Critical ThinkingHigher Education

Why making tuition free isn’t a good idea

[Note: I originally published much of this analysis on another now-defunct blog during the 2012 Quebec Student Protests, but thought it relevant in light of our recent discussion of tuition and government funding.] I think the system of higher education in Quebec provides a useful and interesting comparison to the …

READ MORE →
Image of Picard and Riker facepalming
Critical ThinkingHigher Education

Weissmann strikes again! The fail is strong in this one.

Our old pal Jordan Weissmann has published yet another completely wrong and easily disprovable blurb in the Atlantic (h/t miserlyoldman), this time making the claim that the US Federal government could make college tuition completely free for all students for what it is already spending in various aid programmes. If …

READ MORE →
Critical ThinkingEducationFeaturedPedagogyScience

Skeptical Approaches to Student Evaluations of Faculty

The college where I dispense wisdom is very small, with fewer than 1000 students. We are a weird little school in a weird, isolated little town, surrounded by much bigger players who suck up most of the (decimated) higher ed budget and leave us with the scraps. Thus, we have …

READ MORE →
Image of white fireworks in the night sky
Critical ThinkingCultureEducation

Hey, jackass! Fireworks are illegal for a reason!

Just in case my little anti-gift tirade before Xmas wasn’t enough to firmly cement my status as a wet blanket, I’m happy to report that I called the police on my mother’s neighbours’ New Year’s Eve party. You see, those damned kids were having too much fun, and I simply …

READ MORE →
Critical ThinkingEducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz – I’m Not Allowed To Tell You What I Think

As a preface to a larger post on the educational implications of the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum, this week I’d like to ask about how divisive political issues are handled in your school or college or university.   Next September, Scotland will vote on whether or not to leave the …

READ MORE →
Black and White Photo of a Crashed Motor Bike
Critical ThinkingPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Teenage Immortality versus Critical Thinking

Afternoon, Quiz-Poppers. I’m making a bit of a serious cry for help today with this post and I’d really appreciate any input that you might be able to provide. Fair warning: This post is pretty self-indulgent, but it also deals with a potentially dangerous critical thinking failure.   In the …

READ MORE →
Critical Thinking

That’s one small step for NDT, one giant leap for Joe Rogan

In my last article there was a passing reference to some tweets by one of my favorite champions of science and reason, Neil deGrasse Tyson. NDT, as those who know him least call him, was tweeting about the recent space movie, Gravity. Having just seen the movie myself, and enjoying …

READ MORE →
Critical Thinking

Cherry Picking – The Perfection of the Human Body

I’ve known many doctors in my life. Not because I’m sickly or anything, it’s just that both of my parents and both of my grandfathers are doctors, so it’s simply logical for me to know a lot of them. In my eyes, they’re just regular people with whom you can …

READ MORE →
Critical ThinkingCultureEducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Teaching unsavoury history

Happy Thanksgiving/Columbus Day to our Canadian and American readers! Hope those of you who got the day off are enjoying the free time. Speaking of federal holidays, reading The Oatmeal‘s latest comic on just how terrible Columbus actually was reminds me of an experience I had several years ago while …

READ MORE →
Critical ThinkingCultureEducationReligionSecondary Education

High School Assemblies, Rife with Prayers and Other Assorted Woo?

I went to high school approximately two millennia ago, in the 1980s. Back then, I guess we didn’t think kids needed so much inspiring or guiding or straight-scaring or whatever, because I don’t remember anything like the number of all-school assemblies my son now has at his high school, at …

READ MORE →