About this site

Call it unreason, irrationality, illiteracy, unawareness, or any other name you like. It is a disease that is afflicting our society with unprecedented potency, and is being spread by professionals, including some Nobel Laureates. This site is dedicated to the exposure of the agents of this disease.

Hello, my name is Sadri Hassani. I am a retired Hassani_Sadri copyphysics professor with almost four decades of teaching experience. I have seen first hand the continually declining literacy – especially science and math literacy – of my students. Simultaneously, I have witnessed the exponential shrinkage of the (hard) science shelf of my local Barnes and Noble bookstore. In a consumerist society such as ours, as the population becomes less and less literate, (hard) knowledge becomes less and less available, which in turn reduces the literacy of the public even more. And as a teacher and a concerned citizen this vicious circle of ignorance worries me.

One of the causes of the downfall of literacy – the one that has received least attention – is the unfortunate participation of professional scientists in stoking the flame of illiteracy. I am not only talking about physicists and medical doctors who mix physics and Eastern mysticism into a tempting, potent, intellectual poison, but  more importantly, about great scientists, including Nobel Laureates, who fervently publicize metaphysical ideas that are the antitheses of the very science to which they once contributed so admirably. I consider these attacks on rationality the most dangerous and have set one of the main goals of this blog to their exposure.

The word “skeptical” in the title does not connote debunking urban legends like Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, or even Santa Claus, although refuting them falls under the overall mission of the site. The skepticism is targeted at the mushrooming education fads which spring up to avoid the hardship – both on the part of the teacher and the student – of the real education. At the elementary level, with its current fun-and-play curriculum, the fads are successful, as nothing can fail! But at the high school and introductory college level they completely fail. However, instead of abandoning the failed ideas, the adherents of various educational crazes keep tweaking one fad into another because they don’t want to abandon the convenience of their painless methods. One is reminded of the multiplicity of deities in Hinduism where the number of idols has mushroomed to over 300,000 because the believers refuse to give up the whole idea of worshiping an idol!

Despite the second word of its title, you don’t have to be an educator to benefit from or contribute to this blog. In some sense, we are all teachers and learners at the same time. Just look at the success of home-schooling: a continually increasing percentage of students admitted to Ivy League universities are home-schooled. And “tiger” moms and dads are not following the latest education fad to teach their kids calculus and differential education.

3 thoughts on “About this site”

  1. I’m an Adolescent Medicine physician with an engineering degree from Princeton, and I have read every issue of Sci. American since it was given to me by my MD grandfather when I was a sophomore in high school. I’m an NIH researcher in the field of
    Adolescent Hematology-Oncology, who for the last 20 years has done general practice Adol. Med. My observation is that early adolescence is the ideal time to stimulate “STEM” type thinking to these kids. Unfortunately, by middle school, those able to grasp these concepts are so few that most Engineering students at Princeton now arrive from Asia and India. I have little to add at this point, since I haven’t given the subject much thought; only that in 20 years I found only 4 seniors at 5 area high schools whom I could recommend to my alma mater. I retired 2 years ago and would like to conjtribute to your blog.
    Ted Doering Princeton BSE “65 Northwestern Univ. MD 1969

  2. It is hard to find people like you in today’s world. Everybody is believing everything out there. I’m a medical student, I expected my class to have people that would be quick debunking false science but it was actually the opposite… and i gotta tell you it is so irritating that that these guys don’t wanna think and read further. They just wanna believe what they believe. One on the few things that i have been giving to read was this stupid story:
    In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

    “Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

    The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

    The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

    The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

    The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

    “Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

    The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

    The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

    Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

    To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.” – Útmutató a Léleknek

    1. That’s a great story to debunk stupid beliefs! It is the epitome of people believing in stories that agree with their limited knowledge of the outside world. Another is the proverbial opponent of (writing) literacy who showed an illiterate crowd the letters “S-N-A-K-E” and a live snake and asked “which one is a snake?” to which the crowed responded with a roar “the one that moves.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Education drives the evolution of our species.