Of Communism and Cancer
As I was telling tmehlinger and thekuffs after the massforge meeting today, American education tends to seek self-justification. As recently as a decade ago, I read an anecdote wherein a renowned university professor of economics in the USA was asked by a medical school professor: "Are you still teaching communism in your economics college?" He replied, "Why, yes - just as I expect you are still teaching cancer in that medical school of yours."
Concerning Flying Spaghetti Monsters
If you haven't heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, here is the home page. As the Wikipedia explains, "Flying Spaghetti Monsterism (FSM) is a satirical parody religion created to protest the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to allow intelligent design to be taught in science classes alongside evolution." In an open letter dated June, 2005, Bobby Henderson submitted an open letter to the Kansas Board of Education that begins:
I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.
Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.
You wouldn't think that I only just looked it up, despite hearing of it from jereeza and many others, and despite living in Kansas, but that's the way it goes.
Further Reflections on the Culture of Evolution and Creationism
As you probably know, I am theistic, but think the idea that a particular creation account should be laid out alongside the prevailing scientific theory of the day as an alternative theory to be foot-eating bureacracy of the most extreme order.
Here's my entry from 06 Nov 2004 when Kathy Martin, a proponent of the theory of intelligent design, has declared opposition to the teaching of the theory of evolution in KS schools. On Monday, 18 Oct 2004, Kathy Martin spoke on our campus, and on Tuesday, 02 Nov 2004, she was elected to the Kansas State Board of Education, District 6, having run unopposed.
On the State of Education: Learned Helplessness
Here, for your perusal and review, is my entry from 06 Jun 2005, just after CIS 736 (Computer Graphics) and CIS 830 (Advanced Topics in Artificial Intelligence) in the spring, and just after the start of CIS 690 (Data Mining in Bioinformatics). I had posed the admittedly leading question:
Is it just me, or is there a backlash in North American education against historical and cultural awareness, being well-read, and generally being thoughtful and reflective?
The resultant thread, currently at 113 posts, covered a gamut of topics ranging from textbook quality to anti-intellectualism in American culture. Bones were picked, axes were ground, and I am still somewhat puzzled. Your input and opinions are always welcome.
On the State of Education: Dumbing Down
While were rehashing old posts, here's an oldie from 11 Nov 2004, wherein I lament the sad state of childrens' television and rant against the Boohbahs and Teletubbies. YMMV - flame away, or don't, I just want to start people thinking a little, insofar as I can.
1 Of course, Gond and I also bandy about theories such as the one that makes Mary Poppins a registered Companion, so don't take us too seriously. ;-)