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Columbia Atheists Message Board › Dumb Things Americans Believe

Dumb Things Americans Believe

A former member
Post #: 11
Here in one place are the results of polls indicating some incredible (but I am not surprised) things that Americans believe. After all, all you have to have is faith to believe. Any thoughts on these results?

user 11546408
Columbia, MO
Post #: 4
I'm not surprised in the least either, especially the lack of ability to locate places on a map. I taught World Regional Geography for more semesters than I can count, and the numbers of students who couldn't find places was amazing. When we consider that many of them probably wouldn't admit their ignorance (after all, it WAS a geography class!), it was probably worse than what was obvious.

Approximately one-third of my exams consisted of locating countries and capital cities on blank maps. Most people did relatively well on those but not all.

In 18 years I had only one student (in geography) who I was more than happy to give a failing grade. She failed so badly that an F minus would have been generous. She was an education major with Attitude. She put out no effort whatsoever, even to leaving blank the question on the final, "Write ten points worth of information on any topic we covered this semester." Her rationalization? "I'm never going to need any of this stuff. I'm going to teach K-5." Say what? I trust she didn't make it through . . .

As an earth scientist, I find the belief in geocentrism disturbing, but not as deleterious to daily life as being unable to locate countries - and sometimes continents.

What does shock me is that people aren't familiar with the three branches of government. To get out of high school one must pass a Constitution test which includes that information. In Missouri, one must do it again to get a degree from a community college. I'd be willing to bet that naturalized citizens have a better comprehension of this issue than the general public.


A former member
Post #: 14
As a former higher ed teacher, I have failed many business students - most in one year at MU - because they simply refused to do any work or show-up to class. Mostly, they failed because they refused to do some rote memorization (not a task which requires higher intelligence). They have learned in elementary school and high school to be "empowered," as the "Me Generation," which is not simply a media invention but is reinforced by sociological research. So, unfortunately, I feel strongly that the education major did graduate and passed on her attitude to hundreds of students. More than signaling a lack of education, this behavior also portends badly on the future of our society (and its past as well), as these many individuals already have the mindset, which is reinforced in college, that the way to get by in their careers is to cheat, lie, and take advantage of their fellow man (and the system). Churches also reinforce the lack of need for clear logic. So, I am not that surprised by the results.

Sigh, Sigh, Sigh
user 11546408
Columbia, MO
Post #: 5
Unless someone bent the rules, or she repeated and passed the course, she shouldn't have graduated. It was a required course. "Unless" is the operative here, unfortunately.
A former member
Post #: 5
@Vanette You should see how people do labeling cities on blank maps at the high school level. In my "Challenge World History" class, people were putting Tokyo where Rome belonged...
A former member
Post #: 6
Also, I'd expect this to all get worse as in a few years it will be commonplace for a vast majority of students to go through College (and even high school) with a smart phone and data plan, with the perpetual amusement that such capabilities imply. I fear that this will translate into far inferior students graduating (both in terms of their majors and the civics/general knowledge covered by the Newsweek article), further damaging not just American competitiveness, but American culture as well. How do you feel about your Social Security now?!
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