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Sigal Tifferet

Senior Lecturer, Ruppin Academic Center

TEDCRED 500+

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Can people who deny science be educated? How?

Some of my undergraduate students deny scientific research with the following claims: (1) my experience shows otherwise, (2) scientific results are always changing, (3) each person has his own truth.
Is there a way to change their way of thinking, or should it be treated as a belief, similar to religion which is unfalsifiable?
If it is subject to change, how would you go about achieving that change?
Please do not answer the question "Should people who deny science be educated?", that is a different issue.

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    Feb 24 2011: I definitely have not read all of the comments, but I have a feeling not many will share this viewpoint without looking at it in a more general way.
    "I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it."
    -ALBERT EINSTEIN
    There are a few things I would say or ask.
    What I would ask:Why do you want people who deny science to be educated? Who in particular do you think needs this education, or at least more specifically, and what would this education accomplish really?
    I will say:
    I think that you would want people to be educated for a number of reasons, a big one being that "science makes sense", and I am sure numerous others. To strike down ignorance maybe? But although science does make sense, and in a general way it adds up.. is science the end all be all way to look at the world? I am sure there are a number of ted talks that could give possible explanations(education kills creativity is one that comes to mind), but the question is, science as it is right now or will grow up to be, is this the most accurate way of looking at the world?

    I also think I have an idea of who you would be talking about, most likely people who believe so strongly in something else that they don't know how they can believe in science and still have their beliefs coexist. The easiest to come to mind(and really one of the only) would be the religiously devout. Unbending people who believe in stories more than they believe what is in front of their eyes. Extremists maybe? Although not the best viewpoint for co-existing and prospering, their perspective may be one of the few left to bring us under scrutiny, and keep us "honest".. keep us from making logical fallacies that everything can and should be explained away, that it is better that way.

    And what would this accomplish.. perhaps you haven't seen how many(not all) scientists look at the world. Clinically. Factually. It can be sad.

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