Neuroscience advances a better understanding of the brain. Synapses at work. File photo
he Catholic faith served the Spanish colonizers well. Though vastly outnumbered, and halfway around the world from Spain, Spaniards had little to worry. The Indios they colonized, and later Christianized, were meek, compliant, and revered them and their White Christian God.
Even today, almost a hundred, twenty years after the Spaniards left, the religion they established continues to control the masses. Filipinos continue to see themselves as inferior to Caucasians. This inferiority causes them to over-react defensively to even the slightest hint of discrimination—real or imagined.
As we pointed out in a previous editorial, the Catholic Church continues to retain its control over Philippine society, through the well-established Catholic school system. These schools are used to indoctrinate the upper and middle classes of that society. Indoctrination starts at a very early age (kindergarten and elementary grades) when their subjects are most impressionable.
While some may argue that that in itself may not be bad—after all, many Filipinos are products of Catholic schools, the author of this editorial included—a seemingly unintended consequence of such parochial education is becoming self-evident as we rush headlong through the 21st century.
Today, more than ever, the scientific aptitude of its population is extremely important to a country’s wellbeing. And it will be of even greater importance in the future. Science and technology are changing life on earth at a very rapid rate. Unfortunately, this is precisely where Philippine Catholic education falls flat on its face. The sciences have been systematically de-emphasized in Catholic school curricula for centuries. Even Jose Rizal and most of his heroic contemporaries had to study abroad to attain a well-rounded education. Catholic education’s primary aim is to indoctrinate individuals into lifelong subservience to the church. In addition, scientific literacy is intentionally de-emphasized because it goes against creationism and the teachings found in the bible. In the past, this was not a big issue. America did the cutting-edge research and development (R&D), and the Philippines, its very close ally, benefited from all that new technology. The majority of Filipino graduates with just a Commerce degree under their belt made a decent living back then.
This de-emphasis of science is why the Philippines has no laboratories where noteworthy scientific research takes place. In comparison to other countries, Philippine universities conduct no research at the level their foreign counterparts do. Thus, with a population over a hundred million, the Philippines still has not a single Nobel Laureate compared to say, Austria which has a population of only 8.7 million, yet has 19 Nobel Prize winners in Science (21 if we also include Nobel Peace Prize winners).
The reason this is so is not because Filipinos are not as smart. It is because math, science, and the critical thinking they require have never been instilled in Filipinos. Instead we have been taught to just leave everything to God, pray for miracles, and believe in angels and demons (including dwendes, kapres, and all manner of enchanted beings). As a society, Filipinos seem to have lost touch with reality and live in an alternate world where superstition, not science, holds sway.
Unfortunately, as we stated above, the world is becoming more and more dependent on science where new discoveries in nano-technology, neuroscience, genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence, etc., will determine how well a country will fare in tomorrow’s world. The Philippines will not stand a chance with just a handful of gifted scientists. It will need its entire population properly trained in the sciences in order to compete. Even today, we need to start shepherding our future Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences.
If we don’t, we will be left behind. Period! Make no mistake about it. This should be treated as a fight for the survival of our proud and free country. The consequences are dire, the Philippine Republic could disappear and become a colony or state of a more advanced and powerful country. Our progeny could end up as the domestic helpers, the housemaids, the gardeners and the ditch-diggers of other societies. We cannot let that happen. Our future generations deserve better. Published 4/28/2018