Wednesday, May 04, 2005

While Nero Fiddles with the Education System...

A letter from former U.S. senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman in today's New York Times highlights the national security risk inherent in sacrificing this nation's leadership in science and technology. This was in response to, and support of, a column on 29 April 2005 by Thomas Friedman titled "What, Me Worry?" In that piece, Friedman says:
India and China know they can't just depend on low wages, so they are racing us to the top, not the bottom. Producing a comprehensive U.S. response - encompassing immigration, intellectual property law and educational policy - to focus on developing our talent in a flat world is a big idea worthy of a presidency. But it would also require Mr. Bush to do something he has never done: ask Americans to do something hard.
Symptomatic of our inattention to the quality of our future scientists is the inordinate emphasis on the teaching of "intelligent design" concepts, wasting time that would more productively be spent teaching important critical thinking skills and the value of the scientific method. Although neither the letter nor the column referenced above specifically deals with theological intrusions into science curricula, they suggest a sound basis for countering such nonsense in terms that might even resonate with conservatives - if we diminish the quality of our science education we risk our national security, and our prosperity.

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