Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Education, and some humor

This is what the technical information sheet of some commercially obtained (from a very well known life sciences company) human testicular/testis mRNA (which we use in our lab for research) said:

Donor age: 22
Cause of death: head trauma
RNA quantity: 5 ug
Donor gender: MALE

I'm sure it must have taken the brightest mind in the company to figure out that that testicular RNA obtained from a human testis required a male donor.


Here is a Pew research survey summary titled "Religion: A strength and weakness for both Parties. Public divided on the origins of life".

(bold fonts my own emphasis)

42 % of those responding believe that life existed in its present form since the beginning of time (Damn those annoying fossil records. If only they would disappear just like the animals themselves did)

Here's a sample from "Views on Evolution"
"Human and other living things have existed in the present form only" Yes: 42%
(Curse you, Cro mangon man! Curse you Java man! Curse you, homo erectus! Curse you cave paintings! Curse you, unearthed habitat ruins! If only those remains had never been found. And as for those viruses that mutate even within a few cycles, and constantly evolve even in a tenth of a human lifetime just to prove evolution, lies, all lies, and damned lies I tell you).

The surveying morons go on to ask what people think about the consensus scientists have over evolution. The people (not scientists) say 54% of scientists believe in evolution.

Now if only the surveying group had asked us scientists what we believed (because of mountains of scientific evidence). But perhaps surveys are not allowed to actually ask scientists what they believe, and they can only ask people what they think scientists believe.

Here's the best part of the survey.

It asks "Who should decide what is taught"
And lo and behold! 41% of the population think that parents (not teachers, not boards, not educationalists) decide what should be in textbooks.

So now the brilliant high school dropout who thinks that physics and psychics are the same thing can tell teachers what they should teach kids in high school and college. Just fantastic.

I have no argument about people and their own religious beliefs. That is personal choice. But deciding what is scientific fact, or what should be taught in school, based on one's belief (which is not everyone's belief) is something that should not happen in a logical, scientific and progressive society.

(survey link from Patrix)


Amrit said...

Considering the scale of destruction the humans have wrought upon the planet, if people from another planet ever visit us, they'll think we've been here forever :-)


greatbong said...


It seems that there was some nut who had the balls to show his stupidity--maybe the head trauma was suffered by the labeller.

Speaking of head trauma, the supporters of "intelligent design" have this standard line:

"If evolution took place, why does not a monkey suddenly give birth to a human?"

I kid you not---I heard this on TV.

Anonymous said...

my dad used to joke about these distance learning colleges that would offer a degree in "muugic, maagic and maaths" (replete with a strong tam accent). It has come to pass:)
monkey give birth to a human - well she must have a few million millenia ago.
Today the trend is reversed we have humans birthing monkeys just look at the American leadership and you will see what i mean :)

gawker said...

"The surveying morons go on to ask what people think about the consensus scientists have over evolution. The people (not scientists) say 54% of scientists believe in evolution."

What the hell does this question even mean? And what is the point of it? They are asking people to read scientists' minds? Just goes to show how idiotic and worthless these polls have become.

Michael Higgins said...

Hi Sunil
I agree with gawker that these polls are largely meaningless. People really don't think very much when they answer them. I remember one poll from France in which only 50% said they believed in God but 75% believed that Jesus was the son of God.

But I think this polls show why parents need to have the greatest say in guiding their children's education. There are too many ignorant people who want to play politics with the public schools. Intelligent Design is just the latest example of this nonsense.

The best way I can guarantee that my child won't be exposed to a lot of nonsense is to choose his school.

Sunil said...

Arnab.....i've heard that monkey arguement also. All i can do is roll my eyes in horror. If people refuse to get it, they never will.


Gawker....these polls may have become meaningless....but do take a look at the rest of the poll....it does reveal quite a bit.

Michael....that i think is the catch 22 situation. Parents like you might want your kids to get a good education, based on fact, and not religion. But too many parents are ignorant, and cannot decide what goes in to text books. I hate politics coming over to education. We're seeing that in India as well. The BJP during its rule went on a rampage changing text books to suit its philosophy. The congress now is doing the same thing....by reversing what the BJP did, but going whole hog to the other (left) extreme with its own version....here it's mostly the history books....at least science text books are spared (for now).

Rhyncus said...

Oh, come on now, Sunil we all know that all those fossils were in fact carefully buried hoaxes planted by the Underground Society of Darwinists.
But sarcasm apart,
"The surveying morons go on to ask what people think about the consensus scientists have over evolution. The people (not scientists) say 54% of scientists believe in evolution."
makes me wonder. Are the scientists not doing a good enough job of taking science to the people? Or would a person's version of the 'truth' cloud his/her vision so badly?

Queasy Rider said...

Sunil, you presume that the objective is to become a progressive society - you should tune in to Fox news, especially when Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly are holding forth on how America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles etc etc - they have turned liberal and progressive into obscenities. There is very little clarity of thought among blind right wingers.
- Nanda Kishore

Sunil said...

Rhyncus...you asked Are the scientists not doing a good enough job of taking science to the people? Or would a person's version of the 'truth' cloud his/her vision so badly?

Very good question.

Scientists have been crying themselves hoarse over the issue (or lack of it) for years now. Every scientific journal of major impact (science, nature, PNAS, Cell, Embo and others) related to the field has had extensive editorials on the issue, and there's some thing on this in almost every issue. But, just like the New Orleans fiasco (where scientists have been shouting out for years that the levies are not good enough, and wetlands around new orleans are being lost), main stream media does not care about covering this issue. They only cover it if there is a "controversy", but will not actually print or talk about actual scientific opinion. Undue coverage will be given to the one or two reports that question it (with out going in to the reasons for questioning, or the evidence (or lack there of) against it). For example, here's a nature editorial from 6 years ago, and here is a recent one, from a couple of months ago. The response has always been strong. But have you seen ANY mainstream media cover these issues?

Nanda Kishore....yes, i presume that the objective is to become a progressive society, and perhaps i'm completely wrong......and you are (sadly) right on most counts. Sad, but true.

Well.....what ever happens, the world will go on (I guess).....but one must do what one must do.

TTG said...

Eureka! I have found the missing link!
Between Neanderthal and Homo Erectus comes Homo Limpus! ...or Homo Flaccidus....or er... Homo FoxNews? Homo Limpus eventually evolves to Homo Viagrus, of course....

Anonymous said...

42 % of those responding believe that life existed in its present form since the beginning of time

This Creationism thingummy reminds me of what Scott Adams often would say:

"You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public."

I try not to underestimate the stupidity of the general public (myself included).

uma said...

Homo FoxNews... ha ha ha!! That's funny :)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

good one! btw i have a friend who teaches here in London and apparently parental interference is already rife here... she has parents who come and complain that their children have too much homework and spend too many hours in scool - LEARNING! I guess it cuts down on the time they have to be hooligans

gawker said...

I agree with Sunil. I think if it were left upto parents to decide their kids curriculum, something akin to whats happening now in Kansas would happen all over the US. Although yeah, whats happening in Kansas is being done by members of the school board. But most of the times, I think, the school board would (hopefully) have been selected from a more science oriented pool of qualified people, whereas ordinary parents, well, lets just say I wouldn't trust parents in Alabama to vote for a curriculum for my kid.

Sunil said...


Srikanth, I try not to underestimate the stupidity of the general public (myself included) also......but some times I'm just blown away by the depths it can plummet to!

Shoefiend, yeah......that's terrible, kids sitting in school and learning. Oh what a shame!

Yeah, Gawker......that's what I feel. But the problem arises when boards are created out of political motivation, and are not comprised of qualified educationalists. Then it's almost worse than parents deciding what their kids learn. At least parents (should) care about their kids....

gawker said...

I think the problem is not parents not caring about their kids. The problem is parents having the wrong idea of what constitutes the correct curriculum for the kid. And parents, I think, are uninformed in that respect and should not be qualified to have any say in the curriculum at all. And I don't know if theres any politics involved either. For all we know, the members of the school board might genuinely feel that evolution is a bunch of bullshit and that God created everything. In which case, I really do not have a solution, other than screening school board members as to their beliefs in this respect before actually appointing them to that position.

Sunil said...

Gawker, I don't disagree with you at all, and I don't have any solution either. All i know is that when dogma takes over, science and progress suffer. Poor Gallileo knows a thing or two about this, I guess....

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