In a time of conspiracy theories

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For those who are interested in the economy: Thanks to Bob Frey for the occasional quote:

“What can you say about a society that says that God is dead and Elvis is alive?” ~ Irv Kupcinet

Musing on conspiracy theories: We are furiously working on teaching critical thinking skills. The Common Core is all about critical thinking. Why? Maybe it’s because a number of students would nod agreement if I said something like, “And we need a strong missile-based defense system to defend ourselves against Martians or other extraterrestrial terrorists.”

My students are frequent movie-goers. Not all of them understand that the entertaining ending of Independence Day can only be considered absurd. One told me that World War Z was his favorite movie. I saw World War Z.* The movie has as much in common with the book as Will Smith’s “I Robot” had with Isaac Asimov’s original robot stories. The ending has everything to do with drama and almost nothing to do with science. O.K., I admit it’s a zombie movie. But the ending doesn’t even have the support of pseudoscience. As much as I love Brad Pitt, I’d never see that movie twice and it won’t come close to breaking my top ten list for the year.

Eduhonesty: We have well-documented studies showing that students read less than they used to. The reading they do may be random internet articles or badly misspelled text messages. They go to the movies regularly. No wonder they will support the idea that the moon landing was a hoax, while dismissing evolution by saying, “I didn’t come from monkeys.”

*The book’s great btw. Even if zombies aren’t your genre, the insights into human behavior on a micro and macro level make World War Z worth the read.