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Defeatist Elitist

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Alright, here I'm going to post things (and encourage you to post things) that people can read or watch to begin to educate themselves on important subjects. While reading or watching these things alone does not necessarily make one an excellent thinker, it certainly helps to educate. I'd like anyone else who has educational material to post it here. Also, I'd like to request a Pin, if that's alright. If you post something, I'll try to edit it into the first post.

So without further ado:

Wikipedia Did I really need to link this? When you have a question about something, Wikipedia is an excellent place to look. If its a serious issue that you want very accurate information on though, you may want to try several sources as well, including those cited on the Wikipedia page.

The Khan Academy Youtube channel contains a ton of information about a bunch of subjects. It offers close to a first year university level of education in a number of subjects.

The Khan Academy Website is basically like the above but better.

Potholer54's Youtube channel, another great resource. It mainly covers Climate Change (and the various myths surrounding it), as well as the Scientific History of people, going so far as containing two versions, one with almost all religious references purged. Anyone, I repeat, anyone trying to question scientific theories on subjects such as evolution, etc, would do very well to watch these videos.

C0nc0rdance's Youtube Channel, a similar resource to the previous two. The intention of this channel is to cover and show what is junk science and what is real science.

DonExodus's channel, yet another resource for explaining various scientific concepts.

The Economist

Wall Street Journal



I'm just doing this quickly right now, and will probably add more soon. You will notice that many of these are Scientifically oriented. This is primarily because this seems to be one of the largest deficiencies in knowledge around here. This is also because Science is a very objective field, with little room for groundless opinion. That is to say, these can be purely educational, with very few opportunities for subjective bias. Things such as political ideology, morality, etc, are all much more subjective things, and while fairly important and interesting, are more difficult to easily "teach" on an objective level.

This is speaking rather too broadly. People in science often can and do hold different opinions. This encourages debate. You can't really get anywhere in science only investigating one option. Obviously, your opinion ought to be defensible logically and experimentally, but that doesn't mean there is only one valid opinion. Now, in some sense you're right; for example, if you claimed that an electron is positively charged (according to the convention set by Benjamin Franklin) you'd be basically as wrong as one can possibly manage to be.

On the other hand, unlike like say... literature, science generally is accepted as having a far more objective way of deciding what is false and what is a good working model of the world. Basically, what I'm saying is disagreement is okay and even encouraged to some extent, but all parties must be operating under roughly scientific assumptions for this to work. I.E. "God did it" is usually not a good scientific explanation for something. How did he do it? What are the error bounds on your data for this? Can we run an experiment to test this? Do we have a body of well-recorded observations from which we can account for various sources of error as best as possible? Does this explanation have any predictive power or help us understand the universe more accurately?

To be fair though, I think I understand the intent of your words, and to expect someone to sum up such a deep and powerful field(s) accurately in a paragraph would be crazy, but one has to try anyways for the sake of communication.


Again though, I welcome all input, although don't just throw up everything. Edited by Defeatist Elitist

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commondreams.org

truthout.org

foxnews.com (though sometimes not as extremist as its televised aspect, surprisingly)

ted.com

rollingstone.com (magazine still superior)

washingtonpost.com

Never look at one thing from one way.

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Never forget that Google is your friend, and learn how to use it properly. Just be warned: geocities and tripod are not valid sites, for the most part (and by most part I mean 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999% are shit). Always look at who backs the website (be it an organization or individual) and, like Celice said, avoid looking at a bunch of websites that only confirm each other. That's an easy way to get lied to.

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Here is another Youtube channel you might want to consider:

AronRa's Channel, another science channel. Mainly on subjects like evolution and paleontology.

Just putting it here.

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http://www.economist.com/ Is a good source for economic and financial information as well as world news in general. The writing is generally well done. They'd probably be considered center-right by American standards.

http://online.wsj.com/home-page The wall street journal's oneline site. You can't access all articles from here but hey.

As far as scientific or mathematical information and sources, feel free to PM me if you're looking for anything specific. I have access to any journals or papers the University of California has access to since I'm a student at UCSB. And that is a LOT of papers that would normally be very expensive. I can e-mail people PDF's of anything I find if they're particularly interested. It's not restricted to scientific papers either. I'm also decently knowledgeable about a few subjects myself, since I'm a double major in physics and mathematics and have done or am doing research in mathematics and ecology. I can't promise a quick response, but I'll try to respond in a reasonably timely manner (although in some sense, I expect few people will take me up on this offer so I won't have to worry much, but if lots of people do I'll be both pleasantly surprised and caught off guard I suppose).

I'm also cool with just trying to explain things to people about any subject matter in science, although I can't guarantee I'll have a good answer or explanation for any question.

EDIT: I've got to respond to one thing I noted that I would say is a bit of an overstatement.

This is also because Science is a very objective field' date=' with little room for opinion. That is to say, these can be purely educational, with very few opportunities for subjective bias. Things such as political ideology, morality, etc, are all much more subjective things, and while fairly important and interesting, are more difficult to easily "teach" on an objective level.[/quote']

This is speaking rather too broadly. People in science often can and do hold different opinions. This encourages debate. You can't really get anywhere in science only investigating one option. Obviously, your opinion ought to be defensible logically and experimentally, but that doesn't mean there is only one valid opinion. Now, in some sense you're right; for example, if you claimed that an electron is positively charged (according to the convention set by Benjamin Franklin) you'd be basically as wrong as one can possibly manage to be.

On the other hand, unlike like say... literature, science generally is accepted as having a far more objective way of deciding what is false and what is a good working model of the world. Basically, what I'm saying is disagreement is okay and even encouraged to some extent, but all parties must be operating under roughly scientific assumptions for this to work. I.E. "God did it" is usually not a good scientific explanation for something. How did he do it? What are the error bounds on your data for this? Can we run an experiment to test this? Do we have a body of well-recorded observations from which we can account for various sources of error as best as possible? Does this explanation have any predictive power or help us understand the universe more accurately?

To be fair though, I think I understand the intent of your words, and to expect someone to sum up such a deep and powerful field(s) accurately in a paragraph would be crazy, but one has to try anyways for the sake of communication.

Edited by quanta

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http://www.economist.com/ Is a good source for economic and financial information as well as world news in general. The writing is generally well done. They'd probably be considered center-right by American standards.

http://online.wsj.com/home-page The wall street journal's oneline site. You can't access all articles from here but hey.

As far as scientific or mathematical information and sources, feel free to PM me if you're looking for anything specific. I have access to any journals or papers the University of California has access to since I'm a student at UCSB. And that is a LOT of papers that would normally be very expensive. I can e-mail people PDF's of anything I find if they're particularly interested. It's not restricted to scientific papers either. I'm also decently knowledgeable about a few subjects myself, since I'm a double major in physics and mathematics and have done or am doing research in mathematics and ecology. I can't promise a quick response, but I'll try to respond in a reasonably timely manner (although in some sense, I expect few people will take me up on this offer so I won't have to worry much, but if lots of people do I'll be both pleasantly surprised and caught off guard I suppose).

I'm also cool with just trying to explain things to people about any subject matter in science, although I can't guarantee I'll have a good answer or explanation for any question.

EDIT: I've got to respond to one thing I noted that I would say is a bit of an overstatement.

This is speaking rather too broadly. People in science often can and do hold different opinions. This encourages debate. You can't really get anywhere in science only investigating one option. Obviously, your opinion ought to be defensible logically and experimentally, but that doesn't mean there is only one valid opinion. Now, in some sense you're right; for example, if you claimed that an electron is positively charged (according to the convention set by Benjamin Franklin) you'd be basically as wrong as one can possibly manage to be.

On the other hand, unlike like say... literature, science generally is accepted as having a far more objective way of deciding what is false and what is a good working model of the world. Basically, what I'm saying is disagreement is okay and even encouraged to some extent, but all parties must be operating under roughly scientific assumptions for this to work. I.E. "God did it" is usually not a good scientific explanation for something. How did he do it? What are the error bounds on your data for this? Can we run an experiment to test this? Do we have a body of well-recorded observations from which we can account for various sources of error as best as possible? Does this explanation have any predictive power or help us understand the universe more accurately?

To be fair though, I think I understand the intent of your words, and to expect someone to sum up such a deep and powerful field(s) accurately in a paragraph would be crazy, but one has to try anyways for the sake of communication.

Yeah, you expressed it better than me. I'll actually edit that into the first post to clarify.

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A couple people mentioned The Economist, but I wouldn't really trust it. About a third to half of their news stories are fluff intended to catch the eye and be popular rather than real news, and the magazine itself does have a pretty clear agenda, pro-UK and pro-European Union. As a result, their stories on rivals of the EU as well as the economic situation in the developing world tend to be completely skewed. They especially have an otherworldly viewpoint when it comes to the political situation in Russia, like it's 1948.

The Economist is no worse than most news sites, though, one blog I follow closely said the other day that the US House of Representatives only has room for about 30 democrats if it's going to function properly, and another has been saying for years that people who voted for Bush should be stripped of their citizenship.

As someone who follows world news and international relations fairly closely, my advice is to always use a whole bunch of contrasting sources. If you see an interesting story or concept, search for it in Google and read some other opinions. Usually you'll understand the topic at hand a lot better this way, since different writers give different information. There's not any shame in having your opinion decided as soon as you read the title of an article, but there is if that opinion turns out to be ill-informed or foolish.

Understanding the opposing ideas about what you're writing about, at least superficially, should be a prerequisite for any post in this thread. Never act like you understand something that you only know incompletely.

Edited by EvilWell

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A couple people mentioned The Economist, but I wouldn't really trust it. About a third to half of their news stories are fluff intended to catch the eye and be popular rather than real news, and the magazine itself does have a pretty clear agenda, pro-UK and pro-European Union. As a result, their stories on rivals of the EU as well as the economic situation in the developing world tend to be completely skewed. They especially have an otherworldly viewpoint when it comes to the political situation in Russia, like it's 1948.

Meh, they're as trustworthy and news-filled as the NYT or the WSJ, but with the difference they're a weekly outlet instead of daily so you don't have to skim as much volume to get the most of the same news. On the other hand, you still get less news than some other papers. Their formatting and style though does lend itself to mixing opinion pieces with the actual news. Which is why I prefer the WSJ, although I haven't kept up with it like I used to. The WSJ was (and probably still is) very professional about separating their opinion page from the actual news, so even if you didn't agree with their political slant, you basically would never have to deal with it if you just didn't turn to the end of the A section.

Understanding the opposing ideas about what you're writing about, at least superficially, should be a prerequisite for any post in this thread. Never act like you understand something that you only know incompletely.

Practically speaking, it's going to impossible to know many things completely. It's just important to have some rough idea of where you are on the spectrum.

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On the same boat as khanacademy.org,

Academic Earth. Filmed college lectures on pretty much any awesome subject you want. Some are from Ivy Leagues, too. I think they're all undergrad classes, but I'm not sure.

Edited by Phoenix Wright

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Is Wikipedia to be considered a solid source? i always had some kind of negative bias toward it, especially on serious matters. I don't see how it can be trusted.

Also, http://www.mises.org/

A site that defends liberalism, something that is handwaved a lot because of ignorance.

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Is Wikipedia to be considered a solid source? i always had some kind of negative bias toward it, especially on serious matters. I don't see how it can be trusted.

Also, http://www.mises.org/

A site that defends liberalism, something that is handwaved a lot because of ignorance.

There are multiple source citations on wikipedia articles that can be used to back up its validity in certain cases.

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There are multiple source citations on wikipedia articles that can be used to back up its validity in certain cases.

Also, from this article on that site, apparently it's more of a philosophical site than anything else, they sort of reject empirical evidence and do everything through theorizing and inference.

We arrived at them by deducing the logical implications of the existing fact of human action, and hence deduced true conclusions from a true axiom. Apart from the fact that these conclusions cannot be "tested" by historical or statistical means, there is no need to test them since their truth has already been established. Historical fact enters into these conclusions only by determining which branch of the theory is applicable in any particular case.

I have no opposition to fundamentally philisophical texts being in here though, just figured I should point it out.

edit: I would never cite Wikipedia, but it's generally a totally fine starting point.

Edited by Defeatist Elitist

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Also, from this article on that site, apparently it's more of a philosophical site than anything else, they sort of reject empirical evidence and do everything through theorizing and inference.

To be honest, I use another site (with articles translated to my mother language), so I admit I haven't read much from that site.

They don't reject empirical evidence, and I'd say an article alone doesn't stand for all of the rest, especially a theorical one as the above (for example, they bring out the fact that the countries with most free market are also some of the most developped ones, scoring high in education and health, such as Hong Kong, and also the ones on which the poor has a more broad acessibility to services due to low taxation and freedom. This is but an example, I won't discuss about it) nor base solely through theorizing, though they do theorize a lot (which philosophical branch doesn't?). Infering is natural, only being negative when it has no base.

Here's an article that uses empirical evidence, as an example, if you're interested.

Edited by Rapier

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I've been looking for some sort of material that works as a good introduction for critical thinking. Does anyone know which would be best for someone who is still on square one? If it is a book, I'll have to look for it on pdf format.

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http://patrickjmt.com/

The God of Mathematics.

http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

MIT (Mass. Institute of Technology) has almost all of its lecture materials online for free viewing. There is an entire education to be had on this site.

Edited by Ownagepuffs

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