INTRODUCTION: SCIENTIFIC SKEPTICISM
|You probably have heard of "book-smart" versus "street-smart". Book-smart means you are smart about what textbooks present you. Street-smart means you are smart with what the "street" and "life" present you. Just being book-smart means you can do well in school but you may easily fall victim to bogus products, false claims, and unscrupulous people encountered in daily life. A street-smart person is good at spotting a con-artist or a bogus product, not because they know why a bogus product doesn't work, but because they can tell there's something fishy about the sales pitch. The ideal way of being smart is being both book-smart and street-smart.
Scientific Skepticism is a way to be both book-smart and street-smart. Skepticism means one is open to ideas and products but also wants to see some evidence of the claims. It's a street-smart approach. If someone is trying to sell you an additive to your gasoline that will double your gas mileage, you will say, "That's good, but I'd like to see some evidence of that." The "scientific" part of "scientific skepticism" will evaluate the evidence using a knowledge of science and scientific methods. The scientific skeptic may also reply "The product is interesting. I'd like to check it out for myself."
|Scientific skepticism is pretty much like common sense, but why is it that so many people tend to abandon common sense? It has to do with techniques that fool our mind and with our tendency to have the mentality of an audience. The below two tutorials address these issues.
PROBLEM WITH AUDIENCES
Audiences come to enjoy a performance. Their frame of mind is to entertained. Not much interest is given to what happened in preparation of the performance or what happens after the performance. This makes them uninformed to the full depth of what the performance really should mean to them. As citizens and consumers we often have the same shallow insight as audiences. We are focused just on the product, results, performance, or solution. This makes us rather gullible and vulnerable.
WHAT HAPPENS BEHIND THE SCENES
To gain the ability to see through tricks and to totally evaluate what is being presented, we need to step behind the scenes. This is true whether it's a card trick, a chemistry trick, or anything in between.
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