Doc_Brown wrote: natty dread wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:Okay, so again, what's the big deal? Humor me. Child X is taught creationism and that evolution is scary liberal propaganda. What happens to Child X? What happens to society?
So you think it's of no consequence that people are given misinformation and they willl live their lives, make decisions etc. based on that misinformation?
If enough people believe in misinformation, that misinformation has a political influence. How would you feel if 90% of your country believed all the stuff in Conservapedia to be true?
I grew up in a conservative religious homeschool environment. Most of the stuff I grew up learning wasn't anywhere close to being as crazy as that site, but some might consider it to be so. People's perception of what types of teaching are acceptable vs. detrimental are quite varied. It's really a continuum of ideas and interpretations, in part because our perceptions cloud our interpretations of facts, and our perceptions are based on our worldviews and beliefs. But that's a whole other discussion.
Back on topic, I was taught (not necessarily all by my parents) creationism, that liberals were communists bent on destroying the religious foundations of our country, that rock music was of the devil, and so on (okay, so they were right on the second one...
). Yet I went on to graduate Suma Cum Laude from a state university with a degree in physics and math (also honored as the top College of Science student in my year) and later earned a PhD in Optics. I'm more of a libertarian now (a lot of my friends would probably call me a moderate in some areas), and I often have an easier time conversing with people on the left then those on the right, but maybe it's just that the lefties I get a chance to talk to are pretty open-minded and willing to discuss things from a rational point of view (which by no means is a good description of a majority of folks from either side, even as it relates to internet forums such as this one) while a lot of my right-wing friends happen to be the more dogmatic mind-numbing types for whatever reason.
I think I'm drifting off-topic again. People will form their own ideas. Reading goofball things like is present in Conservapedia, even when it's being taught as fact by some misinformed teacher isn't going to destroy people and will certainly not be the downfall of our country. I think an argument could be made that a much more dangerous teaching is one that tells people that the job of government is to take care of them or that it's unfair that some people make much more than others. The conservapedia crap just fills heads with falsehoods and possibly some religious dogmatism. The second set of teachings encourage dependency and class warfare while depressing a sense of self-reliance and responsibility.
I'm not trying to start a whole new debate here. I'm just illustrating the flip side of this discussion.
Not really "your side", more like verifying the problem.
If ALL you are concerned about is getting a decent job, then sure. Home-schooling is fine. But if you are interested in a generation of kids who actually understand a bit about how the world works and who therefore are able to make decent decisions, then its a big "no". Sorry, but there it is.
The problem with a so-called religious based education such as home-schooling is supposed to provide is that it fundamentally teaches kids NOT to question, NOT to examine a whole realm of things. You don't know what you missed, becuase, plain and simply .. you missed it.
Science is not about Evolution, knowing that the Earth's Climate is changing, that vaccines work, that AIDS is passed by a virus and not drug use or other behaviors, is not based on any of the other supposedly controversial subjects religiously based creationist home-schooling families often actively seek to avoid (with the caveat that home-schooling is extremely varied). Science is about distinguishing truth from fiction, FACTS from theories and plain untruths.
If you disagree with something in science, there is a specific framework/process you need to follow. You come up wiht your own ideas, and look at the evidence. You don't just say "hey, I think you are wrong..... so I will ignore everything you say". You find WHY the evidence they present is wrong, you find true alternate evidence. Creationists never do that. They, instead take small portions of truth and distort it. They flat out lie, though sometimes by presenting part of the truth. For example, they may claim that any pattern "disproves" the idea of randomness in evolution... ignoring that mathematical randomness is not any real and true part of evolution. That is, biologists refer to "random" events in two ways. In sampling regimes, etc they do use true randomness -- as much as anyone can, at least (there is no perfect algorythm for randomness, of course). HOWEVER, when referring more generally to things like what brought life on Earth where we are, the term "random" is more of a short-jhand for "all sorts of processes, many of which we cannot identify, never mind quantify". If you think of the mathematical algorythm and what happens when you have more than just a few variables, then you begin to understand that to actually truly quantify anything biological in a mathematical way is very difficult. (Chaos math gets close in some cases, though). As knowledge grows, or as references are more specific, you see that term used less and less. In casual talk, you may hear about "random mutations", but amongst genetecists, they will refer to certain drifts, factors that influence.
BUT.. and this is very key, to get kids to think that fossils don't really represent the record of life that they do represent, requires that you give them a different set of "facts". You have to teach kids that scientists are basically a bunch of liars, who instead of looking at things objectively and openly, as IS the truth, (with room for human fallibility, of course, but that is where proper procedures, peer review, etc come into play), you teach them that there is this big conspiracy to defeat religion and destroy real truth.
WHY? Why is this happening? We have seen what happens all too often when religion is put in the fore. It never fails that some human being gets into power and turns that "thou shalt not question God" or "thou shalt not reject the church" becomes "though shalt not question MY Ideas of what God says".. and that is a very, very VERY different tale indeed! Just look at what is happening, right now, in the Roman Catholic Church. A whole order of nuns, well respected, very faith-based, is being reprimanded for "not following the dictates" of the church.. make that "not following the dictates of men who have spent their lives mostly emersed with other men and never really going outside to talk to real people".. and you get closer to the truth. I believe in God, I believe in the Bible, but I do NOT believe in the infallibility of ANY human to pass on God's words without fail today. Even the great leaders of the Bible all had points of great failures.
Science stands apart. It is not based on any human opinion or beliefs at its fundament. Science is based on the idea that yes, people can absolutely be wrong, but if you follow these procedures, this methodology, then we move closer and closer to truth. It ALSO is built upon the understanding that there are always questions out there that cannot be answered by science, that likely never WILL be truly answered.
Ironically, for all their harping on the "evils of evolutionary theory", the real truth is that scientists are very unsure about the basic origin of life and, even when they understand WHAT happened, the results, they do not understand the very fundamentals of "why". They know that some genes survive over others, that some characteristics might have allowed x species to survive, but that is seen looking back. They cannot really look at any species today and truly know what characteristics will allow that species to survive in the future. Folks try, particularly in agriculture. But that is a very narrow and focused effort. Ultimately, saying "God did it" really IS as good an answer as any other, as long as you don't insist that God means "no logical explanation is possible". (which, sadly, a lot on both sides do). God is not anti-science. The processes that Scientists study were laid out by God.
BUT... unless you have even the basic knowledge of science and its real workings.. not a bunch of memorized facts and ideas, then you don't get most of that. You can readily believe that science is a big conspiracy against the church or just that science got a lot of things very wrong. The biggest irony is that yes, scientists have and do often get things wrong, but they get them wrong in specific ways that are corrected within the bounds of science when it is used correctly. Subverting that process, those processes just leaves people without a foundation and therefore open to any ideas that some wacko wants to insert... and insert they absolutely have.