Science & Tech

Practice Critical Thinking and Critical Filtering

Bill Nye

Lesson time 17:56 min

Learn about the importance of evaluating claims with filters, testing hypotheses, and using critical thinking as Bill shares a ghost story and performs a surprising demonstration using different colors of light.

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Topics include: Avoid Information Overload · Challenge Personal Beliefs · Use Critical Thinking · Use Critical Filtering · Watch Out for These Red Flags · Case Study: Testing a Haunted House


BILL NYE: Blah bah bah blah bah. Bah bah bah blah blah bluh, blah bluh blah bluh bluh. Blah blah blah blah. [MUSIC PLAYING] The information age is both a blessing and a curse. A blurse, if you will. You need a scientific system to handle all that data. How do you assess what is accurate, what's valid, what's true and what's false? Think critically, filter critically, and it will change how you see the world. So today, there's so much information available to almost everyone through the internet. But the internet is not available to everyone. We've got to fix that, we've got to make the internet just like any other utility, like water or electricity. But there's another aspect of information today, and that's overload. We have so much information coming at us all the time, that it's very easy to get confused, to think something is a reliable source of information when it might not be. In science, we rely on what I like to call bottom up critical thinking. In science, someone writes a scientific paper, then other people evaluate it. There is no organization, as such, in science that tells people what to write about and what to conclude. That would not work in science. So everybody, I'm of a certain age. If I wanted to know the atomic number of rubidium, I would have to go to a book and look it up. And when I found it in the book, I would trust it. Atomic number rubidium would be there, wouldn't it, everyone? 37, all right. But now, I can have my phone, I can have a laptop, I can have all sorts of devices and find the atomic number of any element, any isotope of any element in a matter of moments-- certainly less than a second. It's very unlikely that someone's going to make up a wrong number of protons for rubidium. Very unlikely. However, what if someone's running for a political office? Could you create a false claim against that person and make the public think that this person is not as trustworthy as he or she would present himself? Yeah, people do that all the time, they make false claims about people. It's a whole industry of this. We want people to have critical thinking skills. If what they see on the internet in this example is misinformation or wrong information, or they don't have the ability to sort the good information from the bad, then we're back where we started. Having insufficient critical thinking skills is every bit as difficult or deleterious or bad for everybody as not having the information in the first place. [MUSIC PLAYING] Critical thinking is the most important skill we can have today. If you can learn to evaluate evidence, to question things, it will help all of us going into the future. And in science, and in critical thinking, it all starts with an hypothesis-- an idea underneath, an explanation for a phenomenon. So here's the demonstration that I've always enjoyed. I will light this candle and we will observe the color of the flame. So t...

About the Instructor

With his 19-time Emmy Award–winning show, Bill Nye the Science Guy introduced the joy of scientific discovery to a worldwide audience. Now, for the first time, the beloved educator is teaching his framework for scientific thinking and everyday problem-solving. Learn Bill’s approach to navigating information through “critical filtering” and embrace a science-based, optimistic response to some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Bill Nye

Emmy Award–winning science educator Bill Nye teaches you his method for solving everyday problems, evaluating information, and thinking like a scientist.

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