Next on the conservative agenda: Intelligent Poverty


8 comments posted
i agree that conseratives

i agree that conseratives can be a little over zealous. if i were them, it seems like it would just be much easier to put kids in a private school and have them learn what is felt to be appropriate rather than to complain about it. i dont necessarily believe that not completely buying evolution means you cant be a good engineer or a good doctor as there is more to science than evolutionary vs. intelligent design theory. there are plenty of smart religious people who just draw the line on that issue. pinpointing americas education woes is a difficult task. i think you'll find plenty of children in the states without any religous affiliation whatsoever doing poorly in school.

Stan's picture
Posted by Stan (not verified) on 29 October 2005 - 2:00pm
You're conflating different issues

And applying flawed logic. Nobody is saying that everyone does poorly in school because of intelligent design.

But "drawing the line" as you say is not a scientific act, but an act against reason, an act against science. There is no scientific basis for intelligent design. It's a statement of faith, of dogma, and if one holds up dogma above the scientific method, then one is not valuing science. Science doesn't apply only when it doesn't make you feel uncomfortable.

The problem we have now is that, since they cannot win a scientific argument, the intelligent design dogmatists are trying to force the fantasy into the classroom, trumping science with politics and religion. And the Bush Administration has been scuttling science that reveals the harm his policies do to the environment. And the folks in favor of criminalizing abortion and birth control make wild unscientific claims about conception to push policy through.

And we are not served by it.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 October 2005 - 2:52pm
mg, i think you're the one conflating here

Stan's point (I think) is that, while ID isn't really appropriate public school material, there's no evidence that it's a contributing cause to our engineer shortage, or to the fact that our students don't do as well in math. Your connection between the two is total reaching, unsupported by data. Now if you could dig up some numbers on math grades of kids who believe in creationism/ID vs. kids who don't, controlling for other factors (income, etc) that'd be interesting.

Based on my own experience, there's two main problems: 1) US parents want their kids to do well in school generally, but they don't understand the importance of math specifically. In my immigrant family, it was always clear that math grades were the most important, and even an A- in math wasn't good enough, while a B in english or history was no big deal. In our area, Russian parents were so annoyed that the math in schools was too easy, that now we have several "Russian math schools" where parents send their kids after school to do higher-level math. 2) Engineering/math/science degrees require far more work than most others, and yet they're not always correspondingly rewarded in the workplace. Why spend your undergrad years working your ass off in the lab when you can major in econ, make (relatively) easy A's and go work for an i-bank for way more money? Even engineers who do end up finishing their degrees often move into management or consulting as soon as they can because that's where the money is.

Leslie's picture
Posted by Leslie (not verified) on 29 October 2005 - 4:39pm
You're fantasizing, but I agree with you

The fantasy part (maybe that's a harsh word) is suggesting that I'm arguing that ID is the cause of the despicable state our education system is in. If you can find anywhere in my post that says that, please point it out. What I'm saying is that here we are in an education crisis, and the right wing is saying the real problem is that kids need to learn that God or aliens or the flying spaghetti monster created life -- as if that had anything to do with the price of tea in China.

I feel the problem with education goes deeper than simply our education system, which is messed up enough as it is, but the general anti-intellectual side of our culture. Interesting how it's immigrant families who appreciate and value education. Meanwhile we have a president who was popular for not thinking things through, not reflecting on anything -- and that's just in politics.

The failures in our schools happen way way before college. I don't have the stats handy, but in 4th grade our kids test in the top of the world. By 8th grade our kids are something like 17th. By 11th grade, they're around 28th. College has become the remedial school, where you finally learn what you should've learned in high school, or even middle school, sometimes elementary school. I didn't go to college yesterday, and I had to learn how to write in college. I had to learn how to do homework in college. I had to learn how to do labs in college.

College is supposed to be a place where students learn how to think, learn how to reason critically, learn how to learn, and instead it's become this place where adults learn what they should have learned as kids, but didn't. Why? Blame it on unions, blame it on standardized tests required by the government, blame it on bad teachers, blame it on bad administrations, blame it on too many regulations. I've experienced most of those, and had the rest told me by friends who tried teaching and quit out of disgust with the system.

My point is that we're facing some serious shit out there -- you know, the whole "world is flat" stuff -- and the last thing we need to do is start bringing Sunday school into public school and teaching kids that science is just a liberal conspiracy against Jeebus.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 October 2005 - 9:54pm
Intelligent Poverty

Does Media Girl remember Reagan's Reign of Terror? When this blogger's student loans were cut off, the course of his life changed. I managed to finish, despite his best efforts to keep me uneducated. Let's not forget: Reagan attended college on a football scholarship; a jock. Also, don't forget that the Democrats controlled Congress at that time. A pox on both your houses.


yogakorunta's picture
Posted by yogakorunta on 29 October 2005 - 4:58pm
Actually, I do

I had the pleasure of having my student loans cut. Only a lucky inheritance saved me -- and don't think I'm not aware of how privileged I was to have money for college.

That time was the early rise of the DLC-type of philosophy for Democrats: Be just like Republicans, only less so. A real winner approach, isn't it? Since that time I've been registered independent. I don't have a house.

Where I grew up, it started before Reagan.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 October 2005 - 10:00pm
Accept the advances but negate the science

I agree with Media Girl. Faith doctorine has no place in a biology, physics, or any science classroom -- philosophy, yes, but what HS teaches philosopy?

Creationism has never lead to any advancement in technology. Yet Darwin's theory of evolution directly lead to many of the medical advancements creationism proponents demand in their health care today. They only way creationist can prove their dogma is by dumbing down the education for those of all faiths via our public education system.

Belief means you believe no matter what logic dictates and that goes against the very definition of science.

Robin Lee's picture
Posted by Robin Lee on 29 October 2005 - 5:59pm
Incompetent Design

The cause of the decline in science scores of students is not specifically because of ID, but promoting an unscientific view of our origins through peer presure does not help our educational system and specifically science. I've watched the Ken Hovind tapes. It's amazing how people can throw reason away when someone mentions Darwin. The people in the audience are sheep that just want a quick religious 'fix'. But these are the same people that are on the PTAs and school boards and VOTE. The real problem is these people DON'T want to learn science. They enjoy their ignorance and are content in their happy place. And the IDers know this. That is why they want to get ID in schools and reinforce this ignorance on their kids. A crack is better when it happens from the inside because you don't really see it coming, and then, usually it's too late. But luckily, there are ways of testing for those internal cracks, especially in science standards. Arguing that IDers are being persecuted because they have radical scientific ideas, does not prove ID. When IDers present defendable scientific peer-reviewed works then they will be taken serriously. Until then, its just a quick religious 'fix'.

vgerdj's picture
Posted by vgerdj (not verified) on 31 October 2005 - 11:12am