What would you say?

Following on from AndromedasWake’s excellent post the other day and my own recent research/thinking on the issue of teaching skepticism I have found myself thinking a lot about science knowledge and the general public. As I am sure you are all way too painfully aware when it comes to good scientific understanding the general public have something of an antagonistic relationship with reality.


For every person who applies good skeptical thinking and basic scientific understanding in their everyday lives there are at least three people who religiously check their horoscopes on the way to visit their local homeopath. In the recent election for example I discovered that my local MP supported making homeopathy available on the NHS and one of the smaller parties had climate change denialism as part of its manifesto. Something is seriously wrong with that.


So what can we, as hardened and, if I may say so, devilishly attractive skeptics, do about it? How can we help to make the general public more skeptical and more science literate? Well I am sorry to say that I don’t have an answer. I’ve been trying to do my small part by working on a “beginners guide” style book about skepticism but it is not as though that has never been done before. As such my thoughts have recently turned to smaller things, which brings me to the point of this post. I have a question for you.


If you could give one bit of advice, drop one bit of knowledge or just make one suggestion to the general public or someone new to skepticism then what would it be?*


Maybe we can’t influence the world as a whole, but perhaps we can start sowing little seeds of logical and rational thinking. I like to think of this as bulletpoint skepticism. Little catchy easy to remember pieces of information that can change the way people thing. For example simply knowing about something like pareidolia makes it less likely that you will be convinced that you’re really are seeing the virgin Mary in your breakfast cereal.


Anyway it is just an idea that I had, not sure if it is a good one or not or even if I have explained it at all well, but I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with. Plus I haven’t posted anything in ages and felt that I really should put something up. All these newbies are starting to make me look bad. 😉


* Be warned, if you come up with something great I am so stealing it for my book.

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