Are you alarmed by gross ignorance of science in the West?

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Bethie
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12 May 2011, 2:29 am

I mentioned in a conversation about abortion that it's strange to me when anti-choicers wring their hands over all the people who are not here who were aborted as fetuses,
since there are millions of others such as myself who were born to parents who met in school/their profession/etc because the woman had previously procured an abortion which allowed her to continue her career or education and far more adequately provide for children when she did have them.

To which the 27 year old man replied that I still could have been conceived/born had my mother met a different man, and never my father. 8O

Now that the acute impulse to kill myself has passed,
do you feel there's a great deal of substance to the phrase
"The nations which out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow"
?

Do you have any similarly-shocking stories related to people's ignorance of basic scientific knowledge?

Note to all: You'll observe the thread title is not "debate abortion".


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emuman100
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12 May 2011, 3:01 am

Cool avatar.


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Bethie
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12 May 2011, 4:11 am

emuman100 wrote:
Cool avatar.


Thanks. I dunno what I did before I found a program to resize the file size of photos.

8O


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ruveyn
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12 May 2011, 4:21 am

To answer the the general question you asked in the title:

The level of scientific education and awareness in the United States is abysmal. There is a good chance that China will eat out lunch without a shot being fired.

I am currently recording a book entitled: (get this) Basic College Mathematics
The material is strictly remedial and matches up with what we learned in the 9th grad and the beginning of the 10th grade in High School when I was a kid (about 60 years ago). If this is college level, I would say this nation is doomed to be pushed into near third world status in the foreseeable future. I weep for my grandchildren

The level of math and physical science in the U.S. is primordial.

ruveyn



ryan93
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12 May 2011, 4:28 am

The willful misinterpretation of Science seems to be a largely American phenomenon. However, I know people who don't know what atoms are, so its safe to say ignorance of Science is universal. Even my own level of math is pretty abysmal, although I seem to be one of the only people ashamed by that; many take pride in their ignorance :roll:


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TallyMan
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12 May 2011, 4:51 am

ryan93 wrote:
The willful misinterpretation of Science seems to be a largely American phenomenon.


Thankfully that is still the case, though some of those crazy creationists are trying to infiltrate the UK education system too with their nonsense. It strikes me as very strange that a country as advanced as the USA is so backwards in other respects; and belligerently so. As Ruveyn says above, China is advancing in every field and it wouldn't surprise me if they become far ahead of America in the not too distant future. While the West has lots of regulations e.g. about stem cell research China has few or no such restrictions. I'm not saying that is necessarily a good thing but they don't seem to have so many ignorant fundies jumping up and down preventing good research.

I remember hearing about Sarah Palin during the last American presidential race saying something incredibly stupid. She disparaged scientists for spending so much time researching fruit flies. She seemed incapable of grasping that the research made into their relatively simple genetics gives knowledge that extends well beyond that particular organism and is of benefit to human health and other fields of biology.

I'm grateful to have received a good scientific education which helps me to see through a lot of the crap and pseudo-science that appears all over the place including on these forums.


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hale_bopp
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12 May 2011, 4:52 am

I agree. Huge ignorance.

Not for the same reasons as you listed though.



Moog
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12 May 2011, 4:57 am

Not really, I got used to it. Being alarmed suggests suddenly becoming aware.

I'm more bothered about people operating negatively with ignorance that simply being ignorant. We're all ignorant of something. My maths is no great shakes. I don't have time to know everything.


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Bethie
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12 May 2011, 5:04 am

Moog wrote:
Not really, I got used to it. Being alarmed suggests suddenly becoming aware.

Very true. I was referring more to the idea that the situation might eventually come to a head on a global level, with formerly first-world nations dominated by anti-science religious groups actually regressing on the world stage politically and economically due to their lack of math and science education as compared with competitors.


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Moog
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12 May 2011, 5:10 am

Bethie wrote:
Moog wrote:
Not really, I got used to it. Being alarmed suggests suddenly becoming aware.

Very true. I was referring more to the idea that the situation might eventually come to a head on a global level, with formerly first-world nations dominated by anti-science religious groups actually regressing on the world stage politically and economically due to their lack of math and science education as compared with competitors.


Hmm. I think that in a global sense, maybe we are really stupid right now. I'm thinking about the environment in particular.

I think things will rebalance eventually. The more stupid occurs, the more cleverness will be needed to undo the stupid. The curves are looooong


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Bethie
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12 May 2011, 5:17 am

Moog wrote:

I think things will rebalance eventually. The more stupid occurs, the more cleverness will be needed to undo the stupid. The curves are looooong


So you think if a strong hard swing in an opposite direction is what's needed to unwork a trend,
that this will necessarily occur?


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Moog
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12 May 2011, 5:20 am

Bethie wrote:
Moog wrote:

I think things will rebalance eventually. The more stupid occurs, the more cleverness will be needed to undo the stupid. The curves are looooong


You think if a strong hard swing in an opposite direction is needed to establish an equilibrium,
that this will necessarily occur?


Probably. I've been expecting a hard crash for a while. I think it's what it will take to make the majority realise that the course we are on isn't the best one.


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ryan93
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12 May 2011, 5:28 am

Quote:
Ruveyn says above, China is advancing in every field and it wouldn't surprise me if they become far ahead of America in the not too distant future.


It's Scientific output is already larger than the US's.


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Bethie
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12 May 2011, 5:38 am

Moog wrote:
Bethie wrote:
Moog wrote:

I think things will rebalance eventually. The more stupid occurs, the more cleverness will be needed to undo the stupid. The curves are looooong


You think if a strong hard swing in an opposite direction is needed to establish an equilibrium,
that this will necessarily occur?


Probably. I've been expecting a hard crash for a while. I think it's what it will take to make the majority realise that the course we are on isn't the best one.


Hm. And if the majority is too disenfranchised by the powerful few to wield influence over our direction once that occurs?
(That's presuming the majority is in fact educated enough to know about matters of science, economics, ethics, etc to even be able to identify which practices, ideologies, and figures are oppressive, and immune from the propaganda cranked out by those institutions.)


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Oodain
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12 May 2011, 5:56 am

i have met it in many different situations,

one of my personal "favourites" being when i explain something i am trying to learn, math being one of them.
they ask you and i try to explain, they then say something along the lines of "that's a waste of time" then i say it isnt to which i usually hear something like "well what can you use it for?"

it physically hurts my brain.

i dont know how to reverse this trend that "intelectualism" is a bad thing.


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