Detecting Bullshit in the Modern Age

Instructor: Kelly O’Donnell
Offered by Macaulay Honors College
Mondays, 5:00 – 7:00pm
Macaulay Honors College, Classroom TBD

In today’s world, people are constantly inundated with information, from online publications, traditional media, politicians, and their social media feeds. Not all information is properly vetted by the relevant expert communities, especially when it comes to scientific information in the public sphere.

In “Detecting Bullshit in the Modern Age”, we will explore the bullshit that parades around as science and how we can be better at detecting and discounting this noise. This course is based on and expanded from the excellent work of two biologists at University of Washington, who developed a curriculum of the same name (find it at

We will practice finding nonsensical claims and evaluating what exactly makes them bullshit. This effort will require applications of statistics, data visualization, and information literacy and builds on the skills that students develop in their seminar 3 Science Forward courses.

Preliminary syllabus available here

(Note: "Official" course title,
for registration and transcripts, is
"Detecting Nonsense in the Modern Age")

Course Codes:

MHC 325 | CRN: 38017