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coberst
2005-Dec-19, 08:13 PM
Whoa! Paradigm Shift

Long ago I saw a cartoon showing a bug-eyed, long necked chick standing beside a large eggshell and the chick shouting “Whoa! Paradigm Shift”.

Our high schools and colleges have prepared young people to become good producers and consumers. The college graduate has a large specialized database that allows that individual to quickly enter the corporate world as a useful cog in the machine. The results display themselves in our thriving high standard of living, high technology corporate driven life styles.

We are excellent at instrumental rationality and deficient at developing the rationality and understanding required for avoiding self-destruction. It seems to me that our societies are not prepared intellectually for the demanding task ahead. The only solution seems to be a change that will significantly increase the intellectual sophistication of the society as a whole. We need a rising tide of intellectual sophistication.

I propose a paradigm shift in our attitude toward education. We must start thinking of the graduation from high school or college as the end of schooling but the beginning of self-actualizing learning.

I would like to introduce a concept that perhaps many have not given consideration. I would like to introduce post-schooling scholarship. I do not use the word ‘scholarship’ to mean some form of education stipend. I mean ‘scholarship’ as tailor-made learning. The individual creates her or his own learning in a process of developing a Self-Actualizing person based upon individual intellectual interests.

I think we have placed scholarship on a too lofty pedestal and in doing so we have placed it beyond reach or consideration. I want to suggest that middle class scholarship is something that we all should consider as a friend to be embraced as our own.

It appears to me that we give this description, scholar, to the young student in an aristocratic English Academy and to the pipe smoking, dressed in tweeds, English professor or American equivalent.

The development of an economic middle class is the hallmark of success in any mature nation. I think it is possible that the development of a scholarly middle class could represent a similar development in the life of democracy of a nation. We might express the concept as middle class scholarship or post-schooling scholarship.

I think that schooling in America has been given the assignment to prepare our young people to enter the work place. Our schools and colleges are required by society to prepare young people as efficiently as possibly to become troopers in the drive to maximize production and consumption. This assignment gives our teachers and professors little time to prepare individuals to become critical thinking mature intellects prepared to understand a rapidly developing reality driven by the technology these graduates are capable of producing.

I label myself as a September Scholar because I began the process at mid-life and because my quest is disinterested knowledge. While I mark the beginning of my process to be mid-life I had begun immediately after graduation to feel the need to develop a ‘real’ understanding of the world around me. I think of myself as a middle class or post-schooling scholar.

Disinterested knowledge is an intrinsic value. Disinterested knowledge is not a means but an end. It is knowledge I seek because I desire to know it. I mean the term ‘disinterested knowledge’ as similar to ‘pure research’, as compared to ‘applied research’. Pure research seeks to know truth unconnected to any specific application.

I think of the self-actualized learner of disinterested knowledge as driven by curiosity and imagination to understand. The September Scholar seeks to ‘see’ and then to ‘grasp’ through intellection directed at understanding the self as well as the world. The knowledge and understanding that is sought by the middle class scholar are determined only by personal motivations. It is noteworthy that disinterested knowledge is knowledge I am driven to acquire because it is of dominating interest to me. Because I have such an interest in this disinterested knowledge my adrenaline level rises in anticipation of my voyage of discovery.

I suspect that the source of many of the problems we find in our society result from the fact that our educational system is designed to teach us what to think and not how to think. If our middle class citizens are to learn how to think they must learn that on their own time.

I think that when Socrates extolled his listeners that the “unexamined life is not worth living” he was telling us that self-actualized learning is a necessary condition for an enlightened understanding of reality. Schooling may make us employable; it will seldom make us an enlightened citizen.

Post-schooling scholarship is a meme that I think we would all profit from if it becomes an intellectual virus infecting our total population.

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 08:28 PM
I think I have a better advantage than our youth, sometimes. I'm in the work force already doing what I love. Plus, I'm a continuing educated person. My Grad School offers on-hand learning skills from true professionals. I feel like a kid in a candy store sometimes.

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-19, 08:29 PM
I think I have a better advantage than our youth, sometimes. I'm in the work force already doing what I love. Plus, I'm a continuing educated person. My Grad School offers on-hand learning skills from true professionals. I feel like a kid in a candy store sometimes.

Who would have thought?:whistle:



I suspect that the source of many of the problems we find in our society result from the fact that our educational system is designed to teach us what to think and not how to think. If our middle class citizens are to learn how to think they must learn that on their own time.

Agreed

Swift
2005-Dec-19, 08:30 PM
Coberst,
For someone who continuously expounds on continuing education, you seem to be completely stuck in one field of study. Its a free world, and if you want to limit your self-learning to one topic, have fun.

But to me, part of the joy of learning new things, is to learn new things. If you look at my postings on this forum alone, they cover a wide range of topics, including the environment, the human exploration of space, chemistry, physics, history, music, humor, literature, etc. There are other topics that I do not know enough to contribute to (language, aeronautics), but I enjoy reading about.

I think you are missing out on some great opportunities. Maybe you would have more success with your message if you demonstrated it more and preached it less. Just my thoughts.


Our schools and colleges are required by society to prepare young people as efficiently as possibly to become troopers in the drive to maximize production and consumption. This assignment gives our teachers and professors little time to prepare individuals to become critical thinking mature intellects prepared to understand a rapidly developing reality driven by the technology these graduates are capable of producing.

I do not believe that is true, at least in the US. There has been much discussion in various threads about science illiteracy in the US. You have made the claim that science is the field others try to emulate and that drives our economy. If that were true, and your statement above were true, then wouldn't the US be demanding more science education for students. Yet the trend seems to be away from science education, and more to an emphasis on "basic" skills like math and English, at the expense of everything else. The standardized testing programs being pushed certainly emphasize those two topics.

R.A.F.
2005-Dec-19, 08:38 PM
Whoa! Paradigm Shift!!...Coberst starts (yet another) "education thread"...


Maybe you would have more success with your message if you demonstrated it more and preached it less.

BOY do I agree with that.

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 08:47 PM
If you look at my postings on this forum alone, they cover a wide range of topics, including the environment, the human exploration of space, chemistry, physics, history, music, humor, literature, etc.
Thank you for not mentioning Humanities! I hate Humanities, well the Professors hate me! http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon13.gif

Celestial Mechanic
2005-Dec-19, 08:50 PM
I'm deducting ten points for use of the overused and abused phrase "paradigm shift". :naughty: :naughty: :naughty:

Please help stamp out Popper-Kuhn abuse!

(What I really need is a smilie blowing a police whistle.)

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 08:55 PM
It's a fact, only smart people use the term "paradigm shift". Funny, I first heard of the term in a Science Class. :lol:

coberst
2005-Dec-19, 08:57 PM
Swift

Perhaps the reason you find my message a bit boring is because you are already doing what I am trying to convince people to do. I applaud your efforts in continuing self-learning. I think we would all be better off if everyone emulated your example.

I think that the biggest problem many have is finding something that arouses their curiosity. That is why I try to emphasize that before self-learning can really begin is that the person must arouse their curiosity. The wide array of interests that you have are ideal I think.

My interests include history, philosophy, science and politics. I hope to post a more varied mixture as we go along.

Interest in the natural sciences seems to ebb and flow. I think part of the difficulty is that our young people are not inclined to take the tuff subject matter in both high school and college that prepares them for the difficult course work required in the natural sciences.

coberst
2005-Dec-19, 09:04 PM
I saw the cartoon with the bug eyed chick standing beside the cracked egg shell shouting in amazment Whoa Paradigm shift! I thought that this was a marvelous way to introduce a term that many people are not famaliar with. Yes I know every one on this forum knows all these things and do not need these little helpful notes. But perhaps out there in the shadows might be someone not so well informed.

Celestial Mechanic
2005-Dec-19, 09:07 PM
It's a fact, only smart people use the term "paradigm shift". Funny, I first heard of the term in a Science Class. :lol:
No, Candy, only people who want to appear "smart" use the term "paradigm shift". Scientists of any real ability do science--they don't take their cues from Popper and Kuhn (or Lakatos and Feyerabend for that matter). Of course your mention of hearing it in science class may have been in a context similar to mine, hence the smilie in your post! :)

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:10 PM
coberst, do what you do! I like it. I don't read all your post, because I have free will. I do read a thread when the title interests me. :razz:

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 09:17 PM
No, Candy, only people who want to appear "smart" use the term "paradigm shift". Scientists of any real ability do science--they don't take their cues from Popper and Kuhn (or Lakatos and Feyerabend for that matter). Of course your mention of hearing it in science class may have been in a context similar to mine, hence the smilie in your post! :)
It was either my Science Professor or the textbook that brought up Kuhn. I then took to searching for more, and found "Paradigm Shift", so it was me. My bad. :o

I usually do a search of the person behind the science (or idea), before I continue on with their presentations. It's a bad habit of mine. I feel like if I know their background, then I know them. I absolutely hate when a background does not match their tribute to "society". It makes me feel like they are only trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.

Gillianren
2005-Dec-19, 09:27 PM
No, Candy, only people who want to appear "smart" use the term "paradigm shift". Scientists of any real ability do science--they don't take their cues from Popper and Kuhn (or Lakatos and Feyerabend for that matter). Of course your mention of hearing it in science class may have been in a context similar to mine, hence the smilie in your post! :)

Amen to that. None of the smartest people I know ever use the phrase; half the smartest people I know aren't actually sure what the word "paradigm" means. Of those who do, most think it's the most over-used term around. (I saw a button once that said, "Ignore the Dominant Paradigm," and I rather liked it. Certainly more than the tedious "Subvert the Dominant Paradigm" buttons/bumper stickers that were so popular and my alma mater.)

Swift
2005-Dec-19, 09:37 PM
Swift

Perhaps the reason you find my message a bit boring is because you are already doing what I am trying to convince people to do. I applaud your efforts in continuing self-learning. I think we would all be better off if everyone emulated your example.

Well then, as has been mentioned before, this is probably the completely wrong crowd for the message. By their presence on this forum, most people here are already demonstrating the same thing.

What about my comments about the education system?

coberst
2005-Dec-19, 10:16 PM
Swift


It seems to me that our population has placed science, I suspect most people think technology when they use this word, on far too high a pedestal because they see the technological gadgets that they find to be so fascinating. The reason that the number of youngsters taking natural science courses is declining is because it is more difficult than most want to pursue. I was reading an article the other day and it appears that the number of men graduating from college is steadily declining while the number of women is steadily increasing. This is good news that women are moving up but unhappy news those men are moving down.

I suspect that since men have in the past been most interested in the natural sciences while women have not explains the declining enrolment in the natural sciences.

I am surprised to hear that interest in English is increasing.

coberst
2005-Dec-19, 10:20 PM
Candy

Thanks. I am happy that you find my posts to be interesting. Now, counting me, that makes two of us. I do not know if I should use your icon as an indication that you are female but if that is true congradulations on being a female science major.

Nereid
2005-Dec-19, 10:22 PM
No, Candy, only people who want to appear "smart" use the term "paradigm shift". Scientists of any real ability do science--they don't take their cues from Popper and Kuhn (or Lakatos and Feyerabend for that matter). Of course your mention of hearing it in science class may have been in a context similar to mine, hence the smilie in your post! :)Ah, but what about philosophers? Surely we wouldn't want to deny them their pleasures in philosophising about science. would we?

<Nereid ducks under the table, the better to get out of 'rotten tomatos' harm's way>

Candy
2005-Dec-19, 10:23 PM
Candy

Thanks. I am happy that you find my posts to be interesting. Now, counting me, that makes two of us. I do not know if I should use your icon as an indication that you are female but if that is true congradulations on being a female science major.
I'm a 39 year old female. My Master will be in Network and Communications Management. Way off from Science (those classes were just requirements). http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon10.gif

I'll change my Major the closer I get to retirement. ;)

Monique
2005-Dec-19, 10:26 PM
paradigm shift make me dizzy :sick:

Swift
2005-Dec-19, 10:34 PM
It seems to me that our population has placed science, I suspect most people think technology when they use this word, on far too high a pedestal because they see the technological gadgets that they find to be so fascinating. The reason that the number of youngsters taking natural science courses is declining is because it is more difficult than most want to pursue. I was reading an article the other day and it appears that the number of men graduating from college is steadily declining while the number of women is steadily increasing. This is good news that women are moving up but unhappy news those men are moving down.

I suspect that since men have in the past been most interested in the natural sciences while women have not explains the declining enrolment in the natural sciences.

I am surprised to hear that interest in English is increasing.
I know you've said that before and I disagreed before, but I don't see that our population has placed science on a high pedestal. I agree that people like gadgets, and maybe even equate science with gadgets, but just because you like cheese cake, it doesn't mean you become a pastry chef. I'm a big believer in put your money where your mouth is - if society thinks so much of science, then why do doctors, lawyers, MBAs, and professional atheletes make a lot more than scientists? Young people aren't stupid, if I can make more money as a lawyer than as a chemist, and it takes the same amount of education to become a lawyer (or even less), then most are going to become lawyers.

I didn't say that the interest in English was increasing, I said schools were spending more effort on teaching it and less on teaching science. They are doing this because of federal funding mandates, such as "No Child Left Behind", which require the students to pass standardized tests in English and Math (but not science or art or music). I can not tell you why various politicians and others thing that this is the cure for our education problems.

LurchGS
2005-Dec-19, 10:53 PM
I, for one, would tend to agree with Swift. I've continued my education since my days in college - generally informally, and I also tend to socialilze with people of like mind (though frequently different philosophy).

Also, this is probably not the best Forum for these threads, since, in essence, you are preaching to the choir and - in essence again - wasting your breath. Not to mention causing some degree if irritation (I presume it feels much like nagging to a number of other members - I know it does to me).. rather like a grad student would feel if he were required to take a 100-level course.

Just my thoughts on the matter..

peteshimmon
2005-Dec-19, 11:02 PM
Durr...I just wanted a nice simple job once to
justfy my existance. But the world has been
changing too much. Still, I avoided those
nasty years in the first half of the twentieth
century. People talk of a skills shortage.
Bah..there is just an excess of enterprises
wanting whatever is available! I heard a
chilling thing on an old West Wing last night.
The school year is based on an agrarian
economy and should be longer to train the
little blighters for todays World! A horrible
thought, my schooldays seemed long enougth.
Anyway, a forthcoming energy shortage in ten,
twenty years will concentrate minds on how to
survive. Literally!

LurchGS
2005-Dec-19, 11:22 PM
Pete -

that is indeed correct. It's also why I spend a fair bit of time edumacating my kids over and above what the school does... and the boys have pretty free access to the internet here at home...

Personally, I don't think it's a matter of time spent, but a matter of WHAT is taught... through grade school, the curriculum isn't awful, it lays foundations for later years just fine. But after that, there's still a heavy emphasis on mechanical skills (at least, there was in my high school) - home ec, wood shop, auto shop, etc. The science / math classes were quite small (advanced geometry, for instance, had 4 students including me out of a total class size of 116). The guidance staff actively discouraged kids from the sciences. (two years of arguing with them and the threat of legal action put a stop to that, at least in my case. I don't think that is pandemic, though - just a product of the community).

Even through college, there's too much emphasis on general education and not enough on specifics of interest. (though this is starting to change, fortunately, with the advent of what I'm calling business-class schools such as the University of Phoenix). If I'm interested in chemistry, I should not have to take classes in the <cough> humanities. And vice versa. (the caveat here is that the student should be sufficiently proficient in those skills outside his chosen field that he can write a paper/report/etc).

There is always a shortage of skilled people. What we have is plenty of *trained* people. That's where things get funky - trained people taking skill positions, frequently outside their range of training, and bolixing things all up (I've run into that myself, even in a small company).

teri tait
2005-Dec-20, 02:49 AM
Life IS Learning

Celestial Mechanic
2005-Dec-20, 05:36 AM
Life IS Learning
Congratulations! You have just summed up every post that coberst has written in every thread he's started! :dance:

With that said, though, please don't leave us coberst. If indeed you have an interest in astronomy, please stick around, feel free to ask questions here. :)

With the exception of our younger posters who are still caught in the web of our education "system", I think most of us are continuing our educations in some way--even those of us with degrees. So please stay.

Celestial Mechanic
2005-Dec-20, 05:44 AM
Ah, but what about philosophers? Surely we wouldn't want to deny them their pleasures in philosophising about science, would we?

<Nereid ducks under the table, the better to get out of 'rotten tomatoes' harm's way>
Fear not! Celestial Mechanic chooses his targets wisely. After all, you're a moderator. :lol:

But on a more serious note, while I cannot deny philosophers the pleasure of philosophizing about science, I have to say that reading the words of those who read said philosophers and think they know what they are talking about (and using phrases such as "paradigm shift" at the drop of a hat) gives me (and a few others) no pleasure at all. :sad:

Edited to add: I'm not referring to coberst in the above paragraph; there are other people that I am reminded of.

coberst
2005-Dec-20, 08:15 AM
Swift

Citizens have funny priorities as is evident in what value they place on teachers as compared to TV stars and basketball players.

coberst
2005-Dec-20, 08:16 AM
Celestial

My goodness Celestial that is the first civil thing you have said to me. Are you going soft or is it the Christmas spirit? What happened to the Bah Humbug attitude?

paulie jay
2005-Dec-20, 10:45 AM
I'm deducting ten points for use of the overused and abused phrase "paradigm shift". :naughty: :naughty: :naughty:

Please help stamp out Popper-Kuhn abuse!

(What I really need is a smilie blowing a police whistle.)


This is as close as I can get... http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/figuren/k065.gif

Nereid
2005-Dec-20, 01:39 PM
Fear not! Celestial Mechanic chooses his targets wisely. After all, you're a moderator. :lol: Oh dear, there goes the neighbourhood (well, the Nereid principle anyway - readers must make up their minds about how to 'interpret' Nereid solely on the basis of the content of posts by said Nereid. Maybe I should create a new identity? No wait! There's a rule against sock puppets! Oh well).
But on a more serious note, while I cannot deny philosophers the pleasure of philosophizing about science, I have to say that reading the words of those who read said philosophers and think they know what they are talking about (and using phrases such as "paradigm shift" at the drop of a hat) gives me (and a few others) no pleasure at all. :sad:Ah but no one is forcing professional scientists to read the works of Popper, Kuhn, et al, are they?
<Nereid says, batting eyelashes, and putting on a wide-eyed, innocent look>

I feel there are many, serious aspects to this.

coberst talked about education; the ATM section of BAUT shows that more than a few smart, inquiring minds are quite muddled about the nature of science; examples of pain and suffering that could be easily avoided through application of science abound (both the more widespread use of the methods and the application of solid findings from good sciences such as economics); and on and on.

How can a more realistic appreciation of what science is (and what it's not) be fostered?
Edited to add: I'm not referring to coberst in the above paragraph; there are other people that I am reminded of.Can you perhaps give us a hint, to spark the imagination? Then we could draw a list of possibles (maybe there'd be 56 on this list?)

N C More
2005-Dec-20, 02:24 PM
Well, here's my 2 cents on this subject: Science is reasoned analysis based upon human observation and experimentation. As such, the scientific method cannot deduce anything beyond what is observable, having causes and consequences. If our observation is somehow "colored" by our very nature of being, then so be it. I can see no way "around" this problem. As my Dad used to say, "It's the only game in town". It's either doing the best we can (taking into account what we *are*) or we can go back to the "good old days" of superstition and belief via faith?

Swift
2005-Dec-20, 03:01 PM
<snip>
How can a more realistic appreciation of what science is (and what it's not) be fostered?
The (US) National Academy of Science, The National Research Honor Society, The American Chemical Society, and lots of others (those are just the ones I'm familiar with) having been trying to do this for years. Quite frankly, I do not think any of them have had any success.

I think the only way to do it is to get kids interested in it and that has to be a personal effort.

In my dark little soul, I suspect for the US, at least, things will get a lot worse before it gets better. The various honored societies have been talking about the "brain drain" for years - how most of the graduate students in science were from overseas. Now a real crisis is coming, in that many of those students are going back to their home countries (India, China, etc.) which are actively supporting science, instead of staying in the US. Intelligent design and the other attacks on science, as well as the continued poor (financial) support by both the government and industry for science research are just symptoms of a wide spread apathy about science.

I suspect that within the next decade or so, these countries will far surpass the US in science and technology. Well after the horses have fled will the US government wake up and try to do something about closing those barn doors.

Just my humble opinion.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-20, 03:46 PM
Swift

Perhaps the reason you find my message a bit boring is because you are already doing what I am trying to convince people to do. I applaud your efforts in continuing self-learning. I think we would all be better off if everyone emulated your example.

I think that the biggest problem many have is finding something that arouses their curiosity. That is why I try to emphasize that before self-learning can really begin is that the person must arouse their curiosity. The wide array of interests that you have are ideal I think.

My interests include history, philosophy, science and politics. I hope to post a more varied mixture as we go along.

Interest in the natural sciences seems to ebb and flow. I think part of the difficulty is that our young people are not inclined to take the tuff subject matter in both high school and college that prepares them for the difficult course work required in the natural sciences.

I disagree on the curiosity thing. Curiosity is a natural thing, most creatures are very curious, humans especially so. If a person's curiosity needs to be aroused, the question is what happened to suppress their natural curiosity?

And don't blame it on the schools. Most kids do not start school until age 5 or 6. If a person's natural sense of curiosity is suppressed, it started at home before the school years.

Hugh Jass
2005-Dec-20, 06:26 PM
The last few posts are great, as they are really expressions and explanations of each other. The goal of every good educator that I can remember having experience with, was to arouse not just curiosity, that comes and goes for most people on a given subject, but a genuine excitement about a subject. The best teachers I had loved the subject they were teaching, either that or just gave the impression that they loved it. Some of these folks had been teaching for 30 some odd years and everyday were excited to pass on this information, and they saw their job as to excite others. The problem as I see it is two fold and f-j-don and swift are saying a bit of the same thing. The parents, who happen to be helping to fuel the social society where critical thinking and science are not only not appreciated, but ignored, are not fostering a desire to learn in their children. If you think of education as a supply and demand commodity, can we really be surprised at the lack of quality when the consumers either feel they’re forced to consume, or just don’t care? The demand needs to come first, and that means parents getting involved to foster a desire to learn. I’m not sure how you do that to an entire population, my folks did it for my brothers and me, I’m doing my durndest to do it for my daughters, I just don’t know for the folks on the other side of town.

I think this also addresses Coberst’s wishes. You can’t ask the education system to foster continued learning in people that don’t care.

WHA? Wha, wha? Don’t Care?

See what your asking is that people be trained to seek out what they enjoy, and assume that will be learning and philosophizing and the betterment of mankind. But people are different. I know many many people who given the choice, their “own learning in a process of developing a Self-Actualizing person based upon individual intellectual interests” would mean searching for the perfect wave, or perfecting a golf swing. Thinking, researching, experimenting all for the sake of pursuing this passion.



All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-20, 06:48 PM
See what your asking is that people be trained to seek out what they enjoy, and assume that will be learning and philosophizing and the betterment of mankind. But people are different. I know many many people who given the choice, their “own learning in a process of developing a Self-Actualizing person based upon individual intellectual interests” would mean searching for the perfect wave, or perfecting a golf swing. Thinking, researching, experimenting all for the sake of pursuing this passion.

That's very good. I would add that people can not be trained to seek out what they enjoy, they simply need to be allowed the freedom to do so. Or maybe a more accurate way of saying that is . . .

They need to be protected from oppression during the years their sense of self and freedom are developing.

don b - Dispensing wisdom wherever the truth is not suppressed, and the young are not oppressed.

coberst
2005-Dec-20, 08:18 PM
We have made education to be a commodity and in so doing we have been able to develop graduates who are good workers and ardent consumers. We have also lost the intrinsic value of education. I suspect this will not change because it supplies the life our society desires. Such an education also suppresses the curiosity and imagination of the graduates in the process.

After schooling is finished we adults must reinvigorate our curiosity and imagination and recognize that it is up to us to learn how to lean, how to think, and how to understand. In so doing we can then help our children to overcome the handicaps inherent in our form of education.

When a person becomes master of their learning domain they will do what they wish with that great brain that they have. It is this diversity that is important. Today most everyone has become do disillusioned with education because all they know is what their school has left them with. If these adults grab their bootstraps and overcome these handicaps we can still retain the life style of maximized production and consumption while recovering the intrinsic value of learning.