We’re Not So Smart

Have you ever watched that show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader”? I’ve never seen it but I understand a lot of adults come off looking like fools on it.

For all of you who are afraid of science and are curious but too embarrassed to ask questions, there’s a new book out that may be worth the read. It’s called The Canon and attempts to bring back the joy and wonder of how our world works without scaring you off.

The U.S., as a whole, way underachieves when it comes to science and math. Most Americans are uncomfortable with the reasoning that’s required to understand scientific principals. The Canon’s author, Natalie Angier, tries to put the difficult in simple-enough and interesting terms so that the average American can get through the book.

The book is not written at a fifth-grade level but it also does not try to delve into the concepts much more deeply than would you might get out of a fifth-grade science book. It digs into physics, probability, even evolution (you know, that so-called science that’s not Creation) with elegance.

US Math Scores

I have previously expressed dismay at the brush-off that so many people – who generally argue from the side of ignorance – give to science. That prejudice, and people’s willingness to pass that prejudice on to their progeny, are compounding the problems we have keeping up with the other industrialized countries. Indeed, many of our students’ test scores rank right there with the third world.

We need to get smarter quickly or we will quickly get poorer.

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