Recently there has been some discussion and controversy about a 15yo boy being allowed to perform a Caesarian operation on a woman (without her consent). Don Marti seems to think it’s OK and gives some examples of what 15 year old people used to do in past times. However he misses a couple of significant points, one is that the knowledge of surgery was much lower a few hundred years ago and the expectations of the patient were a lot lower, the other is that the patient in this case did not consent to being operated on by a 15yo. If the boy’s mother thought that he was capable of doing the job correctly then she could have allowed him to deliver a younger sibling…
Given a choice I would rather have someone like Doogie Howser operate on me than a random surgeon – but I would be extremely unhappy to discover after an operation that it had been performed by a different surgeon than planned who didn’t have a medical license and who’s motivation was to invade my privacy by making a movie of the event!
Don cites the interesting essay Against School by John Taylor Gatto which makes some really good points about the state of the education system in most first-world countries. An interesting point that John Gatto doesn’t mention is that in Japan school-boys wear uniforms that are based on Prussian military uniforms. From all the evidence that I have seen the Japanese school system is more Prussian (IE worse by many objective measures) than most countries.
The Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting article comparing education systems which claims that a major cause in lack of academic performance is unjustified praise. I first became aware of the extent of this problem when discussing education with a misguided university lecturer. He told me that he felt that his purpose was to make the students believe that they had achieved something and that this was much more important than actually teaching them. My response was to point out that heroin and cocaine are both good options for people who would rather feel successful than succeed and to enquire as to whether he thought that they should be advocated for children. The conversation ended soon after that and he requested that I not name him or his university when blogging about it. I take this as an admission of guilt, if you act decently in public then you should not be afraid of appearing on a blog – decent actions will either be too boring for a blog entry or things that you are proud of.