Wanted: More Critical Thinking In Science

While in-state and out-of-state teachers protesting a bill in Wisconsin, that would require them to pay more out-of-pocket costs for heath-care and pensions, that would also give them the option to pay or not to pay union dues, and allow the government unions to negotiate wages but not benefits…There has been a few articles that are concerned about the lack of critical thinking with students concerning science.

But can this be done with evolution, after all when state science standards come up, critical thinking is labeled a creationist viewpoint that hinders a student from having the full enlightenment of Darwinism. Interesting enough, these articles say there is not enough critical thinking going on…

For example, phys.org

“Richard Arum of New York University conducted a study of more than 2,300 students between fall 2005 and spring 2009 examining test data and student surveys at 24 U.S. colleges and universities. Results, published in the book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, revealed 45 per cent of students made no significant improvement in critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years, and 36 per cent showed no improvement after four years of schooling.

With such negative results, academic professionals are left to consider whether student apathy is to blame or if the study reflects a fundamental failing in the post-secondary education system.”

The study was a surprise for other because they believe that students are motivated and curious as ever, spending a great deal of time on their studies.  However, they missed the point, this wasn’t about how much time or motivation students have in science rather critical thinking abilities.

Science educators at times will conflate knowledge with acceptance. Only 37 adults accepted biological evolution in 2008 which was a result of a decline the past twenty years, reports…physorg. There should be an understanding of evolution that distinguishes itself from accepting evolution. If critical-thinking students are able to judge the evidence and accept or deny a theory, they should do so on the basis of sound reasoning!

For instance, evaluating evolutionary logic about it’s common ancestral doctrine….

“In the following photos of plants, the leaves are quite different from the “normal” leaves we envision. Each leaf has a very different shape and function, yet all are homologous structures, derived from a common ancestral form. The pitcher plant and Venus’ flytrap use leaves to trap and digest insects. The bright red leaves of the poinsettia look like flower petals. The cactus leaves are modified into small spines which reduce water loss and can protect the cactus from herbivory.”

According to evolutionary logic, how do designs so radically different from one another come from the same ancestral form? Well the designs are homologous, that’s that happens, they say.  How does this demonstrates their common ancestry? There is no evidence, all they show is a bunch of pictures with different plants and animals and then claim it’s common ancestry!  The evolutionary framework is so confined to a particular idea that it forces any resemblance no matter how small it is as compelling evidence that demonstrates evolution.

A tree has leaves, a flower has petals, a rose-bush has thorns, so evolution must be true, how absurd is this? The explanation is cult-like, new revelations from the prophets trying to explain their complexity. This is why students are lacking abilities in this area! Wanted: real critical thinking skills!

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30 thoughts on “Wanted: More Critical Thinking In Science

  1. It is amazing that the more Darwinian evolution taught in school, and the less God is allowed in schools, the dumber the kids are getting.

  2. @mcoville,

    You say, “It is amazing that the more Darwinian evolution taught in school, and the less God is allowed in schools, the dumber the kids are getting.”

    Okay, you made the claim, not you had better get ready to back it up. So I am waiting for your source. — Honestly, I cannot help but see a connection between dumbed down students, our low science standards and the fact that we have a really high (Young Earth) Creationist population. [1]

    ————-
    [1] According to a Gallup Poll released December 17, 2010. Available at:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/145286/Four-Americans-Believe-Strict-Creationism.aspx

  3. Hey, I agree with Lance!

    Actually, any critical thinking among creationists would be welcome.

    .

    I used to be so, actually. In the 1930s and 1940s, many early creationists decried the knee-jerk dismissal of scientific evidence against the literal biblical position. Some of them were thrown out of creationist organizations for that attitude. (See Numbers, The Creationists, 2d Ed.)

    The leaders who now remain have …uh… devolved considerably. Answers in Genesis, for example, requires prospective authors in “Answers Journal” to sign not only statement of faith, but to adhere to their specific interpretation of Scripture, AND, whenever the author even mentions any contrary theory, to provide a convincing rebuttal in the paper.

    Critical thinking, anyone?

  4. @mcoville,

    Red Herring. The fact remains that we have dismal science standards as one of the most anti-evolution countries in the world.

    You say, “Yes krissmith777, lets look at a survey of 1,018 adults to measure the educational level of roughly 75 million kids in America.”

    So I guess a scientifically constructed poll from a prestigious organization with a high accuracy rating is invalid? — Oh wait! I guess I should not talk about scientific polls with someone who is anti-science.

    And it’s not just this poll of adults, other independent research that focuses on the students themselves shows out schools trail those of other countries. [1] — Interestingly enough, the countries such as Iceland and Denmark [2] that are less “anti-evolution” seem to have higher science scores than we do. Hmmmmm, I wonder.

    ——–
    [1] U.S. students behind in math, science, analysis says, (August 25, 2009). From http://articles.cnn.com/2009-08-25/us/students.science.math_1_math-and-science-fourth-and-eighth-graders-math-scores?_s=PM:US

    [2] Statistical graph here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cpurrin1/363790966/

  5. It always amazes me that the US produces such top=level scientists with schools as deficient in science education as we have.

    But then, take a look at the winners of Young Genius awards, Intel completions, and so on. The names are Wong, Chatterjee, Kim,. Horowitz, Singh, Nguyen, … In other words, kids who are likely to be first-generation, immigrated from some other place that holds science in high regard, whose parents emphasize knowledge, and who are not derailed by religious dogma.

    A prominent Indian scientist remarked not to long ago, “You in the US can’t expect India to supply your scientists forever.” Increasingly, foreign students who previously stayed in the US are returning to their home countries—because opportunities are better there. Even to authoritarian China. They’d rather go back than stay.

    What does that say about the climate for science in the US?

  6. Michael, your new decor is nice, and more legible than therprevious one. Now, can you puhleeze fix the blockquote function?

  7. Not much activity. Micjhael[1] must be having trouble finding any materiel, among the 183 articles about new developments evolution and cosmology this week, that be distorted into fodder for creationism. WSomething where a scientist found out that an existing hypothesis was wrong, or that scientists are not sure how something might have happened.

    =============

    [1] Or, rather, his source who actually looks through Science, Nature, PNAS, PLoS ONE, and so on. Michael confines himself to the bottom feeders of popular science, and reads only the headlines.

  8. . . . . . . . Wanted: Any Critical Thinking at All in Creationism

    For example—

    >> How could light have suddenly changed its speed by a factor of a million to make the universe look so old?

    >> How did the atomic decay rates of argon, uranium, and carbon change by a factor of millions—yet the decay rate of polonium stay exactly the same—to fulfill creationist “halos” contentions?

    >> How did all the kangaroos decide to swim only to Australia, and all the turkeys only to North America, after the Flood?

    >> How could scientists have miscounted, by a factor of a hundred, the 720,000 annual ice rings in the Greenland glacier? And the 530,000 rings in an Antarctic glacier?

    >> How could the seafloor spreading rate of the Atlantic ocean have changed by a factor of 10,000 over the past few thousand years?

    >> How did the population of Egypt (as attested by written records) reach a million people only a few hundred years after the creation of only TWO humans? (An average birth rate of about 20 children per generation. Women must have been a lot tougher then. And that’s just for Egypt; the population of China was even larger. Then there’s Europe and the Americas.)

    These are just a handful of the scientific observations that creationists would have to explain if the earth were less than 10,000 years old.

    How about it? Tried your hand at any critical thinking lately?

  9. @mcoville,

    You say,

    There has already been hypothesis for this question for years now.

    Notice the word “hypothesis.” This term is a very dangerous for a scientist to use around a creationist since it will use it to dismiss any theory that the Creationist has no taste for. So I guess it’s okay for a creationist to use it when he feels like it?

    But I know, it doesn’t fit into your “Law of Evolution” so you will dismiss it.

    More accurately, it doesn’t fit into Einstein’s theory of General Relativity which says nothing can go faster than the speed of light. This has nothing do do with Evolution, and if you want to argue that it does, I would respond by telling you to go take up that issue with Old Earth Creationists.

    If you want to say that Einstein was wrong, go right ahead; no one’s stopping you.

  10. If time stands still with a black hole, how can you tell it’s age? “ To have an understanding of what goes on in a black hole, they say we need to invent new physics! But if man invents physics, how does he know when he has the ultimate physics? Newton thought he had it; Einstein thought he had it….

  11. @Michael,

    If time stands still with a black hole, how can you tell it’s age?

    You didn’t think before asking this, since this question can be so easily turned on it’s head. — If time stands still for mature black holes, then when was that black hole created? It certainly would not have been 6,000 years ago; that’s for sure.

    Don’t you love it when your own arguments can be used against you?

    To have an understanding of what goes on in a black hole, they say we need to invent new physics!

    So what’s wrong with new physics? That is how science works.

    But if man invents physics, how does he know when he has the ultimate physics?

    Again, a misunderstanding as to the scientific process. Science is not about knowing the end-all, be-all answer. Science is not about proof at all.

  12. Michael: “If time stands still with a black hole, how can you tell it’s age?”

    This question demonstrates Michael’s ignorance not only of the facts of relativity but of any understanding as to how it works.

    Michael, what is the age of a photon? Any photon, take your pick.

    THE AGE OF EVERY PHOTON IN THE UNIVERSE IS ZERO. The age of every black hole in the universe is zero.

    Michael presumes to discuss relativity, yet he cannot understand its fundamental principle—that time varies according to velocity and gravitation.

    We have now awaited exactly one year for Michael to make good on his challenge to the scientific qualifications of his readers, by setting forth his own qualifications to hold forth on any branch of science. Apparently he will duck this question forever.

  13. No, mcoville, I have not read João Magueijo’s book “Faster than the Speed of Light.” However, the book’s subtitle tells it all: “The Story of a Scientific Speculation.” All kinds of scientists speculate; that’s how they come up with new theoretical frameworks in every field.

    But then the real work starts. Proposing a mechanism for the effect. Designing tests and predictions. Carrying out experiments and observations. What Magueijo has done instead is only to come up with more and ore excuses for not doing any further research.

    Way back in 1953, Irving Langmuir proposed a set of crtieria for identifying what he called “pathological science.”

    > There is no proposed mechanism for the effect. How does it arise? To what other phenomena is it related? FAIL. Magueijo has no physical basis for asserting a change in light speed. In fact, we must remember that the speed of light is not a measured constant; rather, it expresses a relationship between time and space. If the “speed” of light changes, then the size of space changes as well.

    > There is no way to rest the effect. FAIL. None of the reviews I have read describe anything at all as to how to test this theory. Magueijo merely alleges that it “explains” certain observations. Well, creationism “explains” everything: “God did it.” Such explanations gain no traction in science. How can it be tested?

    > The amount of evidence never increases. FAIL. Since the book came out eight years ago, no new research has been conducted, nothing else has turned up.

    > The author is being discriminated against. FAIL. Almost the entire book is taken up with a “puerile attack” (NYT review) on the scientific establishment for not listening to Magueijo.

    > Appeals to popular audiences only. FAIL. Aside from expressing a wish to castrate the editors of Nature, Magueijo has had no contact with the peer-reviewed literature.

    .

    Other physicists speculate. String theory is a speculation, quantum-loop gravity is a speculation. However, these speculations are discussed in the literature, and a number of people take them up and investigate them. Bondi and Gold were dead wrong, but the community criticized0 their hypotheses, and they responded. Others have raised the problems Magueijo has raised, but he has not convinced anyone in the entire physics community that he has anything worthwhile to contribute to this problem.

    Magueijo’s argument is the same as that of every other crackpot: ‘They didn’t believe Galileo, and Galileo was right; they don’t believe me, therefore I am right.”

  14. And the ignorance of Darwinists shows itself in the comments of Olorin:

    First he tells us “No, mcoville, I have not read João Magueijo’s book “, and then he tells us the issue with the theory in the book “What Magueijo has done instead is only to come up with more and ore excuses for not doing any further research.”

    How can you know what he has done if you have not read the book? Thats right, if it does not fit your “Law of evolution” then you don’t need to read it to know it is wrong. Priceless.

    “Magueijo’s argument is the same as that of every other crackpot:” How do you know? Try reading the book before you comment on someone’s argument. How does your foot taste Olorin?

  15. krissmith777: scientists are not afraid of hypothesis, only Darwinists that try and control the words in a debate.

    Every scientific law or theory begins as a hypothesis. If you dismiss any idea because it is a hypothesis, before it has been tested and proven false, you will never find the laws that make up our reality.

    Do not fear the order of a created existence. Science is amazing.

  16. mcoville: And the ignorance of Darwinists shows itself in the comments of Olorin:”

    There are thousands of people out there with strange hypotheses of one kind or another. I can’t read them all. So I winnow them down. One of the pruning tools is Langmuir’s criteria for crackpot science. Sorry, but your hero seems to flunk every one of them. He is entitled to a modicum of attention because he is a real fer-sure professor at an established institution of higher learning. But the other factors seem to outweigh that considerably. Especially the lack of any further work on his part, and that he has apparently not been able to attract any followers at all who are not solid ignorati. Even geocentrism can find one college professor. But not two.

    Sorry, mcoville; the verdict is still FAIL.

    Perhaps you could summarize the basic principle of his theory. All I really know about it is that somehow the speed of light increased—or did it decrease?—60 orders of magnitude early in the life of the universe because … because … well, that has never been made clear.

  17. @mcoville

    krissmith777: scientists are not afraid of hypothesis, only Darwinists that try and control the words in a debate

    No, “Darwinists” are not trying to control the debate; there is no debate to begin with.

    Every scientific law or theory begins as a hypothesis. If you dismiss any idea because it is a hypothesis, before it has been tested and proven false, you will never find the laws that make up our reality.

    You have really bad reading comprehension if you think I was saying that. You completely missed my point. I was simply saying that the term “hypothesis” is a dangerous term to use with a Creationist when it has to do with a topic the creationist just doesn’t like.

    Creationists are the only ones here that use the term “hypothesis” to reject what they just do not like…There are several “hypothesis” that I am personally uncomfortable with that I still hold as possibly true.

    Do not fear the order of a created existence. Science is amazing.

    Again, Creationists are the only ones afraid of Science when it goes against their grain. If Creationism were to turn out to be true, it would not affect my world view at all since both Creationism and Evolution are consistent with my world view.

  18. Well, it seems that mcoville has not the slightest idea how Magueijo’s VSL theory actually works. So how can he defend it, if he doesn’t even know what it is?

    Like any VSL theory, Magueijo’s runs into the dimension probklem. How can we tell whether any dimensional “constant” changes? We can always normalize it to unity—many cosmologists do, in fact, set c=1, because it makes the units easier. The only way that such a variance leads to any observable change is when it leads to a change in a dimensionless constant, such as the fine structure constant α.

    Although one 20-year-old measurement of α did purport to detect a difference, every other measurement, including those at higher sensitivities, have detected none at all. G is another constant bound up with c, in that a variable speed of light would also change the gravitational constant. Observations on the Earth have shown that G has not changed over the past 4 billion years. So there’s your first job, mcovile: Describe what observable difference would ensure if the speed of light varies. Then relate any physical evidence that such differences have been observed—or give reasons why they have not been observed.

    Your second job, is tho explain in what way Magueijo’s theory, even if true, yields any evidence for biblical creation. The purpose of his theory is to explain the horizon problem—how stretches of the universe that now do not communicate with each other could have done so 14 billion years ion the past. If you can convert this into any kind of evidence that the universe is less than 10,000 or so years old, or that it was created in six days, we’d all like to hear it.

    Go ahead, mcoville. Let’s find out whether you have any idea what you’re talking about. Two points: (a) What observable evidence would test Magueijo’s hypothesis? (b) In what way would the hypothesis, if true, imply a biblical age of the universe? The floor is yours. Bon chance.

  19. ANOTHER CREATIONIST NO-SHOW

    It seems that mcoville can’t even describe the theory that he espouses, much less tell us how that theory would constitut4e any evidence whatever for a young universe.

    But we are accustomed to big claims followed by duck-and-run when challenged.

    Reason #43 why scientists laugh at creationists.

  20. Take the time to read the book, Joao can explain it better than I could. Don’t be afraid to do a little reading sometimes, it’s good to exercise your brain once in awhile.

    Don’t mistake lack of interest in debating dishonest Darwinists for avoiding a challenge. I just have better things to do than waste that much time with you.

    It does make me feel good to know you where waiting so intensely on my response, thank you. But I suggest you spend your time reading the book than waiting for a blog commenter to read it for you.

  21. mcoville,

    Generally most well-known Darwinists, do not like to talk to people with opposing views let alone debate them. I have seen the likes of Olorin before on a different topic, everyday for four years straight (as my message board at that time was ranked first on the topic), it was quite a debate but even then they still complained it wasn’t enough…lol…

    “Science was at one time defined by its method. Carefully controlled experiments, provisional conclusions, and considered debate once defined the field. But those days have passed. Today, science is defined by public policy statements, consensus, and a set of metaphysical assumptions that cannot be directly tested. Students are told that science is in conflict with “faith” or, worse yet, that faith operates in a different “magisterial” [sic]with no real application to the world we inhabit.”

    -Norbert Smith, author of Sacred Cows in Science: No Objectivity Allowed

  22. As I said, ANOTHER CREATIONIST NO-SHOW

    “Read the book,” mcoville says. What he means, is “Go figure it out yourself, I certainly can’t.”

    Just two simple questions. In a couple of sentences, (a) What observable dat would confirm or falsify the theory? (b) How would Maguiejo’s theory, which deals with events 14 billion years in the past, tend to show that the universe is only 10,000 years old?

    The Chinese say that one does not know a subject until he can teach it to someone else. mcoville seems to have no understanding. Like Michael, he seizes upon a few phrases that sound all sciency and impressive, and throws them around like thunderbolts. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    The point is, mcoville has just demonstrated that he has no idea what he’s talking about.

    .

    If VSL is too hard, why don’t you start with one of the simpler examples in my earlier post? Such as how one can count 700,000 annual ice rings in a glacier that is only 10,000 years old.? That ought to be easier.

  23. Sacred Cows in Science: No Objectivity Allowed

    Where have we heard that before. Oh, yes—

    Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

    Michael, science is still defined by its method, which has not fundamentally changed since Abelard of Bath formulated it in the 13th Century. That method is to seek natural causes for natural phenomena.

    The tools of science, however, have changed over the centuries. Statistical causation, for example, was a foreign concept before 1900. When I was in graduate school, advanced systems theory ended with positive real. Now we don’t care, and we even study non-causal systems and non-determinate systems. We study evolved systems as well as designed systems—and use new tools to find that they have very different characteristics.

    As to Norbert Smith’s other cavils—
    > Scientists distinguish between scientific and policy statements.
    > When has science not proceeded by consensus>?
    > When has science not made metaphysical assumptions? Newton did.
    > Tell Francisco Ayala that evolution conflicts with faith.

    .

    Science has not redefined itself.

    Creationism tries to redefine it for its own purposes, which are not scientific.

  24. @Micheal,

    Generally most well-known Darwinists, do not like to talk to people with opposing views let alone debate them.

    Pretty ironic, not to mention hypocritical, coming from you. When we try to engage you in a debate, you usually just never answer…Or when you do answer and we come back with something totally blowing your argument out of the water, then you pretend we never said it.

    A good example of this is how you post topics on the so-called Cambrian “explosion.” And when I always post information that shows it is not what Creationists make it out to be, you never reply to me.

    Not to mention, you never replied inadequately to my flagellum challenge, nor to Olorin’s request that you give us your qualifications to speak on scientific topics. –You are not one to criticize anyone for not wanting to engage you in a debate when you never are willing to do the same thing yourself.

    And the fact that Olorin and I are willing to sit here and type comments on your posts itself is proof that we DO want to discuss with you, so not only is your charge hypocritical; it is also false.

    The people you usually talk to are fellow creationists; not people who accept science; further proof you are interested in a one-sided monologue.

  25. @Olorin

    Creationism tries to redefine it for its own purposes, which are not scientific.

    Creationists try to re-define a lot. For example, they have a nasty habit of re0defining evolution. When variation appears in nature just as Evolutionary Theory predicts, they then say it isn’t really Darwinian evolution, but evidence for Creation…Then they turn around and accuse the science advocate of being the one who re-defines the term

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