Today’s shout out goes to my daughter’s science teacher.

Though she didn’t do anything cute or touching on the last day of class, she still deserves some recognition. First off- she showed up every class, graded things quickly and adapted as best she could to the situation.

Secondly…

We know by now that my daughter is a humanities kid who needs to fulfill a science requirement. Who knew back in November that her choice to take “Science in the News” would become the best class that she could possibly have chosen?

Science in the news. A class on how to figure out what journalists are telling you when you read the newspapers and listen to news reports…

Let me tell you just one anecdote from this class: my daughter was thrilled when she was able to write a paper, use statistics, not lie about the stats, but frame the narrative in such a way that the intended statistics were used to back up her claim, which was the opposite of how the stats should have been used.

She used the statistics “correctly”…

but spun them around…

Don’t you wish you actually learned how to interpret what was being thrown at us on a daily basis? (and if you think you do- I’d say 90% -including me- don’t actually know what things really mean)

For her final paper, one of the questions she was tasked with was asking who should be responsible for disseminating scientific information: journalists, scientists or professors. I thought this was a pretty great question as my family ponders why ESPN journalists are voicing opinions about the present situation…

So cheers to teachers who are actually teaching students how to think on their own, how to question, and how to figure out if someone is spinning a yarn…or trying to spin you…

 

43 thoughts on “Neun- Science

  1. Great post, brilliant and much needed class! Even that class could have been used by a less than honest professor to sway young minds to a particular point of view instead of thinking for themselves. Thanks for sharing this–so refreshing. (I am with you on who shares. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not everyone (ESPN???) is entitled to proclaim opinions as scientific facts. Let’s face it: this has been a learn as you go process. Even the “experts” have had to backtrack many times on this.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From how my daughter explained it, this professor taught it as down the middle of the road as possible. And the espn guy, while entitled to his opinion, to broadcast it and have some people think that’s “correct” without further knowledge is just irresponsible

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember studying Social Science and learning how my being present in a situation could skew results/outcomes. It really frustrated me at the time, and I found the extreme focus placed on that fact a real drag. Only later did I understand how important it is to “get” bias. Statistics was an area I always thought of as not just dull but really challenging (I’m not a mathematician or a scientist). These days I think the subject is fascinating and enlightening – and I credit Ben Goldacre for that change. So glad your daughter’s tutors & professors are doing such a great job – she chose well clearly 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I often wonder this myself. Like when I watch or read something in the news and it’s presented in a certain way with statistics to back it up . . and then I can google the opposite viewpoint with, yep, statistics to back it up.

    Cheers to her science teacher!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used to be an analyst. Unless you look at the source and everything connected to it, you can’t trust a stat. And journalists using stats? They have an agenda and a viewpoint….plus…on opinion stuff, people tell you what they think you want to hear….you know….Dewey defeats Truman….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. So true. And it does serve to divide us, don’t you think? Because one side touts their stats and the other side does the same. And precious few of us are vetting, looking under the hood as it were.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. “Lies, damn lies, and statistics!”

    It isn’t just stats, either. When I was studying GIS (geographic information systems), we studied how to lie with maps. The world is a spinning place in more ways than one. It’s good for students to learn that.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I swear, if your daughter quits college now, she will still have learned most everything she needs to know from that one teacher! It’s encouraging to know there are still teachers and professors teaching people to think for themselves, because goodness knows that’s not being encouraged anywhere else. As for “stats”, I’ve quit paying attention, because you’re right, they are being twisted to support whatever point of view the presenter already had. I formulate my own questions, and then look up several independent sites to find answers and then and only then, I form my own opinion. The facts are still there, but we do have to look hard for them nowadays!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I catch highlights, and then I move on. The disinformation being spread is disheartening to say the least. But I am glad my daughter had professors who encouraged her to think. It’s a rare quality these days

      Liked by 1 person

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