rourk016: October 2011 Archives

Apps for Autism

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Today, 60 minutes aired a segment on learning and autism. The recently discovered that kids respond positively when using an Ipad. A man named Josh, who has autism, has communicated by pointing out letters or acting things out for most of his life. Using a new app on the Ipad Josh is able to communicate everything he is thinking; proving that a deeper thought process is active in kids with autism. In a way these apps use positive reinforcement with the kids. When it asks the kids a question and they get it right a fun noise goes off and the kids light up. They also provided kids with positive reinforcement such as opera music when the actively engaged in the Ipad activities.

Autistic individuals crave consistency in their lives. Applications on the iPad further improve their learning and comfort by using constant voices, tempo, and sounds. There is a positive correlation between the Ipad apps and autistics kids willingness to socialize and an increase in attention span. Further studies are under way to prove if this is causation.

Finally a professor at University of Pittsburg is currently looking at the brains of those with autism. He believes that there is a connection between autistic language problems and the connections of the brain. He compared the brain of an average individual to that of someone who had Asperger's Syndrome and a problem with speaking. He found that the wiring is very disorganized in the person with Asperger's. Although we cannot use this information because of its lack of replicability, it shows a lot of promise.
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7385686n&tag=pop;videos
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What Just Happened?

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We hear many stories about people claiming to have left there body while being fully conscious or experiencing an out-of-body experience (OBE). While many times the argument comes down to "your word against mine" there is a lot of scientific evidence against these so called out-of-body experience. In one particular case a Dr. Garth C. claims to have left his body while lying down in bed one night. He insists that just as he laid his head down on his pillow he left his body in an upright position and traveled into space. Once in space he claims have a seen many events like great migrations, wars, and land movements. Upon first hearing this story you might think this guy is joking around, as I did, but as you read further you see that this guy really believes he was consciously awake through this experience. It is obvious that Dr. Garth is breaking many of the principles of science. First and foremost he is ruling out any rival hypotheses. How does you know that he had not fallen asleep and this was all a dream? This would be a much more believable explanation for what he experience/saw. And even if he believes he wasn't asleep, there is no scientific research proving that consciousness exists outside of the body. Dr. Garth is displaying strong belief perseverance when still believing his hypothesis is right, even with scientific evidence proving him wrong.
Someone leaving his or her body is a pretty extraordinary claim and one needs to be able to back it up with extraordinary evidence. The only evidence that Dr. Garth has is his word. There is no way prove that this actually happened to him, so this brings us to yet another scientific principle being broken; falsifiability. Because there is no way to test his hypothesis for incorrectness it is not a valid hypothesis or claim.


http://www.oberf.org/dr_garth_c's_obe.htm

Rubber Check

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It has been a common misconception that the rubber in our cars tires protects us from lightening strikes. Although we all may think that this statement is true, we have no evidence or knowledge about the subject to have reason to believe it. When analyzing the claim we can easily see that it breaks many principles of scientific thinking. The first principle that the claim breaks is ruling out rival hypotheses. When hearing that we are safer in the car than outside during a storm, we automatically believe it is because of the rubber in our tires. But have we ever considered other possibilities of why we are safe in our cars? It turns out that we are safer in our cars, but not because of our tires. We are safe because of the closed metallic composition of the car. This allows the electricity to be channeled into the ground.
Other principles of scientific thinking that are broken through this claim are both replicability and falsifiability. Because lightening is an occurrence of nature we cannot just set up an experiment inside a laboratory to test this hypothesis. Although we could send electrical shocks into the car, we could not fully replicate a lightening strike. The only way to test this would to be luckily (or unluckily) struck by lightening while in your car. If this were to happen it would lead us to another broken principle of scientific thinking; correlation isn't causation. If you were to be struck by lightening while in your car and survived, you could not prove that it was the tires that saved you. A lot of other possibilities could be the reason for survival, such as: the strength of the lightening, the position at which you were hit, and other materials in the car that could have saved you. We are to eager to accept anything that we hear in the news, without considering it using scientific thinking. If we all were to analyze this situation before believing it, everyone would know it is a misconception, not the truth.

http://www.snopes.com/science/tires.asp

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by rourk016 in October 2011.

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