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Passions in Poetry

The "E" word

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Brad
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25 posted 03-26-2006 05:29 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
What if Bob's interest in rocks conflicts with Roger's desire to keep his son from being intersted in the age of rocks instead of the Rock of Ages?


Bob should teach Geology. If this conflicts with your personal belief system, give your child extra work. There's a tremendous amount of material on the internet that does just that.

How does muffling the teacher do anything except make the subject less interesting?

Local Rebel
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26 posted 03-26-2006 05:43 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

But what if Bob is teaching geology as a component of general science -- a required course for every student -- and Roger's son has to take the course and pass it in order to advance to the next grade?  What if passing means Roger's son has to put down answers on tests and homework assignments that conflict with Roger's personal, Constitutionally protected, beliefs?
What if Roger is a blue collar kind of guy and can't afford a private school?  He pays his taxes.  What do we do with and for Roger?
Grinch
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27 posted 03-26-2006 06:16 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Parents have the same responsibility, don't they? When faced with a question you don't know, you go find out. You do what LR did or if you don't have a computer, you go to the library. That's one of the reasons we have libraries.


But that’s not what happens Brad.

When a kid goes home and says to his creationist parent “my teacher says this rock is 3 million years old, is that true?” the parent calls the school board to complain.

When the kid goes home and says to his atheist parent “my teacher says god created rocks 6 thousand years ago, is that true?” the parent calls the school board to complain.

See the parents and teachers all have an opinion, they all think they know the answer, they don’t need to go looking for answers on the internet or in libraries, they just want the school to teach what they believe. Which is why some school boards prefer ‘very very old’, some prefer 3 million years and some prefer 6 thousand depending on the majority beliefs of the parents and, to a lesser degree, the teachers in their catchment area.

quote:
Bob is interested, why are you telling him what to do


Because if I’m a creationist Bob isn’t teaching the truth and if Bob happens to be promoting creationist beliefs the atheists want it stopped.

The only way to break the circle is to teach both as possibilities along with evidence for and against each theory and let the kids decide which is more plausible, in effect let evolution sort it out –  as Mike pointed out in time the fittest will prevail.


Brad
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28 posted 03-26-2006 06:32 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
What if passing means Roger's son has to put down answers on tests and homework assignments that conflict with Roger's personal, Constitutionally protected, beliefs?


When did constitutionally protected beliefs mean that you can't be exposed or shouldn't be exposted to ideas contrary to your own?

As far as tests and grades are concerned, how many students do that anyway?

What is the purpose of public education?

Brad
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29 posted 03-26-2006 06:42 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
But that's not what happens Brad.

When a kid goes home and says to his creationist parent my teacher says this rock is 3 million years old, is that true??the parent calls the school board to complain.

When the kid goes home and says to his atheist parent my teacher says god created rocks 6 thousand years ago, is that true??the parent calls the school board to complain.

See the parents and teachers all have an opinion, they all think they know the answer, they don't need to go looking for answers on the internet or in libraries, they just want the school to teach what they believe. Which is why some school boards prefer very very old? some prefer 3 million years and some prefer 6 thousand depending on the majority beliefs of the parents and, to a lesser degree, the teachers in their catchment area.


Exactly. And yet, not all opinions are created equal.

A geology class should teach what most geologists believe. If not, it's not a geology class.

Local Rebel
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30 posted 03-26-2006 06:43 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

The only way to break the circle is to teach both as possibilities along with evidence for and against each theory and let the kids decide which is more plausible, in effect let evolution sort it out –  as Mike pointed out in time the fittest will prevail.



The problem is if you teach creationism in science class Grinch -- you aren't teaching the science.  (And you're getting a little bit casual with the word theory again too.)

Same thing goes for Bob and Roger.  The right, scientific answer is that radiometric dating says X.  I'd stipulate Roger has no 'right' to prevent his son from hearing information that might conflict with personal beliefs -- at least not when he's out in public.  But, education has been publicly mandated -- if Roger's son (I guess he needs a name -- Eric) If Eric must SAY somehting (as in on a test or paper) that conflicts with HIS beliefs -- then aren't we violating his first amendment rights?  Shouldn't he have the right to object to his participation in the test and the requirement to pass based upon its successful completion?

It doesn't seem that we have to acquiesce to muzzling Bob in order to uphold Eric and Roger's rights.
Brad
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31 posted 03-26-2006 07:08 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

ya know, I was going to use muzzle, I just thought muffle was the better word here.

Sorry, quick digression.

Grinch
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32 posted 03-26-2006 07:25 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


LR,

quote:
The problem is if you teach creationism in science class Grinch -- you aren't teaching the science.


We aren’t teaching science now LR – that’s the point!

I think the problem is if you don’t teach both you end up teaching neither consistantly. Creationism thrives because evolution isn’t taught or understood, rocks are aged using the ‘very very old’ method as a compromise to creationist beliefs. Why not extend the compromise and teach creationism and evolution and let the best theory win?


Brad,

quote:
A geology class should teach what most geologists believe. If not, it's not a geology class.


What happens if 90% of geologists in 5 years time are Christian Creationists? The problem with majority rule is it falls down if the majority happen to be wrong.

Which is in effect the creationist’s argument

Local Rebel
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33 posted 03-26-2006 07:33 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

My oldest daughter does terribly in science and algebra.  She doesn't even get good grades in English and she's been speaking it (nonstop) since she was 8 months old.  She get's A's in Japanese.  Students learn what interests them.

As I've said time and time again -- if someone wants to teach creationism in Philosophy class -- go right ahead.

But it's not going to lead to an increase in understanding of evolution.

Local Rebel
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34 posted 03-26-2006 07:36 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

What happens if 90% of geologists in 5 years time are Christian Creationists? The problem with majority rule is it falls down if the majority happen to be wrong.



It isn't about majority rule.  It's about evidence and experimentation and consensus.  If 90% of geologists become Christian creationists it will be because evidence has led them to that conclusion -- or... they will no longer be geologists.  I'm not sure why we're talking about geology in a biology class though.
Balladeer
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35 posted 03-26-2006 08:13 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

er, because we have rocks in our heads?
Brad
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36 posted 03-26-2006 09:09 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Well, I started the thread with Bob, the geology teacher. The original idea, such as it was, was to show that if you try to extract evolution from the curriculum, it doesn't stop at biology.

Oh, and that, in a very real sense, the idea of presenting both sides is a ruse. The idea, for many people (excepting the well meaning people here), is that you present both sides with the intent of eradicating evolution and deep time altogether.

---------------------

Grinch,

It's not majority rules, it's the rule of geology, or of geologists. I can't think of anyone better qualified to run the geology curriculum.

Can you?

Midnitesun
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37 posted 03-26-2006 09:13 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

I am hoping I haven't skipped over some significant input here that will make my reply seem redundant.
It's an interesting subject, Brad. thanks for bringing it to the forum.
Public schools have many pluses as well as failures. Teachers have to juggle politics and religion as well as a million other factors that threaten to stop them from their basic job, which is to offer information, assist students in learning how to filter information, in order to arrive at a workable understanding of reality, to decipher what is  right/wrong, fact/theory, truth/fiction.
Homeschooling is not a viable option for everyone, but it doesn't mean the parents do not care. I homeschooled my daughter after grade 5, and gave her the world, so-to-speak, by encouraging her to seek truth from many diverse sources.  Nothing was held back or censored. I respect her as an independent person, and guided her minimally. It's vital we encourage each child to read all sides of issues like evolution and creationism. Many parents I interacted with homeschooled because of this one issue, and actively kept their children from from studying evolution. What is that child going to do on college entrance exams when they an't answer any of the questions about geology, biology, or any other science subject when they haven't the foggiest idea of the overwhelming amount of well-documented data that supports evolution?
(Guess you can see my slant )
No teacher or student should be restrained from seeking information and then interpreting that information as they see fit. What should never be allowed is the total blockade of information, no matter who does the funding or the teaching.
My daughter happens to be a declared non-believer. As a young teen, she asked to have two versions of the Bible, as well as works from many scientists and philosophers, so she could read and decide for herself. As a parent/teacher I encouraged her to seek a balanced input, not to accept at face value anyone else's opinions or beliefs, not even those of her mother. To me, that is the crux of the issue. Educational institutions are useless unless they teach student how to seek information, ways to filter that information,  the skills with which to make INFORMED decisions about all aspects of life.
Having said all that? I've also known some students who went out of their way to find the information, irregardless of restraints.  
But some will fall into the authority trap, and do as their told, believe as their told to believe, and not ever 'learn how to learn' which is what education should be about.  
jbouder
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38 posted 03-27-2006 11:16 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

I think we need to rewind this discussion a little:

quote:
But let's put the problem in a nutshell. The reason America has such poor schools and the best universities in the world comes down to one thing: Parents

Homeschoolers do better because parents care, public schools do poorly because parents don't care.


Actually, I don't think it comes down to exactly one thing.  It is true enough that schools don't often change the status quo without parental pressure.  This can be good or bad.  I think history demonstrates repeatedly that parental advocacy drives most positive (and even negative) changes.  The effectiveness of such change is often contingent upon our knowledge of the problem.  The better our knowledge of the problem, as parents, the more likely it is that we'll choose a reasonable course of action.

I can report from firsthand experience that parent advocacy can effect dramatic changes in the educational status quo.  Public systems might not be the best innovators, but they are good copiers.  Parents are naturally motivated to drive change and many are sophisticated enough to grasp complicated issues and find innovative ways to solve systemic problems.  If a parent succeeds in doing so and creates a "market" for this new educational product, chances are that public systems will attempt to copy some or all of what the parent has created and "voila" ... you've got systems change.  Incidentally, exercises in this considerable "parent power" is also capable of resulting in very, very bad education policy, as I believe is the case in your geology example.

quote:
Well, I started the thread with Bob, the geology teacher. The original idea, such as it was, was to show that if you try to extract evolution from the curriculum, it doesn't stop at biology ... Oh, and that, in a very real sense, the idea of presenting both sides is a ruse. The idea, for many people (excepting the well meaning people here), is that you present both sides with the intent of eradicating evolution and deep time altogether.


I want my sons to be skeptics.  I want them to challenge the assumptions of those who say, "this is the right answer" or "that is the right answer" with questions like, "What makes your position more plausible than the other's?  What are your position's underlying assumptions?"  For the geologist in your example, it might be that one can, somewhat accurately, determine the age of rock by examining the strata.  I'm no geologist, but I think this is a somewhat plausible argument.  The next question might be, "What else could account for these patterns in the strata?  Could it be a cataclysmic event?  Is there any evidence of such an event?  Are there any modern-day examples that might support challenges to your assumption?"

quote:
It's not majority rules, it's the rule of geology, or of geologists. I can't think of anyone better qualified to run the geology curriculum.


While, generally, I'd agree with you that those trained in the field should drive curriculum content moreso than school boards, but if I followed your advice here, I wouldn't be in the special education business today.  

A small part of me is amused by the notion that popular science is now the target of iconoclasm.  But seriously, I think skepticism is a good thing.  Debate is good.  Not for those who have already made up their minds, but rather for those who are interested in seeing who makes the most convincing argument.

Jim
Christopher
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39 posted 03-27-2006 03:23 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

quote:
The effectiveness of such change is often contingent upon our knowledge of the problem.  The better our knowledge of the problem, as parents, the more likely it is that we'll choose a reasonable course of action.
Good answer, Jim - I knew you was smart.

The problem I see, though, is that it doesn't matter how well-informed you are as a parent if your religious beliefs tend you toward the opposite end of the creationism spectrum. It's a fair bet that to many 'believers,' refuting evolution (in any and all forms) is a knee-jerk response to their upbringing and beliefs. Couple that tendency with a group of like-minded individuals and you have a cohesive, illogical unit forcing "Bob" to disingenuously call rocks "very old." But it works the other way too – an evolutionist is just as likely to dismiss any religious theory out-of-hand. Demographics can play a large part in this – not to pick on Arkansas, but it is considered part of the “Bible Belt,” isn’t it? Come here to California and you’re more likely to encounter Michael Newdow and the like.
Stephanos
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40 posted 03-27-2006 11:45 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Chris:  
quote:
The problem I see, though, is that it doesn't matter how well-informed you are as a parent if your religious beliefs tend you toward the opposite end of the creationism spectrum. It's a fair bet that to many 'believers,' refuting evolution (in any and all forms) is a knee-jerk response to their upbringing and beliefs.

Chris,

I'm glad you're allowing for the possibility of that problem working the other way too.  Atheism, humanism, and dialectical materialism, are all religious-style ideologies which may and do affect science.  I haven't done so yet, but I'm planning to post a thread on the anti-theistic thought processes that went hand in hand with the development of evolutionism in science.  Some of it, I believe, would surprise you.  The impression that evolutionary scientists always represent an unbiased and ideologically neutral mindset, while those who disagree represent the mindset of ardent zealotism, willing to dump clear evidence in favor of religious dogma, is not accurate.  


I for one, have no a priori reason to think that theistic evolution would be wrong, or would contradict the Christian faith, because to me evolution still requires intelligence.  But scientifically, the evidence for common descent is not convincing for me.  Disagreeing with common descent, however, I am still open to the question of Old Earth ... and actually I tend to lean that way, because the evidence seems less contrived.  


Your concern is indeed a concern for both sides (or shall I say all sides) of the issue.  


Stephen.
Brad
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41 posted 03-28-2006 09:56 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
While, generally, I'd agree with you that those trained in the field should drive curriculum content moreso than school boards, but if I followed your advice here, I wouldn't be in the special education business today



Actually, you were the model for my advice.
Such as it is.  


quote:
Atheism, humanism, and dialectical materialism, are all religious-style ideologies which may and do affect science.  I haven't done so yet, but I'm planning to post a thread on the anti-theistic thought processes that went hand in hand with the development of evolutionism in science.  Some of it, I believe, would surprise you.  The impression that evolutionary scientists always represent an unbiased and ideologically neutral mindset, while those who disagree represent the mindset of ardent zealotism, willing to dump clear evidence in favor of religious dogma, is not accurate.


Sounds like a good thread -- for the likes of us anyway.  


jbouder
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42 posted 03-29-2006 10:50 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

As long as we agree that the burden of proof rests on the non-specialist to demonstrate the superiority of his/her position over that of a specialist, we're on the same page.

If you had me in mind as a "test case," I can say that the best I could do was to become an adept generalist in a large number of disciplines related to my son's disability (enough, at any rate, to vet the competing positions of specialists) and the complicated administrative functions and regulatory compliance functions of operating his school.  As Donovan's advocate, I sought to build my case on the research foundations of experts in behavioral psychology and education disciplines ... not on the foundation of my own achievement as a novice behaviorist.  

My underlying assumption is that my son's medical condition requires an educational approach with a sound clinical foundation.  Since public schools don't necessarily have the medical/clinical model down, it follows that public education alone is not best equipped to deliver medical/clinical services.  Thus, our school brings the clinical and educational models together and, in doing so, improves the prognosis of our kids.

I've been to many education planning meetings where the public education administrator remarks that the parent is the "expert" on their child.  I couldn't disagree more.  First, the public educator probably doesn't believe this to be true (i.e., it is and example of Harry G. Frankfurt's "BS" phenomenon).  Second, it simply is not true in the general sense.

Being an expert in anything requires an incredible amount of time and energy.  Specialists become experts in one, or maybe a couple, disciplines.  Some of us, for practicle reasons, cannot afford to become specialists and aim to do the best they can in multiple disciplines to achieve their goals and objectives.  There's nothing wrong with being a generalist.  We're just not experts.  While I like to think there can be advantages to keeping the forest in view, when it comes to giving me the particulars on the trees, I tend to defer to the experts.

End of rant.  Thanks for thinking of me.

Jim
 
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