‘Calling bullsh*t’: University course teaches how to identify BS
Professors at a university in Seattle, Washington are calling out “bullsh*t,” offering students a course on identifying “BS.” The pair have already seen huge interest in the spring course, which would cover topics including publication bias and fake news.
“Can you see the problem with the latest New York Times or Washington Post article fawning over some startup's big data analytics?” the course website reads. Developed by two professors from the University of Washington, ‘Calling Bullsh*t’ aims to enlighten its students on how to “identify BS, sift through the BS, to be able to respond to BS,” the professors told KOMO.
The pair behind the course claim it is not solely political, but instead will focus on BS clad in “trappings of scholarly discourse,” helping students see the truth hidden behind big words and fancy algorithms.
The second law of coprodynamics: the amount of bullshit in any isolated social system is non-decreasing in time.— Calling Bullshit (@callin_bull) January 19, 2017
"It's something you can use in any circumstance," one of the course’s creators, Dr. Jevin West said, adding that they would also teach "being careful not to attack people's character" when BS is uncovered.
A lecture, titled “The ethics of calling bullsh*t,” asks: “Where is the line between deserved criticism and targeted harassment?”
The course’s syllabus, which was posted online last week, has already been viewed over 100,000 times, West said.
West and co-creator Carl Bergstrom hope to offer the course this spring.