In “Life as a Trained Monkey” by Karen De Coster, posted on Takimag.com on January 22, 2009, Mrs. De Coster says:
The answer to why people seem smart but can’t think is not so complicated as it first appears. There are plenty of (supposedly) “smart” people who can be trained, like a monkey, to cram for an exam (or exams); get a college degree; remember procedures related to an occupation; take steps to complete a task, etc., etc. It is the use of critical thinking that demonstrates the difference between being smart and possessing intelligence (intellectual ability).
I can tell you about accountants with MBAs who never heard of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, even when these institutions headlined the mainstream news each day. I can tell you about a CPA who won’t read non-fiction books because the “big words” are too intimidating. Most of my colleagues have never read a book—especially non-fiction—since the college days. Newspapers may make it into their daily regimen because, for most people, reading a newspaper is predictable in content and scope, and therefore it lacks the intimidation factor of a hardbound paperweight with hundreds of pages of unforeseen words and ideas.
These comments and observations corroborate Mr. Bertonneau’s comments.
As parents and educators, we need to be more aware of the distinction between educating to reason and educating to memorize (or to know without understanding).