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Weasel words about teaching students to think like scientists

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Image result for public domain test tube From Yale president Peter Salovey at Scientific American:

We Should Teach All Students, in Every Discipline, to Think Like Scientists

For many, knowledge about the natural world is superseded by personal beliefs. Wisdom across disciplinary and political divides is needed to help bridge this gap. This is where institutions of higher education can provide vital support. Educating global citizens is one of the most important charges to universities, and the best way we can transcend ideology is to teach our students, regardless of their majors, to think like scientists. From American history to urban studies, we have an obligation to challenge them to be inquisitive about the world, to weigh the quality and objectivity of data presented to them, and to change their minds when confronted with contrary evidence.

Likewise, STEM majors’ college experience must be integrated into a broader model of liberal education to prepare them to think critically and imaginatively about the world and to understand different viewpoints. It is imperative for the next generation of leaders in science to be aware of the psychological, social and cultural factors that affect how people understand and use information. More.

That all sounds fine except for one thing: There is a sustained post-modern attack on the decision-making tools and values of science. Objectivity is sexist, algebra is racist, and so forth.

We hear not a word of that from Dr. Salovey, unless it is this: “Likewise, STEM majors’ college experience must be integrated into a broader model of liberal education to prepare them to think critically and imaginatively about the world and to understand different viewpoints.” Realistically, today, that would mean valuing witchcraft and astrology to the same extent as science.

“We Should Teach All Students, in Every Discipline, to Think Like Scientists”? In the general collapse of disciplined thinking in the liberal arts, what will really happen is, science teachers and students will be intellectually equated with Bret Weinstein’s rioting students at Evergreen State. Only the ones of whom it can be said that there is no real difference can survive that.

In general, Big Science is avoiding the conflict. But they need not go to war, war is coming to them. The post-modern mob means business. Ask Bret Weinstein.

See also: At Quillette: Who will the Evergreen mob (targeted biology teacher recently) target next?

One Reply to “Weasel words about teaching students to think like scientists

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    “From American history to urban studies, we have an obligation to challenge them to be inquisitive about the world, to weigh the quality and objectivity of data presented to them, and to change their minds when confronted with contrary evidence.”

    As a Liberal Arts kinda guy, I would point out that areas like Political Science and History are COMPLETELY owned by The Left, and it is impossible to learn anything useful about History or Politics from college courses. Being “inquisitive about the world” simply means taking a course on “Post-Colonial Africa” in which you are told that killing off people whose African ancestry only goes back 300 or 400 years is perfectly OK as long as the people doing the killing can lay a claim to older African ancestry (even if their ancestors made MAJOR migrations withing the continent).

    So it doesn’t really matter whether you can do basic Math or Physics correctly if you are FORBIDDEN from drawing the wrong conclusions.

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