Critical Thinking, Confirmation Bias and Correlation: A Paucity and Plague in the U.S.

Course Dates: 
6 weeks: March 30, April 6, 13, 27, May 4, 11, 2018 (No class April 20)
Fridays, 9-11 a.m.
Pat Chitwood
Course Catalogs: 
2018 Spring

Critical thinking is an essential ingredient to societal continuation. Major lapses of such have resulted in world wars, expensive pointless international conflicts, like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as movements such as “birthers,” the denial of the Holocaust, and 911 and Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories. The use of innuendo and correlation to “prove” a theory or idea violates the most basic premise of critical thinking, i.e., trying to find fault with what you believe to be true. We will examine some of the basic tenets of critical thought, major instances of departure from this logic, the impact of correlational data and the strong draw of confirmation bias.

Course outline

ACG Wealth Managing Director Pat Chitwood ( earned his doctorate in psychology in 1972, and practiced as a psychologist until 1979 when he became an investment counselor with Paine Webber. In 1981 he became a manager with Wheat, First Securities in Winston-Salem. Pat subsequently managed the Asheville office of Robinson Humphrey before returning to Birmingham in May 1987 where he started Chitwood Advisory Group.