Saturday, February 4, 2012

They Really Don't Know

I was fortunate that as a master's student in graduate school I had professors that did not hesitate to present two sides of a coin. My advisor did not only have us watch the movie An Inconvenient Truth but also had us watch a lecture by Richard Lindzen from MIT who disagrees with Al Gore's perspective on the concept of global warming. Another professor presented my class with papers promoting one theory with relation to what drives convection in tropical cyclones, along with papers presenting an opposing view.

Opposition in science is generally frowned on by those who embrace the prevailing view. Nevertheless, it is imperative that opposition to the prevailing view arises in order for the prevailing view to be either substantiated or rejected. Recently the evolutionary idea that birds descended from dinosaurs has been challenged. Unfortunately to students, they are usually not taught that the idea of birds being descended from dinosaurs is just a hypothesis that has become the prevailing view, is still subject to the scrutiny of future findings, and is not an established scientific fact. By doing so professors are promoting their religion with relation to a subject rather than presenting their view along with opposing views and to logically attempt to justify their views to the class.

So many people become swayed to embrace the concepts of evolution and uniformitarianism because they are not encouraged to think critically on an issue. It is therefore imperative for one to understand what it is they believe and why they believe what they do and not to just believe a view because that is the view they were taught. If they merely accept what they were initially taught as fact, without any justification for what they were initially taught, then they will easily be swayed when another view is presented which appears to have the answers.

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