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Who Needs It? (Science and Critical Thinking, That Is)

Posted on Sep. 17, 2014 by | Comments (2)

If you look at the science education standards of any state, every one of them will proclaim the importance and value of students developing critical thinking skills. We all know someone who, shall we say, may not be the best critical thinker—but it’s a safe bet that each of them thinks their decision-making processes are just fine, thank you, and of course we should all be critical thinkers.

So who needs science and critical thinking? Obviously everyone.

Hardly a week goes by without a statement from some congressional representative or from the White House that science is essential to American prosperity, well-being, competitiveness, and security. And you cannot turn on the television or pick up a newspaper (yes, there still are newspapers) without being reminded about some discovery concerning food production, medicine, energy generation, or the environment that has its feet firmly rooted in the process and theories of science.

So who needs science and critical thinking? Obviously everyone. And just about everyone recognizes this, on some level or another, regardless of their ideological and philosophical orientations: Democrats and Republicans, believers and nonbelievers, artists and engineers (and of course one can be both an artist and an engineer, but you understand that I’m talking about general sensibilities or outlooks).

Most of us skeptics believe that science and critical thinking should be the foundation for individual decisions we make about our lives, and decisions made collectively by society or by our elected representatives that affect all of us. I certainly believe that. We all benefit if more people have the skills to think logically and critically, and if more people understand the processes and conclusions of science. Insight will concentrate on disseminating that knowledge—to everyone to visits the blog, regardless of their politics, or religious/philosophical orientations. With luck, it will expand people’s thinking, which should result in those better decisions we all seek.

That’s why I’ll be bookmarking INSIGHT and referring people to it. Everyone needs science and critical thinking, and this will be a place where people can get it. I expect it will be a blog for seasoned skeptics who want to learn the latest on some skeptical issue, but it also will be a welcoming place for anyone just learning and curious about the skeptical movement. It should be a place for anyone who appreciates the importance of science and critical thinking—which means all of us.

Read on!

Eugenie Scott

Dr. Eugenie Scott is the former Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc., a not for profit membership organization of scientists, teachers, and others that works to improve the understanding of science as a way of knowing, the teaching of evolution, and the teaching of climate change. A former college professor, Dr. Scott is an internationally-known expert on the creationism and evolution controversy, and is called upon by the press and other media to explain science to the general public. The author of Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction and co-editor with Glenn Branch of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for our Schools, she is the recipient of numerous awards from scientists, educators, and skeptics, and has been awarded eight honorary degrees.

2 Comments

  1. Daniel Loxton says:

    I’d like to take a moment to thank Genie—a friend and a personal hero—for setting us off on such a strong foot with this lovely post, and for her support for this new blog project behind the scenes over the past eight or nine months. I would also like to strongly agree with the sentiment she expresses in this post: science and critical thinking are indeed for “all of us.” Few people alive have done more than Eugenie Scott to ensure that every school kid has their fair share of access to this birthright.

  2. John Bandy says:

    Never mind the general public, how do we get the science committee of the house of representatives to get their head out of their ass.

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