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This is where bad science leads

I would like to finish writing an article I am working on titled, “How Groupon could save the economy,” but apparently there are some misunderstandings I need to clear up first regarding my previous article, This is where bad science starts. I take full responsibility for the misunderstandings as to the intent and the conclusions of the previous article. Perhaps this will clear them up.

But first, let me call attention a 9-year-old who managed to properly debunk bad “adult” science. Emily Rosa, the youngest person ever to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal (JAMA), conducted an experiment in which she tested the validity of therapeutic touch as a legitimate medical practice. She conducted a scientific, controlled experiment and concluded that therapeutic touch is bogus. You see, children are quite capable of achieving scientific achievements – when they conduct their experiments correctly. And good for her. Emily Rosa is shedding light on the truth and expunging darkness.

Now, as to the criticisms of my critique of Aidan solar powered “breakthrough.”

The purpose of my article was not to tear down 13-year-old Aidan.

He is 13 years old. He is bound to make mistakes. It is to be expected. I know that. I have nothing but praise and encouragement in my article for Aidan. I reserve my judgement for the non-13-year-olds who didn’t notice his mistakes.

While it is perfectly acceptable for a 13-year-old to make mistakes in his science project, it is completely unacceptable for the adults at the American Museum of Natural History to overlook those mistakes. It is unacceptable for the media outlets to overlook them. It is unacceptable for the hundreds of adults who thoughtlessly lavished praise on Aidan to have overlooked them. This demonstrates a lack of logical and critical thinking skills in what are supposedly educated adults. These same adults get to vote in elections for leaders who are not simply mistakenly, but often quite nefariously peddling bogus science and bogus policies. That scares me. How are these adults supposed to discern truth from fiction? Especially when the truth isn’t hidden behind a few easily identifiable mistakes, but rather carefully covered up under pseudo-science and piles of rhetorical BS.

People need to stop and think. That was the main purpose of my article.

It is not unloving or psychologically damaging to point out someone’s mistakes.

Child or no, when someone is pursuing a path of folly, the most loving thing someone can do is help that person get off that path and back on the correct one. Aidan has a lot of great curiosity and ingenuity. Why would anyone want to let him waste it?

When I was 13, I won my school’s high school science fair with a science experiment that supposedly proved that perpetual motion could be achieved through a contraption I created using magnets. Of course, I was wrong. Aidan was wrong about the results of his science experiment as well. We were both 13-year-old kids who didn’t have the knowledge or experience to properly understand and test the things we were working with. We also were never corrected.

Encouraged by my win, I spent years, unguided by adults, pursuing a hobby of creating free energy with my contraption that eventually led to failure. Looking back, there were other scientific achievements I was interested in achieving that I did not pursue because I thought I was onto something with this perpetual motion thing. What could I have accomplished had my mind and energy been guided away from futile pursuits and towards more promising ones? I guess we will never know.

“Where bad science starts” was not a reference to Aidan’s faulty methods, but rather a reference to the nearly unanimous consensus that validated those faulty methods.

We are surrounded by bad science. Sometimes that bad science is the product of mistakes, as Aidan’s experiment was. Other times, it is the product of ideologues purposefully manipulating data. Either way, it usually doesn’t take an expert to identify and debunk this bad science. We all should be experts on a certain level: We all should understand basic logic, basic math, the scientific method, etc.

Bad science “starts” when bogus findings manage to break out of the laboratory via mass media and quickly become accepted fact by the masses of adults who could and should be sniffing it out for what it is: bad science. How does this happen? My article concludes that the main cause of this is that we are blinded by the implications of the results of this “bad science” and choose not to critically examine the methods used to achieve these results.

Most people are in agreement that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown was a disaster. It is not illogical to assume that this has the potential to have a very negative impact on the environment and on the health of living organisms. An article was published in Al Jazeera titled, Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think, Scientific experts believe Japan’s nuclear disaster to be far worse than governments are revealing to the public. Naturally, people assumed that this article was reporting truth. It was tweeted 9,878 times and liked on Facebook 49,000 times. As a result, people were led to believe that infant mortality rates in the northwest of the United States had increased by 35% and that the government was doing something to cover it up.

Only one problem. It wasn’t true. Michael Moyer at Scientific American, very easily and clearly demonstrated how these so-called scientists had used selective and manipulated data to falsely conclude that the Fukushima disaster was causing babies to die at alarming rates in the United States.

But the damage was already done. It is likely that are more people who read and believed this bogus science reported on by Al Jazeera and other media outlets and used it to validate and confirm their preexisting beliefs than there are people who read Michael Moyer’s debunking article. Whether or not those beliefs are grounded in reality has now become a moot point: The point is they are being reinforced by falsehood.

This often can cause an ideological stalemate: No side of a debate can make a legitimate claim at truth because no side has purged its argument of the bogus science used to support its claims. Thus, elections, policy decisions and the like become less of a contest of truth vs. falsehood, and more of a contest of who can get their BS to reach the widest audience and garner the largest following. Both sides of the debate become tainted, and truth becomes nearly impossible to find.

The global implications are dangerous.

There are several major debates raging right now in the political landscape: Global warming, universal health care, stem-cell research, and Iran’s uranium enrichment program to name a few. All of these debates have very definite science to back them up – and science is used on both sides of the debate. Much of that science is bad science, but it can be found on both sides. Somewhere out there, the truth is hidden. Why is it so hard to discover?

It is hard to discover because people like Michael Moore, find it necessary to be propagandists of truth rather than preachers of it. That is why it is so easy to find falsehoods in his documentaries. When Moore released “Sicko” a so-called documentary that pleads the case for universal health care in the U.S. the debate quickly became about whether or not Moore was lying in his documentary and not about relevant, debatable facts in the health care debate. Michael Moore probably has some very valid and important points to make. It is too bad they are swimming in BS.

Even the World Health Organization’s rating system has be called into question over the scientific basis of its ranking the U.S. health care system. One thing I found interesting was the discrepancies among developed nations on how they calculated infant mortality. Not only are the numbers very difficult to compare, but high infant mortality rates in a country actually might reveal very little about the health care system of that country and more about rates of teen pregnancy. It is like making the argument that country A has bad health care because more people die of lung cancer and heart disease there, when the reality is that country A has great health care, but has a bad problem with high smoking rates and unhealthy diets.

Of course, the CATO Institute, the publisher of the paper criticizing the WHO, has had its own motivations called into question and been criticized of being more motivated by ideology than science. Both the WHO and the CATO institute both have nuggets of truth on their side of the argument. Sadly, any useful and valid points they want to make are tainted by the BS that supposedly also found its way into their reports.

Do you see how quickly the debate has moved away from “truth” and more towards who has more motivation to lie about what and whom? The only way this can happen is when the general public is unable to discern truth for themselves and must rely on others to tell them what is true and not. Now, it is only a question of who we are going to listen to – and even deciding that is often based on arguments that are peppered with falsehood. It becomes one giant manipulation machine.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

Each one of us have decently developed brains and are capable of independent thought, critical thinking, and good research. With the internet at our fingertips, we have access to a vast library of information – all we have to do is look for it and figure out how to sort the good information from the bad information. It isn’t very hard to do.

I am surprised that in retractions and corrections to the Aidan solar power breakthrough story, the media has finally decided to exercise more caution, saying things like, “the findings have been called into question,” or that he “may have been disproved.” Where was the caution when the story was breaking?

The funny thing about all this is that caution isn’t really that necessary. You don’t have to be an expert on solar power or a PhD scientist to see that Aidan’s experiment was seriously flawed. Every single one of us can use our brains and our critical thinking skills to parse through the “bad science” in Aidan’s experiment.

It is this “deferring to the experts” – letting so-called experts do our thinking for us, that is the real danger here. We find ourselves becoming pawns in a manipulation game by propagandists, rather than true experts, and we never will know what the truth really is.

Stop deferring to the experts. You are the expert.

And that is the ultimate point of my original article. Yes, Aidan’s solar power experiment was flawed. Someone needs to lovingly point it out to him and encourage him to keep going. All this is true. But more importantly, all the people who were involved in mass producing and validating this bogus claim need to stop buying into the hype and start thinking for themselves. Aidan’s experiment should have probably never received an award for scientific achievement. It should have never been validated and reported on as a “breakthrough” by the media. It should have never received the thousands of “shares” and kudos from smart, educated adults all over the world. It should have been identified as problematic at best, dead wrong at worst, and then taken from there.

If a 13-year-old kid can accidentally fool us all, how much hope do we really have against the powers that be who have a vested interest in fooling us so that they can get elected or pass a policy that is to their advantage and our destruction?

Please, my friends. Start thinking. Or we are all screwed.

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  • Arch./inspect

    …And this is where “bad science” should end (with your blog).

    It appears that I would have to agree with your perspectives on “good” and “bad”, and I understand your arguements – further I’d have to agree with you that people need to think independantly and should be better at validating the information which they so eagerly consume… 

    …but please stop using the term “bad science”. It’s like saying “bad religion” – it’s a purely contextual observation to which YOU are lending your own personal perspective – a perspective that (by your own admission) lacks any type of formal training in science, or which has any scientific background of any type does not warrant anyone’s consideration when assessing whether something is “bad science” or not.

    This child reported his findings improperly. I’d say that’s to be expected from a 13 year old. Despite whether his findings are validated or not, there is something interesting behind what they inferred. If these findings warrant more research, it will serve to either corroborate his findings or not – that is part of the scientific method.

    The fact that this reporter presented this kid’s findings to a national audience as fact without doing enough background research on what he was reporting… That’s poor journalism – unfortunately there is nothing new about poor journalism these days, still any copy editor or writers involved in this storey should be slightly embarrassed.

    But a waiter/military vet who’s trying to tell everyone, including me (an Architectural scientist) what “bad science” is?…Stick to your day job, my friend.

    • Anonymous

      My “day job” in the military was as an electronic systems maintenance technician. When I am discussing basic electronic principals such as the difference between voltage and power, I am at least speaking from a position of knowledge and education on the subject.

      But you are missing a larger point here.  As a college educated individual – I’ll go as far to say as a high school educated individual – one should have the basic skills necessary to reason and discern basic logical fallacies for themselves (such as the ones that presented themselves in Aidan’s essay). Educated people in an advanced society such as ours are both *equipped* and *duty bound* to make basic judgments for themselves about what is true and what is false.

      Your comparison of “bad science” to “bad religion” is an interesting one which actually helps to validate the deeper point I am trying to make. When you equate science to religion and say that only the “scientific experts” are the ones who should be making judgments about what is good and bad, you are basically calling humanity to thrust itself back into the dark ages of pre-intellectual enlightenment where the common masses were to dull witted to determine truth for themselves and had to rely on clergy to tell them what is true and what is not.

      All human beings have the great capacity to reason and make rational, logical judgments on an individual basis without outsourcing their ability to think to the sages.  I am calling for humanity to exercise their ability to reason and discern what is “good science” from “bad science” according to universally accepted principals of logic and reason. This isn’t voodoo. It isn’t opinion. And it isn’t about different perspectives. It is an ancient and universal language, dating back as far as the Greek philosophers (in the Western tradition), and one that everyone should know how to speak and understand.

      It is a language all educated people in a developed society should be fluent in to the point of being able to have enough expertise to discern when it has been properly employed and when it has been carelessly abandoned.

      The attitude that this is something we should outsource to the “experts” is akin to pleading for humanity to go back to the dark ages and rely on those in power to tell us what to think, how to think, and what is true or not. I for one will not accept this, and I don’t think most rational, well-educated people should or will accept it either. It can only lead to our intellectual and moral enslavement through willful ignorance. We are better than that. You are better than that.

      • Anonymous

        Interestingly enough, rationalism and enlightenment – which have long been considered a secular and scientific movement – actually have deep roots in religion and were started in large part as a means of empowering the masses with the ability to free themselves from the bonds of intellectual slavery to religious authorities. I recommend reading “The Religious Enlightenment” by David Sorkin for more on the subject. Who knows, you might find yourself… enlightened.http://www.amazon.com/Religious-Enlightenment-Protestants-Catholics-Christians/dp/0691149372/

  • Arch./inspect

    Zach, do not put words in my mouth.
     
    “…When you equate science to religion and say that only the “scientific experts” are the ones who should be making judgments about what is good and bad…”
     
    I never once even inferred that we should leave science to experts, nor did I imply that scientific experts should be determining good from bad. My point was diametrically opposite to that.
     
    Good and bad have nothing to do with science nor do they have anything to do with religion – it is society that evaluates and judges good from bad. The statement “bad science” is only relative in context – my arguement is with your contextualizing the flaws of a 13 year-old’s science experiment with the concept of bad.
     
    Can’t you see, that you telling people that this is bad science has the same effect that you are so adementally arguing against society today? To the average person reading what you wrote, rather then understanding what you where trying to say (that people need to be more aware, rational and shrewd in there analysis of the media) they might also make the intuitive leap that if an experiment is flawed or can be disproven then it is “bad”, or that there was some type of malevolence to this childs work…Your statement implies that bad science exists with or without  judgement. Don’t you see that you are counter-arguing your own “deeper point” with that term?
     
    My problem is not with your line of reasoning, it’s that you presume to call something bad which you do not fully understand (not the kids experiment – science!).

    I’m glad to see that you grasp that good and bad have nothing to do with expertise but rather has to do with the enlightened judgement of the individual…or genius. By the way I am familar with Sorkin’s work – I did my fair share of studies in philosophy and sociology in my formal education.
     
    Genius is not bad or good. Science is neither bad nor good, nor is religion… We are the bad or the good.

    I’m not saying this kid is a genius, nor am I saying that I’m a genius or you’re a genius, what I am saying is that you are still not fully seeing your own real point.

    Be self-aware, be situationally-aware, and use this awarness to extrapolate… and for god’s sake (wink!), be careful of coming up with slogans that start with the words “good” or “bad”!

    • Anonymous

      Read your second paragraph. And learn to use threaded comments (i.e. don’t start a new comment when you’re replying to a previous one). And now you’re arguing semantics. My use of the term “bad” in the phrase “bad science” is a reference to whether it was conducted properly, it is not a moral judgement. This is a stupid argument. When I say the word “stupid” I mean it in reference to level of intelligence you are showing by making it.

    • Anonymous

      It would seem to me that your argument is more with Ben Goldacre than myself, so please take up your pointless case about whether or not you can call science “bad” with him…

      Book by Ben Goldacre, “Bad Science” – http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Science-Ben-Goldacre/dp/000728487X – Bad Science is a book by Ben Goldacre, criticising mainstream media reporting on health and science issues.

      Guardian column by Ben Goldacre, “Bad Science” – http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/series/badscience – “Each week, Ben Goldacre skewers the enemies of reason. If you’re a journalist who misrepresents science for the sake of a headline, a politician more interested in spin than evidence, or an advertiser who loves pictures of molecules in little white coats, then beware: your days are numbered.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2003/apr/03/badscience.science). Also, see his blog, (http://www.badscience.net/).

      I’m sure he’ll love your wise input.

  • Arch./inspect

    Thank you for pointing that out – I haven’t seen Mr. Goldstein’s blog before.

    The fact that “bad science” is a book title (especially someone elses book) and that you adopted that title in your blog proves my point perfectly. It’s a writer’s (a sensationalist writer by the looks of it) way of garnering attention to his ideas, unfortunately it’s use also leads to side effects when the slogan itself is taken out of it’s specific context.

    If this idea was someone other then yours, that’s fine (in a blog) as long as you identify it.
    In the future you might want to better identify that you are adopting the central slogans and themes of someone elses arguements and viewpoints before you blog them (unless you don’t want replies) 

    FYI “Bad Religion” is also a punk band…actually a pretty good punk band at that… Check out some of the ideology behind the choosing of the band’s name – it might interest you as well… and if that doesn’t bend your noodle, then I don’t know why the idea of “bad science” appeals to you at all!

    Good debating with you. Have fun! 

    • Anonymous

      Lets recap.

      Your point: Bad means “evil” and is a moral judgement. I’m in no position to make moral judgement about science, therefore, I am not allowed to use the phrase “bad science.” Your example: The phrase “bad religion” is equally off limits, for who can really say if a religion is “good” or “bad?”

      My point: Bad also means “bogus,” “incorrect,” “faulty,” and “not satisfactory for use.” These are all attributes that can be used to describe science, and any logical thinking person can correctly discern. An experiment can be faulty – did not properly apply the scientific method, data was objectively cherry-picked, incorrect mathematical calculations were made, and important terms were misused because they were incorrectly defined. Example: Someone else writes a column in The Guardian about this exact subject and calls it “Bad Science” therefore demonstrates that the word “bad” not only means exactly what I claim it does, but this is also a common and acceptable meaning/usage of the word.

      You want to call this a debate. I call it a slaughter. Lets just let anyone else who happens to be reading this decide.

      Subpoint: You still have not demonstrated the intellectual capacity to figure out how to directly reply to a previous comment without starting a new thread. What does this say about you, and more importantly, what does this say about the intellectual rigor behind everything else you have to say? *wink*

      • Arch./inspect

        Ok Zach, it’s a slaughter then. I’ve made my points, and I feel they’re pretty easy to see. In the end this is your sandbox and I’m just playing in it…but to summarize:
         
        I didn’t mean to insult your training or background – I’m sure you are extremely proficient in your respective field(s) of expertise. I merely meant to point out (by inference) that if a person wants an opinion on whether or not to have a tooth pulled, that person should ask a dentist (not some other type of “expert”). Your opinions are valid – I’m not discounting that – I’m only pointing out that they are not the opinions of an “expert” in this field, thus any conclusions based upon them may not be wholly relevant.
         
        My other point (re: “bad science”) was to bring to your attention the fact that scientific experiments, or the findings of scientist who performed an experiment, are not measured in terms of right and wrong, or good and bad within the scientific community. Scientific opinions on the validity or the relevance of findings are often (nearly always) debated and argued, and defended, and refuted, etc… That’s the politics at play behind the science, and that’s were the “good” and “bad” stuff comes into play.  I think you understand that – what I don’t think you understand is the effect of using/re-using the slogan “bad science” – it makes people skeptical of the validity of the scientific process in general, rather then being skeptical of the political rhetoric about science. Therefore, even though “bad science” may be a common term, I think you have misused it in your blog. Aidan did not perform “bad science”, the rhetoric used by the journalists and the various media agencies that picked up this story was the percieved “bad” behind this “science”.

        And finally, to summarize my opinion on the kids experiment: it had obvious and easily identifiable flaws, therefore his findings are not valid (in fact, as you have already pointed out he did not prove his original thesis at all) – but some of the concepts at play behind his reasoning in performing the experiment warrant further exploration in my opinion. A Fibonacci sequence is by no means an explanation for how a tree collects energy; but there is obviously something there… After all, plant life was here long before us, and will be here long after us…it’s no accident that certain types of plants (especially the extremely long-living types) are very efficient at collecting and converting energy. Form often follows function and as such the science behind the form of a tree as a function of energy collection is not very well understood. 
         
        FYI: My intellectual capacity has nothing to do with the format of these replies – there is  something wrong with the way I am able to see the reply links (my computer keeps telling me that there are script errors in reading the page). I am responding to your latest thread every time, but it keeps posting it this way.

        Regardless, this is my last post (I don’t think you’re enjoying my posts) so I’m going to leave it here.

        Cheers.

      • phil coulter

        Even though you didn’t intend it, I would hope you recognize that there is a pejorative component for many people in referring to something as bad which you should have taken into consideration when you titled your blog.  This is basically the complaint you have with Aidan’s report – that there is information generally available that would have made it better and caused him to reach different conclusions.

        However I also disagree with your characterization of his work as bad in the sense of faulty.  He made a hypothesis, did some background reading, designed an experiment, collected data and analyzed the data.  The fact that he didn’t measure the correct thing doesn’t matter much – lots of times in cutting edge research the scientist measures the wrong thing.  Sometimes it points to the correct experiment, sometimes it just eliminates one experiment from consideration.  It doesn’t make it bad that in this case there is enough information available that his mentor should have pointed out the problems, it just means his research is not cutting edge.

        I would however agree with you that the science reporting, in this case, is bad (in a pejorative sense) is   Science reporters should have the expertise to question stories like this.  I’m not sure whether you can expect reporters to be able to see the weaknesses in reports in all scientific fields but they should cultivate contacts to help.  Just as an exercise have a look at another report from the Young Naturalist Awards  http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/youngnaturalistawards/2011/abby.html and decide if it has any flaws.  I know I (with a physics background) wouldn’t be comfortable coming down one way or another.

  • Luizlavado

                Hello,

            I am an electrical engineer currently doing a thesis on partial shading of PV applications. I study methods and systems that address the issue of having part of a solar panel or solar plant shaded. 
            I would like to firts congratulate you for your article. It does clear up the basis of photovoltaic (PV) physics. I was actually surprised by your simple explanation of how more light generates more current, but not more voltage. Brilliant. 
            As for the theme of using the Fibonacci pattern to scatter cells in a “PV tree”, I think some elements are missing for a conclusive answer. I will list some, one by one, and, if needed be, I can further detail them in an e-mail with figures and more extensive data. 

    1 –  Their power output is the some of their individual outputs

    This IS NOT necessarely true. A PV module is composed by many PV cells connected in series. If only one is shaded the global output current is dictated by this shaded cell. It is like attaching many horses together. They will all trot at the speed of the slowest one.
    Thus, an optimally oriented PV plant might have a very bad energy output under shade. 

    2 –  Measuring the solar cells’ VOC over time, and adding them up, is garbage data

    I agree for the sake of trying to calculate power. Another measure, current, was missing and that makes the experiment INCOMPLETE. But his data DID show something very important: the fluctuation of voltage. It is worth the trouble to go a little further into this data to analyse this fluctuation, and how it took place. The fluctuation the “tree PV” was less consequent, which could prove to be a smaller exposure to shadow.
       Also, the tree was capable of harvesting more light over time. Even a mildly producing system that produces for a longer period may be very productive over time.

    3 –  The structrue of the tree might be convenient

    I agree in the fact that having different modules pointing in different directions is not necessarely the optimal arrangement for PV production. Many buildings have PV modules in all facades, which doesn’t help in instantaneous  power output, but allow them to rely on PV power all year around. Moreover, current PV applications occupy a great surface, raising their costs in terms of cables and making it difficult to implement a “communication” system among modules. This “tree PV” might harbor the beginning of an original PV field distribution architecture that cluster the cables together and help the exchange of data. This could lead to a possibly intelligent PV plant, capable of optimising its power production during plant operation. 

    Again, I am available for further discussions and exchanges. Either way I abide to the initiative of the young man. Proposing new ideas is a constant invitation for a lot of critics too. But both are needed to the progress of science.

          Luiz F.L. Villa 

  • “Penny”

    I feel like Penny talking to Sheldon.

    Blatantly ignoring your bolded statement about “deferring to the experts. You are the expert.” can I ask, would you be willing to suggest in the simplest and most specific terms possible a practical way for fuzzy uneducated thinkers like me (the type you rail about), who recognise some of the flaws in their thinking and harbour suspicions that there are probably many more, to improve the way they think about a given topic or presentation?

    Is there a simple step-by-step process, template or protocol you can suggest? Or is that request just symptomatic of my current limitations in thinking?

    • Zachariah Wiedeman

      I get the idea you’re being more sarcastic and snarky than serious, but I’ll do my best to play although even though I do not watch “The Big Bang Theory” nor have I ever seen more than five minutes of the show actually (at this point, you’re wondering, “Then how does he know I was referencing The Big Bang Theory?” Answer: I keep my ear to the ground. *wink*)

      What you’re asking about is called Epistemology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology) which is basically the study of how to know truth. It is sad that the typical liberal arts education does not require students to take more philosophy classes – primarily those concerned with how to think (logic) and discern truth from fiction (http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/logic/). As a result, even some of the brightest, most educated people out there easily fall prey to simple logical fallacies (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/) – either in their acquisition of truth or in their presentation of it.

      But even those who are well trained in Epistemology will diverge on how to apply it and wind up at radically different places. It is wielded by both the religious (http://bit.ly/vhTTXD) and the non-religious (http://bit.ly/sS9xjB) quite handily to make their points. Perhaps there is a balance to be struck (http://www.iep.utm.edu/relig-ep/#H5)? Or perhaps Dr. Matt has a cheezy and 1997-looking web page on the subject (http://www.calldrmatt.com/TruthClaims.htm)?

      This is where knowing yourself and learning from your personal experiences in life can come in handy. And I mean actually LEARNING from your personal experiences rather than living your life as a series of reactions. Be an observer of yourself – get outside your head and peer in. Practice self-review and self-reflection on your life and what you’ve learned each day. Understand your worldview, your biases, and your drives – on the conscious and subconscious level. If you don’t, you’ll never really understand how you think and you’ll never really be able to start the difficult task of “thinking better.”