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We’re alarmed at the erosion of scientific legitimacy and authority, because it’s so crucial to solving the world’s problems. Alan Brandt

Science knowledge base

Introduction

Science literacy is important for the survival of the human species. We must constantly be skeptical about claims by being aware how to counter junk science, pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, & hoaxes, being media literate, and knowing ow to deal with propaganda.

It’s not the theories themselves that are the problem; it’s that they look true, but aren’t. Worse is when unfounded and false information is presented as scientific to skew the truth or blatantly lie. It can cause real damage in the world due to powerful emotional, political, and cultural influence. Michael Gordon

 

A science knowledge base provides information for science literacy. Information organized as concepts, misconceptions, outcomes, and standards to develop a conceptual framework of science literacy for critical thinking.

 

Information organized in five dimensions:

  1. Habits of mind, Attitudes, values, & dispositions to attain positive scientific practices
  2. Inquiry practices
  3. Processes & process skills
  4. Content areas: Physical, Life, Earth & space
  5. Perspectives: Engineering & technology, personal & social, history of science, nature of science.

 

Dimensions of science

 

Inquiry, processes, cross cutting skills, & unified processes

  • Scientific Inquiry - asking questions, carrying out investigations, questioning, experimenting, & explaining. Ethnographic and experimental investigations

 

 

Content Areas of Science

  • Life Science concepts

    • Organisms (Bacteria, Eukaryota (plants, animals (human anatomy), fungi,), Archaea)
      • Structure & Function (Behavior, Adaptation, Diversity, Disease
      • Growth & Development (Reproduction, Life cycles,
      • Organization of Matter & Energy flow (
      • Information Processing (Interactions, Adaptation, Relationships, Social Interactions and Group Behavior
      • Human organisms/anatomy - Human identity; Anatomy (structure) & basic functions of life, growth, & development; Health & safety, disease physical, mental/emotional, distress and treatment
      • Humans and Animals compared ...
    • Ecosystems (Populations, Environmental factors, Environments,
      • Interdependent Relationships in their Environment & Ecosystems
      • Matter & Energy Flow, Transfer & Cycles
      • Dynamics, Functions, & Resilience
      • Social Interactions & Group Behavior ( Interdependent Functions Relationships & Resilience
    • Heredity
      • Inheritance of Traits
      • Variation of Traits
    • Evolution
      • Evidence of Common Ancestry (Unity) & Diversity
      • Natural Selection
      • Adaptations
      • Biodiversity and Humans

 

Perspectives of science

  • Engineering & Technology
    • Engineering design defining and delimiting problems, developing solutions, optimizing solutions
    • Technology and Science linking engineering, technology, and science
    • Technology design, systems, and information processing information technology and instrumentation
    • Issues in Technology linking engineering, technology, and science to society and the natural world
  • Personal and Social
    • Science's relationship to personal and social decisions: health, safety, natural hazards, and risks. See Human organism for background information
  • History of Science
  • Nature of Science

    • Subject, perspective, and social nature

 

 

What is fringe science, junk science, or pseudosceince?

Fringe science, junk science, pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, … They have five properties:

  1. Don’t change, advance, evolve over time.
  2. Don’t provide and testable evidence
  3. Are theories that can't in anyway be tested to prove or disprove the theory.
  4. Ignores contrary evidence.
  5. Based solely or entirely on belief. Want it to be true - Bigfoot.

 

Suggestions to evaluate science information:

  1. Is it peer-reviewed?
  2. Who did the study? Independent or interested party? Like a for profit company …
  3. Who funded the research? Mega corporation …
  4. What is the purpose and context of the article? Introducing a new idea? Extending an idea? Finding faulty with an idea?
  5. Is it based on objective data or testimonials?
  6. Does the article over hype the ideas? Make it sound like a revolutionary breakthrough?
  7. What kinds of punctuation is used? Are there lot of exclamation marks, questions, and other questionable marks for unbiased research?
  8. Is the information presented in historical context of how the idea has progressed to the claims in the article?
  9. Is there a story involved with the development of something totally new?
  10. What kind of study?
    • Cross-sectional - a group of people are studied at one point in time. Limited value, prove nothing transferable.
    • Longitudinal - a series of assessments of the same subjects over a period of time. Can show impact of interventions and hint at cause, but needs thousands of subjects to be of value.
    • Meta analyses reviews a series of many research papers to look at trends and the replication of ideas. Limits by not knowing what isn’t included.
    • Double blind study where one group receives a treatment and the other a placebo or no intervention over a period of time. If there is a significant difference, it can be assumed the treatment has an effect.
    • Correlations do not indicate causality. Most people don’t publish negative results leading to a bias for research with a positive effect.
  11. Research in general can lead to misconceptions as it usual includes few examples or repetitions from simply being new. And require replication, which people usually don’t want to do.
  12. There are numerous ways to bias research: choosing what, when, and how to measure. How to organize data, outliers, reports … How science is actually conducted as opposed to our perceptions how it is conducted. Rats handled or not …
  13. What procedures were used? Sample size, methods, animals, humans,
  14. Do the results support the conclusions
  15. Do other studies agree?

 

See also:

 

 

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Links to science concepts:

  1. Habits of mind, attitudes, values, & dispositions for good science
  2. Inquiry Practices
    • Investigation
    • Questioning
    • Experimenting
    • Explaining
  3. Process skills
    • Process skills used in the practice of science investigation
    • Cross cutting skills or unified processes used in science practice
  4. Content
  5. Perspectives of science
    • Engineering & Technology
    • Personal & social
    • History of science
    • Nature of science

 

 

 

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Space walk

Bruce McCandless untethered space walk. 2/12/1984.

 

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The mechanics of evolution are responsible for every single creature that lives on the face of the Earth; and ever has or ever will.

 

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