Re: The Disagreement Thread
I started to disagree with Dawkins a bit in chapter 2, but as I continued reading he addressed my disagreement. He was commenting on how people think it's cool to be ignorant of the sciences. It simply isn't given nearly the importance by most people as is art, music, and entertainment. People would laugh at you if you didn't know who Michael Jordan, Mel Gibsom, or Britney Spears was. But how many among the general population know who Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, or Steven J. Gould is? I graduated from college and didn't have a clue.
He seemed to lament about how people have no interest in understanding science. He made an interesting point, that just because we're not all musicians doesn't mean we don't enjoy music. I'm completely tone deaf, yet I love to listen to music. Why is it that so many people who are not scientists are not even interested in understanding science?
I think that a lot of that has to do with how little emphasis is put on science in grade school. Children tend to be fascinated with science and technology. They are so curious and want to know how things work. But if that sense of wonder isn't inspired at an early age it may be completely lost. By the time kids hit their teenage years, perhaps even earlier, peer pressure and "popular subjects" often become more important than their own intellectual discovery. Teenagers join the herd.
Dawkins made the point that many university students seem to lack the desire to learn about science and he attributes that to the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the professors. I think that there may be some truth to that. Perhaps scientists and university professors could do more to encourage learning. But it seems to me that the problem goes back even further. The problem starts in childhood and in the schools. Get kids interested in science at an early age and I think they'll be much more likely to be interested in it as adults.