A frame for scientific argument

Still reading Wellington and Osborne…

“Opportunities to examine scientific argument […] focus on the important epistemic question of ‘how we know’. Such writing foregrounds the processes of science rather than its ‘facts’, and develops confidence, faith and trust in the means by which science derives its knowledge – something which is important for the future public understanding of science.” (p.73)

“Constructing an argument for any piece of scientific knowledge requires the use of evidence and the consideration of counter arguments.” (p.73)

Wellington and Osborne offer the following frame to support the building of a good scientific argument:

There is a lot of discussion about whether [The Earth is flat]

The people who agree with this idea claim that [It looks flat] [If it was round, people would fall off, ships would drop off the edge]

They also argue that [Photographs could be faked]

A further point they make is [It looks flat in photographs taken from the air]

However, there are also strong arguments or evidence against this view. These are [Pictures of the Earth from space show that it is round] [The shadow of the Earth on the Moon is round] [It explains why shadows of the Sun vary from nothing at the Equator to much longer lengths towards the North Pole]

Furthermore they claim that [People are held on to a round Earth by the force of gravity]

After looking at different points of view, and the evidence, I think that” (bold emphasis in original, p.74)

Ref: Jerry Wellington and Jonathan Osborne (2001) Language and Literacy in Science Education. Open University Press: Buckingham, Philadelphia.


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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