Thursday, February 21, 2008

Exalting Stupidity

Susan Jacoby, writing for the International Herald Tribune, addresses why Americans have an almost inherent dislike for intellectualism. Although there has always been a distrust of academics, the article notes:

But now, Jacoby said, something different is happening: anti-intellectualism (the attitude that "too much learning can be a dangerous thing") and anti-rationalism ("the idea that there is no such things as evidence or fact, just opinion") have fused in a particularly insidious way.

Not only are citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don't think it matters.

She pointed to a 2006 National Geographic poll that found nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds don't think it is necessary or important to know where countries in the news are located. So more than three years into the Iraq war, only 23 percent of those with some college could locate Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel on a map.

As she notes, this cuts across ideological, political and religious lines and is certainly a factor in the whole creation/evolution mess. Not good.

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