Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Dumbing down society

With celebrity magazines filling the shelves of newsagents and kiosks in many countries, I read with humour an article in Spain’s EL Mundo today; 46% of Spaniards are not able to name one famous (celebrity) scientist of any nationality or age! The list is distinguished, and I thought to myself the number that should role off of the tongue of almost any person with one! Newton; Einstein; Galileo; Fleming; Clyde Tombaugh (he of the planet Pluto, although I still can’t get myself around relegating the planetary status of Pluto). The list was endless, if we think about contemporaries, then surely at least Professor Stephen Hawking should come to mind.

http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2012/05/08/ciencia/1336502116.html

One of the subjects dealt with in Obituary regards the dumbing down of society, how more people have heard of footballer’s wives than they have the discoverer of penicillin; how more people know the designer of the latest dress worn by a nobody who has contributed nothing to society, than they do the scientist who explained the theory of gravity. People connect to the internet to read celebrity news, but they know nothing of the inventor of either the internet, or the PC that they are using, nor probably even the telephone, or the light bulb above their head.

In an age when we have more access to more information, when we should be better informed, it seems that the rich/poor divide can also be applied to knowledge.

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May 8, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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