As is the case in Jackson, the weed of skepticism and critical thinking is growing in Houston. And it’s due in large part to the local skeptics group.
Dr. Eugene L. Chiappetta, Professor of Science Education at the University of Houston, attendedÂ a recent gathering of the Houston Area Skeptics, and was soÂ impressedÂ by the level ofÂ critical thinking in the face of outrageous claimsÂ (not to mention the drinking and debauchery) that he decided to get his graduateÂ students involved in a series of investigations into the types of subjects we discuss here on Skepchick on a regular basis.
TheÂ assignment was forÂ each student toÂ apply what they know of science to topics that range from medical claims â€”Â like those in fad diets, herbal remedies, and homeopathic medicine â€”Â to far out claims like ESP, psychokinesis,Â and even hauntings and crypto-zoology. Moreover, the eight students that make up the graduate level education class, whichÂ focuses on science methods in an educational setting,Â were asked to prepare a 20-minute presentation of what their investigations uncovered.
Sounds exciting, huh?
Well, in addition to that, the presentations have been opened up to the public.Â Everyone is invited to stop by Kiva Auditorium inÂ Farish Hall, on the main campus of the University of Houston this Saturday, May 2, 2009. The presentations will begin atÂ 9:00am CST andÂ wrap up sometime around noon.
Not only is itÂ a big stepÂ to have good, investigative presentations open to the anyone who wants to attend, but it is encouraging that graduate students who will one day be teachers themselves are applying good critical thinking skills toÂ outrageous claimsÂ that may fall outside of what they normally encounter in a straight science classroom, but that can affect the general public nonetheless.
Several members of the Houston Area Skeptics (including me)Â will be in attendance, with plans to have a delicious lunch and much socializing following the presentations. If you live in the Houston area,Â come join us for what will no doubt be aÂ fun Saturday.