Scientists and Scientific Thinking: Understanding Scientific Thinking Through an Investigation of Scientists Views About Superstitions and Religious Beliefs
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University of Waikato, Hamilton, NEW ZEALAND
University of New England, Armidale, AUSTRALIA
Publication date: 2008-10-22
EURASIA J. Math., Sci Tech. Ed 2008;4(3):197–214
Scientific literacy is explored in this paper which describes two studies that seek to understand a particular feature of the nature of science; namely scientists’ habits of mind. The research investigated scientists’ views of scientific evidence and how scientists judge evidence claims. The first study is concerned with scientists’ views of what constitutes superstitious beliefs. The second concerned potential conflicts between scientific theories and evidence, and religious beliefs. The research findings suggest that these scientists, unlike their stereotype, hold idiosyncratic views of what constitutes good scientific evidence and sound, credible testimony. The interviews provide a window into scientific thinking as practiced by modern scientists, and suggest that the scientists are rather more open to alternative thinking than might be supposed. The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of their implications for scientific literacy.