This just came up in a plenary session I’m attending, looking at how best to convey the nature of science in K-12 science education (roughly ages 5-18).
It’s not really a question about the content of the instruction, which people here seem pretty comfortable saying should include stuff about scientific methodology and critical testing, analysis and interpretation of data, hypothesis and prediction, what kind of certainty science can achieve, and so forth. Rather, it’s a question about how that content is organized and framed.
It was proposed by one of the people in the room that an explicit goal of science education should be to combat anti-science — to knock down the efforts to undercut the authority of science in various discussions in the public sphere or to reduce science to just one voice among many, with no special claim to authority.
Do you think this ought to be an explicit goal driving the curriculum?
Do you think that an adequate response to anti-science falls naturally out of a well-organized (and well-taught) science curriculum organized around other goals (like, say, understanding the process by which scientific knowledge is built and tested)?
Do you think there are any dangers looming if you make the central goal of science education combating the forces of anti-science?