The Incredible Magic Hooey Stick
- Most students will be forced to admit they could not make the propeller change
direction, let alone make it spin.
- Scientific explanations, indeed science itself, is methodologically naturalistic
so by method can not invoke supernatural causation to explain the apparently unexplainable.
In science, all events have natural causes. It is this link between cause and effect that drives the probing eye of modern science. Religious explanations are
rarely tested against physical reality. They rarely demand empirical evidence because
the basis of religion is the practice of faith, not skepticism, empiricism, and logic. Each of these methods of seeking knowledge is potentially valueable, yet each is
very different. One is not better than the other.
- Science deals with cause and effect relationships based on the laws of nature.
( It is important for teachers/students to recognize science from non-science)
- Prescientific cultures may have supernaturalism as their prevailing paradigm.
And since religion, in one form or another, seems to be more intimately woven into
the cultural fabric of societies, they are vital to defining social status, mores,
- Most students will be very tentative about their explanation. This is good, and
models science well. The tentative and contingent nature of science is well demonstrated
when individuals offer models, and then subject them to peer review/comment. Students will find that by collaborating with others they may modify their hypotheses
and may actually feel they have approached a more accurate explanation.
- Hopefully the students will intuitively realize that the absence of evidence for
one view is not evidence for another view. Such false dichotomies exist all around
us in political campaigns, socio-political debates such as the "creation-evolution
controversy," product promotions, and many other areas of daily life. Helping students
with this realization will make them effective citizens and savvy consumers.
- Duplicating claimed psychic events with natural physical processes does not eliminate
the possibility of supernatural causation. However, science always looks for the
simplest explanation, "parsimony." It is far more likely that the laws of physics
can explain the phenomenon than the presence of some unseen, supernatural and unmeasureable
- Video: NOVA, Secrets of the Psychics (Magician and McArther Fellowship winner James Randi explores the claims of psychics and puts them to scientific tests)
web site: http://www.randi.org/jr/ptspoon.html.