Saturday, 31 December 2011

08:25 – From xkcd.

09:15 – Although I joined only a month or two ago, I’ve been reading the Well-Trained Minds forums for years to keep up with the homeschooling community. The woman who wrote the WTM book and runs the forums is an evangelical Christian, as are many of the forum members. But nationwide, only roughly a third of homeschoolers do so for religious reasons, with the remainder doing so for other reasons. (Some of those 2/3 are religious, but do not homeschool primarily for religious reasons.)

So I was surprised yesterday to come across this poll and thread: Do you use religious or secular science curriculum? I expected a large majority of responders to favor religious science curricula, or at best be evenly divided. Instead, the responders overwhelmingly favor secular science curricula, apparently including many who use religious curricula for other subjects. In other words, even many religious home schoolers largely recognize that “religious science” curricula aren’t science at all, and aren’t worth using. Even some of those who are using the religious curricula aren’t using them because they include religious content, but because they can’t find suitable secular curricula. And even many of those who are religious homeschoolers and are using religious curricula because they’re religious still recognize that those curricula are lying to their kids. That’s encouraging.

Fundie homeschoolers face a real conundrum in choosing science curricula. If they teach real science, they’re teaching their kids to be skeptical and to demand evidence to support claims, and many of those kids (60% according to one recent study done by a religious think-tank) will abandon their parents’ religion by the time they’re 15 years old. And learning real science is one of the leading reasons that happens. Conversely, if the parents use religious curricula from Bob Jones, Apologia, A Beka, or one of the other religious curriculum providers, they know they’ll be teaching their kids “science” that bears little resemblance to real science as defined by society at large and particularly by the secular universities that many want their kids to attend. Some religious homeschoolers simply give up and ignore science, which obviously isn’t an acceptable solution. The radical religionists teach their kids that the earth is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark, thereby destroying their kids future prospects. The smarter ones recognize that science is true and try to teach real science with perhaps some side discussion of how to fit their religious beliefs into the framework of science. And the smartest ones just teach real science and let the chips fall where they may.

30 thoughts on “Saturday, 31 December 2011”

  1. RBT wrote:

    “…the responders overwhelmingly favor secular science curricula, apparently including many who use religious curricula for other subjects. In other words, even many religious home schoolers largely recognize that “religious science” curricula aren’t science at all, and aren’t worth using.”

    See, we’re not as crazy as you think.

    And of course there were dinos on the Ark. The T. rex that’s been masquerading as my sister for the last 62 years has to be one of their descendents.

  2. I never said you were crazy. I said you were delusional, which you are by the dictionary definition. Anyone who holds a strong belief in something for which there is no evidence is delusional.

    Of course, there are degrees of delusion. You seem to hold harmless delusions, probably a result of what you were taught when you were young. But you don’t hold them too tightly, and I’m sure you would not allow them to affect your reasoning on non-religious questions. I have no problem with you or people like you, although I would prefer that you teach your children logic and reason rather than religion. I do have a problem with the severely delusional or, to use the technical term, “batshit crazy”. Like those who believe not just in Noah’s ark but that there were dinosaurs on Noah’s ark. Or that the Grand Canyon was created in a day by flood waters. And so on. There’s no hope for those people.

  3. Well, the Flintstones *is* documentary. How else could they have had such a high standard of living back then without dinosaur servants?

  4. Speaking of which, most of the news reports I have heard (as opposed to read) are claiming that the successful repeat of the Cern experiment, indicates time travel is possible.

  5. Time travel is possible but only going forward. The past is a done deal.

    So we won’t be able to confirm that dinosaurs were on the Ark.

    Happy New Year, folks!

  6. I don’t know enough about space-time to judge. Perhaps someone who travels back in time simply creates another verse in the multiverse.

  7. Well, the Flintstones *is* documentary. How else could they have had such a high standard of living back then without dinosaur slaves?

    Fixed that for you.

    The Hell with going back in time and killing Hitler, we need to free the oppressed dinosaurs from being used as garbage disposals!

  8. Dinosaurs were on the ark at the beginning of the voyage. But by day 23 detente was over and lions, tigers and bears conspired in the demise of the dinosaur. Noah and family went along with it because, as the saying used to go, they taste like unicorn (who faced their demise on Day 11).

    True story.

  9. Bill wrote:

    “Dinosaurs weren’t on Noah’s Ark, they use time travel machines. D’uh.”

    Are you old enough to have seen the documentary series It’s About Time (

    Here’s a picture of some of my family, my sister, the T. rex, is just out of the picture…:

    Imogene Coca? “It’s about time, it’s about space, about two men in the strangest place…”?

    You may remember that I sometimes use Shad and Gronk as names for prehistoric humans, and that’s why.

    Then there was another really obscure one that was on about the same time. I don’t think it ran for an entire season. “A foreign spy arrives by the name of U-31. On his first day in he’s done in by a hit and run…”

  10. The late and mostly unlamented William S. Burroughs had a warning for visiting space aliens, mainly involving watching out for the old nut on the porch toting a shotgun.

    Some of the Bible is fiction, to be sure. And other parts are being confirmed as we speak by archaeologists in the Sandbox. It wasn’t until fairly recently that there was physical proof of the existence of Pilate and the High Priest of the Sanhedrin. And that’s just the NT. And only since the early 80s that scholars have determined that the Gospels and Epistles were written far closer to the time of Jesus than had hitherto been thought.

    In some respects more information available for those things than we have for the man supposed to be Shakespeare.

  11. Yeah, and The Flintstones is a documentary.

    So what does that make the Jetsons?

  12. Well, that’s because the Romans were much better record keepers than the Elizabethan English. I understand that the original court transcript, fingerprints, and booking photo still exist for Barabbas, but there’s absolutely no evidence that Jesus ever existed.

    And those so-called determinations that religious documents were closer to being contemporaneous with Jesus, if he even existed, are not what any scientist would accept as evidence; they’re opinion. Show me a physical copy of even one of the so-called Gospels that can be reliably dated (in a scientific sense) to the early 1st century CE. We certainly have many, many other documents that are dated reliably to that period and before. So why nothing to support the arguments of religious apologists? Surely those documents would have been cherished and protected, and one would expect at least some of them to be extant.

  13. Some of the Bible is fiction, to be sure.

    Well, the general standard, not just in science but also in law, is that someone who has demonstrably lied or something that presents as fact at least some information known to be inaccurate is not and cannot be a trusted source.

    So, if you admit (as any honest person must) that parts of the bible are lies, why should anyone believe that any of it can be trusted? A liar needn’t lie 100% of the time to be a liar.

  14. So what does that make the Jetsons?

    A documentary from the future, and proof that time travel exists. Time travel is alien technology, of course, brought to Earth by The Great Gazoo to rescue the dinosaurs from their human masters. This is all documented in the NES game <a href="The Flintstones: Rescue of Dino and Hoppy“>

  15. No need for that. Just get into the Nutrino time machine, go back, and never make that mistake.

    I need it to go into the future to make better stock picks.

  16. Arrrgh. Something wrong with the starter on the time machine. Got to go back and correct the spelling of “neutrino”.

  17. Well, that makes it all sound easy, but time travel only exists in the future, or the past, but never in the present. There’s always someone from either the past or future that is preventing us from having the technology.

  18. Predictions from my FB friend for this next year:

    Martin McPhillips
    Some predictions for 2012:

    In late January, Hillary Clinton will begin to show a little political ankle. This will strangely coincide with some of the old Clinton factotums bad-mouthing Barack’s re-election chances. Bill Clinton, stealing the old Lyndon Johnson line, will go to a black church and tell the congregation, “I don’t like to say you never had it so good when I was president, but it’s true isn’t it?”

    Shortly thereafter rumors will surface in supermarket tabloids that Bill Clinton is having an affair with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. In a completely atypical effort to get to the bottom of the matter, the Washington Post will report, two weeks later, that the rumors were started by Bill Clinton.

    George W. Bush will resurface briefly to have a highly conspicuous luncheon with Nancy Reagan, but will not attend the Republican convention later in the year. His comments to the press afterwards: “She looks great, considerin’,” and “I had a cheeseburger.”

    New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, sensing that it’s now or never, will announce a third-party candidacy for president and spend a billion dollars of his own money on his campaign. Chaz Bono will be among the big celebrities to jump on the Bloomberg bandwagon.

    Off yet another Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Street will sign on to play Mother Teresa. She will perfect the probable saint’s Albanian-Balkan accent and lose 50 pounds to play the role. Christopher Hitchens will roll over in his urn.

    Birthers will be thrilled when World Net Daily reports that Barack Obama was born in a Paraguayan clinic under the care of a Dr. Josef Mengele and that the infant was transferred to a Moscow hospital for “post-natal development” and then delivered in a Soviet diplomatic pouch to Ann Dunham in Hawaii by Frank Marshall Davis.

    The Occupy Wall Street mob will show up in Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention to occupy the convention but will find it surrounded by heavily armed Blackwater Security teams. The DNC will say that hiring Blackwater was consistent with the Occupy Wall Street “buy local” theme.

    Without a clear winner during the primaries the Republican delegates will go to their convention listening carefully to the national polls that a “generic” Republican candidate will defeat Barack. A large pod will be brought to the podium the night that the delegates vote, it will open, and a generic Republican will form. It will win the nomination. When asked what the generic Republican nominee’s name is, a high-ranking RNC official will only say that it will be named “at the appropriate time, probably after the election, but before the inauguration.” Democrats will rail against the generic Republican candidate, accusing him of being racist and homophobic.

    When asked his position on Afghanistan, the generic Republican will say, “Check the Gallup poll. Whatever it says, that is my sentiment exactly.” Asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement, he’ll say that the “hygiene gap” concerns him.

    Angela Merkel will be asked how long she expects that Germany will dominate Europe. “Oh, I don’t know. A thousand years, probably.”

  19. Geez, this is a quiet New Year’s Eve. Not a single firecracker or gun has been sounded yet. Usually, there is activity from sunset on. Couldn’t be due to the glare ice all over town.

    I am frantically printing my 2012 calendar. Normally, I do them a year in advance, but I went to the folder and found I never did 2012. Yikes.

    Somebody pointed this out to me (wasn’t here, was it?)

    Thought I was back in a non-English speaking country. The sign is in San Fran. Well, maybe that is non-English speaking territory?

  20. I’ve always thought Hillary was kinda cute, and she’d make a hell of a better president than the incumbent.

  21. Greg, that’s the kind of thing you should keep to yourself, because now we think you’re a bit madder than we previously thought you were. 😀

  22. Though I agree about the president bit, but Bob’s new puppy would be, too.

  23. >>Imogene Coca? “It’s about time, it’s about space, about two men in the strangest place…”? <<

    49 minutes into the new year, and you had to do this to me. I will NEVER forgive you.

  24. If they’d waited just a couple years they could have walked the streets in Hashbury and no one would have noticed anything odd.

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