Friday, December 21, 2012

Science won't cure superstition

I got this far into the year, believing (or maybe feverishly hoping) that my lambs were starting to get this science thing, then the Mayans gone done screwed it up.

"Can science prove the world won't end tomorrow?"

Of course not, no more than science can prove Liam [our class leprechaun] does not exist.

"It's true, then!" 

A few students really believe the lack of proof against the untestable makes the untestable true, and in their worlds of devils and demons, gods and ghosts, they trust their fears more than they trust the little we can know with logic and love.

And Liam?
He sits on the shelf, hissing and spitting at me as I lurch through darkness, at least as real as molecules and motion, and a whole lot more interesting.

Crystal healing grid, anyone?

1 comment:

Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

One way I've encountered to come to grips with this is the "conceptual change model." It is a step-by-step strategy that is meant to help students bring out their own understandings about how the world works, test those understandings, and then compare these prior understandings to scientific theories. (It is a rather painstaking business.) Even so, our misundertandings aquired at an early age are very persistent--partly because (according to a recent report) we are so good at compartmentalizing, and holding opposing beliefs simultaneously.