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Einstein’s blackboard

January 1, 2009

Why do we educate? Governments spend large portions of thier budgets educating the population in standardized mass education programs, but to what end?

There are many discussions on how we educate our children, lots of choice of the type of school, ciriculum to be taught and techniques used to teach it. However, before these questions can be answered we need to understand why we are educating our young. Whats the purpose of it?

Mass Education

Mass education began in the 19th century as a response to industrialisation. The factories needed workers educated to a certain level and the government provided that through mass, standardised education. In the 20th century this was expanded to seconday education and, finally, by the end of the century to mass university education and the mega campuses we have today. While I would argue that education has followed the needs of industry and society for an educated workforce, I believe that it is time to ask ourselves what use education is for the coming centruy.

We live in a world today where not only careers change often, but for many people the career that they end up with may not have even existed a decade ago. A perfect example of this is anyone who is involved in web design – anm industry that now fuses technology and marketing.

Mass Education is no longer relevant. In fact I am starting to think that mass production it is becoming more and more out of date.

The first thing I would argue is that mass education, particularly high school educaiton, is no longer appropriate for the needs of our workforce. The system of grammer schools and trade schools was dismantled in the late 1970s and early 1980s as part of an ideological driven campaign for ‘equality’ in education. This misguided attempt at creating a level playing field has failed miserably and it is now time to go the other direction, customised education.

By customised education I don’t mean that each student chooses their career path at the age of 12 and are thereafter stuck with their choice, but rather a more tailored approach for each child. For example children not only need to learn how to learn but also need to learn how to love learning. I’ve seen too many of my friends go through the education system and end up being stifled by it, rather than motivated.

Education also needs to be more broad based. Students need to learn philosophy, science and the history of our world. ‘Learning’ compters to me seems all a bit silly if a student can’t string a sentence together correctly or judge for themselves whether global warming is happening (it is) and what’s the best way of dealing with it.


Einstein’s blackboard
Originally uploaded by Garrettc

The Existance of God?

January 1, 2009

What would happen if the question of God’s existence was proven one way or the other?

Does the existence of god (God) matter? If He exists would that be the end of the earth for atheists (literally) and if he doesn’t exist, what then for organized religion?

The debate on the existence of god is an extremely passionate one; a debate that I don’t necessarily think I can add a lot to. However, I think we need to question the debate itself, by speculating what would happen if either side was right. Below, I have  listed possible ramifications of solving the debate either way. Its in no way a complete list, just a few ideas I’ve jotted down.

CominGloryJustJesus

CominGloryJustJesus by mareeshastar

God exists

It is proven that a god does exist, outside the various religious texts, then what would happen to the world?

What then for the atheists? Probably the first thing would be for them to eat humble pie and admit they are wrong, be confirmed by the church ( after all the christian god is a merciful for giving god), and hurriedly start attending Sunday mass to make up for lost time.

The established Church may also begin to have a much greater say in government and society; after all if they are the messengers of the divine, then they probably should have some say in policy making. This may even turn hundreds of years of work towards democracy on its head – theocracy here we come. In addition priests may gain a more dominant position in society, regaining status lost well over 100 years ago.

Finally, it is quite possible that the world would become a lot more conservative. The Church has never been known for liberal attitudes; from homosexuality to women to in earlier times minority groups and it is likely that has the Church integrates itself more fully into government, that a more conservative attitude would take hold. This would also make social change a lot harder, be it issues such as women priests or economic liberalisation, slowing the rate of change in society right down.

God does not exist

I think the ramifications of proving that god does not exist are going to be far greater to society as a whole than the proving of his existence. Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of major issues:

  1. Social disruption – billions of people place a lot of faith in the existence of God, a lot more than place their faith in His non-existence. The social dislocation caused by these people suddenly losing their faith would be enormous. Riots and revolution may be the tip of the iceberg.
  2. Church – the Church is highly intertwined with daily life, from small local community organistations to entire states (think the Vatican and possibly Iran and Israel). Maybe the very basis for the existence of these states would cease to exist? The structure and reason for being of these states would vanish.
  3. Extremist and hate groups. If they couldn’t hate on religious grounds, be it Jewish or Muslim, then this would put a large number of these group out of action, at least until they found something else to hate about people.
  4. Church – What would happen to the wealth the Church had accumulated over thousands of years? Would they be sued for fraud? Governments claiming back years of taxes from these not-for-profit entities?

Conclusion

Now in this post I’m not speculating either way on whether a God exists or not, simply postulating potential ramifications should the question ever be answered. In reality I doubt that the question is ever going to be settled, at least in my life time. We should consider the possible ramifications of an answer to the question and indeed whether we want to answer it at all. The social and political upheaval would be immense.

Human responsibilities

December 29, 2008

A declaration of human responsibilities.

We write a lot about human rights, where they come from, what they are and how to enforce them. What we hear very little of are a declaration of human responsibilities.

The first question to ask ourselves is why do we need such a declaration? Well I believe that we do, as it will codify a moral obligation on people, not just prevent them from doing something, as in the case of negative right.

Below are the beginnings of a list of responsibilities that I believe would form the core of any declaration. These responsibilities will be expanded in later sections.

1) you have a responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect

2) you have a responsibility to use less resources from the earth than you put back in.

3) to ensure that future generations survive and flourish

4) to ensure that those members of society weaker than yourself are able to live their lives to the fullest

This, obviously, is just a start to a declaration of human responsibility and a lot more work needs to be done to complete it. Overall I think the idea should be that we need to leave the world a better place than we found it.

The world is an amazing place

December 28, 2008

Why is the world the way it is? What makes the world turn, so to speak? Why don’t people think more about the world around them; the world that they occupy for their entire lives? I seek to explore the world through my writing, covering a range of issues and topics

The world is an amazing place – we all need to share in of.