I’m not sure what my students expected before taking my Chemical Information Retrieval class this fall. My guess is that most just wanted to learn how to use databases to quickly find “facts”. From what I can gather much of their education has consisted of teachers giving them “facts” to memorize and telling them which sources to trust…. If I did my job correctly they should have learned that no sources should be trusted implicitly.
I have previously discussed how trust should have no part in science. It is probably one of the most insidious factors infesting the scientific process as we currently use it. To demonstrate this, I had students find 5 different sources for properties of chemicals of their choice. Some of the results demonstrate how difficult it can be to obtain measurements with confidence….
(Thanks to David Weinberger and Mark Dionne for bringing this to our attention.)