Friday, September 19, 2008

I have a dream...

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....

6 comments:

Alex the Blogging Kat said...

Berry, berry nice. OK? But u knowz, dat kitty katz mindz aint " fallible." OK?

Kingcover said...

Does this mean that you are going to prove that the Yeti really does not exist and that Elvis really is dead and not living on a range somewhere in Idaho??? :-P

I can't wait to learn some new stuff from you, especially where you teach me how to trick my eyes into believing that there's a secret money tree not too far away from me and it actually is REAL :-)

S E E Quine said...

Wow! I'm so happy that at least two different species have both read and commented so far! Thank you both!

That is so true, Alex - if only humans were more like cats that way! ...But then I wouldn't have much to write about!

It's interesting you bring that up, Gareth... I can't prove that Yeti don't exist, though I probably can prove that Elvis is dead.
` And as for money trees... there actually is one near you, only it only churns out Monopoly money.
` Hey, you're a leprechaun! Why would you need a money tree if you have a pot of gold, anyway?

Kingcover said...

Oh pthhhhhhh just my luck that it should give out monopoly money! Could it not at least have been a chocolate coin tree? At least I can eat those! :-D

Have you moved into your new abode yet today?

S E E Quine said...

Well, it's not quite finished yet, but we're planning to start moving our possessions in tonight.
` But first... I gotta split to the gym before it closes. Later!

Daisy said...

Congrats on your move and also starting a new blog! Best of luck to you with both. :)