Where science meets art. The only necessary and sufficient book store in Melbourne.
Hope our friends enjoy the new look and feel – now optimised for mobile devices for access on the go.
Coordinator: Peter Ellerton
Web guy: Jason Etheridge
- The power of categorical logic
- 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?
- 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.
- A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required) – What is the nature of our relationship with reason?
- Can you name this cognitive bias?
- By what measures can we value human life?
- Teaching philosophy improves standardised scores
- Are we in control of our own decisions?
- Neuroscience and education: myths and messages
- Free will is not as free as we think – and that’s ok.
- Where’s the Proof in Pseudoscience?
- Science in the lead?
- Plato and Aristotle from ‘The School of Athens’
- What Democracy is not...
- John Cleese on the good bits of philosophy
- The 2015 Queensland Philosophy and Reason syllabus
- Just think: it's important
- Pseudoscience - miracle cure
- The dilemma of giving
- Correlation Does Not Imply Causation
- Is Mathematics Discovered or Invented?
- Australian Skeptics
- The Meaningfulness of Lives
USEFUL RSS FEEDS
- Our Delight in Destruction
- Trump’s Method, Our Madness
- What Our Cells Teach Us About a ‘Natural’ Death
- If We Are Not Just Animals, What Are We?
- Our Forger in Chief
- Humans in Dark Times
- Trump and the ‘Society of the Spectacle’
- Unraveling Love Stories
- It’s Black History Month. Look in the Mirror.
- Rethinking Our Patriotism
- Where are the female leaders?
- You can lead a horse to bitesize online content, but can you make it learn?
- Government digital strategy – more politics needed
- The Business of Nudging
- How Smart Citizens live
- Modern employment: legislating fast and slow
- Place-Based Leadership
- Let the Doers Act
- The power to communicate
- Engaging teachers
- Suicide Risk Assessment Doesn't Work
- The Genius of Pinheads: When Little Brains Rule
- Food for Thought: Do We Owe Our Large Primate Brains to a Passion for Fruit?
- Why Do We Cry?
- Opening a Window into the Minds of Language-Impaired Children
- What Are Everyday Daydreamers Like?
- National Corruption Breeds Personal Dishonesty
- Mind-Reading Computers That Can Translate Thoughts into Words
- How the Science of "Blue Lies" May Explain Trump's Support
- Hospitals Halt Hiring, Projects amid Uncertain Fate of Obamacare
- What we don't know about mother's milk | Katie Hinde
- A young inventor's plan to recycle Styrofoam | Ashton Cofer
- 3 ways to spot a bad statistic | Mona Chalabi
- Who would the rest of the world vote for in your country's election? | Simon Anholt
- Why civilians suffer more once a war is over | Margaret Bourdeaux
- Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness | Michele L. Sullivan
- Lifelike simulations that make real-life surgery safer | Peter Weinstock
- Inside America's dead shopping malls | Dan Bell
- "Turceasca" | Silk Road Ensemble
- Should we simplify spelling? | Karina Galperin
Exploring the relationship between cognitive skills and the values of inquiry. Grey boxes describe student work. This can be used to generate rubrics.
A model for understanding effective thinking through categorising key educational ideas and examining the relationships between them.
Belief in a flat Earth seems a bit like the attempt to eradicate polio – just when you think it’s gone, a pocket of resistance appears. But the “flat Earthers” have always been with us; it’s just that they usually operate under the radar of public awareness.
Now the rapper B.o.B has given the idea prominence through his tweets and the release of his single Flatline, in which he not only says the Earth is flat, but mixes in a slew of other weird and wonderful ideas.
These include the notions that the world is controlled by lizard people, that certain celebrities are cloned, that Freemasons manipulate our lives, that the sun revolves around the Earth and that the Illuminati control the new world order. Not bad for one song.
Even ignoring that these ideas are inconsistent (are we run by lizards, the Freemansons or the Illuminati?), what would inspire such a plethora of delusions? The answer is both straightforward, in that it is reasonably clear in psychological terms, and problematic, in that it can be hard to fix. Continue reading
Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland
When a group of Australians was asked why they believed climate change was not happening, about one in three (36.5%) said it was “common sense”, according to a report published last year by the CSIRO. This was the most popular reason for their opinion, with only 11.3% saying their belief that climate change was not happening was based on scientific research.
Interestingly, the same study found one in four (25.5%) cited “common sense” for their belief that climate change was happening, but was natural. And nearly one in five (18.9%) said it was “common sense” that climate change was happening and it was human-induced.
It seems the greater the rejection of climate science, the greater the reliance on common sense as a guiding principle.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott also appealed to “common sense” when arguing against gay marriage recently.
But what do we mean by an appeal to common sense? Presumably it’s an appeal to rationality of some sort, perhaps a rationality that forms the basis of more complex reasoning. Whatever it is, we might understand it better by considering a few things about our psychology. Continue reading
Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland
The idea of a thinking machine is an amazing one. It would be like humans creating artificial life, only more impressive because we would be creating consciousness. Or would we?
It’s tempting to think that a machine that could think would think like us. But a bit of reflection shows that’s not an inevitable conclusion.
To begin with, we’d better be clear about what we mean by “think”. A comparison with human thinking might be intuitive, but what about animal thinking? Does a chimpanzee think? Does a crow? Does an octopus?
A new paper on teaching critical thinking skills in science has pointed out, yet again, the value of giving students experiences that go beyond simple recall or learned procedures.
It is a common lamentation that students are not taught to think, but there is usually an accompanying lack of clarity about exactly what that might mean.
There is a way of understanding this idea that is conceptually easy and delivers a sharp educational focus – a way that focuses on the explicit teaching of thinking skills through an inquiry process, and allows students to effectively evaluate their thinking.
What are thinking skills?
Let’s first understand what we might mean by thinking skills. Thinking skills, or cognitive skills, are, in large part, things you do with knowledge. Things like analysing, evaluating, synthesising, inferring, conjecturing, justifying, categorising and many other terms describe your cognitive events at a particular functional level. Continue reading
The old adage that children should be seen and not heard is nothing but wishful thinking. Children are naturally inquisitive and they usually can’t help verbalising their curiosity.
Asking “why?” is the most natural thing that children can do as they attempt to make sense of the world. This simple – and tough – question allows them to construct a wide range of knowledge and to build a depth of understanding. Continue reading
Working together for critical thinking in schools
One of the most desirable characteristics of school graduates is that they can think critically. This helps them individually and also helps the societies in which they will play a role. It’s a game in which no one loses. So why is it so difficult to achieve?
Teaching critical thinking is not something that teachers are explicitly trained to do – in fact very few people are. Nor does the curriculum generally demand it. Too often an instructing syllabus focuses on the recall of content, and this in turn forms the basis for assessment.
How to teach all students to think critically
All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills.
The new course would be an elective next year and mandatory in 2016 with the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for education and students Shirley Alexander saying the aim is to give students some maths “critical thinking” skills.
This is a worthwhile goal, but what about critical thinking in general?
Most tertiary institutions have listed among their graduate attributes the ability to think critically. This seems a desirable outcome, but what exactly does it mean to think critically and how do you get students to do it?
The problem is that critical thinking is the Cheshire Cat of educational curricula – it is hinted at in all disciplines but appears fully formed in none. As soon as you push to see it in focus, it slips away.
Is this a good analogy?
Discuss (1) this analogy and the (2) image below.
(1) Here is the source article for the analogy.
“That’s the thing. The reason why we would be hesitant to endorse it is that – what normal person would be paid to do something so compromising as raping a human being? But yet we have this idea that we can kill someone in a way that doesn’t implicate us. If it’s not right to torture someone for torture, abuse someone for abuse, rape someone for rape, then how can we think we can kill someone for killing?”