholely to them as a career path. Granted, that also requires society to not place a premium on extracting every moment of productive time from individuals so they have the energy and will left to express themselves. 

I think most of what's killing the arts is a braindead and uncritical MBA-like approach to EVERYTHING in this country. It's all just metrics and measurements as the goals, rather that advancing an outcome. This is especially evident in our public education system of no child left behind where standardized testing reigns supreme and stifles other, more creative and critical thinking curriculum out of the classroom. 

 

What you are framing it as has only the logical outcome of "we should cut the arts because they're unprofitable", where we should be focusing less singularly on profit and productivity so that we aren't boxed into a corner of needing to specialize in order to have the space to think critically and be creative 

I think the bolded is the crux of the issue: yes you theoretically can. I can theoretically do a lot of things I don't do now, but I only have so many hours in the day unless I re-prioritize. The reality is that we live in a world and society of intense scarcity and we have to be judicious in what we undertake (spend our limited time and budget and attention and energy on) because most of our resources are extremely limited (yes, even you surly 1%ers). In my opinion, at least.

And I agree with you about public education being a sub-optimal institution for our youth, which I guess then gets to the real answer for how to fight misinformation and teach critical thinking-- it starts and stops at home as a family. Which means that the underprivileged will continue to suffer-- those with broken homes and/or parents without the time due to the urgency of paying bills and surviving or just ignorant to these skills themselves.

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2 minutes ago, HamsterHookah said:

And I agree with you about public education being a sub-optimal institution for our youth, which I guess then gets to the real answer for how to fight misinformation and teach critical thinking-- it starts and stops at home as a family. Which means that the underprivileged will continue to suffer-- those with broken homes and/or parents without the time due to the urgency of paying bills and surviving or just ignorant to these skills themselves.

It also means the right with its predilection for authoritarianism will always self-sort their way out of critical thinking children. They'll repress the hell out of their children's creativity and curiosity because that's how the hierarchical power structure works - "because I SAID so!"

It takes a society and social structure that places a premium on critical thinking. And as we've seen from YOUR republican party, they are specifically and explicitly against critical thinking. 

the big lebowski dude GIF

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8 minutes ago, Captainant said:

It also means the right with its predilection for authoritarianism will always self-sort their way out of critical thinking children. They'll repress the hell out of their children's creativity and curiosity because that's how the hierarchical power structure works - "because I SAID so!"

It takes a society and social structure that places a premium on critical thinking. And as we've seen from YOUR republican party, they are specifically and explicitly against critical thinking. 

the big lebowski dude GIF

As someone who is/has raised children in the hierarchical power structure, I think you can be and raise kids to be creative and curious and keep a beginner's mindset within the framework of an inviolable set of ethical principles (whatever those principles mean to you, as we have the freedom to define our belief systems and worldviews which is awesome).

That's the beauty of the freedom of your family being your own and being free to not out-source your children's development to the government program that everyone seems to agree is broken and inadequate: public education.

Edited by HamsterHookah
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28 minutes ago, HamsterHookah said:

As someone who is/has raised children in the hierarchical power structure, I think you can be and raise kids to be creative and curious and keep a beginner's mindset within the framework of an inviolable set of ethical principles (whatever those principles mean to you, as we have the freedom to define our belief systems and worldviews which is awesome).

It's pretty toxic to grow up in a structure like that. You grow up with an engendered ideal of you being better than others for no discernible (or critically supported) reason, and of it being right and just to look down on them. Do you not see how that's a straight line to the sort of problems you're wishing we didn't have right now?

It's not about defining a belief system or worldview, it's about defining the basic rules of logic and how you process information. Which is completely independent from worldview, or how you interpret that information. 

32 minutes ago, HamsterHookah said:

That's the beauty of the freedom of your family being your own and being free to not out-source your children's development to the government program that everyone seems to agree is broken and inadequate: public education.

This is pretty cynical to say, considering it's been conservative innovations like no child left behind and """school choice""" and charter schools that have been eating away at the public education system. You don't get to burn a building down, and then complain about the smoke. Goddamn you're frustrating to deal with chrispy. 

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3 minutes ago, Captainant said:

You don't get to burn a building down, and then complain about the smoke

That’s literally the GOP platform.  Oh and how long it took the fire department to get there bc they slashed taxes to pay for public services like fire

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