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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Math & Science Masters Golf Tournament

It was a slow day...a very slow day for me. Spring Break is this week, so I didn't really choose to do anything this afternoon. I watched The Masters.

It must have been sponsored by the Math & Science Departments. Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, have partnered with ExxonMobil to help elementary school teachers inspire their students to become scientists and engineers...presumably to help his swing and provide him with equipment to improve his game.

Anyway, as I watched the nearly 30 commercial spots, I was reminded how we compartmentalize our lives. It's always this OR that rather than this AND that. I can tell I am about to go back to the Social Studies classroom because I am beginning to filter things through social studies eyes again.

You see, I am cautious about any scientific and mathematical advances in the 21st century. Why? Because without the foundation of treating people right, scientists and mathematicians will create something that some will use to take advantage of others. Invent TNT to blow holes through mountains, and someone without a social conscience will use it to blow up people. Discover how to split the atom, and someone will use it to blow up a city or two. Invent the internet, and someone will write a virus to annihilate someone's PC.

I jest only slightly. We teach things in compartments, and social responsibility to mankind appears to me to be missing. We will protect birds, whales, reptiles, icebergs, and air. But when it comes to "an ecology of the human spirit" (Sir Ken Robinson, TEDTalk, 2006 - minutes 18-20) we do not give enough attention to the genocide that occurs around the world (Darfur, Rwanda, Cambodia, Nanking, etc. click here). Science has surely discovered ways to feed the world, but people hoard the food or distribute it only as a means to control the lives of people.

It is much like the argument of filtering the internet at schools vs. teaching responsible use of the tool. Until adults demonstrate ethical use of the tool, students are left to their own devices to learn them independently...which will lead to bad judgment and poor decisions.

Am I against the Mickelson Foundation? Absolutely not. But we have to include the human condition in the equation at some point. Don't we?

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