Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

How Time Flies

By Peter Bowditch

What has changed since Peter Bowditch first wrote for this column 10 years ago?

Peter Bowditch is a former President of Australian Skeptics Inc. (www.skeptics.com.au).

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

I’ve noticed that I’ve been writing for this magazine for 10 years (first article in April 2003) so I thought I might follow the tradition of celebrating decadal anniversaries by looking back to see what, if anything, has been achieved.

That first article was titled “Truth and Fiction”, and I suppose that’s what I’ve been writing about ever since. This is a science magazine, and science is all about separating truth from fiction. A seemingly never-ending stream of fiction and nonsense needs to be examined to see how it differs from reality.

This is not a new phenomenon, and the idea of science grew out of a world where knowledge was based on superstition and authority. When everything is understood and there are no unknowns or misconceptions left science will have done its job and can be retired, but we are a very long way from that now.

One perennial problem is that many people don’t possess the intellectual tools necessary to evaluate information and come to a correct conclusion. By this I don’t meant that they have any intellectual defect, just that they are not equipped to process information in order to come to a correct conclusion so they tend to unquestioningly believe what they are told.

It doesn’t take much more arithmetic than a knowledge of geometric progression to see the problems with multi-level marketing or homeopathy, yet people...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.