Author Archives: Peter Ellerton

About Peter Ellerton

Director of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project and Lecturer in Critical Thinking.

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons, Philosophy of Science | Comments Off on What exactly is the scientific method and why do so many people get it wrong?

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Media Articles, Cartoons | Comments Off on Paralympic athletes faster than olympic athletes — what does this tell us about difference?

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Media Articles, Cartoons | Comments Off on Logic: if + then = why? How can we understand the power of logic?

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons | Comments Off on How do we ensure we are exposed to new ideas? A parody with bite.

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons, Philosophy of Mind - Consciousness, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Science | Comments Off on A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required) – What is the nature of our relationship with reason?

Can you name this cognitive bias?

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons | Comments Off on Can you name this cognitive bias?

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Ethics and Moral Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy | Comments Off on By what measures can we value human life?

Teaching philosophy improves standardised scores

Want to improve NAPLAN scores? Teach children philosophy 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 … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons | Comments Off on Teaching philosophy improves standardised scores

Are we in control of our own decisions?

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

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons | Comments Off on Are we in control of our own decisions?

Neuroscience and education: myths and messages

NATURE REVIEWS | NEUROSCIENCE Abstract: 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. … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons, Philosophy of Mind - Consciousness | Comments Off on Neuroscience and education: myths and messages

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Media Articles, Cartoons | Comments Off on Free will is not as free as we think – and that’s ok.

Where’s the Proof in Pseudoscience?

Peter Ellerton, The Conversation 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 … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons, Philosophy of Science | Comments Off on Where’s the Proof in Pseudoscience?

Science in the lead?

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

Posted in Ethics and Moral Philosophy, Media Articles, Cartoons, Social and Political Philosophy | Comments Off on Science in the lead?

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.

Posted in Media Articles, Cartoons | Comments Off on Plato and Aristotle from ‘The School of Athens’

Teaching the nature of science (and keeping students engaged)

Peter Ellerton, The Conversation 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 … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons, Philosophy of Science | Comments Off on Teaching the nature of science (and keeping students engaged)

Why You Don’t Know Your Own Mind

Alex Rosenburg, The Stone. 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 … Continue reading

Posted in Critical Thinking, Media Articles, Cartoons, Philosophy of Mind - Consciousness, Philosophy of Science | Comments Off on Why You Don’t Know Your Own Mind

Artificial Intelligence

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.

Posted in Philosophy of Mind - Consciousness | Comments Off on Artificial Intelligence

What is the link between language and consciousness?

“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 … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind - Consciousness | Comments Off on What is the link between language and consciousness?

The value of subjective experience (or not)

From smbc

Posted in Media Articles, Cartoons, Philosophy of Mind - Consciousness, Philosophy of Science | Comments Off on The value of subjective experience (or not)

Free will and mobile phones

Can you prove you have free will?

Posted in Media Articles, Cartoons, Philosophy of Mind - Consciousness | Comments Off on Free will and mobile phones