From a thread at the excellent phdcomics phorum where I frequently lurk and occasionally post, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said something awe-inspiringly ignorant about reproduction and higher ed.
It’s simultaneously comforting and distressing to know that the US isn’t alone in having ignorant yokels running things.
From the article, narrator is female:
At that point one of my friends introduced me, dropping in that I am completing a PhD. At this, [Australian Prime Minister Kevin] Rudd rolled his eyes and in a terse voice lacking any sense of irony remarked that is the “excuse” that “all” young women are using nowadays to avoid starting families.
Why is this an incredibly ignorant thing to say? Let us count the ways…
1. There are well established positive correlations between parent’s education level and almost every indicator of success for children. (and a corresponding inverse correlation between education level an fertility…the “only stupid people are breeding” argument.)
2. I don’t know the numbers from Australia, but in the US 5.587% of the population over 15 has a Master’s degree, and 1.066% has a PhD, around 60% and 40% female respectively. (src, pdf) — “all” the young women? really?
3. There are too damn many of us anyway.
4. What the hell would posses someone to say that? Really? Is it the 1930s?
In a totally unrelated matter, one of the three people sharing the Nobel Prize in Medicine last year was a female Aussie PhD…
This is not to say the US is doing any better on looking bad right now. We have this shit, where a bunch of assholes are trying to pull an Intelligent Design (nomenclature swap to hide the fact they don’t have a leg to stand on) to shove their religious bullshit into the social sciences curriculum.