The EROSION of SCIENCE
in the UNITED STATES
A EROSAO da CIENCIA nos ESTADOS UNIDOS
(Portuguese Translation by Marcelo Moreira Jr.)
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Critical thinking and its necessity is explained in another part of this website. It should be a series of mandatory courses from grade school on to teach children how to think rather than what to think. In addition, there is the psychology of thought which should also be taught from grade school on as a mandatory series of courses. It was taught to corporate management at one time, but should be something that everyone learns.
Scientific knowledge in the United States is possible only through education. In fact, ability to vote intelligently is possible only through education. Factors that adversely affect education here in the U.S. are factors that cause us to lose our place in the world. We are in danger of becoming a second-class nation in science and engineering and some say we have already lost our edge to the point where it may never again be recovered. Some of the reasons for our decline follow.
This term is often misused in the sense that it is interpreted to mean that children may be allowed to to whatever they want. In a time when there are many working mothers and some without husbands, it is not very difficult to see how this attitude can fester. Who wants to discipline a child after a hard day at work? With the laws we have today, it may not even be possible to discipline a child without being prosecuted. Yet, one tends to love one's child even when the child is a juvenile delinquent.
Real love includes the tough love that is necessary to allow bad behavior to be punished in one way or another. This is doing the child a favor which will help in later life to avoid the pitfalls of being without a job or in jail. It also sets a precedent that may allow a teacher to get the attention of one's child long enough for him or her to actually learn something useful.
When the child is not given the prerequisite tough love, he or she may grow up without the skills needed to survive without going on welfare. Rather than becoming an asset to society and the nation, the child becomes a liability. Very certainly, the child will not become a scientist or an engineer. Permissiveness is never good for the child in the long run.
The Computer Age
When the permissive attitude became entrenched in our society and electronic calculators began to take the place of mental arithmetic, paper, and pencil, teachers began to allow the children to use calculators or computers in their schoolwork. The result is a major part of a generation without proper math skills. Unfortunately, the problem began to surface when it was too late. The kids had difficulty handling the math of engineering. Since they were not taught to use a slide rule or to build their own, they became unable to use exponents correctly or to handle powers of ten in excess of the limits of their computer readouts. At the cash registers of fast-food restaurants today are kids who read icons and can't handle the actual math of the sale. Had this permissivity error been nipped in the bud, we would not have been burdened with the task of attempting to teach the basics of math to the computer generation.
Lack of Discipline
Without parental discipline and with laws that would not allow teachers to use adequate discipline, many children in their early teens became essentially unmanageable in class (assuming that they were in class) and their rudeness prevented other children from learning properly. One of my classmates who served as a substitute teacher has an answer. He proposes that we deny issuing driver's licenses to those without a high school education. Then those who are disruptive could be prevented from passing. Since, the big thing to look forward to in the life of a typical teenager is being able to drive a car, the disruptive children would begin to cooperate. Unfortunately, to date, we are unable to deny driver's licenses to high school drop-outs.
In many areas of the United States, teachers are no longer allowed to make their own teaching outlines. Instead, they are told what and how to teach by the school board. This policy insures uniformity in the classroom and may be helpful when the school board knows what is best. However, it discourages any improvement in teaching, fails to allow the teacher to use his or her strengths to best advantage, and prevents progress in general. Furthermore, it discourages the best teachers from having any incentive to teach. Rather than rate a teacher according to how well he or she teaches a prescribed curriculum, wouldn't it be wise to rate a teacher according to how knowledgeable his or her students become? Many times, the school board is composed of members who are unqualified to decide what and how the children are to be taught, and this compounds the problem.
Often, the textbooks provided to children today are incorrect or lacking in required subjects. Often, those who choose what texts to buy have no more ability to choose than the average man on the street. Consequently, the choices are made according to how the textbooks look and what they cost. The subject matter found within them is either not an issue or is too difficult for those making the choice to grasp.
The Religious Problem
The following are definitions from my two-volume dictionary.
Religion - A belief binding the spiritual nature of man to a supernatural being, as involving a feeling of dependence and responsibility, together with the feelings and practices which naturally flow from such beliefs. This word comes from Old French which comes from the Latin word religio, meaning of persons, scrupulousness, conscientious exactness.
Science - Knowledge as of facts, phenomena, laws, and proximate causes, gained and verified by exact observation, organized experiment, and correct thinking; also, the sum of universal knowledge.
Theory - (1) A plan or scheme existing in the mind only, but based upon principles verifiable by experiment or observation; (2) a body of the fundamental principles underlying a science or the application of a science; (3) a proposed explanation or hypothesis designed to account for a phenomenon; (4) loosely, mere speculation or hypothesis, an individual idea or guess.
Evolution - (1) The act or process of unfolding; development or growth, usually in slow stages and from simpler forms to those which are more complex; (2) (biology) the doctrine that all forms of life originated by descent, with gradual or abrupt modifications, from preexisting forms which themselves trace backward in a continuing series to the most rudimentary organisms.
From an article in the March issue of Scientific American by Gregory Chaitin, Gottfried W. Leibniz once stated that a theory has to be simpler than the data it explains, otherwise it does not explain anything. In mathematics, for instance, the concept of a law becomes vacuous if arbitrarily high mathematical complexity is permitted, because then one can always construct a law no matter how random and patternless the data really are. Conversely, if the only law that describes some data is an extremely complicated one, then the data are actually flawless. In computer theory, if a theory is the same size in bits as the data it explains, then it is worthless, because even the most random of data has a theory of that size. A useful theory is compression of data; comprehension is compression. You compress things into computer programs, into concise algorithmic descriptions. The simpler the theory, the better you understand something.
Science is supposed to be the study of natural phenomena. Natural phenomena is supposed to be (according to those who are religious in nature) caused by God. Therefore, science might be considered, by those who subscribe to religion, the study of God's works. The study of God's works should be done with scrupulousness and conscientious exactness. Therefore, it should not be a surprise to note that many of the old religions were the result of the scrupulous and conscientiously exact study of natural phenomena. In other words, empirical evidence and scientific method were used to arrive at a religion. Unfortunately, this cannot be said of modern religions which are largely based upon multiple translations (often bad ones) of an ancient book or dogma. However, the ideas of scrupulousness and conscientious exactness should be applied to science today where these qualities are lacking.
The theory of evolution has evolved considerably since Darwin first proposed the principle behind it. In its modern version, it definitely fits the first and second definitions of a theory as shown above. Since it's conception, the theory of evolution has been verified by examples which grow in number. In contrast, the theory of creationism (lately termed intelligent design) fits the fourth definition of a theory, which has nothing whatsoever to do with science. However, it is a very simple theory in the sense that it says God made everything including the fossils which support the theory of evolution. Unfortunately, this also causes many right-wing religious groups to believe that God did this all at one time. Is there a compromise? I believe there is.
In the face of the evidence, the theory of evolution is correct. But did God place all this evidence there to confuse us, or did He simply start with the basics needed for a universe to evolve and then let it all happen, including the biological forms? An intelligent being who is eternal in nature would be bright enough to mix the cake batter, heat the oven, place the full cakepan in the oven, and let it bake (evolve) into a cake. This same being would create the conditions for subatomic reactions to take place and then wait for simple life to evolve and then evolve again into more complex organisms. Why? Because it is not energy-efficient to go to the trouble of placing every molecule of the cake in the correct spot when the laws of physics will do it for one. It is not energy-efficient to place every fossil and every planet and sun in the the correct spot when one can simple make the correct laws and then wait for it to happen.
Therefore, the God envisioned by the religious right-wingers is an inefficient God who might even be called stupid. If there is a God, certainly He/She/It would be bright enough to use evolution as a tool after He/She/It created the conditions for the Big Bang (or whatever caused the universe to begin). In fact, God might well be irritated with those who imply so strongly that He/She/It is stupid enough to create everything without the benefit of time and evolution.
Yet, there are those who are so small-minded, so sure that their God is small, that they refuse to allow God to use a tool so advanced as evolution. Yes, they insult their own omnipotent, eternal, omnipresent God by making him small and stupid. But they do not stop there. They go on to insist that their theory be taught in public schools as a science, attempting to place one more nail in the coffin of our nation by attempting to make succeeding generations of Americans devoid of scientific knowledge.
From the book with the title Think written by Michael R. LeGault, comes the following. This book is well worth reading in its entirely even though one may not agree with all that it says.
Rather than being concerned with rational aesthetics, ethics, and knowledge, postmodernism is concerned with the "authenticity" of these ideals. The movement has developed a vocabulary of rhetoric to continually question and subvert these by a method called "deconstruction". Postmodernists claim there is no such thing as universal truth or beauty, but multiple, fragmented perspectives, which are themselves open to endless reinterpretation. From a postmodernist outlook, there is no point when a person can say, in absolute terms, "I know something"...
Many people believe the movement has hijacked university education and that its ultimate political intent is to limit free speech and kill open debate and expression of ideas. Teachers routinely build class discussions and projects around the evils of science and technology. By asserting that science is a sort of propaganda for the value system of a privileged elite, it has managed to politically taint reason and the scientific method. Since the sixties, when postmodernism fully bloomed, reason has been linked with the "establishment" and uncool. Ironically, postmodernism has drawn succor, at least in the public's imagination, from science itself, and physical laws such as relativity and the quantum uncertainty principle - both of which operate in realms far removed from, and inconsequential to, everyday human experience.
Apparently, the popular belief in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory comes from the postmodernist preference for lack of certainty and the postmodernists can use it to assert that in the macroscopic world of common experience, what we are seeing and what our experiences tell us, are not necessarily correct. Of course, the theory of relativity seems to assert that everything is relative and that there are no absolutes.
With a postmodernistic attitude, there is no incentive to learn science or mathematics, and one can be lazy mentally and still feel that his or her ego is intact.
There are a number of books available today that touch on why our nation is losing the battle of the intellect and is likely to eventually become a pawn of the our enemies. There appear to be few conspiracies of the type where our various adversaries meet and discuss what to do. There is instead a conspiracy of common interests with a sharing of knowledge of our weaknesses, so that our weaknesses can be best exploited. If one group is found and exposed there are others who are not directly affiliated which will carry on the fight. It seems that many of our universities and some of our high schools have been taken by the enemy by gradually bringing the enemy agents in as instructors. When enough enemy agents are in place, they are able to remove those who do not agree with them (by nefarious means). It would appear that parents must carefully look into the nature of any institution where they plan to send their child. In a nation where freedom of speech exists, perhaps the only way to fight the enemy is by boycotting the institution of learning that has become his.
Tactics used by enemy instructors are subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) distortions or sifting of the facts. For example, the teaching of American history was once taught like it was. A traitorous instructor might teach that we were wrong in using the atomic bomb on Japan. The reasons for our using the bomb were sound, but these reasons may not be mentioned in their entirety. The fact that an invasion of Japan would probably have caused the death of another five million Americans may not be mentioned. The nature of the Japanese military at that time may not be mentioned (read The Rape of Nanking, Flyboys, or any other book which exposes what was discovered and suppressed in the hearings following WWII). Such facts are unpleasant and not politically correct, but if the facts are not known, how can we judge what to do in the future? Of course, lack of judgement is in keeping with the agenda of the enemy who wishes us to lose our idealism and denigrate our own nation. At this time, most of our children are not being taught enough of critical thinking to be able to see that they are being duped by unprincipled adversaries.
Political correctness is another weakness that we have acquired, possibly due to enemy infiltration in certain places, but more likely due to our own collective stupidity. In fact, our own collective stupidity and ignorance are the only excuses we have for allowing the infiltration to have become what it is today. We must, once again, teach the real history of our nation and the necessary courses to expel the ignorance and misconceptions that have been foisted upon us by certain "educators". Our republic must be defended through vigilance and dedication.
THINK by Michael R. LeGault
CHINA - The Gathering Threat by Constantine C. Menges
THE PROFESSORS - The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America by David Horowitz
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