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Should Skepticism be taught in school?


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#1    S2F

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 09:27 PM

Admittedly this topic doesn't deal directly with UFO's or ET however I'd like the input of some of this forum's regulars on the matter.

Should skepticism be formalized and taught as part of a school's curriculum? It is inherent in the science class as part of the core concepts of science itself however many students, unfortunately, gloss over science as not being important to them in the future if they have no interest in pursuing a scientific career. Admittedly, how important is it to be able to calculate the molarity of a solution if you are going to be a police officer (for example). Skepticism however is a valuable tool that has a great many benefits in everyday life as well as in the scientific arena. Keeping con-men and charlatans at arms length (thus the connection to the UFO/ETH phenomena) springs readily to mind. Thoughts are welcome. :tu:

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#2    DBunker

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 09:29 PM

Abso-god damb-lutely.... along with the science lectures it is vital to be sceptical.

Now that communications technology has made it possible to give global reach to the bizarre and archive it forever, it is essential for men and women of reason resolutely to counter the delusions of the fringe element. James S. Robbins

#3    Ryu

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 09:31 PM

Ideally what should be actively encouraged is critical thinking and not swallowing something just because a guru or someone with a bunch of abbreviations or acronyms said something.

Thinking and analyzing is a great part of what skepticism is, not blind and mindless acquiescence.

But in order for that to happen, our entire educational system would need to undergo a massive overhaul.


#4    Daughter of the Nine Moons

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 09:33 PM

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Should scepticism be taught? Absolutely not, a better skill to learn is critical thinking.

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#5    DBunker

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 09:34 PM

Tomato tomejto.....

Now that communications technology has made it possible to give global reach to the bizarre and archive it forever, it is essential for men and women of reason resolutely to counter the delusions of the fringe element. James S. Robbins

#6    _Only

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 09:36 PM

View PostDaughter of the Nine Moons, on 16 November 2013 - 09:33 PM, said:

Should scepticism be taught? Absolutely not, a better skill to learn is critical thinking.

Which is taught throughout basic curriculum. The idea of having lessons based around doubt (which is what skepticism is), though, isn't nearly as useful.

"I think there may be "ghost phenomenon" that may be still not fully understood or dismissed, but that doesn't make it spirits of the dead, anymore than "UFO" means "spaceship" or even "UFO" or "spaceship" is directly related to aliens, or anything else. There is way too much assumption and a baseless reliance on anecdotal lore, like when people assert this or that about the spirit world or the astral plane or Ouija board demons, or religion. I say 'says WHO?'" - Paranormalcy

#7    Ryu

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 09:39 PM

View Post_Only, on 16 November 2013 - 09:36 PM, said:

Which is taught throughout basic curriculum. The idea of having lessons based around doubt (which is what skepticism is), though, isn't nearly as useful.

So far I have NOT seen any critical thinking being taught in schools. I see kids being taught to memorize information then regurgitate it on command.

Skepticism comes from critical thinking.


#8    GreenmansGod

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:10 PM

How about teach them Logic. Teach them how to think rather than what to think.

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#9    spacelizard667

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:16 PM

View PostRyu, on 16 November 2013 - 09:39 PM, said:

So far I have NOT seen any critical thinking being taught in schools. I see kids being taught to memorize information then regurgitate it on command.

Skepticism comes from critical thinking.

Others would only quote their own logic on that, but in a sense you're right about the memorize-then-regurgitate it stuff. It was all the same to me and I could never sort out any one of these ideas from another, really.  Retoric and logic only make strange bedfellows; just do the math.

Edited by spacelizard667, 16 November 2013 - 10:17 PM.


#10    S2F

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:22 PM

View PostDaughter of the Nine Moons, on 16 November 2013 - 09:33 PM, said:

Should scepticism be taught? Absolutely not, a better skill to learn is critical thinking.

It could be argued that they are two sides of the same coin however I do agree that critical thought is a valuable skill that should be imparted to the young.

"You want to discuss plausibility then you have to accept reality." -Mattshark

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You know... the plural of ``anecdote'' is not ``data''. Similarly, the plural of ``random fact'' is not ``mystical symbolism''. -sepulchrave


#11    spacecowboy342

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:25 PM

I don't know about teaching skepticism but I agree that logic and critical thinking are absolutely necessary. With these I think skepticism will accrue naturally


#12    Ryu

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:25 PM

View PostGreenmansGod, on 16 November 2013 - 10:10 PM, said:

How about teach them Logic. Teach them how to think rather than what to think.

Sadly this is NOT what our educational system is about anymore.
The industry seems to be in control of it and thus determines what the kids should be taught (if anything).

Mostly they want compliant people who can read directions, follow commands and be easily manipulated by threats and useless baubles.


#13    S2F

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:28 PM

View Post_Only, on 16 November 2013 - 09:36 PM, said:

Which is taught throughout basic curriculum. The idea of having lessons based around doubt (which is what skepticism is), though, isn't nearly as useful.

Personally I think anything that is expected to be taken at face value should be questioned and validated with nothing being sacred or sacrosanct. It's not about doubt so much as it is the proper representation of the truth, as close as we can come to it anyway.

"You want to discuss plausibility then you have to accept reality." -Mattshark

"Don't argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level then beat you with experience." -Obviousman

You know... the plural of ``anecdote'' is not ``data''. Similarly, the plural of ``random fact'' is not ``mystical symbolism''. -sepulchrave


#14    Star Man

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:31 PM

How much time do you spend on doing home work and checking your home work?


#15    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 10:35 PM

I'm a teacher, and the very essence of what we teach in English is what's called "Critical Literacy". In fact, "Critical Literacy" is a cross curricular skill but mostly prevalent in English.
(Very) basically, Critical Literacy is about asking and answering questions about texts (across all media) such as "what is the source of this information?" "is that source reliable?" "how do I feel about what I'm reading?" "what is the bias of the author/creator of this text?" "do I agree with their bias?" "can I verify the claims made by the text?" and so on and so forth.

it is, in effect, what we do every day in the name of being informed consumers of information. It's not scepticism per ce, as that's starting from a position where a decision on the nature of the media has already been made. It's engaging honestly with a media and judging it on it's own merits.


For example:
Lets say Zoser posts a video from YouTube. We all automatically go "ohh here we go again" and assume it's going to be nonsense. That's being sceptical and not being "Critically Literate".
A Critical Literacy approach to what Zoser just posted would be to honestly view the video with an open mind, and then to deconstruct the contents of the video by asking and answering the critical literacy questions that you think are appropriate to the video. Yes the video falls down on the "reliablity of the source" front, but even then that's not grounds to reject something, after all Wikipedia is about as reliable as a shoe with a hole in it but the information on it is mostly useful for answering questions, it's just unreliable as a "good quality" source as anyone can edit it anonymously so you can't always see the bias of the author.

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