Think Scientific, Live Scientific
MEDIALOGICAL’s Book & Movie Review Social Media + Scientific Thinking =
Cairo’s Traffic Resolved
How Scientific Thinking can Make you Love your Body?
“WHOEVER CONTROLS THE MEDIA, CONTROL THE MINDS”
The media and the social media are penetrating every
aspect of our lives, and their influence is increasing every day. They are becoming the source of most of our opinions, our ambitions and even our insecurities. That being the case, MEDIALOGICAL is determined to give a scientific outlook on what is presented on the media. Above all, it is dedicated to scientific thought. Out of the believe that it is the only way we can lead peaceful and productive lives.
What is in This Issue?
Test you ignorance with the Ignorance Test
The best Books on Scientific Thinking & the Media
“How to Jedge Authority?”( steps much needed) pg.10
Media & our Body Image pg.12
Cairo’s Traffic gone with Scientific Thinking pg.16
The Art of Rana Tarek pg.21
Examples of Media Manipulation pg.22
Questioning Everything? pg.25
The Art of Menna Khaffaga pg.28
Medialogical’s Movie Review pg.32
Medialogical’s Game Zone pg.35
An Interview with Tamer Amin pg.19 The Pyramids Are covered in Snow = pg.20 absence of “falsification”
THE IGNOARANCE TEST DOES THE MEDIA OWN YOUR BRAIN?
1. Your must trusted source of news is a. social media (Facebook and Twitter) b. Television and the Talk Shows c.None
2. How far do you follow up with what is happening globally a. I do not care b. Moderately c. To a high extent, to put the pieces of the puzzle together 3. The source of the posts you share on Facebookâ€Ś.. a. Random Pages b. Family and Friends c. Reputable media agencies 4. How many confirmation do you need before believing in a piece of news? a. If it is on the TV it is confirmed already b. It has to appear on a handful of channels at least c. I wait till it is confirmed by a formal source like a government institution
6. How many times did you turn your back on a problem taking place just so you do not give yourself the headache of critically thinking about what took place.. a. This is my general attitude b. Whenever it is complicated with conflicting views c. I try my best not to act as such 7. The host on the talk show you are watching claims that the government will be doubling tax rates, you a. You get angry, frustrated and start complaining on the social media through Facebook or Twitter b. At the beginning you do not think it is possible, but then you assume he must be confident of what he is saying given the fact that he is on TV C. You wait for a public document announcing such a crucial policy and you do not find it rational that the government would take such action given the situation in the country
If most of your answers are â€œAâ€?s: I am sorry to break this to you, but you are truly ignorant. You do not put much thought into what is being presented by the media let alone critically assessing it. You do not base your believes on empirical evidence that is rational and logical, rather you depend on your emotions and would not want to strain your brain with thought. You should also be careful of spreading your ignorance to others especially through the social media outlets.
If most of your answers are “B”s: Admit it, you do believe that “ignorance is bliss”. You are capable of critically judging what is present to you, but you would not want to take the pain. A couple of minutes of thinking over what you are watching on your favourite talk show or the posts on your Facebook feed are enough for you to detect numerous fallacies in argument, but you just have to do it and eventually you will manage to be more skeptical. All in all, you can grow into a SCIENTIFIC THINKER.
If most of your answers are “C”s: You are truly exceptional my friend. You put in the time and the effort to critically assess what is presented to you. You are skeptical about it. You are capable of judge authority and identifying conflict of interest. Particularly important at the times we are living in, you are consistently trying to find valid evidential reasoning to form your believe. Thank you for being a SCIENTIFIC THINKER :)
MEDIALOGICAL’s BOOK REVIEW 1. BAD SCIENCE
Author: Ben Goldcare
Reviewed from the most acclaimed Medical journals, this book unleashes the many lies that the TV sells us on health and nutrition. Goldcare throughout the book reveals the absence of the most integral parts of the scientific method in the claims presented on the most prestigious media outlets. His book highlights the importance of critically looking at the media, especially when presented when presenting claims that touch our health and wellbeing. Despite its rich and informative
content, this book is an easy and humours read for everyone.
2. It’s not News, It’s Fark Author: Drew Curtis
While Running one of the largest English speaking websites franl.com, where users can comment on news presented on the media, Drew Curtis was able to see beyond the humour of what the media sometimes throws down at us. His book cleverly maps out how the media “makes” news when they run out of them. A good laugh is also granted.
4. How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World? Author: Francis Wheen
reading this book you will be confident that your touch screen and your tablet are no proof that we are moving forward or getting smarter. Francis Wheen looks at events that took place in the past quarter of a century that do nothing but show how we are using our brain cells less and less everyday. Prepare for a great deal of criticism, and mind blowing evidence of ideas that most of us took for granted. â€œI was such an idiotâ€? would be the only statement on your mind.
3. Necessary Illusions: Though Control in Democratic Societies Author: Noam Chomsky
Naom Chomsky is one of the most renowned political thinkers of our time. His book refers to various political incidents in which the US government used the media to confuse the people, and hence not have to listen to their voices. It is a book that fits perfectly the situation in Egypt, but needs a keen reader who is expecting a lot of historical events and political theories.
HOW TO JUDGE AUTHORITY?
Judging authority is one of the pillars of scientific thinking. One should not blindly accept words, because they are said by a person who seems “professional” or is being called a “Dr.”. The media and particularly the TV, however, were able to mutate our ability to judge authority. We are evolving into humans who no longer think for themselves, but are constantly awaiting someone to do it for us. With the ongoing political instability in Egypt we found that the TV shows are always hosting “political analysts”. These political analysts are displayed as figures of authority and are portrayed as possessing a vision far beyond the average man. Their words, hence are taken for granted and their opinions are effortlessly accepted by many Egyptians. This influence of an authoritative figure has been studied in psychology through the controversial Milgram experiment, where participants obeyed the authoritative figure to an unforeseeable extent. This void in judgement when subjected to an authority can, however, be combated through several steps. `z
First: Ask yourself whether or not he has proper credentials?
For example, if he is a political analyst does he have a degree in Political Science or Middle Eastern Studies. Another common example also are nutritionists and trainers, who also one must question if they have studied biology or nutrition to give such advice.
Second: Ask yourself if the authority has a conflict of interest?
Is he for example being critical about one political party, because he is affiliated to tis rival party? Or is the nutritionist advertising a certain brand of milk or cereal, and so is recommending?
Third: Look into whether or not he is a Scientific Thinker? Does the figure of authority practice critical thinking and evidential reasoning? Is he skeptical to what is presented to him? You should also take notice to the kind of evidence he uses to convince you? Is it hearsay evidence or is he saying an anecdote? Or is he actually convincing you through empirical evidence that was an outcome of observation and experimentation?
Fourth: Is he really an expert in the field?
You should ask yourself if people within the figureâ€™s field would go to him for advice. If he is a political analyst, would political researchers consult him? All in all, you should look for clues of whether or not he has demonstrated expertise in his field?
In a nutshell, make sure you put in the time and the effort to judge the figure presented to you as an authoritative figure. That is because we humans are highly prone to blindly follow any authoritative figure. We should always be on our guard, especially with the current situation in Egypt and the constant media manoeuvers.
MEDIA AND OUR BODY IMAGE HOW SCIENTIFIC THINKING CAN MAKE YOU LOVE YOUR BODY?
On daily basis women are subjected to about 600 photoshopped images. These images vary from celebrities on covers of magazines to models on billboards, however, they share one thing in common. They set unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards. How many of us have starved themselves just to get “that” body or strangled herself in front of the mirror, because her face is not “clear” enough or her hair is not “shiny” enough? I will personally admit the countless time I do that everyday. A scientific way of thinking is the only way to end this. The media and large cooperations fool us everyday depending on our unstructured way of thinking and our tendency to fall to fallacy. Scientific thinking depends on rationalism, empiricism and skepticism. Practicing these three traits are your path to admiring your body image.
There is no better way to illustrate how rational thought and reasoning can help us in spotting how media manipulates our idea, better than an example.
The picture of Kourtney Kardashian a week after she bore her first child. On the left, is Koutnety Kardashian on the cover of “OK!” also a week after the birth of her baby. The cover, however, happens to show Kourtney without her post-baby belly.
Good Job Photoshop, since biologi- 2. Empiricism: Empirical evidence is anything cally it takes from 8-10 weeks for a wom- one can see, hear, smell, touch or taste. an’s muscles and cells to return to their Technology, however, is altering what normal state after giving birth. we see through the destructive soft Another example is that of Olay, wares mainly Photoshop. With this a cosmetic company. The company feabeing the case, one should always aim tured 64 year old model, Twiggy, without at falsifying the images he is seeing a single wrinkle on her face. That is also whether on a magazine or in an advercredited to Photoshop, since it is biolog- tisement. This is the concept that the ically inevitable to develop wrinkles as philosopher Karl Popper came up with. one ages. This is because the proteins in Before admiring a celebrity’s physique, our body become less efficient with time clear face or shiny hair first know how in repairing the damage in the cells of the they look like now through another skin. A more simple explanation is that source and COMPARE. Guess what!! Twiggy just does not look the way she They just do not look that perfect. There was put on the advertisement, as simple are a lot of examples that display how as that. we are manipulated into thinking in a certain way. Personally, I always fall to how “perfect” a celebrity’s body looks and how “tanned” she is. BUT that just came to be all delusional.
At last be skeptical and look at whether there is a conflict of interest. What is the source of finance for magazines? Well, advertisements. So what are the products they are advertising then? Well, we will find cosmetics, shampoos maybe even cereal, that will make you lose weight in 7 days (who have not tried it). You might even find out that the magazine paid is to feature a cosmetic surgeon. So, should they leave the models and celebrities to showcase themselves unaltered with imperfections just like other women? Of course not, how then will they sell the merchandise their advertising. How will an “anti-ageing” cream, regardless of the “science-fictional” title sell, if it displays a “real” women of 60? Probably, not so well.
Before thwarting ourselves every morning in front of the mirror we should take a moment to think about what we see critically. We just analyse our beliefs and make sure to put them under the test and try to falsify them. Attaining a structure sciontific way of thinking is the only way for us to admire our bodies and image as is and when we do cooperation will find no point of “photoshopping” models as the definition of beauty then would be kaleidoscopic not ill defined.
DOVE’S EVOLUTION Dove’s cmapaign eveolution is a display of how Scientific Thinking can become a successful commercial tool. Their 30 seconds advertisemsent showed a lady before all the make up and Photoshop “fixing up” and after it. Through this advertisement they were not only selling their products, they were also selling “Skepticism”. They were encouraging women to enquire and ask about what they see on the billboards, the TV and the cover of magazines. They also made millions of women feel better about themselves, by showing how unrealistic these beauty standards are.
WHEN SOCIAL MEDIA MEETS SCIENTIFIC THINKING CAIRO’S TRAFFIC RESOLVED Cairo’s traffic is only getting worse, but we are becoming increasingly up to date with what is going on this minute. This is fully accredit to the social. Most of us, for example, would be aware of “Bey2olak”, an application allowing Cairo residents to together know where the traffic jams are and what roads to avoid. It is such innovations that display how the social media can improve in our daily lives. This is, however, highly dependent upon the use of critical and scientific thinking. Traffic update applications use some of the fundamentals of scientific thinking, which enables them to serve their purpose and ease the daily lives of so many Egyptians. 1. Evidence from Independent Sources: The users of the apps are the ones sharing the information. They have no interest whatsoever other than benefiting their fellow Cairo residents who they are empathetic with.
2. Evidence is empirical: The announcements they post are based on the “observations” of people who passed by a street and saw crowded or witnessed an accident. They are also sometimes based upon the “experimentation” of people who are actually stuck on one of the roads and want to make sure that no one takes a sip from their cup of tea. There are also times in which they send out the announcements along with pictures, further strengthning their evidence.
3. Falsification: The teams working on applications like “ Bey2ollak” are constantly looking for falsifications of their claims. They are constantly awaiting someone to say that this road or that are no longer blocked or that one of the announcements issued was mistaken. This makes them more accurate, hence easing the burden of driving through Cairo. An innovation such as “Bey2ollak” displays that the social media is not only a source of ignorance, inaccuracy and confusion. It rather can be a positive addition into our daily lives when it applies the fundamentals of scientific thinking and critical judgement.
ASSESSING EGYPTIAN MEDIA AN INTERVIEW WITH TAMER AMIN
MEDIALOGICAL went and interviewed Tamer Amin the well known talk show host. We wanted to get an insight on how he sees the current state of the Egyptian media. We were also able to get some tips on how to deal with the media from someone involved in the industry. Do you think that media is still credible in Egypt? After the 25th January revolution, media started to lose its credibility in Egypt, especially the talk shows. That was because many presenters were dishonest and sometimes changed their point of view. But then media gained its credibility again when it denounced the violations and crimes of the Muslim brotherhood regime and because of its role during the 30 June revolution. And I would like to add that the credibility of a presenter could be destroyed if he was dishonest even once.
How do you assure credibility in your show? I try to be honest and credible as much as possible, but that is a very difficult thing in the field. Basically, in Egypt, because of the current political situation, itâ€™s very difficult to find the truth, I always try and do a lot of effort but sometimes sources mistake me and give me wrong information. How can a presenter be credible? There are three important things that a presenter should do to gain the credibility: First of all, look for good sources. Then, make sure that these sources are credible. And finally he has to apologize if he said any wrong information.
How dangerous media can be? Media can be very dangerous if it was not honest and if it didnâ€™t present the truth. For example, everybody witnessed what happened in Egypt after the 25th January revolution, when the media was afraid to say the truth; Muslim brothers took over power and deteriorated the country.
How should the audience receive the information from the media? The Egyptian audience is more aware now, and literacy is also less than before. And because most of the Egyptian have access to social media they are now able to know if what they heard from media was true or not. And because of the technological advances, the audience is now able to do a research before trusting anything.
THE PYRAMIDS COVERED IN SNOW A SENSATION OR A FABRICATION
Thousands of photos were shared this winter over Facebook and Twitter showing snow all over the pyramids of Giza and the sphinx. Everybody was very excited because it was very unlikely that snow can fall so heavily in a country like Egypt. When I first looked at the photo, I was impressed. It was beautiful. Then I took a closer look, and realized that I was able to see the shadow of the pyramids. Hence, I started thinking.. SCIENTIFICALLY THINKING What come on my mind was Karl Poper’s “Falsification”. The only way to be sure of the occurence of this event, was to try to falsify it and I did. I decided that if I can see the shadows, that means that the photo was taken when the sun was shining. And if the sun was shinying then the snow should have melted.. So how is it possible to see the shadow of the pyramids and the snow at the same time?
So I started to look all over Internet for the date of publication of that photo. And I found out easily that it published two years ago. And then I went further; I searched for the source of that image. And found this photo of a miniature model in Japan.
HOW RANA TAREK SEES THE GOVERNMENT’S MEDIA
FOUR EXAMPLES OF MEDIA MANIPULATION 1. Time Magazine presents images to America different than the messages sent to the rest of the world:
2. CNN fakes war coverage - Here are just 2 examples of how CNN has faked war coverage. The first one is Anderson Cooper faking Syria war coverage. This was aired by CNN. You can watch it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEXxxdOI85o The second on is the faking of war coverage of the first gulf war in the 1990s. that was denounced by Charles Jaco and was also aired on CNN. You can watch it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd8SdV80AL8
3.Manufactured ‘Reality’ TV The Biggest Loser – the reality show where overweight people compete against each other to lose the most weight.
The problem is that the show lies about the circumstances of training and the gap between each weight. They dub what happens throughout the period for the end to be a “Biggest Lose” showing the importance of evidential reasoning and critical judgement, especially that there is a huge conflict of interest. 4. Photoshopped Images as War Propaganda: Here is a famous example of an image of a Syrian family being photoshopped for the purposes of propaganda:
Questioning everything which is what skepticism mainly based on. Every person has to question each and every thing around to be able to be skeptical. Being skeptical is a healthy way of learning and it is also productive as long as your biases are kept in check. Skepticism is not accepting everything you like and assuming all other things are wrong just because you do not like them. This is considered more of ignorance than skepticism.
Everyone opens the internet almost daily for social media or to surf news webs. We never think whether our sources are trusted and reliable or not. Moreover, in each website there are some advertisements at the margin of the page that are so interesting with very exciting titles to grab your attention and your curiosity and maybe boredom makes you open the link of the advertisement unconsciously. For example, links with the title “Click here and win an I-pad” or on Facebook “If you want to know which celebrity you look like just Press here” and many other endless lies. I actually passed through one of them. It deceived and made my curiosity cover the skepticism skills I have learned. Above is a picture of it
“Seductive isn’t it?” When I saw it, it grabbed my attention to the fact that each person does not really look like their actual age; you might look older or younger. So, my curiosity made me open the link to know what my real body age is. Then, I started answering 3 to 4 questions about my real age and what I do in my spare time and so on. Next, the last question was what my phone number is. I was surprised but I wrote my phone number just to see the end of this game. After, I was astonished of what I got as a result of answering these questions. I got a picture on the web saying congratulation; you have participated in the service and the same was sent as a message on my phone.
“What??? Is that it??” Finally, what did I benefit from this stupid game? “NOTHING” but what did they benefit? “A LOT” .The reason is that they are so smart in deceiving not skeptical people and I was stupid enough to open the link and be deceived. To sum up, it is not about saying “Be Skeptical” or “Exercise critical thinking”, it is easy saying these words but the question is “How to do that?” Skepticism is not like History; we do not learn skepticism by set of facts, ideas or dates. It is a process which you do. So, to be skeptical and a critical thinker you must practice it. These are simple three steps : 1.Learn the Basics: Logic, Argument, Fallacies. 2. Practice the Basics. 3. Reflect: Think about what you’re thinking.
The Art of Menna Khafaga on Media Manipulation
MEDIALOGICAL’S MOVIEW REVIEW “Gaana Al Bayan Al Taly”
channel in which Heneidy worked advertised for a product “Laban Power family” Gaana al bayan al taly is a comewhich caused cancer for human beings. dy movie, in which the main actors are It also shows that Media abuses or exMohamed Heneidy and Hanan Tork, ploits poor people for their own interproduced in 2001. Mohamed Heneidy est. Like when Heneidy forced the poor is a guy who dreams to be a successful couple that won a bedroom to say good anchorman as well as Hanan Tork who dreams to be a famous anchorwoman. In words about his product, “power family”. He knew they needed this bedroom a satirized way, the movie shows us the to get married, so he abused this for the real Media World. This movie criticizes the Media, and its way to cover the news, benefit of the product his working for. and how it abuses people in some cases. Moreover, Media exploits any situation for their own benefit. Actually, they First of all the movie shows in the first half, that to be a successful reporter turn any situation that has nothing to do with them, for their benefit. In the they had to “cheat” people by not saymovie, when a severe bus accident had ing the truth. When Heneidy wanted to make a report about the New Year’s Eve, place, normally the media has to show the gravity of the situation, the number he had to bribe people to force them of death, what has caused this accident to to say what they want them to say, and not to say the truth and hide it from the take serious actions towards the cause of it. However, in this accident, the reportspectators. er went in place of the accident to shoot Also, this movie shows that the Media could advertise for anything, they some of the remaining living individuals, do not really care whether it is healthy or who will say that they survived because of “power family” to advertise to their not for the population, they lie to peoproduct. ple to gain money in other words. The
“2012” & Pseudosicence
The Mayans theory = Pseudoscience
All the assumptions that the pseu 2012 movie was published in 2009, doscientists proposed could never hapdirected and co-written by Roland Em- pen according to the scientific experimerich, the main actors are John Cusack, ments and studies. The first evidence was Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, Chiwetel that a huge planet called Nibiru is going to crash the earth the day of the end of Ejifor, and Oliver Platt. It is a disaster the world. But scientists responded that movie that is showing the end of the this is an imaginary belief and that there world based of the Mayans Theory. is no evidence that supports this claim. If this claim was true, that a planet is What is the Mayan theory? coming towards us, astronomers “who In 800 A.D., the Maya empire was observe the skies on a daily basis” could composed of powerful states, which have seen it; and even if it was invisible are situated from Southern Mexico to they would also have seen the “gravitaNorthern Honduras. They claimed that tional effects” of the Nibiru on they descended from stars and planets neighboring planets. themselves. The Maya developed The second evidence was that “solar astrology, calendrical systems and many other elements. The Mayan calendar was flares are going to get us”. But that also had no evidence and in contrary, composed of three different calendars, scientists falsified it, because radiation the Long Count, the Tzolkin and the from solar flares are capable of damaging Haab. These calendars are cyclical; as a orbiting satellites but not the earth cycle finishes a new cycle begins. The because our planet is protected by its Mayans believed that at the end of each magnetosphere which shields its cycle the universe is destroyed and recreated. But this calendar has an end, “the inhabitants from the blasts, and the flares end of the “Great Cycle” corresponds to that are not a health concern. 11:11 Universal Time (UTC), December, 21, 2012, in which the whole earth should have been completely destroyed. That is what quiet a number of people believed. The Mayans said that the earth is going to be destroyed in 2012, however, they stopped their calendar at this date, nothing more and nothing less.
cial media the pictures and videos that The third belief is that a cause of tried to show evidences of the end of the end of the world is also “planetary the world. That scared a lot of people, alignment”. The planets and the Sun were old and young people. Also, it distractgoing to align the Earth in December ed most of the people from focusing on and cause “catastrophic tidal effects”. But, a more serious and important elements this belief or claim is impossible too ac- in our lives like their work; instead of cording to Yeomans, first of all there was talking about any important things, peono planetary alignments in December ple talked about the end of the world. of 2012, and even if there were one, the Even if some people do not believe in Earth would not be affected as a result. that, they will take some time to think That is because there are only two bodabout it, and feel frustrated. Moreover, ies in the solar system that could affect it is a sign of scientific illiteracy, a lot of the Earth which are: the sun because it is people do not search for evidences at all massive and close; and the moon which they only believe what they see. Other is very close to our planet. Otherwise, the people, believe false evidences because of other planets have a negligible effect on not using scientific or rational thinking. the Earth. The fourth belief was that it is the “magnetic poles switching” will always be a cause of the Earth’s destruction. Well, this also is impossible because the moon stabilizes the rotation axis and does not allow it to shift. There is no evidence that such a thing was going to happen in December; and even if the magnetic poles were switching, it takes thousands of years to do so; and even if a miracle happened and it shifted, it would not have a problem on the Earth, “apart from the fact that we’re going to recalibrate our compasses.” Why is it dangerous? 2012 movie, made a lot of people believe that the end of the world is in 2012, we all have observed on the so-
MEDIAOLOGICAL’S GAME ZONE WENEEDTOTHNSMEE INKSCIENTATIAVC KCEHCFICMNHAGIN LLYBEFOOERCRADE EBELIEWMENRVZEI INEGARIPOAAMINC NYMVORAINEESNCS SAGHEPSCESSFEEO ROCPSIHLSMETHED MNXWVOLAAERDIAU AEEERTGEIIPWPWE WNLMHEVABDCCAGS IEAIRACFVLEORLP TNNMJGQIZHAMSUY PKVOIURDPEFUBRE ANCHORMAN ANCHORWOMAN BELIEVE CHECK EVIDENCE EXPERIMENTS MAGAZINE MEDIA MESSAGE NEWSPAPER PSEUDOSCIENCE RESEARCH SOCIAL TELEVISION THINK
Across 7. public 10. not-science-disguised-in-sceince 11. lies 13. hearing 15. social-media 16. those-who-make-science 17. social-media 19. where-we-get-most-information Down 1. government 2. expand-information 3. read 4. social-media 5. woman-who-always-shouts-in-thetelevision 6. chatting-all-the-time-on.. 8. famous anchorman 9. news 10. change-how-people-look 12. travel-to-get-information
13. false-information 14. type-of-pseudoscience 18. watching 19. social-media
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Sagan, Carl. “The Fina Art of Baloney Detection.”. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
Schfersma, Steven. “ Scientific Thinking and the Scientific Method.” Miami University. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. Stahmer, Tim. “We Have Every Reason to Be Skeptical of Social Media.” Web. 10 May 2014. “6 Examples of Media Manipulation.” Activipost. www.activistpost.com. Web. 5 May 2014.