ERIC Number: EJ843766
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Atoms vs. a Three-Legged Woman?
Phi Delta Kappan, v90 n10 p767-769 Jun 2009
In contrast to mainstream science, paranormal phenomena have the effect of "blowing things up" because they offer big, grand, gorgeous images that even the uninitiated can grasp and thrill to at first blush. It makes little difference if one has never seen Bigfoot, an alien, or a human clone. There are those who claim they have, and many, many others are eager to vouch for their existence by proxy. The paranormal, in short, promises absolute answers in the here and now. It belongs to popular, not scientific, culture. As such, the paranormal offers all that the grind of scientific research does not: (1) immediate gratification; (2) pat explanations; and (3) the reduction of complex matters to fleeting sounds and images. This expectation of ready answers is poor preparation for a scientific vocation, where the measured steps of laboratory research are often less than thrilling and their denouement seldom gripping. The author contends that the upshot of all this is that the far greater allure of the paranormal and pseudoscientific has impeded students' ability to grapple with the concepts and precepts of so-called "hard science." Such grappling brings them only frustration and desperation when they're confronted with ideas that: (1) demand that they think; (2) are perceived as irrelevant to their experience; and (3) like Darwin's theory of natural selection, depend to some extent on inference and deductive reasoning.
Descriptors: Hypothesis Testing, Scientific Attitudes, Scientific Methodology, Scientific Research, Scientific Concepts, Science and Society, Science Process Skills, Popular Culture, Critical Thinking
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A