Why facts don’t convince people

Alex Cequea of SocialGoodNow.com has produced an excellent video explaining why people are not convinced by facts. I’m guessing, the catalyst for this was (and still is) the climate change deniers.

Why facts don’t convince people

If you’re a teacher, show this to your class, especially if you use debates as a teaching too, as the video also looks into the obstacles preventing people from believing facts and what you can do to help bring people around to the side of fact. But, even if you’re not a teacher, the video provides an interesting and well-researched look at the problem of people “thinking” with their emotions when the facts say something very different.

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Weekend Wandering 11: EarthLabs

EarthLanbsCongratulations to Carlton College in Minnesota. Through their Science Education Resource Lab (SERC), they have created dozens of Earth Science labs on their EarthLabs website. The labs are designed for high school students to discover, in their words…

What could be cooler than learning about the planet you live on?

The labs are all online with numerous links to data, graphics and animations.

Even better, they have a corollary site EarthLabs for Educators as a guidebook for teachers using the labs. Included are State and National Science Teaching Standards to make it easier to link the labs into courses.

Take a few minutes or, indeed, a few hours to wander through…

 

Ploughshares and Conflict Studies

ploughsharesDYK: In one year (2014), the world spent over $1.6 trillion on the military, over 1/3 of which was spent by one country…the United States.

DYK: The United States spends more on their military than the rest of NATO (#2) China(#3), Saudi Arabia (#4), Russia (#5), India and Japan COMBINED!!

Lately, I’ve been working with my Canadian and World Studies students on Conflict Studies. This has come out of our work in Current Affairs classes (once per week) which seems, every week, to revolve around conflicts. There is always, always, always conflicts in the news, but very little understanding around who is actually involved and why it’s happening in the first place. There is only so much a news organization can bring into a 30-second sound bite, which is what so much of the news is made up of.

ploughsharesEnter Project Ploughshares. Project Ploughshares started back in the 1970s. It grew out of a Mennonite Central Committee background and currently operates as an arms-length project of in the Canadian Council of Churches. To quote its website:

Project Ploughshares takes its name and its vision from the ancient biblical vision in the Book of Isaiah in which the material and human wealth consumed by military preparations are transformed into resources for human development, thereby removing the roots of war itself.

“God shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah 2:4

The value of ploughshares.ca is many-fold. It is a local organization to us, operating out of Kitchener, Ontario. It is dedicated to bettering the world: “A secure world without war • A just world at peace”. And, equally important, is its unbiased (read: “not churchy”),  authoritative/credible documentation of the numerous conflicts plaguing the planet today. Each year, it produces an Armed Conflict Report with a summary, interactive map and poster, to summarize the various conflicts, locations, combatants and human toll. My students are using the website to create info-posters to help others understand the background of what’s going on around the world.

It has been a real eye-opener for my students. They are beginning to see the complexity of each conflict with multiple layers of historical background and multi-party support of each side. They are also seeing the huge human toll, not just in news clips of a thousand here and 10,000 there, but in terms of the millions of people who have been internally and externally displaced over the years. They have also come to realize there is a whole area of study at the university level called Peace and Conflict Studies. Just one more realization of “what’s out there”.