It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Neil DeGrasse Tyson - Best point ever made on childrens ambitions lost by parenting and testing

page: 1
<<   2  3 >>

log in

+6 more 
posted on May, 2 2013 @ 09:42 PM
Appreciate the naturally inquisitive nature of kids, don't try to impose order too much on them! Really is that simple, but he puts it so eloquently. Short 2 minute clip.

Yeah, because children are born scientists, they are always turning over rocks and plucking petals off flowers, they are always doing stuff that by and large is destructive. That's what exploration really is when you think about it. An adult scientist, is a kid, who never grew up. That's what an adult scientist does.

So what happens at home when a kid reaches into a cupboard and gets an egg and start juggling it; whats the first thing you do as a parent?

'STOP PLAYING WITH THE EGG! it could break.'

Umm, excuse me, this is an experiment in the material strength of shells! Let the kid find out that when it drops it breaks. This is physics experiment, rapidly turned into a biology experiment, when the yolk starts oozing out you say hey that becomes a chicken one day.
'How does that become a chicken one day?
'Well that's biology check that out too'

What did the egg cost you? 20 cents? The president of Harvard once said if you think the cost of eduction is expensive you should try the cost of ignorance.

So we don't have enough parents or schools that know how to honor the inquisitive nature of their own kids, because they want to keep order in their households.

A child goes into the kitchen and start playing with all the pots and pans and starts banging on them, whats the first thing you say as a parent? "stop that noise, stop that racket, you'll get the pots and pans dirty!"

You just squashed an entire experiment in acoustics. So, im not worried about kids, some people ask me "how do I get my kids interested in science?" ... your kids are already interested in science; YOUR the one that's the problem.

So almost my entire professional energy is invested in adults, because they vote, the control, they run the world. Kids will be fine, it's the parents and schools we should be worrying about.

The other beef I have with eduction nowadays is the standardized test systems. Children grow up with a very odd view of the world and what eduction is, apparently it's all about learning specific facts for a curriculum for tests. Well, that's not much better than a memory test, it does not intrinsically educate and teach deductive logic, understanding of maths* (NOT just learning methods like a robot) it's much more a memory test than an educational system. Einstein put it very well when he said:

And also Tyson has naturally picked up on the same point:

Not much progress in the last 70 years by the look of things

Maybe the worst side effect of standardized tests is that they kill creativity dead. There is no room for creativity or mind expansion for a child who is simply learning answers to questions. They replace the rich imagination of children with instead anxieties about tests, they replace creativity in place of worry. And worry is probably the worst miss use of imagination.

And finally to round this thread off if it piqued your interest, or if you have kids and are concerned about the educational environment they are in, I can highly recommend this humerus yet poignant talk by Sir Ken Robinson at TED. It's the highest viewed and rated TED talk there is.

Robinson is a world expert in creativity and champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Why don't we get the best out of people? Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. It's a message with deep resonance.

Robinson's TED Talk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release. The most popular words framing blog posts on his talk? "Everyone should watch this."

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

* On the point of maths education I think people hugely underestimate the role of maths even in a cultural setting. There's no doubt that the failure to teach mathematics in practical social and political terms boils down to a failure to teach logic and discriminating understanding. The great evil in our society, in my humble opinion, that haunts our enterprise (and I say this realizing i'm sending the fox among the chickens) and has been allowed to flourish in the absence of mathematical understanding is relativism.

Relativism is the idea that there is no distinction between # and Shinola. That all ideas are somehow operating on equal footing. So one person is a chaos theorist, another is a follower of the revelations of this or that new age guru, someone else is channeling information from the Pleiades star system, and we have been taught that political correctness demands that we treat all these things with equal weight.

Because we have no mathematical ability, no logical ability, we don't know how to ask the questions that expose some positions as preposterous, trivial, insulting to the intelligence and unworthy of repetition.

We are all comfortable at bashing science, flailing away at that, but that isn't our enemy; science is capable of undertaking its own reformation and critique and his been engaged in that fairly vigorously for some time. The enemy that will really subvert the enterprise of building a world based on clarity is the belief that we can not point out the pernicious forms of idiocy that flourish in our own community.

This problem is growing worse all the time, just pick up a copy of magical blend or shaman's drum and you will discover an appeal to the level of intellect that will make that makes what's going on with television advertising look like a meeting of the Princeton Institute of advanced study. We have tolerated too many loose heads in our community; we are not willing to take on the karma involved in argument and discourse that actually gores somebody's ox so that at the end of the day Iridology or Mormonism or some other institutionally supported foolishness lies in shreds on the floor. We consider this politically incorrect.

If we had learned mathematical logic, or reason or rules of evidence, then when someone approaches this excited to inform us that said the ruins of Atlantis have been spotted in the deep sea off Lake Titicaca, we would be able to respond to that with the contempt it deserves.

To me all of these things are intelligence tests. And the people who pass the intelligence tests are not worrying about pro Bono proctologists from other star systems in their bedrooms.

So, we have perfected politeness. We have perfected the ability to listen to damned foolishness without betraying without so much as a flick of an eyebrow that we realize what we're in the presence of.

Now I think its time to refine our mathematical skills , learn to think straight, and not be afraid to denounce the pernicious forms of foolishness which are visciating the energies of our community and making us appear marginal and absurd in the discourse about truly transforming society.

Thanks for reading and watching

edit on 2-5-2013 by ZeuZZ because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 2 2013 @ 10:36 PM
We have many problems in society today that also impinge on what you have stated.

Science is a whore! We have lost true honest science and replaced it with science for hire. For me it started with 'scientists' telling us smoking was A OK. Now it more scientists telling us that Monsanto is a lovely company and their crops are really good. Add in the climate debate and is it any wonder that the man in the street is confused.

Universities make mad scrambles for funding and quite frankly, the money is much more important that the science. Sure french fries are good for you, our science department can prove it with the right funding!

Back when I was a lad, being a book worm was good! Smart and clever people were lauded by their fellow man. It was not only the greats either. Just being a scientist was enough for most people to listen respectfully.

Now, science is owned by corporations one way or another. The people that work for them are geeks, nerds and clever thinking leads to accusations of 'you're a conspiracy nutjob.

We are taught that Philips invented the compact disk. Rubbish, two scientists invented the CD, Phillips just took the credit for it. More and more, the financial backers become the heroes while the intellectuals actually doing the work are just paid help.

Schools are just a by product of this thinking. Teachers are replaceable drones, the school district is in charge and the budget is the primary consideration of the education system.

No-one really cares what children learn as long as the bureaucracy does not have to shift its view or get up off its backside. Smooth sailing creating robot children that can answer questions is the goal today.

Not every country is like this and the ones that are not, such as China, will reap untold rewards in the future.


posted on May, 2 2013 @ 10:49 PM
I agreed with everything you said all the way up until the TED Talk guy.

Look, what he's saying there, is that we should squash our free-thinking and free-feeling and go with only what mainstream science says is true.

Unless I misunderstood it - it seemed to me that that guy said the opposite of the point you were trying to make in your OP.

Again, perhaps I misunderstood what he was saying.

posted on May, 2 2013 @ 10:52 PM
Great thread, thanks for this.

I remember being younger, just starting to learn reading comprehension, and then having multiple choice tests thrown at me. Saying that the "right answer" as to how I, personally, understand the material I am reading is "A,B,C. or D" How is this fair? I think right from the get go it squashes intelligence to be told that you failed to understand the book properly because you don't agree with the interpretation given by the school board.

posted on May, 2 2013 @ 11:08 PM
I always liked the way Neil DeGrasse Tyson sums things up. He makes excellent sense.
I would like to add: LET YOUR KIDS GET DIRTY! Like mentioned in OP, it's not only good for their sense of exploration and experimentation, but also their immune system.

posted on May, 2 2013 @ 11:41 PM

Originally posted by angellicview
I agreed with everything you said all the way up until the TED Talk guy.

Look, what he's saying there, is that we should squash our free-thinking and free-feeling and go with only what mainstream science says is true.

Unless I misunderstood it - it seemed to me that that guy said the opposite of the point you were trying to make in your OP.

Again, perhaps I misunderstood what he was saying.

I didn't quote anything he said, they were my own words. I'm talking about quashing free thinking, im talking about calling the pernicious forms of idiocy like iridology or homeopathy, that make money off innocent people in exchange for lies, accountable for their actions.

posted on May, 2 2013 @ 11:47 PM
reply to post by ZeuZZ

Great, great, GREAT thread.

First, look up Charlotte Iserbyte. You will then understand why our students are taught what to think, and now how to think.

Second.....I can truly appreciate Tyson. He is the rock star scientist of todays generation. And deservedly so. He has consistently shown himself to be well thought on just about everything he talks about (with some exceptions). Well thought....that is a good thing to be.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 12:25 AM
reply to post by ZeuZZ

I disagree, and I think your ideas are pretentious. More, I think you have not even considered how horrid your main idea would be in practice.

I'll give you the answer: It would force everyone to stay inside a box. Granted, it would be a box of a new design, but it would still be a box by another's design; and that form of thought conditioning would destroy free thought and innovation, just as much, or more so, than the ideologies you are preaching against.

To sum up this thread for people whom might have missed it, the OP is basically saying:

"People should be free thinkers, but only free to think about what I think is worthy."

And to that, I say why? What is the end you seek that justifies your "superior" ideology? You have placed value on math, logic, knowledge, and "understanding" without understanding that what makes you happy, doesn't make everyone happy, and nor should it.

Happiness is the end. Do not try to force your idea of what happiness is on others - that wouldn't make them very happy. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... and all that.

Oh and Neil isn't as smart as you think. He makes a false dilemma nearly every time he says something, because he is very agenda driven. "Choose the smashed egg or a costly education". Education is free for free thinkers. He asks questions not to inspire thought, but because he doesn't know the answer himself - he just wants to push his agendas, not help people. lol I've seen him say some really stupid Shinola. For cereal.
edit on 5/3/2013 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 05:41 AM
reply to post by angellicview

I agree with you,and really who is this character that I should care of his tiny minded opinion anyhow.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 07:36 AM
reply to post by Bleeeeep

People are free to think what they want. But charging poor families with little eduction £300 a pop for an eye reading (iridology) and giving them water as the treatment is not only dishonest but verging on institutionalized crime. People with AIDS, cancer and a host of fatal diseases go to these oil and snakeskin salesmen all the time and die due to not getting proper treatments. Why should bwe respect their beliefs? Considering what they use it for calling them out on it seems to logical thing to do.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 08:04 AM
reply to post by Bleeeeep

I think the OP is talking about how we, as people, as not taught to think anymore. We are told what to think, not taught how to think. Consider in your education.....when you did (and most of your classmates) hated having to do "word problems". Word problems? Why are they called that? It is more like they should be called, "real world problems".

The math you are taught is not taught as an applied mathematics. It is more theoretical mathematics. You are given abstract formulas to memorize. If you are good at memorization, some of those formulas may last in your mind a little longer. But the applied capabilities of those formulas does not change. For example, to this day I still remember the slope intercept formula (y=mx+b). What is its applied use? I have no clue. I am 40, and am considered a "math whiz" in my company. Go figure....but its all because of my applied capabilities (i am good with Excel).

Education is not geared towards creating creatures with strong logic matrices established for thought processing. It is geared towards making an easy placable creature who believes they have an education. And when the OP suggests that the education you worked for 12 years to get has less bristle. Understandably. For the same reason that the scientists you seem to take issue with do: you are invested in your knowledge.

Funny, that.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 08:11 AM
reply to post by dellmonty

I would posit that when you exercise your muscles grow. I would further posit that when you have gotten an infection, your body is better able to defend against that infection. I would further posit that when you exercise your mind, it too grows in strength and power.

Finally, I would posit that both speakers in the OP have exercised their minds far more than either you or I.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 10:10 AM

The math you are taught is not taught as an applied mathematics. It is more theoretical mathematics. You are given abstract formulas to memorize. If you are good at memorization, some of those formulas may last in your mind a little longer. But the applied capabilities of those formulas does not change. For example, to this day I still remember the slope intercept formula (y=mx+b). What is its applied use? I have no clue. I am 40, and am considered a "math whiz" in my company. Go figure....but its all because of my applied capabilities (i am good with Excel)

Perfectly said!

The cultural values of western educational systems has been getting worse with time too, not better, which is what worries me.

Well, why should culture imprison us, and somehow place a barrier between ourselves and our true humanness? Culture and ideology are not your friends. Culture is for the benefit of culture only.

This is a hard thing to come to terms with, because a certain kind of alienation lies at the end of this thought process. On the other hand, you can’t live in the cradle for ever; you can’t be clueless for ever. So somebody might as well just lay it out for you, and say: Culture is for the convenience of culture, not you. How many times have your sexual desires, career aspirations, financial dealings and aesthetic inclinations been squashed, twisted, rejected, and minimised by cultural values? And if you don’t think culture is your enemy, ask the 18-year-old kid who is given a rifle and sent to the other side of the world to murder strangers if culture is his friend.

These extreme examples should bring it home to us that it’s a kind of a con game. It is in fact, strangely enough, a kind of virtual reality. We have been led to think of virtual realities as something on the screen of a computer, or presented through a headset, but that’s an electronic virtual reality. The primary technology for the building of virtual realities is language.

Once you start talking about race pride, loyalty, our destiny, our God, our mission, it’s like building virtual realities; and people begin to treat these things as though they had the substantiality of real objects, and to build their lives as though these things are real. And what is this? It’s a diminution of humanness. You’re choosing to limit yourself to a cultural reality; whether it’s the reality of being Huitoto or Orthodox Jewish, or whatever it is, it’s a smaller world than the simple hardware you were born into this universe with.

We have to stop consuming our culture. We have to create culture, don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you're giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is #-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears.

Yet we are told 'no', we're unimportant, we're peripheral. 'Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.' And then you're a player, you don't want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 11:02 AM
Love this thread. Hate the standardized testing with a passion. I have two kids, one 14 with autism and one 12 in the gifted program. Both smart as whips. 14 yo gets placed in lower math classes because he can't pass the standardized test - but scores all As in math.
I just had his education plan rewritten so that standardized test scores cannot be used in any class placement for him - it has to be by a portfolio of his work.

12 yo is in 7th grade, taking 9th grade math and loathes the standardized testing. I see my job as simply clearing the field for her, so she can have the freedom to study as she wants. We were able to get her out of the standard classroom setting for English and have her do independent study. She's so much happier and more free to pursue her own interests with some teacher guidance. I have a meeting with the school at the end of the month to take down some barriers for her next year of education.

Cookie cutter solutions and tests do our children absolutely no good! Critical thinking, problem solving, going beyond spouting back test answers make for happier students.

BTW, I don't remember allowing my kids to juggle eggs in the house, but I did give them a couple to take outside.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 11:20 AM
reply to post by ZeuZZ

I think you do not see the error in what you're saying, because you honestly believe some people might actually have it all figured out; but, sadly, no, no one really knows what's right or wrong. We're all just guessing, and some are just more convincing guessers.

I do agree that some rules and teachings should be changed, but I think the rules and teachings should be changed to enforce the allowance of free thought, of any subject, or the free practice, of any life style, provided that said practices do not impede on others' lives, or the [reasonable amount of] materials they have harvested for themselves.

You want to be overly controlling, and I want everyone to control themselves. You think some people aren't fit to control their own lives, and I think no one is, thus everyone should be more free.

What your idea asks for is the enslavement of minds, and the rule over others' life choices; and to that, I still disagree. We should not force impedance upon others' philosophical/spiritual practices, or ideas, unless said practices harm others, or their livelihood.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 11:30 AM
reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan

You've misunderstood what the topic is about, but I would tend to agree with you, except for the fact that no one really knows what's absolutely best or right.

If I'm correct, you would seek to only teach the fundamentals required for society, critical thinking, and trade skills, and then maybe put everything else into an extracurricular category? I can't disagree with that, but I also find importance with everyone knowing the same things, regardless if the same things are accurate or not.

As an example, I believe it is not important whether one thinks the world is flat, round, or oblong, so long as he/she understands how to traverse a conversation about the worlds' shape, without going to war with others about it.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 12:02 PM
reply to post by Bleeeeep

No, i say we stop using memorization as a teaching strategy.

If I knew WHY i needed a slope intercept formula, then it would certainly make it easier to recall.

I have a history in adult education. One of the key mantras for the adult learner is "WIIFM" or "Whats In It For Me".

I would posit that the majority of child learners past of the age of 11 are the same. Yet we ignore it and try to teach them like they have the same neuroplasticity as a 7 year old. It just isn't true.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 02:31 PM
Eggs are food and wasting is bad! Banging pots and pans is loud and neighbors will get you evicted or call cps!


posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:29 PM

I think you do not see the error in what you're saying, because you honestly believe some people might actually have it all figured out; but, sadly, no, no one really knows what's right or wrong. We're all just guessing, and some are just more convincing guessers.

So you think that Bob from America who claims to be channeling Xebor from the plaides star system and charging people $400 a transmission should be held with the same relative respect than the radio stations that we actually get productive information from for basically free?

You think homeopaths should be able to use water in snazzy bottles and give this to dying cancer patient telling them it should cure them, purely putting their faith in the placebo effect? And that we should treat that with equal credence as the current treatments with 50 years of in depth scientific research and known mechanisms of action?

Or the mystic who charges grieving mothers £300 a 'read' to make up any old reassuring nonsense? They make money by preying on the most vulnerable. Sure it might help them, even if what they say is a reassuring lie, but to charge them so much money and get away with is the sort of thing we should not be allowing in a modern society. Counselors often do it for free but tell the truth: mystics they charge for it and make stuff up.

Issac Asimov put it brilliantly here (it is sort of tongue in cheek)

edit on 3-5-2013 by ZeuZZ because: (no reason given)

edit on 3-5-2013 by ZeuZZ because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 03:34 PM
reply to post by ZeuZZ

Whoa whoa whoa....lets discuss that line of reasoning.

A "modern society"....that is just silly. The only things that change about societies is the name of the people screwing everyone else over. And in the last 100 years (due to technology) how that screwing will commence. There is nothing particularly pious or proper about "modern society". It is full of the same blood lusts and prejudices as all societies have had.

Beyond only belief is that the people entering into the arrangements should be of sound mind. But since there is no way to reasonably write a law around that....i would rather err on the side of some folks getting screwed over than to err on the side of stifling liberty and freedom.

new topics

top topics

<<   2  3 >>

log in