The Unverified Things We Believe

But then I began to think, what else is there that we believe? (And I thought then about the witch doctors, and how easy it would have been to cheek on them by noticing that nothing really worked.) So I found things that even more people believe, such as that we have some knowledge of how to educate. There are big schools of reading methods and mathematics methods, and so forth, but if you notice, you'll see the reading scores keep going down--or hardly going up in spite of the fact that we continually use these same people to improve the methods. There's a witch doctor remedy that doesn't work. It ought to be looked into; how do they know that their method should work? Another example is how to treat criminals. We obviously have made no progress--lots of theory, but no progress-- in decreasing the amount of crime by the method that we use to handle criminals.

Yet these things are said to be scientific. We study them. And I think ordinary people with commonsense ideas are intimidated by this pseudoscience. A teacher who has some good idea of how to teach her children to read is forced by the school system to do it some other way--or is even fooled by the school system into thinking that her method is not necessarily a good one. Or a parent of bad boys, after disciplining them in one way or another, feels guilty for the rest of her life because she didn't do "the right thing," according to the experts.


There are things we believe, such as pedagogical theories, that are far more damaging than new age ideas.

Folksonomies: science pseudo-science

/religion and spirituality/atheism and agnosticism (0.509647)
/technology and computing/hardware/computer components/memory (0.446540)
/education/homework and study tips (0.445117)

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Idea (0.967043): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Thought (0.962788): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Teacher (0.958224): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Scientific method (0.916665): dbpedia | freebase
Education (0.896167): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
School (0.887901): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Mind (0.836351): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
English-language films (0.809180): dbpedia

 Cargo Cult Science: Some Remarks on Science, Pseudoscience, and Learning How to Not Fool Yourself
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book Chapter:  Feynman, Richard (1974), Cargo Cult Science: Some Remarks on Science, Pseudoscience, and Learning How to Not Fool Yourself, 1974 Caltech Commencement Address, Retrieved on 2010-11-13
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