Critical Thinking

Writing Assignment 7 Prompt

Description: First, this assignment is designed to exercise students’ ability to discern expertise. Using the four criteria of expertise, students will assess given cases where a person’s expertise must be determined so that students are able to meaningfully tell experts from non-experts. Students will also use the criteria of expertise to develop a profile of expertise for a given discipline so that students are experienced in understanding what an ideal expert is for a given field. Second, This assignment is designed to furnish students with the tools required to do research meaningfully and successfully, regardless of topic or proficiency. Using the CRAAP model of criteria for evaluating research sources (Blackboard), students will examine one source of information relating to their final project issue to determine the quality of that information in a research setting. Students will consider what kind of information is best for their topic, find an initially appropriate source, then apply the criteria to understand the quality of information better. In this way, students will gain the ability to justify why using certain information as research is advisable, the strengths and weaknesses of particular information.


1. For the following three cases, use the criteria of expertise to determine whether the given person is an expert or not in the given field in which the claim is being made. Each assessment should use all four criteria in a detailed way, and be at least one paragraph long. These are real people and situations, and looking online for information is advised.

a. Dr. Mehmet Oz has firmly claimed that faith-healing is a powerful means to cure a variety of diseases. Given his world-wide recognition, his appearance on television as an expert, his books and products, his standing as a medical doctor (MD from University of Pennsylvania) and professor of surgery and cardiology at Columbia, we should accept his claim that faith-healing is a legitimate medical practice.

b. Cited by Donald Trump for evidence of the dangers of unchecked immigration, Fox News expert, Nils Bildt, a Swedish defense and national security advisor, claimed that crime rates in Sweden have gone up proportionally with relaxed immigration policy. Bildt’s standing as a security expert is verified by broadcast experts at the news organization, who only allowed him on after having verified his credentials.

c. Newly awarded Nobel Prize Economist Richard Thaler recently claimed on PBS that we should be wary of investing in the stock market since it’s not totally clear what is making the market go up, and, hence, unclear what it will do next. His assertion is that it would be wiser to save money rather than risk it, especially for those who have little expendable income to invest or save. Thaler made these claims as an expert in economics, holding a professorship at the University of Chicago, a PhD in economics from Rochester, and a variety of important, leading publications in his field.

2. For the following two fields of knowledge, professions, or disciplines, choose, one, then use the criteria of expertise to hypothetically develop of profile of what characteristics an expert in the chosen field should have in order to be a legitimate expert in that field. I am providing a broad field, and then possibilities of specific positions in that field for your to choose one from. The profile should use all four criteria in a detailed way, and be at least one paragraph long.

a. Journalism/Journalist: a column writer on education policy, a news anchor, a war correspondent.

b. Sciences/Scientist: a professor of astronomy, a researcher on vaccines, a climatologist.

3. Consider your final project issue (pick one of the two issues for this) and what kind of information is produced regarding that issue. Things like books, news articles, media reports, expert analysis, scholarly journal entries, scientific studies, government studies, textbooks, legal cases and rulings, laws, etc., should all be taken into consideration. Locate (library, internet, media, etc.) one item of information which you initially believe to be relevant to your issue. Whether or not the item supports your stance is irrelevant. What matters is that your assessment is accurate and fruitful, not whether the source, after assessment, is perfect or imperfect. Using the CRAAP model of criteria, assess your chosen source of information. In one paragraph, describe the results. Would you say that the source is good or bad, according to which criteria?
When do we accept a claim as true? What conditions need to be met? It is specific to disciplines and the claim itself (what it is about and the best methods for approaching that ‘what’); other disciplines should be focusing on what makes true claims true regarding their object of analysis; critical thinking is more interested in reasoning in general (as a feature of being a psychological and sociological human in this world) and the proper form of argumentation (logic).

-Add these basic principles/rules to the list:

1.) If a claim conflicts with other claims we already have good reason to believe, then we have one good reason to doubt or reject that initial claim.

2.) If a claim conflicts with our background information, then we have one good reason to doubt or reject that initial claim.

3.) Personal/Direct experience can reasonably stand as evidence, but only if there is no good reason to doubt its accuracy or legitimacy.

4.) If a claim conflicts with expert claims, then we have one good reason to doubt that initial claim.

-We can say some general things about reasons to believe, regardless of the ‘what’. From the most basic vantage point, there are some common sources of justification worth brining up: personal/direct experience, memory, and others.

-Personal/Direct experience involves sensation, memory, and judgments. Each of these are completely flawed, so experience can only go so far as a source of justification. First, our experiences–even if accurate–are terribly limited, so there is a pretty small range of justification from this source. Second, our personal experiences aren’t immediate sources of objectivity. Third, our intuitions, gut reactions, and common sense are not only fallible, but incredibly complex products of centuries or more of tradition. We experience things more simply than they are.

-Sensation and perception are themselves limited and imperfect. Perception requires the proper conditions, requiring a kind of Goldilocks zone of input. It is also easily

swayed by our ideas (in interpretation) and the power of suggestion. Sensation is unreliable as a source of knowledge when the following impairments are in place: illness, fatigue, injury, stress, excitement, distraction, disorientation.

-Our minds, in interpreting sensations, easily make mistakes based on our expectations, innumeracy, and biases to resist contrary evidence, look for confirming evidence, and prefer available evidence. Recall all the the problems referred to in our discussions of barriers to critical thinking.

-Memory itself is based on imperfect experiences, and can only intensify those imperfections rather than improve on them. Memory is not a replica of an objective sensation, but an imperfect copy (a construction, even) of an imperfect interpretation of a maybe legitimate sensation of some thing out there in the word. There’s a great deal that can go wrong here; assuming otherwise is not critical thinking. False memory syndrome is prevalent and studies increasingly show its regular effect in normal life. We can fall to false memory syndrome by our own lack of self-analysis, our biases, language and tradition (car crash words), and the suggestion of others (the hammer suggestion). Memories change.

-Other people are obviously a major source of information to us. It is essential that we have some tools to tell when that information is reliable and when it isn’t without guessing or resting on biases. Hearsay and anecdotal evidence are to be disregarded generally. Neither has a history of success. Hearsay degrades with each repetition, and is based on an already unreliable personal experience. Anecdotal evidence has all of the problems referred to above. Studies show that eyewitness testimony of identifications of suspects are correct about 50% of the time.

-The safest way to deal with claims that come from other people is to determine who is an expert and who is not. For any given claim, there should be a group of experts regarding the type of thinking, observing, and understanding that the claim operates in. Define expertise broadly: an expert is one who is more knowledgeable in a given field than the average person. This low bar importantly disqualifies below average and average from consideration. From here, it is a matter of determining the kind of expert one would require in order to confirm/disconfirm the given claim, which will vary based

on the specifics of the claim. Experts have an advantage over others for two reasons: they have access to more information and they know how to judge that information better than others. Experts are an essential feature of human civilization. The division of labor allows us to make advancements we otherwise would not have been able to make. Specialized knowledge disseminates to average understanding with time, which benefits all.

-Making sure we don’t fall for appeal to authority fallacies is crucial. Don’t take people who occupy positions of power to be experts for that reason. Don’t allow experts in one field to be taken as experts in other fields. This is very difficult, since we are in a naturally vulnerable position regarding experts: we need them, but cannot easily determine whether their claims are true or false in the way they can. Since we cannot simply verify their claims in a straightforward way, and we should not be satisfied with guessing or going off of intuitions, we need criteria to determine an expert from a non-expert in a non-arbitrary way, but also a way that everyone can use regardless of their expertise.

-Experts are experts because they meet the following four criteria of expertise in satisfying ways. Generally, more is better on these criteria. The more fully a person meets

these criteria in a given field, the more of an expert they are. Context matters here.

1.) Education or training from a reputable, relevant institution.

2.) Experience in making reliable judgments in their field.

3.) Positive reputation among peers (other experts in that field).

4.) Professional accomplishments in the field.

Since we don’t have the specialized knowledge and skills required to tell if an expert is a proper expert or not, we must use these criteria as evidence of expertise itself. When determining whether we should accept the claim of a person, the question is whether they are an expert in that field or not. The first reason to accept the claim is that they are an expert. The second reason that justifies the first is the evidence that they meet these criteria. If I ask, “Why are you taking that supposed expert’s claims to be true?” the only acceptable answer is providing evidence of their meeting these four criteria as much as possible. This is a non-expert’s argument for using the claims of expertise, without appealing to biases, fallacies, or intuitions.

-When it comes to expert claims, proportion belief to the evidence. If experts disagree regarding a claim, proportion belief accordingly. If the disagreement is proportionally equal, remain skeptical and take no hard stance until the matter is resolved.
CRAAP​ ​Criteria​ ​for​ ​Evaluating​ ​Research Currency​:​ ​Is​ ​the​ ​information​ ​properly​ ​current?

● When​ ​was​ ​the​ ​information​ ​published,​ ​posted,​ ​gathered,​ ​or​ ​created? ● Has​ ​the​ ​information​ ​been​ ​revised​ ​or​ ​updated? ● Does​ ​your​ ​topic​ ​require​ ​current​ ​information,​ ​or​ ​will​ ​older​ ​sources​ ​work? ● Are​ ​any​ ​web-links​ ​functional?

Relevance​:​ ​Is​ ​the​ ​information​ ​specifically​ ​valuable​ ​to​ ​your​ ​needs?

● Does​ ​the​ ​information​ ​closely​ ​relate​ ​to​ ​your​ ​topic​ ​or​ ​answer​ ​your​ ​question? ● Who​ ​is​ ​the​ ​intended​ ​audience? ● Is​ ​the​ ​information​ ​presented​ ​at​ ​an​ ​appropriate​ ​level? ● Have​ ​you​ ​looked​ ​at​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​sources​ ​before​ ​deciding​ ​on​ ​this​ ​one? ● Does​ ​it​ ​seem​ ​appropriate​ ​to​ ​cite​ ​this​ ​source?

Authority​:​ ​Does​ ​the​ ​information​ ​come​ ​from​ ​proper​ ​expertise?

● Who​ ​is​ ​the​ ​author,​ ​publisher,​ ​source,​ ​or​ ​sponsor? ● What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​the​ ​author’s,​ ​authors’,​ ​or​ ​organization’s​ ​credentials? ● What​ ​affiliations​ ​does​ ​the​ ​source​ ​have? ● Is​ ​the​ ​author​ ​qualified​ ​regarding​ ​this​ ​topic? ● Is​ ​there​ ​sufficient​ ​contact​ ​information​ ​available​ ​from​ ​the​ ​research? ● What​ ​do​ ​any​ ​URLs​ ​indicate?​ ​(.edu,​ ​.gov,​ ​.org,​ ​.com)

Accuracy​:​ ​Is​ ​the​ ​information​ ​reliable,​ ​truthful,​ ​correct?

● Where​ ​does​ ​it​ ​come​ ​from? ● Is​ ​the​ ​information​ ​supported​ ​by​ ​evidence? ● Has​ ​the​ ​information​ ​been​ ​reviewed​ ​or​ ​refereed? ● Can​ ​you​ ​verify​ ​any​ ​of​ ​the​ ​information​ ​in​ ​another​ ​source​ ​or​ ​from​ ​personal​ ​knowledge? ● Is​ ​the​ ​information​ ​presented​ ​in​ ​way​ ​that​ ​is​ ​free​ ​of​ ​fallacies,​ ​rhetoric,​ ​bias,​ ​emotion,​ ​etc.? ● Are​ ​there​ ​compositional​ ​errors​ ​in​ ​the​ ​writing?

Purpose​:​ ​Why​ ​does​ ​the​ ​information​ ​exist​ ​in​ ​the​ ​first​ ​place?

● Is​ ​the​ ​purpose​ ​to​ ​inform,​ ​teach,​ ​sell,​ ​entertain,​ ​persuade,​ ​etc.? ● Do​ ​the​ ​authors​ ​or​ ​sponsors​ ​make​ ​their​ ​intentions​ ​clear? ● Is​ ​the​ ​information​ ​fact,​ ​opinion,​ ​propaganda,​ ​etc.? ● Does​ ​the​ ​point​ ​of​ ​view​ ​appear​ ​objective​ ​and​ ​impartial? ● Are​ ​there​ ​political,​ ​institutional,​ ​ideological,​ ​cultural,​ ​or​ ​personal​ ​biases?
The issue that I would like to work on is the issue of poverty.

Poverty is a global issue affecting millions of people around the world. It has been the cause of

concern for many people because poverty leads to other dangerous issues that may affect

humanity, human lives and human values. Poverty is prevalent all over the world because of the

poor economic structure of countries, poor resources and also because of illiteracy. The other

reason for poverty is simple laziness of people because they do not want to work, or they may

not have skills to earn money to make a living for themselves. It is a potentially dangerous issue

and it need to be solved.

Poverty matters a lot in today’s world because poverty leads to other issues, such as increase of

crimes, malnourishment in children, early deaths of children, terrorism, social conflicts and

tensions among people. Poverty also can lead to another main issue of homelessness. It matters a

lot for everyone, people who are poor and people who are not so poor, and countries that are

poorly developed and countries that are well-developed because poverty may also lead to

increase in immigration and this immigration may become a world issue.

Poverty also creates a burden on the economy of the country. The healthcare field may be

affected because poor people may suffer from many diseases and they would need treatment.

They may not be able to pay for their treatment and the overall burden of healthcare would come

on the government healthcare institutions. Poverty is not a problem of a single individual, but it

is a problem of a community and a problem of the nation. People may think that poverty is a

chosen “problem,” but this is not the case. Sometimes the economic situations in a country and

the prevalent corruption and unemployment may become the cause of poverty.

The best solution to the problem would be globalization and global help. The poor countries have

to be helped by the richer countries. The solutions should not be like donating money and

feeding for a day, but the root causes have to be identified and they have to be dealt with to deal

with the issue of poverty right from its roots.

Poverty is a global issue and there are many causes behind poverty, and at the same time there

are serious consequences because of poverty so some solutions are essential and the help from

the richer and developed countries is a welcome thought and a necessary one. This essay argues

that poverty is the problem of countries and communities, and therefore the root causes of this

problem have to be identified to eradicate it completely.

Second Issue

The issue I would like to work on is the issue of homelessness.

The problem of homelessness is an important social and communal problem because it can lead

to different other problems of increase in crime, poor humanistic values and a total downfall of

humanity. People who are homeless may suffer from psychological problems, and may harm

themselves and others around them. Homeless people may also suffer from diseases due to lack

of the essential amenities of life. Many people may think that homelessness is because of the

individuals and not because of the community or country, but I would say that homelessness is

indeed a problem of the community and country and they have to take a combined blame for the


My stance is that homelessness can be eradicated and people living without homes can be given

a chance of decent living. The best solution to the problem is that the governments should create

jobs and residential hostels for the homeless. The jobs can be everyday jobs, such as printing,

cooking foods, and even ironing and washing clothes. These mundane jobs also generate big

money, and this would help the homeless to earn for themselves and also get a permanent shelter

over their heads.

Homelessness is a severe issue, and it is essential that it be considered as a global issue and

appropriate measures should be taken by the governments to deal with the problem of

homelessness and strike it out right from our world’s history. It will not be easier to deal with

homelessness, but it will not be impossible. The people with homes and luxuries should come

forward philanthropically to help the homeless and provide them with shelter and the other

necessities of life and give them a chance to live a normal and happy life.

Midterm part 2

Poverty I) The issue is poverty and how it must be eradicated. II) My stance is that richer nations need to help and simple charity is not good enough. In my humble opinion, poverty should not be seen as a problem specific to a country or area. It should be treated as a collective problem. The globalization and global help is the best way to deal the issue of poverty. III) Poverty is menace that exists today not just in underdeveloped and developing countries but has been steadily increasing in the developed parts of the world. But due to the severity of poverty and lack of resources is poorer countries of the world, where HDI is too low, it is important to embrace the culture of globalization and the resources must be mobilized so that poorer and weaker sections of the society can too become self reliant and dependent. IV) The countries like India, China, two of the most populated countries of the world, were extremely poor till the last decade of twentieth century, but after these countries adopted trade and business policies of liberalization, the countries witnessed massive economic growth and rapid business explosion. The liberalization policies are the first step towards globalization as it allows free flow of goods, capital and resources; the quintessential feature of globalization. V) Foreign aid to poorer countries can never eradicate poverty completely, it is wise investment in fundamental aspects of life like education, health care and change of attitude can bring those unfortunate souls out of poverty. This is achievable through globalization as setting up a business or industry creates an entire ecosystem of various other ancillary services and activities, thus it leads to facelift of an entire area caused by the ripple effect of establishing business. VI) The opposite stance of mine is that globalization can create a new set of problems and issues in the developed parts of the world. As the work is getting increasingly outsourced to such regions where the human labor is low, the people in developed economies are experiencing shortfall in the employment opportunities. Thus, globalization can result in poverty and homelessness in developed parts of the world. Homelessness I) The issue is homelessness and how to eradicate it from the society. II) My stance is that homelessness should certainly be treated as a serious issue and the issue must be solved on a collective basis, as society should come forward and take adequate steps to come with remedial solutions to combat homelessness. III) People who are homeless are at a higher risk of developing psychological disorders as well physical health issues due to their unclean and unhygienic state of their body and their surroundings. Such people are can easily succumb to their irrational part of thinking and can

indulge in unethical activities and serious crimes like theft, robbery, sexual harassment, murder etc. Thus, the common citizens of the society are also at greater risk of experiencing violent incidents like such. IV) Incidences of Homelessness can be avoided or mitigated if government takes adequate steps to provide affordable housing for all; something akin to ‘Obamacare’ that aimed at providing medical assistance to all. By employing them even in mundane activities like cooking, cleaning or printing, they would be preoccupied with work, that would not only make them financially sound to some extent, but they can start thinking about possibilities of their future, Often it is seen that homeless people live without any purpose and concern about their future, but giving them an opportunity to think so, can actually pull them out from the state of homelessness. V) Another solution to keep homelessness is at bay is by sharing accommodation and co-living, that has emerged as a new concept. Many people work at night and need a place to rest in the morning and on the other hand, some people work during day but need a shelter at night, hence, housing (viewed as a resource) can be pooled to minimize cost and maximize utility from the same space/shelter. VI). The opposite stance of mine is that by picking up a collective approach, there society would have to handle additional burden. The hard earned money that members of the society pay as tax, would get heavily allocated towards providing shelter and assistance to homeless people. This would create an additional pressure on the federal annual budget allocation, thus eventually the tax burden on common tax-paying citizen would rise. Furthermore, the concept of shared accommodation would lead to invasion of privacy and at times, can become intrusive in nature.

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