Joined: Feb. 2006
|Quote (OgreMkV @ July 18 2010,08:05)|
|Skeptic, on most of your points, I agree totally.|
However, there is one major point that I think you may not have considered. Those 90% of the students that don't have critical thinking skills and no/little interest in learning will dominate the political landscape when they get to voting age.
At that point, we get people like McLeroy on the Texas School Board that both don't have any thinking skills AND are in a position to harm further education efforts.
You're right, there is no 'battle for science' in the sense that science will go away. But there is a battle for the education of science and the US is in trouble.
Indeed: If critical thinking and the ability to understand science as a process is not emphasized, we generate a citizenry that is easily fooled into investing in garbage cures, garbage diets, UFO protection. We have a citizenry that considers prayer as effective approach to the problems of the day (like oil spills, drought, etc) We have a citizenry that cannot make appropriate decisions about fossil fuels, nuclear power, climate, safety, medicine, nutrition, public health. If evolution can be ignored because it might be deemed offensive or unnecessary, any science area can be ignored for the same reason. If you are taught that evolution is a conspiracy to separate you from your faith, then you can be lead to believe that other scientific facts are fabricated for political reasons and can be dismissed.
I run into adults that don't believe the scientific process is self-correcting (over time) or that the scientific community is very conservative (resistant to changing a paradigm) because they have no idea how science is done. Since few schools have their students DO science, they are not getting that part of their education. Since the hard sciences are pretty difficult and involve mathematics, few people take hard sciences in college, and many universities don't teach a liberal-arts approach to science, just applications in narrow fields.
As a science educator, I am very concerned. We now teach Chinese. Perhaps that's so we can work for them when they pass us in innovation and creativity in the sciences. I'm not sure, because I see some weaknesses in how the Chinese educate their kids, too.