This book presents the best short introduction to genius to be found. It is a valuable resource for all students of psychology and anyone interested in the field. The book examines the many definitions of “genius”, and the multiple domains in which it appears, including art, science, music, business, literature, and the media. The term genius is peculiar. It can be precisely defined or loosely defined. It can be applied to a diversity of phenomena or confined to just one or two. It all depends on how you use the term. The tremendous range in usage reflects the fact that genius is both a humanistic concept with a long history and a scientific concept with a much shorter history. There are two principal ways to assess degrees of genius. One is historiometric, and the other is psychometric. Whatever the actual association between historiometric and psychometric genius, we have a strong inclination to associate the two concepts. This connection was demonstrated in a recent survey of college students at both U.S. and Canadian universities. The book also examines three alternative positions on the nature of cognitive ability: unified intellect, diverse intellects and hierarchical intellect. Whether intelligence is unified or multiple, all budding geniuses must go through some sort of apprenticeship period in which they acquire the expertise that will enable them to make original and exemplary contributions to their chosen domain of achievement. The book further explains what psychologists have said about problem-solving research in cognitive psychology.
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One way of thinking about the question of creativity and domains is to ponder the lack of renaissance men and women—people who are truly creative in multiple arenas. It is important to note that both a domain-general and domain-specific point of view would allow for polymaths—a domain-generalist would say that these polymaths are using the same creative processes to paint and sculpt and be an accountant, whereas a domain-specificist would argue that they use different processes. Within creativity research, many studies have categorized creative domains. One key work is that of Carson, Peterson, and Higgins, who devised the creativity achievement questionnaire (CAQ) to assess 10 domains. They broke the domains down into two larger factors: the Arts and Science. A recent study by S. B. Kaufman did find cognitive differences by domain; general cognitive ability was a stronger predictor of creative achievement in the sciences than in the arts.Source:
Science focuses on testable claims and hypotheses, whereas religion focuses on individual beliefs. This chapter provides a few examples of how religious beliefs can impact whether one engages in scientific skepticism or not, trusting empirical evidence to guide beliefs or relying on personal anecdotes. The "science and religion" movement emphasizes dialogue and contact, saying that science and religion should work with each other, rather than be at odds or studying different areas. Although many see the Galileo Galilei story as emblematic of the inherent and intractable conflict between science and religion, the truth is more complex. There are many religiously influenced groups that actively oppose the teaching of evolution in schools, or want to supplement it by teaching theistic creation as a scientifically valid alternative called "intelligent design". Scientist-public gap tend to cluster around subjects in which one's religion and culture heavily influence beliefs and when subjects are more tangible.
Focusing on animals whose current existence is not supported by evidence, whether those are extinct or legendary animals, cryptozoologists purport to try to demystify these mystery creatures using rigorous examination and evaluation. However, when looked at through a critical-thinking lens, cryptozoology is more an extension of our species’ long obsession with the dangerous and unknown, updated for the modern era, and less a scientific endeavor. Cryptozoology is a modern invention since, prior to the 1900s, the discovery of large creatures undocumented by science was a relatively frequent event. This chapter focuses on some of the more popular cryptids, the support for and against their existence, and compares the careful methods and types of evidence used by scientists to those most often relied on by cryptozoologists. A brief review of the often-presented evidence in support of Nessie and Mokele-Mbembe shows similarities with that found for the existence of Bigfoot.
Pseudoscientific claims make predictions or offer explanations, just as scientific claims do, and so can be difficult to distinguish from "proper" scientific claims. Although some versions of pseudoscience, mysticism, and general quackery are fairly constant insults to our sensibilities, others, such as those magic holographic bracelets that promise one increased balance and strength, seem to go in and out of fashion like pop stars and children's toys. It was quack science that led to years of HIV/AIDS denialism in countries like South Africa, and quack science that supported, and still supports, conspiracy theories about vaccines causing autism. With pseudoscientific claims, anecdotes might be allowed to trump evidence, or confirmation might be given undue weight. There are no hard-and-fast rules for distinguishing science from pseudoscience. Our first and most general clue involves encountering research that is presented in a sensationalistic or overly simplistic sort of way.
This book for undergraduate courses teaches students to apply critical thinking skills across all academic disciplines by examining popular pseudoscientific claims through a multidisciplinary lens. It discusses the need for critical thinking, describes pseudoscience, and illustrates some of the common mistakes made in pseudoscientific thinking. Understanding the principles of critical thinking is an essential foundation for making rational decisions, and the basic principles are easy enough to remember and implement when possible. The book also focuses on how the human brain does not process information in a rational, logical fashion and instead is rife with natural biases, and exposes many of the social factors that come into play that prevent one from gaining an unbiased, critical perspective on information. Sensationalist stories gain traction via our confirmation bias, and our cognitive dissonance, not being able to reconcile the complicated version of events with the sensationalist one results in the backfire effect, in which people double down on existing beliefs. The book further discusses alien visitation and abduction and examines two areas where alternative medicine is prevalent—physical health (chiropractic treatment, acupuncture) and mental health (e.g., facilitated communication for autism and sensory integration therapy). Finally, the book takes a look at how religion and culture impact science and vice versa, using the narrative of the “culture wars” surrounding topics such as heliocentrism, the theory of evolution via natural selection, and climate change.
This chapter summarizes some general principles, with the aim of facilitating a broad understanding of why some apparently scientific claims, and people purporting to be scientists, are worthy of our attention and trust, and others less so. Shermer’s definition captures the essence of what science or the scientific method entails. Good science and good scientists try to exemplify the virtue of dispassionate truth seeking. Induction is specific observations in the past that are used to derive a general principle, which involves events in the future. Induction is often more suited to developing hypotheses, and deduction better for testing them. The importance of falsification is a key aspect that differentiates scientific thinking from our more natural way of thinking. The Vienna Circle had the noble goal of trying to offer a clear principle to distinguish science from pseudoscience.