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Critical Thinking: Week 3

by: Josie Cyrus

Critical Thinking: Week 3 TVR 251

Marketplace > Ithaca College > Film > TVR 251 > Critical Thinking Week 3
Josie Cyrus
GPA 3.75

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About this Document

The Elusive Nature of Truth
Critical Thinking and Mass Communication
Ben Crane
Class Notes
critical, thinking, ben, Crane, television, radio, ithaca, college
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Josie Cyrus on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to TVR 251 at Ithaca College taught by Ben Crane in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 36 views. For similar materials see Critical Thinking and Mass Communication in Film at Ithaca College.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Critical Thinking: The Elusive Nature of Truth – Internal Obstacles (cont’d) 2/8/16 – 2/12/16 I. Obstacles to Knowing the Truth: Physical and cognitive imperfections a. Internal i. Physical 1. Includes the flaws in our own 5 senses. a. Examples: “Seeing is believing” i. There’s no way to confirm that everyone is seeing the same thing or that what anyone is seeing is really there b. The same thing can happen in different variations with sound, touch, taste, and smell c. Visible light is only a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. We can only see the visible light part of the spectrum (6 other categories of light) i. The Virgin Child painting, under different lighting you cans see spots that are invisible to the human eye. The spots reveal where painting have been retouched. ii. The universe: The Orion Nebula in optical light, from Hubble space Telescope looks different than it does in infrared red. A bright orange nebula can be seen when looking at it in infrared. 1. Because of evolutionary traits. iii. Brains: the human brain detects patterns so well that it can often find patterns that don’t exist 1. Optical illusions activity ii. Psychological/Emotional 1. The brain collects sensory information, makes some assumptions, and then draws conclusions. a. Illusions occur when the brain makes false assumptions. i. The placement of the light source or the shadows on the picture dictate the perception of things. 1. The answer to every question of how people are is evolution. b. The brain often has to work with incomplete information it tries to resolve ambiguities and make sense of the world by finding or creating patterns. c. The brain seeks understanding and constructs explanations automatically, when real explanations are elusive, the brain may settle for false explanations. iii. Intellectual 1. Perceptual illusions are not limited to our sense of sight a. The brain is just as creative with our senses II. The Unreliability of human pattern recognition a. Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922) i. Blobs 1. The point is that there are ink-blots that can diagnose certain ”illnesses”. In most cases people will get access to fake blobs so doctors can keep the real ones a secret for accurate diagnosis. a. The blobs shown in class were supposed to be able to ascertain whether or not the patient was homo- or hetero- sexual. b. Our brains will always try to find a pattern in nothing. i. Ex: two dots and a line make a face b. Brain/Patterns i. Statistics 1. There are a lot of statistics that are published and meant to be realistic but they don’t actually make any sense because the data was rearranged to find patterns. 2. Paredolia: a type of illusion or misperception in which a vague stimulus is perceived as something clear and distinct. a. Ex: looking at the clouds and seeing images. b. It’s normal to see these images: the problem comes when people believe the images actually exist. c. Patterns can be sensory (based on our sight, sound, touch, etc.) but they can also be intellectual, such as general ideas and beliefs. i. Optical illusions are not only illusions that fool us, intellectual illusions are at least as common. ii. Intellectual Illusions 1. “The Face on Mars” picture released by NASA in 1971 from the Viking I expedition. The press release by NASA explained the science behind the “face” in the photo a. People began to think the face was real and was an alien monument. i. People compared it to the sphinx and developed ideas that “The Face” was proof of other life forms. 2. Just because we can spot a pattern doesn’t make it significant. a. People often build on or combine meaningless patterns even if the original was an illusion. i. Once we find a pattern people want to stick with it. Which often inspires science fiction and religious cults 1. The Angelic Conspiracy and End Times Deception: the anti-christ and aliens are plotting to bring forth the wrath of God and the end of the world. 2. Heavan’s Gate Cult (1997) : The Earth was going to be destroyed and the only way to find salvation/buy a ticket to a safe place was to kill themselves. b. In 2001 NASA goes back up to Mars i. They wanted to put an end to the fuss over “The Face” so they took a closer picture, which shows the spot to be a rough bump on the plant surface. 1. “True believers” thought the new picture, revealing the face to be a rock, was a conspiracy created by the government to hide the truth.


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