Power of Logical Thinking: Easy Lessons in the Art of Reasoning...and Hard Facts about Its Absence in Our Lives

Overview

America has become a society devoid of understanding of the power of logic and numbers. All too often, we rely on our intuition or on empty statistics to formulate opinions about ourselves and our world. As a result of inadequate schooling in the art of reasoning, we have become a people unable to make truly logical decisions, intimidated by numbers, and too passive to reverse this disturbing trend. The Power of Logical Thinking addresses these concerns, illustrating how you can reason better, how numbers are ...
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Overview

America has become a society devoid of understanding of the power of logic and numbers. All too often, we rely on our intuition or on empty statistics to formulate opinions about ourselves and our world. As a result of inadequate schooling in the art of reasoning, we have become a people unable to make truly logical decisions, intimidated by numbers, and too passive to reverse this disturbing trend. The Power of Logical Thinking addresses these concerns, illustrating how you can reason better, how numbers are used against you, and how your vote may be affected. Marilyn vos Savant writes, "We can't trust out intuitions, our statisticians, or our politicians. The 1992 presidential campaign is a case in point. Numbers were used, abused, and misused by the candidates as never before in the history of our country. Voters were easily manipulated, setting a precedent for years to come. Will it happen again? Or will we be more prepared for future elections?" Part One of The Power of Logical Thinking explains the most provocative of the counterintuitive problems that Marilyn vos Savant has encountered in recent years, such as the now classic "Monty Hall Dilemma," the improbability of winning the lottery, and much more. Part Two shows how statistics have quietly become a tool of persuasion instead of education. In addition to exploring puzzles and paradoxes, these sections explains the underlying reasoning to help you answer questions such as which surgery should you choose? what are your odds of having breast cancer? do drug-testing and AIDS-testing give you yes/no answers? In Part Three, vos Savant illustrates how our votes are affected, with examples of selective logic, specious reasoning, and outright sophistry collected from the campaigns of Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ross Perot.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830021758
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 203

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Lessons Set in Everyday Life 3
The Monty Hall Dilemma 5
The Psychological Component 16
Probability Problems 17
Logic Loops 29
Average Traps 32
2 Lessons Set in Dollars 38
Economic Illiteracy 39
Choosing a Raise 40
Renting a Room 43
Dysfunctional Dollars 46
The Lottery 47
An Impossible Average Classroom 56
A True Paradox 58
3 Misunderstanding Statistics 63
Normal Distributions 64
Mean, Median, and Mode 65
Numb Numbers 70
Facts About Fallacies 75
Fallacies about Facts 84
4 Why We Lead Ourselves Down the Garden Path 91
Subjective Math and Logic 92
About the Appendix 95
5 How Even Our Health Is Affected 96
Drug Testing and AIDS Testing 97
Screening for Breast Cancer 103
Questions We Should Ask 106
6 The Election of 1992 (The Advent of the "Reign of Error") 113
The Worst Economic Record in Fifty Years? 116
The Tax Cut in Arkansas? 121
Helping the Rich at the Expense of the Poor? 122
The Top One Percent Got 60 Percent of the Growth? 127
Save Social Security with a Cutoff in Benefits? 133
The Declining Job Base? 135
There's Something Wrong With Our Tax Code? 137
Put Everything on Hold Until the Deficit is Slain? 140
Raising Taxes on Only the Rich is a Fraudulent Claim? 143
The Deficit Will be Cut in Half? 144
Arkansas Led the Nation? 146
A Plan to Create Eight Million New Jobs? 147
Government Mandates Don't Cost Money? 149
George Bush Was a Hypocrite? 150
Capping Is the Same as Slicing? 152
Everyone Should Earn More than Average? 153
A Tax Break for Millionaires? 155
Job-Seekers Should Move to Arkansas? 157
Bush Refused to Increase Taxes? 159
Our Wages Have Dropped From First to 13th? 160
Forty Million Americans Don't Have Health Insurance? 161
The First Decline in Industrial Production Ever? 162
We're Working Harder for Less Money? 164
Sources 168
Appendix: The Monty Hall Dilemma 169
Index 197
About the Author 204
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