The Rationale for “The Science Educator.Com”
Science education in high schools and colleges has produced a graduate that is very good at a narrow range of technical scientific skills but not very good at understanding how to apply scientific thinking to information they encounter in everyday life. Many graduates are unable to distinguish between scientific evidence and their own belief-based thinking. Examples of this difficulty are found in many diverse, belief-based movements that attempt to portray themselves as scientific: Creation Science, Intelligent Design, Alternative Medicine, Anti-Vaccine, Ghosts, Telepathy, Remote Viewing and Aliens, to name but a few of these belief-based movements.
Ask any science teacher about the most important and critical skill in science and each and every one of us would definitively say, “experimentation”. As this rationale became incorporated into our educational system over the last forty years, experimentation became the be all, end all, must do all, hands-on splinter skill. Sacrificed on the altar of “laboratory experimentation” was the rich history, development and the how and why of scientific thinking in everyday life that is, scientific literacy. “Science education, in its current form, seems to do little to offset pseudoscientific beliefs, and may in fact give students reason to accept science fiction as science fact”, (“Science Education Is No Guarantee of Skepticism”, Walker, Hoekstra, Vogel), http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-03-07/#feature.
I can only conclude that being awarded an advanced degree in a scientific field of study is no guarantee of scientific literacy. I can only fault myself and other science educators for producing PhD level scientists who are not able to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific processes. This is a blatant lapse of basic science education. “It is possible for a student to accumulate a fairly sizable science knowledge base without learning how to properly distinguish between reputable science and pseudoscience” (Walker, et. al, 2012).
What is needed and attempted in this website is a discussion of and an examination of scientific literacy in everyday life. Scientific Literacy is a functional competency in the methodology of science. In a practical sense, it is comprised of:
Awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the basic tool used to gather scientific information: the human brain. This includes common cognitive mistakes and fallacies which influence the gathering of scientific evidence.
- Ability to recognize the difference between scientific and non-scientific processes.
- Ability to apply the scientific process in the observation and examination of evidence.
- Ability to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and methods.