In a thought-provoking rant, the Effect Measure science blog challenges the idea that science students should (or can!) know what a "fact," a "theory" and a "model" are. These are not simple, settled concepts, but rather areas of hotly contested debate.
Most scientists also can't properly say what distinguishes science from pseudoscience, say what a fact is, give a satisfying rendition of what a theory is, etc. The problem is that Mr. Williams can't do it either, because there is no agreement on these knotty matters. He seems to think these are simple and settled questions. But finding adequate criteria that separate science from pseudoscience, the so-called Demarcation Problem, remains an unsettled question in the philosophy of science. It is so difficult, and possibly so fruitless, that many philosophers have ceased to be concerned with it. Similarly, what is a "fact"?...
A wag once commented (and I have quoted here often) that to expect a scientist to understand the philosophy of science is like expecting a fish to understand hydrodynamics. I guess the same thing goes for science educators, although it is less excusable. Mr. Williams seems to be under the impression that these extremely difficult foundational issues are settled and should be common knowledge for all scientists.
A rant about science educators
Starting Sunday evening, Jan. 20, 2019, North and South America will have a chance at seeing 2019’s only total lunar eclipse, from start to finish. Our Earth, Moon and Sun line up on Sunday night for the only total lunar eclipse of of the year. Catch it if you can.
Adam Savage is back with an all-new show, and he’ll be tweeting live during tonight’s MythBusters Jr. on The Science Channel. The episode is named “Battery Blast,” so we’re expecting there will be explodey explosions, and they’re mentioning “straight as an arrow” so, pointy weapons.
A new paper in Nature describes the US-Army-funded research of U Penn materials scientists to create a new generation of 3D printed "smart objects" whose geometry and materials enable them to interact with their environments without having to use embedded computers, sensors or actuators.
Things move fast in the world of social media, and they don’t slow down for marketers looking to make an impact. Whether you’re grabbing eyeballs for a major company or a local business, you’ll need to adjust your strategy for every platform. Don’t have a strategy to begin with? That’s where the Social Media Marketing […]
It’s a rude awakening for that rookie vacationer abroad when they try to plug in their gear for the night. Veteran jet-setters know that outlet shapes can vary wildly from country to country, which necessitates that most boring must-have for any world-traveler: A sackful of clunky power adapters. Awkward problem, elegant solution: The Twist Plus […]
Looking for a career in music behind the boards, either as a music producer or DJ? It’s a good bet that you’re going to be working with Ableton Live. Each new iteration of this powerful workstation gives the user more tools to create, and it’s just as well suited for the task of meticulous track […]