[extropy-chat] MYTH: Debunking popular myths about the US

Brian Lee brian_a_lee at hotmail.com
Fri May 27 14:07:09 UTC 2005

Isn't post-secondary college? If so then that's a pretty good stat. It's 
also telling that since a large portion of US population is in school, more 
people take the test and so the average will trend down. If other nations 
have a lower percentage of kids in school then the worst performers won't be 
taking the standard tests administered to students.


>From: Brent Neal <brentn at freeshell.org>
>To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
>Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] MYTH: Debunking popular myths about the US
>Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 20:16:33 -0400
>  (5/26/05 16:35) Mike Lorrey <mlorrey at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >Myth #3:  Because the U.S. doesn't produce enough scientists and
> >engineers, it has lost its edge in innovation.
> >
> >Fact:  It ranks first on the Innovation Index, which is a measure of
> >human resources skills, market incentive structures and the interaction
> >between the business and scientific sectors.  It also ranks first in
> >the number of Nobel Prize winners in economics, medicine, physics and
> >chemistry.  The first-place rankings are in spite of the U.S. ranking
> >fifth in R&D spending as a percentage of GDP and dropping to 10th place
> >on the Index of Economic Freedom.
> >
> >Myth #7:  The U.S. ranks low in educational achievement.
> >
> >Fact:  Only one nation, South Korea, ranks higher than the U.S. in the
> >percentage of the population enrolled in post-secondary education, in
> >spite of the U.S. having a large number of immigrants from third-world
> >countries.
>While I'm sure these are technically false, they are materially true:  In 
>regards to Myth 3, all of the "facts" used to "debunk" this are static - 
>they don't count the trend towards lower and lower domestic enrollment in 
>science and engineering disciplines that has been occuring over the past 
>5-10 years.  This may not be "common knowledge" amongst non-technical 
>people like the author of this book, but it is has been studied ad nauseum 
>by the ACS, APS, and AAAS.  In regards to Myth 7, the metric used to 
>"debunk" it is utterly irrelevant. While our children are enrolled in 
>school, their performance on reasonably objective tests of learning and 
>reasoning place them well behind children of other First World countries.  
>Simply being in class doesn't guarantee learning takes place. For that, you 
>need motivated students and competent teachers, which the US lacks sorely.
>Good thing the book is "essays for independent thinkers." Other people 
>might not catch the BS in time. :)
>Brent Neal
>Geek of all Trades
>"Specialization is for insects" -- Robert A. Heinlein
>extropy-chat mailing list
>extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list