- What is science? It is common sense! Or is it?
- In April 1966 the master teacher delivered an address to the National Science Teachers’ Association in which he gave his fellow teachers lessons on how to teach their students to think like a scientist and how to view the world with curiosity, open-mindedness, and, above all, doubt.
- This talk is also a tribute to the enormous influence Feynman's father - a uniforms salesman - had on Feynman’s way of looking at the world.
- Feynman stresses both that it's important for one generation to pass its knowledge on to the next, so that it is not lost, but also that only "real" knowledge, rather than mistakes and pseudo-science being passed on.
- I think he over-reacts (in a rather Popperian way) to the latter phenomenon - of bogus "knowledge" being passed on. He wants a healthy distrust of experts, and an understanding that nothing is certain. That's OK for people like Feynman himself, but a general distrust of experts - simply because they say things we don't like - is corrosive of the public good.
- Of course, experts should be honest about the limits of their expertise, and say when they are not sure or where they simply don't know.
- Also, people should indeed try to check things out for themselves, but this is easier in some fields than in others. And we can't have everyone believing what they like.
- But he's right that science education shouldn't just be dispensing knowledge, but should enable students to find things out.
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