Richard Dawkins interviews Prof. Michael Baum about reason, science, and authority

Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
Richard Dawkins interviews Prof. Michael Baum about reason, science, and authority

 It's a pretty short video, and worth your time.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


JillSwift
Superfan
JillSwift's picture
Posts: 1758
Joined: 2008-01-13
User is offlineOffline
Professor Baum wrote:The

Professor Baum wrote:
The nature of evidence should be taught in schools.
Holy crap, yes yes yes.


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
 Isn't it amazing that most

 Isn't it amazing that most Americans have no idea how to weigh evidence, or for that matter, what actually counts as evidence?

I despair sometimes that we are beyond hope, and that the divide between the intellectual haves and have nots is too wide, but I think that's just depression trying to kick in.  Other countries have turned their education systems around.  I do fear that the fierce religiosity of this country will be too formidable a foe for reason, but we are making some progress.  The internet is a wonderful thing.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
I was reading a post and the

I was reading a post and the comments at Pharyngula, which is despairing at the new tactic of 'academic freedom' of the creationists.

Likewise, there's a survey at Richard Dawkins that shows that a large minority of teachers in Britain support the teaching of ID alongside evolution.

I think the inevitable has come: We need school curricula and textbooks that *directly* tackle creationism/ID, laying out the cold hard facts, as the trial in Dover did, and *requiring* the teaching that creationism/ID is not valid science in a mandatory biology course.

Yes, there will be an uproar, but we can finally use the creationists' own tactics against them. We will 'teach both sides', 'teach the controversy', and give the ID side 'academic freedom' to air its case. But we will do it in such a way that we follow the principles and methods of science, teaching kids exactly what the evidence is, why this evidence counts and that evidence doesn't. We will teach what the scientific consensus is and why. We will not teach both sides as if they were magically equal. We will teach both sides from the perspective of science.

We will have to teach kids what science is all about. I think it's inevitable at this stage. No more cramming facts in their heads. Teach the methods. Teach the principles.

Teach a whole semester on evolution vs. creationism/ID. Why not? It would lay a strong foundation for kids' understanding of evolution and science in general.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


JillSwift
Superfan
JillSwift's picture
Posts: 1758
Joined: 2008-01-13
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:We will have

natural wrote:
We will have to teach kids what science is all about. I think it's inevitable at this stage. No more cramming facts in their heads. Teach the methods. Teach the principles.
Yes, that.

Why it hasn't been that so far boggles my widdle noodle.

Introductory science can begin early, kids will mostly have the necessary focus by 7-8 years old. It should be all about observe, collate, hypothesize, test, conclude. Only after they get the hang of that would it be wise to start on "What science has uncovered so far". Hopefully with kids occasionally raising eyebrows and asking tough questions because they already know a bit on how to be skeptical.

And then it would be sheer beauty to have them examine ID/creationism and Evolution and pick out strengths and weaknesses. (As well as an opportunity to have them really get the hang of document research.)

*sigh*

Anyone want to try opening a private school?

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
Quote:We will have to teach

Quote:

We will have to teach kids what science is all about. I think it's inevitable at this stage. No more cramming facts in their heads. Teach the methods. Teach the principles.

What he said.

When I did physics and chemistry in the last two years of high school, 25% of the final mark was determined by internal assessment. Students had to design experiments to investigate how various input variables produced output variables. The IA's were marked very harshly. Students had to follow correct methods to the letter. In other words, they would be marked down if any steps of their method (or control of variables) would corrupt the data. Students would then have to process and analyze their data and have to use the standard methods of error processing (accounting for imprecision and inaccuracy in the data) after actually carrying out the experiment. In other words, the student wasn't just happily following the instructions of the teacher of method, apparatus and so forth, but would have to create the experiment, and articulate how their data supported their thory. I hated IA's because they were marked so harshly, but they were very useful. Likewise, in the written exam, 40% of the mark was determined by data analysis and scientific reasoning. In other words, the questions would give students data and the students would have to process the data and then articulate why it supported a particular scientific conclusion. In a physics paper, for exam, a question on quantization of light and the photoelectric effect would require the student to take some given data and explain why it supported the Einstein-Planck model. A question on magnetization and Faraday's Law would usually require the student to use some indicated apparatus to construct (on paper) an experiment to demonstrate that the curl of an electric field is equal to the time derivative of flux linkage through a coil. Students would have to explain the relationship between scientific models and scientific data, and would have to create experiments to gather valid data in the exam.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
JillSwift wrote:*sigh*Anyone

JillSwift wrote:

*sigh*

Anyone want to try opening a private school?

Actually, yes. I just don't have the credentials or money to do it. I'm trying to devise ways of spawning low-overhead 'academies' or 'libraries' that teach kids critical thinking and science. Kind of like a grassroots education movement. It's on the backburner in my list of ideas, but definitely something I think would be awesome. Just imagine if, over the years, you could show that kids who get an education on the side far outpace kids who go through the educational system. It would be a wakeup call.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Kevin R Brown
Superfan
Kevin R Brown's picture
Posts: 3142
Joined: 2007-06-24
User is offlineOffline
Quote:*sigh*Anyone want to

Quote:

*sigh*

Anyone want to try opening a private school?

...Actually, I had a slightly different idea.

 

The problem (IMHO) with private schools is that there tends to be, A) a stigma attached to them, and B) high user / administrator costs associated with them (well, up here, in any case). You can also get politically blackballed rather easily by things like teachers unions (again, in my neck of the woods) and lobbying groups.

 

Of course, as far as the public system is concerned, I've heard both sides for and against 'reforming' it... and, frankly, I don't think it can realistically be done at this point (I'm not even sure there's much to 'reform' it to to begin with).

 

If we can't seem to keep science in the classroom... well, why not bring it to the proverbial pulpit instead? That is to say, I have been very seriously considering setting-up a Church.

 

'Science is just some religion too!' 'Hm. Really? Well, I guess it is a sort-of belief system. Okay, you've convinced me; I should get a tax-free institute as well.'

The idea I have on paper seems like a good one to me (so far): start-off formal meetings with an excercize that will get people mobile and feeling good about themselves, have a speaker come-in to explain a scientific principle or (after that's been done) a particular theory or discovery (perhaps have recent peer-reviewed literature read/displayed, close with something fun and social.

 

Attendees would start associating feeling good with being skeptical and evaluating evidence (just as they do currently with 'taking things on faith'), and this would (perhaps/hopefully) have the effect of propagating the scientific method in the same way ridiculous mythologies are propagated.

 

I'd have to establish some form of curriculum structure, likely also include some form of assignment / examination structure (shouldn't actually be that tough to pass off as 'religious', though, seeing as Scientology does more or less just that. Hm, speaking of Scientology... it would be so nice to take that term back, I think...) and have to find-outif there would be enough interest from credentialed speakers to drop by an volunteer a day to do a lecture (I don't think this would be too much trouble, as long as I was able to get a good enough rotation going.

I hope to have things much more solidly hammered-out by the time I've gone to Korea and come back, assuming the world doesn't fall apart in the interim. I'll also have a somewhat more swollen bank account then, so I'll have more flexibility for doing things like getting facilities and decent advertising.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940