Friday, November 13, 2009


Several international studies show the the US and UK populations perform woefully in science and mathematics, when compared with other industrialized nations. I have no doubt that this is contributing to our economic decline, which is supported by Sackerson's recent post on the health of the German economy.

Neurological studies show that talent in these areas seems to be genetic. However, the disregard for those with the talents, and the simultaneous embracement of the technology that results, is a cultural issue.

One does not have to look hard to see some of the enabling elements:

Popular culture has elevated all opinions to the same level. Sometimes, the level is based on the volume of the holder, or the number of adherants. Thus, the majority of the US public holds creationism at the same factual level as evolution theory, chiropractic as equivalent or better than evidence-based medicine, astrology equal to astronomy, and homeopathic medicines as better than those with active ingredients.

Our leaders make decisions based on the current polls and personal bias, even when the issues are highly technical, like defense, energy, medicine and education.

Our colleges of education teach that pedagogy trumps knowledge base. In other words, a 'good' teacher supposedly can teach material that they do not understand. Business colleges teach similarly that management skills are independent of the industry involved.

In higher education, we pretend that logic and analytical skills really don't matter, while claiming to teach 'critical thinking'.

I can give no better example than to summarize the discussion at a college meeting that I attended today. One highly-educated individual said: "It is all very well to have technical training (in science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but that is not 'real' education".


dearieme said...

Though I do object to the mathematical, scientific and technological ignorance of people who have had a 'real' education, I often think that it's even more scandalous that their 'real' education is often, on its own terms, tripe.

Paddington said...

dearieme - I wholehearted agree, but have to work with these people.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

You're right, and it's only because of this sort of bo****ks that the Global Warming nonsense has any traction.

Anonymous said...

Cherry picking the data again:

1] If Germany is in a real recovery how come most of its industry is still on a 4 day week? Pump enough debt and printed cash into the system and it will surely pop up in the GDP figures - and German MPs are no better than ours at being honest.

2] If Germany is so hot on education why is its No. 1 mobile phone service provider a British company? And you thought we didn't sell anything....

3] If Germany is so hot on education where is the German Stephen Hawking, the German JK Rowling? Why didn't they win so many gold medals in 2008?

3] "creationism at the same factual level as evolution theory" - seems reasonable to me. They are both bullshit.

4] "astrology equal to astronomy": not sure why you have equated the two, but we now know that the month in which you were born has a profound effect on your personality, as indeed does the weather around your birthday as you grow up. Then there is the nature of the month we are in now. For instance, I'm Scorpio, I've just celebrated my birthday and the weather is terrible outside - you think that doesn't have an impact on what will happen today and how I'll be feeling? Astrologers can deduce such patterns and make reasonable predictions. OK, it doesn't rely on the position of the planets - but magic is merely misdirection. For most people such predictions have a greater impact on their lives than knowing their is water on the moon.

Don't dismiss the wisdom of the ages so readily....

Paddington said...

Anonymous -

3. The problem is that evolution theory has a testable model and literally mountains of data. Creationism has emotional appeal.

4. Astrology has been carefully tested time and time again. There is no statistical correlation between birth month and personality.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that evolution theory has a testable model"

Um, no it doesn't. Mathematicians are forever asking the biologists to pin down exactly how this "evolution" works so they can test it mathematically.

"and literally mountains of data."

So does Derek Acorah. He's a charlatan too.

"There is no statistical correlation between birth month and personality."

Really? Try this for size...

It seems you have a lot to learn. Maybe it is YOUR education that needs to be addressed. Mine is just fine, thanks.

Anonymous said...

More on personality and birth month:-