Greetings and welcome, people of all stripes and backgrounds! There's room for everyone, so please make yourselves comfortable.
My name is Sarote E. Quine, your friendly neighborhood science writer, working to offer you an understanding, not only of what's going on in the world, but also how to figure these things out for yourself... and then use this knowledge to deceive others and bend them to your will.
Do you ever wonder why one person's recollection of an event can be so different from someone else's, yet both people are sure their own account is correct? That's an important topic in psychology and manipulation - which I'll discuss, of course - but did you know that this is part of the reason why human beings bother to practice science?
It is well-known that we have many various biases and soft spots in our thinking, and the whole point of science is to find them out so that moving forward with some level of confidence is actually possible.
` Though part of the scientific method involves taking great pains to avoid mistakes, scientific research is also required to go through a gauntlet of criticism (by scientists whose jobs do not depend on the outcome).
` Also essential is for independent researchers to actually repeat these studies or observations in order to see whether or not they find the same thing. If they don't, it may be 'back to the drawing boards' again!
` Basically, just about any scientific claim is considered to be possible as long as no real contradictions are found.
That's the general gist of what scientists do every day: If you can understand that, then I expect you can also understand all sorts of things about scientific methodology, critical thinking and other things with big scary names, as well as the hows and whys of amazing scientific discoveries.
Along the way, I'll be instructing my readers how to do all kinds of fun stuff, including various ways to come up with crackpot ideas and sell them to the unwitting public. At the same time, I hope that they wisely use this knowledge to spot other crackpot ideas.
Sound dangerous? You bet it is!
In all seriousness, I'm here to promote our natural human curiosity and problem-solving abilities, as well as to enhance public perception and enthusiasm for science. At this time, especially, I believe it is sorely needed because science education in the United States (and many other countries) has been rather substandard for some time.
` It is a fact that most Americans fail to understand basic scientific concepts that they would probably be better off knowing, and a lot of this probably has to do with a large amount of poor and unreliable science presentation in school and the mass media.
Thus, it is no wonder to me that there are so many intelligent people with a lot of misconceptions about science and critical thinking who fancy themselves as having superior knowledge. As a consequence, they help to continue spreading misinformation, confusing yet others.
` On the other hand, we have people who may feel that even basic critical thinking skills would take too much time and effort to learn, or perhaps that they are not 'smart enough' to learn them, or that they don't want to bother because it is 'not their job' and they will supposedly never need to know these things.
My true goal here - besides creating conniving masterminds - is to demonstrate that, although our minds are very fallible and although we are often presented with more information we know what to do with, any feelings of being overwhelmed or cynical are not warranted.
Here I go....