A Progressive tips his hand about how they are trying to undermine Science.
One of Lincoln’s most powerful speeches is the Lyceum Address. The key message is that we should not be so worried about overseas enemies, as corruption from within is our most serious threat…
“At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!--All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.
“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
I thought of this as I read the interview of one Stanford professor of another. The title is “How To Beat Bad Science.” If that wasn’t enticing enough for me, the person being interviewed (Dr. Jonathan Osborne) was identified as a “science education expert.”
I thought wow! Since I’m a K-12 science education expert, this should be right up my alley, in my lane, fit me like a glove, etc. However, it was a major disappointment.
Interesting note: At no time in the interview does Jonathan define “Bad Science!” Reading between the lines here, the implied definition is when scientists advocate anything that goes against government technical policies (like the net negative consequences for school children to wear masks for COVID-19 — e.g., here).
Ignoring the significant deficiency of the missing key definition, Jonathan says that for students to beat “bad science” they need to learn three skills: 1) be aware of conflicts of interest, 2) evaluate the source’s qualifications, and 3) more rigorously question those who go against consensus!
Point one would evidently be to look for one of the thousands of scientists who are funded by the fossil fuel industry — even though in 40+ years I have yet to find any.
Point two might be to ignore any evidence presented by a scientist, not a specialist — e.g., “only climatologists are qualified to evaluate the claims in climate science.” (This is to deceive the public, as real Scientists know that any Scientist can legitimately comment on the adherence to scientific principles by those in any field of Science.)
To reinforce the surprising third point he goes on to say that: The whole goal of science is consensus! OMG. Here I’ve been laboring for over four decades under the assumption that the goal of Science was: to give us a better understanding of our material existence. Now I find out that The whole goal of science is consensus!
I thought that politics was the field that focused on consensus, not Science. Maybe Jonathan wants us to equate real Science with political science. I’ve written about that problematic deception before (e.g., here), as it is a plague of our times.
It also occurs to me that if the objective of scientists is to agree with other scientists, how can we possibly make any societal progress? If scientists live and work in an echo chamber, nothing substantial will ever change. What sense does that make?
Further, I was always under the impression that the great scientists in history were outstanding because they looked at things differently — which almost always was against the current consensus. Apparently Jonathan does not understand that.
As misguided as the above are due to what is said in that interview, arguably the worst parts are about what is not said. For example, there is not a word of advice for students to learn and apply the Scientific Method. It has been around in some form or other for some 4000 years — and used by people like Newton, Curie, Einstein, etc. Seems that if it was helpful for those giants of Science, it might be useful to K-12 students. But not a word in this interview is advocating the Scientific Method!
Why would Progressives hate the Scientific Method? Because almost every Progressive technical policy (e.g., industrial wind energy) that is subjected to the Scientific Method, fails. That left them two choices: a) advocate technical policies that are actually science-based, or b) get rid of the Scientific Method. They chose b.
Worse is the glaring omission of Critical Thinking. Why wouldn’t the top advice of an “expert science educator” start out with the importance of Critical Thinking? In fact, it could be argued that his first two points would be assumed subsets of a genuine Critical Thinker’s methodology.
But his third point is where the S hits the fan. Having a default position supporting consensus (i.e., conformity) is the exact opposite of Critical Thinking! In the subject area of Science, K-12 students are supposed to be taught to question everything — especially consensus!
Why are Progressives opposed to Critical Thinking? Because their worst fear is to have a citizenry of Critical Thinkers! They want compliant citizens who don’t ask questions, and who go along with whatever policies are proposed, regardless of their scientific sensibility. Think COVID-19 policies.
The more I thought about these two glaring omissions (the Scientific Method and Critical Thinking) the more it struck me that these exactly reflect the anti-Science mentality conveyed in the NGSS and its basis, the Framework, — now used by some 45 states in their K-12 education. (See my Education Report for more details.)
On a whim, I decided to check out a hunch I had, so I just looked up who were the Progressive authors of the Framework (which became the NGSS). Here they are.
Scroll down and — mirabile dictu —there is Jonathan Osborne! Who woulda thunk?
This should convey a VERY clear idea of the mentality of the select Progressive clique that wrote the K-12 Science Standards — again, now used in some 45 states!
PS — I emailed both of these co-conspirators and stated my primary objection. If I get anything of value back, I’ll post it here. So far zip, so don’t hold your breath!
©2023. John Droz, Jr. All rights reserved.