Thursday, December 6, 2007

Eat that, Galileo!

Yesterday I got a clear (another) proof that European education is superior to American. Much, much more superior. I don't think that you would find even one 10-year old in Russia and probably all former USSR (we are talking about healthy ones without any learning disabilities) that would be puzzled by the question about the shape of the Earth. Any normal pre-teen regularly attending school would know that Earth is round, as in not flat.

Not so in the States. I was checking my email yesterday, when I saw the headline that one of the hosts of the View, talk show for women, didn't know whether earth was round or flat. Normally I try to avoid celebrity news, and get most of my news from the headlines. But someone, regardless of their celebrity status, not knowing the shape of the earth warranted reading the article and watching the video clip. I also thought that there could be some liberal media bias, twisting the words of the openly faithful Christian. Not so, they actually didn't twist it at all. Sherri Shepherd did not know whether earth was round or flat. If her son asked her about it, she would actually have to research the answer. Her reason for not knowing a basic scientific fact? She never took interest in it. She was more concerned about her ability to feed her son, not with the shape of the earth.

Uh-huh. This is the information she was supposed to learn from the earth science in junior high. If at the age of 13 she needed to concern herself with feeding her kids, then I guess she had a valid excuse. I mean, if I got knocked up at 12, I probably wouldn't care if the earth was round or flat either and probably wouldn't pay much attention in class. But she didn't. She had her first kid at 38. And not taking interest part? Most people don't particularly care about math, but everyone knows that 2+2=4 (unless you are an acountant, then the answer is open to interpretation). To me there's no difference between not knowing the former or the latter. Both are very basic, and knowing them is a must regardless of your personal interests. (As a side note, I shared the news with my husband. He told me he was so shocked, he was thinking about this the entire next day. And it takes a lot for hubby to get so shocked.)

That same woman was under the impression that NOTHING predates Christianity and argued with Whoopie Goldberg that Greeks threw Christians to lions. If we believe Sherri, those unfortunate events happened over three centuries before the birth of Jesus. Who were those Christians worshipping then? And the woman had the audacity to announce and defend those ignorant views on public television! That reminds me my fahter's business trip to the deep Russia where someone told my dad that Jesus was Russian. The woman was shocked and appauled at the suggestion that her deity could have Jewish roots. It's one thing to be a faithful believer. It's completely another thing to be an ignorant believer.

So the question for me is: what do kids do in American schools that some of them manage to graduate without knowing some basic scientific facts? I really need to know because I have one starting school next year...

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