The Open Mind explores the world of ideas across politics, media, science, technology, and the arts. The American Prospect is republishing this edited excerpt.
Alexander Heffner: You are author of the new book called Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World.
Carl Bergstrom: My colleague Jevin West, the co-author on the book, and I had seen information, particularly quantitative information being misused to try to confuse people. We’ve come into a world where data is so important in decision-making and presented so centrally in the public sphere. But we felt like we needed help people take on data being presented [as] disinformation: the BS being presented in the form of statistics or facts and figures [and] data graphics.
Heffner: I’m going to use malarkey as our BS for the purpose of this conversation—and also because one of our leading presidential candidates loves to employ that word malarkey. So