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Posts Tagged ‘scientific literacy

It is not often that the conclusion I start with is the same at the end. The video below is one of those rare instances.

Video source

When I started watching the video, I had concluded that the only ones to benefit from water filters in Singapore are the companies that sell them. I was hoping that this investigation would challenge my notion. Sadly, it confirmed what I already knew.

Proponents of such filters rely on personal beliefs and pseudoscience. Both seem to be based on anecdotes of health benefits. It does not help that companies make spurious claims (starting at the 15m 45s mark), e.g., their filters help prevent cancer.

The investigative methods in the video countered the pseudoscience. When there was doubt or dissonance, they relied on logic and critical thought honed by the scientific method.

Rising above, I was reminded how the last education minister said that our students should be literate with genetic coding. He said this in the context of the current pandemic and highlighted the need to take advantage of the “life science revolution“.

I agree, but not everyone needs to be a virologist just like everyone need not be a computer programmer. But everyone needs to be more scientifically literate. In such a scenario, we would:

  • understand the differences between anecdotes, data, information, and fact.
  • realise the importance of rigour in methods and thinking.
  • value validity and reliability.
  • be able to explain why correlation is not the same as causation.

We cannot claim to be educated if we cannot analyse and evaluate what we read, hear, or watch without the basic filters of scientific literacy and the scientific method.


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