The point is that they're not learning science, they're just learning new forms of pseudoscientific jargon. Which could be considered to be more dangerous than remaining untaught, because now they have a false sense of understanding the world when in actuality they merely have different names for the same unscientific superstitious mumbo jumbo.
See I read the article as saying that the students are at fault for being all to ready to throw answers at the teacher which they didn't understand. Whereas I'd say that the students are simply a product of their environment, one (created by the teacher or a previous teacher, or a physics dept as a whole) where emphasis has shifted from understanding a subject into hitting enough keywords in your answer to get a passing grade - even if it turns out that the actual question might be a bit silly.
Science is not just a body of knowledge, it is a methodology of description and the update process for models in the face of new evidence. Perhaps they are simply so open to shifts in their models and the terms in those models that the term "heat conduction" is open to, what seems to us, quite radical revision. Quine would be proud.