Student Thinking About Evaluating Evidence

The first-year students are shocked that we accept all these ideas about electrons just because the sources support each other, even though no one’s seen an electron, and even scientists aren’t completely sure what’s going on. They’ve been asking a lot of questions about “how can we ever be sure of anything?”  We’ve talked a lot about the difference between accepting an idea based on evidence and believing it on faith, how to judge the quality of sources, etc.  They’ve been practicing asking clarifying questions, summarizing each others’ ideas, and identifying cause and effect.  In that vein, a student came into my office the other day to tell me this interesting story…

I lead an alliance of players in [online game] and the other day I couldn’t log in.  I checked all the computers at school too, and they did the same thing.  So then I called tech support for [internet carrier], they said it’s not them.  So I asked, “Well, how is it not you??”  They eventually said that GoDaddy hosts [game server], and GoDaddy’s servers were down.  So then I tried to call GoDaddy, because I want to post something on facebook but not until I checked my sources.  And I was like, ‘it’s just like school, whoa.’  I tried to explain it to my boyfriend but he said ‘I think you’re @#$%ed.’

She laughed in delight.

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