Issues Magazine

Issues Magazine June 2011

A glimpse into this edition of Issues.
Unless we stop and think about thinking, critical thinking can be elusive.
Health information is everywhere – in newspapers, television, magazines, online, streaming and blogs. Access is quick, cheap and easy, but not all reporting is good quality. A few simple questions can help people take a more critical view of this information and make better choices about treatments and health behaviours.
Journalists need to be as critical of science as scientists are.
Are we pre-programmed to believe in weird and wonderful things that lack any significant scientific basis, and are some of us more likely to believe than others?
How our brains fool us on climate, creationism and the vaccine-autism link.
Critical thinking is an essential part of everyday life, but sometimes it throws up answers that might be uncomfortable.
Social epidemiologist Prof Ichiro Kawachi describes how mental short-cuts affect our health choices, often for the worse, and what can be done to help us make better choices.
John Cook set out to debunk two climate myths by exploiting the psychology of misinformation.
An understanding of the process underpinning science can help us recognise anti-science movements that masquerade as science to sway public opinion on issues such as climate change and vaccination.
Conspiratorial thinking is a major element in the rejection of a broad range of scientific findings, from climate change to tobacco, vaccinations, GM foods and the moon landing. But why?
By deliberately making false historical sources, students can learn to think more critically.
Critical thinking does not transfer easily from one area of thought to another. One teacher decided to approach critical thinking in a particular context – paranormal claims. The effect upon thinking is often devastating.
Peter Ellerton looks at deduction, induction and critical thinking, and asks why we aren’t teaching it.
One in two Australian adults are turning to the internet to self-diagnose medical conditions, and two in three are investigating their medicines on the web, according to recent figures from Bupa Health Pulse. Health information on the internet is not regulated, so how do you determine what is right and what is not?
Sam Hambur and Sean Pywell, Australian Council for Educational Research
Understand the numbers? Don’t count on it.
Problem-based learning is a strategy arising from the failure of some traditional learning methods to teach students to apply their knowledge elsewhere.
What is the nature of critical thinking and how is it done? Argument mapping is a tool that can guide and instruct our thinking and be an empowering gift from educators to students.
Does more information on scientific issues inform or polarise public opinion further? A documentary is examining the communication of science and how to can be done better.
Why do people continue to rely on misinformation even when clear retractions have been made?
In academic contexts, reasoning skills can be classified in different ways for testing purposes.