Wednesday, January 11, 2006

sprinting towards stupidity

Okay, so last night I'm watching Country Boys on PBS. It was the second part of a three part miniseries on two young men (high school boys) in a poverty stricken town in Kentucky and what they do or don't do to escape the same fate as many of those around them. It's really good, two hours goes by like a flash, but some things really bother me. See, these two boys attend a school in their town for kids that dropped out or were kicked out of public school. The David School is for kids with behavioral issues or learning disabilities and does whatever it can to help these kids graduate. So on last nights episode, there is a scene from one of their science classes, where the teacher is talking about evolution....and how ridiculous it is. How Jesus wasn't an ape and then one kid raises his hand and says how his Lord wasn't a monkey and that we can't possibly know how man originated because we have no idea where MOLECULES COME FROM and the teacher says EXACTLY!!!!! No I know this is a school in Kentucky and the community isn't really even lower middle class, but come on. How is a teacher like this allowed to teach students anywhere? Even rowdy kids with learning disabilities? That isn't learning, it's reinforcing ignorance. No, it's creating ignorance. If you start with a blank slate and you write all kinds of crap on it, you're creating ignorance.

So then today my co-worker comes into my cube and says "Did you happen to see the article posted on the refrig. in the break room?" And I say "No, what was it". And she says " Well, it isn't there now, cause I ripped it down" and she hands it to me and it's about how environmentalists are trying to destroy the country by not getting behind drilling in ANWR. Like drilling in ANWR is going to solve all of our problems. Nevermind that oil companies own research suggests that were we to rely solely on that supply, it would last the country 6 months. Or that even a modest increase in fuel efficiency would save far more barrels of oil than we could recover from ANWR. The article was written by the guy that operates a website called JunkScience. On this website he refutes things such as the dangers of lead, asbestos, dioxins, second-hand smoke (he's a former employee of R.J. Reynolds), pesticides, hormones in food etc., and the existence of global warming. Now we aren't sure who taped up this article, but we are astounded that someone so completely ignorant is working among us, at an engineering and environmental firm yet.

I've asked this before, but when did it become admirable to be stupid? Think back to your history lessons and remember that our founding fathers placed great importance on learning. It was the enlightenment. They knew Latin and some knew Greek and they spoke French and they could play instruments and knew of the great philosophers and used that knowledge to craft our founding documents. Thomas Jefferson loved gardening and cooking and architecture. Ben Franklin was curious about everything. These people were brilliant or at least strove to be brilliant. And it's all going away. Now educated people are refered to as elitist and are to be reviled. 30 years of cuts in education spending have taken their toll and we have a great populace that is suspicious of anyone that understands algebra. And the divide just keeps on growing. And nothing is being done. Just keep your eye on Nick and Jessica.

Greg Palast has a great column on No Child Left Behind with some sample questions from the actual test....that 8 year olds take. They are sports questions. This made me very sad. It sucks to watch your country circle the bowl right before your very eyes.

4 Comments:

Blogger EFB said...

I also think we're living in a period of anti-intellectualism. Maybe we were always that way? I dunno, but it scare me that we no longer challenge ourselves on an intellectual level. It's somehow more admirable to be uneducated or believe in "science" from the middle ages.

I saw previews for that show on PBS, but haven't watched it yet. Thought it looked interesting. Just curious was that a private or public school where the so-called science teacher was teaching religion?

4:22 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

It's a private school, although it's supported by donations because the students susally cant' afford to pay any tuition. It was really a good documentary. I watched the whole thing (6 hours). If you have netflix or can catch it in rerun, definitely do.

4:50 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

And I don't think it has always been this way. I think it's 'evolved' in the last 5 years or so. Pretty much since the idiot the took office. He's dumbed down the whole country. During his initial campaign in 2000, the whole focus was on "elitist liberals with 'ivy league educations' thinking they know what's best for middle america'. That's when it started.

4:53 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

FYI...COUNTRY BOYS ON PBS ON SUNDAY FOR 6 HOURS.

11:08 PM  

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