At NPR: Why mere skepticism misses the mark
|May 10, 2017||Posted by News under Naturalism, News, Science, science education|
From psychology prof Tania Lombrozo at NPR:
Skepticism is supposed to reflect a willingness to question and doubt — a key characteristic of scientific thinking. Skepticism encourages us to look at the evidence critically; it allows for the possibility that we are wrong. It seems like a win, then, to learn that courses in skepticism can decrease belief in the paranormal or — as reported in an article forthcoming in Science & Education — that teaching students to think critically about history can decrease belief in pseudoscience and other unwarranted claims.
But taken too far, skepticism misses its mark. It’s important to avoid the error of believing something we ought not to believe, but it’s also important to avoid the error of failing to believe that which we should. If the aim is to detect signal — and not merely to reject noise — then an educational win would require greater differentiation between warranted and unwarranted claims, not merely rejection of the unwarranted. This point is sometimes lost in praising skepticism and skeptical thinking, with its emphasis on what we reject rather than what we uphold. More.
None of what Lombrozo wants can happen because the current educational system is in no way capable of – or even especially interested in – finding facts. Facts are rapidly becoming the enemy.
See also: The war on intellectual freedom How political correctness morphed into a monster.
The war on freedom is rotting our intellectual life In a world governed by naturalism, power is its own justification. That is the single hardest thing for opponents of rampant political correctness to grasp.
When professors stifle freedom of thought: These protest movements are not 1960s retro; they are a flat-out war on reality, conducted by seasoned veterans with a lot at stake.
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