On Dismissing Gods


“When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

– Steven H. Roberts

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On the Closed Universe


“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination, but the combination is locked in the safe.”

– Peter de Vries

Autism Epidemic Myth?


“There’s such a thing as an Autism Epidemic.”


Ruling:
False. Misinterpretation of figures.

Analysis:
In recent years, there has only been an increase in diagnoses of autism among certain groups of people living in certain regions; this is caused by heightened awareness of the condition, not the incidence. In this particular context, the word ‘epidemic’ is a media hype misnomer.

See other: Mythconceptions?

On Teaching Twelve-year-olds


“If one cannot state a matter clearly enough so that even an intelligent twelve-year-old can understand it, one should remain within the cloistered walls of the university and laboratory until one gets a better grasp of one’s subject matter.”

– Margaret Mead

On Irreverence


“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.”

– Jacob Bronowski

Talk Talk Talk


Gift of the gab
1.6 million – 600,000 years ago

All great apes have air sacs on their vocal tracts, which let them make loud bellows. But humans don’t, because the air sacs make it impossible to produce different vowel sounds. Our ancestors apparently lost them before we diverged from our Neanderthal cousins, suggesting the Neanderthals could also speak.

See other: What Makes Humans Human?

Changing Education Paradigms


‘Now this tells an interesting story because you could have imagined it going the other way could you? You start off not being very good but you get better as you get older. But this shows two things: one is we all have this capacity and; two, it mostly deteriorates. Now a lot of things have happened to these kids as they’ve grown up, a lot. But one of the most important things that has happened to them I’m convinced is that by now they’ve become educated. They’ve spent ten years at school being told there’s one answer it’s at the back and don’t look. And don’t copy because that’s cheating. Outside school that’s called collaboration no but inside schools… This isn’t because teachers want it this way it’s just because it happens that way. It’s because it’s in the gene pool of education. They have to think differently about human capacity. We have to get over this old conception of academic, non-academic, abstract, theoretical, vocational and see it for what it is – a myth.

Second, you have to recognise that most great learning happens in groups, that collaboration is the stuff of growth. If we atomise people and separate them and judge them separately we form a kind of disjunction between them and their natural learning environment. And thirdly, it’s crucially about the culture of our institutions, the habits of the institution and the habitats that they occupy.’

– Robinson, K. (2008, June 16) Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from Ted.com

The Destruction of Divergent Thinking


‘There was a great study done recently of divergent thinking. It was published a couple of years ago. Divergent thinking isn’t the same thing as creativity. I define creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value. Divergent thinking isn’t a synonym but it’s an essential capacity for creativity. It’s the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question, lots of possible ways of interpreting a question to think what Edward de Bono would probably call laterally – to think not just in linear or convergent ways. To seek multiple answers, not one.

So there are tests for this, I mean, one kind of cod example would be people might be asked to say how many uses can you think of for a paper clip; one of those routine questions. Most people might come up with ten or fifteen. People who are good at this might come up with 200. And they’d do that by saying, “Well could the paperclip be 200 foot tall and made out of foam rubber?” “Does it have to be a paperclip as we know it, Jim?” Now they tested this and they gave them to 1,500 people in a book called Break Point and Beyond, and on the protocol of the test if you scored above a certain level you’d be considered to be a genius at divergent thinking.

So my question to you is what percentage of the people tested of the 1,500 scored at genius level for divergent thinking. Now you need to know one more thing about them – these were kindergarten children. So what do you think? What percentage at genius level? 80? 98%. Now the thing about this was it was a longitudinal study, so they retested the same children five years later aged 8 to 10. What do you think? 50? They retested them again five years later, ages 13 to 15. You can see a trend here can’t you?’

– Robinson, K. (2008, June 16) Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms. Retrieved from Ted.com