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Evidence: How Do We Know What We Know?


In the media blitz of everyday life, how often do you hear about new ideas and discoveries in science? Do you believe what you hear? What you read? What you see? On August 19, 2008, the Exploratorium introduced Evidence: How Do We Know What We Know?, a unique and thought-provoking new Web site that looks at the role of evidence in science and society.
Evidence, which premieres with a case study in human origins, features the work of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Researchers there share their insights in video interviews, and online interactives let users explore for themselves. See how DNA is extracted from a 38,000-year-old Neanderthal bone; find telltale microscopic markings on fossil teeth; analyze a peer-reviewed paper; manipulate computer models of ancient fossil skulls--and much, much more. At the core of the site are tools that let you examine the scientific process--as well as your own methods of accepting (or rejecting) what you hear about science.
Do you believe in ghosts? If so, why? Do you think the earth is round? Why or why not? "MyEvidence" lets you "map" and share your own beliefs, while "Can You Believe It?" gives you the tools you need to evaluate the scientific claims that demand your attention every day. Check out podcasts that delve into the history of science, or download a computer widget that gives you instant access to science news online.