Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Textbooks Take Another Hit - 2

The books they are a changin'
On about this date in 2009 we looked at the subject of textbooks.

This is an issue that seems to never get old, so today we revisit that subject.

The notion that the text in textbooks is sacrosanct is often shown to be inaccurate.

In this and other series Dredd Blog has focused on the impact that constant change in scientific discoveries has had on the textbook industry.

For one thing, the change that new scientific discovery does, when it shows previous science to have been wrong or inaccurate, works as a sort of planned obsolescence which works to the benefit of businesses dealing in textbooks.

That is because new product generally means new profit and happier stockholders.

However, it does not work as well to those of us who learned that "textbook knowledge", struggling perhaps to memorize the material for a test, then after all that work, we end up finding out that the information is no longer valid.

I bring these things up because it is obvious that some politicians think that what they learned from textbooks is cast in concrete, never to change.

Thus, when they do this they can come across as antiquated, with perhaps an 18th Century comprehension.

Before we go into that 2009 post, let's notice an example of some new scientific discoveries that will change the textbooks containing information about the planet Mercury:
Mercury has a surface unlike any other planet's in the solar system, instead resembling a rare type of meteorite, researchers say.
The finding, based on an analysis of data from NASA's Messenger probe, sheds new light on the formation and history of the mysterious innermost planet, scientists add.

Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system, is also one of the least understood ...
(New Mercury Data). The piece goes on to point out how different the planet is compared to original hypotheses formulated and put into textbooks before the Messenger Spacecraft began to orbit Mercury and to study it closely.

Here is the post from 2009:

If you own stock in textbook companies you will like this.

But if you are a student who has put in countless hours memorizing scientific textbooks to enhance your knowledge and to pass those gruelling tests, you may not like this latest discovery.

Such students are not alone, because Dredd Blog puts out a lot of posts about how textbooks have to be thrown away far too often because of lax scientific methods, or because scientific methods are supplanted by propaganda.

This scientific propaganda happens in government and in private educational systems as well. Notice one of the latest textbook shredding episodes:
In a discovery that promises to reinvigorate studies of the moon and potentially upend thinking of how it originated, scientists at Brown University and other research institutions have found evidence of water molecules on the surface of the moon.
(Science Daily, emphasis added). Water on the moon? What do you have water on the brain?

An Indian rocket put a craft in orbit around the Moon which had instruments on board that have now detected water molecules on the surface of the Moon, most prominently at the poles where no sunlight ever shines.

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