New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Anti-intellectualism

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
The best compliment someone has ever told me was being described as a Renaissance man. I always seek knowledge by experimentation, reading, watching documentaries, etc.. and having somebody observe that was a reality check (in a good way) for me.

I stumbled upon this article yesterday:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/bo...ll&oref=slogin

Am I the only one to think there is some truth to the claims in this article?

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
post #2 of 10
Luc, I was in a store yesterday; the sales clerk- mid-thirties- was boasting about his degree in business admin. Then the conversation turned to Halloween costumes (long story) and I mentioned Michael de Guzman from the Bre-X scandal. Only the biggest scandal in recent years and he didn't have a clue or had even heard of the company. Well, it explains why he's a sales clerk I guess.

I think we're simply on information overload. We don't know how to do long divisions anymore; why bother when I have an Excel spreadsheet that will model what 1000 biophysicists couldn't model? Need to find out where Iraq is? Don’t need to know, just google it when you do.

Frightening when you think that popular opinion is shaping our position on Kyoto, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Democracy is a beautiful thing, but when people seem increasingly indifferent (and dumber), it makes you long for a benign liberal autocracy….
post #3 of 10
Can't help but agree with Jacoby on this issue, Luc. It's something that's been troubling me for quite a while. Finding the source of the problem and extrapolating a solution seems very, very difficult.

The source of the problem is interconnected and many faceted. While religious fundamentalism and extremism could be deemed a source, so also could the populace's lack of desire to properly fund public education. The news media is also complicit in the problem due to its need to boil down every event and issue into something addressed in 2 minutes or less as well as the whole "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality. Somewhere in there is also an apparent societal shift from a cultural sense of civic responsibility to a more self-centered view of one's place in the world. Somewhere in there is also a basic flaw in the current political process (at least in the US) that leaders must spend the majority of their time in office raising money so that they can win the next election coupled with the need to show short term results on issues best addressed with long term solutions.

As far as solutions, I would suggest some required practical exercises being integrated into every person's education. Workshops might include (among others) practical childcare, basic wilderness survival, restaurant table service, governmental structures, arts history, home financial management, basic nutrition and first aid, an overview of world religions, and geography. If basic capability in these areas was a requirement for anyone to gain employment anywhere it might alleviate some of the complacent ignorance that seems to be so prevalent.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #4 of 10
Oh man, you've hit a nerve. Having taught 30 years, mostly at middle and high school levels, it's painfully clear to me how disconnected kids - and their parents- are from current events because they don't seem to have much context for events.

On September 12, 2001 I had my usual first hour class (very small) of eighth grade students. They were in my class for intensive reading intervention. They were quite upset, understandably, with the events of the previous day. I told them that their reactions were probably about the same as their great grandparents' had been on December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor.

They didn't know about the attack on Pearl Harbor. I knew it wouldn't be in their curriculum until 10th grade. Still, I thought the nation's observance of Veteran's Day, Memorial Day and mentions of Pearl Harbor Day might have provided some information. No. Memorial Day is a picnic and vacation holiday, lost to its true significance. We did have a big program in our school about Veteran's Day, but one day can't do the job.

School curricula can't do it all when cultural literacy is concerned. That is the responsibility of an entire nation. However, in the past 20-25 years, Americans have been told to look out primarily for themselves, their own pocketbooks, their own prosperity, their own conditions. Individualism has overshadowed values we used to identify with: self-sacrifice for the good of all (as in WWII paper drives, victory gardens, war bonds, etc.), looking out for each other (volunteerism) and shared identity as Americans rather than as primarily part of a smaller splinter group.

As Americans have lost the sense of belonging to a "national people", the importance of teaching kids to feel part of that people takes a back seat to insulating onesself within one's own splinter group.

End of rant. :o
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok Anneke, Foodnfoto and Mezzaluna...

..... Let's start a country! A new nation!!!


hehehe!
Thanks for your input.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
post #6 of 10
I read the same NYT article yesterday and went to Borders in search of the Jacoby book. I read half of it in one of those comfy chairs. She really does nail it. I don't think words can be beging to explain the 'dumbing down' of our culture. While obesity may be the new epidemic of this millenium, ignorance has got to be a close second.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
I eat science everyday, do you?
Reply
post #8 of 10
Almost all my grade schooling was in an international school in India (Woodstock School). I had my senior year in New Jersey. I had learned a lot more than most others, not because I was smarter but because there was a lot expected of the students in the international school.
post #9 of 10
There may still be hope?

I'm not sure if this actually falls under "intellectualism" yet the DD is starting to brush on subjects in school like Government, the Declaration, Rights, etc.

While the DW was quizzing her this morning she asked the DD to define Rights. I gotta say that I was ecstatic over what she said.

"Rights mean you have the freedom to do things but they also come with responsibilities" Huzzah!!!!!!!

"They also come with responsibilities" WOW!!!!!!! That says it all for me!!!!!;) So many have forgotten this or just plain never picked up on it!
Even though we are a SOL state and most of the curriculum is about the SOL (personally I've viewed the initials to stand for the original meaning instead of the Standard of Learning they actually state:rolleyes:)

From reading some of the other posts as well as many of the reports that have been produced about the lack of knowledge in past years this may not be the same for every state. Yet at least Virginia has seen fit to include so much of it's history, which just happens to be a major portion of this country's history, in the SOL. :cool:

So maybe there's hope after all.:D
post #10 of 10
Right on!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)