Author Topic: Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!  (Read 1036 times)

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Offline xphobe

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Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!
« on: October 06, 2008, 06:18:17 PM »
From today’s Austin Statesman.  This will raise your blood pressure.

Quote
COMMENTARY

Glanzer & Null: Don't automatically defer to biologists when it comes to the curriculum

Perry Glanzer and Wesley Null, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Monday, October 06, 2008

When it comes to teaching about biology and religion, Dan Quinn, spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network, recently claimed, "It's time for the State Board of Education to listen to experts instead of promoting their own personal and political agendas." Of course, this means that the State Board of Education should stop listening to the Texas Freedom Network, which clearly has its own political and ideological agenda.

If Quinn is right, however, to whom should the board turn for expertise? Some state biologists claim they know the most about this interdisciplinary relationship, but they are wrong. Why should we trust biologists over religion professors, curriculum professors and others who spend their lives studying and teaching these subjects? We can think of many good reasons not to trust biologists on matters of religion and curriculum. A recent statement by a biologist affiliated with the 21st Century Science Coalition highlights a problem with listening to "experts" who are out of their specialized field. Speaking of the relationship between religion and curriculum, that biologist said, "It's time to keep religion and faith in the Sunday schools and not in the public schools." That position is a view that many legal, religious and educational experts outright reject.

Even the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, "It might well be said that one's education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization." Furthermore, many educational groups — including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development — issued statements acknowledging that "schools demonstrate fairness when they ensure that the curriculum includes study about religion, where appropriate, as an important part of a complete education."

Of course, most biologists with the 21st Century Science Coalition, excluding the one quoted above, might agree with these statements. What they probably reject is the inclusion of discussions about religion in biology texts and classes. As that biologist claimed, "We shouldn't be teaching the supernatural in science classrooms." Setting aside the false assertion that religion is nothing but the "supernatural," biologists still, however, have not established a persuasive educational argument as to why religion should be banned from discussions of science.

"The problem of religion and science cuts much deeper than the (often superficial) debate about evolution," said Warren A. Nord, a University of North Carolina philosopher and author of "Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum."

Nord added, "Indeed, the nature of this relationship has been one of the major intellectual problems of the modern world, and a vast literature of works by scientists, theologians and philosophers addresses it — though the national science standards and science textbooks all but completely ignore it."

Perhaps when it comes to discussing the relationship between biology and religion, we need a referee from another discipline. In this case, we are more apt to trust philosophers than biologists who are unfamiliar with the history and philosophy of science.

Many questions remain unanswered by the biologists who seem most interested in trying to control curriculum. Why do biologists assume they are experts in curriculum when they are not? Why are biologists afraid to broach the exciting intellectual problems surrounding the relationship between faith and science? Why not discuss the history of biology as a discipline and how the field's approach to this problem has evolved over time? Why not discuss with students why biologists tend to operate within a naturalistic framework, including the benefits and limitations of the framework?

Until these questions are addressed persuasively by biologists, state leaders need to look to a broad range of university specialists to find the leadership necessary to provide a well-rounded, liberating education to all Texas students.

Glanzer is a professor in the School of Education and the Institute for Church and State at Baylor University. Null is a professor of curriculum and foundations of education.


No big surprise that Glanzer and Null are intellectually dishonest liars.  Here (as far as I can tell) is the original TFN article they quote, though it was TFN president Kathy Miller, not Dan Quinn, who said it.

http://www.tfn.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5453

Note that it is about high school science classes, not about "teaching about science and religion" as Glanzer and Null contend.  There's a world of difference! 

Nowhere is the TFN telling high schools that they can't teach a "study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization." 
 
Presumably if the question were "Should Astrology be taught in science class?"  Glanzer and Null would answer "Ask an Astrologer because he's the expert."

And will someone please explain how it is a false assertion that religion is nothing but the "supernatural"?  If it is more than that, then what is it?

"It's a mad house.  A mad house."  - Charlton Heston's character, in Planet of the Apes.
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline PingTheServer

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Re: Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2008, 06:53:51 PM »
Christian fundamentalists that want tax dollars spent on teaching their faith are spitting in the faces of our founding fathers that stressed the very separation.

Science, though it can be wrong - it self corrects, is based on observable facts.  Faith, is based on stories that are believed to be true...with no evidence.  Faith is not comparable to science in any way as far as learning goes.  I'll grant that it is important in many people's lives...but it is important for the family and/or community to undertake that teaching.  If we say it is ok to accept the Christian creationist story as FACT...or even an alternative, then what other myths are we willing to allow as FACT?

Offline jetson

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Re: Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2008, 06:01:52 AM »
...then what other myths are we willing to allow as FACT?

Isn't it obvious -  only the "correct" myths!

Offline Davedave

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Re: Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2008, 12:07:54 PM »
Anyone fighting these nutwings?  If so, xphobe, post it up here and link to it in the Five Dollar Club, please.

Offline xphobe

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Re: Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2008, 12:29:48 PM »
Anyone fighting these nutwings?  If so, xphobe, post it up here and link to it in the Five Dollar Club, please.

Good idea.  That would be the Texas Freedom Network.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=381.msg33867#msg33867

http://www.tfn.org
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Offline Davedave

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Re: Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2008, 12:40:54 PM »
Let's try to make things easy.

To submit your Five Dollar Club letter and donation, you can utilize the following address:

Texas Freedom Network
P.O. Box 1624
Austin, TX 78767


Offline xphobe

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Re: Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2008, 01:17:06 PM »
^ good.  I tend to forget people still use snail mail :)
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline Cycle4Fun

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Re: Science curriculum? Whatever you do, don't ask a Scientist!
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2008, 02:48:04 PM »
sent
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