David Geary

/Tag:David Geary

"Understanding" and Occam's razor

2017-06-24T09:39:08+00:00

At the beginning of the 20th century, the physicists Hendrik Lorentz and Albert Einstein both concluded independently that measurements of light speed would be the same for all observers. But while both arrived at the same results from their equations, Lorentz’s explanation relied on changes that take place in ‘the ether’. Because Einstein's paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies made no reference to a mysterious, undetectable substance, his explanation was accepted as being the most likely. Even after Einstein's theory of special relativity had been accepted, Lorentz wasn't willing to let go of his belief in 'luminiferous aether'. In 1909 he wrote, "Yet, I think, something may also [...]

"Understanding" and Occam's razor 2017-06-24T09:39:08+00:00

Education isn’t natural – that’s why it’s hard

2018-01-10T20:18:14+00:00

One of the most troubling conundrums in the field of education is that the common sense observation that children learn so many things simply by virtue of being immersed in an appropriate environment is contradicted by the overwhelming empirical data that explicit instruction outperforms discovery approaches in schools. Why should this be? Surely if children can learn something as complex as speech without much effort, why do we need to go to the trouble of painstakingly teaching them phoneme/grapheme relationships? It's hard to have some sympathy with the view that it would be better to just give them some appropriate reading material and [...]

Education isn’t natural – that’s why it’s hard 2018-01-10T20:18:14+00:00

Robots, evolution and why schools shouldn't worry about innate skills

2016-10-13T22:45:49+00:00

It should come as little surprise to hear that some of what human beings can do is innate. That is to say, we are born with various capacities and abilities which appear to be 'hardwired' into our brains. The evolutionary psychologist David Geary talks about such capacities as being either biologically primary or secondary adaptations. Biologically primary adaptations are those that emerge instinctively by virtue of our evolved cognitive structures, whereas biologically secondary adaptations are exclusively cultural, acquired through formal or informal instruction or training. Evolution, through natural selection, has resulted in brains that eagerly and rapidly learn the sorts of things which allow us to [...]

Robots, evolution and why schools shouldn't worry about innate skills 2016-10-13T22:45:49+00:00