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robertogreco : scientificmethod   15

The Game Worlds We Make: Why designing a simple board game with my son rivals anything he’s learning in school
"You will have already noticed the echo here: You design a complex system based on a hypothesis about how all its component parts will interact, then you test the system to see if it corresponds to your hypothesis. When it invariably deviates from your initial predictions, you refine your model and build a new hypothesis. The actual content you are analyzing is, literally, child’s play: imaginary baseball players; virtual crops. But the form of the cognition is the scientific method.

I wish I could tell you that this story ends with a Charles Darrow-style runaway hit game. (Though even that triumph turned out to be fiction.) After a few cycles of revisions, I made up a bunch of cards on the computer and color-printed the whole thing out to glossy paper. That alone was a meaningful threshold for Dean: We’d graduated into the world of color illustrations and proper typefaces, and left behind our magic-marker sketches. We played it start-to-finish in its final draft form probably a dozen times. We investigated a few services that self-publish board games, but somehow once we had figured out the rules, the possibility of sharing (or even selling) the game seemed less intriguing. (Though it didn’t stop Dean’s brothers from demanding a percentage of future royalties, thanks to their work as unpaid “consultants” on the project.) Blossom never became a hit. But as a creative project shared by parent and child, it was pure magic.

The kind of blended thinking you have to do in creating a playable game — particularly one that models some kind of real-world equivalent — is, by my measure at least, every bit as rich as the more conventional classroom experiences, and much more fun. I’m hardly the first person to make this observation; game design has already made its way onto many curricula around the world, and there are wonderful institutions dedicated to exploring the pedagogical opportunities that games present."

"That, of course, is the beauty of game design as a learning experience. It doesn’t feel like learning. It feels like the other side of play: not play in the sense of escape, the breaking of boundaries, but play in the sense of figuring out the rules, and figuring out the way the rules aren’t quite working yet and dreaming up better ones. You don’t do that kind of thinking when you memorize state capitals, or read novels, or solve quadratic equations, or write expository essays, as important as all those enterprises are. It’s one of those rare skills that happens to play well at both tables of general and vocational education. You’re learning the scientific method when you conjure up a game, but you’re also learning product design. If we’re lucky, more of our schools will come around to the power of game creation as a pedagogical tool. But in the meantime, parents can make their own luck — dice or no dice. Designing a game teaches your kid how to think. And it reminds you how much there is to learn from playing."
stevenjohnson  2017  games  boardgames  gamedesign  children  parenting  classideas  systems  systemsthinking  play  scientificmethod  learning  howwelearn  modeling  education  schools  productdesign  criticalthinking  thinking 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Against Method - Wikipedia
"Against Method: Outline of an Anarchist Theory of Knowledge is a 1975 book about the philosophy of science by Paul Feyerabend, who argues that science is an anarchic, not a nomic (lawly), enterprise.[1] In the context of this work, the term anarchy refers to epistemological anarchy."

"Feyerabend divides his argument into an abstract critique followed by a number of historical case studies.[2]

The abstract critique is a reductio ad absurdum of methodological monism (the belief that a single methodology can produce scientific progress).[3] Feyerabend goes on to identify four features of methodological monism: the principle of falsification,[4] a demand for increased empirical content,[5] the forbidding of ad hoc hypotheses[6] and the consistency condition.[7] He then demonstrates that these features imply that science could not progress, hence an absurdity for proponents of the scientific method.

The historical case studies also act as a reductio.[8] Feyerabend takes the premise that Galileo's advancing of a heliocentric cosmology was an example of scientific progress. He then demonstrates that Galileo did not adhere to the conditions of methodological monism. Feyerabend also argues that, if Galileo had adhered to the conditions of methodological monism, then he could not have advanced a heliocentric cosmology. This implies that scientific progress would have been impaired by methodological monism. Again, an absurdity for proponents of the scientific method.[9]

Feyerabend summarises his reductios with the phrase "anything goes". This is his sarcastic imitation of "the terrified reaction of a rationalist who takes a closer look at history".[10]"
philosophy  science  method  scientificmethod  paulfeyerabend  anarchism  monism  falsification  hypotheses  adhoc  consistency  rationalism  via:tealtan  galileso  againstmethod  knowledge  1975  toread  books 
october 2015 by robertogreco
This is why you shouldn’t believe that exciting new medical study - Vox
"In 2003, researchers writing in the American Journal of Medicine discovered something that should change how you think about medical news. They looked at 101 studies published in top scientific journals between 1979 and 1983 that claimed a new therapy or medical technology was very promising. Only five, they found out, made it to market within a decade. Only one (ACE inhibitors, a pharmaceutical drug) was still extensively used at the time of their publication.

It’s a fact that all studies are biased and flawed in their own unique ways. The truth usually lies somewhere in a flurry of research on the same question. This means real insights don't come by way of miraculous, one-off findings or divinely ordained eureka moments; they happen after a long, plodding process of vetting and repeating tests, and peer-to-peer discussion. The aim is to make sure findings are accurate and not the result of a quirk in one experiment or the biased crusade of a lone researcher.

As science is working itself out, we reporters and our audiences seize on "promising findings." It's exciting to hear about a brand new idea that maybe — just maybe — could revolutionize medicine and stop some scourge people suffer through. We're often prodded along by overhyping scientists like Zamboni, who are under their own pressure to attract research funding and publications.

We don't wait for scientific consensus; we report a little too early, and we lead patients and policymakers down wasteful, harmful, or redundant paths that end in dashed hope and failed medicine.

This tendency could be minimized if we could only remember that the overwhelming majority of studies in medicine fail."

"We now live in an age of unprecedented scientific exploration. Through the internet, we have this world of knowledge at our fingertips. But more information means more bad information, and the need for skepticism has never been greater.


I often wonder whether there is any value in reporting very early research. Journals now publish their findings, and the public seizes on them, but this wasn't always the case: journals were meant for peer-to-peer discussion, not mass consumption.

Working in the current system, we reporters feed on press releases from journals and it's difficult to resist the siren call of flashy findings. We are incentivized to find novel things to write about, just as scientists and research institutions need to attract attention to their work. Patients, of course, want better medicines, better procedures — and hope.

But this cycle is hurting us, and it's obscuring the truths research has to offer. (Despite the very early and tenuous science behind liberation therapy, MS sufferers traveled the world seeking it out, and launched political movements calling for resources to fund the treatment.)

For my part, I've tried to report new studies in context, and use systematic reviews — meta-analyses of all the best studies on clinical questions — wherever possible. When scientists or other members of the media prematurely blow up a novel breakthrough, I've tried to convey the reality that it's probably not a breakthrough at all. The more I do this, the more I realize the truth in what Harvard's Oreskes, Stanford's John Ioannidis, and many other respected researchers have reiterated over the years: we need to look past the newest science to where knowledge has accumulated. There, we'll find insights that will help us have healthier lives and societies.

As we turn away from the magic pills and miracle treatments, I think we'll focus more on the things that actually matter to health — like education, equality, the environment.

It's not always easy, and the forces pushing us to the cutting edge are powerful. But I try to proceed cautiously, to remind myself that most of what I'm seeing today is hopelessly flawed, that there's value in looking back."

who quotes

"That “new scientific breakthrough discovery” you just read about on that news site/blog/Facebook page? It’s almost certainly wrong. This article from Vox is a seriously important thing that, if you care about science, you really need to read, like right now.

My take: The tendency of the media to report on what is *NEW* in science is indicative of what I think is the largest perspective gap between scientists and nonscientists.

The general public (<- apologies, I hate how homogenous that word is, because there is no single “general public”, but I have to use it here) seems to crave novelty and has a tendency to view every scientific finding as forwardprogress and individually meaningful, but science is a an ongoing process of self-correction and repetition. It doesn’t have an “end” and any single study is almost certainly wrong, or at the very least doesn’t tell the full story.

This is why I have tried to steer clear of reporting on “breaking” science news in my own efforts here on OKTBS. Science communicators and journalists, we need to make a commitment to covering science as a process and not as a series of breakthroughs. When science IS reported that way, we run the risk of losing people’s trust when science later must later correct or contradict itself, which is something that will absolutely happen, because that’s what science does. We must also make people comfortable with the idea uncertainty and science-as-a-process is a good thing!"]
juliabelluz  science  scientificmethod  criticalthinking  joehanson  journalism  research  medicine  2015  peerreview  journals  skepticism  popmedia  media  massmedia  pressreleases 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Experts and the corruption of truth! | Metaquestions
"We all need to be able to understand our first principles are probably wrong. We need to realise field testing only tells us a bit of what we need to know within limits. It is just not simple, if its simple it need to be a belief like religion and that leads to people holding onto something that is not proven. Those people will stop innovation and improvement on our global knowledge base."

"There is no short-cut, there is no final proof, we are merely allowed to see only part of what makes the universe work, we do not know gravity, anti matter, black holes or even if any of these things exist! We cannot even tell why prime numbers happen in the order they do, what we do not know is very simple things that we really should know. So how on earth could we know the big stuff? Bottom line, this game we are playing only shows us a few of the rules at any one time, things will change as we discover more rules, but they force us to reconsider all our previous moves continually and as nature shows us more rules it will force us to be humble and start again.

The number of unknowns is enormous and trying to ignore them by simply an equation, fancy word for something, a measurement or even a series of experiments is simply not enough. All together they offer an ability to start to ask, none of them offer a final answer (and never will). So don’t be an expert, be an explorer and if you are nice to your fellow explorers they may even show you ways you have not yet considered. If they talk in maths riddles and hide behind fancy papers and equations then they are safe to ignore. There is no easy answer, only more information and potentially all you know may be wrong, certainly the majority is certainly wrong, so don’t be a believer, be ready to infer new conclusions as you find out more info, which may not even look related. So look at everything and prepare for massive surprises, they will happen!

This is why I struggle to give simple answers to folk, I hate lies and part of a truth is closer to a lie that saying nothing. Many understand this position, but many don’t yet. It is interesting to see though that the experts seem to be the very people who are the believers and not explorers, when folk also realise what they know is trivial and likely wrong then perhaps things will move along faster.

In saying that I also agree that the inability to easily explain something is an indication of a lack of understanding. A quandary, well yes … Just another thing I don’t know, I wish I did."
experts  via:Taryn  2015  truth  math  science  mathematics  scientificmethod  unlearning  learning  certainty  uncertainty  understanding  belief  unknowns  limits  davidirvine 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Two quotes for 2014 | Magical Nihilism
"from Freedom by Daniel Suarez:

“Where ancient people believed in gods and devils that listened to their pleas and curses — in this age immortal entities hear us. Call them bots or spirits; there is no functional difference now. They surround us and through them word-forms become an unlock code that can trigger a blessing or a curse. Mankind created systems whose inter-reactions we could not fully understand, and the spirits we gathered have escaped from them into the land where they walk the earth—or the GPS grid, whichever you prefer. The spirit world overlaps the real one now, and our lives will never be the same.”

“But doesn’t this just spread mysticism? Lies, essentially?”

“You mean fairy tales? Yes, initially. But then, a lot of parents tell young children that there’s a Santa Claus. It’s easier than trying to explain the cultural significance of midwinter celebrations to a three-year-old. If false magic or a white lie about the god-monster in the mountain will get people to stop killing one another and learn, then the truth can wait. When the time is right, it can be replaced with a reverence for the scientific method.”

See also Julian Oliver’s talk. Again. "
mattjones  danilesuarez  2014  gods  devils  technology  belief  fairytales  falsemagic  magic  myth  truth  science  scientificmethod  spirits  spiritworld  systems  understanding  bots  julianoliver 
january 2014 by robertogreco - Young Children as Research Scientists
"…current research that clearly supports John Holt’s ideas about how children learn…

Scientific Thinking in Young Children: Theoretical Advances, Empirical Research, and Policy Implications, Science 28, September 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6102 pp. 1623-1627

By Alison Gopnik

ABSTRACT: New theoretical ideas and empirical research show that very young children’s learning and thinking are strikingly similar to much learning and thinking in science. Preschoolers test hypotheses against data and make causal inferences; they learn from statistics and informal experimentation, and from watching and listening to others. The mathematical framework of probabilistic models and Bayesian inference can describe this learning in precise ways. These discoveries have implications for early childhood education and policy. In particular, they suggest both that early childhood experience is extremely important and that the trend toward more structured and academic early childhood programs is misguided."
lcrpoject  howwelearn  scientificthinking  homeschool  autodidacts  autodidactism  2012  scientificmethod  research  education  learning  unschooling  patfarenga  johnholt  alisongopnik  autodidacticism 
october 2012 by robertogreco
A few:

"* I believe there is a single objective material reality in which we all exist & have our subjective experiences.

* I believe in the value of human life, & the value of the quality of human life. I believe that material, intellectual & emotional satisfaction are essential for the quality of human life.

* I believe that any system which depends on depriving some humans of their quality of life, such as the capitalist system, is a bad system. I believe that in depriving some of their quality of life, such a system reduces the quality of life for all.

* I believe in my friends and in the value of friendship. A life without the constant friendship of other human beings is a tragic life.

* I believe in the value of the diversity of living things. I believe civilisation should ensure that this diversity is maintained.

* I believe in the value of art and beauty, & art for its own sake. I believe the value of art cannot and must not be measured in material terms."
knowledge  skepticism  openminded  truth  learning  curiosity  scientificmethod  science  purpose  meaning  living  relationships  firendship  stephenbond  civilization  capitalism  humanism  life  diversity  beauty  art  credo  credos  via:nicolefenton 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The Reinvention of the Self § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
"Marmosets are the ideal experimental animal: a primate brain trapped inside the body of a rat."

"The structure of our brain, from the details of our dendrites to the density of our hippocampus, is incredibly influenced by our surroundings. Put a primate under stressful conditions, and its brain begins to starve. It stops creating new cells. The cells it already has retreat inwards. The mind is disfigured.

The social implications of this research are staggering. If boring environments, stressful noises, and the primate’s particular slot in the dominance hierarchy all shape the architecture of the brain—and Gould’s team has shown that they do—then the playing field isn’t level. Poverty and stress aren’t just an idea: they are an anatomy. Some brains never even have a chance."

"The genius of the scientific method, however, is that it accepts no permanent solution. Skepticism is its solvent, for every theory is imperfect. Scientific facts are meaningful precisely because they are ephemeral, because a new observation, a more honest observation, can always alter them. This is what happened to Rakic’s theory of the fixed brain. It was, to use Karl Popper’s verb, falsified."

"Neurogenesis is an optimistic idea. Though Gould’s lab has thoroughly demonstrated the long-term consequences of deprivation and stress, the brain, like skin, can heal itself, as Gould is now beginning to document, finding hopeful antidotes to neurogenesis-inhibiting injuries. “My hunch is that a lot of these abnormalities [caused by stress] can be fixed in adulthood,” she says. “I think that there’s a lot of evidence for the resiliency of the brain.”"

"The mind is like a muscle: it swells with exercise. Gould’s and Kozorovitskiy’s work reminds us not only how easy it is to hurt a brain, but how little it takes for that brain to heal. Give a primate just a few extra playthings, and its neurons are capable of escaping the downward cycle of stress."

"Neurogenesis is a field that doubts itself. Because it has been scorned from the start, its proponents talk most emphatically about what they don’t know, about all the essential questions that remain unanswered. Their modesty is accurate: The purpose of all of our new cells remains obscure. No one knows how experiments done in rodents will relate to humans, or whether neurogenesis is just a small part of our mind’s essential plasticity."
uncertainty  trophins  childhoodstress  children  childhood  lizgould  biology  geniakozorovitskiy  resilience  resiliency  neuronova  jonasfrisén  fernandonottebohm  robertsapolsky  serotonin  prozac  antidepressants  depression  pharmacology  psychiatry  psychology  ronaldduman  michaelkaplan  josephaltman  paskorakic  brucemcewen  christianmirescu  neurogenesis  howwelearn  science  permanence  adaptability  change  ephemeral  observation  scientificmethod  research  stress  poverty  surroundings  environment  primates  marmosets  brain  neuroscience  elizabethgould  via:litherland  2006  ephemerality 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Such a Long Journey - An Interview with Kevin Kelly - Boing Boing
"…we should be open to assignments and changing our mind. I think that's what I had, a change of mind. I'm a huge believer in science and scientific method…every time that we get an answer in science it also provokes two new questions…in a certain curious way science is expanding our ignorance - our ignorance is expanding faster than what we know…what we know is just a small, small fraction of what is going on in the world…

…the most active theologians today are science fiction authors…asking the important questions of "What if?"… [Examples of questions]…Those are the kinds of questions that not theologians are asking in any religion that I am aware of, but science fiction authors constantly are exploring that. And they're the ones who are going to have the answers for us that the theologians will have to look to. But at the same time these are fundamentally religious questions that are not being asked in that vocabulary."
darkmatter  whatwedon'tknow  ignorance  curiosity  thinking  scientificmethod  technology  jaronlanier  technium  philosophy  avisolomon  interviews  2012  openminded  mindchanges  experience  religion  scifi  sciencefiction  science  kevinkelly  via:litherland  mindchanging 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Mission Science Workshop
...seeks to combine traditional activities in experimental science—use of microscopes, balances, thermometers, culturing plants and animals—with building a variety of projects with clay, wood, and plastic, including pendulums, electric and mechanical toys, musical instruments, and apparatuses that enhance our explorations of sound, light, and color.<br />
In all our activities in the workshop the emphasis is upon learning from observation and direct experience with real things rather than simply accepting the truth of transmitted knowledge, whether the source is books or teachers. Our favorite quote is from physicist Richard Feynman: “Science doesn’t teach anything, experience teaches it.”
parenting  homeschool  unschooling  science  sanfrancisco  dansudran  missionscienceworkshop  lcproject  education  learning  handsonlearning  handson  schools  teaching  children  alternative  alternativeeducation  experiential  scientificmethod 
december 2010 by robertogreco
A place to awaken S.F. kids' inner Einsteins
"Those are magic words to Dan Sudran, 64, who conducted the balloon experiment the other day in the Mission Science Workshop he runs in a former high school auto shop on Church Street in San Francisco.

Sudran's do-it-yourself laboratory is to science what a wizard's lair is to sorcery. Complete animal skeletons hang from the ceiling or from perches - a cow found in the Salinas Valley, an ostrich acquired by way of Sudran's butcher, a dolphin donated by a guy in Bolinas.

There's a mummified cat that a janitor found at a middle school, its fangs still agape in terror. A pelican in dramatic rigor mortis is available for inspection. Bones, flippers, femurs, hooves, teeth and beaks are arranged in evolutionary order on a table. Donors include bears, pigs, sea lions, armadillos and humans."
via:caterina  parenting  homeschool  unschooling  science  sanfrancisco  dansudran  missionscienceworkshop  lcproject  education  learning  handsonlearning  handson  schools  teaching  children  alternative  alternativeeducation  experiential  scientificmethod 
december 2010 by robertogreco
NOVA | A Radical Mind
"You’ve been interested in the revolution in thinking that took place during Renaissance. I love the term “natural philosophy”…

It is lovely indeed. Too bad it hasn’t been used since 18th century.

What does that term mean to you?

Before Galileo, philosopher was somebody who studied great books. Many of those people were extraordinarily brilliant, but their absolute obedience to books was destructive. What Galileo did was to say natural philosophy is written in the Great Book of Nature & one must move from reading books in library to reading books around us—that is, use experimental method & believe in power of the eye. That was the big thing. Newton was called a natural philosopher. & in 18th century, professions of mathematics & physics were not deeply distinguished, but now they are.

I’m certainly a philosopher entranced with unifying ideas. However, I don’t only study books; I study nature. Also art of the past, for purpose of finding artifacts that I could embrace."

[Interview with Benoit Mandelbrot via: ]
benoitmandelbrot  math  philosophy  nature  thinking  renaissance  books  observation  scientificmethod  galileo  noticing  naturalphilosophy  interviews  mathematics  science  fractals 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Joho the Blog » Why we don’t remember how science works
"On the one hand, it’s admirable that NPR spent so much of its time getting us past the headline. On the other hand, isn’t it a little bit depressing that we need to be told over and over again that scientific studies rarely are conclusive about big points and biological correlations? Are we still that unschooled in the scientific method that 450 years after the birth of Francis Bacon (and a thousand years after Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham, if you want to get technical about it) we need a refresher course in science’s nervous stepwise progress every time the media report on a scientific study? Apparently, yes...
education  journalism  media  reporting  science  teaching  tcsnmy  criticalthinking  scientificmethod  research  experiments  davidweinberger 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Games Without Frontiers: How Videogames Blind Us With Science
"And it's pretty much how kids already approach the games they love. They're already scientists; they already know the value of the scientific method. Teachers just need to talk to them in their language, so that the kids can begin to understand the joy of puzzling through the offline, "real" world too."
science  scientificmethod  classideas  teaching  learning  games  gaming  clivethompson  children  culture  videogames  tcsnmy  spreadsheets  wow  gamechanging 
september 2008 by robertogreco

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