Tag Archives: scientific method

Steve Nelson: The Death of Citizenship

There is a fallacy that has become commonplace in our society: the idea that everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how unqualified to hold that opinion they might be.

That is true only in the sense that no one can tell you what to think.  So far as affecting the lives of others is concerned, good ethics demand that you not take action unless you have done due diligence, examined both sides of the issue, and made your decision to act on that basis.  In today’s world…don’t hold your breath.

The greatest danger of current educational policy is that it does not develop critical thinking capacities. In an effort to standardize achievement and churn out productive workers, we are going to produce dangerous citizens. The dismal state of journalism and the easy access to so-called information makes it even more important that schools put critical thinking at the center of the curriculum.

Perhaps the greatest threat posed by charter schools, voucher programs and privatization is that more and more schools will become propaganda mills. Imagine, if you have the stomach for it, what a school designed by Rick Perry might look like….

Steve Nelson: The Death of Citizenship.

Dangerous Climate Picture Emerging

Scientists, skeptical by both nature and training, always urge a dose of caution when looking at any one event as evidence of climate change. They look at the totality of events and discover patterns that help determine how our climate is changing.

Deniers, on the other hand, are eager opportunists, who will use single points of data, or single events (remember Snowmaggedon?) to claim that the patterns do not exist. Theirs is a world of scientific dishonesty and misinformation.

And it is the high level of professional skepticism–not the useless back-and-forth encouraged by deniers—that makes the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by man all the more powerful. 97 to 98 percent of climate researchers support the fundamental conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The head of the National Academy of Sciences has indicated that we know more about the link between man and climate change than we do smoking and lung cancer. More…