Finally, proof that college students are sometimes more pretentious than smart. In a talk from 2006, according to Hans Rosling, who is a joy to listen to and is a Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute in Sweden, gave the students he was to teach a pretest to find out if there was really anything new he could teach them. What did he find? He found that “Swedish top students know statistically significantly less about the world than the chimpanzees.” He then “unethically” tested the professors there to find that they were at least on par with the chimpanzees. This wasn’t due to ignorance but preconceived ideas. But what is more important is what we can learn by reading between the lines of his statistics and data.
When first talking to the students he discovered that they still viewed the world with an ‘We and Them’ perspective, ‘We’ being Western world and the ‘Them’ is Third world. His students explain that Western world means long life in small family and Third world means short life in large family. But then Hans displayed his data and showed that since the 1960s the entire world has been moving towards better health and longer lives. It also showed that not only was the “Third world” countries getting healthier but that some are moving towards longer, healthier lives twice as fast as the west did. But then the 1990s happen and bring with it the HIV epidemic which brought a crushing halt to the growth of the African people while the rest of the world continued to live long and prosper.
Looking at the data it almost appears as if someone saw what was happening and moved to stop the growth that was going on in Africa. There has always been the belief that HIV and AIDS was a man-made disease intentionally introduced into the population and this information helps to solidify that belief. What might the world look like if Africa hadn’t been brought to its knees? And who had something to gain from this?
Here is the link to Hans Rosling at TED in 2006 with his presentation on world population growth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVimVzgtD6w