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Offline blue_cristal

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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« on: 04/11/2007 15:54:19 »
We already know that almost every human physical or mental traits obeys a bell curve of distribution in the population. That means that humans vary in both, physical and mental attributes.

However, I have heard mainly three types of opinions about those differences.

The first one is very unrealistic and it is based almost on just wishful-thinking, pure belief and no evidence. It claims that all people are “equal” and that the different levels of intelligence are due to the fact that some people are privileged and get a fine education while others get a poor education.

If that was true how they would explain that siblings that belong to the same social class, same family and receive the same education end up with different IQs ?

And even worst, how they would explain that some people originated in low social classes and had unprivileged education showed high IQ and made great achievements in their lives –and- conversely there are people from upper classes who are underachievers and have mediocre IQ despite receiving privileged education?

The second type of opinion is: People are born with different genes for intelligence ( or types of intelligence ) and their upbringing and type of education has little influence to the outcome.

The third kind of opinion is: Yes, people are born with different intellectual potentials ( due their genes and their particular biologic development ) but also the type of education that they receive has a significant influence to the outcome.

The scientific evidence that I know favours the third opinion.

However, in societies with almost homogeneous types of educational systems, the differences of outcome should be logically related to their genetic and biologic developmental differences.

In developed countries like UK , most people (  middle class ) receive almost the same type of education ( with he exception of the upper class ) and yet only a minority has high levels of all  types of intelligence ( logic-mathematic, creativity, intuition, etc ). Only a minority have interest on matters that demand high intellectual skills like scientific investigation, inventions, philosophy, mathematics, fine arts, etc.

1) In your opinion, in an almost homogeneous educational system, which factors contribute the most for the generation of this small elite of intellectuals ? Genetic and biologic developmental differences –or- different types of upbringing and educational models?

2) If you consider that both genetic/developmental and upbringing/education influence the outcome, which percentage you credit to each of them accordingly to your educated guess or reliable evidence ?


 

another_someone

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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #1 on: 04/11/2007 16:49:12 »
One serious problem with your analysis is to assume that IQ can be equated to social achievement.  There are plenty of people with high IQ who are underachievers.  There are only a few vocations where exceptionally high IQ is a particular advantage (this is where you get issues surrounding concepts such as EQ vs IQ).

Secondly, education is more than just schooling (very many people have learnt  to read before they ever get into the school system, and continue to get greater support from their family background than other children may have).

Thirdly, contrary to popular mythology, all schools, even within the UK State sector, are not equal; and even within the schools, the performance of individual teachers can vary.

Finally, different pupils work better in different in different environments (there was a school teacher in my primary school who my sister (who went to the same school) thought was hopeless, but I thought was the best teacher I had throughout my time in the education system - what worked very well for me simply did not work for her).
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #2 on: 04/11/2007 16:50:24 »
Do you really think that all the publicly funded schools in the UK offer a similar level of education? Also, education isn't just school. The home environment can make a huge difference. Of course it can be difficult to distinguish between genetics and familial traits.
If you have bright parents and you are bright is that because you got "bright" genes or because they taught you a lot? I'm not sure it;s possible to tell- it's certainly very difficult and I don't think a poll of people on a website will give a very meaningful response.

edit
Looks like anopther someone beat me to it.
 

Offline JimBob

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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #3 on: 04/11/2007 17:04:54 »
I am not a psychologist or educator. I am a student of my fellow man by understanding myself and looking for those traits in others. Quantization of humanity seems to mean that we (read scientists) can understand all of the subtleties of the human condition and the expression of the human intellect and then derive some mathematical formula to express all of the variations  - I don't really think it is possible.

Examples:

My mechanic - wizard with engines, cooling systems, electrical systems but cannot have a normal relationship with anyone outside of work, drinks all the time when not working  and sometimes when he does work, makes poor monetary decisions and lives a miserable life. Good person underneath all the outer shell.

Frances - the black woman, grand-daughter of slaves, who was my babysitter when I was young. Never went to school but could read, mainly the Bible, had a memory a mile long, grossly overweight but the embodiment of the word LOVE. If she held you you knew there was such a thing as unconditional love. I never felt that from my parents or anyone else. But I do know what unconditional love is because of 'Aunt' Frances.

Mike - This guy was a "floor man" on a drilling rig, i.e., he had the lowest, most dangerous job on a drilling rig and he did want anything else, just to put in his 8 hour shift of one of the dirtiest, most dangerous jobs in the oil field and then go drink beer and sleep. That was his life. Except for his reading. There was always slack time when everything was going on well and only and occasional joint of pipe to be added to the drill string as the rig went deeper that Mike would go to the back of the "dog house" or shack on the drilling floor, sit on the steel bench and study philosophy. He could explain Kierkegaard better than any philosopher I had ever met because he put the concepts in human terms and examples rather than in the structure of the philosophy, its relationship to the human condition (very few examples, aways esoteric ones given), etc.

Harvey - Shabby all the time, worked only seasonally at the Internal Revenue Service and spent the rest of the year in India studying with a teacher of inner wisdom.

All of these people I have know, and many others as well, have shown me that in each person there is brilliance of some sort. You just need to look for it. This is true even of a Downs Syndrome child. The innocence and simplicity of these children have taught me what real joy is all about - this moment, not what is past now or next to come but NOW, this instant.

How does a scientist quantify this wisdom?
 

lyner

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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #4 on: 04/11/2007 17:36:08 »
wisdom = IQ?
 

paul.fr

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« Reply #5 on: 04/11/2007 17:44:05 »
I think we need to move away from the presumption that an IQ level or test, relates to ones intelligence. there are many people who have a low IQ, who go on to be Doctors or other highly skilled professionals.

I (a long time ago), was invited to join MENSA. I was at the time, an avid reader of newspapers and got bored of the printed IQ tests, and out of curiosity i eventually took the supervised test. I never joined, because i personally saw no challenge in the membership...and then, as now became easily bored.

Schools, teachers and your environment are factors, but so is capturing the persons enthusiasm and once you have it maintaining it.

At my middle school I was advanced in to a higher year, at the time i never know why, but i was given so many opportunities then and my enthusiasm was nurtured and i made good progress through school. Eventually at the end of my 5th year of high school we moved counties, so i started my last year at school in an alien environment, this was a great setback for me.

In the "top" classes they were learning things that i had learned 3 years previous, did this make be any brighter or more intelligent than the others? well, no, i just became bored and bummed my way through that last year totally uninterested in the whole process.

There is greatness in all of us, and IQ is no measure of it. Some people of high IQ can be content with a job you may consider "menial", a job that does not show or call for their intelligence to be used all of the time.
Someone with a lower IQ may be your boss, but he/she is so damn good at their job that IQ  is not a factor.

The reason why people are not going in to the sciences at any form of further education (i believe) is because the subjects are not being made interesting enough, they are not capturing the child's imagination. Also why learn for x years and become saddled with debt, when you can do an easier course and get out in to the real world making money.

we need to start rewarding those that take science, ease the debt burden...and make it sexier.

sorry for going slightly, off topic.
 

Offline JimBob

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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #6 on: 04/11/2007 18:00:30 »
wisdom = IQ?

Wisdom only for the last case. I was talking intelligence in the other cases.

The point I am trying to make is "how does one measure real intelligence?"
« Last Edit: 04/11/2007 18:03:28 by JimBob »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #7 on: 04/11/2007 18:18:33 »
Wow, never realised we had so many different views on the subject of intelligence, I must say I am impressed by the responses to a question that tries to pigeon hole people’s intellect based on grades in schools.

I guess the real measure of a persons intelligence is not to assume that someone else is of lower intelligence simply because they do not specialise in their subject matter.

Education rewards people for remembering lessons and repeating the answers or using the methods to find the answers previously learned in class. Unfortunately, education seldom teaches a student to question the very subject matter being taught to them. Sad really when some of the subject matter is in serious need of updating.
Teaching a child to remember someone else’s thoughts on a particular subject may be a significant part of the reason that people are turning their backs on science. Indoctrinating a belief into children that most of the science has already been discovered and is well understood and documented leaving nothing left for them to do produces a disinterested student from the onset of science education. Instead, we should be more open and inform these budding young minds about the real situation in science by explaining that there are many avenues open for investigation and we as scientists do not know very much in comparison to the real world outside of our safety zones.

Intelligence should not be assumed to relate to an IQ test but as JimBob stated should be found in many people who are making a difference in the real world and who couldn’t give two hoots if anyone thinks they are intelligent or not.

Some of the wealthiest people of our time are hard pressed to score on an IQ test, but clearly excel in making money, perhaps these people should compile the next IQ test.
 
 

lyner

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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
« Reply #8 on: 04/11/2007 19:17:00 »
IQ tests favour a particular type of person and they are not a bad indicator of general ability. They could, possibly, claim to be the best single indicator. That's as far as they go and we can all quote exceptions to this rule.
Choices of employee are always made on a very condensed view of candidates. It may seem unfair but, what can you do with a list of  100 candidates, when you need 1?
You filter down to a few and, often, that filter is based on classical IQ type ratings.
You might also complain that car insurance takes so few factors into account when premiums are to be calculated.
Decision makers have to act on limited knowledge because life is too short   for the holistic approach. It's often the least worst way to deal with things, despite the large number of times when it fails to give the 'best' solution.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #9 on: 04/11/2007 20:01:17 »
Some of the wealthiest people of our time are hard pressed to score on an IQ test, but clearly excel in making money, perhaps these people should compile the next IQ test.

But would such wealthy people really make good employees.  Often self made millionaires are people who went out on their own because they were hopeless working for anybody else.  If you were looking for your next employee, would you really want to employ one of these people?
 

lyner

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« Reply #10 on: 05/11/2007 00:34:47 »
Quote
Teaching a child to remember someone else’s thoughts on a particular subject may be a significant part of the reason that people are turning their backs on science.
It worries me that kids are turning their backs on Science because people are giving them the wrong idea of what it's all about. Questioning some well founded idea is fine if you actually have earned and appreciate a lot of basics. It is not possible for a single person to start from scratch and build up a new version of Science, singlehanded. You have to build up from existing knowledge and understanding.
Science is trivialised in the Media and in much of the National Curriculum. Learning , as a discipline seems to have no place in education - it's no wonder kids are bewildered by Science, the way it is presented, because they simply don't know enough. Once they start at A level, they are brought up with a jolt and many fall by the wayside because they are just not prepared to learn what is needed.
Trying to get kids to learn established and well verifiable models is not indoctrinationn - it is education. If they are not brilliant, it will enable them to have a reasonable understanding and if they are brilliant, it will give them the tools to progress Science further.
How arrogant to think that the body of existing Science can be challenged by any Tom Dick or Harry. Yes - the occasional genius can overturn current models and ideas but don't kid yourself that a child who knows very little maths or basic Science is in any position to advance human knowledge.
'Questioning' is only a valid process when you already know a lot. A humble approach will get you much further.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #11 on: 05/11/2007 00:42:48 »
It worries me that kids are turning their backs on Science because people are giving them the wrong idea of what it's all about. Questioning some well founded idea is fine if you actually have earned and appreciate a lot of basics. It is not possible for a single person to start from scratch and build up a new version of Science, singlehanded. You have to build up from existing knowledge and understanding.
Science is trivialised in the Media and in much of the National Curriculum. Learning , as a discipline seems to have no place in education - it's no wonder kids are bewildered by Science, the way it is presented, because they simply don't know enough. Once they start at A level, they are brought up with a jolt and many fall by the wayside because they are just not prepared to learn what is needed.
Trying to get kids to learn established and well verifiable models is not indoctrinationn - it is education. If they are not brilliant, it will enable them to have a reasonable understanding and if they are brilliant, it will give them the tools to progress Science further.
How arrogant to think that the body of existing Science can be challenged by any Tom Dick or Harry. Yes - the occasional genius can overturn current models and ideas but don't kid yourself that a child who knows very little maths or basic Science is in any position to advance human knowledge.
'Questioning' is only a valid process when you already know a lot. A humble approach will get you much further.

I would suggest you are confusing science with engineering (not trying to denigrate either, merely emphasising the difference).

Science is inherently about pushing the boundaries, and therefore about questioning the ideas that create the present boundaries.  Engineering is about applying existing knowledge to create practical outcomes.

I would suggest that is is established science that is arrogant if it feels threatened by being challenged by Tom, Dick, or Harry.

Ofcourse, you may validly argue that the nation needs far more engineers than it needs scientists.
 

lyner

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« Reply #12 on: 05/11/2007 10:49:44 »
What I am saying is that Tom Dick and Harry are not in a position to anything about advancing Science unless they already have a sound body of knowledge. The popular idea, nowadays, is that you can start from scratch, without any rigour and make valid comments / criticisms about scientific matters which are virtually anassailable.
You only have to read some of the whacky posts on these fora to realise that many people just don't know the basics.  Science and engineering  both hang on their history.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #13 on: 05/11/2007 12:36:06 »
What I am saying is that Tom Dick and Harry are not in a position to anything about advancing Science unless they already have a sound body of knowledge. The popular idea, nowadays, is that you can start from scratch, without any rigour and make valid comments / criticisms about scientific matters which are virtually anassailable.
You only have to read some of the whacky posts on these fora to realise that many people just don't know the basics.  Science and engineering  both hang on their history.

Firstly, there is a difference between teaching scientific method, and indoctrination with the whole body of scientific knowledge.

Secondly, a good scientist does not seek to extend the scientific knowledge of humanity, he seeks to extend his own scientific knowledge, and if he does this for long enough he will reach the boundaries of the scientific knowledge of humanity, and then keep seeking to extend his own knowledge beyond that.  The point is that scientists don't go from being dumb recipients of other people's information to suddenly switching modes to becoming seekers of new information; they continue doing what they did before.

Ofcourse, the key point is that arrogance does not make for good science, whether it is the arrogance of an outsider who believes he knows better than all the insiders, or the arrogance of an insider who believes only he is competent to judge what is true and what is false.

Having schoolkids question established science is good, not because they are very likely to create revolutionary theories in science, but because it gives them a grounding in how to ask questions, and how to apply scientific method in answering those questions.  If they become afraid to challenge the ideas of their 'superiors', then they will have all sense of curiosity drummed out of them, and will make useless scientists later in life.
 

lyner

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« Reply #14 on: 05/11/2007 17:47:19 »
Have you ever taught kids?
Have you heard them mix up 'fact' and 'fiction' in the same sentence / statement?
What do you mean by 'question things'?
How can it be wrong to tell kids the fundamentals of Electricity, Forces, Energy etc., which are, for most purposes, 'correct' - (in as far as it predicts what will happen)?  Are they not  entitled to be told that stuff in case it could be interpreted as indoctrination? Is learning your times tables 'indoctrination'? Or is it giving someone a skill and knowledge to help them cope with other stuff?
If you are lucky enough to be capable of formal thought processes then have a regard for the huge number of people who, either because of nature or nurture, choose to stick to concrete thought.
I can only think that the people who complain of poor Science teaching were unfortunate to be taught by very poor (and ignorant) teachers. That's not the fault of the system - except in as far as you can't get enough teachers who actually understand the subject.

Quote
or the arrogance of an insider who believes only he is competent to judge what is true and what is false.
It is far from arrogant to respect the pedigree of thousands of cleverer people than ones self and to accept what they, as a majority, have agreed to believe. Neither is it weak-mindedness.  No one is in a position to criticise, with any validity, the opinions of  established Science until they have  understood what it is actually telling them. How will you get to understand? You have to put yourself out and actually learn the stuff. Know your enemy - if that is how you view it.
Of course, if you really want to shake the Science world with a  new, properly worked-out ,theory, you need a high level of arrogance - to carry you through the process - but that's down to human nature, not Science.
In any case, established science seldom feels 'threatened' by T,D&H - except when it affects the funding and T,D orH happen to be controlling the purse strings. Science may, however, feel threatened by someone who has credibility and who then rocks the boat.

Science is not just the surface of 'knowledge space'; it is the whole body of that space. The majority of people's experience of science is when it is applied   (established) science with the occasional little nugget of the fringe -like black holes and time dilation. How can you 'explain' concepts like that to anyone who hasn't got a grasp of the basics of science?
'Questioning' is a useful skill when it relates to reliability of evidence - as in politics, history etc. but most of the evidence that most kids are given relating to Science is a million times better founded than an opinion about who caused the first World War.
Get a copy of the National Curriculum and see how much is in any way, shaky, before you just criticise the system.
I am aware that the list of topics in the National Curriculum is far from optimal but it is far from a list of ideas with which to indoctrinate  kids. The main problem it has is that it attempts to treat all students in the same way. The 'levels' thing is another issue and  very fraught.
« Last Edit: 05/11/2007 17:53:51 by sophiecentaur »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #15 on: 05/11/2007 18:40:51 »
Now why couldn't I have put it like that? If indeed we are to advance science we must not settle for anything less than sound repeatable, demonstrational science. If indeed there are fundamental flaws in any paradigm, from any field then the paradigm itself might be in need of a revamp and who better to do this than an upcoming young scientist who dares to question the paradigm without fear of rebuttal from people who are more concerned with safeguarding their own careers than admitting the subject matter they hold grades for accepting might become obsolete along with themselves.

Andrew

What I am saying is that Tom Dick and Harry are not in a position to anything about advancing Science unless they already have a sound body of knowledge. The popular idea, nowadays, is that you can start from scratch, without any rigour and make valid comments / criticisms about scientific matters which are virtually anassailable.
You only have to read some of the whacky posts on these fora to realise that many people just don't know the basics.  Science and engineering  both hang on their history.

Firstly, there is a difference between teaching scientific method, and indoctrination with the whole body of scientific knowledge.

Secondly, a good scientist does not seek to extend the scientific knowledge of humanity, he seeks to extend his own scientific knowledge, and if he does this for long enough he will reach the boundaries of the scientific knowledge of humanity, and then keep seeking to extend his own knowledge beyond that.  The point is that scientists don't go from being dumb recipients of other people's information to suddenly switching modes to becoming seekers of new information; they continue doing what they did before.

Ofcourse, the key point is that arrogance does not make for good science, whether it is the arrogance of an outsider who believes he knows better than all the insiders, or the arrogance of an insider who believes only he is competent to judge what is true and what is false.

Having schoolkids question established science is good, not because they are very likely to create revolutionary theories in science, but because it gives them a grounding in how to ask questions, and how to apply scientific method in answering those questions.  If they become afraid to challenge the ideas of their 'superiors', then they will have all sense of curiosity drummed out of them, and will make useless scientists later in life.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #16 on: 05/11/2007 19:20:40 »
How many Tom Dick and Harry's have advanced science by going against existing and very well established beliefs, often working alone without any support other than a thirst to advance their own understanding of a subject that has captured their thoughts only to show that what was believed to be etched in stone has been washed away by the waves of time along with the bones of the people who held onto the belief? Oddly enough, we didn't always have a scientific community to guard science from intruders.
 

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« Reply #17 on: 05/11/2007 19:33:10 »
How can it be wrong to tell kids the fundamentals of Electricity, Forces, Energy etc.

Where did I say it was wrong to tell them anything - have I advocated censorship?

All I suggested was that it was good that they should question things, including things they are told - but that is not the same as not telling them.

The point then is to teach them how to resolve the challenges the dream up - to teach them to do their own research so that they can either reaffirm what you have told them, or come up with situations where what you have told them does not quite make sense.

Is learning your times tables 'indoctrination'? Or is it giving someone a skill and knowledge to help them cope with other stuff?

I'm afraid learning by rote (such as the times table) has always been a contentious issue with me, but I do recognise that some people are better at learning by rote.  I'm afraid I was always the kind of person who wanted to understand what multiplication was (i.e. to better understand multiplication in terms of number theory) than is simply memorising a pre-set calculations (this is the more true now that we have easy access to calculators that will do that work for us).

Ofcourse, memorising information (whether it be times tables, or learning a collection of physical constants to the 20th decimal place) is a useful skill; but in the real world, I would suggest that cookery is at least as valid a skill (this may not have been so true 30 years ago, but certainly is today).

Quote
or the arrogance of an insider who believes only he is competent to judge what is true and what is false.
It is far from arrogant to respect the pedigree of thousands of cleverer people than ones self and to accept what they, as a majority, have agreed to believe.

That is a recipe for religion, not for science; and, yes, I do regard it as extremely arrogant to laud one's intelligence (or cleverness) over another, and expect people to treat what you have to say as gospel merely because by some measure they are considered more intelligent than you.  If they are that clever, then let them show you by clearly explaining in a way that makes the truth of what they are saying self evident, rather than saying it must be true because they are more intelligent than you.

Neither is it weak-mindedness.  No one is in a position to criticise, with any validity, the opinions of  established Science until they have  understood what it is actually telling them. How will you get to understand? You have to put yourself out and actually learn the stuff. Know your enemy - if that is how you view it.


You seem to be confusing different concepts.  Those who think they can extend science would not regard science as their enemy (there are indeed people who may regard science as their enemy, but the are not scientists, and they have a different agenda).

If one looks at your proposal that you should not condemn something until you have been fully immersed in a total understanding of it - is it your contention that nobody should condemn astrology unless they have firstly totally understood it and become expert in it (personally, I would take a middle road, and would say that before you you condemn something, such as, but not limited to, astrology; you should at least seek to understand it from a sympathetic perspective, but maybe not necessarily become expert in it).

Of course, if you really want to shake the Science world with a  new, properly worked-out, theory, you need a high level of arrogance - to carry you through the process - but that's down to human nature, not Science.

I would not confuse confidence with arrogance.  One can be confident in one's own ability without having to be arrogantly dismissive of others.

'Questioning' is a useful skill when it relates to reliability of evidence - as in politics, history etc. but most of the evidence that most kids are given relating to Science is a million times better founded than an opinion about who caused the first World War.

The issue is not whether science is resting on better foundations than history, but whether one is taught the mindset of questioning everything, or questioning nothing.  If science is on such a firm foundation, then it should not be afraid of being challenged, since it should be able to easily meet such challenges, and should even welcome such challenges, knowing that having successfully met such challenges it will have greater credibility than if it had never been challenged.

Get a copy of the National Curriculum and see how much is in any way, shaky, before you just criticise the system.
I am aware that the list of topics in the National Curriculum is far from optimal but it is far from a list of ideas with which to indoctrinate  kids. The main problem it has is that it attempts to treat all students in the same way. The 'levels' thing is another issue and  very fraught.

My own criticism of the education system is down to my own personal experiences (which pre-date the National Curriculum), and what I have heard since then from teachers who complain that in practical terms they are not given the space to allow pupils to offer challenges simply because of lack of time, whatever the intents of the system.

But in any case, my earlier post was not about attacking the system so much as saying that as a generality pupils should be taught to critically question what they are taught, and to do otherwise will not give us good quality scientists for the future.  My own experience is that this is not done, and nothing you have said seems to clearly indicate the contrary (rather you seemed to have defended a position where you say pupils should not be questioning their 'betters').
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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« Reply #18 on: 05/11/2007 19:35:54 »
You are probably right about people like Branson not making very good employees. But I think you are wrong to assume that they were hopeless at working for other people. Instead, they were lateral thinkers who thought to themselves, I can either work for these guys for the rest of my life or I can have people working for me instead and I can sit on the deck of my own Yacht sipping a glass of Champaign while fishing for blue marlin. Any up coming business could do a lot worse than have one of these guys working for their company.  

Some of the wealthiest people of our time are hard pressed to score on an IQ test, but clearly excel in making money, perhaps these people should compile the next IQ test.

But would such wealthy people really make good employees.  Often self made millionaires are people who went out on their own because they were hopeless working for anybody else.  If you were looking for your next employee, would you really want to employ one of these people?
 

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« Reply #19 on: 05/11/2007 19:55:14 »
You are probably right about people like Branson not making very good employees. But I think you are wrong to assume that they were hopeless at working for other people. Instead, they were lateral thinkers who thought to themselves, I can either work for these guys for the rest of my life or I can have people working for me instead and I can sit on the deck of my own Yacht sipping a glass of Champaign while fishing for blue marlin. Any up coming business could do a lot worse than have one of these guys working for their company.   

I suspect we may have to agree to disagree about this.

Firstly, there are two classes of wealthy people - those who set about with the intention of becoming wealthy, and one means of achieving that were as good as another; and another group who just wanted to do their own thing (the James Dysons of this world), who just happened to make money as a by-product of creating their vision.

But in both cases, these people tend to be headstrong, and don't take orders well (because they'd rather be giving orders than taking them).  Often these people don't like working for big companies because they don't like the constraints the bureaucracy places upon their freedom of action.

Ofcourse, this is not true of all wealthy people.  Some wealthy people do climb up through the corporate ladder, and gain their wealth through the corporate route, and will thrive within that bureaucracy; but I rather doubt the Richard Branson's or James Dyson's of this world fit into that category (or probably not even Bill Gates, although I would place Bill Gates as one of those people who sought money as a primary rather than a secondary goal, but still not a corporate animal).
 

lyner

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« Reply #20 on: 05/11/2007 22:50:43 »
Quote
(rather you seemed to have defended a position where you say pupils should not be questioning their 'betters').
I would not include myself amongst their 'betters' but I am better informed than many of them. Scientifically speaking , yes- I would say that they would need a lot more than a minute's thought before they were, in any way, qualified to question  'betters' like Newton, Einstein, Bohr, Hawkin and the others. If I tell a child not to run across the road I don't think anyone would criticise me for imposing my superior knowledge and experience. Neither should a teacher be criticised for strongly advocating a view  at which he has arrived  through well informed choice.
Do you realise just how little the average child knows about any of these academic matters? I talk to them every day and ignorance is rife - dominated by garbage that they hear in films and TV.
It is not for nothing that the word 'education' includes the Latin word for 'to lead'. It does not imply "help yourselves to any old idea you fancy, kids".
Is the idea to help them or to allow complete anarchy of ideas in a desperate attempt to avoid 'indoctrination'?
In any case, A-S, your function on this forum (just like mine) seems to 'put people right' when they stray outside the reasonable bounds of Science thinking. How can you criticise this when it's carried out with kids who, even more, need protection from 'the evil- Science Fiction'?
 

another_someone

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« Reply #21 on: 05/11/2007 23:30:03 »
It is not for nothing that the word 'education' includes the Latin word for 'to lead'. It does not imply "help yourselves to any old idea you fancy, kids".
Is the idea to help them or to allow complete anarchy of ideas in a desperate attempt to avoid 'indoctrination'?
In any case, A-S, your function on this forum (just like mine) seems to 'put people right' when they stray outside the reasonable bounds of Science thinking. How can you criticise this when it's carried out with kids who, even more, need protection from 'the evil- Science Fiction'?

I think the key distinction is between 'lead' and 'choral' - I do not see myself as ever imposing my view of reality, but that is not to say that I do not try and provide leadership.

There is nothing wrong with kids helping themselves to any ideas - but they should learn to be able to then learn to judge those ideas, to accept challenges on those ideas (the right to challenge comes with an obligation to accept challenges) and thence to learn which ideas are defensible and which are not.  That is very different from telling kids 'you must not go there' or 'that idea is forbidden'.
 

Offline thebrain13

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« Reply #22 on: 06/11/2007 00:03:57 »
sophiecentaur, do you think einstein knew everything about physics before he questioned it?

No, einstein spent his whole life questioning. When he was five his dad gave him a compass. He became infatuated with trying to figure out how it worked. When he was sixteen he had written up a big theory that he used to try to enter a university. He was denied.

when he was sixteen he had no degree, his knowledge of the subject was limited, and his theories (I'm pretty sure) reflected that. A knowledgable person could see his flaws, and to them, he would look like one of those wackos you were referencing.

Does that mean, that coming up with theories when he was younger, and questioning modern physics was a waste of time? Do you think he should of waited until he was 26 and knew exactly what he was talking about before he ever questioned the current theories?

If you answer yes to those questions, then me and you will just have to agree to disagree. Cuz, I think, if you spend your whole life trying to memorize what other people think, when your older, you're going to be very good at memorizing what other people think. And if you spend your whole life thinking for yourself, when you're older you're going to be very good at thinking for yourself.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2007 00:07:07 by thebrain13 »
 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #23 on: 06/11/2007 01:08:39 »
I must agree with Sophie. Science depends and revolves around a priori reasoning.

Only with a firm foundation in physics did Einstein know WHICH questions to ask and HOW to formulate the answer. He did have a degree in Physics and read advanced physics before he went to high school, all before 16. Or did the mathematics proving his theory come out of fresh air?

Lord people, were eating our own here so far. Let's not get out of hand.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2007 01:45:00 by JimBob »
 

another_someone

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« Reply #24 on: 06/11/2007 01:33:41 »
I suspect a more interesting example than Einstein would be Faraday - who was totally self taught - and quite prescient:

Quote
"One day sir, you may tax it." Faraday's reply to William Gladstone, then British Minister of Finance, when asked of the practical value of electricity.

Or, more recently, Richard Feynmen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman#Biography
Quote
The young Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, Melville, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2007 01:42:24 by another_someone »
 

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