Fact in the Head is a community for evidence-based exploration into the facts in our heads. We cover a wide range of topics, but emphasise discussion of scientific issues as well as those subjects surrounded by confusion, misinformation, and misconception. The purpose of our group is to promote the habit of backing up claims of fact on social networks. We also encourage discussions on how to decide what makes for quality evidence and how to distinguish it from the less credible. We seek to make commonly accepted claims seem strange and counter-intuitive truths seem normal. Too often we accept claims as a fact, but we don’t analyse those claims thoroughly and critically. Not only that, but we frequently don’t even remember where we learned information, yet we trick ourselves into false confidence of our knowledge. For these reasons, discussion here should focus on high-quality facts, credible sources, and scientific literature. We should challenge other people’s claims, but also have the courage to challenge what we ourselves think we believe.
Our Nodes of Science SkePic community communicates science and scientific skepticism through the visual medium. SkePic members share a great assortment of infographics, memes, counter-memes, and other art. The community encourages everyone to discuss effective communication strategies of visual media. Since there have been so many great contributions, we would like to share a sample to our wider audience.
Quantum, Please welcome our new guest writer Sadri Hassani. He is a professor emeritus of the Illinois State University’s Physics Department. Professor Hassani is especially focused on how some people use the weirdness of Quantum Theory to promote pseudoscience. Follow…
The scientific community and its genetic engineers need to incubate more scientist/narrator hybrids. Scientists need public support, and before the public will support various science projects, the scientific community has to embrace story-telling and creative communication based on enthusiasm, understanding, and compassion. If the scientific community wants public support, scientists need to take sides on public science issues while employing charismatic communicators able to connect with people’s values. Scientists cannot remain isolated while expecting the public to embrace new research. Doing good work is not enough.
“There is no such thing as a skeptic. It is not something that someone is, but rather something someone does. People have moments of thinking skeptically, but no individual is always a skeptic. Skepticism is a continuous process of being aware of not only irrationality of others, but also one’s own internal biases.” ~Knigel Holmes
“I wanted to be one of those people. I didn’t have the knowledge base that these people had, but I had the desire, and willingness to do hard work, so I jumped on board as a moderator, and started doing my part to help communicate science. It’s only been a year or two, but I’ve already grown, and the future looks bright. Whether I’m seeking out articles to bring to people for discussion, joining in on discussions to ask different questions, bringing evidence to help support or refute claims, searching for new tools and resources, or trying to contact professionals to help join the cause, I really love what I’m doing. It’s fulfilling, and it helps me in so many ways.” ~Ken Wood
“GM corn is corn. It really is just corn. It is totally not at all surprising that it behaves exactly like corn, because it is exactly just like corn, owing to the fact that it is corn.” ~ Marc Brazeau
We frequently talk about scientific issues because they are important to us. Each day we encounter hundreds of news articles and blog posts talking about science. For many of us, scientists cannot seem to make up their minds and everything is controversial. If we take a look at any one of the polarized issues in public science debates such as vaccines, GMOs, or climate change, two sides both present an abundance of scientific literature. If we look at both sides of the literature, we see that there are reputable professionals on each side and the research on both sides seems just as thorough as the other. We all need to talk about science although we may not be scientists ourselves. Science affects us all. However, one of the most frustrating issues for many of us is trying to find the information we need then figuring out if that information is reliable and credible. If people with an extensive science background cannot agree on scientific issues, how can the public distinguish the good information from the bad? Finding and evaluating information online is frustrating, but some of these following tools should make the detective work a little easier. Through investigation, and by challenging our own assumptions, we can often find that there really aren’t two sides to every story.
A Toolkit for thinking about thinking Written by Knigel Holmes Photo credit: Alejandro Peters | CC Websites Debunkatron has an enormous collection of literature and resources covering a range of science, skepticism, and debunking topics. “For the fun of debunking,…
A list of books that offer a deeper understanding of scientific issues Written by Knigel Holmes Photo credit: Tom Simpson | CC Skepticism Michael Specter Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives Food…