One Billion Bird Collision Deaths a Year … Really?!

This course centers on the construction and presentation of valid arguments, both written and oral, particularly those relying on quantitative data. Students will improve at constructing such arguments both through direct practice and by learning to recognize many common flaws in the arguments of others. After a review of some basic mathematical ideas from a historical perspective we will look at how these ideas are used and misused in various arguments. We will consider such ideas as how we measure risk and how this might affect public policy; how we can evaluate competing claims in the news; and when mathematics just illuminates gray areas rather than actually answering questions.