The purpose of the video is to have students realize that observation is not always reliable, especially when looking for something specific. Richard Dawkins points out in his book The Greatest Show on Earth, "Direct observation of an alleged event as it actually happens is not necessarily more reliable than indirect observation of its consequences fed into a well-constructed inference engine." Basically, a witness to a murder is certainly not more reliable than the DNA evidence in the blood spatter as a consequence to the murder. More than a few people on death row in Texas have been exonerated after DNA evidence proved their innocence. I wonder how many of them were convicted on authentic testimony of "actual observation." The point is, fact is not always visible and can be inferred using science.
Next, I plan to move into what science is as opposed to pseudoscience. One suggests that the world ends at some point this year, and one uses careful experimental design and data collection to explain natural phenomena. One tends to be dogmatic and the other uses reason to influence. One disregards failures, while the other carefully studies them for future understanding. I want students to realize that science and pseudoscience are two opposite ways of viewing nature. Science is not about the collection of scientific fact, but about the process that leads there: "the nature of science."
Finally, I want to introduce the scientific method. Very straightforward, but there is one misconception that students frequently have. Students frequently look at the scientific method as a linear process. It is not linear, but circular. A linear method would indicate that there was an end to science (another misconception). When drawing conclusions from well designed experiments, a scientist will use their conclusions to ask new questions, that lead to new hypotheses and conclusions.
As you can tell, I feel very passionate about science and the nature of science. Science is very important in the world. What I don't want, is for students to feel like it isn't ok to believe in the Yeti because there is no scientific evidence for it. That is perfectly fine as long as there is a clear distinction between what is science and what isn't: the paranormal. In fact many people believe in paranormal phenomena such as the Yeti, alien abductions, and ghosts. I'm looking forward to this lesson tomorrow!
I was extremely happy to bring a little bit of the East Coast of the US to my Australian home tonight! Shrimp with Old Bay and good beer! Three things that work perfectly together, especially when combined in the same pot! I was happy to cook tonight and was glad that my Australian family enjoyed it! It must have been unusual to have had shrimp that didn't come off the barbie! It is one of the great recipes that I learned from my mom! That reminds me that I need to get a few recipes for future cooking here.
Tomorrow night, I plan to go to the local pub with some of the younger teachers and the new faculty for dinner and a few drinks. We are going the the Main Hotel Bistro, the same place that we went for the new faculty induction lunch. As I remember, I really enjoyed the fish and chips. I don't expect that I will be getting that for dinner, but I wouldn't rule it out!
Camping was originally planned for this weekend but with rain forecasted for the next few days, I think its wise that we aren't going anymore. Alright by me, I'm sure there will be an adventure for me around here!