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Am I misreading this?
Is the bit where goatchurch says "It does seem believable that millions of high school kids are likely to contain more stupidity and greater capability to get up to some serious mischief than any band of terrorists. It's like Vonnegut's Ice-9 in Cat's Cradle. Someone young without any sense of mortality will make something awful. And the reason they had the capability was that we were trying to educate them," effectively calling education a threat to society?

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Hmm. And the next paragraph appears to be a fledgling argument against private schools.

A little poking on another blog Goatchurch posts on leads me to classify him as some manner of Benderite. If you think the net effect of human activity is negative, reducing human ability to act is only sensible.

You always ask such easy questions my friend. Happy 4th:)

What's special about the 4th of July ... in Canada?

It means there's no point in emailing anyone at work in New York City.

I'm writing this comment from my office. For some of us it's just a Wednesday when we can sleep in a bit.

No, you have to email us at home. (I know, you're thinking of work contacts.)

Yes. Unfortunately, he's right.

For a somewhat more analytical take, re-read Bruce Sterling's "Holy Fire".

I hasten to add, I don't see this as an argument against education; if anything I see it as an argument for more education, and a somewhat stronger grounding in bioethics before letting those hypothetical 11th grade students loose with the mousepox and Interleukin-4 gene sequences.

Was it Stanley Schmidt who proposed the above as a possible answer to the Fermi Paradox? The more sophisticated a scientific culture, the more power becomes available to the individual, the more damage a crackpot or amoral kid can do.

-- Steve'll have to watch out for any EZ-Berzerker Kits on behalf of his upcoming niece/nephew, in memoriam Fred Saberhagen.

Should I mention that my former gym is called Good Life?

My Place of Employment has an... arrangement with GoodLife. (Employee discount on membership fees.)

-- Steve still can't bring himself to join. (But that's more "y'know you'll never actually use that membership" than fancruft.)

Teaching ethics and morality in school will be about as successful at making ethical and moral kids, as teaching reading and math have been at producing literate and numerate kids.

So on the whole, fairly successful?

How about an argument for more education and less schooling?

I enthusiastically support that.

It may of not has been his intent, but it's not like the Mundaners have ever been that wonderful at communication in the first place.

I wonder if he is saying that morality needs to be emphasised along with everything else that they teach in school? Just a thought.

Teaching Morality in public schools will make kids enjoy being moral, just like teaching Math in public schools makes kids enjoy math, and teaching reading in public school makes kids love to read...

Pfft. Like anybody actually enjoys being moral. We enjoy the fruits of morals (like not getting mugged repeatedly) but the act of self-restraint and consideration is rarely enjoyable.

You don't have to like it, you just have to know how to do it. Like math. Like reading.

-- Steve'd appreciate a bit more moral education for the current crop of Internet-based game players he's encountering. (Maybe the time is right for a massively-multiplayer version of Lord of the Flies.)

I disagree. Self-restraint and consideration is often enjoyable, both in themselves, and in the "fruits of the harvest" that come from having self-restraint and consideration, to people who have the ability and inclination to think things through!

Having a very short time horizon combined with an attitude of indulgence results in a life experience that is full of povery, lonelyness, and physical disability.

This aspect of existance is a feature, not a bug.

The current problem is that damn inclination by nanny-types to try to buffer, redirect, "safety net", and "share" the costs and pain of short-term indulgence, at the expense of the people who get to help shoulder the pain, but dont do the indulging.

I agree. The knowledge that one has done the right thing is rewarding in-and-of itself.

Only if you've been conditioned to think so, by your school or church or family. The free range response is "more" and "gimme", because it leads to an immediate and material reward.

-- Steve's firmly of the opinion that "better nature" is taught, not inborn. Hence the value of a good education.

Only if you've been conditioned to think so, by your school or church or family.

Only? I can't speak for the masses, but I've arrived at a heck of a lot of my own opinions through the seeking of knowledge, the application of reason, and so on. Including when I was a kid.

Unless, of course, I've only been conditioned to believe the above. Hmmmm.

As an anthropologist once observed to me, a "Talking about a human being without a culture is like talking about a giraffe without a neck".

So yeah. You tell me, what's Your Own. That reason shit, especially, I'm interested in. Sounds fancy. Could make a mint, I bet, if no one else has a patent.

Which only indicates that "better nature" is an emergent property of "a lot of human beings trying to live in a small and constrained space." Nature vs. nurture is simply the wrong frame for this kind of thinking, and people trying to force it into that frame are working with broken paradigms.

I would be a little more specific and say that the problem is sorting out the people who truly need help from the short-time horizon, self-indulging free-loader types. I'd also remark with more than a little asperity that these free-loaders should have gotten their knuckles rapped, early on and hard, but that for some reason is frowned-upon in our school system. I know, I'm teaching to a whole crew of that lot right now.

If that were actually the current problem, you'd expect the United States to have by far the least dysfunctional society of any top-tier modern democracy, since it's clear that we have the least redistribution and the flimsiest safety net. Yet it's the United States that has something like 1% of its entire adult population in prison, and a substantial fraction of those for violent offenses. I don't see much evidence that this is because, in the countries with nannier nanny states, the same fraction of people who should be in prison are running around free. Personally, I don't regard this as a good result.

Also, a problem with that remedy is that in practice we end up punishing a lot of people for the sins of their parents, or great-grandparents generations back.

Hey, that's a Great idea! You might have to techno-glitz it up some, you might not, but in a society where the car-jackers can be played as good guys, I think this would be entertaining. And possibly a bit, er, cerebral.

Just make sure that the winning strategy is cooperation, that the strategy is hard-wired into the game, and there are no cheat codes for cheating.

Actually, a recent study showed that when people do good things, they get a buzz in the part of their brain for good feelings.

...calling education a threat to society?</a>

I certainly hope it is, or I've been wasting my time teaching for more than a quarter of a century. Teaching people to think for themselves, to ask questions, and never to be satisfied with easy anwers is always subversive.

For it to be rationally subversive, the quality of the education needs to have high standards.

. . . And the educators have to be respected as a group. That's going to be hard to do in these United States.

What you said. Education should be a threat to society, dammit.

only if society is threatened by a questioning attitude, I beleive it's strengthened by a questioning citizenry (as I'm sure many do)

Seems to me that we now have a technological society in which every individual has more access to much more Power (or Energy, or whatever causes things to go Boom!, Crash!, Smash!, or KaPow!) than ever before in history. And that included individuals who are too young, too poorly-educated, too inadequately-socialized, or just plain too stupid to use that power in ways that are not harmful to others &/or to themselves. Mostly, I think, we'll just have to adjust to life in a world where our own kind are frequently as dangerous as saber-tooth tigers. Maybe especially our Political Leaders. *sigh*

I think he was being sarcastic.

Hola mardena

Hola mardena!

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