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Discussion - The Christian Right's Assault on Public Education and the Science Curriculum

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Marc M.
MarcMerlin
Group Organizer
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 51
This thread will serve to be the place to discuss issues concerning the The Christian Right's Assault on Public Education and the Science Curriculum meetup, scheduled for May 26, 2012.

This is an emotionally charged topic, so I ask that people do their best to argue their positions respectfully.

Marc
Marc M.
MarcMerlin
Group Organizer
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 52
I'd like to kick off this discussion by responding to Deb's comment that initiated it, quoting:

"Sadly, the far left public school education is just as one sided and ill informed as the far right. My child's teachers rarely teach both sides of a topic, be it science related, sociology, economics, or even the arts. Creationism is the least of public schools' problems."

First I'd like to emphasize that our concern here is not the state of public education in general, but the integrity of the teaching of science within that system. It may well be the case that people on the left and right improperly influence the sociology, economics or even arts curriculum in ways that are one-sided and ill-informed.

Be that as it may, science stands apart in many respects from those other fields of study, at least at the level of the K-12 curriculum, and that is that there are not two sides to teach about subjects like the theory of evolution by natural selection. The science was long-ago decided and the consensus is not only strong, but the body of supporting evidence and detailed theory grows stronger with each passing day.

I would no more tolerate the teaching of alternative theories to evolution than I would the teaching of alternatives theories regarding the germ theory of disease or the effectiveness and safety of vaccination as a public health measure. In science education at this level, unlike politics, competing ideas don't merit equal time.

As to whether "creationism is the least of public school's problems," I would only say that insisting on teaching creationism introduces an unnecessary problem which, unlike other problems besetting our schools, can be eliminated at no cost to the taxpayer - just don't teach it. Ironically it is the people who convince school boards to pointlessly litigate this scientific question who siphon critical funds away from other pressing educational needs.

Marc
Stephen
user 4297520
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 20
I agree. I think it is high time that the alternative theory of art is given equal footing in the public schools that teach our precious, precious children just exactly what they should always believe without question, for the rest of their lives.

Some say that art is the expression of human creativity. Obviously, this is totally incorrect and completely inconsistent with The One True Understanding of Art. What everyone SHOULD know as totally uncontrovertible fact, and therefore, obviously, should be taught to our precious, precious mindless children, is that art is the direct manifestation, in the human heart (via transetherealosmosification), of the godly-wise expressions of the Tree Hive Mind of Arcturus IV.

TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!
Deb
randomly
Jerusalem, IL
Post #: 1
I've seen teachers tell kids what art to make. In fact, I know an "atelier" of adults, in Atlanta, where the director literally stands over the students and tells them what to paint and how to paint it -- to make art that is salable. Bigger sizes bring more money for example. These are then sold to people who are told what to buy by the gallery owner! Not all galleries favor this sort of decorative art, but many do. And if you look in the back room, most do.

How can you know that creationism is absurd if you are not allowed to compare it to evolution?

I love science and learning. I wouldn't want a teacher hiding truth from me. Far right AND far left dogma comes from not learning how to think for oneself.
Stephen
user 4297520
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 21
How can you know that Christianity is absurd if you don't compare it to Islam? How can you know that Christianity is absurd if you don't compare it to Hinduism? How can you know that Christianity is absurd if you don't compare it to Scientology? How can you know that Christianity is absurd if you don't compare it to Animism?

Why aren't churchs all over this country, in their Sunday morning services, comparing Christianity to all other religious beliefs in the world (including Pastafarianism), not to mention the rest of the universe?
Lucinda
user 2783612
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 99
What is "far-left dogma"?
Jay W.
TrailRunning
Alpharetta, GA
Post #: 99
Something created the first atoms trillions of years ago. Some people call that something "God", and some other people call it "Science". Whatever people call it, it does not change what actually happened.

Thank God we have Science!


Update:
Scientific knowledge is gained by systematic study. The amount of Scientific knowledge that humans know is less than 0.00000001% of all Scientific knowledge. Humans will never know everything and we will always have to take some things on “belief”.

People study God, in part, to learn about the creation of the universe.

Since humans know nothing (except theories) about the creation of the universe, we also have to thank the people's thirst for scientific knowledge for the universe's creation of a "God" at the time that religions were being formed and there was only 0.00000001% of the scientific knowledge that we possess today.
Danny
dbarrs
Roswell, GA
Post #: 48
I do not wish to seem pedantic, but from a scientific point of view we need to get things straight. In thanking "God" for science, the assumption is made that such a supernatural being exists or might exist. Moreover the idea that this omnipotent, omniscient and ubiquitous force should be "thanked" is a little unscientific to say the least. Most importantly, I feel that the expression "something created..." is not appropriate in this debate. It implies that there is, or was, a creative force in action when it is equally accurate to use "circumstances gave rise to..." which gives a completely different appreciation. As an example, we accept that gravity exerts a force on objects. Does that imply that there was an act of "creation" that caused that force to exist?
Deb
randomly
Jerusalem, IL
Post #: 2
Science doesn't demand final answers, that's the beauty of it. We don't know anything other than a sort of math works in our little slice of the cosmos. Our sense of consciousness is in many ways just as much a delusion as religious beliefs.

If you could program a super intelligent a.i., would you leave out things like religion and art as too subjective? Man made religions are goofy because they were written in a time when scientific explanations for most things didn't exist. There apparently are psychological reasons to give thanks to a higher power besides the literal ones of religion. Just about everything we accept as reality is as bizarre. Seeing rows of bloody red (dyed if necessary) animal flesh displayed under bright lights in a grocery store as perfectly normal is a pretty absurd way of looking at reality too. :)
Howard D.
hmdeutsch
Atlanta, GA
Post #: 1
This discussion and meeting would be much better framed as "Is There an Assault on Public Education and Science", and let people give their opinion; if there is an assault where does it come from? I think that there is clearly an assault and it comes equally from the right and left.

To Mark Merlin, I think your statement "Be that as it may, science stands apart in many respects from those other fields of study, at least at the level of the K-12 curriculum, and that is that there are not two sides to teach about subjects like the theory of evolution by natural selection. The science was long-ago decided and the consensus is not only strong, but the body of supporting evidence and detailed theory grows stronger with each passing day.", is totally off target. OF COURSE there are two sides! Evolution is simply change and natural selection is the driving force, but where does the diversity and variability come from? Given enough diversity, change will always happen when there is ANY driving force. Given that diversity is the real issue, I have never heard any scientist explain this diversity except by random events and random mutations. Sounds good, right - given enough time random events will produce anything you want to explain. But is it true? Or more importantly has it been proven to be true? The real answer is that that it has not been proven. Maybe this should be repeated - the mechanism of random mutations has not been proven to be able to produce the incredible variety of living systems.

To take this a step further, what about the origin of life? The theory of evolution by natural selection has no bearing on this issue at all! Life started from a point of zero complexity so evolution was impossible. If you look at the field of the origin of life by natural events, you will find that every major (and minor) scientist (and nonscientist) who has studied this has concluded that there is no adequate explanation. In fact there is not even a plausible conjecture as to the origin of life by natural events. The production of a few simple organic molecules, either in space or on earth explains almost nothing about this process. Let make it real simple - the origin of life by natural cause HAS NOT BEEN EXPLAINED AT ALL!

The “Right” might want to make this a religious issue, but the “Left” does not want to discuss it AT ALL! (e.g., “there are not two sides to teach”).
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