Wednesday, November 14, 2007

There are three levels of evidence in investigation of phenomena. Personal experience, anecdotal (referencing the experience of others), and statistical. Most commonly in America, statistical evidence is most highly regarded because it is most difficult to clearly understand, and requires the most complicated investigation. As a point of interest, statistical evidence is easy to manipulate in the hands of experts and those with devious or malicious intent. A classic text by Darrell Huff, How to Lie with Statistics, would help any modern citizen to get it. But remember, statisticians have gotten even better at misrepresentation since 1954 when the book was written.

Removal of direct experience from education in America places us all at risk, as we become more distanced from reliance on our own senses and sensibilities for judging the truth and merit of information presented to us as fact. Working with real physical material in a woodshop is a valuable means of developing sensitivity and trust of the senses, and provides a foundation for later scientific investigation and personal analysis.

Is education in America intended to develop an enlightened and intelligent citizenry or blind obedience to our masters? You guess.

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