My reading of it is that it wasn't an attack on education; rather, a recognition that we are shaped by education but not all receive the same level of education.
Yes it is a comment (not an attack) on education and not necessarily on level of education, perhaps more to do with quality, there are those products of some tertiary institutions who are, in my opinion, poorly educated and in fact quite bigoted in their attitudes.
Ignorant by birth which can be corrected by education and experience. Stupid by choice and you can’t fix stupid
"Some people think having large breasts makes a woman stupid. Actually, it's quite the opposite: a woman having large breasts makes men stupid."
I don't think education ever makes a person stupid. I'm not even convinced that it reduces one's capacity to think imaginatively. It depends on the person.
Why is it that most of the followers of Ann Hamilton-Byrne's "The Family" were very well educated people who had achieved a lot in social position terms? (academics, judges, politicians, public servants, doctors) Not stupidity but rather a lack of common-sense, gullibility or not being in touch with reality. I hate to quibble in terms of semantics but I tend to interpret "stupidity" as related to intelligence or mental capacity.
The ability to learn things doesn't guarantee the ability to apply what is learned to real life.
I know lots of highly intelligent people who I wouldn't allow to change the oil in my car, handle investment decisions, fix a tap washer, build a garden bed (or handle sharp instruments)
The whole thing is a misattribution, Russell was quoting someone (Helvetius) with whom he disagreed. If you look at the origin of the quotation (Russell's History of Western Philosophy part 2 Ch 21) it is in italics.
To put the whole thing in to context, Russell wrote the line, however, he was presumed to be speaking in the voice of Helvétius, perhaps playing devils advocate, as I did in the original post, it certainly has provoked some debate.
This is more on the quote in question.
As a matter of interest in my copy of "The History of Western Philosophy" the quote is most certainly not in italics.
What did Bertrand Russell mean when he said about education that people are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education?
George Chen, a thought criminal blocked for not thinking by the rules.
"This is a view famously misattributed to Bertrand Russell. Russell indeed wrote this line, but he wrote this while speaking in Helvétius's voice: he was summarizing Helvétius' doctrine that the differences between individuals are entirely due to differences of education - this is Helvétius' belief, not Russell's. The following is the original text:
Following Lock's doctrine that the mind is a tabula rasa, Helvétius considered the differences between individuals entirely due to differences of education: in every individual, his talents and his virtues are the effects of his instruction. Genius, he maintains, is often due to chance: if Shakespeare had not been caught poaching, he would have been a wool merchant. His interest in legislation comes from the doctrine that the principle instructors of adolescence are the forms of government and the consequent manners and customs. Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.If the mind is a blank slate, men are born ignorant. Since knowledge is a subset of true beliefs, stupidity is mistaking false beliefs for knowledge. It follows that, when a man is indoctrinated with false beliefs, he is made stupid. In Helvétius' view, if a man becomes stupid, it is his education that made him stupid."
Russell, Bertrand. Part II. Chapter XXI Thought in the 19th Century. A History of Western Philosophy. 1945. New York: Touchstone, May, 2007. 722. Print.
"It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some sort of recreational activity."
(Dave Barry, American author and humorist)
I can relate to this Lauri.
It reminded me of the mild irritation I felt last week as I waited for my Long-black whilst the Barista filled interminable orders for Affogatos, Mochas, Viennois, Con pannas, Frappes etc.
I'm thinking "Where is the line for serious coffees, please?"
In solidarity I'm going to admit that I absolutely hate sharing the road with all those millions of other drivers causing traffic jams, taking up parking spaces and don't get me started on the pollution they're responsible for. Most of whom, I'm sure, are only out there to flaunt their shiny new toys. Don't they realise some of us have important reasons for being out on the road?
Ps thanks Rocky. I needed that.