Lecture 5: Belief & Evidence

REVIEW

Note the connection between previous lectures up to today

LEC01: Rhetoric, Power of Language

LEC02: Two Processes of Communication, Rhetorical Situation

LEC03: Modes of Persuasion and Fallacies

LEC04: Power of Language, Propaganda, Spin

A legacy of excellence and leadership spanning every human endeavor

Integration of three types of readings and modes of persuasion

Notes on UofT commercial <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylEpzyssJEU>

Logos - statistics, achievements

Pathos - people talking about personal experiences, music

Ethos - alumni with reputation


Dominant Reading -

  • The institution itself has authority in the field.
  • Emphasizes the trustworthiness of institution.
  • Show the diversity.
  • We like dominant reading, because we're here.

Negotiated Reading -

  • They were selective on people in the video.
  • Rarely mention from a student point of view - only professors.

Oppositional Reading -

  • UofT mostly cares about its graduate students with higher chances in achieving such status.
  • Focus was on a graduate programs (no teachers, but only researchers).
  • A lot seems to be hidden (eg. mental health, deregulated programs, international student fees, large fasts in rooms).
  • There's no encouragement to resist.


Belief

"...is a representation of what we take to be reality"

- James Alcock

Persuasion must contend with belief

Belief...

.....guides actions

.....provides meaning

.....offers relief

.....organizes social behavior (we share beliefs with others,)

*Beliefs are not equal - some are convictional

"Seeing is believing"

Example discussed in class - Why is the Earth round?

  • we've been told that it's round
  • scientifically proven
  • seen from plane


Beliefs and illusions

Our brains constructs the reality based on our beliefs, even on illusions.

Examples:

1. Table top illusion

2. Checker Shadow Illusion

3. Impossible Triangle

4. Harvest moon


Causality and Correlation

  • Faulty memories can be a drawback
  • Memory is a reconstruction
  • Belief builds up depending on Causality and Correlation

Example: The Lightbulb experiment (Hawthorne Effect)

A group of workers were placed in a room with a bright light and had been observed by investigators for a specific period of time. The workers were a lot more productive than usual, and the researchers came to a conclusion that bright light increases productivity. But when they ran the experiment once again, but with a low lighting, the productivity was still higher than usual. Then researchers realized that it's not the lightning that boosts productivity, but the fact that the workers have been observed,

- We believe in things that we cannot prove.

- Our perceptions are often incorrect.

- We struggle with correlation.


The Scientific Method


History of this method is uncertain, but we tend to thing that Muslim scholar al-Haytham developed a series of steps -

  1. Observation of natural world.
  2. Defining a problem.
  3. Articulating a hypothesis.
  4. Testing hypothesis through experiments.
  5. Analyzing and interpreting results.
  6. Sharing findings.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) developed the concept further by establishing the following:

  • Empirical Observations
  • Systematic Experimental Evidence
  • Analyzing Experimental Evidence
  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Results of Inductive Reasoning do not end up in right or wrong, but strong or weak.

Then Rene Descartes Bacon (1596-1650) pushes to Deductive reasoning, which one is more right or wrong, not strong or weak.

End result -

The Scientific Method -

  1. Make Observations
  2. Formulate a Hypothesis
  3. Design and perform Experiments
  4. Accept or change the hypothesis
  5. Sharing findings (allow for replication! - critical)

* To remember - OHEAS

Replication in studies is critical - has to be transparent so other researchers can share the results.

Scientific Method is a means to counter the Cognitive Bias

Bottom-line - we're soaking in the pool of biases

Critical Thinking -

  1. Understand that we can all be fooled
  2. Be suspicious of your institutions
  3. Beware Fundamental Attribution Error
  4. Don't rely on single source of information
  5. Beware of over-interpreting correlations

SUMMARY

Key ideas -

  • Integration of 3 Modes of Persuasion and 3 Types of Readings
  • Belief
  • Illusions
  • Causality and Correlation
  • Faulty memories
  • Scientific Method
  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Cognitive Biases
  • Critical Thinking




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