Continuing with James Barham’s The Best Schools interview with design theorist Bill Dembski – who founded this blog – about why he decided to take aim at the Darwin frauds and their Christian enablers, Barham drew him into a discussion of his schooling:
went to public schools through the start of grade seven. Fourth through seventh grade was in the Evanston school system, which was nationally regarded as very good (Evanston Township High School was at the time regarded one of the best public high schools in the nation). Nonetheless, by the time I showed up, a permissive and secular educational philosophy had thoroughly vitiated that school system.
Discipline was horrible. I was constantly being assaulted and getting into fights.
Hmmm. C. S. Lewis, writing not too long before this time, pointed out that, in such a school system, students are taught to do as they like. And it turns out (whatta surprise) that some of them like beating other students up …
Yet, despite all this, my parents wouldn’t pull me out of the school system. My dad, as I mentioned, was from a thoroughly blue-collar background. The best he offered me here was advice on how to fight. What finally caused my parents to pull me from the school was a complete disintegration of the curriculum in the seventh grade.
My parents went to an open house at the junior high school. In the science classroom, the word “pseudopodia” was misspelled on a large sign stuck to the blackboard. When my dad inquired, he found that the science teacher had misspelled it. In the math class, there was no textbook or clear curriculum. When my dad asked what we were covering, the teacher had no coherent answer.
I still remember that math class. An A for the fall term could be gotten by computing 60 factorial by hand (this was before calculators), which is 1 times 2 times 3 etc. all the way to 60—an 80 digit number. This was sheer busy work. It was on coming back from that open house that my parents pulled me from the public school system and sent me to Catholic schools.
Hmmm. Dembski must have been roughly 12 by then. So he caught the first wave of teaching to expectations that most students achieve certain benchmarks no matter what is going on at home, at school or on the streets outside. A system like that doesn’t teach much math, but it enables an orderly transition from one designated level to the next. In an ideal bureaucracy, adult entitlement to a non-demanding job follows in smooth transition. Cheating is often required, of course, to adjust the system stats, but is not the explicit goal of the system.
Students who actually want to know math should, of course, exit, but if they cannot, they could try reading famous mathematicians, belonging to outside math clubs, online forums, and such. As long as they can deal with the fact that the world of math is a world of alert intelligence, not of entitled mediocrity.
Next, the religion theme. Like, how come the school Dembski’s parents chose was Catholic? Doesn’t that prove something? But what?
See also: Why Bill Dembski took aim against the Darwin frauds and their enablers #1