Tag Archives: education

Meet science: rationalizing evidence to save beliefs

This is how science classes mostly went in high school. We would learn about a topic that had been discovered scientifically, for instance that if you add together two particular solutions of ions, some of the ions will precipitate out as a solid salt. Then we would do an experiment, wherein we would add the requisite solutions and get something entirely wrong in its color, smell, quantity, or presence. Then we would write a report with our hypothesis, the contradictory results, and a long discussion about all the mistakes that could be to blame for this unexpected result, and conclude that the real answer was probably still what we hypothesized (since we read that in a book).

Given that they had not taught the children anything about priors, this seems like a strange way to demonstrate science.