Thursday, July 21, 2011

RD Extra: Deceived Into Thinking

This episode features the lecture "Deceived Into Thinking: Teaching Students to Think Critically Through The Study of Deception" presented by Jeremy Beahan to CFI Michigan on May 11th, 2011

After trying (unsuccessfully) to get young students excited about learning informal logic, Jeremy Beahan began flirting with a different strategy. Perhaps a better way to convey the value of fair-minded/ critical thinking would be through the study of its intellectual opposite — deception. This simple idea had a surprisingly strong impact on how students engaged with the material.

Instead of endlessly rehearsing procedures for analyzing arguments, students delight in examining real "case studies in deception"-- everyday instances of fraud, distortion, manipulation,self-deceptio​n and group think. Through class activities and assignments students can imaginatively step into the role of the deceiver by learning how to fake psychic powers, perform classic street-cons or twist logic in order to defeat an opponent. Also, when students witness the harm done to individuals and society by deception they can come to see the value of thinking skeptically and work to expose deception in their own community.

To download this or any previous Reasonable Doubts episode click here. Find the episode you want and right click the "play now" link and select "save target as..."


Anonymous said...

Am I completely wrong in thinking there is no download link here?

Anonymous said...

The link "podcast" is not known to Firefox. You need to use IE or an IE rendering inside Firefox. Hope this helps, hope they fix it.

Jeremy said...

Sorry, try again.

David said...

Sad day, the audio is cut off abruptly, well before the end of the lecture! Please re-upload with the full audio if possible, I'd really like to hear the end of this.

Jeremy said...


Are you using Google Chrome or some google based app to listen. The file seems to be playing fine on itunes or in firefox browser but for some weird reason it cuts off at 40min in Chrome. Anyway for anyone having trouble here is a direct link to the sound file

Michael said...

I down loaded the file directly, and it got cut off short, also.

PhilR said...

The file I got from iTunes is cut off also.

Jon said...

Deceived into downloading!!!1one

Jon said...

(itunes that is)

The Melissa said...

Yea Itunes cuts it off at like 40 min.

But other than that, LOVE IT!

Beahan = awesome.

Lausten North said...

Thanks for doing this Jeremy. Seems to be a complete 1hr 11mins.

Unknown said...

Is there someplace to get a written list of the books mentioned plus maybe some supplementary material?

Jeremy said...

I think the problem with the track cutting off has been resolved. If anyone else has difficulties please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Love this podcast. The information provided has helped me win so many debates with my religious friends it's not even funny.

What's the name of the "religious" music that makes up the first part of the theme song for Reasonable Doubts?

Although an atheist, I do like that type of music.


Ryan R. said...

I thought the cut-off might be part of the hook. "Did you like what you heard so far? If you want to hear the rest, join the CFI for the low, low price of..." :D

But seriously, this was really interesting stuff, especially the part about decoys. I never realized just how that could work. Jeremy, if you used slides or something for your presentation, could you post those as well? Pretty please?

Dan E said...

Agree with Anathma and Ryan R, please post references, reading list, slides. Would be much appreciated. Thanks for a fantastic episode!

Anne said...

Will you be posting some show notes for this podcast? I was listening while gardening, and couldn't write down the books and other references. I'm a young adult librarian and I would like to be able to recommend some of these references. Thanks!

S. Snyder said...

This is such wonderful idea for teaching critical thinking because it embeds "why do I need to know this?" into the learning. Nobody likes getting fooled.

My experience has been that people's critical ability kicks in when their curiosity is sufficiently aroused. In other words, there is no such thing as critical thinking; there is only critical thinking about stuff. And there's two kinds of stuff: interesting stuff and non-interesting stuff. And who the hell wants to think hard about non-interesting stuff.

Another really inetersting book is Daniel T. Willingham's "Why Don't Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom."

Enjoyed your talk.

Javier said...

Intresting lecture!

Bumps ;) the book list:

Richard Paul - Critical thinking

Alex Fisher - Critical thinking (Cambridge Press)

Nicholas Capaldi - The Art of Deception: An Introduction to Critical Thinking (there's a 1987 edition and a revised 2007 edition)

Bernard M. Patten - Truth, Knowledge, or Just Plain Bull: How to Tell the Difference

Dan Ariely - Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Theodore Schick - How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

A quick search and found all of them on amazon.

Thanks for sharing the lecture.

Anonymous said...

Really great lecture. I am really impressed by how you had the originality to explore how to teach the class in a more appealing way, and then to actually do it.
I was also impressed Jeremy by that debate you did a while ago - I would have been crushed under the pompous yet persuasive manner of you're opponents public speaking skills - yet you cut right through it like a hot knife through butter.
(although after listening to this ep I understand more of how you were capable of doing that).
And lastly, I love how you emphasised how before you consider yourself as anything you should identify yourself as a pursuer of truth.
Dropping your ego in the face of the pursuit of truth really is the key to all of this (if not sometimes hard, and humbling, and a little scary).
Thanks for inspiring stuff.

Anonymous said...


Is it ethical to manipulate people into buying things ie. the dummy option (similar yet higher priced alternative)?

Anonymous said...

I'll rephrase that - I don't mean ethical, more 'can one sleep at night manipulating people into giving over their money' - or is it just good business sense?

noisician said...

I only just listened to this show and loved it! I don't suppose there is any possibility of presenting material similar to what you presented in the "Art of Deception" class as a series of podcast lectures?

Shim Marom said...

Hi Jeremy, thanks for sharing an excellent lecture. Can I ask for your recommendation for a book on this topic suitable for a layman?

Thanks, Shim.