Scientific Advance and Education

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Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby davesmith_au » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:18 am

December 22 ~ Guest Contributor ~ Dr. Jeremy Dunning-Davies

Recently, we’ve seen yet another claim for the discovery of a black hole and this one, like some of the earlier ones, refers to the existence of such an object at the centre of our own galaxy. The publication of these claims proceeds unhindered by so-called scientific referees. Apart from appearing in the official scientific literature, they are afforded enormous exposure in all areas of the public media. [More...]
"Those who fail to think outside the square will always be confined within it" - Dave Smith 2007
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Re: Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby StevenJay » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:14 am

"It really is amazing that so many apparently intelligent people from all corners of the earth can claim definitely to know the one single truth concerning any individual topic! In one way, it is the mark of extreme arrogance; in another, of extreme stupidity. However, I suppose the truth lies in the almost overwhelming desire of some humans to achieve positions of power and authority over their fellow human beings and, once they have achieved that goal, any means are deemed acceptable to maintain that position." [emphasis mine]

Bingo! I believe Mr. Dunning-Davies has nailed it squarely on the head. And not only with regard to science and education, but throughout the entire spectrum of human endeavor. I see it almost everywhere I look, and the conclusion becomes, to me, quite obvious: While the cosmic thunderbolt may indeed drive the universe, it is FEAR that drives the human experience within the current paradigm.

On a positive note, though, a fear-driven system is inherently unsustainable and will eventually implode due to its imbalance and instability; a process that is, undeniably, now ramping up exponentially. In fact, I see this process as being analogous to the mainstream belief that stars are powered by fusion reactions, wherein, once they have gobbled up all that there is to gobble, they implode and become something else.

I just have to chuckle at the irony of it all! :lol:
It's all about perception.
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Re: Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:38 am

Interesting article. The author's comments viz the British education system and science are applicable to the British education in general. I maintain that we, the British, no longer have an education system; what we have is a training system. Our children and young people are trained for the workplace. The lack of moral courage among the 'educators' doesn't help.
If I have the least bit of knowledge
I will follow the great Way alone
and fear nothing but being sidetracked.
The great Way is simple
but people delight in complexity.
Tao Te Ching, 53.
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Re: Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby masjd » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:55 pm

Specifically for Katherine from Jeremy Dunning-Davies.
I'm afraid you've caught me out asking for my philosophy concerning higher education because I've never really thought about it but I'll explain my thoughts concerning what I've tried to accomplish in my years as a university lecturer, now retired. I've always tried to put the students first and to do my best by them. To that end, I've always attempted to explain material as clearly and in as much detail as possible and have always ( both as a mathematics lecturer and, latterly, as a physics lecturer) followed up theory with actual examples. This approach has, over the years, made me realise how much we do not understand and that has made me introduce my students to the fact that they should be open minded about theory and not accept something simply because it is popular at the time. I hope I've made them question everything. This approach in physics has certainly lead to a number of superb final year projects from students - many of which have been published on the arxiv web site and several in print. Incidentally, I've usually gone for the arxiv web site because most of the relevant peer reviewed journals are not as open minded about science as the students. Hence, I suppose you could say that my basic philosophy in teaching undergraduates has been to urge them to question, question all the time and question everything. In my view, that is the only way we will ever achieve real understanding of anything - if, in fact, we ever do.
Again, I suspect that much of my basic philosophy comes out in the writing in my book 'Exploding a Myth: Conventional Wisdom or Scientific Truth? I wrote this book because I was/am so disgusted with the pseudo-scientific attitude exhibited by so many 'top' scientists, those controlling what is and is not acceptable to believe,as well as controlling the purse strings of academic research. There is another book on the same theme as mine and that is 'Against the Tide' which is a collection of articles by various scientists who might be termed dissidents by the ruling establishment. However, I haven't finished reading this yet but, from what I've read so far, some of the articles are very much in line with the thoughts expressed in my own book.
I hope these few remarks are of use but, if you require more, please ask and I'll do my best to help.
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Re: Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby Orlando » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:14 pm

What's really funny is how many people regurgitate others nonsense.
I am currently Homeschooling my children and have learned more by teaching them the magic of learning.
It is so simple that only the young can grasp its potential.

When learning from someone:
Ask Questions, if they can't answer, they don't know.
If they don't know, find out for yourself.
The power is in the "WHY"
The fun is in seeking it.
The Reward in finding it.

It is at the exact point when we stop questioning that we are at the intellectual mercy
of those who Appear to know.

I love the line from the EU documentary, I have silenced many knowitalls with it:
"Looking through the wrong end of the telescope telling us what they imagine they see"

My 10 year old asked me to teach her as she has peirced the veil of this corporate education scheme, she shows signs of joy in learning "cool" stuff about her world, how can a Parent stand Idly by?
I will not be an accesory to this Ignorance.
We have today one of the best Libraries ever Assembled.
We need not limit our childrens Learning.

Too many people actually believe that they are being fed truth.
This is something one must experience through their own diligent investigations.

After all you can "Pay" for Information, But Knowledge is learned.
Notice how all manipulators force the Artisans for their "crafts"?
Not a coincidence, the real investigative minds of humanity have been duped into privitizing their intellectual labour for the gain of a few.

Change the monetary system to a learning system and we all get rich.
The Majority of the populace is of the "Pension Mentality"
They are steered by their fears.

One needs confidence and courage in asking questions, Primarily in " Seeking Clarification"
When one is intimidated to ask, this evidences the real disability in achieving an open mind.
Challenge material, a good researcher welcomes insight.
If one gets Angry when asked to elaborate, they admit ignorance.

The system in place today is in direct proportion to the ignorant who support it.

Learning is the only Discipline, Not subjects, derivitives or branches of segregated areas of study.

We have allowed ourselves to be consumed with trivialities while comforting our fantasies at the expense of our childrens future to save ourselves the nuisance of truth and reality.

"The simplicity of Nature overwhelms the educated mind"
"Our Focus and area of influence determine our reality, this puts people on different pages of the same Book.

Every individual should strive to understand the world in their own way while expressing their findings.

Humanity will benefit with shared perceptions instead of adhering to belief structures.
Life is Dynamic.
Learning is Dynamic.
Beliefs are Static, and for insecure egos.
A belief is a learning tool used to tap into higher learning.
Theorizing is a mental exercise, dangerous to those who are overwhelmed by the emotional stimulus of its endorphines.

My thoughts on the last few posts.
Peace
Or
Teach me a fact and I'll learn; Tell me the truth and I'll Believe;
Tell me a Story and it will live in my Heart forever--

Native American Proverb
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Re: Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:21 am

Hi Orlando,
Nice post.
My philosophy has always been 'laugh and learn'. If you're not laughing then you are learning the wrong thing - go and learn something else.
Your daughter sounds like my kind of girl. A few years ago, my younger daughter had SATS exams coming up and I asked her if it would mean lots of revision. Her reply was no, SATS are are only important for the school, they had no value for her. She was doing 100 piece jigsaws when she was 3. Her older sister is an absolute master when it comes to exam technique and playing the rules of the system. She completely loses me when she explains her strategy for tackling exams.
If I have the least bit of knowledge
I will follow the great Way alone
and fear nothing but being sidetracked.
The great Way is simple
but people delight in complexity.
Tao Te Ching, 53.
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Re: Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby Biggins » Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:51 am

May I give the views from a learned man from ages past:

Saint Augustine of Hippo (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) introduced the theory of three different categories of students, and instructed teachers to adapt their teaching styles to each student's individual learning style. The three different kinds of students are: the student who has been well-educated by knowledgeable teachers; the student who has had no education; and the student who has had a poor education, but believes himself to be well-educated. If a student has been well educated in a wide variety of subjects, the teacher must be careful not to repeat what they have already learned, but to challenge the student with material which they do not yet know thoroughly. With the student who has had no education, the teacher must be patient, willing to repeat things until the student understands, and sympathetic. Perhaps the most difficult student, however, is the one with an inferior education who believes he understands something when he does not. Augustine stressed the importance of showing this type of student the difference between "having words and having understanding," and of helping the student to remain humble with his acquisition of knowledge.
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Re: Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby kiwi » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:47 am

poor Pantagruel :(

"I intend and insist that you learn all languages perfectly; first of all Greek, in Quintilian's method; then Latin, Then Hebrew, then Arabic and Chaldee. I wish you to form your style of Greek on the model of Plato, and of Latin on that of Cicero. Let there be no history you have not at your fingers' ends, and study thoroughly cosmography and geography.

Of liberal arts, such as geometry mathematics, and music, I gave you a taste when not above five years old, and I would have you now master them fully. Study astronomy, but not divination and judicial astrology, which I consider mere vanities. As for civil law, I would have thee know the digests by heart.

You should also have a perfect knowledge of the works of Nature, so that there is no sea, river or smallest stream that you do not know for what fish is noted, whence it proceeds and whither it directs its course; all fowls of the air, all shrubs and trees where forest or orchard, all herbs and flowers, all metals and stones, should be mastered by you.

Fail not at the same time most carefully to peruse the Talmudists and Cabalists and be sure by frequent anatomies to gain perfect knowledge of that other world called the microcosm, which is man. Master these in your young days, and let nothing be superficial; as you grow into manhood you must learn chivalry, warfare, and field manoeuvres."
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Re: Scientific Advance and Education

Unread postby cigarshaped » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:55 am

My experience of teaching is mostly with prospective electronic technicians/ engineers. If time allows they are presented with a mini-EU presentation and mostly they are happy to listen. A discussion can ensue with few closing their minds to participate. This week a bright lad revealed that, while at school, his A-level (college pre-university qualification) Physics teacher evicted him from the course. The reason - he dared to question the Big Bang Theory!

How sad that English education is going that way. Prescriptive syllabi limit teacher's range (if they are even aware of alternatives). Similar to Wal Thornhill's account of the lecturer of a University College London Astrophysics course. Wal tried to introduce the subject of 'plasma' and was succinctly told "We don't do that!" and a swift departure. The nearest in my own experience is 'educated' work colleagues and 'scientific' web Forums.

My efforts at turning the media meet with caution or intolerance :cry: .
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