The Results Are In: America Is Dumb and on the Road to Getting Dumber

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... Harrison Bergeron?

Isn't that the short story where a Handicapper General makes sure everyone is equal, not just in opportunity, but equally mediocre. Strong and athletic people have to wear weights, beautiful people have to wear masks, intelligent people have to wear earplugs that periodically disrupt their thoughts with bursts of noise.

A problem, though this seems to be a rehash of the 'why can't Johnny read' articles for the past 50 years and appear as filler in CNN.

This same page had a link claiming the Dawkins has finally seen the light and 'abandoned his Islamaphobia' realizing that 'many on the left were correct all along' and that the Middle East problems are NOT caused by Islam

Then another article that PSI (psychic) research is about ready to really (this time) bear fruit.

Strange that this site is worried about education.

I should clarify. I have issues with the verity of alternet in general, I'm not trying to complain that you brought up this subject. My language (education?) could have been a bit better but it was the middle of the night and I couldn't sleep.

When I click the link it says page not found. Can I find it anywhere else?
If I may I would like to add my two cents about American education in general. A lot of people think that the Oriental countries score higher on OCED's PISA exams due to better education in Science. Of course this is true but they also tend to teach a subject that the U.S. abandoned long ago called Logic. When logic is taught from a young age in school the students can catch up in the Sciences later without too much problem. If a person doesn't begin to learn logic by age 6 or 7 they are screwed for life with rare exceptions. This is why I have friends with advanced degrees saying that they look around them and conclude that someone must have made "all of this" , therefore Allah must be real. Allah just might be real... there is no way that you can prove that he's not... but B does not follow A in this case. My little students understand that. Bring back Logic training.

Also called "critical thinking." 

Before you make up your mind, think the issue through thoroughly; and before you think it through, get all the FACTS you can.  I'm paraphrasing Robert A. Heinlein in most of his juvenile novels.... written mostly in the 1940s and '50s.  HE taught/inspired the people who made the Moon landings possible.  He also wrote an essay about the relaxing of qualifications in California's (once excellent) elite state universities in the 1980s.

PLUS: there is a book called DUMBTH by the late Steve Allen....published in the 1990s....about the dumbing-down of America.  There is also Carl Sagan's THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD. This is NOT a new phenomenon....

For that matter, there is a story titled "The Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth, written shortly after WW2.... you can find it in collections of classic SF.... It features things like TV game shows for adults that are suited for people with IQs of 75 or below, and cars that have special sound effects that make the buyer/driver believe they are really powerfully souped up.

I could go on, but it's too depressing.

(Heinlein also wrote a novella titled "If this Goes On...." about Americans overthrowing a century of theocracy that we voted for ourselves....)

Sorta says it all, don't it?

Yes it does Loren.

I was never a major fan of Asimov's fiction, BUT his editorials, comments, essays, and non-fiction works are STILL spot on!

Spider Robinson commented in the Toronto Globe & Mail some years ago his disgust that Fantasy fiction was becoming more popular than SF.  I think he's still right....don't kids get excited about new developments and discoveries anymore?  Or are they too busy beating up cartoon characters on their X-Boxes?

If there had been internet when I was in school, I think I'd have a hard time choosing between the NASA site(s) and anything about archaeology, and I wouldn't have spent 3+ years in an ice show with no future.

I think your assumption is the opposite of the way things are. It is not that people can't think logically unless they are taught logical thinking. Instead, people are born with logical thinking abilities. But then religion comes along and inhibits the function of parts of people's brain. People don't think logically because Religion inhibits people's abilities to distinguish the difference between fiction and non-fiction, what is healthy and what is bad for you, what is helpful and what is harmful, between what is good behavior and what is assault, and so on., not because they were not taught the scientific method or logical thinking.

People are not bad by default until they are taught to be good. People are good by default until religion comes along and makes them do bad things.

People are not bad by default until they are taught to be good. People are good by default until religion comes along and makes them do bad things.

Child behavior specialists say it more tactfully, and at greater length, than I am about to.

Newborns are entirely selfish; they have to be socialized. Most parents succeed; some parents fail.

I would like to think it was as simple as that. There are so many children in the U.S. who identify as religious but have never been in a church building (perhaps only for Easter) and have very little knowledge of the Bible. Children in other countries get a lot of opportunities for independence that Americans do not.

For example, today is Halloween. How many children will be permitted to even walk on their own street with their friends and without their parents? It would be considered typical in most other places. How many children can walk to a corner store, pay money, and ensure they get the correct change? How many can go to the library after school alone? Children need an increasing level of autonomy to learn and grow. Instead, the U.S. has giant housing subdivisions that can be reached only by high speed multi-lane roads. No chance for any child to walk or even ride a bike anywhere. Americans also perceive a lot of danger for their child. They need to keep them at home when they are not at school, so there is always an authoritarian around. Video games are great to subdue them and numb their mind. Imagine how much this messes them up when they turn 16 and have car keys handed to them. Where is the adjustment? Where is the chance to think on our own? There are a lot of children in other countries who grow up in highly religious environments who have good critical thinking skills. Example: South Indian Hindu children are far more likely than North Indians to grow  in homes where their religious tenets are pushed. I have noticed that they have an ability to compartmentalize their religious ideas from others. North Indian children score worse on literacy and critical thinking  tests than the Southies. It's because the Southern metro areas have less crime, better mass transport systems, and more opportunities for independent activity for kids. It's not automatically about religion. Experiencing the environment independently is the first logic teacher and that is something that American kids have missed out on since Opie lived in Mayberry.



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