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Calling Bullshit

The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World

Jevin D. West Carl T. Bergstrom

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Allen Lane
04 August 2020
We think we know bullshit when we hear it, but do we? A spotter's guide to bullshit in the wild from two brilliantly contrarian scientists The world is awash in bullshit, and we're drowning in it. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. These days, calling bullshit is a noble act.

Based on their popular, eponymous, course at the University of Washington, professors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West catalogue bullshit in its many forms, explaining where bullshit arose in our evolutionary past and why it is ubiquitous today. Calling Bullshit offers readers the tools to see through the obfuscations, deliberate and careless, that dominate every realm of our lives. In this lively guide Bergstrom, a computational biologist, and West, a statistician, teach us that calling bullshit is crucial to a properly functioning social group, whether it be a circle of friends, a community of academics, or the citizenry of a nation.
By:   Jevin D. West, Carl T. Bergstrom
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   407g
ISBN:   9780241438107
ISBN 10:   0241438101
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   04 August 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jevin West is an Assistant Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington, and is co-director of the DataLab. He develops knowledge discovery tools to both study and facilitate science, with particular interest in the origin of scholarly disciplines and how sociological and economic factors drive and slow the evolution of science. Carl Theodore Bergstrom is a theoretical and evolutionary biologist and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. His research focuses on the flow of information through biological and social networks.

Reviews for Calling Bullshit: The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World

Takes the reader behind the carefully drawn curtain of disinformation artists, politicians and advertisers ... West and Bergstrom excel in training readers in the practice of spotting BS. It's a bootcamp * E & T Magazine * A helpful guide to navigating a world full of doubtful claims based on spurious data. Using clever anecdotes, nods to online culture and allusions to ancient philosophy, the book tells ordinary readers how to spot nonsense-even if they are not numerical whizzes * The Economist * If you want to read what will surely be a classic, buy Calling Bullshit. It addresses the most important issue of our time: the decline in respect for Truth. It is also a literary masterpiece. Every page -- indeed, every paragraph -- is a new bit of fun -- George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate I laughed, I cried -- to read Bergstrom and West's great examples of 'bullshit.' This is a gripping read for anybody who cares about how we are fooled (and how not to be), and the connection to numeracy and science. But it's also just great fun. This is a necessary book for our times -- Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Laureate The information landscape is strewn with quantitative cowflop; read this book if you want to know where not to step -- Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to be Wrong Each of us now swims through deception so pervasive that we no longer realize it's there. Calling Bullshit presents a master class in how to spot it, how to resist it, and how to keep it from succeeding -- Paul Romer, Nobel Laureate Essential reading. Even if you feel you can trudge through verbal bullsh!t easily enough, this book will give you the tools to swim through numerical snake-oil. . . I was given a fleeting, dizzying reminder of what it once felt like to be a free agent in a factual world -- Simon Ings * The Telegraph * A modern classic that is troubling in some places, sobering in others, and enlightening from beginning to end. . . Bergstrom and West leave the reader feeling a very particular kind of smarter: the empowered kind. . . Calling Bullshit explains everyday quirks like Gladwell's Blink does, but it both demands and offers more than anything in the Gladwellian tradition. It works anywhere, for anyone: the academic, the citizen-scientist, citizen-skeptic, and citizen-curious * Wired *


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