Re: ‘High school will cut classes to save money’ (Daily News, June 17, 2009)
How disappointing to learn that math and science courses at John Barsby are on the blocks in order to “save money.”
One only need read the popular letters to the editor page to realize how desperately our society needs to be educated in math and science.
A basic understanding of the scientific method would help us all to understand how science has increased our quality and quantity of life.
Learning about the etiology of diseases — learning, for example, of the existence of bacteria and viruses has allowed us to offer protection through vaccinations for several destructive diseases.
One-time devastating diseases are now under control in many parts of the world.
A basic understanding of statistics is essential to judge many of the claims we see in our daily newspapers and to keep the reporters and editors on the ball. A recent letter writer made the claim that about half of Canadians are of below average intelligence.
Others found that claim elitist and unfounded. But of course the claim is true by definition.
Save money? As the old cliche says: if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
Year saw odd arguments people firmly believed
Nanaimo Daily News; Nanaimo, B.C. [Nanaimo, B.C]17 Dec 2009: A.12.
The end of the year seems a good time to review a few of the arguments one regularly sees online, on TV, and in the letters to the editor:
1. It’s cold here and now. So, global warming must be false.
2. I can see Jesus in my oatmeal. So, the supernatural exists.
3. One person in North America died after being vaccinated for H1N1. So, the vaccine is unsafe.
4. That sport superstar (movie star, politician, priest, editorial writer, etc.) says X. So, X is true.
5. My scripture says that X. So X is true. E.g., the Bible tells us that pi is equal to 3; so it is.
6. The RCMP (provincial government, federal government, etc.) is investigating itself. So the truth will soon be known to the public.
7. There is a gap in the fossil evidence. So, evolution is false.
As Mark Twain observed, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. “
Bob Lane Nanaimo
Iraqi voters should be inspiring to Canadians
Nanaimo Daily News; Nanaimo, B.C. [Nanaimo, B.C]11 Mar 2010: A.10.
News reports this week stated that the voter turnout in Iraq was 62%.
Wow, in spite of bombs, intimidation, and threats, voters flocked to the voting stations.
Compare that with how we Canadians do.
We cannot even get 50% of voters to the voting booth on a sunny safe day.
Bob Lane – Nanaimo
Credit: Bob Lane; The Daily News