How to Spot Fake News (and other tips about critical thinking)

Critical thinking is life admin? Yes, it is. It affects how we consume information from news to studies about health and nutrition or relationships. It is another of those things that we want, and need, to constantly have working in the background of our lives. And like other life admin, there are some basic skills to critical thinking.

Audio Only Version

Ep-15 How to Spot Fake News (and other tips about critical thinking)Life Admin
00:00 / 47:14

Show Notes & Helpful Links

Set the table

Critical thinking is a skill. It takes a little practice. It has some best practices. 


Segment 1: Where do we start Understanding?


Ryan: So where do we start?  Where should we get our news from?

Leslie: A life hack: use your expertise to assess sources


  • Look for stories on something you know a bunch about. Read different outlets. Assess credibility from there. Bias or good reporting so much easier to judge when you already know a fair bit about the topic

  • Familiarize yourself with the basic fallacies. 

  • Hierarchy of studies

Ryan: So what is the Hierarchy of Studies?  Where should we put the most weight?


Leslie: Look into how a study was conducted. Ranking least reliable to most:


  • Self reported survey. (worst is small and internet, better is bigger with enforced guidelines and definitions) 

  • Single blind study

  • Double blind

  • Meta study


Segment 2: How to vet a story?


Ryan: So let’s say I happen across a stories that I like to I’m interested.  What’s the process that I should take?




  • Look for the sources cited. Interview? Anon? Study? Click through. Check abstract, then if possible check the actual intro and conclusion. 

  • Look for other takes. 

  • Look for older takes. 

  • Quick twitter check on the link. Check reaction. Who’s reacting and how

  • There is no single quick way. Have to pull together multiple threads


Segment 3: Thinking All-round


Ryan:  How can I employ these skills in other areas of my life?


  • Stats book (see links below) alone is versatile.

  • Seek, question, verify sources. Go to the source if possible. If not, go to an expert on the source.

Closing Thoughts

Helpful Links

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44/ Home Improvement

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Copyright 2019 by: Ryan Taillon (site) and Leslie Loftis (content)