- While bullshit may reach its greatest density in the political sphere, this isn't a course on political bullshit. Instead, we will focus on bullshit that comes clad in the trappings of scholarly discourse and buttressed with vast assemblages of data. Of course an advertisement is trying to sell you something, but, but do you know whether the Ted talk you watched last night is also bullshit — and if so, can you explain why? Can you see the problem with the latest New York Times or Washington Post article fawning over some startup's "breakthrough" in big data analytics? Can you tell whether a clinical trial reported in the New England Journal or JAMA is solid science, or just a press release for some pharma outfit?
In this course we aim to teach you how to think critically about the data and models that constitute evidence in the social and natural sciences.