Gregory R. Harriman gregoryh at
Mon Nov 27 13:21:38 EST 1995

In article <Pine.3.89.9511260029.A17587-0100000 at mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA>,
berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA (Alexander Berezin) wrote:

Stuff deleted.

> >
> > In a highly industrialized, modern, society the trend that the population
> > becomes gradually more educated is a natural and inevitable one.  The very
> > idea of reducing the rate or level of education offered seems inherently
> > counterproductive and perhaps even evil.
> You are talking here about the phenomenon which Solzhenitzyn called
> "obrazovanshina". Rough English equivalent is "Educatiofare" or
> Educationship. We often here the cliche that "the advanced technological
> society needs more and more educated people". Unfortunately it is
> getting more and more clear that this is for the most part a
> mythology. In fact, what happens presently is more or less the
> opposite and the prime mass trend now is towards DE-skilling and
> DE-intellectualization. Fast advancing of the knowledge packaging
> happens in many areas. Be your own doctor, lawyer or whomever getting
> more and more familiar. I can't assess it as a uniformly good or
> bad. But to perform and sell in many areas you actually now need
> to know (and comprehend) LESS, not more. This trend may be unpleasant,
> but socially and economically it is getting more and more pronounced.
> Soon you will be able to buy "how to do molecular biology" kit in
> a catalogue store.

One can't help but wonder whether Dr. Berezin reads what he has written or
for that matter even knows what he has written.  He contradicts his
position literally two sentences after claiming that the "trend now is
toward DE-skilling and DE-intellectualization" when he says: " Fast
advancing of the knowledge packaging happens in many areas. Be your own
doctor, lawyer or whomever getting more and more familiar."  Obviously, to
the extent that people want to and do become more capable of performing
tasks such as medically treating themselves or giving themselves legal
advice, they must master new information or as Joe Teodora states
"gradually becomes more educated".

Certainly, there is a trend in some segments of our society towards
anti-intellectuallism.  However, this does not invalidate the indisputable
advance in knowledge which has and is occurring.

Lastly, Dr. Berezin's lack of understanding of biological sciences is
distressingly profound.  Perhaps one could dismiss the idea that kits for
doing molecular biology will be sold in catalogue stores as hyperbole. 
But having read statements by Dr. Berezin, previously posted, which argue
that grant funding should be limited to $20,000 per researcher belies a
fundamental ignorance about how biological research is carried out and
what is required to do the research.

Greg Harriman

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