Serendipity does happen

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: It’s not often that two seemingly unrelated stories in the news can be said to be serendipitously coincidental. But it happened this week. Island students have scored poorly on international tests of math, reading and science. Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, found that mice trained to be frightened by the smell of cherry blossoms passed this fear onto their grandchildren through their genetic material. (Perhaps this explains why wildlife not exposed to people is unusually tame.)

This suggests a solution to the low test scores. All newborn Islanders, starting immediately, should be sheltered from all exposure to math, arithmetic, reading, writing, science etc. Then, within a few generations, maybe 50 to 100 years, these new generations will have lost the innate fear of these subjects which has been transmitted to them, genetically, by their antecedents.

Eventually the new fourth or fifth generation (it could take longer) could be introduced to these subjects in a manner which will not frighten them. They could be taught, using a suitable reward system, to enjoy them, maybe even relish them, as children do lollipops today. It’ll be a slow process and will require some planning and societal adjustments. Eventually we’ll have to rely on outsiders to do all this book learning type stuff for us until the new generations get up to speed. But then watch out. The Island will become a society of exceedingly learned men and women.

Frazer Smith,

Rice Point.

Organizations: Emory University School of Medicine

Geographic location: Atlanta

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