The Circle: Adam Van Langenberg on his High School Sceptic Society

It’s been six months since Adam Van Langenberg appeared on Australia’s Morning Panel Show “The Circle” talking about how he went about setting up a High School Sceptics Society!

If you missed it, here’s Adam:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9_5E6YpIpA

Work like this, IMO is the best way towards progress; teaching kids HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

Be sure to check out @ScepticSchool on Twitter for updates, and get in contact with him (@vanAdamme) if you’re a teacher or in the Education System and you’re interested doing something similar!

Kudos!

Setting Ground Rules

There is little sense is discussing issues with people who are not interested in the truth, and it is difficult to reason with people who are not able to recognize what constitutes a fallacious argument.

In an attempt to prevent myself for wasting my time, I have formed two ground rules for which “believers” will need to pass before I seriously consider engaging with them in any great depth.

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My first rule addresses the openness of the discussion. There is little to discuss if only one person is open to new information.

Of course, I am not going to leave them high and dry – If they want it explained, I am happy to refer to the QualiaSoup video on open-mindedness: http://bit.ly/QSopenminded

My second rule seeks to establish a framework that prevents fallacious conclusions. We can not reason with people who can not reason.

If someone is unfamiliar with logical fallacies, some of these are explained at a recently launched website called Your Logical Fallacy Is

Though, if they have failed the rule two, I am happy to provide links to resources that will help them develop critical thinking skills.

QualiaSoup: Critical Thinking

A while back I came across QualiaSoup, a UK artist and secular humanist discussing critical thinking, science, philosophy & the natural world. Their YouTube channel has a number of well-produced videos and after having a friend recently share with me a video from QualiaSoup, I thought I would share one each week as a way to promote the videos.

This weeks’ video from QualiaSoup is a look at some of the principles of critical thinking.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OLPL5p0fMg

I strongly recommend looking at the rest of the videos on the channel, or you watch the select few that I Post here. Check them out at QUALIASOUP.

Empirical Evidence?

Empirical

Empirical Evidence is often spoke about, but it appears to me, at least with the people I have had to explain it to, that many don’t know what is meant. In scientific use the term empirical refers to the gathering of data using only evidence that is observable by the senses or in some cases using calibrated scientific instruments.

Simply, Empirical Evidence is gained through observations and measurements.

The XKCD comic demonstrates this; Had he simply answered yes, this would have been a hypothesis not supported by evidence, though by being married, the guy/bald woman can answer the question that was posed with surety.