Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Texas to expel Armstrong from history?

Disturbing, annoying, frightening, and just plain stupid. There is talk that the Texas Board of Education wants to remove Neil Armstrong from the school social studies books. Their reasoning? Armstrong is not a scientist! Ok, we all know that the state of math and science education in this country is lacking, but limiting historical figures that are not scientists is not going to make more kids want to study math and science more.
I do have high respect for scientists and kind of consider myself an "amateur scientist" but if I was riding along in the LM plunging toward a boulder field with 30 seconds of fuel left, the guy on my left hand flying the ship, and 1201 alarms going off - I'd rather have an experienced test pilot there than a scientist flying the ship. No offense to Dr. Harrison Schmitt of course, even though he was the only true scientist to walk on the moon, he was more of a button pusher, altitude reader, gauge watcher for Gene Cernan when they landed Apollo 17 on the moon. BUT....in Texas he could end up being the only person mentioned to walk the moon if the Education Board has their way. This could lead to exposure of the other 11 guys though, since wouldn't some kid have a question about them if there was mention that Schmitt was on the last mission? Who were the others that came before them? Who was the first? Some guy name Lance or Louie Armstrong wasn't it?
The decision won't be made until January, but let's hope Neil doesn't get "Plutoed" out of the history books even if the earth is only 5,000 years old and was created rather than evolved! *Ugh!*

3 comments:

Stephan said...

If we never set foot up on the moon, how do you think scientists would know so much about it today (besides modern satellites)? The research and analysis of lunar rocks that were excavated from the Apollo missions was a huge contribution to science. If anything, the books should start adding to the list of people besides Armstrong. It was the great TEAM effort at NASA along with all of the other affiliations that made it possible.

People like Armstrong should be in the books. Why? We need to start inspiring kids, showing them that anything is possible. Look at Armstrong, he was a pilot and was able to embark on the greatest adventure of the 20th century. You can never be certain where a career will take you and I think it is imperative for kids to know that. Today, we have astronauts that are flying in space that are biologists, psychologists, physicists, astronomers, engineers, mathematicians, etc.

Taking people out of the picture who played a major role in history and have allowed us to understand the world around us will only undermine the importance of learning science and math.

Tom said...

Yep! I totally agree with you on that. Kids nowadays have their heroes all screwed up. Maybe the football players will always be more of an inspiration than astronauts and scientists, but you could sure become a scientist easier than a football player.
A friend commented on my blog entry - "This is like saying scientists are more important than engineers.... Without engineers, we would have no people who convert scientists' discoveries into USEFUL PURPOSES...!" -- Jake
He's got that right.
As for your "team" comment, there was 400,000 people working to get Apollo to the moon, but mostly just the 3 guys at the top of that big flaming stick got all the credit. They just flew the beast (sure, they did help develop it also), but there were all those other behind them. The guy who said not to worry about the 1201 alarms, Werner Von Braun who was the 'father' of the Saturn V, engineers who figured out how to fix the "pogo" problem that plagued the Saturn's early launches, and how can we forget "SCE to Aux" that saved the Apollo 12 mission!
Very, very sad that kids now are more interested in a high score on "Guitar Hero" than going outside and experimenting with stuff just to see what happens. I used to build model rockets, airplanes (still do now and then!), experiment with a lot of different antennas for my ham radio station just to squeek out a little better signal around the world, and even jumped off a ladder with handfulls of feathers trying to glide across the lawn - didn't work very well though....

:-)

Tom

Stephan said...

Amen to that Tom, AMEN.