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← MythBuster Adam Savage: 3 Ways to Fix U.S. Science Education

MythBuster Adam Savage: 3 Ways to Fix U.S. Science Education - Comments

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 1 by RichardofYork

Not many people like to be told their wrong , even if it leads to a better understanding and more accurate results and conclusions

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 10:04:00 UTC | #227050

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 3 by phasmagigas


Not many people like to be told their wrong

without jumping on the atheist bandwagon i think theres some truth in that with many people, atheists are ready to be proven wrong when they 'pass over', the theist disqualifies him/her self from ever knowing their world view is wrong (well unless its not their particular god of course!)

i walk tall ready to have my world view shattered.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 10:21:00 UTC | #227059

AoClay's Avatar Comment 4 by AoClay

I'm certainly a bit of a "statist" with the twelve year old girl. Florida and decent questions usually aren't good friend, it seems, so hurray.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 10:29:00 UTC | #227063

cerad's Avatar Comment 5 by cerad

The Myth Buster's website has a section for posting suggestions on things to test. I once proposed testing to see if, during crucifixion, a nail through a palm was sufficient to support the person's weight. As opposed to using nails through the wrist. Sadly, they turned my idea down.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 10:34:00 UTC | #227065

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 6 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Not many people like to be told their wrong , even if it leads to a better understanding and more accurate results and conclusions

I have a feeling BigJohn was hinting at it, but...


Sat, 30 Aug 2008 10:39:00 UTC | #227067

m-man's Avatar Comment 7 by m-man


ive read about those tests that have been done a few times by different people, and the results are what you would expect, a nail through the hand will not hold your weight,

there are some exceptions, such as if your feet are supported...etc

but i believe that most crucifixions had the persons hands just tied to the cross beam.

as well most of the crucifixions took place on a 'T' shaped device, not a 't' cross looking one.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 10:50:00 UTC | #227068

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 8 by Border Collie

Sounds good. But, in the US you'd need release forms forty miles long and a staff attorney before kids could get their hands 'dirty' in a science class. I can see the lawsuits on the horizon.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 11:00:00 UTC | #227073

salon_1928's Avatar Comment 9 by salon_1928

most of the crucifixions took place on a 'T' shaped device, not a 't' cross looking one.

According to a witness friend of mine, it was an 'I' shaped device. i.e. a stake. Those witnesses, always wanting to be different...

Anyway, I love Mythbusters. I always crack up when I see the clip of Adam saying: I reject your reality and substitute my own


Sat, 30 Aug 2008 11:20:00 UTC | #227083

happinessiseasy's Avatar Comment 10 by happinessiseasy

BigJohn and Spinoza, I was actually giving RichardOfYork the benefit of the doubt. I figured he was trying to "proove" that point.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 11:30:00 UTC | #227088

BlueMosquito's Avatar Comment 11 by BlueMosquito

One of the real problems with the teaching of science is that we don't teach it as a process. It's cook-book science with predictable outcomes.

I am a High School Biology teacher, and over the last few years I have learned to detest the labs in the textbooks and lab manuals.

A previous poster hit it on the head - teach the PROCESS of science. Plan experiments where you do NOT know the outcome and students must generate hypothesis, control variables, etc. THIS IS SCIENCE - we do not always know the outcome.

It can be very simple too - studying the effects of enzymes using the browning of apples... effects of gatorade or caffiene on urine production.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 11:32:00 UTC | #227089

debaser71's Avatar Comment 12 by debaser71

The problem with science education is that in our culture science isn't valued.

Also any time there is an article about science education no one ever wants to say the obvious. SCIENCE IS HARD. IMO not everyone has the apptitude for doing science. Just like not everyone is good at singing or drawing.

I think there should be science appreciation classes.

eta: For me, bio lab, chem lab, physics lab, etc were mostly a waste. Counting pendulum swings or timing the acceleration due to gravity etc for me, are boring and eat up waaaaay too much time. For me, I'd rather wet my brain than get my hands dirty and from how most students hate their science lab classes I think they agree.

The only lab I enjoyed was in college when I started taking up geology.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 11:46:00 UTC | #227093

Notcrowingbutyawning's Avatar Comment 13 by Notcrowingbutyawning

Hands on and hands dirty, make it gleefully messy and designed to explore, involve them every step of the way in the process and you'll only fail if that child is forever beyond reach anyhow!

You can make it as simple as studying gravity. Ask a child why heavy things don't go up when you drop them, and go from there. In essence, let them discover the law of gravity for themselves and only reveal Newton when they've pretty much understood what he was saying to begin with.

Think of all the subsets you can get out of it along the way... Why did this smash? Why did this bounce? Why did this just plop? Did any of them take longer to hit the ground? Then why?

Makes me want to go out and realise it all again. :O)

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 11:54:00 UTC | #227097

Art Vandelay's Avatar Comment 14 by Art Vandelay

Not many people like to be told their wrong

This should read, "Not many people like to be told they're wrong"

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 12:43:00 UTC | #227119

RationalistHomeTchr's Avatar Comment 15 by RationalistHomeTchr

"Mythbusters" is a great show, and Adam's ideas are wonderful.

However, getting hands dirty can be tough in the current US school system. My husband teaches biology in a high school, and it is difficult to get hands dirty in a 50-minute period, stuck in a classroom, with 35 students. He does do LOADS more labs with his students than most of the h.s. teachers in the district, but not as many as he'd like.

Also, he is "supposed" to get through a certain amount of info. The fact that most students don't particularly absorb the materials he has to rush through are quite beside the point to administration; he, the teacher, is still supposed to "cover" it.

As homeschoolers, our own kids had the opportunity to take weekly field trips, get their hands dirty with projects that take lots longer than 50 minutes, and delve into whatever interested them at the time. Geology at 8 and oceanography at 13? Fine! Bring it on!

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 14:16:00 UTC | #227179

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 16 by Agrajag

6. Comment #239823 by Spinoza on August 30, 2008 at 11:39 am

R.o.Y.: "Not many people like to be told their wrong..."

I have a feeling BigJohn was hinting at it, but...


D'oh! Beaten to it by a deceased philosopher. ;-)

However, *some* people like to be told their sins, or that they're sinners. Present company excepted!

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 14:24:00 UTC | #227184

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 17 by Laurie Fraser

They're going there for their holiday.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:27:00 UTC | #227235

8teist's Avatar Comment 18 by 8teist

Laurie maaaaaate, what happen last night??????

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:32:00 UTC | #227239

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 19 by Laurie Fraser

Brain explosions were the order of the day, 8. Pathetic. Lote Daiquiri should be tarred and feathered.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:40:00 UTC | #227244

J Mac's Avatar Comment 20 by J Mac

They're their there-there there.

Actually its a grammatically complete and logically sensible (though odd) sentence. No more odd though than Pinker's "Buffalo buffalo, buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo buffalo."

My odd sentence means that a group of people ARE their own comfort in a given place.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:45:00 UTC | #227248

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 21 by Laurie Fraser

Fair enough, but WTF does Pinker's sentence mean?

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:53:00 UTC | #227253

J Mac's Avatar Comment 22 by J Mac

Well lets see.

I know it's based on 4 meanings of Buffalo.

1) The city in New York: noun
2) Reference to people (or animals) from that city: adjective
3) The animal: noun
4) An act of charging at someone or something: verb

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:55:00 UTC | #227254

J Mac's Avatar Comment 23 by J Mac


I guess I didn't need the first definition.

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 17:56:00 UTC | #227255

Nick LaRue's Avatar Comment 24 by Nick LaRue

One of the things I remember most from my high school years and earlier school years is about being able to 'do' things. These days with all the liability claims and basically being sued for looking at someone funny, it's sad to see our younger generations not being able to do anything that I was. Cotton wool kids anyone? Being a kid is pretty crap these days if you ask me.

I love the Mythbusters though and I think Adam is right on the money. You can't always learn things without doing them, you can't let science become obsolete and you have to provide programs and funding for science. Need I say more?

Sat, 30 Aug 2008 22:51:00 UTC | #227362

upsidedawn's Avatar Comment 25 by upsidedawn

Reading the Adam Savage article on Wikipedia, I noticed that Adam wanted to devote a Mythbusters show to proving natural selection over creationism:

"Let's do natural selection. I'm sick of fifty percent of this country thinking creationism is reasonable. It's appalling."
The Skepticality podcast/mp3 with this quotation is here.Great show, Mythbusters. If only they would listen to him and take this on.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 08:26:00 UTC | #227518

Rob Schneider's Avatar Comment 26 by Rob Schneider

How about a diversion from grammatics, to ask, "Are these really the three most important ways to improve science education in America?"

Granted, all three are good. But with a little effort it's pretty easy to add some better ones (IMHO).

1. Spend significant time each year teaching and re-teaching concepts of scientific method. It's only 5 steps, right? Giving students a methodological framework with which to approach the world will help them in EVERY facet of living. The world needs more

2. Demand competence at deductive logic, improving the conclusions one draws, perhaps preventing erroneous cause/effect "miracles".

3. Rigorously teach rhetorical logical fallacies, so that students can critically read the truth claims being made by others and eviscerate the worthless ones.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 08:59:00 UTC | #227533

phiwilli's Avatar Comment 27 by phiwilli

Just a reminder that despite boring lectures, teaching to the test, inadequate resources, etc. there still are some students who become fascinated with science, who like a good lecture, and get "turned on" to science even though their lab experiences were of little value. I did. But then probably I would have even more enthusiastic had I experienced some of the educational improvements mentioned above.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 09:15:00 UTC | #227540

J Mac's Avatar Comment 28 by J Mac

Yes phiwilli, some students will be into science no matter how badly it is presented, and some will be against it no matter how well it is presented. But good teaching is looking for two things:

1) get those undecided or apathetic kids in the middle to take an interest, and
2) allow the interested students to achieve more.

I like you was interested in science regardless, but I often wonder how much more I could have achieved if the information was presented well. How much more could our society achieve? These are not empty questions, we are fighting the clock on many diseases, every year a cure for aids or cancer is delayed that many more people die. We need students not simply to make it through, we need them to achieve their full potential.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 09:44:00 UTC | #227550

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 29 by RichardofYork

Yes They're , i did edit it from "there" once :P
i think it was the shock of psoting first comment. I did mean the average joe not the average thinker the thinker delights in being put right when wrong , I hope

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 10:08:00 UTC | #227563

NewSkeptic's Avatar Comment 30 by NewSkeptic

3. Celebrate mistakes.

I always think of RD's recounting, in TGD, of the time when the long-taught theory of one of his professors was disproved by a visiting (American?) professor, and the subsequent gratitude of the local professor which was accompanied by the euphoric applause of the class.

It is the joy of learning, rather than that perceived 'joy' of thinking that you're right, that is the true fun in life. That just never gets tiring.

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 18:19:00 UTC | #227877