Author Topic: Help with accruing topics and information for skepticism museum project  (Read 203 times)

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Offline kaph

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I've listened to the SGU podcast on and off for several years, but have just become a member of the forum because I was hoping to crowdsource some ideas and information for a project I am currently undertaking. I am an MFA candidate and for one of my courses the final project is to create a museum exhibition. My concept for the exhibit is.... you guessed it! Skepticism in a Post-Modern World.

I have been doing some research on different topics to cover within the exhibit but would love extra input, or guidance to better sources of study.

That being said, I would much appreciate feedback on a few questions.

1. What are some topics that were at one time proven to be scientifically true but were not culturally accepted as true for an extended amount of time? (think majority of flat earth believers, or a geocentric solar system)

2. What are some leading causes or techniques of the spread of disinformation? (I recently heard the term "Gish Gallop" to describe Trump's process of spreading disinformation and did not know if there were any other major terms to search for

3. Are there any highly specific cases where the use of selective facts can sway public opinion that wouldn't be considered extremely harmful. "what's the Harm" has been a great starting point for me, but for the sake of accessibility I would like some more trivial examples to lead into certain topics. A good one I found was using NFL stats to make the same Quarterback seem great or terrible.

4. Are there specific reference sources that list best practices when attempting to live a "skeptical" lifestyle? I thought I had heard mention of a sort of skeptics handbook around in an episode, but I cannot seem to find the source for it.

5. Any other recourses that you feel would be helpful in expressing the complexity of establishing "truth" and "fact" in modern society? Or any personal ideas that you have that you think would be important to illuminate when trying to convey the idea that truth and fact can be a complicated process?

Both my GPA and I thank you in advance for any help you can give, and if these topics have been covered in other threads ad nauseum my apologies for the ignorance

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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1.  A historical example would be hand-washing for doctors.  A contemporary example would be forensic science, which is filled with junk.  Hair analysis, bite mark analysis, eye-witness testimony as a gold standard, etc.  Tons of BS.   


2.  Propaganda!

If you're interested in politics and psychology, frame manipulation.  It is fundamental to modern political propaganda.  Here's one and two articles on the subject and a a fun video about push polling

If you're interested in propaganda posters (which kind of rule), you could probably put together a selection representing techniques from a list like this along with some historical/cultural/political context. 


4.  Psychology of Intelligence Analysis (PDF).  It's a CIA publication on, "helping analysts compensate for the human mind’s limitations in dealing with complex problems that typically involve ambiguous information, multiple players, and fluid circumstances."  It overlaps nicely with Skepticism's emphasis on deftly navigating fallacies and biases. 


And this sounds like an interesting project!  Please feel free to post about what you end up putting together
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 07:57:14 PM by Soldier of FORTRAN »
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Offline Billzbub

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I think a great analogy to portray in a museum would be how the effort to discover if smoking causes cancer and then get the world to believe it parallels the effort to discover if humans are causing the earth to warm to our detriment and then get the world to believe it.

Offline kaph

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1.  A historical example would be hand-washing for doctors.  A contemporary example would be forensic science, which is filled with junk.  Hair analysis, bite mark analysis, eye-witness testimony as a gold standard, etc.  Tons of BS.   


2.  Propaganda!

If you're interested in politics and psychology, frame manipulation.  It is fundamental to modern political propaganda.  Here's one and two articles on the subject and a a fun video about push polling

If you're interested in propaganda posters (which kind of rule), you could probably put together a selection representing techniques from a list like this along with some historical/cultural/political context. 


4.  Psychology of Intelligence Analysis (PDF).  It's a CIA publication on, "helping analysts compensate for the human mind’s limitations in dealing with complex problems that typically involve ambiguous information, multiple players, and fluid circumstances."  It overlaps nicely with Skepticism's emphasis on deftly navigating fallacies and biases. 


And this sounds like an interesting project!  Please feel free to post about what you end up putting together

This is all amazingly helpful and gives me a few ideas on where else to take the exhibit! I think a collaged area of propaganda would make a great statement, and washing hands is a perfect example of science outpacing practice due to willful ignorance. Just reading you post made me remember the AC/DC battle and the manipulation tactics used therein.

I will try to respond to this post in mid-May once the project is complete and submitted. Thanks again for the help!

 

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