[unrev-II] Science Education Paradox

From: Rod Welch (rowelch@attglobal.net)
Date: Fri Aug 24 2001 - 11:07:25 PDT

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    Genetic variability and successful science explain some of the variance in the
    interest and skills for science. Not everyone is cut out for the scientific
    method of plan, perform, report that entails a lot of failure before stumbling
    onto something useful while looking for something else. The emotional toll of
    rigorous work weeds out many, and some of us do not have the innate cognitive
    tools needed for productive scientific work, just as we lack the ability to dunk
    a basketball, or run the 100 in 9 flat, carry a tune make a speech, etc.
    Scientific discoveries and deployment through the market place has greatly
    expanded opportunities for people to work outside pure science and still
    contribute significantly to advance civilization through the magic of
    complimentary forces.

    Decrying ignorance about science may therefore be misplaced, since good science
    depends heavily on infrastructure created by non-science, and good
    infrastructure, like good science, requires focus to do well the work at hand,
    rather than be a jack-of-all-trades, a la Adam Smith. In other words, science
    may be moving ahead, in part, because a lot of people ignore it.


    Jack Park wrote:
    > http://www.techreview.com/magazine/sep01/reviews.asp
    > "The United States by any conceivable measure has the finest scientists in
    > the world. But the rest of the population, by any rational standard, is
    > abysmally ignorant of science, mathematics and all things technical. That
    > is the paradox of scientific elites and scientific illiterates: how can the
    > same system of education that produced all those brilliant scientists also
    > have produced all that ignorance?
    > The situation is not merely paradoxical; it's downright perilous.We face an
    > era that promises ever accelerating technological change in every aspect of
    > our lives, while at the same time the very survival of our civilization may
    > depend on our ability to make wise decisions about how to manage our
    > resources, our climate and our conflicts. In the next century, we will need
    > to be able to deal confidently with technical issues, and a responsible
    > electorate will need to have some reasonable mastery of how the world works. "
    > There's more...
    > The electorate. Now, there's an OHS/DKR usecase if there ever was one...
    > Cheers
    > Jack
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