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Ashley Dawkins's picture

Childhood Origins of Adult Resistance to Science

The real world provides many ways to develop misconceptions when it comes to physics.  We can’t see our world functioning properly in a society that’s not literally in a vacuum.  For example, the idea behind the laws of gravity; EVERYTHING is supposed to fall at the same rate no matter the mass, width, density….But we find in our world if you ask a person “what will drop faster a penny or a feather?”, more often times than not, they will say the penny.  In reality, they both fall at the same rate, but the feather encounters air resistance that makes it seem to float slowly to the ground.  BUT when these two are placed in a vacuum, they reach the bottom at exactly the same time.

            As we grow up we see how things behave around us and justify them in our head.  These justifications are usually wrong and we develop misconceptions.  When a science is being taught it is the responsibility of the educator to find out what these misconceptions are and address them properly, or people will go back to their old ways of thinking; naive physics. Therefore, I agree with, “The problem with teaching science to children is thus ‘not what the student lacks, but what the student has, namely alternative conceptual frameworks for understanding the phenomena covered by theories we are trying to teach’”.  In saying this, I don’t believe behaving in this way (as the previous examples) is resisting science.  In fact, they have become somewhat of scientist in order to make these false observations in the first place; it’s just basing science on what they have observed; but in many cases it’s VERY wrong.

            I do believe that problems can arise from people who misconceive science, but I don’t believe it’s because people are trying to purposely resist it.  These are issues that need to be addressed and explained, most likely in a school setting. 

This article also states that if people are resistant to evolution, they are then resistant to science. I don’t believe this is true. I don’t agree with evolution, but I love science. Although, I do agree that we have a science ignorant society.  But there can be many reasons for this - people were turned off to it early on. I think it’s important to remember that science has developed because be were wrong about how the world works and there was a desire to become less and less wrong.  Scientists are most often wrong in the lab and they learn from that, we can help people learn their misconceptions so they can progress in their knowledge.

I do believe that problems can arise from people who misconceive science, but I don’t believe it’s because people are trying to purposely resist it.  These are issues that need to be addressed and explained, most likely in a school setting.  The question is; how can we address the science ignorant society to first create an interest in science.  Without an interest, they may not be interested in changing their misconceptions.

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