Calling Bullsh*t in the Age of Big Data

Here’s a course on calling bullsh*t in market research, social and physical sciences.

University of Washington Professors Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West developed the course. Over email, Professor Bergstrom told me that he’s optimistic that the UW is going to approve the course. Adding, “So far they’ve been great.”

Reactions to a post I made on Linked In were strongly positive, with a number of folks asking if the course would be available online. I asked Carl about this. Some sort of distance option is envisioned: “We’ll try to videotape the lectures and post to youtube, for starters,” he said.

But just what is bullsh*t? The profs define the term as “… language intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence.” Their course will offer a very rigorous approach for “detecting bull, seeing through it, and combatting it with effective analysis and argument.”

I hope they get their approvals and will start teaching. I’m looking forward to those YouTube videos. The link again is: