Critical Thinking Club, St. Paul Chapter
Date: April 12, 2009
Time: 10:00 a.m. to noon
Kelly Inn, I-94 & Rice St., St. Paul
Presenter: Dr. Mark Decker
Subject: How do we know what we know?
Breakfast Buffet $10.00 Coffee only $3.00. We need to plan for the room setup and meal, so if you are going to attend, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As he teaches large numbers of undergraduates, Mark Decker frequently runs into very non-critical thinking that runs the gamut from standard religious beliefs to (albeit rarely) some fairly out-there perspectives. He therefore not only teaches content (i.e., biology), but also trains students in the skills on how to collect and evaluate information.
In our April presentation, Dr. Decker will lead a discussion about the role of a college education, especially one in science. Drawing upon anecdotal cases of clashes with students’ ways of thinking (e.g., an avowed young-Earth creationist asked him for a letter of recommendation to Pharmacy School, students wanting to invoke miracles to explain natural phenomena, etc.). he will focus the discussion on the duty of the college professor in such cases. Is he just a provider of information, or does he have a duty to intervene when students demonstrate a willingness to dismiss scientific understanding because of conflicts with their religious beliefs?
Dr. Mark D. Decker is the Associate Director of the Biology Program of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota.