Is this a Brazilian?

I’ve got two daughters and both of them took their GCSEs, A Levels and went on to get degrees; one of them two degrees. They then went on to get good jobs: one as a lawyer and the other a journalist. It appears that they’ve been very successful and, of course, I take all the credit for this. Because it can’t have been due to their education that they passed their exams and got on in the world. As we’re frequently told, education’s dumbed down nowadays and it’s therefore a doddle to get into university. Well, it must be because everyone and his dog gets a degree these days.

Then, because the job market’s so easy at the moment, it’s no surprise they soon found themselves jobs. Aren’t jobs ten a penny? Absolutely. Therefore I think we can all agree that it’s easy to get qualifications and jobs; especially compared with when I was a lad. And yes, I’m Elvis Presley.

It only takes a quick look at real evidence. I was OK at school. I may not have enjoyed it but I went through in the upper streams and got some A Levels in maths and physics before going on to study engineering. However, I couldn’t do my daughters’ GCSE science homework because I didn’t have a doctorate in astrophysics. It was beyond me and I marvelled at the time and effort they put in to complete their homework and pass their exams. It’s just not true that our children are any worse educated than the previous generation. Differently maybe, but not worse.

However, I fear there’s bad news to come. It appears that we may be at the peak of our achievements and in danger of slipping back on the evolutionary scale that we’ve reached so far.

I don’t know if you saw it because it was only a small four paragraph article in the Echo last week but some Brazilian academics have come up with the theory that it was learning to cook that made us a clever as we are. They reckon that eating raw food took up so much time and energy that we had to find a more efficient way of allowing our brains to develop and that cooking food provided a much more efficient way of delivering calories to the head. Furthermore, because we spent less time foraging, we’d have much more time for creative things like making tools and Facebook.

Now I have no idea how they came to these conclusions apart from, possibly, smoking some suspect cigarettes. But, if they’re right, we must be in serious danger right now because it appears we’re cooking less than we’ve ever done, or at least less than just before we discovered the wheel. No wonder we’re slipping back against the rest of the world; we’re not exercising our brains over a pot of stew. However, all is not lost. We can hoist ourselves back on top again within a generation. All we have to do is start teaching cooking in schools again and provide air-drops of tasty ready meals to those pesky upstart nations. It’ll be back to the good old days of us being the clever ones and the rest of the world looking up to us.

It’s not just Brazilian academics who can come up with a daft theory.

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