Reading Novels, Doing Science

  My book club calls it "doing a Valerie."
  i skip around in the book.  Sometimes
i even read the last page first.
  Yes, i miss a lot that way, but i almost always come back.  Some books i wouldn't read if i couldn't do them that way.  i don't like a lot of stress, tension, thriller-type stuff in my books.
  i like everyone to come out ok, or at least to know how they do come out.
  Most of my friends insist that would drive them crazy.  They need to read the book straight through, beginning to end, no matter what.
  But i notice that,

when the story gets gripping and the pages turn fast, we all miss parts.

  You pretty much have to keep rereading a book to get all that's there.  Recently i was rereading an Agatha Christie for the umpteenth time & caught a really good, obvious joke that i'd missed for like 30 years.  The characters were discussing the possibility of a military officer having defected to the (Soviet) Russians, and they used the Britishism, "Sure hope he hasn't gone west."  (um, which direction is Moscow from London?)

Science works

  It seems to me that science could be said to work in a similar way.
  In the  "Teach the Controversy,"  proponents want to teach the kiddies about all the times scientists have been wrong.*
  Well, of course scientists have been wrong, spectacularly wrong, sometimes.  Last i checked, scientists are human beings, who are not infallible.  And we love being right.

   Science is about observation. 

 "Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations."
  This sentence is in so many places, i found it hard to get a single, simple attribution.   Let's look at it more closely.
 Observe & record everything you can.  It's critical thinking, a skill everyone should have.  And it's not an easy one.   When a scientist has all the observations he can muster, he makes theories and - here is the critical part - tries to tear them down.  When the original scientist or team can no longer pick the theory apart, he will publish the idea and invite other scientists to do so.
  Or, the duty of a scientist is to honestly observe the world, put his observations out to his peers/other scientists, and test the observations to make sure they line up with everything else that is known about how the world works.
  The system is made to have dramatically wrong ideas out there.  And human beings are prone to sticking to what we already know, even when it's obvious that the idea's absurd.
  Are scientists the only ones who do this?

Knitting it Together

  So, i miss important stuff when i skip ahead in the book.  i don't observe everything.
  Even people who are looking intently miss vital details.  Ever critically inspected a potential car purchase, & come up with a lemon anyway?  Maybe not, but it can happen.
Should we teach the controversy?  i wouldn't call it that.  Teach critical thinking, a teachable spirit, and humility.
People are not right all the time.  You, me, or anyone else. 

*Similar to the Wikepedia article, but definitely not hiding its bias, is the one on RationalWiki. And the Discovery Institute, originator of the phrase, can be found here.

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