What we believe we become. Science, mathmatics and the great Aussie let down

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I’m a scientist myself so naturally I’m interested to see how the country is fairing against others, whether we are reaching our full potential or whether we are languishing somewhat.  Well, this week my wait was over and guess what?  We are getting exactly the results that we deserve.  Shite.

Our year 8 (age approx. 14, just before the children start working towards their first exams) results have slid from 12th to 17th in the league table for both disciplines and Kazakhstan is now beating us (the only thing I know about Kazakhstan otherwise is that Borat comes from there…..).  While educational league tables are not the be-all-and-end-all of the learning process I do find these results telling.

This is Australia.

A country with Senators who do not believe in anthropogenic Global Warming and what’s more are happy to pursue the likes of NASSA, The CSIRO and The Bureau of Meteorology and argue their case. Fair enough if they were arguing to understand I guess but they are not.

This is Australia.

Where the CSIRO (our largest Science based research organisation) had funding and jobs slashed over the last few years.

This is Australia.

Where Coal Mining interests are put before the Great Barrier Reef (is it doomed anyway so we may as well take the money or do they just not care?)

This is Australia.

Where our best and brightest renewable energy engineers find it easier to grow their businesses OUTSIDE of Australia than in, some of whom are now helping China to build their renewable electricity generation while seeing to it that Australia has one less economy to sell its dirty coal to.  Lose, lose boys.

This is Australia.

Where, in the 1960’s and 70’s we won awards for our suburb designs, the quarter acre block, leafy wide streets, large verandas that offered shelter from the sun and summer storms. Now we build Mc Mansions and flats. No eaves, no gardens, no passive ventilation which results in a heavy reliance on air conditioning.

This is Australia.

Where your love of space exploration and obsession for alien hunting might be possible thanks to The Dish in Parkes, NSW only you are not sure that the government will keep on funding it…….

So I say to the government.

Don’t punish the teachers.

Don’t change the syllabus.

Don’t bring in the big guns.

Just look at yourself. What you value and invest in. The messages you send out. The language you use and the energy you put into things.

These results reflect the fact that Australian society is not valuing long-term deep critical thinking and exploration. In fact, it’s got so bad that it seems like facts and  truth no longer matter.

It’s a thankless time to be a scientist.

And Australia has forgotten how to think.

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