Oct. 3rd, 2010 07:31 pm
silly_llama: (Default)
[personal profile] silly_llama posting in [community profile] sceptics
I am hoping that this community will become active again. To make that hope a reality I thought I would post a little poll of sorts to spark what I hope will be an interesting discussion.

What do you think is the most important step to take to combat pseudoscience, or woo if you prefer, in your home country?

In my opinion, as a citizen of America, the answer is in critical thinking and science education. I do not remember learning much about critical thinking until I was in late high school or college. I think that this is something that we can and should change. There is no reason why you cannot teach critical thinking in elementary schools. The most basic aspects of critical thinking are understandable at almost any age. When it comes to science education I think there simply needs to be more of the scientific method in science. We should not teach students to memorize facts but rather teach them what science is and how it is done, when it is done right. If we educate more children with these ideas we might see an improvement. I think that if young people were given these skills they would not grow up to be people who search for bigfoot or spend money on homeopathy or other such wastes.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-10-03 05:21 pm (UTC)
yvi: (Atheism)
From: [personal profile] yvi
I am in Germany and most of the woo I see is in regards to health-related things: homeopathy, reiki, and such things. Just like you, I think scientific eductaion is the key, however, I think it is already done quite well in schools here - it's more that the adults and older people need to be reached. And, unfortunately, also some doctors. Medicine students eductaion in the scientific methos is, sadly, very lacking.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-10-06 06:45 am (UTC)
mrcreek: Rana palustris, the pickerel frog (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrcreek
In the United States, at least, schools rarely teach anything about probability or statistics. As a result, most people have no idea what means to have statistically significant evidence for something, so they treat anecdotes and stochastic trends as meaningful phenomena. There is an excess of certitude about things for which there is no real evidence, and the easiest way to address this, in my opinion, it to teach statistics. Not the complicated mathematical parts, just the basic philosophy and concepts. A book like The Drunkard's Walk would not be too difficult for a high school student, and it would go a long way toward getting people to question what they think to be true.

Although I'll add, in my opinion, it does no harm to "search" for bigfoot. We do need people to be curious and open-minded. The problem arises when people assume without searching that bigfoot (or whatever other target of faith) is real, and act upon their unfounded beliefs.


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