What exactly is the scientific method and why do so many people get it wrong?

There’s a big difference between science and pseudoscience. But if people don’t understand how science works in the first place, it’s very easy for them to fall for the pseudoscience.

Source: What exactly is the scientific method and why do so many people get it wrong?

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Paralympic athletes faster than olympic athletes — what does this tell us about difference?

Four 1500m runners in the T13 class at the Paralympics all ran faster in their final than the time that won American Matthew Centrowitz the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Rio last month.

Source: Paralympics Rio 2016: 1500m faster than able-bodied final, Abdellatif Baka gold, world record

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Logic: if + then = why? How can we understand the power of logic?

Hold on to your modus ponens; we’re getting serious about precision.

Logic works in a surprising range of places, from the law to your smart phone. It’s all about propositions and connectives—if you infer validly you should end up with truth. But the question of why logical relations should hold across unlike domains remains a serious philosophical mystery. Logic might be a grand cosmological truth, or just a game of words between consenting adults.

Source: Logic: if + then = why? – The Philosopher’s Zone – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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How do we ensure we are exposed to new ideas? A parody with bite.

Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Source: Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

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A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required) – What is the nature of our relationship with reason?

If philosophy is to stay relevant, it must bridge the gap between feeling, thought and reason.

Few would disagree with two age-old truisms: We should strive to shape our lives with reason, and a central prerequisite for the good life is a personal sense of meaning. Ideally, the two should go hand in hand. We study the lessons of history, read philosophy, and seek out wise men with the hope of learning what matters. But this acquired knowledge is not the same as the felt sense that one’s life is meaningful.

Source: A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required) – The New York Times

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Can you name this cognitive bias?

Cognitive bias

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By what measures can we value human life?

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

It can clearly be challenging to convey the magnitude of loss after a tragedy, particularly when that number is in the tens of millions, yet that is precisely what The Fallen of World War II, a documentary (also available as an interactive graphic) that examines the human cost of second World War, sets out to do. Written, directed, and narrated by Neil Halloran, the elegantly animated data visualization lays out the human losses of the war, and it’s devastating.

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Teaching philosophy improves standardised scores

Want to improve NAPLAN scores? Teach children philosophy

Social-Cognition

Latest figures show that student scores in reading, writing, language and numeracy have failed to improve despite schools receiving record funding over the past few years.

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment designed to check whether students are developing the basic skills necessary to progress in school and life.

The most recent report reveals that nationally, these skills have largely stagnated since 2008.

The government response was swift, with the opposition claiming this stagnation provided evidence that more funding is needed, specifically by committing to the full measures proposed by the Gonski report.

The current Australian government instead took this as an indication that rather than providing more money, the focus should be on finding better “evidence-based measures”.

While some have argued these results are not concerning because NAPLAN scores are not comparable across years, our education outcomes have been stagnant or dropping for quite some time across a range of different measures.

So what can be done?

As it turns out, teaching children philosophy can dramatically increase student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy. Continue reading

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Are we in control of our own decisions?

Dan Ariely — One of the most significant of TED talks for understanding how we think.

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Neuroscience and education: myths and messages

NATURE REVIEWS | NEUROSCIENCE

activebrainAbstract: For several decades, myths about the brain — neuromyths — have persisted in schools and colleges, often being used to justify ineffective approaches to teaching. Many of these myths are biased distortions of scientific fact. Cultural conditions, such as differences in terminology and language, have contributed to a ‘gap’ between neuroscience and education that has shielded these distortions from scrutiny. In recent years, scientific communications across this gap have increased, although the messages are often distorted by the same conditions and biases as those responsible for neuromyths. In the future, the establishment of a new field of inquiry that is dedicated to bridging neuroscience and education may help to inform and to improve these communications.

Article here

PDF Neuroscience myths

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Free will is not as free as we think – and that’s ok.

The Philosopher’s Zone – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Free will is on the run. Bit by scientific bit, the belief that we might actually command our own domain is in retreat. But all is not lost, according to Julian Baggini, who’s most comfortable with the idea of not having total control.

Source: How to love a less free will – The Philosopher’s Zone – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Where’s the Proof in Pseudoscience?

Peter Ellerton, The Conversation

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Contrast this with homeopathy, a field that has generated no discernible growth in knowledge or practice. While the use of modern scientific language may make it sound more impressive, there is no corresponding increase in knowledge linked to effectiveness. The field has flat-lined.

The lack of testable causal explanations (or models, if you will) that characterises pseudoscience gives us a second level of discrimination: science provides casual explanations that lead to growth but pseudoscience does not.

Read more

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Science in the lead?

Is scientific progress outpacing progress in areas such as ethics and politics? What does progress in these areas look like?

Science in the lead

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Plato and Aristotle from ‘The School of Athens’

Plato advocating for the Forms, Aristotle for the world. Add in the word ‘basketball’, and you cannot unsee it.Sanzio_01_Plato_Aristotle

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Teaching the nature of science (and keeping students engaged)

Peter Ellerton, The Conversation
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What’s particularly disturbing about current science education at the primary, secondary and tertiary level is the almost complete lack of explicit consideration of what I’ve referred to as the “nature of science”.

Not only are many teachers unaware of the nature of science, they would have little idea how to teach it in detail even if their knowledge was developed.

Read full article here.

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Why You Don’t Know Your Own Mind

Alex Rosenburg, The Stone.

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It is often said that we can never truly know the minds of others, because we can’t “get inside their heads.” Our ability to know our own minds, though, is rarely called into question. It is assumed that your experience of your own consciousness clinches the assertion that you “know your own mind” in a way that no one else can. This is a mistake.

Read full article here.

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Artificial Intelligence

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Could AI of the future be not just smarter, but also more conscious than humans are now?  Will they wonder if we are/were truly conscious?

Discuss.

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What is the link between language and consciousness?

idea_ISIZED-Indo-girl2010-5227609661_8d48e1e8fa_o“Scientists working on animal cognition often dwell on their desire to talk to the animals. Oddly enough, this particular desire must have passed me by, because I have never felt it. I am not waiting to hear what my animals have to say about themselves, taking the rather Wittgensteinian position that their message might not be all that enlightening. Even with respect to my fellow humans, I am dubious that language tells us what is going on in their heads.”

Frans de Waalis a professor of psychology at Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

Read full article here.

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The value of subjective experience (or not)

From smbc

The heap problem

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Free will and mobile phones

Can you prove you have free will?

dilbert free will robot

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