Jan 2nd 2017

Deception Detox - How solid science can help you save the world (Coursera)

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This course will help you become scientifically literate so that you can make better choices for yourself and the world. Unlike other courses on statistics and scientific methods, we explore global challenges - such as poverty or climate change - and then discuss how key approaches of statistics and scientific methods can help tackle these challenges. We present these approaches in a non-mathematical and easily accessible way. You will leave the course being able to recognize which efforts to do good in this world actually work, and you will have used your science literacy to make some personal changes in your life.

Many current attempts to do good in this world are based on good intentions, but don’t work well, or are even harmful. In this course we talk to leading experts from academia, business and non-profit organizations about how we can use science to distinguish bad, good and even better ways of improving this world. We also invite you to change your own behavior to do more good. You will learn how to spot BS (bad science) in the media, how to evaluate whether a social program works or not, and how your career could have a better impact on this world. Finally, you will develop your own plan on how you are going to do good better with science.

Guest speakers include Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely, Philosopher Peter Singer, and Happiness researcher Elizabeth Dunn.


Week 1: Science literacy as a vaccine against the charlatans

Week 2: Stop guessing!

Week 3: Putting it all together

Week 4: Yes but wait

Week 5: Capstone