Thursday, September 11, 2008

Science and Experts

Rather amazingly, I hadn't read this post by Steve McIntyre on disclosure and auditing in climatology (which in my experience is better applied to academic research generally), but I think it and its attendant comments distill beautifully the problem with modern Science education. (Quite apart from any statement it makes on actual climatology.)

I remember a few years ago my home county of Cobb came under national attention because it started requiring a sticker in high school biology books that stated
This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
Though I honestly don't think that rises to the level of unconstitutional, it is dumb. Particularly because of the content of the box. Science is the practice of approaching things with an open mind, studying it carefully (preferably experimentally), and critically considering it. Why distinguish evolution?

If we blindly accept the word of experts then we have left the path of Science and entered the world of Faith which, as critics of intelligent design rightly note, has no place in Science class.

1 comment:

gwyneth said...

i remember thinking at the time that Cobb's response to the lawsuit should have been to put stickers in all the textbooks - "this physics textbook contains material on gravity. Gravity is a theory, not a fact, regarding why things fall. This material should be studied with an open mind...".