Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why People Resist Science

Here is an interesting article, adapted from a recent article in Science. The authors discuss why some people resist science, addressing not just the American debate over evolution but how children and adults learn and how this impacts general views of science. For educators, the discussion about misconceptions is useful. Children (and adults) have difficulty with ideas that conflict with experience, e.g., the world is a sphere, yet objects don't roll away. The article concludes with a discussion of trust and deference to authority. Complex ideas often require us to trust an authority. When people do not trust scientists, they will be less likely to believe in scientific findings. Trust and mistrust can also spread (if you have two friends who don't believe something, you may start to question it as well), which helps explain recent figures showing major differences among nations in public acceptance of evolution. As the article concludes: "one way to combat resistance to science is to persuade children and adults that the institute of science is, for the most part, worthy of trust."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Science Demonstrations

The Discovery Center of Idaho is hosting a new wiki designed to share demonstrations of science. This is a great place to find or share the type of activities that you might use in a museum (or any informal science setting) to demonstrate a science concept. Let's hope lots of people share their ideas. Perhaps there will be some good video links as well - see my previous post on videos for ideas.