Goals for now?
||Goals for later?
Perhaps "...A City With Science" at first?
|What might work?|
What surprises will we run into?
Who can do what?
|to go now?||
How might we
it's where all our knowledge starts
Human perceptions and reasoning skills are limited: we look, but we don't see. Science has been discovery of things we didn't see in the past -- Newton discovered the spectrum, but it's taken centuries to realize that birds see color that is vastly superior to the color we see. Evolution sold us short.
|Math can give us knowledge that a bird just looks to see. It's best if we learn and understand some of that math, but we should at least understand that there's something we can't know by looking but can know through abstract thinking--through reasoning. We are not "the supreme being" with no further evolutionary development possible.|
usefulness of knowledge
it's the difference beween knowing and understanding
A concept that's understood can be recognized
when encountered in new places, and it can be used to our advantage.
Before we understand, we almost always misunderstand — think about a five-cut
solution to Martin Gardner's Buzz-Saw puzzle!
|Science teachers have only recently understood that, "The process of science cannot be learned by reading, listening, memorizing, or problem-solving. Effective learning requires active mental engagement" -- and then they developed ways to lead their students to true understanding.|
Some very familiar things are often misunderstood in ways that reveal that it was something basic that wasn't understood. What's "a quantum jump," "exponential growth," "the epicenter," "a parameter," "specie"?
We must recognize the intricate weave of obvious, and of subtle, influences, and then assiduously search among them for any proof that we might be wrong in our belief.
"The wondrous wishes that seem too good to be true probably aren't"
develop the skills needed to tell the difference
|In the mid 20th century,
Jean Piaget observed children developing the skills that reveal what's
relevant and what's not. It proved to be more
subtle than Piaget realized.
"Science is simple but subtle."
Some possible efforts?:
|Encourage journalists to seek
experts in fields that are persistently misunderstood.
Produce inquiry materials, following the examples of various science teaching organizations.
Critique educational goals, which often follow the bad example set by textbook publishers
Develop pithy sayings.
Develop effective, pungent sound bites. (like "Tax & spend")
Develop exhibits for Da Vinci Days.
Help with science fairs in schools; help Destination Imagination activities
thru Computers items form a good overview of the way science has changed
human picture of the universe: develop this as a instructional tool.
Oregonians for Rationality (O4R) has been presenting a lecture series for many years; for example, Wallace Sampson (founder of Quackwatch).Make videotapes
Videotapes of the above lectures are (or will be) available. For example, Dr. Harriet Hall on Natural Medicines (28 Oct 04); Tom Kite, PhD, on hype in Audio systems; Mitch Cruzan, PhD on Darwin (13 Feb 04); Bill Thwaites, PhD, on Evolution in textbooks (Feb 03); and more.
OMSI/OHSU public lectures
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) efforts to bring understanding to physics students
Higher education's offerings in their regular
What's troubling about it?
It pressures people to oversimplify, that's bound to be harmful to society; it erodes away possibilities for adequately confronting complex problems. It especially erodes scientific literacy.
Of course it helps the spin-doctors of advertising and propaganda. What's more, the modern spin doctor's scalpel is unreasonably effective in paring away our cortical functions critical thinking, abstraction, mathematical insight, absurdity dodging... working toward leaving some minimal, uncritical, primitive-animal brain. This lets them sell cigarettes with sex, Cokes with International Harmony, and elected leaders with...well, just how do they do that?.
What to do about it?
In the 1940's and 50's critical thinking about propaganda was taught in elementary schools, and pupils laughed in ridicule at the on-the-hour ads when important programs, like the World Series and speeches by the President, were piped into the classrooms. The encyclopedias published then assumed that readers would understand substantive topics, such as elementary calculus, physics, chemistry and biology--stuff at least a century or two old!--and the writings of such as Shakespeare, Shaw, Cervantes and Bertrand Russell.
In the last third of the 20th century, science teachers realized that rote-and-regurgitate education had to be replaced by vigorous, puzzle-solving: it can lead to useful understanding. The science is simple, but it's subtle. The insights are a little hard to see, but they can be exhilarating, and the understanding generated by the hard work is empowering. This is real education.
Some people are brighter than others.
The drawing with
the blue dots was made to illuminate a profound misunderstanding seen on
Consider this profound concept that led Feynman to say "...sooner or later you will need to use tensors."
P. Guilford's observed that human intelligence requires at least 17 dimensions
Guilford's observation is death to the put-down. What can we devise to make this clear?
All the children are above average!
error of the put-down
The reality of dimensions
The many colors of our auras
"Magic: seemingly requiring more than human power."
If we realize that
we miss "seeing" most of what's around us...
We should not feel
humiliated because we don't see.
Though peers might
push us mightily away from deep thought...
Don't let the ________s
dumb you down!