I received this commentary and the article which forms it's basis from Laslo Patterson at UCOY and thought it pertinent and thought provoking in several key areas of our lives so I am posting it here. The article follows the commentary below.
Internet Blamed For Falling Percentage of Graduates
June 27, 2008
Well, that's what has really worried me all along about computers, but especially the internet or the "world wide web". I was always concerned that the internet would replace a child, or student in this case, actually reading and studying a particular subject. With the internet you can find your subject and basically print an essay for a school report on any subject you can think of.
With AI or artificial intelligence advancing by leaps and bounds, the old AC-DC song "Who Made Who" may be our death knell. That song was on the soundtrack for the movie "Maximum Overdrive" where machines by some atmospheric anomally took over the world for a few days. It was taken from a book written by Stephen king. I'm sure more people watched the movie than read the book, which goes right back to what we are talking about.
There are no shortcuts to a good education much like there are no shortcuts to salvation. People that take shortcuts in education are pretenders. They may have the sheepskin in the frame on the wall, but they really don't know anything without someone telling them what to do. People that claim to be Christians but are not and are in reality judeo-Christians are the biggest pretenders of all and the epitome of a lack of education.
A good example would be a lot of your medical doctors these days. They see a patient in their office and they have no idea what may be wrong with the patient. Nor do they really care. Their main concern is to get through the appointment load they have as quickly as they can and most importantly, satisfy the quota of drug presciptions written. That is the most important thing as doctors dont work for you the patient, no, they work for Corporate Drug Kingpins with names like Merck, Smith Kline, Pfizer, Abbot, Eli Lilly...the list goes on and on. These Corporate Drug Kingpins have mid level drug lords that go to each of these liscensed drug dealers (doctors) and give them samples of drugs to pass on to their patients. These mid-level drug lords are called drug representatives or drug reps for short. Both names pretty much sound the same don't they? These drug reps push the doctor into prescribing their Corporate Drug Kingpin's drugs by giving lots of samples, buying the office staff lunch every week, or by paying for lavish county medical board meetings once a month. The latter, being another opportunity to put on a presentation promoting their Corporate Drug Kingpin's newest drug that can help the patient live with whatever disease they have a little bit longer or easier. The doctor is basically a whore to the drug companies. They get financial kickbacks for pushing a particular drug on patients. They don't cure anything, they give you a drug. They know its a good drug because their drug rep showed them a snazzy presentation on a projector at their last meeting. That meeting mind you, is the lavish dinner I was telling you about that was paid for by said Corporate Drug Kingpin with his Mid-level drug lord, ie drug rep as master of ceremonies. OK, lack of education makes you a braindead whore to whatever career choice you have made.
Now, as i said, not getting a spiritual education can be more perilous to your salvation. That's right, you all know them, he's the deacon of the First Self-Rightous Church. Be it Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, doesn't matter. Fine upstanding family, he's a deacon, she's a Sunday school teacher, they have wonderful children. That's right, I said Sunday, you know, the first day of the week...anyway. After Sunday school they go upstairs to the auditorium and sit from 11:00 to 12:00 for 20 minutes of announcements and singing. Then they hear about 40 minutes of preaching. Now Mr. and Mrs. fine and upstanding didn't get anything out of the service but a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Probably because his wool suit was itching him half to death the whole time and she wasn't sure she had turned the oven on that morning for the roast to cook and was trying to figure out if they might need to pick up some KFC for lunch. As funny as those things may be they are very true. However, the main reason Mr. and Mrs. Upstanding were all warm and fuzzy after the service was because of the lukewarm almost cool message they received from their preacher. The preacher only told his flock what "he" felt they needed to hear. The preacher didn't tell his flock what YHWH God insist that they know. Why? Why didn't the preacher preach YHWH God's Word? Well, because YHWH's Word isn't in him! That's right, the preacher went to a seminary and got his degree in divinity, but didnt learn anything. He was told what he could preach about and he was told that if he wanted to be a sucessful preacher, he needed to preach to the collection plate. Do not preach to the spirit or the hearts of your flock but preach only to their willingness to fill the collection plate on the first day of the week. He was basically taught, "To HELL with people's souls as long as you can get their money". There's a company that sells these wonderful weekly sermon books called commentaries that make it so much easier to preach. And there's not a sermon in it that will step on anyone's toes. Isn't that just peachy? Those companies that market those commentaries are jewish book publishing companies. Nothing like being in control of the media.
Now in this case, the preacher is not the only one to blame. However he will most likely be doubly punished for he is not only damning his own soul, he is directly aiding and abetting in damning the souls of others. His own flock. But the parishioners are also to blame for just sitting there and taking the word of a man without researching and studying for theirselves.
That would be trying to take a shortcut to salvation. It just doesn't work. Pick up a book and read it. Try the Bible! If you have any questions afterward someone affiliated with this Church can get you an answer.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Internet Blamed For Falling Percentage of Graduates
Published Date: 21 June 2008
By MARTYN McLAUGHLIN
WIKIPEDIA and other online research sources were yesterday blamed for Scotland's falling exam pass rates.
The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) said pupils are turning to websites and internet resources that contain inaccurate or deliberately misleading information before passing it off as their own work.
The group singled out online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows entries to be logged or updated by anyone and is not verified by researchers, as the main source of information.
Standard Grade pass rates were down for the first time in four years last year and the SPTC is now calling for pupils to be given lessons on using the internet appropriately for additional research purposes "before the problem gets out of hand".
Eleanor Coner, the SPTC's information officer, said: "Children are very IT-savvy, but they are rubbish at researching. The sad fact is most children these days use libraries for computers, not the books. We accept that as a sign of the times, but schools must teach pupils not to believe everything they read.
"It's dangerous when the internet is littered with opinion and inaccurate information which could be taken as fact.
"Internet plagiarism is a problem. Pupils think 'I'll nick that and nobody will notice', but the Scottish Qualifications Authority has robust ways of checking for plagiarism and parents are worried their children will fail their exams."
Ronnie Smith, the general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said there was a higher risk of inaccurate information on the internet than in books. He added: "We need to make sure youngsters don't take what they read online as fact."
Several further education institutions have already banned students from using the interactive encyclopaedia. At one college in Vermont in the US, a history professor found several students repeated the same error in exam papers. On discovering the information came from Wikipedia, the college outlawed its future use.
Ms Coner said overuse of the internet also meant students did not develop interpretative skills.
She said: "Pupils are in danger of believing what they read. It's part of our short-cut culture, where we will do anything to pass a test, without properly engaging with the information or questions that are being asked.
"It's all very well to glance at a website for research, but you have to check what you are reading is correct. Anything can be untrue. I can claim to be a world expert on anything if I set up a website on the internet."
Alan Johnson, the UK Education Secretary, was lambasted earlier this year for suggesting the website could be a positive educational tool for children.
He described the internet as "an incredible force for good in education", singling out Wikipedia for praise.
A disclaimer on Wikipedia states "it is important to note that fledgling, or less well monitored, articles may be susceptible to vandalism and insertion of false information".
Boasting over two million articles, Wikipedia is used by about 6 per cent of internet users, significantly more than the traffic to more authorised sites, such as those of newspapers. Its articles are mainly edited by a team of volunteers.
'There is a great deal of misinformation on the net'
LAST week I heard the writer Colin Bateman describe how, on looking himself up on Wikipedia, he was dismayed to discover that his young son had gone online and added the sentence: "Mr Bateman is currently suffering from penile dysfunction." Fortunately his dad saw the funny side – and was proud his child could spell "dysfunction" correctly.
In common with students everywhere, I use Wikipedia as a research tool, and so does my son. Occasionally, I come across areas where there is academic dissent – for example on whether Homer was an individual poet, and this is usually clearly indicated.
There are subjects on which I wouldn't trust any open-edit web resource, because I've come across too many conspiracy theorists in my time. But generally I think the biggest risk of using any internet source is that it leads to plagiarism, intended or unintended.
It is so easy to cut and paste, meaning only to put together some useful notes, and then to draw on them too heavily without acknowledging the source. At the extreme it is all too easy to buy "off the peg" essays on any subject.
When I was studying public health, we were trained to test the reliability of health-related websites, because there is a great deal of subjective misinformation on the net which may appear reliable.
The great strength of the internet is that it means we can amass information very readily, but it is hard to distinguish between authoritative, scientifically tested information, and something more akin to rumour.
One topic in my son's Higher History course is the civil rights movement in the US. Starting from the simplest of internet queries, it wasn't long before he got into quite contentious issues, which were presented in very partial terms by organisations with vested interests.
It was hugely useful to him to develop the skill of challenging what was presented as "fact", but it is a skill that has to be learnt, and which many internet users won't have. Of course, that skill isn't just useful for assessing the reliability of the internet. Mr Bateman, for example, earns his living by making up stories.
• Miranda Harvey is a parent of a pupil at Boroughmuir High School, Edinburgh