Let’s focus on two things: the hypothetical deductive method and essential information that you must know to be able to read the science section of a newspaper.
Hm. Amen. Sort of. Scientists in many fields needed to be straight-jacketed into the “hypothetico-deductive” model for a reason. I remember a phylogeneticist telling a group of us why the hypothetico-deductive method was crucial in his own work, before his time taxonomists would get into arguments where they would justify their opinion about systematic relationships with an operational “Cuz I said so!” Testing hypotheses is essential for science. That being said, scientists do more than test truths derived from their models.
Scientists obviously engage in abduction, which is roughly the reverse of deduction. Instead of starting from truths, you work back to truths (hypotheses) based on the data. People don’t have a problem with abduction, ad hoc “theories” of the world based on scant data seems to be the norm in all manner of discourse.
But, my issue is with induction. People know what they should believe, whether it be from their political leaders, their preachers or their parents, they have their doctrine from on high. On the other hand how many times have I heard “but that’s a generalization” over the past 10 years? The reality is that we generalize constantly in our day to day lives, but people have a problem with cognitive biases like the law of small numbers. Too often “you can’t generalize” is just a flip way to dismiss trends you don’t find congenial, as I’ve noted the same people who exhibit great skepticism about generalization engage in that practice habitually when it comes to topics or opinions commonly held within group.1
Of course, this relates to Evolgen’s earlier point: “What is probability?” From a practical viewpoint it might do our educational system wonders if we replaced calculus with probability, as it seems to me that the latter is far more practical in day to day life than the former.
Related: Janet has more.
1 – For example, in many circles I travel in it is not acceptable to generalize about the boorish behavior of Muslims in the aggregate, but it is not forbidden to make jokes and slurs toward crank-addled “crackers,” or more politely, “white trash.” Similarly, the same social conservatives who complain about unfair depictions in the media will turn around and paint unpleasant pictures of “pagans, witches and atheists,” as if evil is one satanic amorphous mass.