For many years the National Science Foundation (NSF) has con-ducted surveys of the public attitudes and understanding about science and scientific knowledge. The results inform policy development, legislation, and funding for scientific research and science education in the nation. NSF reports: “In 2002 the survey showed that belief in pseudoscience was relatively widespread. . . . For example 25% of the pub-lic believed in astrology . . . , at least half the people believe in the existence of extrasensory perception, . . . 30% believe that some of the UFOs are really space vehicles from other civilizations, . . . half believe in haunted houses and ghosts, faith healing, communication with the dead, and lucky numbers.” Form a small working group with one or two others in your class. Do steps 1, 2, and 5 as a group. Divide the work among yourselves for steps 3 and 4. 1. Review the public information on the NSF Web site, particularly the public understanding of science and technology part of the NSF’s most “Science and Engineering Indicators” report. 2. Define the words pseudoscience and science in a fair-minded and reasoned way. 3. Survey 10 of your friends and family members about their views on astrology, extrasensory perception, and ghosts. In each case invite them to use their critical thinking skills and explain why they believe what they believe. 4. Objectively summarize the reasons pro and con for each of the three topics. 5. Using the Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric in Chapter 1, evaluate the quality of the thinking pros and cons for each of the three topics. Explain your evaluation.
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