Intelligent Design science education

Parents questioning curricula? Must be “anti-science” at work

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From Maria Gallucci at Mashable:

Florida residents can now challenge how climate change, evolution are taught in school

Florida’s statute is one of 13 measures proposed this year that the National Council for Science Education considers to be “anti-science,” the Washington Post recently noted.

Alabama and Indiana, for instance, both adopted non-binding resolutions to promote the “academic freedom” of science teachers in the state’s public schools. Educators are encouraged to “teach the controversy” around “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

Legislators and parents aren’t the only ones putting pressure on public school teachers. More.

Reading material like this prompts some reflections:

Parents are legally required to send their children to a public school if they can make no better arrangements. The children are legally required to sit there, usually between the ages of 8 and 16. Taxpayers are legally required to fund the system, no matter how bad it is. Traditionally, the system has been run by a collection of interest groups, including teachers’ unions, textbook author and publishers, and paid school trustees. Public input was limited, and consisted mainly of conflicts between pressure groups, including various End of Science! rent-a-riots and their opponents of whatever stripe.

The entire system is now largely soft corruption, vegetation, mediocrity, and the general failure of Very Cool ideas to help those most in need… The main victims are vulnerable kids. The less vulnerable kids can more easily find alternatives.

The current compulsory education system was developed in the mid-nineteenth-century to address the problem of too many illiterates in an increasingly industrial society. One can operate a horse without reading a manual but in a machine age, we needed people who could read and add. The resulting system is not at all suited to the digital age.

It has come to be dominated by administrations whose best bet is churning out the same old-same old. So along come parents and taxpayers who want (shock!) some input.

Take, for example, from the story quoted above: “Educators are encouraged to “teach the controversy” around “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

There are massive controversies around all these areas. In the future, there will be many more such controversies in many areas. Helping students navigate today means, among other things, teaching them to examine opposing opinions by learning to ask the right questions. It does not mean teaching them to listlessly accept whatever is supposed to be the consensus (although one always needs to know that).

The best argument for input and transparency is the fright some express at the idea.

Added:  For one thing, very few people in the age of the handheld would think literacy and numeracy don’t matter. It will likely be possible soon to get most education online, with local support.

Of course some oversight is needed (!) but not the stuff we are seeing today, which is a relic of bygone needs.

For example, one can require that the student be familiar with the claims of Darwinian evolution without engaging in efforts to make her believe it.

See also: Breaking: Texas science standards survive the mother of all gravy bombs

14 Replies to “Parents questioning curricula? Must be “anti-science” at work

  1. 1
    johnnyb says:

    Skip the whole mess and homeschool! Classical Conversations is a great option for homeschool curriculum and community.

  2. 2
    News says:

    johnnyb at 1: Traditional schools are no longer needed in their current format. For one thing, very few people in the age of the handheld would think literacy and numeracy don’t matter. It will likely be possible soon to get most education online, with local support.

    Of course some oversight is needed (!) but not the stuff we are seeing today, which is a relic of bygone needs.

    For example, one can require that the student be familiar with the claims of Darwinian evolution without engaging in efforts to make her believe it.

  3. 3
    EricMH says:

    Public schools are merely prisons for children, since child labor laws mean children cannot be productively employed during the day.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    News @2:
    “It will likely be possible soon to get most education online,…”
    That’s practically possible now, but we have to be very discerning to tell the garbage from the valid stuff.
    Double and triple checking is necessary.
    Test everything and hold what is good.

  5. 5
    bb says:

    Homeschooled my kids. My youngest, at 17, goes to a charter school 2 days a week, and works the rest of the time as a supervisor at Starbucks. Her GPA is great, she bought a nice car with her own hard-earned money, and her employer is offering to pay tuition at ASU. She wants to get into medicine and her rejection of silly evolutionary theory is no hindrance to her academic performance.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    What makes you think that home-schooling is any better than public education? I have no doubt that there are home schools that provide an excellent education but I’m also sure that there are situations where, in the absence of a public schools, children would receive virtually no education at all. Have you forgotten that the very worthy purpose of public education was to try and ensure that all children received a sound basic education regardless of their social and financial background? Prior to such systems, the privileged few had access to the best schools, for the rest it was a lottery as to whether they received adequate education or any education at all.

    What concerns me is that opposition to public education is driven by religious and political rather than educational considerations. In comment # 5, bb mentions his or daughter’s “rejection of silly evolutionary theory”. If that was after studying the theory in sufficient detail that she understood the arguments and evidence supporting it then that was her choice. If it was simply rejected without study because it was believed to conflict with her religious beliefs then that was not education.

    As an a/mat, I believe that students should be taught about all the major religions of the world, not to persuade them that they are true, but so that they at least have an understanding of what other people actually believe and why. I also think that creationism and intelligent design should be discussed in the science classroom. Again, this is not to persuade the students that they are true or false but that the proper scientific approach requires that their claims be understood and given fair consideration.

    What I would want to know about home-schooling situations is are the children actually being taught, for example, about evolution because it is currently the dominant theory in biology which they need to understand even if they reject it after critical consideration? Are they also encouraged to apply the same critical approach to their religious beliefs? If the answer to both questions is ‘no’ then what those children are being subjected to is religious indoctrination rather than education.

  7. 7
    Origenes says:

    Seversky

    Sev: As an a/mat, I believe that students should be taught about all the major religions of the world …

    As an a/mat why do you value what you believe, since it is only the result of blind non-rational chemical processes?
    As an a/mat how do you ground “should”? What compels us to do anything — except, of course, blind non-rational chemical processes?

    Sev: … not to persuade them that they are true …

    As an a/mat how do you ground “true”? Evolution may allow our beliefs to be true, but only selects for usefulness, so it would only ever allow our beliefs to be accidentally true.
    etc.

  8. 8
    rvb8 says:

    EricMH @ 3,

    “Public schools are merely prisons for children, SINCE CHILD LABOR LAWS MEAN CHILDREN CAN NOT BE PRODUCTIVELY EMPLOYED DURING THE DAY.” (My emphesis.)

    ummm, are you suggesting in your comment that labour laws in the west be loosened to allow children to be, in your words, ‘productively employed during the day’?

    We had that in the 19th century then Dickens wrote Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Hard Times, and others, and people began to realise that the laws at that time were barbaric.

    Similarly, and about at the same time public schools were introduced, and children no longer had to be ‘productively employed’, they could be children and learn in a safe place.

    But by all means ransack thoes laws, afterall, you can pay children less, and profits will rise.

    Also the ‘wrong’ children could be made to work while the ‘right’ children could go on to be the leaders; hang on that was the 19th century.

    No; homeschooling is a fringe educational effor, right for a tiny minority. Most children prefer to develop ‘normal’ social skills, and learn more than, ‘Ken Ham’s Homeschooling Curricula.’

    Go to his site AIG for a look at what these benighted souls are forced to parrot.

    When you get to his site, (and all the many of others which are similar), you see true, indoctrination, with all curiosity driven from their minds.

    Most homeschooling is pure indoctrination, at least at public school kids can listen to their clueless parents, and block their ears when global warming, and evolution come up. What chance do homecschooled kids have? Zero!

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Origenes @ 7

    As an a/mat why do you value what you believe, since it is only the result of blind non-rational chemical processes?

    I don’t know whether my values are “the result of blind non-rational chemical processes” or whether they are just the delusions of a creature helplessly following the course mapped out for it for some unknown reason by an inscrutable creator. All we can really do is deal with the world as we find it.

    Individual human beings are weak, fragile and vulnerable creatures trying to survive in a world that can be very dangerous. Living in social groups that co-operate for mutual advantage greatly improves the chances of survival of the members of such groups. Anything which promotes the security and stability of societies and protects the rights and freedoms of their members is, in my view as a human being, a good thing.

    While many people, for various reasons, believe in some all-powerful father-figure of a deity who has our best interests at heart and guarantees eternal life for those who please him, I believe that all we really have, here and now, as far as we can tell, are each other. It’s not much and it may not be enough in the long run but there’s not much of an alternative.

  10. 10
    EricMH says:

    @Seversky, sure, why shouldn’t kids be allowed to work? They shouldn’t be forced into industry like in Dickens’ day, but why should they be kept from earning money? Adulthood used to be what we now call the teenage years.

    As for homeschooling, homeschoolers on average score higher SAT scores than publicly educated kids. Are they poor brainwashed fundies or rich upper class privileged kids? Seems you think they are both. From my own homeschooling and public schooling experience I was way ahead of the rest of my public school class, until I went to the UK. Now there is a decent public school system, though very politically incorrect.

  11. 11
    rvb8 says:

    EricMH,

    Ummm,

    that was me @8 about Dickens, and the poor homeschool curricula of most homeschooled children.

    Seversky was explaining in more detail @6 and later @9 the weaknesses, and dangers of homeschooling; a task he handled very fully.

    And you @10,

    “Are they poor brainwashed fundies or rich upper class privileged kids? Seems you think they are both.”

    No, I don’t. The rich today, just as throughout the entire history of modern man seek the best for their children, today, andin Dickens time that meant the best schools and universities; the rich almost never homeschool.

    There is a huge predominance of homeschooling by fundamentalists, and going by almost all the teaching material I see online they learn a YEC curriculum; that’s medieval.

    I’m sure your homeschooling was fine but that is an exception, most homeschooling, and even small primary religious school education, is woefully lacking in science. They teach Biblical litteralism, which is damaging children’s scientific litteracy.

  12. 12
    rvb8 says:

    EricMH,

    “Adulthood used to be what we now call the teenage years.”

    Correct! And go back further to any time prior to the Industrial Revolution, and we get; “Adulthood used o be what we now call childhood.”

    This is the direction you think is progress? To actually regress to a time when children worked?

    I agree a lot of today’s twenty-somethings are mewling infants, ‘snowflakes’ if you will. But this is in no way an argument for backward yearning to a false golden age of youthful work, earning, and responsibility.

    Even in America, Europe and Japan before the nineteen thirties children had uncertain dangerous futures; why woud you romanticise this uncertain existance?

  13. 13
    Origenes says:

    Seversky @9

    Sev: I don’t know whether my values are “the result of blind non-rational chemical processes” or whether they are just the delusions of a creature helplessly following the course mapped out for it for some unknown reason by an inscrutable creator.

    Both scenarios do not allow for personal freedom — a despairing state of affairs.

    Sev: Anything which promotes the security and stability of societies and protects the rights and freedoms of their members is, in my view as a human being, a good thing.

    How do you ground personal rights and freedom in a world solely determined by blind chemistry or solely determined by an inscrutable creator?

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    Origines:

    You cannot, both are cases of determinism, which is inherently self-undermining.

    But, address instead a Creator who creates a world full of creatures capable of genuine love, which requires genuine freedom. And of thought to go with it, and we see responsible, rational, morally governed freedom.

    Some’at tells me that the first command is to love God, including with your MIND. The second, of like order, is to love neighbour as self. With the Good Samaritan as yardstick of neighbourliness.

    These pivot on exactly the responsible, rational freedom as mentioned.

    Now, if you ask me, how do I ground this mechanically on neural networks, I suggest that a neural network is in itself a refined, organised rock. It lieth not in the network nor in the organisation/ “programming” to generate such freedom, on very obvious grounds of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity in action.

    So, I am constrained to think there is a different order of reality, which we bridge to, we are hybrid creatures. Embodied but free and morally governed, rational but limited.

    Our very existence is a sign that there is more to reality than a matter-energy space-time world, even reckoning on dark matter and energy.

    Especially our responsibly rational, morally governed freedom. Which must control even our reasoning, hence that inner urge towards truth, right, good reasoning, etc.

    Might as well call it the spiritual and done.

    Then, we look at a material world that succeeds itself stage by causal stage across time, and we realise the logic of that succession by finite stage steps does not span a true infinity. This calls for a finitely removed origin of the world, and for a world-source and root of different character than the contingency we see.

    As in necessary being.

    Necessary being, world root.

    One, of such character as to pass Hume’s guillotine unscathed and be the IS that grounds the OUGHT behind our responsible freedom. Yes, we cannot even think consistently soundly without the ever present compass of conscience pointing to duties to truth, right reason, the right, justice and more. Those who corrupt, warp or benumb conscience and attack people or sources that promote conscience, are promoters of falsehood, fallacy, error, deceit, amorality, nihilism. Precisely the opposite of education or good citizenship or responsible leadership.

    That brings us to the sole serious candidate: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the responsible, rational service of doing the good in accord with our evident, manifest nature.

    If one doubts this, simply put up a coherent alternative.

    Noting, that once one has a serious candidate necessary being — flying spaghetti monsters etc need not apply [such only reveal the profound ignorance on logic of being of those who thought these to be relevant parodies] — such will either be impossible of being, or actual. Impossible, as a square circle is impossible, or actual as two-ness/ distinct identity cannot be excluded from any possible world.

    Those who would embrace atheism need to show that the God of ethical theism is not a serious candidate necessary being, or else that such a being is of the order of a square circle.

    Going back to the OP, I suggest that we live in an era in which radical ideologues exist and often dress up in lab coats. That such would seek to domineer, including to lord it over education, is a given. So, if we do not critically examine curricula purporting to teach us origins, history, science, politics, issues, sexuality, life skills, and far more, we would be utterly irresponsible.

    Look, over the past few days, I spent time seeing a list of 112 so-called genders, including the worst sort of self-serving neurotic rubbish like:

    2 Adamasgender: a gender that refuses to be categorised.

    12 Ambonec: identifying as both man and woman, yet neither at the same time

    62 Genderflow: a gender that is fluid between infinite feelings

    82 Juxera: a feminine gender similar to girl, but on a separate plane and off to itself

    112 Vocigender: a gender that is weak or hollow

    It seems the advocates and educators that use stuff like this and use so-called critical studies rooted in the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism, and play at Alinsky tactics to domineer curriculum development, creating not education but grooming for sexual chaos and abuse — I speak here echoing the Minister of Ed in Ja who found that such had been going on under his nose sponsored by alleged credible expert groups — have never heard of coherence, clarity and soundness.

    So, parents have every right to examine curricula and demand responsibility and soundness in education.

    And to play name-calling games to marginalise, stereotype and scapegoat such parents is simply to reveal the foul agendas one is in fact promoting.

    Frankly, under prevailing circumstances, I would not trust so-called curriculum experts within arms length and outside of pistol shot range. And I would advise every parent to inspect the textbooks and supplementary curricular materials, demanding accountability from school authorities.

    In the case of grooming and the like, contributing to the turpitude of a minor is a common law manifest crime, and it is a case of turpitude in itself. Indeed, conspiracy, which always compounds the crime.

    When it comes to indoctrination in evolutionary materialistic scientism under false colours of science and education, that is plain out and out fraud.

    It is high time we took back education in the name of sanity.

    KF

    PS: Moral turpitude is a bit hard to find a good understanding of, in an age where dictionaries and our readings of same are routinely corrupted by deeply embedded relativism. So:

    http://www.usvisalawyers.co.uk/article13.htm

    The term ‘moral turpitude’ first appeared in US immigration law in 1891, which directed the exclusion from the United States of ‘persons who have been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.’ See the US Supreme Court decision of Jordan v. DeGeorge, 341 U.S. 223 (1951). It has never been defined by statute, but in the common-law tradition has been given meaning by courts that have construed it over the years. One widely-accepted definition is as follows:

    Moral turpitude refers generally to conduct which is inherently base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general. [Citations omitted] Moral turpitude has been defined as an act which is per se morally reprehensible and intrinsically wrong, or malum in se, so it is the nature of the act itself and not the statutory prohibition of it which renders a crime one of moral turpitude.

    That is what we are up against, those who would stumble and corrupt little children. (As in, ’twere better that a mill-stone be fastened to the neck and one be cast into the midst of the deepest sea.)

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