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  • US losing its technology advantage?

    There's an article on MSNBC.com featuring a Newsweek poll which shows that 91% of Americans believe in a god and nearly half reject the theory of evolution.

    While I don't mind the numbers for belief in god(s), the outright rejection of science is very disturbing and unfortunately not surprising. Who's to blame: society, religion, parents, education system? A combination of these? Discuss.

    I think it's definitely a combination of these factors.

    Society:
    Our society doesn't adequately reward those with scientific knowledge. Not many people have any interest in the field. Also, I get the feeling that society in general doesn't hold science in high esteem (e.g. compared to sports).

    Religion:
    IMO too many people take religion too seriously and too literally. I don't want to open up a can of worms regarding religion.

    Parents:
    Too many parents are not encouraging their kids' studies enough. My cousin is a teacher. Recently his school held an open-house night for the parents. 4 of them showed up. He teaches about 60 kids. Do parents simply not care about their children's education?

    Education System:
    There is a huge gap between the quality of education between high school and college in the US. While US colleges are among the best in the world, the high school environment leaves much to be desired. Student "graduate" from high school lacking essential knowledge and skills in reading, writing, mathematics, history, and geography (and many more subjects, I'm sure).



    TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

  • #2
    Re: US losing its technology advantage?

    I almost started a thread on this same topic when I read this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6502725.stm

    The same day, I heard that Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston have 50% high school graduation rates. Yes, 50% of all high school students are dropping out!

    There's definitely a problem, but, like you, I think it comes from a variety of factors, including societal trends that you didn't really touch on.

    The parenting issue is much larger than just the lack of encouragement to study. Parents just don't seem to care to be parents anymore. Remember when we were kids? If we got caught by a neighbor when we were out getting into trouble, the neighbor would give our parents a call, or walk us back home and tell our parents what we had done? Our parents would then assure the neighbor that we were going to be dealt with appropriately. Nowadays, parents would threaten the neighbor for touching a kid and tell the neighbor to mind their own business.

    The political correctness in schools are destroying our education system. Passing kids on to the next grade because failing them would be "too much of a blow to their self esteem" is doing nobody any favors.

    I don't think that religion can really be blamed here. Religion hasn't really changed. Religion doesn't have a responsibility to teach things that are counter to the beliefs espoused by that church, IMO.
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    • #3
      Re: US losing its technology advantage?

      Heh...

      And I just got this chain email from my mom:
      Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they
      did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good,
      politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no
      concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the
      real world.

      Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it!

      Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will
      expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

      Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You
      won't be a vice-president (or FOD) with a car phone until you earn both.

      Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

      Rule 5 : Flipping burgers (working detention) is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

      Rule 6 : If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine
      about your mistakes, learn from them.

      Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they
      are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes
      and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before
      you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation,
      try delousing the closet in your own room.

      Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but
      life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and
      they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This
      doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

      Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off
      and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do
      that on your own time.

      Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have
      to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

      Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

      If you agree, pass it on.
      If you can read this - Thank a teacher !
      If you are reading it in English -Thank a soldier!
      And I found this about it:

      The text itself a pared-down version of an op-ed piece that appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune on September 19, 1996. It was written by Charles J. Sykes, best known as the author of "Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves, but Can’t Read, Write, or Add." Drastically edited by person(s) unknown, it began making the email rounds under Bill Gates' name in February 2000 and is still, as of this writing in 2005, far more often attributed to Gates than to Sykes — which is unfortunate, but, like the man said: Life isn't fair; get used to it.

      http://urbanlegends.about.com/librar...tes_speech.htm
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      • #4
        Re: US losing its technology advantage?

        Originally posted by tau_neutrino View Post
        Education System:
        There is a huge gap between the quality of education between high school and college in the US. While US colleges are among the best in the world, the high school environment leaves much to be desired. Student "graduate" from high school lacking essential knowledge and skills in reading, writing, mathematics, history, and geography (and many more subjects, I'm sure).
        The education system here, particularly high school education, is horrible. I have 6 classes a day, and only two of my teachers actually teach me something every single day. Even then, one of them isnt all that great because she pretends everyone is a genius and teaches as if we're all in the top 10 people of our class. I mean, my Chemistry and World History teachers were football and basketball coaches. Needless to say, i did not learn anything from these two idiots. High school coaches should not be allowed to teach a single class in my opinion, as i have never learned anything from any of them. My pre-calc teacher spends an entire class period explaining one homework problem that should only take 5 minutes to explain. My english teacher is so horrible at teaching that literally 75% of the class switched to a different teacher at the end of last semester. I could go on and on, but all of this is at a high school that is supposedly one of the best in the East Valley.

        So why does the teacher that works all the time and really cares about her kids get as much money as the teacher that throws pointless busy work at the kids because shes too lazy to actually teach? I can only assume its because they dont have to worry about losing their jobs because of this ridiculous teacher's union. If we privatize education and get rid of the teacher's union, our high school education will be more respectable. With competition among high schools, teachers will have to teach and be good at it, else theyll be fired. Teachers will finally wake up and realize that they must teach or find another profession. With better teachers, kids will have a better grasp of science and all of the other subjects that are so horribly taught at the moment. The only teachers that get fired are the ones that embarrass the school district, and you will almost never see a teacher fired simply because they arent good at it.

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        • #5
          Re: US losing its technology advantage?

          It seems to me that my students (mostly freshmen and sophmores in college) are completely apathetic about everything except whether they're having a good time.

          I gave them very, very specific instructions for their second paper a couple of weeks ago, because their first papers were all over the place (with some people thinking that just summarizing what I said in class and others thinking that a narrative about their feelings was good for a philosophy paper). The very first thing that came out of people's mouths after I gave them the assignment was "that's going to require a lot of thinking."

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          • #6
            Re: US losing its technology advantage?

            I don't understand why religion is so anti-evolution? I believe in creation and evolution... God made this big system filled with stuff... the stuff changes to find equilibrium in the system...

            hmmm... maybe it's religion making a literal interpretation of "God created man 'in His image"? (which doesn't make sense since what the hell does one metric "man" look like?)

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            • #7
              Re: US losing its technology advantage?

              Originally posted by WhiskeySix View Post
              I don't understand why religion is so anti-evolution? I believe in creation and evolution... God made this big system filled with stuff... the stuff changes to find equilibrium in the system...

              hmmm... maybe it's religion making a literal interpretation of "God created man 'in His image"? (which doesn't make sense since what the hell does one metric "man" look like?)
              I think that's the issue. People are interpreting holy scriptures too literally. There doesn't have to be a conflict between religion and evolution.



              TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

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              • #8
                Re: US losing its technology advantage?

                Stupid people breed like rabbits; they often give birth to children in clutches. Intelligent individuals think prior to giving birth. They consider the economical investment involved with bringing a child into our world.

                As a result, there are fewer and fewer intelligent people.

                The solution? Kill anyone who scores below a certain number on an IQ test.

                Or castrate them, whichever.

                No, this isn't a joke. I'm actually quite serious about this solution. If that is what we must do to safeguard raising the nation-wide IQ, then so be it.

                Here is how you may call me:
                Ty (Tie), or Tychus. (Tie-cuss)'. Full pronounciation: Tie-can-dur-us
                -Tychandrus

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                • #9
                  Re: US losing its technology advantage?

                  Hey, some people enjoy being ditch diggers. To each their own.

                  I agree that it sucks having more dumb people than smart people, but people have to figure things out for themselves. It's none of my business what everyone else is studying, believing in, or otherwise doing to themselves.
                  A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                  "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

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                  • #10
                    Re: US losing its technology advantage?

                    Originally posted by tau_neutrino View Post
                    I think that's the issue. People are interpreting holy scriptures too literally. There doesn't have to be a conflict between religion and evolution.
                    So tell me since you seem to be anti religion and know more then most, how should we interpret the scriptures. We interpret them as literal as you do the sceince journals.....
                    that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                    -Vulcan

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                    • #11
                      Re: US losing its technology advantage?

                      Originally posted by Trooper[SNPR] View Post
                      So tell me since you seem to be anti religion and know more then most, how should we interpret the scriptures. We interpret them as literal as you do the sceince journals.....
                      I'm not anti-religion. I'm not religious, but I have no problems with religion unless others try to force it onto me. As such, I have no clue how to interpret scriptures.

                      Never did I claim to know more than most others. I just expect others to try to examine things from different points of views and use reasoning.

                      Science journals are simply formulations of data into models and hypotheses. Published articles are to be scrutinized for consistency and validity, duplicated, tested over and over again, and refuted if need be.



                      TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran

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                      • #12
                        Re: US losing its technology advantage?

                        Yah i got out of control on my post, but i can only handle so much religion bashing on these forums, not saying you where was getting defensive early.


                        Im just trying to understand why religion is being blamed for people not believing in Evolution. Every student is taught it in school, be it private or public, its science. They can believe it if they want to, most are just choosing not to.

                        I just think it has more to do with the educational system and parents. I heard one mom say "from 8am to 3pm they are the schools problem so i dont wanna know what goes on or whats happening" Really not a good attitude about your kids education. And our educational system is a joke. More foreigners know more about OUR history then most Americans do.

                        And it is true to many freshman go into college and think its gonna be just like the movies, parties and fun. 30% drop out first year because they weren't able to hack it. They don't understand whats gonna happen in college and if they do make it they don't have fun, just get to tied down to the college because they fall to far behind.

                        With all that being said you cant blame religion for all the science short comings, heck religion has done nothing but actually help the science community. Catholic church...Islamic spaniards.
                        that sounds like a good idea trooper.
                        -Vulcan

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                        • #13
                          Re: US losing its technology advantage?

                          Originally posted by Trooper[SNPR] View Post
                          They can believe it if they want to, most are just choosing not to.
                          But that is the thing. Nobody is supposed "believe" in the theory of evolution. It isn't a matter of belief. It is an understanding of the scientific method.

                          But some (many?) in the religios community preach against evolution and says it goes against gods will. To do this is really preaching against science and what it stands for.

                          I am not saying religion cannot exist along side science. But many use science as a force to fight against. This does not do science any good.
                          Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                          - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                          - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                          - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                          - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                          - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                          - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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                          • #14
                            Re: US losing its technology advantage?

                            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                            I don't think that religion can really be blamed here. Religion hasn't really changed. Religion doesn't have a responsibility to teach things that are counter to the beliefs espoused by that church, IMO.
                            I'm going to have to disagree. I have some very good friends who are Jehovah's Witnesses. They are actively discouraged from perusing higher education. The belief is that it is a worldly ambition and that it will take away from their religious focus. I understand that they are on the extreme side of the Christian spectrum, but any religion saying that school teachings are inaccurate is a form of separatism and invalidation.

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                            • #15
                              Re: US losing its technology advantage?

                              Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                              I'm going to have to disagree. I have some very good friends who are Jehovah's Witnesses. They are actively discouraged from perusing higher education. The belief is that it is a worldly ambition and that it will take away from their religious focus. I understand that they are on the extreme side of the Christian spectrum, but any religion saying that school teachings are inaccurate is a form of separatism and invalidation.
                              OK, but that's not a factor in the US falling behind the rest of the world in tech, and our education system going all to hell...
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