I appreciate that Physics and Mathematics are not easy subjects, well not to most people at least. They are not easy to me.
There seems to be a massive tendency quite generally world wide where the “requirement” to pass maths and physics to enter higher education is loosing grip.
While I appreciate the reason that people who avert the “real” science of Physics, and the universal language and techniques used to express formal approaches that is Mathematics, I find it very hard to visualize how people are not being educated better in these subjects.
The importance of fundamentally petty and temporal things like politics, finance, minor subjects like geography and history, that while important to the mundane life require the wisdom of knowing the “big picture” around to keep things in perspective. Now the word petty is hard here but what I mean really is that while we all need a complete “diet” of educational tools, there are some fundamentally necessary ones. The dietary vitamins are useful but if one dehydrates completely they will be pretty useless in a dehydrated dead corpse!
There needs to be a fundamental movement towards teaching critical or even rational thinking before the technical and non technical subjects are thought. The “knowledge ” being imparted to students in most schools today is purely factual. There is very little or no fundamentals to it it ’s like paper castles that cannot withstand their own weight. True knowledge comes not from compounding facts but first by dissecting them.
As any scientifically minded person would surely tell you to learn how a watch works you must understand the fundamental laws governing it’s internals then construct from the basics the complex architecture. Mind you I am not being a reductionist here the closk that works is more than a mere sum of it’s parts, but it’s the knowledge of how the different parts fit together that gets the mass of springs and gears to fruition.
Part of the inquisitive nature humans have needs to be forged and motivated with that excitement of knowing what’s in the black box. Kids are loosing the awe of looking at the night sky and feel small and aware of our peripheral position in the universe. The mentality of sheep and doing what all the others do,is more important.
I think somehow the internet is a tool that has too many cutting edges for the uninitiated. Young people and the education systems that “guide” them are misguided in my opinion in reducing the emphasis on the two most fundamental focal points of all human knowledge. If things keep going the way they are, I feel we are going to hit a point where so small is the percentage of people that can understand the world and universe around us, that should there be a solar flare ( i.e. if the sun decides to sneeze) there might not be critical mass of people knowing the fundamentals to re-constitute the technology required to sustain knowledge. To prove my point .. more and more students leave technical institutions with diplomas in IT with no fundamental knowledge of how computers are built and work.
I have been educated in industrial electronics before I got a degree in computer science. I consider myself to be privileged to have seen the days where one man could understand most of what went on in his desktop computer. We were trained to look at computers not as a Mac or as a MS Windows machine but fundamentally as a set of concepts and mathematical constructs allowing us to envisage computers powered by water and valves or pneumatics, or memories based on standing waves in a vacuum tubes. All else is a function there of.
Having said that I saw in my own education in technology not enough love for the thorough and the fundamental. Sometimes there is too much to know it’s true but the education should cover us into reading any book we need. We all get trained to read in our native language but when the book starts looking like this:
eyes glaze over. This is a problem since most important knowledge that is not abstract and contextual has to be described like this. And to explain the steps and results of this equations no length of words will do.
My impression lately is that schools and education is going away from this and keeping this hard knowledge away and only the fluid part is being passed since of course it is easier. I hope I have the wrong impression.. cause we otherwise might hit another dark age. This happened before you know, and unfortunately it took the human race almost 2000 years to really fully recover if it ever did see the Destruction of the Library of Alexandria. Let’s not let this happen again …