Why is everyone so ignorant?

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CalliArcale

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>yeah, that's actually the worst part. The teacher's know whats happening (for the most part) but due to school politics and required curriculum...they can't do anything about it.<br /><br />and I also hate, absolutely hate, the fact that teachers don't give F's anymore (unless there is absolutely no way around it, sometimes even then...). I think it's actually a disservice to the student. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />I hear a lot about how "no teachers grade properly" anymore, but frankly, it's not the universal problem a lot of folks seem to think it is. I hear anecdotes about schools where this is a problem, but I haven't seen it myself, so although I'm sure some schools are dumb like this, it's definitely not all and probably not even a majority. Heck, I got some pretty icky grades myself in a few classes. (I sucked at math until I got to college and learned how much fun calculus was. There was more than one semester where I barely scraped out a D -- and that was because the teacher was being very generous to me and letting me get partial credit on all the homework I made up after having procrastinated.)<br /><br />So although yes, some schools suck, and some teachers suck, and some state-mandated curricula suck, it is not a universal problem, and I don't like to see the entire system condemned because of a few well-publicized screwups. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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lunatio_gordin

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I don't think my teachers are afraid to give Fs. In the not-honors classes, pretty much everyone Fails. it's so sad. I had to be in two non-honors classes my freshman year, and i will never sign up again. I can't deal with the idiocy. No one pays attention. <br />So there's about 40-50 out of my 400 person class that can become something more than a nobody in this town. which is what's really sad...
 
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telfrow

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Calli:<br /><br />I certainly didn't mean to paint all teachers and all school systems with the same brush. I was speaking about my experiences with my school system(s). I have talked to other teachers, in other systems, who do not experience the same problems. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <strong><font color="#3366ff">Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yeild.</font> - <font color="#3366ff"><em>Tennyson</em></font></strong> </div>
 
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le3119

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I think there are 2 major reasons for the "decay" of our public understanding of space sciences:<br /><br />1. Loss of hope, belief in our space program AFTER Apollo, primarily a problem of political will. Besides Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton and "W" Bush, and a few Congressional leaders, we've had little support from the politicos, and even so, lack of consistent vision.<br /><br />2. The encouragement in the media and entertainment sectors of sensational myths rather than a look at the reality of the sciences (which is really more breathtaking than fiction). My favorite example concerns the "wormhole". Einstein predicted such a phenomenom in General Relativity, and Princeton physicist John A. Wheeler coined the term after discovering it. He did not intend for the term "wormhole" to mean literally - a passage through space that could be taken by space-time travelers, he defined it as a literal "hole" in a solution set for a function on a graph. That's it, but now we have this ignorant sci-fi concept of wormholes. <br /><br />Also - yes, our children seem to be more interested in TV and video games, and this distracts them from learning true science, which requires discipline and hard work, and does not come easy.
 
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i_i_e

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<font color="yellow">2. The encouragement in the media and entertainment sectors of sensational myths rather than a look at the reality of the sciences (which is really more breathtaking than fiction).</font><br /><br />And you don't have to invoke wormholes - I find science breathtaking in and of itself: it, along with mathematics, can explain much of everyday life - and can solve most of the problems of everyday life as well.<br /><br />To find out how things work? Easy - science has the answer. <br /><br />So many good responses in this thread. I am so encouraged.
 
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Saiph

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I still assure you that many of the high marks given are also undeserved, from personal experience in my highschool (a leading one in Nebraska) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p align="center"><font color="#c0c0c0"><br /></font></p><p align="center"><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">----</font></em></font><font color="#666699">SaiphMOD@gmail.com </font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">-------------------</font></em></font></p><p><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">"This is my Timey Wimey Detector.  Goes "bing" when there's stuff.  It also fries eggs at 30 paces, wether you want it to or not actually.  I've learned to stay away from hens: It's not pretty when they blow" -- </font></em></font><font size="1" color="#999999">The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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dragon04

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The prime problem is parentage. The TV and video games have become a very convenient babysitter.<br /><br />40 years ago, when I was 4, I knew how to read. I could tell time. Was it because I was a child prodigy? Heavens, no. While I posess a SB IQ of 162 (I snuck a look when the teacher was not in the room), my ability to learn was not the prime factor.<br /><br />Kids 5 years old and younger are sponges. They have no preconceived notions about the world around them. You can fill them with crap, or fill them with the beginnings of knowledge.<br /><br />My mother was a stay at home mom. SHE taught me how to read and tell time. She taught me how to count, add and subtract before I was in Kindergarden.<br /><br />She took the time to show me that stars and the moon. And explain to me as best she could how the world around me worked.<br /><br />She had a High School education. And was not technically oriented in the least. But she did something FAR more important than explain Relativity to me.<br /><br />She ignited my curiosity. At 3, she bought me toy rockets. At 4, ahe bought me a plastic tool set. At 5, she was buying me science books with cool pictures about space and the Dinosaurs. At 6, she bought me a microscope. It was neat spitting on a slide and seeing those cool squiggly things.<br /><br />Even in the 60's, most of what I learned of the sciences didn't come from the Public School System. By age 7, I had read through the World Book Encyclopedia and Collier's Encyclopedia from A to Z.<br /><br />And in the 21st Century, there is no excuse for any child to be ignorant of the sciences. We have this wonderful thing called the Internet. The sum total of mankind's knowledge is available at the click of a mouse.<br /><br />I never had children of my own. But I have 2 stepsons and 2 stepdaughters. I bought cheap telescopes. And took my kids out at night and let them look at Jupiter and Saturn.<br /><br />I promoted inquisitiveness. I answered questions. And yes, I bought them video gam <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"2012.. Year of the Dragon!! Get on the Dragon Wagon!".</em> </div>
 
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tfwthom

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There are teachers trying to get the kids involved.<br /><br />The following are some emails that were exchanged (edited of names) Chinle is a small highschool in the Navajo Nation. (about 4hrs from me)<br /><br />To me at www.siriuslookers.org<br /><br />Would anyone be willing to come up and talk about telescopes during the school year for my kids and teachers. I'm stranded in Chinle without a telescope. I think some of the people that I know would love to see a few objects through a telescope. <br /> <br />PLS let me know. I'm a high school teacher who is trying to make the kids and public aware of a few things.<br /> <br />Thanks,<br /> <br />Melba edit<br /><br />I posted to az-observing to see if anyone was closer.<br /><br /><br />This came in....anyone in the area that can help? <br />This would take some overnight planning on our part, but if someone was heading that way......<br /><br />Thom<br /><br />Reply from az-observing:<br /><br />HA!<br />What a small world. We have a friend who just moved "up there" to teach <br />science at Chinle High School!<br />He is an amateur astronomer and has a telescope... great guy -- Paul edit<br /><br />Best wishes,<br />Dolores edit<br /><br />Reply<br /><br />This is Melba edit from Chinle. If you do decide to visit your friend, I would love for you to give a talk. I think the kids need to be exposed to a few things. I plan to buy a pair of solar binoculars, but that is the extend of my budget this year. <br /> <br />Thanks for considering us.<br /> <br />Melba edit<br /><br />So there are people out trying to do things.<br /><br />Get involved!<br />Join a club!<br />Do public outreach!<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1" color="#3366ff">www.siriuslookers.org</font> </div>
 
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lunatio_gordin

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I don't think that's a very fair analysis. Falling into the age group you're describing, i of course can not help but protest. And i don't see the merger of humanity and technology as a bad thing.<br />Besides, it is possible the "real world" as you know it could cease to exist, as the internet gradually expands, and sensory input increases, you could eventually end up living on the net, sustained by machines (ala matrix?)
 
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joshbe

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Look, not all kids are like that. I'm in eighth grade, for example. I can do all those things. (well duh, Im on the Space.com forums). But I can tell you Im not the only one in my class (well, maybe one of the only ones).
 
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frobozz

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Part of it may also have to do with actual value we are giving these profesions over other profesions. For many, as they grow up, the concept of being a mathematician/scientist is put to them as being less practicle then say a lawyer or a moderately succesfull businessman. Look at the case with computer science. When the tech boom came, their was massive increase of those who "suddenly" were interested in computer science. I am sure if we started telling people pure mathematics payed an average of $200,000 a year or something nice and high, you'd see massive numbers interested in the subject.<br /><br />In general, it appears that the majority of society is going to be interested in where the most obvious rewards are to be found, less and less is this being found in the mathematics/science category (with some exceptions of course, this after all a generalization, not a theorem) and more in those fields which either manage these resources or simply require no knowledge of them.
 
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dannyd

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A mandatory astronomy class should probably be taught right along side geography somewhere in middle school. This might pique some kid's interest early on. -dannyd
 
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qso1

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dannyd:<br />A mandatory astronomy class should probably be taught ...<br /><br />IMO, astronomy is one of those pursuits most kids simply have no interest in. I was interested in it from age 9 which was 1965. Even then, I sensed I was a sort of outsider, lumped in with nerds by the more popular kids who didn't show any interest in astronomy. That coupled with a general national decline in interest in the sciences produces the situation we have today which could be remedied by some kind of astronomy teaching in Jr High as you suggested. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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pioneer0333

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My honest opinion to your question is this. The generation of today is more of a "hands on" type of gen. Meaning that they are more influenced by the things they can fully interact with such as computers,animals, or what ever they can have access to. This all comes down to the true fact that all the "really" exciting things in space and astronomy are generally not readily accessible to todays youth. Things like a simple telescope or models of the solar system are not enough "they were for me though" to get their full attention. <br /><br /> My prediction on the other hand is that when NASA returns to the moon, an immediate burst of technology dealing with space will emerge. Following this the generation that is around at the time will take hold of the challenge of space. This will also be when the attention towards space will change from not just science, but also to economic, political, and financial gains and issues as well.<br /><br /> All in all, I think the next 50 years in space will be absolutely mind blowing to the pros and amateurs of today. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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yevaud

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A profound Sigline, btw. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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spayss

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I see ignorance today more in the split between the reality of science & technology and the fantasy of it. I cringe at the lack of pragmatic understanding of what is necessary to accomplish a goal..whether it be a manned mission to Mars or developing some alternative to carbon based fuels. Many (by know means all) have a pie-in-the-sky acceptance that a whole gamut of knowledge and technology exists 'out there' to solve or accomplish huge challenges. Optimism is confused with ignorance and negativism confused with 'the devil is in the details' pragmatism. <br /><br /> The result is a lot of floundering around whether it be with the Space shuttle, the Iraq situation, global warming and so on. We've fallen into an attitude of 'stuff will just work out' when, in fact, it doesn't just work out. the devil is in the details and that's where the nose to the grindstone in science and elsewhere is missing. Nitty gritty knowledge of mathematics, physics, etc. isn't as sexy as believing that all will be solved by 'warp speed'.
 
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doubletruncation

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<font color="yellow">I see ignorance today more in the split between the reality of science & technology and the fantasy of it...</font><br /><br />I agree with you that it is a lot easier to say that we'll be able to do all these amazing things in the future than it is to actually build the things and get them to work. But I'm not sure that people today are somehow less interested in the details than they were 30/40 years ago. I think it's as true today as it ever was that actually building something or getting an experiment to work is a lot more satisfying than just talking about what might be done in the future in very general terms. I wonder though if perhaps it is more difficult nowadays to actually get into the details in many different aspects of a project than it used to be. I think that perhaps people are forced to be more and more specialized in the areas that they truly understand and that they can actually care about the details for just as a result of the general build-up of human knowledge. Perhaps then people have a much shallower understanding of many other subjects in part because there are so many more different general things to know than there were before. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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newtonian

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qso, you all - It would help if other organizations included interest arousing information on astronomy.<br /><br />This is one reason my interest was aroused.<br /><br />As an example, note a few of our articles on Astronomy:<br /><br />Concerning our universe, mysterious and beautiful:<br /><br />http://www.watchtower.org/library/g/1996/1/22/universe_mysterious_beautiful.htm<br /><br />Concerning some intriguing questions concerning our universe:<br /><br />http://www.watchtower.org/library/g/1996/1/22/universe_something_missing.htm<br /><br />We are not a scientific organization, and we publish these articles for the general public, not just those whose special interest is science. <br /><br />Therefore, we are doing our part in sparking interest in astronomy and appreciation for the many discoveries scientists have made and are making.<br /><br />This information, btw, is published in many languages internationally in millions of print additions as well as online - so we reach many of the common people.<br /><br />In other words, it is not just the responsiblity of schools to stimulate interest in good things including worthwhile and interesting fields of research.
 
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qso1

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I only stated what I observed over my lifetime, that being astronomy, space science has always been the domain of interest to a relative few of us.<br /><br />I'm not the guy to promote anything, my knowledge is far too limited and my promotional skills even worse. I hope somebody can promote space science and astronomy to the masses. I had hoped it could have been promoted (And once thought I could promote it.) enough to see humans on mars in my lifetime and preferrably before I reach retirement age. But thats not going to happen so maybe the next generation will or maybe its just not meant to be. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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rickstine

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"we need fewer scientists/engineers etc. to support our way of life."<br /><br />The promblem is we don't have alot of good quality scientists and engineers peroid.Being born in 1989 I have seen the school system change over night,no longer are stundents even learning the solar system in MA public schools.First graders are learing spanish when english is still being learned.Llike the libbies say we can't insult the immigrants.Have to speak their language at the cost of our kids.<br /><br />Very few techers these days have a degrees in science.The text books harm kids they don't teach them.The text books help teachers who don't know the material to teach the class.I think we should teach space in our classrooms.If kids don't have fun in science they may never like it.As I went through the grades space has allways been a back topic subject that has always been frowned upon.<br /><br />Or used when at the end of the year when all work was finished.Not just space the education department frowns upon,but social studies has beening going down hill.In laguage class this year,I gave a survey out on American history.One hundred kids took a simple twenty question on American history.Only thirity-five passed the test with a sixity of higher.
 
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siarad

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Whoa too much to read.<br />When I was young during WW2 the sky was jam-packed with stars, indeed often the only light we had to see by was starlight.<br />Where I live there are no stars, well on some very cold winter's nights maybe 4, so looks like no interest generated there.<br />People went to the Moon but to what end, nothing has come of it, so why would there be interest.<br />I use a SatNav, lots of people do but they just work like most modern things people have grown up with, that's the point, grown up with so no interest in why they work.<br />I used to spend hours watching blacksmiths, wheelwrights & coopers working their magic, I guess it was the video game of my generation but it engendered wonderment which video games don't. This lack of wonderment seems to be the problem why has it gone.<br />How many kids do you see lying back & seeing images in clouds, imagination just seems to have dwindled being taken over by ready-made images on screen.
 
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rickstine

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I agree with you fully,not all kids like me are lazy.Their are to many kids that don't care.They won't read books in school saying they see no point.They fall asleep in class, they disrupt class ,don't do their homework or study for tests.I'm in chemistery class,and this quater I was the only person who passed with a 96.97.This makes me nervous thinking how America will be when we take over the work force.
 
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siarad

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It's going the same way in the UK although we have the rest of the EU to jostle us along. The USA is so isolated & hung up on terrorism & communism it doesn't see China could wipe out life as you know it by manufacturing alone, if only it was manufactur-ism maybe it'd be different.<br />More power to you it's young & I mean teenagers, well maybe up-to 25, who have the new ideas but least ability to put them into practise. Our society is missing out on so much.<br />Chemstry in our Universities is being wiped out with closures.
 
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rickstine

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It's not just the kids to blame but the education system itself.You can't shove work after work done kids throuts,and expect them to do good.Some kids can't take large amounts at a time.Large classes is also another promblem,if a kid ask a teacher a answer.It takes about ten minutes in my classes to get it answered.The work force is so ver demanding these days that,it's hard to met employers demands on employee qualifactions.<br /><br />Chemstry in my school is taught from books not in a lab.The books a bran new,but have spelling errors and errors in facts themselves.<br />
 
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qso1

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And our corporate driven culture insists we can do more with less...bigger classes, less personalized instruction, lower paid teachers that must do more including supervision of large somewhat unruly classrooms. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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