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In the Name of God بسم الله

Combat pseudoscience: no science knowledge needed


notme

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Salaam alaikum brothers and sisters :)

Humans have an innate urge to explain and understand the world. That's why we have mythology, that's why we have science, and that's why we have pseudoscience. 

While, I suppose, there is nothing inherently wrong with pseudoscience, it is often used by unscrupulous politicians and media operatives to control and manipulate people and is a clear symptom of a population wanting to free itself from ignorance. 

Recently I've been reading Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. In an early chapter, Dr Sagan speculates that the way to combat pseudoscience is with knowledge of science. Just today I came across an article from researchers at NC State University (click the link!) who assert that exposure to the concept and methods of critical thinking do more to combat falsehood than scientific knowledge. 

Islam is not a passive religion of blindly following anyone. We follow a religion that encourages, even requires us to think, explore, attempt to understand our world. Knowledge that critical thinking combats falsehood really should be intuitive, yet still we have people who would rather follow a false leader than think. What can thinking Muslims do to spread thought in our world? 

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3 minutes ago, Sindbad05 said:

What is pseudoscience ?

Good question!

Pseudoscience relies on laziness or ignorance to present false or unverifiable claims as science or fact. They can be quite convincing where there is lack of scientific knowledge and/or ability to think critically. 

Always question everything! 

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1 hour ago, kirtc said:

because Carl sagan is an atheist and I will tie that fact with the option of you being a reliable source

Seek knowledge, even as far away as China. 

And always question everything. 

But did you want to address the topic, or comment on my choice of reading material? The point was that in spite of what Sagan, a respected scientist says, critical thinking - something that Shia Islam requires - is more important to avoiding falsehood than scientific knowledge. 

If I mention Ray Bradbury, will you assume that I think slender yellow people live on Mars? Or are you of the opinion that Muslims should read nothing except Quran and hadith?

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6 minutes ago, kirtc said:

Ray Bradbury writes fiction. I read everything... Just saying, with a bit of insight you can tell when something is true or not by just seeing the sources and sometimes the anti-source's opinion on the subject. It almost always polarizes no matter what subject. In the case of Carl Sagan, they made his series popular with Neil degrasse Tyson and Seth mcfarlane who both never miss a chance to promote atheism. It is not chance they all work together, and therefore I look at their works with extreme vigilance and would not go to them for any knowledge. I am sure Allah has alternative astronomer or cosmologists for us to learn from, you just need to search.

You're still completely missing the point of the OP- Carl Sagan was cited as someone who had proposed a perhaps weaker method of combating pseudoscience. The fact that he's an atheist and has worked with other atheists is pretty irrelevant.

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Are you going to the March for Science? 

Around here,it appears to be mostly a march for the climate and environment.

Also, what do you think  about the push back from the science community in the federal agencies ( RogueNASA,AltNationalParks,etc) against the Trump administration?

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This illustrates one reason battling pseudoscience is more difficult than in the past --2 generations ago:

l was watching Tavis Smiley this weekend when his guest was the comedian Bob Newhart. They spent a few minutes discussing how Newhart has had to "compressed" the material he used 50 years ago because attention spans keep shortening.

That also, l read, is why most movies now are 90 minutes instead of the previous standard of 2 hours.

@LeftCoastMom Do you remember that Erick von Daniken garbage?

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8 hours ago, LeftCoastMom said:

Are you going to the March for Science? 

Around here,it appears to be mostly a march for the climate and environment.

Also, what do you think  about the push back from the science community in the federal agencies ( RogueNASA,AltNationalParks,etc) against the Trump administration?

I'll probably not march for science, because I really, really, really dislike crowds, but I might change my mind and face my phobia. I definitely do oppose censorship of knowledge. Isn't that their prime grievance? 

I think the rogue agencies are heroic - if they are real. Always oppose oppressors, better yet, oppose them with intelligence and humor. 

_____

So how do we wake the zombies? Can ability to think be restored, or are we few holdouts the last of our kind? Is humanity devolving into perpetual infancy? 

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^ I think the sister marches to the one in DC  in the larger towns in this region will be big. It's a symbolic gesture, but it is meant to wake and educate. The organizing has been going on for quite some time and there have been a lot of sign-ups. The T-shirt batches have sold out  twice (I look at t-shirt sales...lol).

But I live near a college town  in an ecology-conscious region.

:)

 

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On March 27, 2017 at 8:44 AM, notme said:

alaikum

 

On March 27, 2017 at 8:44 AM, notme said:

Salaam alaikum brothers and sisters :)

Humans have an innate urge to explain and understand the world. That's why we have mythology, that's why we have science, and that's why we have pseudoscience. 

While, I suppose, there is nothing inherently wrong with pseudoscience, it is often used by unscrupulous politicians and media operatives to control and manipulate people and is a clear symptom of a population wanting to free itself from ignorance. 

Recently I've been reading Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. In an early chapter, Dr Sagan speculates that the way to combat pseudoscience is with knowledge of science. Just today I came across an article from researchers at NC State University (click the link!) who assert that exposure to the concept and methods of critical thinking do more to combat falsehood than scientific knowledge. 

Islam is not a passive religion of blindly following anyone. We follow a religion that encourages, even requires us to think, explore, attempt to understand our world. Knowledge that critical thinking combats falsehood really should be intuitive, yet still we have people who would rather follow a false leader than think. What can thinking Muslims do to spread thought in our world? 

People say that Islam promotes critical thinking, and I agree. However, what I do not typically see, is people being taught how to perform that critical thinking. Science is nice because you go to school and you learn the scientific method. So to better promote critical thinking in Islam, an "Islamic method" should be emphasized or promoted. 

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17 minutes ago, iCambrian said:

So to better promote critical thinking in Islam, an "Islamic method" should be emphasized or promoted. 

That's a brilliant idea. I don't know if they teach critical analysis at higher levels of Islamic study. I assume they do. But generally children and laypersons are told what to follow and expected to obey. 

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