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Ecc2012 13 10

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Ecc2012 13 10

  1. 1. ECC 2012-13 Educating Critical thinkingEducation to or for CTCT:What is it?Can CT be educated? Does it stand in a special relationship withscientific education?What is it good for?A different perspective on CT: worldview and values
  2. 2. ECC 2012-13Education to or for CT¤  There is a widespread ¤  John Dewey: Teaching for acceptance of the idea reflexive thought, teaching through experience on the that critical thinking is a model of science valuable asset and that it should be part of the ¤  YOU: teaching science for curriculum at various teaching to think critically, not just for facts (aims of levels of education. education) ¤  learners think and do,¤  CT entertains a special rather than swallow relationship with science facts (methods of education education)
  3. 3. ECC 2012-13¤  Bailin 2002 ¤  There is a widespread acceptance of the idea that critical thinking should be an important dimension of science education. Thus, for example, the National Science Education Standards (1996) has as one of its goals the promotion of science as inquiry. Included in this goal are numerous items which focus on critical thinking, for example “identification of assumptions, use of critical and logical thinking, and consideration of alternative explanations (p. 23); “analysis of firsthand events and phenomena a well as critical analysis of secondary sources; testing reliability of knowledge they have generated” (p.33); and “the critical abilities of analyzing an argument by reviewing current scientific understanding, weighing the evidence, and examining the logic so as to decide which explanation and models are best.
  4. 4. ECC 2012-13 ¤  (Invitations to use natural intuition or experiential wisdom multiply as well)Things are not that ¤  No consensus about how to teach CT, whethersimple it can be learnt, what it is ¤  Resnick 1987: Report on teaching higher skills (USA: NRC & Department of education) ¤  Willingham 2007: Critical Thinking. Why is it so hard to teach? ¤  Apparent de-correlation between teaching science and CT
  5. 5. ECC 2012-13¤  Resnick 1987 ¤  This paper addresses the question of what American schools can do to more effectively teach what have come to be called “higher order skills”. ¤  The first difficulties arise with the very question of what is meant by the term “higher order skills.” Many candidate definitions are available. ¤  Philosophers promote critical thinking and logical reasoning skills, developmental psychologists point to metacognition, and cognitive scientists study cognitive strategies and heuristics. Educators advocate training in study skills and problem solving. ¤  How should we make sense of these many labels? Do critical thinking, metacognition, cognitive strategies, and study skills refer to the same kinds of capabilities? And how are they related to the problem-solving abilities that mathematicians, scientists, and engineers try to teach their students?
  6. 6. ECC 2012-13¤  Mingled with the difficulty of defining higher order skills is the troubling sense that there may, in fact, be little new to say about the topic. Inevitably, we hear the question: Is there really anything new about schools trying to teach higher order skills? Havent schools always hoped to teach students to think critically, to reason, to solve problems, to interpret, to refine ideas and to apply them in creative ways?
  7. 7. ECC 2012-13¤  Nevertheless, we seem to agree that students do not adequately learn these higher order abilities. Perhaps the fact that our schools have been less than successful at meeting these goals means that we have simply given up the old truths in education. Perhaps if we went back to old- fashioned courses and old-fashioned methods, the problem of teaching higher order skills would be solved without further special attention.¤  Or, more pessimistically, perhaps we should conclude that decades of trying unsuccessfully to teach higher order skills in school show that such goals are not reachable; perhaps higher order abilities develop elsewhere than in school, and it would be wisest for schools to concentrate on the “basics,” letting higher order abilities emerge later or under other auspices.
  8. 8. ECC 2012-13¤  Willingham 2007 ¤  virtually everyone would agree that a primary, yet insufficiently met, goal of schooling is to enable students to think critically. In layperson’s terms, critical thinking consists of seeing both sides of an issue, being open to new evidence that disconfirms your ideas, reasoning dispassionately, demanding that claims be backed by evidence, deducing and inferring conclusions from available facts, solving problems, and so forth. ¤  Then too, there are specific types of critical thinking that are characteristic of different subject matter: That’s what we mean when we refer to “thinking like a scientist” or “thinking like a historian.” ¤  This proper and commonsensical goal has very often been translated into calls to teach “critical thinking skills” and “higher- order thinking skills”—and into generic calls for teaching students to make better judgments, reason more logically, and so forth.
  9. 9. ECC 2012-13¤  Willingham 2007 ¤  After more than 20 years of lamentation, exhortation, and little improvement, maybe it’s time to ask a fundamental question: Can critical thinking actually be taught?
  10. 10. ECC 2012-13¤  Decades of cognitive research point to a dis- appointing answer: not really.¤  People who have sought to teach critical thinking have assumed that it is a skill, like riding a bicycle, and that, like other skills, once you learn it, you can apply it in any situation.¤  Research from cognitive science shows that thinking is not that sort of skill. The processes of thinking are intertwined with the content of thought (that is, domain knowledge).
  11. 11. ECC 2012-13 Educating Critical thinkingEducation to or for CTCT:What is it?Can CT be educated? Does it stand in a special relationship withscientific education?What is it good for?A different perspective on CT: worldview and values
  12. 12. ECC 2012-13 What is CT?¤  Restrictive definition of CT ¤  Critical thinking can be ¤  CT equated with defined at minima, as the sKepticism faculty of parting wheat from chaff, of distinguishing ¤  Related to rules of good arguments from bad informal logic and ones (because they are ill- scientific method formed) and identifying ¤  Part of the philosophical beliefs that can be given tradition of reflection on away (because they are how to shape good not justified). thinking / scientific thinking
  13. 13. ECC 2012-13¤  Socrate’s elenchus as in ¤  Francis Bacon: The Plato’s dialogues advancement of learning¤  Aristotle ¤  Robert Boyle: Sceptical Chymist¤  Classical skepticism ¤  Galileo Galilei¤  Thomas of Aquinas ¤  …¤  Descartes: Rules for the direction of the mind
  14. 14. ECC 2012-13 ¤  BALONEY DETECTION KIT
  15. 15. ECC 2012-13 What is CT?¤  General definition of CT ¤  But also general & domain- ¤  CT equated with higher specific: thinking skills or “good ¤  Good thinking in a thinking” or reflexive discipline (e.g. thinking thinking like a scientist, thinking like an historian)
  16. 16. ECC 2012-13¤  No clear-cut distinction between ¤  Philosophical = normative, the restrictive, the general and the based on criteria general but domain-specific ¤  What good thinkers definitions should do ¤  Cognitive psychology = descriptive, based on skills¤  3 sources of literature: and competences ¤  philosophy ¤  What good thinkers do ¤  cognitive, developmental, evolutionary psychology ¤  Education = practical, ¤  education attention to transfer ¤  How to teach CT
  17. 17. ECC 2012-13 CT – philosophical approach¤  Definitions of critical thinking emerging from the philosophical tradition include ¤   “the propensity and skill to engage in an activity with reflective skepticism” (McPeck, 1981, p. 8); ¤  “reflective and reasonable thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do” (Ennis, 1985, p. 45); ¤   “skillful, responsible thinking that facilitates good judgment because it 1) relies upon criteria, 2) is self-correcting, and 3) is sensitive to context” (Lipman, 1988, p. 39);
  18. 18. ECC 2012-13¤   “purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or conceptual considerations upon which that judgment is based” (Facione, 1990, p. 3);¤   “disciplined, self-directed thinking that exemplifies the perfections of thinking appropriate to a particular mode or domain of thought” (Paul, 1992, p. 9);¤   thinking that is goal-directed and purposive, “thinking aimed at forming a judgment,” where the thinking itself meets standards of adequacy and accuracy (Bailin et al., 1999b, p. 287); and¤   “judging in a reflective way what to do or what to believe” (Facione, 2000, p. 61). (Lai 2011)
  19. 19. ECC 2012-13¤  It was during the contentious years of the Vietnam War that Matthew Lipman, a philosopher and educator, found that many Americans were having trouble presenting their views about the conflict cogently, and it distressed him. Professor Lipman, who was teaching at Columbia University at the time, concluded that many adults could simply not reason well for themselves, and he feared that it was too late for them to learn. So he responded with a radical idea: to teach children philosophy — or specifically “the cultivation of excellent thinking” — beginning in pre-kindergarten and continuing through high school. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/ education/15lipman.html?_r=0)
  20. 20. ECC 2012-13¤  Facione 1990 = Delphi report¤  a statement of expert consensus - mostly philosophers, but also a meaningful amount of educators and social scientists, and a small amount of scientists¤  The consensus presents the critical thinker as an ideal logical and scientifically- minded person that has good habits of mind independent from any context or domain. The education of critical thinking thus aims at producing the ideal thinker that thinks critically in every occasion of her life¤  However it is recognized that, for thinking critically in specific domains, content knowledge is necessary, critical thinking is conceptualized in analogy with reading and writing: skills that apply in any areas of life and learning and do not depend on content.
  21. 21. ECC 2012-13¤  We understand critical thinking to be purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based. CT is essential as a tool of inquiry. As such, CT is a liberating force in education and a powerful resource in ones personal and civic life. While not synonymous with good thinking, CT is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon. The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair- minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit. Thus, educating good critical thinkers means working toward this ideal. It combines developing CT skills with nurturing those dispositions which consistently yield useful insights and which are the basis of a rational and democratic society. (Facione 1990)
  22. 22. ECC 2012-13 CT – cognitive psychology approach¤  The psychological approach has tended to focus on how people really think, namely on how experts think in their domain, and whether experts in different domains share skills and procedures that can be considered as general requirements for thinking critically.¤  Skills and procedures are especially important in this view and definitions of critical thinking include lists of skills and procedures implemented by “good thinkers”. Among these, meta-cognitive skills and problem solving skills are pre-eminent (Bransford et al 1984; Resnick 1997).¤  The cognitive approach tends to deal more with the kind of good thinking that experts show in their domain and share with other experts, with meta-cognition and with reading with understanding, with scientific thinking and its education, than with critical thinking in itself.
  23. 23. ECC 2012-13¤  van Gelder 2005 ¤  cognitive scientists do not study critical thinking much, at least not as a topic in its own right. This is partly because the topic is too broad and open-ended to be captured by the cognitive scientist’s tightly focuses techniques. Partly, it is also because critical thinking in general is a neglected topic, despite its importance and broad relevance. ¤  Nevertheless, cognitive scientists have some contributions to make. They have developed some very general insights into how we think and how we learn, and these can be carried over to critical thinking. They also have studied many phenomena that are particular aspects or dimensions of critical thinking.
  24. 24. ECC 2012-13¤  humans are not naturally critical. Indeed, like ballet, critical thinking is a highly contrived activity. Running is natural; nightclub dancing is less so; but ballet is something people can only do well with many years of painful, expensive, dedicated training.¤  Evolution did not intend us to walk on the ends of our toes, and whatever Aristotle might have said, we were not designed to be at all that critical either. Evolution foes not waste effort making things better than they need to be, and homo sapiens evolved to be just logical enough to survive, while competitors such as Neanderthals and mastodons died out.
  25. 25. ECC 2012-13¤  Although Ericsson did not study critical thinking specifically, it is reasonable to assume that his conclusions will hold true for critical thinking. This means that our students will improve their critical thinking skills most effectively just to the extent they engage in lots of deliberate practice in critical thinking.¤  The crucial result from cognitive science is that students’ critical thinking skills improve faster when instruction is based on argument mapping. The main evidence for this comes from studies in which students are tested before and after a one-semester undergraduate critical thinking course.
  26. 26. ECC 2012-13¤  Indeed critical thinking is especially vulnerable to the problem of transfer because critical thinking is intrinsically general in nature. Critical thinking skills are, by definition, ones that apply in a very wide range of domains, contexts, and so on…The closest thing we have to a solution to the transfer problem is the recognition that there is a problem that must be confronted head-on. As psychologist Dianne Halpern put it (1998), we must teach for transfer.
  27. 27. ECC 2012-13¤  The trouble with transfer and generalizability ¤  Without being enough for good thinking in a certain discipline, background knowledge is necessary. For consequence, someone lacking background knowledge, but impregnated with knowledge of the criteria (that experiments must be controlled, inferences must be valid, experimental data must be accurate, and so on) will not necessarily produce good thinking. ¤  Not only, but even the criteria for good thinking are specific of certain areas, those for good reading or good thinking in history being eventually different from those for good thinking in a particular domain of science.
  28. 28. ECC 2012-13¤  1. content knowledge boosts performances, e.g. because it affects texts comprehension or because it helps recasting problems in more solvable configurations;¤  2. the application of general procedures to specific knowledge might require adjustments, or even just raise the problem of understanding that that certain procedure applies¤  3. specific knowledge might trigger specific naïve ideas, biases and heuristics that hinder a good solution to the problem¤  4. Even metacognitive skills are not as general as they might seem: even metacognitive skills are enhanced by domain knowledge, and domain knowledge favors the skilled use of metacognitive capacities within the perimeter of that particular domain
  29. 29. ECC 2012-13CT – educational point of view¤  The pragmatic problem of “how to teach” ¤  a. stand-alone ¤  b. integrated teachings ¤  (eventually: c. mixed) ¤  Both the philosophical (informal logic) and the psychological tradition include partisans of domain-general and of domain-specific methods
  30. 30. ECC 2012-13¤  Stand-alone. ¤  The philosophical approach to critical thinking has traditionally proposed courses for learning how to spot flawed arguments and deploy good argumentation and reasoning. It has also traditionally proposed general norms that would be independent from context and contents. But in the philosophical tradition, some, such as Bailin, have endorsed the normative view but criticized the attempt to define norms and educational that are independent from contents. ¤  A classic example of general thinking teaching method is DeBono’s CoRT, which is as content-free as possible; another is the Productive Thinking Program – both are based on planning and meta- cognitive skills. Other diffused methods concern reading and studying from texts, but also the improvement of general intelligence (with no common definition, and no effort in this direction); the latter can include problem-solving techniques, memory strategies, informal logic and other tools that are present in critical thinking programs.
  31. 31. ECC 2012-13¤  Renick 1987 ¤  some programs focus largely on identifying and correctly variety of practice and labeling reasoning fallacies; others concentrate more on developing skills of argumentation in extended discourse, without extensive formal analysis. ¤  An important debate in the field exactly parallels psychologists discussions of whether general cognitive skills or specific knowledge is most central to intellectual competence.
  32. 32. ECC 2012-13¤  Most informal logic philosophers believe that general reasoning capacity can be shaped and that it transcends specific knowledge domains (e.g., Ennis, 1980, 1985). In an even stronger claim, Paul (1982, in press) argues that we should seek to develop in students a broadly rational personality rather than any set of technical reasoning skills.¤  This view usually, but not always, supports calls for independent critical thinking courses.¤  However, a competing view, most strongly stated by McPeck (1981), argues that no general reasoning skill is possible and that all instruction in thinking should be situated in particular disciplines.
  33. 33. ECC 2012-13¤  integrated ¤  Lilienfeld, Lohr and Morier (2001) have underlined the importance of introducing specific teachings of science and pseudo-science in the cursus of psychological studies, where myths abound. ¤  Reif et al 1974 for physics; the work of Frederick Reif is extensive and he has dedicated as much attention to physics as to cognitive science and developing thinking skills in physics ¤  EMB shares many common aims and tools with the idea of teaching and learning to think critically, including the aim of developing a critical appraisal of evidence and ideas received from tradition and authority.
  34. 34. ECC 2012-13¤  Mixed ¤  While teaching critical thinking in one discipline, one can provide explicit instruction about rules and promote the use of metacognitive attitudes towards learning: ¤  anchor instruction on concrete cases, and propose variations (same inner structure, different superficial content), so as to favor flexibility ¤  do not bound instruction to implicit learning, but explicit both acquired knowledge and its contexts of application ¤  explicit the processes that have produced knowledge acquisition, difficulties, strategies, that is: explicitly use and train metacognitive skills (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000).
  35. 35. ECC 2012-13Failures at educating critical thinking¤  Resnick 1987 ¤  Over the decades, educators have espoused a recurring belief that certain school subject matters “discipline the mind” and therefore should be taught not so much for their inherent value as for their efficacy in facilitating other learning. ¤  Latin was defended for many years in these terms; mathematics and logic are often so defended today. Most recently, computer programming has been proposed as a way to develop general problem-solving and reasoning abilities (e.g., Papert, 1980). ¤  The view that we can expect strong transfer from learning in one area to improvements across the board has never been well supported empirically.
  36. 36. ECC 2012-13¤  Resnick 1987 ¤  Thinking and problem-solving programs within the academic disciplines seem to meet their internal goals and perhaps even boost performance more generally. ¤  It seems possible to raise reading competence by a variety of methods, ranging from study skill training through the reciprocal teaching methods of Brown and Palincsar to the discussions of philosophical texts in Lipmans program. ¤  On the other hand, general improvements in problem- solving, rhetoric, or other general thinking abilities have rarely been demonstrated, perhaps because few evaluators have included convincing assessments of these abilities in their studies.
  37. 37. ECC 2012-13¤  Willingham 2007 ¤  A large number of programs designed to make students better thinkers are available, and they have some features in common. They are premised on the idea that there is a set of critical thinking skills that can be applied and practiced across content domains. ¤  How well do these programs work? Many researchers have tried to answer that question, but their studies tend to have methodological problems. Four limitations of these studies are especially typical, and they make any effects suspect :
  38. 38. ECC 2012-13¤  Willingham 2007 ¤  1) students are evaluated just once after the program, so it’s not known whether any observed effects are enduring; ¤  2) there is not a control group, leaving it unclear whether gains are due to the thinking program, to other aspects of schooling, or to experiences outside the classroom; ¤  3) the control group does not have a comparison intervention, so any positive effects found may be due, for example, to the teacher’s enthusiasm for something new, not the program itself; and ¤  4) there is no measure of whether or not students can transfer their new thinking ability to materials that differ from those used in the program. In addition, only a small fraction of the studies have undergone peer review (meaning that they have been impartially evaluated by independent experts).
  39. 39. ECC 2012-13¤  Resnick 1987 ¤  Of course, to appreciate the dependence of general skills application on specific knowledge is not to deny that such general skills exist. ¤  Yet such an understanding raises questions about the wisdom of attempting to develop thinking skills outside the context of specific knowledge domains. It suggests that a more promising route may be to teach thinking skills within specific disciplines and perhaps hope for some transfer to other disciplines as relevant knowledge is acquired.
  40. 40. ECC 2012-13¤  This discipline-embedded approach has several advantages.¤  First, it provides a natural knowledge base and environment in which to practice and develop higher order skills. As we have shown earlier, cognitive research has established the very important role of knowledge in reasoning and thinking. One cannot reason in the abstract; one must reason about something.
  41. 41. ECC 2012-13¤  Second, embedding higher order skill training within school disciplines provides criteria for what constitutes good thinking and reasoning within the disciplinary tradition. Each discipline has characteristic ways of reasoning, and a complete higher order education would seek to expose students to all of these. Reasoning and problem solving in the physical sciences, for example, are shaped by particular combinations of inductive and deductive reasoning, by appeal to mathematical tests, and by an extensive body of agreed upon fact for which new theories must account.
  42. 42. ECC 2012-13¤  Finally, teaching higher order skills within the disciplines will ensure that something worthwhile will have been learned even if wide transfer proves unattainable. This point is profoundly important. It amounts to saying that no special, separate brief for teaching higher order skills need be made. Rather, it proposes that if a subject matter is worth teaching in school it is worth teaching at a high level—to everyone.
  43. 43. ECC 2012-13Scientists are not necessarily generalcritical thinkers¤  More on the apparent intractability of the limits of generalization and transfer ¤  even the “professionals of critical thinking”, that is: scientists, are unshielded against pseudo-scientific beliefs. ¤  THE NOBEL DISEASE
  44. 44. ECC 2012-13¤  Pierre Curie, physics (Eusapia Palladino)¤  Ivar Giaever, physics (global warming denier)¤  Louis J. Ignarro, physiology or medicine (Herbalife Niteworks)¤  Brian Josephson, physics (psi)¤  Philipp Lenard, physics (Nazi ideology)¤  Luc Montagnier, medicine (autism)¤  Kary Mullis, chemistry ( supports astrology, denies anthropogenic climate change, denies HIV causes AIDS)¤  Linus Pauling, chemistry (vitamin C)¤  Charles Richet, physiology (ectoplasm/mediums/telepathy)¤  William Shockley, physics (race & IQ)¤  John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, physics ( president Society for Psychical Research)¤  Nikolaas Tinbergen, physiology or medicine (autism)¤  James Watson, physiology or medicine (race & IQ)
  45. 45. ECC 2012-13¤  (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/high-dose- vitamin-c-and-cancer-has-linus-pauling-been-vindicated/) ¤  …the concept that megadoses of vitamin C can cure cancer has been around for decades now, ever since two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling first proposed it. It began in 1972, when Ewan Cameron hypothesized that ascorbate could have anti-cancer action by inhibiting hyaluronidase and thereby preventing cancer spread after two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling had first proposed that taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily can reduce the incidence of colds by 45% for most people. It wasn’t long before the two teamed up, and in 1976 Pauling and Dr. Ewan Cameron reported that a majority of 100 terminal cancer patients treated with 10,000 mg of vitamin C per day survived three to four times longer than patients who were not so treated. ¤  Unfortunately, as experimental clinical protocols go, this study was a complete mess.
  46. 46. ECC 2012-13¤  Three decades later, I have to wonder how these studies saw print. It turns out that they were originally published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is not a clinical journal. Not surprisingly, given his Nobel Prizes, Linus Pauling was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. What is not really known much outside the scientific community is that thirty years ago members of the NAS could contribute papers to PNAS as they see fit and in essence pick their reviewers. Indeed, until recently, the only way that non- members could have papers published in PNAS was if a member of the Academy agreed to submit their manuscript for them (known as “communicating” it), and, in fact, members were supposed to take the responsibility for having such papers reviewed before “communicating them” to PNAS. Thus, in essence a member of the Academy could get nearly anything he or she wished published in PNAS, whether written by him or herself or a friend.
  47. 47. ECC 2012-13CT and Science education ¤  Apparent de-correlation between CT and science education ¤  the diffusion of scientific literacy has not defeated pseudo-scientific beliefs by and large (see Gallup Poll, Pew Survey, …) ¤  the study of science, at least as science is taught today, does not make the difference in terms of pseudo-scientific beliefs
  48. 48. ECC 2012-13¤  Ede 2000 (cites data by Henri Broch on the relationship between education and paranormal beliefs) ¤  How then are we to reconcile having the most scientifically trained society in history with the persistence of irrationality? Why do we not see a significant drop of irrationality corresponding to the significant increase in the levels of general science education in the last fifty years? (Ede 2000)
  49. 49. ECC 2012-13¤  Goode 2002 (uses polls on citizens’ beliefs in paranormal, like Gallup poll and Pew survey) ¤  My hypothesis is a bit different from the “enlightenment” position. I propose that the frequently stated argument that education is an antidote to paranormal beliefs is at least partly erroneous. I suggest that paranormal thinking is made up of a diversity of standards, some of which are discouraged with increased levels of education and some of which are not. ¤  I further suggest that the human capacity to compartmentalize categories of thinking is sufficiently great as to permit simultaneous belief in assertions that are contradictory. Many individuals, in fact, accept the truth of paranormal assertions alongside scientific principles that logically and factually contradict them.
  50. 50. ECC 2012-13¤  Goode 2002 (on the basis of a poll realized on two classes of students with questions about paranormal beliefs, scientific facts, science-like facts) ¤  Fairly consistently, my data demonstrate that a negative relationship exists between adherence to the religious beliefs that contain a paranormal component and scientific and science-like reasoning. The relationship was not always statistically significant, but the direction of the relationship was remarkably consistent. ¤  A variety of questions entailing reasoning by means of commonsensical judgmental heuristics versus scientific reasoning yielded no differences whatsoever between UFO believers and nonbelievers. … Paranormalism bears an inconsistent relationship with scientific knowledge and reasoning. … ¤  If my little study and the many relevant public opinion polls conducted each year are any guide, non-religious paranormalists know about as much science, and reason as scientifically, as persons who reject the validity of paranormal or extrascientific forces.
  51. 51. ECC 2012-13¤  Walker et al 2002 (the biggest study at date: 207 students, 2-units survey: science knowledge and strength of beliefs in paranormal and pseudo-scientific claims) ¤  These results are consistent with the notion that having a strong scientific knowledge base is not enough to insulate a person against irrational beliefs. Students who scored well on these tests were no more or less skeptical of pseudoscientific claims than students who scored very poorly. ¤  Apparently, the students were not able to apply their scientific knowledge to evaluate these pseudoscientific claims. We suggest that this inability stems in part from the way that science is traditionally presented to students: Students are taught what to think but not how to think.
  52. 52. ECC 2012-13¤  Walker et al 2002 ¤  These results need to be replicated using different materials and participants, although the diversity of measures and samples presented here suggests that there is some validity to our conclusions. While some might contend that our tests did not fully measure science knowledge, we counter this concern by emphasizing that our test questions were drawn from national tests designed to assess scientific reasoning. Thus, if there is a bias in our procedure, this bias is entrenched in science education. In our view, addressing the following questions can serve to clarify the relation between science education and pseudoscientific thinking
  53. 53. ECC 2012-13¤  Pigliucci 2007 (interviews with students who followed his own Honors course on science and pseudoscience - only half of them pursuit a science major, the rest were mostly from philosophy and psychology - with questions aimed at evaluating their factual knowledge of science (using a model of evaluation for aspiring high school teachers)¤  Johnson & Pigliucci 2004 (4 classes, 170 students, science- major and non-science major, 30 questions survey: general knowledge about science, science conceptual understadning, strenght of beliefs in paranormal)
  54. 54. ECC 2012-13¤  Pigliucci 2007¤  Johnson & Pigliucci 2004 ¤  the predictable difference in science knowledge was not associated with understanding of the foundations of science and in the degree of acceptance of pseudoscientific factoids. Science facts questions showed a weak negative correlation with paranormal belief, while no correlation was found between understanding of scientific concepts and paranormal. No science method question received even 50% of correct answers both for the science major and the non-science major group, the difference between theory and laws being understood by less than 5% of the respondents of the two groups. The strength of the belief in paranormal was also low (never higher than 3, often 1).
  55. 55. ECC 2012-13¤  It seems that there is little evidence for the idea that better knowledge of science facts leads to better understanding of the nature of science, or to a lower degree of belief in the paranormal. (Pigliucci 2007)¤  Goode, Walker et al., and Johnson and Pigliucci’s studies have serious limits and conclusions can be hardly generalized: they are conducted on small samples and are just two studies, they are conducted with students that possibly are aware of the aims of the study, and it is even possible that the kind of questions influence a “gullible” attitude.
  56. 56. ECC 2012-13¤  I don’t recommend that we abandon science in our educational curricula. But what I wonder about is how science is taught. It’s possible that most science instructors do not consider paranormal and pseudoscience assertions a sufficient threat to science that they confront them directly with the evidence of our senses. It’s possible that the current curriculum isn’t doing enough to combat pseudoscience. (Goode 2002)
  57. 57. ECC 2012-13¤  The Science, Technology, and Society (STS) model de- emphasizes technical training until much later in the school system. Scientific concepts would be embedded in curriculum for primary levels, and students would be asked to think about how objects work or to investigate concepts in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology within the classroom environment. … The objective of the STS model is to provide students with a very broad background in the idea of science before forcing them to make decisions about participation in the subject-specific skills of any particular discipline. (Ede 2000)
  58. 58. ECC 2012-13¤  More importantly it is the best way to explain how and why scientific discoveries are made, which turns science from a barrage of meaningless and boring facts into a vibrant enterprise of discovery and human realization.¤  …Perhaps even more unfortunately, the major response so far to the sorts of concerns I am discussing here has been a shift in emphasis from traditional classroom lectures to “hands on” activities in which students manipulate objects and perform experiments. Moving away from lectures and getting students to actually do things is an excellent idea, but the way the hands-on approaches is often implemented, especially at the pre-college level, may actually produce worst results than the traditional lecture approach. The problem with many hands-on experiences is that the brain stays turned off. (Pigliucci 2007)
  59. 59. ECC 2012-13 Educating Critical thinkingEducation to or for CTCT:What is it?Can CT be educated? Does it stand in a special relationship withscientific education?What is it good for?A different perspective on CT: worldview and values
  60. 60. ECC 2012-13¤  Glaser (1941), a psychologist, and Gabennesh (a sociologist) have stressed the idea that the mastery of intellectual resources is still insufficient for critical thinking, in the absence of a commitment of rational inquiry and the habits of mind that apparently go with it.
  61. 61. ECC 2012-13¤  Edward Glaser (1941) has defined the mastery of critical thinking in terms of: ¤  a. an attitude, that is: being disposed to consider problems reflexively; ¤  b. a form of knowledge, that is: knowing the principles of investigation and good reasoning; ¤  c. a skill, that is: being able to apply the principles.
  62. 62. ECC 2012-13¤  Gabennesh 2006 points not only to an attitude, but to a conjunction of values and a worldview: ¤  Proficiency in the skills dimension is necessary but not sufficient for anyone who claims to be a critical thinker. One could excel at reasoning while failing at other dimensions of critical thinking. Indeed, this is not uncommon. A more fully developed conception of critical thinking that includes the worldview and values dimensions is both more difficult to teach and more dangerous to display than a narrow conception that focuses on logical reasoning.
  63. 63. ECC 2012-13¤  Gabennesh 2006 - worldview: ¤  …Peter Berger (1963, 23) states, “It can be said that the first wisdom of sociology is this-things are not what they seem.” I would alter the wording slightly - things are not always entirely what they seem - and propose it as the first wisdom of critical thinking. ¤  The recognition that the world is often not what it seems is perhaps the key feature of the critical thinker’s worldview. From this perspective, the world is a deceptive place-not just occasionally but inherently. ¤  Such a worldview goes beyond the usual suspects (e.g., deceptive TV ads and phony crop circles) to incorporate a broader recognition of the deceptive nature of the world …
  64. 64. ECC 2012-13¤  Gabennesh 2006 - values: ¤  … Imagine a juror in the trial of a defendant accused of murdering a child. The juror listens to the prosecution’s case, which is accompanied by grisly photos, testimony from a detective who becomes visibly shaken when describing the crime scene, and audible sobs from the victim’s family. Then, roiled by emotions ranging from grief to outrage, she is called upon to do something remarkable: listen to the defense just as receptively as she did to the prosecution. ¤  To do her job well, she will need more than good reasoning skills and the sturdy skepticism that is appropriate when listening to dueling lawyers. She will also need a certain set of values that will motivate her to do the difficult things necessary to reach an honest verdict.
  65. 65. ECC 2012-13¤  On the side of the worldview, cognitive science strengthens and modifies Gabennesh’s point ¤  Studies on Cognitive biases (see Gilovich 1991; Chabris & Simons 2010, Kahnemann, Slovic, Tversy, 1982, …) point at the limits of natural, individual cognition¤  External features reinforce both the worldview and the values side ¤  Information overload ¤  Filter bubble
  66. 66. ECC 2012-13¤  A theoretical framework: ¤  Kahnemann 2011 - System 1 & System 2 ¤  Gigerenzer 2010 - The (limited but reasonable) value of heuristics and inutitions ¤  Tooby & Cosmides 1997: Modularity of the mind and the evolution of local solutions
  67. 67. ECC 2012-13¤  Tooby & Cosmides 1997 ¤  "General intelligence" -- a hypothetical faculty composed of simple reasoning circuits that are few in number, content- independent, and general purpose -- was thought to be the engine that generates solutions to reasoning problems. The flexibility of human reasoning -- that is, our ability to solve many different kinds of problems -- was thought to be evidence for the generality of the circuits that generate it. ¤  An evolutionary perspective suggests otherwise (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). Biological machines are calibrated to the environments in which they evolved, and they embody information about the stably recurring properties of these ancestral worlds.
  68. 68. ECC 2012-13¤  is also content-independent. It can be applied indiscriminately to medical diagnosis, card games, hunting success, or any other subject matter. It contains no domain-specific knowledge, so it cannot support inferences that would apply to mate choice, for example, but not to hunting. (That is the price of content- independence.)¤  Evolved problem-solvers, however, are equipped with crib sheets: they come to a problem already "knowing" a lot about it.¤  Without these privileged hypotheses -- about faces, objects, physical causality, other minds, word meanings, and so on -- a developing child could learn very little about its environment.
  69. 69. ECC 2012-13¤  This suggests that many evolved computational mechanisms will be domain-specific: they will be activated in some domains but not others. Some of these will embody rational methods, but others will have special purpose inference procedures that respond not to logical form but to content- types -- procedures that work well within the stable ecological structure of a particular domain, even though they might lead to false or contradictory inferences if they were activated outside of that domain.¤  The more crib sheets a system has, the more problems it can solve. A brain equipped with a multiplicity of specialized inference engines will be able to generate sophisticated behavior that is sensitively tuned to its environment.
  70. 70. ECC 2012-13¤  "Instincts" are often thought of as the polar opposite of "reasoning" and "learning". Homo sapiens are thought of as the "rational animal", a species whose instincts, obviated by culture, were erased by evolution. But the reasoning circuits and learning circuits discussed above have the following five properties: (1) they are complexly structured for solving a specific type of adaptive problem, (2) they reliably develop in all normal human beings, (3) they develop without any conscious effort and in the absence of any formal instruction, (4) they are applied without any conscious awareness of their underlying logic, and (5) they are distinct from more general abilities to process information or behave intelligently. In other words, they have all the hallmarks of what one usually thinks of as an "instinct" (Pinker, 1994). In fact, one can think of these special purpose computational systems as reasoning instincts and learning instincts.
  71. 71. ECC 2012-13¤  Instincts are good for survival but clash with the idea of a general (critical) thinking machine
  72. 72. NO miracle¤  CT is not a skill, but a domain-specific aptitude and attitude¤  The attitude might be transferred (skeptical attitude)¤  The aptitude requires domain knowledge¤  Teaching cognitive science-based worldview and values?