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« Police Inquiry report available here | Main | Auckland better than Sydney? »

Comments

fugley

interesting post, andrei.

You seem to be anti British schools for their failure to teach history, yet you are also supportive of American schools that do not want to teach science.

peter

Surely they could be teaching what happened in most cases.

In the case of the Holocaust, it was the GERMANS at the time, not Muslims that committed the genocide. It was not just the Jewish, but other groups like Gypsies, Gays and handicapped that were purged. Germans may feel alienated.

The abolition of African slavery in the USA was mainly attributable to war within the USA, as far as I can detect.

I always thought Crusade teaching was taught from heroic English perspective. While interpreting the Middle East is always challenging, saying what happened in a balanced way should be possible.

I would say teachers of today in NZ are far more open about political hot potatoes than they were in say 60s and 70s.

Also the young of today in NZ are more accustomed to multicultural diversity - they can handle it!

andrei

Dear Fugley;

Nobody wants American schools not to teach science.

What people want is science not to be taught as holy writ which can provide the answers to everything (which can not).

You are of course refering to Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection, a theory proposed in his book "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life".

A book I have read incidently, have you?

And Darwin's theory does have limited applicability but does not come anywhere near to explaining the origin or meaning of life.

Those who you excoriate as "fundies" realize this and want the failings and limitations of this theory included as part of the curricular and posit, as I do, that there more to the universe we inhabit than science can ever hope resolve.

You see Fugley we want to teach more not less and in a way that teaches children to think for themselves about the deeper questions of life.

peter

I think Fugley may agree with you Andrei when you say:

"... we want to teach more not less and in a way that teaches children to think for themselves about the deeper questions of life"

This has been my quibble.

Who defines the deeper questions of life? Who claims to have the answers?

The key words are to have children thinking FOR THEMSELVES. They see through sham better than we think.

At school it is a chance to get to know themselves too. Leave religious indoctrination out of schools.

Hmmm ... does religious indoctrination really belong anywhere. I don't think so. Good point. Ha ha ha.

roger roger

And Darwin's theory does have limited applicability but does not come anywhere near to explaining the origin or meaning of life.

Actually, Darwin does not claim to explain the origin of life, but rather of the species. And the question of the meaning of life also falls outside biology's purview.

I think you're doing a disservice to conflate these important but distinct questions.

roger roger

... my point being of course that questions of where the universe comes from and what the meaning of life is are religious or metaphysical matters that do not belong in the science classroom.

david winter

Andrei,

What people want is science not to be taught as holy writ which can provide the answers to everything (which can not).

What? When is science ever taught like that? I don't think there is class time set aside for instilling world views (in state schools anyway).


You are of course refering [sic] to Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection, a theory proposed in his book "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life".

Nope, I reckon that Fugely was talking about evolutionary theory. The combined work of thousands of scientists over the almost 150 years since Darwin published the Origin which includes, but is not limited to, insights from classical biologists, geneticists, ecologists, genome biologists, geologists and biogeographers. Characterising it as Darwin's theory is a little lame really. (BTW If you included the full name of Darwin's most famous publication as an attempt to paint him as racist then you're reading of it must have missed what he meant by race)

What's more strange to me is the idea that the 'failings and limitations of this theory' ought to be taught. What are these failings and limitations? If it's you can't explain the origin of life then you'll be pleased to know that that's not part of evolutionary biology so we can all move on

peasant

[Please excuse lengthy comment]
Does anyone care about theistic evolution ?

Polarising rhetoric [atheistic scientism vs fundamentalist dogma] confronts young people with a terrible, unnecessary dilemma. But God is the author of ALL truth; in the laboratory & the cathedral. In the Bible & the genome. He did it all.

Theistic Evolution (TE) is quite plausible, for these reasons:
a) big bang theory (attested by cosmic background radiation, red shifts etc) implies an uncaused First Cause (God)
b) it is a poor interpreter that reads Genesis 1 as a literal science text. The text is ancient history, poetry & mythical symbolism.
c) TE is the Catholic Church's position on the question of origins
d) TE acknowledges the unseen hand of an invisible, transcendent Creator throughout history
e) TE implies that God sustains Creation by his Word, including physical laws.
f) humanity's part in evolution, and God's patience in developing the species, shows that our material existence is of great value, and our sojourn on Earth is part of the grand design.

Many Bible verses are supportive of Science and open debate: Proverbs 25:2, Ecclesiastes 3, Isaiah 45:18, Romans 1:19, Acts 15:6-7a, Acts 17:11 I don't take the Bible as a science text. Genesis 1 tells us that the sun and moon and stars were not created until the 4th day. In a void universe with no sun, moon, and stars...what is a day? If you read Genesis 1 in the light of logic and the *context* of scientific knowledge, it must be figurative!

John 1 says the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus also came to set people free from the shackles of the Law and promised the life of the Spirit. Thus I believe that the sum of revealed truth is far greater than ink on paper -- it's a vital relationship with the Living God, and living in harmony with the tangible, material creation, which God has blessed and said 'it is very good'.

Galileo said:
"I do not think it is necessary to believe that the same God who has given us our senses, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means the information that we could gain through them."
Augustine said:
"Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an unbeliever to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics [science & nature] ; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn."

PS: this does not mean I reject ID -- but it's a very new movement, and needs a greater body of work to give it some momentum. In the meantime, I think the TE position is quite plausible and consistent. More compelling evidence of Design is icing on the cake.

peter

Peasant

I thought that David Winter highlighted nicely the danger of quoting Darwin when we have had 150 years of evolution of his theory since his day.

In which case, why quote Galileo and even Augustine? Surely the same problems arise - they knew only what they knew.
Galileo in particular contributed to the development of science but so much has happened since.

Psycho Milt

When I was a kid, they taught the origins of WW2 in history. These days of course, WW2 consists almost entirely of the Holocaust, so people get hot under the collar if schools don't bother with it. But the holocaust isn't something you even want to consider looking at without already having done the background reading, so bringing it up with schoolkids who haven't even done your basic AJP Taylor is pointless. Similar objections apply to the Crusades. If some right-wingers feel kids should be getting exposed to political indoctrination in schools, they can feel free to make the case. Uphill struggle though, I'd say.

andrei

What people want is science not to be taught as holy writ which can provide the answers to everything (which can not).

What? When is science ever taught like that? I don't think there is class time set aside for instilling world views (in state schools anyway).

Two words

Global Warming

peter

Psycho Milt says:

"When I was a kid, they taught the origins of WW2 in history. These days of course, WW2 consists almost entirely of the Holocaust, so people get hot under the collar if schools don't bother with it."

Psycho Milt is completely incorrect.

In Year 11, the typical history student will learn origins of First AND Second World Wars. All tying in with League of Nations, United Nations, treaties signed, treaties broken. The leaders of various relevant countries incluing UK, France, Germany and Italy would all be covered.

Psycho Milt is unnecessarily and unfairly smearing the professionalism of social studies teachers throughout New Zealand.

towaka

Peasant,
The trouble with your comments about the book of Genesis being mythical symbolism etc is that Jesus seemed to have a literal interpretation of the events described in this book.

peasant

Was Jesus teaching science? Or was he teaching parables on how people should live ???

fugley

peasant, you seem to be fianlly getting it.

This is exactly why religion, be it TE, ID, Hinduvarta etc has no place in the science class.

towaka

Peasant,
My reading of the gospels is that Jesus considered the book of Genesis as a historically accurate document.

Nothing to do with science or parables to live by.

Peter

Towaka

I agree with you .. it does appear that Jesus thought the Old Testament was the "gospel truth".

Living at the time he did in the society he lived in .. he knew no better.

Equally, he would probably turn in his grave if he knew some of the published information about himself was being treated as if it were true.

Lucyna

Jesus doesn't have a grave, Peter. You know, the whole Resurrection thing that you're about to celebrate via the upcoming public holidays?

peasant

fugley,
Your perception of biblical scholarship is sophomoric.
Do you propose that there are only two options?

  • unquestioning literalism, revering the Bible as though it's practically an incarnation of God, or
  • total cynicism, musty old stories, for private devotion only, no applicability to real life
You are arguing against strawmen: sensationalised caricatures of the diverse, global, vibrant, and scholarly Christian approaches to philosophy, science, and biblical theology

As someone wrote on my blog:
Do some study of Hebrew poetry structure. It's really interesting and will give you insight into the depth,intricacy and life of much of the Bible.

You may also want to look at the distinct differences between Genesis 1 and 2. If they are literal accounts of creation, which one is correct.... since they are different. Genesis 2 says it was all created in one day... if we understand "yom" to mean a literal day.

Stop looking at western scientists and their understanding of scripture and start looking at millenia old eastern hebrew understandings of scripture (since that's what they were intended for). I think you will find that evolution vs creation is not actually an issue and nor is it the intent of the passages.

peasant

Oops, not arguing with fugley this time.. more towaka & pete :ob

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