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View Diary: What's So Bad About Critical Thinking? (109 comments)

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  •  Huh? (7+ / 0-)

    Which high school science classes teach anything as "Absolute Truth"? They teach our current best understanding. There are controversies at the cutting edge of science, but you properly can't understand the cutting edge until you've mastered the basics. The point of high school science is to help you understand the first round of basics; if you find the subject interesting, then you can do additional study after high school and eventually become educated to the point where you're able to engage in serious debate with serious scientists.

    Now, the current laws are already a compromise: We can force people to go to high school, but we can't force them to learn anything. So I don't think we should go further and reward students for not learning anything.

    As far as I can tell, the goal of these laws is to allow students to refuse to pay attention during Biology class, scrawl "If men evolved from monkeys than how come there are still monkeys?" on top of their final exam sheets, and still get a passing grade. Who do you think benefits from that?

    •  I can recall very specifically (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P

      the way science was taught when I was in jr. high. My family moved from New York to Oklahoma over Christmas break, good ol' Sputnik days...

      The general science requisites that year included a section on cosmology. You know, the nature of the universe along with basic solar system stuff as known/theorized at the time. In New York the school district was too cheap to buy new textbooks, ours were at least 8 years old. The universe, we were told (and NOT encouraged to dissent), was eternal, a peaceful clockwork mechanism entirely predictable and entirely without the possibility of chaotic events. Test questions at the end of the chapter, don't ask questions.

      When I began at the new school in the new state, low and behold they had brand new textbooks! These textbooks taught - with the very same bland statement of "fact" not tolerant of question or dissent - that the universe had a beginning some billions of years in the past, all at the same place and time, in the Explosion to End All Explosions known euphemistically as "Big Bang." I thought it was positively hilarious, really.

      My father was a scientist - physicist/engineer - who had been a "Big Banger" for as long as I knew him, likely well before. He'd been excited by every 'proof' of GR as it came along and got applied, just sure that one of these days the paradigm would change 'overnight'. Turned out he was right. Even a young teen like me appreciated the irony of that.

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