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IPFS News Link • Education: Government Schools

The Republicans Who Want Ignorance to Get Equal Time in Schools

•, by Diane Roberts
 Not content with merely waging war on women, Republicans are targeting another enemy of conservatism: education. New Hampshire state Republican Jerry Bergevin recently railed against science and the atheist eggheads who call themselves teachers: "I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented. It's a world view and it's godless."
While New Hampshire didn't end up passing Bergevin's anti-evolution law, Tennessee did. Its new statute allows – even encourages – teachers to express scepticism toward, as the bill says, "scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and global warming".

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Dennis Treybil
Entered on:

Mr. Lee's synopsis reads as follows: 

Education is the new Republican enemy. No more free thinking and empirical evidence, just the Bible, rumour and Fox News

The final paragraph in the article at Common Dreams reads:

And there you have it: the conservative attitude to knowledge. No reading, no exploration, no empirical evidence, no learning, no free play of ideas. Just rumour, Fox News and the Bible. Why think? It'll just make you unhappy.

Now Mr. Lee seems a bit unhappy with Republicans.  I feel your pain Mr. Lee.  I feel your pain.

The folks at Common Dreams seem unhappy with conservatives.  Ditto.

Not that I think that anyone should confuse Republicans with Conservatives.  Ron Paul currently sails under the flag of the GOP, but he is more of a Constitutionalist (a term which I understand) than a conservative, a term which I often find applied to ideas which strike me as liberal, not that I attach a great deal of weight to either of those terms, viewing them as arbitrary, buzzwords, hotbuttons - no actual meaning.  Adding weight to this is that many of those who attach the term conservative to policies I would label liberal identify themselves as Republican

Before proceeding to the comments about science and the Bible, I should declare my religious affiliation.  And I would, if I had one.  Currently I am torn among Frisbeetarianism, The Church of What's Happening Now, Fanatics without Causes, and The Church of G-d The Utterly Indifferent.

What "science" covers, it covers very well.  But there are things that science does not adequately explain.  Where does one turn?

At least one biblical sage distinquished between knowledge and wisdom.  And there's a hint.  If science is knowledge (loosely speaking), where does one find wisdom?  A hint is a hint.  A hint is a finger pointing at the moon.  But the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.  How does anyone proceed from the hint to its realization?

I don't know if the answer to that question can be reduced to "logical" or "scientific" terms.  In some aspects of life, I don't think the seeker/scientist can separate themselves from the experiment in any objective way. 

Classical science is already up against some limits having encountered the Quantum World.  In some schools of Quantum Physics, consciousness is the foundation of the Cosmos and the observer is inextricably linked to the observed.  In the macro world of planetary ballistics, the effects of the observer upon the outcome are negligible.  In the Quantum World, they are not.  Some Quantum physicists attempt to explain this materially, others, pointing at the failures, turn to consciousness to explain it.

Was it Homer who wrote The Odyssey?  And was it Odysseus who filled his crew's ears with bee's wax and had himself lashed to the mast while the boat went past the Island of the Sirens?  And was it Odysseus' screams, his pleading for release that could be heard around the world as they went by, him seduced utterly by the siren's songs - saved only by his foresight to render the crew oblivious to both their song and his cries?

If that was Homer who wrote it, I would consider Homer a competent observer of human nature and the human condition.  And not only is Homer a competent observer, he is also an honest and capable commentator.

The same might be said of those who wrote the books that appear in the Bible.

I know this because when I was in 2nd grade, there was a book in the classroom library which contained an adaptation of the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel.  I loved that story.  I read it over and over that whole year.  Looking back, I see that story was my story - it was a story of the struggles in my life, struggles already underway when I arrived on this planet and which very nearly tore me apart eventually.  I was troubled by all that then, but optimistic.  (Garth Brooks was right in The Dance) I didn't know it then, all I knew then was that I liked the story.  I liked Brook's The Dance too.

I'm glad that story was there today.  It serves as a reference experience.  Maybe not pivotal, but helpful.

Why take that out of the classroom?

Liberals want science in the classroom.  Nothing wrong with that.

(according to the cited article) Conservatives want the Bible in the classroom.  Nothing wrong with that.

The proposition of excluding either is rediculous.  In 1791, the year the Bill of Rights was Ratified, the thought of excluding the Bible from the classroom would never be considered.  According to some sources, the Bible was used as a dictionary, since the King James translators aimed for consistency in spelling and use, not widely observed before that.  And nearly everyone had a Bible.  Not everyone had a dictionary.

The terms conservative and liberal are being used as a pry bar to undo the bonds among the people - the union.

I hope decentralization of schools is accomplished.  Then there might be a variety of schools with greater or lesser mixtures of modern science and traditional wisdom available for people to choose from.

DC Treybil