Science, Reality, and Credibility

There is a body of techniques and practices, a language and culture, that is usually implicitly taught by apprenticeship and osmosis to graduate students and postdocs in the sciences.   This is the underpinning of an approach to building a credible sense of the “real world” that is shared by scientists, but not much used (or understood) by the rest of society.  Equipping future generations with this scientific-style critical thinking could be one of our most reasonable defenses against confused thinking and misinformation, both major challenges to our democratic societies’ ability to make deliberative decisions.  Can we make these implicit concepts explicit, and teach them to scientists and non-scientists alike?  Could this help our society address difficult issues such as are raised by the global environment and economics?  And how could citizen scientists use these tools to help build sources of credibility on the web and in the news.  This talk is intended to start a discussion.