Field Notes 11/26/17: Philosophy, Statistics, and the Non-Violent Skill Set

Scientists must design their courses to keep up with rapidly expanding empirical knowledge, and they do not have the leisure of devoting hours of class-time to questions that they probably are not trained to address. The unintended consequence is that students often come away from their classes without being aware that philosophical questions are relevant to scientific theory and practice.

Subrena Smith. Aeon. Why Philosophy is So Important in Science Education.

Journalists and lobbyists tell dramatic stories. That’s their job. They tell stories about extraordinary events and unusual people. The piles of dramatic stories pile up in people’s minds into an overdramatic worldview and strong negative stress feelings: “The world is getting worse!”, “It’s we vs. them!”, “Other people are strange!”, “The population just keeps growing!” and “Nobody cares!”

[But] for the first time in human history reliable statistics exist. There’s data for almost every aspect of global development. The data shows a very different picture: a world where most things improve; a world that is not divided … The world has never been less bad. Which doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The world is far from perfect.

Why Gapminder Exists

Teaching skills to prevent violence starts with learning empathy for others, communication skills and problem solving. It involves promoting healthy sexual behavior through sex education focused on respect for self and others, communication and consent. Programs that empower youth to make positive changes in their communities show promise for preventing sexual violence.

Poco Kernsmith et al. Want to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Assault? Start by Teaching Kids.