Monday, February 3, 2014

TBBB Chapter 5: Sweeping Claims

The author uses the concrete idea of how a bicycle works to describe the abstract way the brain works. The idea is that a bicycle is made up of many different parts, but all of these parts work together to help the bike move forward and a person get from one place to another. The connection to the brain is that the brain also has many different parts but that the brain has to work together to accomplish the goal. This could be the right and left brain or the top and bottom brain. The parts of the brain were designed to work together. 


Much of this chapter was spent debunking the popular of the division between the left brain and the right brain. Here is a recent pod cast that asking a similar the question: "Does the story of two hemispheres stand up?"


One of my favorite parts of this chapter was when the talked about that the fine print matters. There are generalizations that get made and science turns in to popular lore when the fine print is ignored. It also talked about how we simplify the story. This isn't always bad to simplify things if done in the right way but can lead to problems.

These ideas of ignoring the fine print and simplifying information wrongly makes me think about two other stories that people want to simplify, ignore the fine print, or believe pop culture over science. The two stories that come to mind are climate change and the new resistance to vaccinating children.

I like this response by Joe Hanson on his blog It's Okay to Be Smart about how to respond to someone that doesn't acknowledge climate change. I think he brings up an important point that the person has some deeper reason why not to believe the science and that you might figure that out before you will be able to change their mind. 

This is an important connection to teaching. We must first uncover students misconceptions before we will be able to have them grasp new content. People want to hold onto their stories and beliefs.

The second idea of people being resistance to vaccinating their children is really sad to me. It is also scary. There have been a rise in preventable diseases that had once been very rare in the developed world. You can see it here in the map from NPR that has been floating around on social media. 

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