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May 23 2017 - 08:27am
Storied Truths for Democratic Dialogues

I am reading James Paul Gee's book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning recently, and find his idea of storied truths very interesting. Gee points out that people enjoy stories because they give meanings and can comfort, motivate and inspire, but not necessarily because they are true. However, stories can be dangerous if they are not true in areas that matter.

Meanings derive from humanities while truths require scientific evidence. Thus, Gee proposes storied truths as a form to engage people in public issues discussions and foster dialogues. For instance, instead of presenting cold, dry statistics numbers, people should start with stories that can help people's lives being understood better in policy talks or discussions -- but these stories must be backed up with scientific evidence.

Gee reminds readers that "storied truths can clash, since evidence is always partial. But that is a clash of minds and truth that is all to the good". In addition, there are storied possibilities:

Storied possibilities would tell stories about what might happen, what might be in the future, based on ways of looking at our partial evidence. Such stories would set visions in terms of which we can interpret current evidence but move beyond it to make new things happen.

This concept of storied truths is very relevant to our current bio update (and research data storytelling), but our project is more personally meaningful thus challenging as the truth we want to convey reflects who we are.

|By: Ching-Fu Lan|422 Reads