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Teach Your Children Well


 

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We need scientifically literate children? But that would make us a pack of socialists, ya know, effete snobs and global warming alarmists! Al Gore acolytes!

The scientific education of children is an essential for true freedom.

Over 30 years ago an article was written which included the following: "By a recent estimate, nearly half the bills before the U.S. Congress have a substantial science-technology component and some two-thirds of the District of Columbia Circuit Court's case load now involves review of action by federal administrative agencies; and more and more of such cases relate to matters on the frontiers of technology. If the layman cannot participate in decision making, he will have to turn himself over, essentially blind, to a hermetic elite. ... [The fundamental question becomes] are we still capable of self-government and therefore freedom? Margaret Mead wrote in a 1959 issue of Daedalus about scientists elevated to the status of priests. Now there is a name for this elevation, when you are in the hands of—one hopes—a benevolent elite, when you have no control over your political decisions. From the point of view of John Locke, the name for this is slavery."

'Where is Science Taking Us? Gerald Holton Maps the Possible Routes',

Sounds nice, but how can anyone expect these adults to allow their kids to be taught stuff that they think are lies?

Furthermore, adults are fucking everything up right now. Now also matters.

but how can anyone expect these adults to allow their kids to be taught stuff that they think are lies?

Well it usually works out just fine when the parents aren't being actively organized to focus on and oppose the teaching of science.

So the real question is, how do you reduce the influence of Religion and right wing media?

In other words, how do we run a negative campaign on them that uses the obvious truth of global warming or viral outbreaks or other scientific realities to discredit the magical thinking perspective.

ugh, what is it with my morbid curiosity and always reading youtube comments?

Good luck to Bill Nye! While I agree with him that evolution must be taught to understand out world, and hope upon hope that the anti-evolution crowd dissipates in a few centuries, I'm skeptical.

He says that not believing in evolution makes one's world complex. Well, nit for religious fundamentalists: God did it all, and he ("He") is the one to whom we all answer come judgement day. The Institute for Creation Research is somewhat masterful in taking science and spinning into dogma. The scientists definitely sound science-y, and if you've pooh-poohed science as less than faith, then everything they say sounds great to you.

Since I've had 2 debates with a relative and a friend of a friend regarding religion vs. reason, it confirms what others who do so often encounter: the more facts presented, the more fundamentalists tend to dig in their heels and say that it doesn't matter; science/reason doesn't answer all questions, and that god set everything in motion. I was cordial, and it was sometimes tough to be with the ridiculous arguments (and "research" presented, in the case of that silly theory evolution), but I pretty much knew that I wouldn't convince the creationists. I wanted 1. for them to realize they could be in this debate and it could be civil, and 2. for correct information to be out there for anyone on the fence (children, friends who support the fundies but aren't sure what the other side is, etc.). Thus I have to agree with Andyo's question

how can anyone expect these adults to allow their kids to be taught stuff that they think are lies?

As to what to do about the present, I'm at a small loss. Protests and dissemination of quality information have been broken up and/or ignored, so these things have had marginal effect. Some kind of return to the Age of Reason has to happen soon, and in a big way, with more repetition than the lies that are so easily accepted are repeated.

"Some kind of return to the Age of Reason has to happen soon," This statement needs qualification, particularly as 1gm is read and contributed to by many outside of the USA. The Age of Reason hasn't gone away in almost all of the civilised world. OK, I accept that a good proportion of the citizens of your wonderful country (and I mean that) are uncertain about much of the world outside their borders, but they had better watch out - In 2003, a survey on public scientific literacy showed how prevalent the theory of evolution (was) in China: 71.8% of the Chinese public recognized "Human beings are evolved from early animal." http://blog.eteacherchinese.com/uncategorized/theory-of-evolution-in-china/ China is not only bigger and more scientifically literate but is getting richer. When all these things come together the 'sleeping giant' really will be on the move.

China's got more on the U.S. than a broad-base understanding of science; they also have lots of our $. Our idiocy in economics and science will let them stride by us in the near future.

Not that I'm all about being a super-power, but I'd like to see more intellectual exchanges within our borders. I've been abroad and while belief in evolution is higher in most European countries, there are plenty of fundies to the east - including, unfortunately, England.

There are many people on this earth who are reasonable and logical. They often don't have money or power, so they are not heard as often. Makes me glad I don't have a digital tv antenna; there's less to ignore.

Protests and dissemination of quality information have been broken up and/or ignored, so these things have had marginal effect.
I don't think it's dissemination of quality information itself, it's the ability (or lack thereof) of someone to discern between it and the garbage. It's always been like this though, and I'm not sure that it's worse now than before. Sagan wrote about it in (IIRC) The Demon Haunted World, his famous "baloney detection kit" (as if he really wanted to say "baloney").

I think it's not that people need to know a lot of science, just the basic stuff, but more importantly, how and why it works.

Just the other day I was talking with a friend who has a 5-year-old. She was telling be about this Italian doctor who figured out all cancer is caused by a fungus, but the pharmaceuticals are suppressing his findings. When I told her then millions of scientists and doctors in the world have to be in on the conspiracy, she just said "well, the governments are also in on it". Luckily I think she'd hadn't heard of the antivaxers yet, especially when the kid was younger.

Well, any individual is only really thoughtful about a limited number of things. I think its more that people accept what they think of as consensus opinion on a great number of things they don't think much about themselves, so if your community is science minded educated types you generally accept the educated Scientific explanation, If you live in a community of religious conservatives that watch fox news, the consensus is the non scientific garbage that gets passed around. To get people to change their minds, you have to address the consensus and not just argue with one person, whom is thinking it is true because they assume there are thousands of more thoughtful experts that share their view.

it's the ability (or lack thereof) of someone to discern between it and the garbage.

We had lessons in snake oil in grade school. That's not what it was called, but everyone in class have to find misleading advertisements, which usually included fine print. This was a great first lesson in not accepting anything or everything as face value. I feel fortunate to have gone to public schools where we debated in Engliosh and history classes, talked about reliable sources - and different types of sources - for research papers, and teachers who didn't [have to] accept bullshit (work or 'tude] from students. Best I can tell, this kind of education is lacking or not supported very much any more.

To be fair, there's this lovely Churchill quip:

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

When I looked it up for accuracy, above it was this from Twain:

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

Back to you:

I think it's not that people need to know a lot of science, just the basic stuff, but more importantly, how and why it works.

Agreed.

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