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JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 01:17 AM
<font color=red>I have edited this message to identify the factual errors and misleading arguments in it which have come to my attention since I wrote it, and many of which are explained in the following thread. The text of the message remains unchanged. The items italicized in square brackets were added.</font>

Sit down before you read this.

In Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, a public school science teacher has been showing the infamous Fox program to hundreds of 12-year-old students. Only he has omitted all of NASA's responses, so he's showing only the hoax arguments.

[N.B. - This is misleading. He has shown the Fox program in its entirety, including the responses by NASA spokesmen and other experts. The program allegedly omitted is a separate program entirely. JayUtah 5/10]

Why has he done this? In order to teach students "critical thinking" skills. But not in the way you think. He's not showing the video in hopes that they'll think critically about it and discover all the flaws in it. No. He expects them to take it at face value and "critically" question NASA's story of the events. The teacher claims he is teaching kids to question what they see and hear.

[N.B. - This is factually incorrect. Mr. Weiss intended all along to show the Fox program as something that critical thinking would properly dismiss. JayUtah 5/10]

Predictably, children are going home telling their parents they learned in school that NASA hoaxed the moon landings. There is no discussion before or after the presentation. The children are simply shown the persuasive video -- shorn of all its mitigating statements -- and expected to believe this constitutes a valid challenge to the "traditional" interpretation of science and history.

Yes, this is really happening.

The local school officials seem reluctant to put a stop to this, or acknowledge that it may be harmful in any way. I suggest we help them change their minds.

The teacher in question is

Mr. Paul Weiss
Woodcliff Middle School
134 Woodcliff Avenue
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07675
(201) 930-4840

The principal of the school is

Mrs. Lauren Barbelet
(same address and telephone as above)

The president of the local Parent-Faculty Association is

Mrs. Donna C Abene
124 Woodcliff Ave.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677

The district superintendent is

Mr. Edward Michaelson
Dorchester School
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677
(201) 391-6570

The New Jersey Commissioner of Education is

Dr. William L. Librera
100 River View Executive Plaza
CN 500
Trenton, NJ 08625
(609) 292-4450

I urge you to voice your concerns.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JayUtah on 2002-05-10 14:05 ]</font>

AstroMike
2002-Apr-30, 02:24 AM
I just sat down, and I must say that's pretty terrible. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif Subjecting hundreds of 12-year-old students to the absolute bullcrap of the Fox program, but omitting the parts where NASA addressed the arguments? That's horrible. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cry.gif

Maybe we should get Phil or you Jay to go that school. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Lisa
2002-Apr-30, 03:36 AM
Okay I plan on firing off a few letters. But seriously, do you think it will do any good? Maybe I'm just having a knee-jerk reaction, but what's the chance this "science" teacher has some sort of axe to grind?
Lisa

JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 03:48 AM
According to my source -- a correspondent in the city who has a student in the school -- this teacher has gone from school to school presenting this program. The principal is aware, the local PFA is aware, but choose to do nothing. They have essentially ignored the concerns of parents.

One rogue teacher is bad enough, but the school leaders seem to be completely indifferent to the degree of damage this could cause. This extends to hundreds of students. Mr. Weiss shows no sign of stopping. He's a science teacher; he should know better. He's supposed to be the person who shows the students how to detect this crap.

FYI
2002-Apr-30, 04:08 AM
Are you afraid if the children don't hear NASA's explanations they might think what they are seeing was faked? Haven't their history books pumped enough crap into their brains to make them incaple of thinking for themselves yet? Are you afraid the teacher is trying to undo the brain numbing effects caused by believing american history as it's written?

Seems to me, if you really believed the moon landings happened, you wouldn't care how the teacher conducts the class, because the evidence would stand on it's own merits.

The moon landing evidence can't stand on it's own merits. It needs spokesmen like you to prop it up and discourage people from questioning it. The moon landing evidence needs whole groups of defenders like you now. It used to be that one or two Jay Utahs were enough.

It won't be all that much longer until everyone realizes that NASA told a little moon lie (maybe not so little). What will all of you do then?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: FYI on 2002-04-30 00:09 ]</font>

infocusinc
2002-Apr-30, 04:44 AM
If the students and the teachers in their schools spend the time to work through all the Fox crap and at least study the record of the Apollo missions then maybe something will be gained. But if the intention of the school system is to let them do it an their own its a shame. I cant believe that sensationalisim like the Fox special is treated like an alternative "truth". If they want to present both sides and have the kids do some experiments and learn some of the science behind the Apollo missions it could have some value. Someting simple like the shadows is a perfect example. At least for me, thats what studing Apollo has provided. I never thought it was a fake. I believed history. But by being exposed to the hoax claims I have learned a bunch of very interesting stuff and wandered through history in a much deeper way than when it was happening for real.

That being said, if this school system stops at just playing that damned video, their behavior is almost criminal.

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Apr-30, 04:51 AM
On 2002-04-30 00:08, FYI wrote:
Seems to me, if you really believed the moon landings happened, you wouldn't care how the teacher conducts the class, because the evidence would stand on it's own merits.


That is a false assetion. The problems with the Fox show were legion, and have been shown in detail on my site and on others. Yet the show was slickly packaged and told the story in such a way as to fool people. I have received hundreds and even thousands of emails from people who swallowed what that show said until they saw my site.

In science, evidence sometimes does stand on its own. When debating pseudoscience, it rarely does. Liars can be glib, and they can be convincing. But they're still liars, and need to be fought.

jrkeller
2002-Apr-30, 05:04 AM
I think everyone should care how any teacher conducts themselves in front of class, whether it is a kindergarten class or a college level coarse. Teachers shouldn't be allowed to just spew out their personal beliefs, let alone out right lies. At what point do you draw the line? Slavery never happened, the Holocast never happened, the world is flat, or Christanity is the only relgiion. To adequately disprove the moon landings, this teacher would need to be an expert in several disciplines, like rocket engine design, photography and physics.

In the case of these 12 year old students. Do you really think that they have the knowledge to determine what they are told is right or wrong? Rocket engine design and analysis requires years of college level courses and even more years of practical experience. How could they make an informed decision about a blast crater.

Do you want to know why people like us despise the the moon hoax myth, it is because people like Bill Kaysing, Percy, and the like, don't even a grasp of basic scientific or engineering principles, let alone any research skills. For example, one promoted moon hoax theory is that the Lunar Rover could not fit into the Lunar Module, so obviously, the moon landings never occurred. Maybe if these folks had even bothered to look at a few films and photographs, they could see that the Lunar Rover folds up. Anyone with Internet access, can find this information is less than five minutes. That's just poor research.

I will NEVER believe the moon hoax myth until the following three questions can be answered.

1) How could thousands of people keep quite for over 30 years?

2) Why hasn't the geological community with its thousands of people ever said that the moon rocks were fakes? If anything these people have clearly stated that the moon rocks are real. I can't even recall one geologist who has said the rocks were fakes.

3) Many nations, both friendly and unfriendly towards the US, tracked Apollo to the moon. No one from these countries or the leaders of these countries have ever said anything different.

Space Bandito
2002-Apr-30, 05:16 AM
Makes me wonder how common this is.

When i was in grade school (6th or 7th grade), my biology teacher was a die-hard creationist. Fourtanly nobody paid much attention to old "Thunderbutt."

JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 06:42 AM
Are you afraid if the children don't hear NASA's explanations they might think what they are seeing was faked?

No, I'm worried that children who grow up thinking that well-documented occurrences can be legitimately questioned by those with ulterior motives on the basis of ignorant and illogical arguments, may fail to recognize the next Hitler for what he is until people have died.

Critical thinking is not merely the questioning of traditional ideas. It is the assertion of logical rigor over an argument.

Are you afraid the teacher is trying to undo the brain numbing effects caused by believing american history as it's written?

The truth is the truth, whether you find it brain-numbing or not. Fantasy is fantasy, whether you find it exciting or not.

Seems to me, if you really believed the moon landings happened, you wouldn't care how the teacher conducts the class, because the evidence would stand on it's own merits.

Not when the deck is stacked as it has been. We're talking about impressionable youngsters whose school science teacher presents them with slick and flashy presentations that appear to present a scientific case. In fact, those arguments can be -- and have been -- carefully examined and found to be entirely bogus. But the average 12-year-old won't know that, and is predisposed by the context to believe what he is shown.

The moon landing evidence can't stand on it's own merits.

I disagree. I believe it is the moon hoax arguments that can't stand up. And you will find here many people willing to discuss the merits of both.

It needs spokesmen like you to prop it up and discourage people from questioning it.

Questioning anything on the basis of selective evidence, flawed logic, and wrong science is not a useful exercise. Spokesmen like me are required to expose the selectivity and misrepresentation of the hoax beliefs. Those are generally not self-evident because their proponents go to great lengths to keep them hidden.

Kaptain K
2002-Apr-30, 01:00 PM
Are you afraid if the children don't hear NASA's explanations they might think what they are seeing was faked? Haven't their history books pumped enough crap into their brains to make them incapable of thinking for themselves yet?

The moon landing evidence can't stand on it's own merits

It won't be all that much longer until everyone realizes that NASA told a little moon lie (maybe not so little).
Typical HB rhetoric. Long on vague assertions and innuendo. Short on hard evidence.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Apr-30, 01:01 PM
On 2002-04-30 02:42, JayUtah wrote:
fail to recognize the next Hitler for what he is until people have died.

Traditionally, that should be the last post, but I already composed this one. Sorry about that.



On 2002-04-30 00:08, FYI wrote:
Seems to me, if you really believed the moon landings happened, you wouldn't care how the teacher conducts the class, because the evidence would stand on it's own merits.

Did the teacher really excise parts of the video, the responses of NASA? Shouldn't you be asking the same question then, of that teacher? Why doesn't the hoax evidence stand on its own?

Conrad
2002-Apr-30, 01:03 PM
Well, I guess all us non-US citizens should give Mr Weiss a big vote of thanks for sabotaging the American education system.

In twenty years time those 12 year olds will be running the country - probably not very well.

<removes tongue from cheek>
The only good thing about this is that there may well be a response to Mr Weiss that sees him off, off into the far distance.

ToSeek
2002-Apr-30, 01:25 PM
On 2002-04-30 01:04, jrkeller wrote:
I think everyone should care how any teacher conducts themselves in front of class, whether it is a kindergarten class or a college level coarse. Teachers shouldn't be allowed to just spew out their personal beliefs, let alone out right lies. At what point do you draw the line? Slavery never happened, the Holocast never happened, the world is flat, or Christanity is the only relgiion.


I don't know; I've been told that we have an Afrocentrist history teacher at our local high school. (Afrocentrists believe that all of the great ideas attributed to the Greeks were actually stolen from black Africans.)

jrkeller
2002-Apr-30, 01:27 PM
To FYI:

If you don't like my posting, I'll offer you an alternative. Give me the strongest evidence as to why you feel the moon landings are a hoax. I'll even help you, avoid topics related to heat transfer and fluid mechanics.

TTFN

The Incubus
2002-Apr-30, 01:44 PM
On 2002-04-30 09:03, Conrad wrote:
Well, I guess all us non-US citizens should give Mr Weiss a big vote of thanks for sabotaging the American education system.

In twenty years time those 12 year olds will be running the country - probably not very well.



and hopefully, I'll be living in Germany at the time.

JayUtah: Maybe you should get that 13 year old you met to go to that school for a day =-)
The Incubus

Karamoon
2002-Apr-30, 02:16 PM
I would simply ask Jay to ensure that he has all of the facts before he sends in a lynch mob to pummel and discredit Mr. Weiss.

Who is this so-called informant? Did he write to you personally or contact you through your web site?

How can you be 100% sure that this "informant" doesn't hold a grudge against Mr. Weiss, or that he is grossly exaggerating?

How can we be sure that Mr. Weiss has indeed edited out all of the NASA responses, as claimed?

I find it hard to believe that if this were as blatant a propaganda stunt as you claim then none of the other teachers immediately around Mr. Weiss would object more strongly.

I say these questions need to be answered first before people start sending mail to the principal, to the president of the local Parent-Faculty Association, to the District Superintendent, and to the Commissioner of Education.

Remember, a persons livelihood is at stake here, so you must ensure that you have all of the facts.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Karamoon on 2002-04-30 21:49 ]</font>

JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 02:25 PM
Traditionally, that should be the last post, but I already composed this one. Sorry about that.

Perhaps invoking Hitler is over the top, but there's a point to it. People were horn-swoggled into accepting Hitler's conspiracy theory, and then acting on it. The methods he used to convince people were not terribly different from what hoax believers are using today. We owe it to our children and to the world at large to show them how such invalid modes of reasoning can be recognized.

It's not an issue of whether the moon hoax theory will result in another genocide. It's an issue of correctly teaching critical thinking to children so that they grow up not just questioning what they see and hear, but questioning it for the right reasons and according to defensible lines of reasoning. Critical thinking is not just shaking up the Establishment because someone thinks it needs it.

Did the teacher really excise parts of the video, the responses of NASA?

My corresponded has seen the video that was shown to the students and reports that the NASA response was excised. I can't give any details about what exact parts were missing and what were included.

In a perverse sense the hoax evidence must stand on its own, because anyone with much knowledge acquired externally (i.e., in college or on the job) can see right through it. The hoax "evidence" is only plausible if the hoax author is able to start with a "clean slate" reader and establish his own version of history, rocket science, photography, and so forth. Luckily for hoax believers, not a lot of people know about rocket science, or the details of photography. In general they don't need or want to know. But it gives the hoax author the opportunity to say, "Photography works like this. Apollo produced something different, therefore Apollo is wrong," when in fact photography doesn't work as claimed.

odysseus0101
2002-Apr-30, 03:13 PM
(Afrocentrists believe that all of the great ideas attributed to the Greeks were actually stolen from black Africans.)


I once ran across one of these people - he claimed that Plato got most of his ideas from reading the scrolls in the library at Alexandria, which of course was not built until well after Plato's death.

On a similar topic- A few days ago I attended a very interesting lecture that provided excellent literary and archeological evidence for the claim that the Romans did not, in fact, simply appropriate Greek gods, as has long been the usual claim. Interesting stuff.

JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 03:23 PM
I would simply ask Jay to ensure that he has all of the facts before he sends in a lynch mob to pummel and discredit Mr. Weiss.

You don't know what information I do have. Yet you immediately insinuate that I am underinformed, and proceed to rebuke me for it. Physician, heal thyself.

I happen to have a half-inch-thick stack of correspondence between various parties to this incident dating back to October of 2001, when the video was first shown to students.

I have reported the facts as I have been made aware of them. I have stated generally how I acquired those facts. I have provided the contact information for the parties involved in case people wish to voice displeasure, or verify the facts, or even to offer praise and support for Mr. Weiss. What you do with the contact information is your choice.

Who is this so-called informant?

I did not call her an "informant". I called her a "correspondent". This is not cloak-and-dagger politics. This is the citizens of the United States exercising their civic duty to regulate their system of public education.

The principal correspondent is the parent of one of the affected students. I mentioned this in my second post to this thread.

The stack of correspondence I received includes letters from other parents, members of local civic groups, various other school officials who have participated in this issue, and Mrs. Abene.

Did he right to you personally or contact you through your web site?

Neither. A mutual friend sent it to me with the permission of the original correspondent. My involvement was not solicited by the original correspondent, but our friend's was.

How can you be 100% sure that this "informant" doesn't hold a grudge against Mr. Weiss, or that he is grossly exaggerating?

Because although there is one principal correspondent, there are other concerned parties who have also seen Mr. Weiss' video and who object to it, and whose statements I have in writing. The school officials don't dispute the particulars of what is happening, merely how they should respond to it.

How can we be sure that Mr. Weiss has indeed edited out all of the NASA responses, as claimed?

You can contact Mr. Weiss and ask him to send you a copy of the video he uses. For now I'm relying on the testimony of the people who have seen Mr. Weiss' version of the video, and who say they have obtained the definitive version of the video from its producers for comparison.

As I said, I am unable to specifically describe what parts, if any, were removed.

I find it hard to believe that if this were as blatant a propaganda stunt as you claim then none of the other teachers immediately around Mr. Weiss would object more strongly.

Since you live in the U.K. and have never been to the United States I presume you do not have any first hand experience with U.S. schools. I fail to see how your objection has basis in anything other than your standard intuition that you would have done it differently.

American teachers generally do not question the actions of other teachers, especially at the primary level. There is little advantage and much risk to "making waves" with one's peer employees. There is little incentive to stick one's nose into the business of another teacher. Most teachers feel that if a fellow teacher needs discipline, that's the job of the school board and the principal.

I say these questions need to be answered first

As I said, you may use the contact information I provided in any way you see fit.

I do not yet have permission to publish the names and contact information for my correspondents, which were given to me privately. The information above is publicly available.

Remember, a persons livelihood is at stake here, so you must ensure that you have all of the facts.

You don't seem very concerned with the livelihoods and reputations of the people you second-guess in your rush to discredit Apollo. You don't seem to have a problem rebuking me without knowing what research I've already done. Why the sudden interest in protecting reputations?

Really, Karamoon, you are your own worst enemy.

2002-Apr-30, 04:43 PM
<a name="20020430.8:19"> page 20020430.8:19 aka "Enforced" Stupidity
On 2002-04-29 21:17, JayUtah wrote: To: 8:20 A.M. PST
1:Well?
2:{believe what you like}
3:the made for prime time nightly
4:THAT I SAW
5:it was a Force F5 tornado
6:and it was in Maryland Not New Jersey
7:but thats in the Pacific Time Zone
8:Made for Prime time : not EDT!
Yes, this is really happening.
10 anyway
1:heres my version
2: sure i have an aversion
3: to going to a University Campus
4: when so much money
5: these days
6: Go for .. {Um?}
7: yeah I watch the Education of Mac's
8: its on in this time Zone at 8PM on sunday
9: I think "Dryfus" is on NBC but it might be CBS
20
1: i don't pay much attention, actually
2: but i do tune the University in
3: thought i dont recall the name of the
4: Girls school..
5:
6:
7:
8:
9:
30 reguardless I did go to PSU
1: i call it Police State University
2: bot the P really stands for Portland
http://www.pp.pdx.edu/AUX/CSO/calendars.html
4: theres the calendar schedule
5: So I went on Saturday
6: and I noticed that there was
7: a Site listed that
8: might have had some computer
9: information
40
1: So after passing thru sever layers
2: of security situations Yeahit takes TIME
3: i finally was shown to a room that had
4: a multiple outlet power cord and 1
5: magizine. there was one class in on another
6: floor.. other than that my guess was it was
7:and empty building.. NOW my point {maybe}
8:[INLINE] [14]Something rotten in the Garden State 19 JayUtah
9:2002-04-30 11:23 by JayUtah this had already 19 entries by NOW

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Apr-30, 05:00 PM
Jay-- please drop me an email at badastro@badastronomy.com. If you can, please give me a number where I can call you. I want to talk to you about this and see what I can do to help.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Apr-30, 05:14 PM
On 2002-04-30 10:25, JayUtah wrote:
Perhaps invoking Hitler is over the top, but there's a point to it.

That's what they all say.


People were horn-swoggled into accepting Hitler's conspiracy theory, and then acting on it. The methods he used to convince people were not terribly different from what hoax believers are using today.

Do you mean words?

We ain't see a beer hall putsch in a long time.


We owe it to our children and to the world at large to show them how such invalid modes of reasoning can be recognized.

I agree with that. And I think the doomsday stuff is invalid.

<font size=-1>[Fixed quote]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-04-30 13:15 ]</font>

JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 05:29 PM
I don't know; I've been told that we have an Afrocentrist history teacher at our local high school.

The state where I live was founded by a religious group (the Mormons) and still largely controlled by it, leading to strong feeings on both sides. There is one version of the state's history taught by the Mormons, and another version taught by the history professors at the rabidly liberal university up the hill from my house. And ne'er the twain shall meet.

Of course you have much more leeway at the college level. College attendance isn't compulsory, and young Utahns can choose either the liberal state-run university near my house, or the conserivative Mormon-run university just to the south.

The high school level is a gray area. Attendance is compelled, to a point, but there are alternatives of private and home schools. Since those are beyond the resources of most people, the public school curriculum should reflect prevailing understanding and not present fringe beliefs uncritically.

But at this stage of development students are not as bashful about challenging ideas. I took my high school English literature teacher to task for having staged Shakespeare's Macbeth improperly in our classroom. I was clearly right, and eventually proved it. It may have been a ruse to get me to do the research on my own -- she was a sneaky teacher -- but it worked. I called her on it, we talked about it, and I passed the class.

So maybe someone will challenge Afrocentrism and maybe they won't. It's a gray area. But a better example is the theory of evolution. Public school biology teachers should earn combat pay, in my opinion. There's simply no way to win that battle.

But we're talking about 12-year-olds. These are people who generally don't debate the teacher in class. They are not generally exposed to the intricacies of controversial alternatives. Most of them haven't even studied algebra yet, much less any of the physical sciences. And of course none of them remembers the moon landings first hand.

This is what upsets me. I would be less concerned if the Fox program were shown to high school students, and not concerned at all if it were shown to college students. But these 12-year-olds is going home and telling their parents they learned in school that science had shown the moon landings can't have happened.

Mr. Weiss stands up in front of the students and says things like, "Now kids, this evidence shows you must always question what you see and hear." No young child in that context is going to make the didactic leap and think, "Hm, maybe that program he just showed us is what I'm supposed to be questioning."

Some high schooler might say, "Now wait a minute, you're saying the Greeks just got everything from the Africans? That doesn't make sense." And a debate might ensue, or it might not. But at least the other students will know there's another way of looking at it.

I believe what Mr. Weiss is doing is no different than passing out the Weekly World Tabloid and telling his students all that stuff was absolutely true.

Karamoon
2002-Apr-30, 05:40 PM
Karamoon: I would simply ask Jay to ensure that he has all of the facts before he sends in a lynch mob to pummel and discredit Mr. Weiss.

Jay: You don't know what information I do have. Yet you immediately insinuate that I am underinformed, and proceed to rebuke me for it. {snip} I have stated generally how I acquired those facts.

Precisely, you have stated generally, then you have directed others to take a course of action that may be unwarranted. I have merely asked you to ensure that you know the facts of the case before serious action of this type is taken.

Jay: I have provided the contact information for the parties involved in case people wish to voice displeasure, or verify the facts, or even to offer praise and support for Mr. Weiss.

You have indeed provided contact information, but I would recommend that you first correspond with Mr. Weiss directly for clarification or conformation of his actions. If he confirms your worst fears then -- and only then -- would I consider sending irate letters of complaint to higher authorities.

Jay, I am not looking to score points with this. I am simply concerned that something may transpire here that is unjust and uncalled for. You say the Principle of the school is fully aware of the lesson yet chooses to do nothing about it. Similarly, the school district has decided that no further action is needed either. Well, call me stupid, but this suggests to me that something has been exaggerated or perhaps misinterpreted. I can't help but wonder if the original corespondent is someone who works in the aerospace industry or is someone who is simply angered at the subject Mr. Weiss has chosen to discuss. Then, upon being told that the chosen topic is to stay, he/she has set about gaining further support. I can easily be mistaken but either way I would want to talk with Mr. Weiss first. Yet you have come in here and have directed others -- having told them first to sit down [presumably to take a deep breath before they fall over through sheer anger] -- to join the crusade.

Am I really being unreasonable in suggesting that you talk directly with Mr. Weiss first?

Karamoon: I find it hard to believe that if this were as blatant a propaganda stunt as you claim then none of the other teachers immediately around Mr. Weiss would object more strongly.

Jay: Since you live in the U.K. and have never been to the United States I presume you do not have any first hand experience with U.S. schools. I fail to see how your objection has basis in anything other than your standard intuition that you would have done it differently.

My objection is that teachers are generally knowledgeable and reasonable people. It is not uncommon to hear of teachers overstepping their boundary, but it is uncommon to find a case where other teachers, school principle, and school board know something is very wrong yet chose not to lift a finger to stop it.

American teachers generally do not question the actions of other teachers, especially at the primary level. There is little advantage and much risk to "making waves" with one's peer employees.

Are you saying that American schools have no fail-safe mechanism in place?

Karamoon: Remember, a persons livelihood is at stake here, so you must ensure that you have all of the facts.

Jay: You don't seem very concerned with the livelihoods and reputations of the people you second-guess in your rush to discredit Apollo.

My believe isn't likely to get anyone sacked, and my believe stems from government wrongdoing and secrecy. They should set an honest standard. When they lie or deceive the people then the people become suspicious. You say this is irrelevant and doesn't prove that Apollo was falsified, and you are correct, but it is totally relevant as to why I think the way I do.

Jay: Really, Karamoon, you are your own worst enemy.

No, that would be our governments. They shattered my faith long ago (1963, to be exact).

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Apr-30, 05:57 PM
On 2002-04-30 13:40, Karamoon wrote:
Am I really being unreasonable in suggesting that you talk directly with Mr. Weiss first?

I find remarkably little information about this on the web or usenet, or even about Woodcliff Middle School. Anybody have any help? Has it made the news at all?

JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 06:51 PM
I agree with that. And I think the doomsday stuff is invalid.

Okay, fair enough.

I'm trying to draw a parallel between patterns of thought without necessarily confounding it with outcome. Admittedly that's a perilous proposition under the best of circumstances. But it is the pattern of thought which I wish to examine, not whether a moon landing hoax theory will lead to genocide. Clearly some ideas have limitations on their outcomes. Mein Kampf ended in genocide, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Dark Moon must also end in genocide. It's likely to engender little more than mild amusement. But that's not the point.

The point is that if we don't habitually challenge bad arguments when they arise, we won't be inclined or equipped to do so when bad arguments come along that have greater potential to harm. If we lull ourselves into complacency over the "mild" issues, we accustom ourselves to a sloppy and incorrect mode of thinking that will fail us when more is on the line.

I can easily forego Hitler. I'm not trying to bring down the conspiracy theory by associating it with a notorious figure. The lesson is not so much that Hitler was a madman and a murderer, but that an entire nation was convinced of his ideas and agreed largely with his methods. To those of us who aren't German and didn't live through World War II, that's an amazing proposition. I cannot accept as an axiom that the German people were unintelligent. I must conclude that the rhetoric of the Nazi party -- however false -- must have been very persuasive.

Okay, some people in Germany did realize it, did fight against it so long as they were able, and did flee the country. Let's leave the Nazis alone.

But even now in America we are faced with propositions that must be analyzed critically: continued support for Israel, sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, the erosion of civil rights in order to combat terrorism, the ethics of stem cell research. Historically we have had mighty propositions such as the death penalty and abortion.

All these issues require critical thought to decode the rhetoric that comes from both sides. And they have outcomes serious enough to warrant careful consideration. If you ask someone to make a voter's decision on stem cell research, would you want that person's opinion to have been heavily influenced by unchallenged assertions that were scientifically wrong? Would you want that person to have little training and experience in how to identify and challenge a bad argument?

I don't object to there being two or more sides to any debate. I object to impressionable people being taught at an early age some very strange and indefensible notions regarding the evaluation of arguments and evidence. Critical thinking is not just the wanton interrogation of The Establishment. It is the identification of flaws in an argument, according to good methods of data collection and examination, and sound principles of logic. The Fox program is an example of neither. It is, in fact, an effective counter example. But that's not how Mr. Weiss is using it.

CJSF
2002-Apr-30, 07:26 PM
The lesson is not so much that Hitler was a madman and a murderer, but that an entire nation was convinced of his ideas and agreed largely with his methods. To those of us who aren't German and didn't live through World War II, that's an amazing proposition. I cannot accept as an axiom that the German people were unintelligent. I must conclude that the rhetoric of the Nazi party -- however false -- must have been very persuasive.


Actually, research by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen and others has shown that Hitler only succeeded because there was a precondition that allowed him to succeed. The German populace at the time was already largely anti-semitic, if not in practice, then in philosophy. There were CENTURIES of buried scape-goating of the Jews. In fact, it was a general undercurrent in most of Europe at the time. Hitler was a charismatic leader whose arguments, while persuasive, did not CAUSE Germans to become willing sponsors and active participants in genocide. They were not brainwashed.

In any event, lets keep the focus of this on some REALLY BAD astronomy.

CJSF

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Apr-30, 08:19 PM
On 2002-04-30 14:51, JayUtah wrote:
The point is that if we don't habitually challenge bad arguments when they arise, we won't be inclined or equipped to do so when bad arguments come along that have greater potential to harm.

I would say that is what I am doing by objecting to your parallels with Hitler.

And Christopher Ferro's point just emphasizes that we can come to some startling conclusions if we don't understand the situation. It was not necessarily the case that people were convinced by rhetoric--they may be acting out of preconceived notions of their own. It's important to recognize that.

Kaptain K
2002-Apr-30, 08:33 PM
My objection is that teachers are generally knowledgeable and reasonable people.
Maybe where you are. In this country (USA) teachers are not required to have any knowledge of the subject they are teaching. Thus you wind up with football coaches teaching history and English majors teaching physics, while a Ph.D. chemist is not "qualified" to teach chemistry due to lack of "proper" credentials.
Although it was over 30 years ago, I still remember a high school chemistry teacher telling us that halogens were elements that formed diatomic molecules and were gaseous at room temperature, thereby including hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen, but excluding bromine (liquid), iodine and astatine (solids)!

_________________
When all is said and done - sit down and shut up!

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JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 10:12 PM
I have merely asked you to ensure that you know the facts of the case before serious action of this type is taken.

No. Before knowing anything about what I knew, you concluded I was doing the wrong thing. Then you had the temerity to criticize me for acting prior to discovery. I find this somewhat hypocritical.

If he confirms your worst fears then -- and only then -- would I consider sending irate letters of complaint to higher authorities.

If you wish to do that, I suggest you do it. I, on the other hand, have the written testimony of others who have already done that, from both sides of the issue. There appears to be little question and little dispute over what was actually done.

Jay, I am not looking to score points with this. I am simply concerned that something may transpire here that is unjust and uncalled for.

I understand your concern. It is not my intention to send Mr. Weiss packing. In fact, my letter to him offers my help in providing lesson plans already successfully used by other schools, and which could be adapted for his younger students, to more appropriately discuss the Fox program in the context of a critical thinking exercise. You seem to believe I hate him personally. I do not. It appears he has exercised poor judgment, and I simply want to correct the situation.

I have clearly stated in my letters to the various parties that my information is second hand and may be incorrect, and that my objection is provisional.

We can write all the letters we want. The decision to whether to discipline Mr. Weiss is entirely out of our hands and will at all times remain with local authorities, as it should be. You seem to think that I'm going to get someone fired simply by expressing my concern and encouraging others to do the same.

You say the Principle of the school is fully aware of the lesson yet chooses to do nothing about it. Similarly, the school district has decided that no further action is needed either. Well, call me stupid, but this suggests to me that something has been exaggerated or perhaps misinterpreted.

I will not call you stupid, but I will point out that my information says the principle of the school and the superintendent of the district are both new to their posts, having served only a few months before this incident occurred.

You presume that the school officials' inaction is due to a careful consideration on their part and a resulting conclusion that no action needs to be taken. Because I have more facts at hand, I believe the inaction is due to inexperience and uncertainty about how to proceed. It is now April 2002 and the school officials are still giving concerned parents the "run-around", all the while Mr. Weiss continues showing his program. This is not appropriate behavior for public officials.

To Mr. Weiss and the principal of the school I have recommended educational programs at my disposal to present a more balanced and critical view of the issue. To the superintendent I have suggested that he act to expedite a balanced presentation before the students graduate in a month or so. To the commissioner I have simply informed him of the incident and urged him to investigate it.

At no time have I demanded, or even suggested that Mr. Weiss lose his job. As you will no doubt see upon referring to my original post, I object to the inaction from the school officials.

Am I really being unreasonable in suggesting that you talk directly with Mr. Weiss first?

You're being unreasonable in passing judgment on my actions without knowing what those actions are or on what basis I decided to so act. You immediately leap to the conclusion that I'm trying to crucify someone on the basis of little or no information.

My objection is that teachers are generally knowledgeable and reasonable people.

... in your expert, first-hand opinion from long experience with American teachers? American public school teachers are very poorly compensated. People with greater knowledge and skill generally find better work elsewhere.

The incompetence of teachers in the U.S. school system has, unfortunately, been a cause for grave concern in the past decade or so. There are many states considering more stringent qualifying standards. This is not to say that all U.S. primary school teachers are idiots. But there is no justification for a presumption that they are highly qualified and conscientious.

Are you saying that American schools have no fail-safe mechanism in place?

No, I am not. I am saying that American public school teachers do not habitually undermine their peers. They generally believe wayward teachers should be disciplined by their superiors, not their peers.

In this case the superiors are new and inexperienced.

My believe isn't likely to get anyone sacked

So it's okay to attack someone's reputation on flimsy and conjectural evidence, so long as they don't get sacked?

You plan to argue that large numbers of American workers and government officials conspired to falsify important events in history and defraud the U.S. taxpayers, solely on the basis of your relatively inexperienced evaluation of engineering development. You don't see anything wrong with this?

As a matter of fact, I have not recommended that anyone be sacked.

my believe stems from government wrongdoing and secrecy.

No, your belief stems from your other beliefs regarding wrongdoing and secrecy and the evaluation of those according to your personal ethical standard. It's the same old, "I would have done it differently" argument. So in other words, as long as you believe you're doing the right thing, you ought not be held responsible for the outcome.

JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 10:15 PM
I would say that is what I am doing by objecting to your parallels with Hitler.

Okay, fair enough.

JayUtah
2002-Apr-30, 10:30 PM
Maybe where you are. In this country (USA) teachers are not required to have any knowledge of the subject they are teaching. Thus you wind up with football coaches teaching history and English majors teaching physics

All that's required in the U.S. is a "teaching certificate", which is a certification that you know how to write a lesson plan, how to grade papers, etc. There is generally no certification in the subjects being taught.

The point about football coaches is especially salient. I grew up in the Midwest were football is the second largest organized religion. (Southern Baptists were the first.) So of course the school football coaches were chosen for their ability to coach football, not for any ability in any other area. But by law the coach has to be "chosen from the faculty," therefore the coach must have a faculty position, whether he's competent to teach that material or not.

Same with all the other sports.

Now most times they can find a class the guy can teach, Typing 101 or something. But you sometimes have guys teaching English who can barely form a coherent sentence, just because they're short an English teacher and this guy is a whiz on the gridiron.

Now suppose a parent calls up and says, "Hey, my son learned something wacky in Coach Snyder's English class." Do you think the principal is going to march down the hall to Snyder's room and pound on the desk of his star coach?

But even in the common case, there's absolutely no guarantee that the high school physics teacher has any more experience than Physics 101 at Bogus State University.

Frankly, U.S. teachers have a very hard job. They get paid next to nothing. They get poor, outdated equipment and up to 45 students or more in each class. To expect them to go around policing other teachers is a bit idealistic.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-May-01, 01:45 PM
On 2002-04-30 11:23, JayUtah wrote:
How can we be sure that Mr. Weiss has indeed edited out all of the NASA responses, as claimed?

You can contact Mr. Weiss and ask him to send you a copy of the video he uses. For now I'm relying on the testimony of the people who have seen Mr. Weiss' version of the video, and who say they have obtained the definitive version of the video from its producers for comparison.

As I said, I am unable to specifically describe what parts, if any, were removed.

I myself have not had a chance to see the video, but the BA discussed it here (http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html), and he said "The last thing the writers of this program want the viewers to do is make an informed decision. If they did, they would have given equal time to both sides of this controversy. Instead, the vast majority of the time is given to the HBs, with only scattered (and very vague) dismissive statements by skeptics. So the available information is really only what they tell you."

The BA doesn't mention NASA responses in the Fox video, so I'm not sure that there even were any. Perhaps Paul Weiss showed the entire video, but did not include other material with NASA rebuttals. That seems like a more sensible approach, especially for a teacher trying to teach critical thinking. Also, it would be a bit time consuming, and not very productive, to edit out "vague dismissive statements."

The reason I keep coming back to this is, without the purported editting by the teacher, the incident seems to be a lot more benign. I'm betting that the teacher would be overjoyed to welcome the BA into the discussion.

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Karamoon
2002-May-01, 03:19 PM
Karamoon: I have merely asked you to ensure that you know the facts of the case before serious action of this type is taken.

Jay: No. Before knowing anything about what I knew, you concluded I was doing the wrong thing. Then you had the temerity to criticize me for acting prior to discovery. I find this somewhat hypocritical.

My initial posting to this thread bears witness to my intent. You admittedly came in here dealing in generalities, yet you clearly directed others to convey their outrage and mail letters of stern complaint to governing authorities. I subsequently expressed concern considering your less then thorough demonstration yet you decided to take an offensive stance in dealing with my worry. You could have just as easily responded to my concern by quashing my fears and by elaborating further, instead you chose a road of confrontation.

At ease, Soldier!

Karamoon: If he confirms your worst fears then -- and only then -- would I consider sending irate letters of complaint to higher authorities.

Jay: If you wish to do that, I suggest you do it.

It is not about me, it is about you and the information/direction you initially relayed to others. You normally don't have any problem in confronting those people who are at the fore of this debate, yet in this case you seem somewhat unwilling to contact Paul Weiss himself. Why the sudden reluctance?

Karamoon: I am not looking to score points with this. I am simply concerned that something may transpire here that is unjust and uncalled for.

Jay: I understand your concern. It is not my intention to send Mr. Weiss packing. In fact, my letter to him offers my help in providing lesson plans already successfully used by other schools, and which could be adapted for his younger students, to more appropriately discuss the Fox program in the context of a critical thinking exercise. {snip} It appears he has exercised poor judgment, and I simply want to correct the situation.

Then why, before you receive reaction from Mr. Weiss, have you also directed others -- who are less informed than yourself -- to go above his head? Why not wait to see the results of your own rectification?

Jay: I have clearly stated in my letters to the various parties that my information is second hand and may be incorrect, and that my objection is provisional.

Even more reason to have a one-on-one with the accussed.

Jay: You seem to think that I'm going to get someone fired simply by expressing my concern and encouraging others to do the same.

Yes, I think precisely that. I have learnt from personal experience that you know how to project yourself and your belief, and I believe the voice of others here, in conjunction with your own, can carry significant weight.

Case in point.

Conrad wrote: The only good thing about this is that there may well be a response to Mr Weiss that sees him off, off into the far distance.

Jay: I will point out that my information says the principle of the school and the superintendent of the district are both new to their posts, having served only a few months before this incident occurred.

If you are encouraging others to express disapproval I think you should have pointed things like this out to them before.

Jay: You presume that the school officials' inaction is due to a careful consideration on their part and a resulting conclusion that no action needs to be taken.

Well, naturally. As I said a moment ago you had a choice (where applicable) to elaborate further for those of us who were not as well informed as yourself -- which is just about everybody. Instead you opened the door to further criticism and resistance.

Jay: At no time have I demanded, or even suggested that Mr. Weiss lose his job.

But in light of Conrads post I would suggest a little more consideration in future. Reactions such as this were inevitable.

Karamoon: Am I really being unreasonable in suggesting that you talk directly with Mr. Weiss first?

Jay: You're being unreasonable in passing judgment on my actions without knowing what those actions are or on what basis I decided to so act. You immediately leap to the conclusion that I'm trying to crucify someone on the basis of little or no information.

Well, I felt that your initial posting left a lot to be desired and in light of the seriousness of the charges, and bearing in mind the possibility of malicious intent (not necessarily from people here but from those demanding action), I simply thought further consideration was in order.

You say that I was passing judgment, but I don't see it like that. Granted, I thought you mention the word "informant" here or over at ApolloHoax.com, but I was mistaken. If that gave you the impression that I was looking to pass judgment then I apologise. I did not mean to come over that way, at all.

Karamoon: My objection is that teachers are generally knowledgeable and reasonable people.

Jay: ... in your expert, first-hand opinion from long experience with American teachers?

No, I am talking generally. I thought teachers are held to the same high standards the world over -- and most certainly in developed countries.

Jay: American public school teachers are very poorly compensated. People with greater knowledge and skill generally find better work elsewhere.

This genuinely surprises me.

Karamoon: My believe isn't likely to get anyone sacked

Jay: So it's okay to attack someone's reputation on flimsy and conjectural evidence, so long as they don't get sacked?

I do not feel that everything I have to offer is conjecture. In my opinion NASA must have written the most supreme handbook on research and development, yet then proceeded to throw it away with the trash! That or all is not what it appears. I will expand on this in my long, long, long, overdue reply to you elsewhere (re: Anyway ...).

Jay: You plan to argue that large numbers of American workers and government officials conspired to falsify important events in history and defraud the U.S. taxpayers, solely on the basis of your relatively inexperienced evaluation of engineering development.

Not solely on that basis, no. I plan to argue that such important work can not be carried out effectively under the spotlight and media glare, to a deadline, and under other such similar constraints.

Really, I think we should continue this elsewhere.

Karamoon: my believe stems from government wrongdoing and secrecy.

Jay: No, your belief stems from your other beliefs regarding wrongdoing and secrecy ...

My "other" beliefs?

Jay: It's the same old, "I would have done it differently" argument. So in other words, as long as you believe you're doing the right thing, you ought not be held responsible for the outcome.

I am just being honest. I have no faith in government. They have long since destroyed it. When they so please, they lie and manipulate the populace at every level. This I can certainly prove. Should I not be held responsible if my suspicions (regarding Apollo) and fears turn out to be misplaced? I don't know. Perhaps I should just button my mouth and keep quiet, but I find that so very hard to do.

DaveC
2002-May-01, 07:15 PM
An interesting discussion that comes to the core of the educational system in North America. When the posturing and rhetoric is cut away the question is simply "Are there any circumstances under which the educational system should allow itself to knowingly teach impressionable children falsehoods?"

I'm fully with Jay on this and if it were happening in my community I'd be going ballistic. (I just put that word in to keep my post on topic). It's not clear what Karamoon has experienced in life to stoke the cynical fires that burn so strongly, but I could speculate that it's very similar to the nonsense that this Weiss guy is feeding to kids. He's teaching them that a well documented historical event is a hoax - basically leading them to conclude that their government repeatedly lies to them for no good reason - a conclusion that Karamoon has reached and that (he says) can be proven. But it is clear from Karamoon's posts with respect to Apollo that his position on that has nothing to do with evidence and everything to do with an unshakable belief that all governments are corrupt in all respects. This opinion was, according to him, formed in 1963 by...????

Maybe in 1963 Karamoon was one of those impressionable preteens who got pushed into being cynical under the guise of critical thinking?? Just a thought.

JayUtah
2002-May-02, 01:38 AM
My initial posting to this thread bears witness to my intent.

Yes. You assumed I wanted Mr. Weiss fired. You were wrong. You assumed I didn't have much information on what had happened. You were wrong. You insinuated I was organizing a lynch mob for Mr. Weiss. I can forgive that easily. What's harder to forgive is your pontification, that I was acting without a full possession of the relevant fact, when I felt it was you who were acting prematurely.

yet in this case you seem somewhat unwilling to contact Paul Weiss himself. Why the sudden reluctance?

Let me guess: You would have done it differently. I have chosen a method of discussing this with Mr. Weiss that is likely to minimize the potential for contention. How I deal with Mr. Weiss is my business. How you deal with him is yours.

Conrad wrote: The only good thing about this is that there may well be a response to Mr Weiss that sees him off, off into the far distance.

If you have a problem with Mr. Conrad's proposed action, I suggest you take up the matter with Mr. Conrad.

If that gave you the impression that I was looking to pass judgment then I apologise.

You indeed gave me that impression, but I accept your apology.

I thought teachers are held to the same high standards the world over -- and most certainly in developed countries.

I cannot speak for teachers elsewhere in the world, but your description does not generally apply to American teachers. Teacher expertise and subject certification is an acknowledged problem in American education.

This genuinely surprises me.

I'm sorry to hear that. In any of my areas of professional certification I can make three to four times as much money in the private sector as I can teaching in public schools.

I do not feel that everything I have to offer is conjecture. In my opinion ...

But by your own admission you don't have sufficient education or experience in the relevant fields. If your opinion differs from that of known experts, then parsimony suggests the difference is best explained by your relative lack of understanding.

I plan to argue that such important work can not be carried out effectively under the spotlight and media glare, to a deadline, and under other such similar constraints.

Media attention, schedule deadlines, budget constraints, accidents, and technological shortfalls are commonly occurring factors in engineering.

Really, I think we should continue this elsewhere.

Why? It seems people here are quite willing to discuss such matters.

My "other" beliefs?

You question the reputation of men generally believed to be honorable. You claim this is justified because government is malfeasant. I am reminding you that it is merely your belief that government is malfeasant, and that specific belief may not be widely held or regarded as defensible. It is an important distinction.

I have no faith in government. They have long since destroyed it.

And this is doubtless the motive for your attack on Apollo. Your pattern of investigation presumes there is malfeasance and you simply have to locate it. A more prudent course of inquiry is to look for signs of malfeasance and not assert its presence until you have such evidence and considered it appropriately. You have formulated and abandoned several arguments, all with the common theme that Apollo was falsified. This is a sufficiently odd pattern of inquiry to warrant suspicion of your motives.

When they so please, they lie and manipulate the populace at every level. This I can certainly prove.

Whether they do so at "every level" is irrelevant to whether Apollo was falsified. If Apollo was falsified, that conclusion is independent of whatever else the government may have falsified or may have genuinely and forthrightly accomplished. Therefore to invoke one's general distrust of government, or to cite examples of government malfeasance in other venues, is insufficient. Characteristics of a specific item are not generally proven by the characteristics of the group. This is a well known fallacy and a common trap for the novice.

Perhaps I should just button my mouth and keep quiet, but I find that so very hard to do.

I do not believe you should button your mouth and keep quiet. But if you plan to level allegations of fraud and misconduct, it is essential that you do so with proper evidence and defensible lines of reasoning. If the evidence involves highly specialized bodies of knowledge, then you must acquire the expertise necessary to properly report and evaluate it. If the evidence is your opinion, you must show that your opinion is most likely to be fact.

Failing this does not remove your right to speak, but it does make it less likely that your point of view will be taken seriously.

JayUtah
2002-May-02, 01:55 AM
When the posturing and rhetoric is cut away the question is simply "Are there any circumstances under which the educational system should allow itself to knowingly teach impressionable children falsehoods?"

Oh, it's a much larger can of worms than that.

Should we teach them falshoods without telling them they're falsehoods? No.

Should we teach younger children simplified versions of complicated issues? Yes. Does that constitute teaching of falsehoods? Debatable.

Public school curricula are mandated by the government, which is in turn controlled by the will of the people. In a situation where popular belief says one thing, but prevailing science says another, should public schools teach the will of the people or the tenet of science? Debatable.

This last point is especially acute where I live, where the state legislature and school boards are dominated by members of the majority (Mormon) religion.

Determining the source of Karamoon's bias is fruitless. We would better concentrate on its effects upon his interpretation of history.

Conrad
2002-May-02, 09:27 AM
Oho!
So I'm being quoted by Karamoon - boffo! I would say that being "seen off" is quite mild actually, Kara old chum: you might have a better call if I'd used the words "flayed", "roasting spit" or "osmium tetroxide", but I didn't because we English are just *so* polite.
<removes tongue from cheek>

My wife is a teacher of science in a primary school here in the NW of England, and if she presented as one-sided a lecture as Mr Weiss, she would be in serious trouble. She has been known to bring Star Trek into the classroom to generate interest in the children (aged 7 - /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cool.gif but she doesn't say "Wow! Look at all this really cool technology that we have *right now*!"

To quote another poster's sig: "be very, very careful about what you put into that head ..."

Gosh. I've been all serious. Better go and read an HB site.

DaveC
2002-May-02, 04:32 PM
On 2002-05-01 21:55, JayUtah wrote:

Public school curricula are mandated by the government, which is in turn controlled by the will of the people. In a situation where popular belief says one thing, but prevailing science says another, should public schools teach the will of the people or the tenet of science? Debatable.



OK, I take your point that it's more complex than my simplistic statement; however, I'm not sure this point should be debatable, although it probably is. In the province (Ontario) where I live we've gone through several years of experimentation with kids in the public school system and lost sight of the core cirriculum that the schools should be following. The "will of the people" here is for their children to get a good elementary and secondary school education to provide them with the maximum range of options for their career choices. There is no room in there for any "will of the people" stuff that gets into the details of the cirriculum, IMHO.
I suspect we have many of the same raging debates that occur in all the western countries about alternative views, but the government has taken what I consider to be a very pragmatic position - the school system is where kids learn science, math, history, geography, and language skills. Parents who want other things are quite free in our democratic society to expose their children to those things outside the school system, even to the extent of "teaching" them that the science they learn in school is wrong.

This seems to me to be the right approach. It has effectively kept religion out of the public school system, without restricting the ability of students to ask questions based on their extracirricular learning. Anyway, I'll see how this "experiment" works when my two kids hit the post-secondary world.

JayUtah
2002-May-02, 04:54 PM
I agree that the will of the people should be to let experts in the various fields formulate the curriculum. But the will of the people is not always so smart.

Utah represents a worst-case scenario: a government which is fully democratic, but in which a very large majority of the population belongs to one religion and tends to vote according to whichever proposition most closely aligns with the beliefs of that religion.

Consider a volatile subject like sex education. Whereas a scientific approach would lay out the "facts of life" and present options, the Utah curriculum is long on the holy virtue of abstinance prior to marriage and short on what a condom is and how one is used. Thus we have had alarming teen pregnancy and STD rate.

Let's propose the hypothetical State of Krishna, the 51st state of the Union, with a 75% Krishna population. As you know, the Krishna faith does not allow for moon landings. Let's say the will of the people, expressed through a perfectly democratic vote, mandates that Krishna public schools will teach the moon hoax theory in their science classes. What should be done? And before you answer, consider that you may not agree, in general, with the reciprocal mandate -- that a topic be taught that is agreed to by only 25% of the relevant population.

I don't know about you, but this bakes my noodle. I honestly have no idea what's best in that hypothetical situation.

But I do agree that it's counterproductive and somewhat dangerous for 12-year-olds to be taught the moon hoax theory as if it were valid science.

SeanF
2002-May-02, 05:14 PM
On 2002-05-02 12:54, JayUtah wrote:

Consider a volatile subject like sex education. Whereas a scientific approach would lay out the "facts of life" and present options, the Utah curriculum is long on the holy virtue of abstinance prior to marriage and short on what a condom is and how one is used. Thus we have had alarming teen pregnancy and STD rate.



Hmm . . . according to this study (http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/teen_preg_stats.html), in 1996 Utah had a lower per capita teen pregnancy rate than any state in the union except North Dakota and Minnesota. The table going back to '85 shows Utah well below the national average as well.

I realize you can't read too much into a single study, but perhaps the Mormons know what they're doing after all . . . ?


_________________
SeanF

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Karamoon
2002-May-02, 05:50 PM
Karamoon: My initial posting to this thread bears witness to my intent.

Jay: Yes. You assumed I wanted Mr. Weiss fired. You were wrong.

No, with the details you provided here, my major concern was that there was room for misunderstanding, and on top of that, and given the obvious contempt directed towards those who are seen to question NASA's historic record, I thought further information should be sought or relayed before serious action of this nature was taken.

Jay: You assumed I didn't have much information on what had happened. You were wrong.

I beg to differ. If you would have kindly and satisfactorily resolved the issues I raised then I would not have objected to such a strong course of action. But the way I see it, your pride was bruised and you didn't like my tone and so you let it effect your response. And as it was, your answers actually justified my initial concern (i.e. your information is second hand and may be incorrect).

I am not against people standing up and fighting for what they believe in, I just now feel that a one-on-one was required before you go directing others to go above a teachers head -- and you are all going above him, and then some.

Jay: You insinuated I was organizing a lynch mob for Mr. Weiss. I can forgive that easily.

Intentionally or not, I felt that a situation could arise, yes.

Jay: What's harder to forgive is your pontification, that I was acting without a full possession of the relevant fact, when I felt it was you who were acting prematurely.

How was I acting prematurely when your brief left a lot to be desired, and since when you have even acknowledged that you only shared the generalities of the case with us here?

If you knew this was the case then your reply to my concern should have been one of appeasement, not confrontation. Good heavens, are you going to react in a similar fashion every time you feel that your knowledge of a case has been underestimated?

Karamoon: yet in this case you seem somewhat unwilling to contact Paul Weiss himself. Why the sudden reluctance?

Jay: Let me guess: You would have done it differently.

This it is not about my method, it is about yours. I believe it was a fair question.

Jay: I have chosen a method of discussing this with Mr. Weiss that is likely to minimize the potential for contention.

Hardly.

Jay: How I deal with Mr. Weiss is my business.

Okay, if you wish to dodge the point, so be it.

Karamoon: [Conrad wrote: The only good thing about this is that there may well be a response to Mr Weiss that sees him off, off into the far distance.]

Jay: If you have a problem with Mr. Conrad's proposed action, I suggest you take up the matter with Mr. Conrad.

That is most certainly not the point. I feared reactions like this were inevitable -- didn't you? -- which added to my concern. That is what I was alluding to with the term "lynch mob". I admit that this was probably the wrong term to use, but still, how you can say you chose a method of least contention is beyond me.

Karamoon: If that gave you the impression that I was looking to pass judgment then I apologise.

Jay: You indeed gave me that impression, but I accept your apology.

Then perhaps it is my choice of words that sees you react so indifferently. Either way, and once again, another thread is in danger of being caked in mud.

Karamoon: I do not feel that everything I have to offer is conjecture.

Jay: by your own admission you don't have sufficient education or experience in the relevant fields.

But do not forget that I can pay attention to those who do have sufficient education and experience. An example of which is Amitai Etzioni, who's determinations have corroborated my own view that this type of project is not best carried out under such intense constraint and pressure. Not a lot of people know this but Mr. Etzioni was invited to submit his work to the Kennedy administration in 1963. This, along with other submissions, fueled the President's growing concern regarding Project Apollo. Exactly how much this came to bear on Kennedy's decision to call off the space race is unknown.

Jay: If your opinion differs from that of known experts,

It depends on which experts one is more willing to side with. I feel that there is enough "expert opinion" from which I can present an alternative view with, and of which others can freely deem credible or not.

Jay: Media attention, schedule deadlines, budget constraints, accidents, and technological shortfalls are commonly occurring factors in engineering.

I do not feel that you will find these factors to be as strong as there were during Project Apollo -- added to that political (international and domestic) and social concerns. I feel that Apollo was unique in a number of ways as do many experts. But here, too, you invite benchmarks for comparison, and this is yet another area that Apollo stands out from the crowd.

Karamoon: Really, I think we should continue this elsewhere.

Jay: Why? It seems people here are quite willing to discuss such matters.

I simply meant continue it in another thread. I almost have a reply composed and ready to be posted to the thread I mentioned previously (i.e. Anyway ...) and where this diverging debate seems to be leaning towards. The reason for my lateness is fivefold: I first got disillusioned with debating and thought I would concentrate on my other work. I also had a period of severe eye-strain. Then I started to reply but saved over what I had written (very annoying, that). Then I just got lazy. Then I thought I would compile several responses and post them all at once, just to keep you one your toes.

Jay: You question the reputation of men generally believed to be honorable. You claim this is justified because government is malfeasant. I am reminding you that it is merely your belief that government is malfeasant, and that specific belief may not be widely held or regarded as defensible. It is an important distinction.

But it is defendable. However, taring somebody with the same brush is not, and that is perhaps the most important distinction of all.

Karamoon: I have no faith in government. They have long since destroyed it.

Jay: And this is doubtless the motive for your attack on Apollo.

No no no. Why do you keep suggest that I am just wanting or looking to engage and lash out at something? If solid irrefutable proof was presented to me of Apollo's authenticity tomorrow -- evidence that I accepted -- I wouldn't just shrug my shoulders, pack up my bags, and start sifting through alt.conspiracy for another controversial topic.

Jay: Your pattern of investigation presumes there is malfeasance and you simply have to locate it.

Give me a break. I have explained to you previously how my opinion regarding Apollo formed -- or rather, matured (for want of a better word). Do you believe I was lying to you?

Jay: You have formulated and abandoned several arguments, all with the common theme that Apollo was falsified.

Yet I can only remember two. Perhaps you can refresh my memory as to the several?.. Are you sure you are not mistaking "abandoning" for "I just can't be bothered replying to one of your rebuttals?"

Jay: This is a sufficiently odd pattern of inquiry to warrant suspicion of your motives.

I think you are over analysing me. Seriously. Perhaps it is harder to take me at face value when you deal with so many other people who also subscribe to Alien conspiracies and Lizard Kings.

I don't believe we landed on the moon in 1969. That is the premise of my belief and that has not changed one bit.

Karamoon: When they so please, they lie and manipulate the populace at every level. This I can certainly prove.

Jay: Whether they do so at "every level" is irrelevant to whether Apollo was falsified.

I agree.

Jay: Therefore to invoke one's general distrust of government, or to cite examples of government malfeasance in other venues, is insufficient.

Yes, it is insufficient to prove Apollo itself was falsified, but there are areas where it begins to take on a certain relevancy.

Jay: I do not believe you should button your mouth and keep quiet. But if you plan to level allegations of fraud and misconduct, it is essential that you do so with proper evidence and defensible lines of reasoning.

Well, I don't know if you have noticed but I am less confrontational these days. Can you recall the old title header on my web page? Let just me say you won't see anything like that again.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Karamoon on 2002-05-02 13:59 ]</font>

JayUtah
2002-May-02, 05:58 PM
Hm, I wonder if the newspaper article I'm thinking of was just reporting a recent or short-term spike compared to past trends. It was quite a while ago, but later than 1996. And I remember distinctly analysis that suggested it was due to a shortcoming in the otherwise okay abstinance-based program. It may have also used different age groups or have been limited to urban areas. I really don't remember what the context of the "alarming" report was and how it might differ from the AGI report, which of course is perfectly good science.

I know we've had some short-term spikes in the STD rate over the past three years, even though the general trend for STDs in Utah is pretty low. That suggests that for every spike there's a corresponding dry spell that doesn't necessarily get reported in the news. The prevailing wisdom is that with a greater emphasis on methods for safe sex, we wouldn't have these spikes. We're actually in the middle of a big syphillis outbreak. (Personally I think it was from the Olympics, but that's just my paranoia showing.)

I don't have a problem with Mormons. If I did, I wouldn't live in Utah. Utah is a nice place precisely because the Mormons make it nice. But occasionally they do something to remind you who has the power here, and you just have to roll with it. And occasionally, but not often, they'll do something counterproductive where a more liberal policy would have probably worked better.

Okay, could we be any more off-topic? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

GrapesOfWrath
2002-May-02, 06:17 PM
I received an email from Paul Weiss last night, and I hope I will receive another tonight. Perhaps he'll participate in this discussion.

JayUtah
2002-May-02, 06:30 PM
No, with the details you provided here, my major concern was that there was room for misunderstanding

I agree, and there may have been and may still be. But you didn't consider that you had misunderstood what I had and what I was suggesting. Then you acted with "strongly worded" cautions, contrary to your own advice.

Good heavens, are you going to react in a similar fashion every time you feel that your knowledge of a case has been underestimated?

It depends on whether you are going to continue jumping to conclusions while cautioning others not to jump to conclusions.

Hardly.

You have no idea what I may have done, what I may be doing, and how I may be interacting with the folks in New Jersey. It doesn't occur to you that I may not wish to reveal here all that I am doing. You continue to assume you have all the facts and you continue to pass judgment on me based on what you read into the situation.

I really don't feel like being judged further by you on this matter.

That is most certainly not the point.

It most certainly is. If you have a problem with Conrad, discuss it with Conrad.

I admit that this ("lynch mob") was probably the wrong term to use

Then stop trying to tell me I'm being oversensitive.

how you can say you chose a method of least contention is beyond me.

It is beyond your capacity to understand because I have not provided you with all the facts that pertain to my contact with Mr. Weiss. I don't intend to. But that doesn't seem to stop it from being beyond your capacity to criticize.

So kindly dismount from your high horse.

Then perhaps it is my choice of words that sees you react so indifferently.

If you choose your words poorly, you must deal with the consequences of choosing your words poorly. But with this post you continue to adopt the same hypocritical approach, so I am less likely to attribute it to a sprained vocabulary.

But do not forget that I can pay attention to those who do have sufficient education and experience.

But you will not know if their opinions are representative of the field.

I feel that there is enough "expert opinion" from which I can present an alternative view with, and of which others can freely deem credible or not.

How are we to know you have understood and interpreted the expert opinion correctly or fairly?

I do not feel that you will find these factors to be as strong as there were during Project Apollo

I'll make up my own mind about what factors apply to my professional field.

I am not adverse to the notion that Apollo was in many ways unique, including the ways you mention. I am skeptical that these particulars support a conclusion that says Apollo had to have been falsified.

But it is defendable.

I'm sure that will come as great comfort to those whom you wrongly accuse.

I have explained to you previously how my opinion regarding Apollo formed -- or rather, matured (for want of a better word). Do you believe I was lying to you?

No. On the contrary I cite it as evidence that you had the conclusion first and then looked for evidence of it.

Are you sure you are not mistaking "abandoning" for "I just can't be bothered replying to one of your rebuttals?"

I say you abandon them because you no longer argue them. I don't know why you no longer argue them. Since you admitted that your early conclusions were based on relative ignorance, I assumed that you abandoned them because you felt them no longer viable. But I did not go so far as to assume that's how you felt.

I don't believe we landed on the moon in 1969. That is the premise of my belief and that has not changed one bit.

But the question is whether you held that believe before you began your investigation.

Yes, it is insufficient to prove Apollo itself was falsified, but there are areas where it begins to take on a certain relevancy.

Only if you can demonstrate that the falsification of Apollo is itself one of the malfeasances you allude to. Malfeasances that simply occur during the course of the project, but which are expected in either a true or falsified project, do not offer support.

You can say, for example, that North American misrepresented the nature of its spacecraft's readiness to NASA. If we assume this is true for the sake of argument, then we still cannot use that as proof that other misrepresentations occurred at other times whose direct proof is insufficient.

Well, I don't know if you have noticed but I am less confrontational these days.

That is wise. Thank you.

JayUtah
2002-May-02, 07:03 PM
After a nice hot soak in the tub I feel better about this thread. Karamoon, let's stop the recriminations. I'm prepared to accept whatever consequences arise from my actions. I still think you're criticizing me based on a very incomplete picture of my motives and activities, but I'll get over it. It's not worth wasting all this time over.

I have just heard that some breakthroughs have been made out in New Jersey, and that people are finally responding to the issues. That was my goal, so I judge whatever campaign has been mounted to be a success so far.

As for the issues of your long-term research, Karamoon, let's do that in a separate thread, and at your leisure.

If I hear anything else from New Jersey I'll let everyone know.

johnwitts
2002-May-02, 11:31 PM
Karamoon: But do not forget that I can pay attention to those who do have sufficient education and experience. An example of which is Amitai Etzioni, who's determinations have corroborated my own view that this type of project is not best carried out under such intense constraint and pressure. Not a lot of people know this but Mr. Etzioni was invited to submit his work to the Kennedy administration in 1963. This, along with other submissions, fueled the President's growing concern regarding Project Apollo. Exactly how much this came to bear on Kennedy's decision to call off the space race is unknown.

So, Kennedy had decided to call off Apollo in 1963? Then he got shot? NASA killed Kennedy. My book is out in the Autumn, priced $29.99...

Karamoon
2002-May-03, 01:02 AM
So, Kennedy had decided to call off Apollo in 1963? Then he got shot? NASA killed Kennedy.

No, calling off the space race may have been the point at which he stepped over the line, but I don't think you can point to and single out one particular policy that got him killed.

Although it is worth noting that it was a NASA engineer that came up with the "magic bullet" theory.

Shall we take this over here (http://www.apollohoax.com/forums/viewforum.php?forum=24&4), before it gets even more off topic?

My book is out in the Autumn, priced $29.99...

Really, what is it you have been working on?

johnwitts
2002-May-03, 01:11 AM
My book is out in the Autumn, priced $29.99...

Really, what is it you have been working on?

That NASA killed Kennedy so that it could retain it's funding for Apollo. Think about it. JFK visits MFC, Houston, Texas, tells them he's decided to ask the Ruskies to join them, and cut their budget. The next day, one of the NASA NAZIs follows him to Dallas and arranges for a local nutter to shoot him. This leaves pro Apollo, anti USSR LBJ in charge of the whole show. It all makes perfect sense to me, logical at every turn. The documented history totally supports this conclusion, with no margins for misinterpretation. This is what I have decided. That's the real reason why Apollo couldn't have been faked.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-May-03, 01:15 AM
I did get a reply from Paul Weiss.

He says he has received a complaint from someone who was upset, a grandmother of one of the children in his classes. He did not edit the original video, and told the classes that we in fact did land on the moon. He also explained errors in the video as he understood them. The grandmother thought that he should also have shown a NASA TV show in response, but he says he didn't know of the NASA show at the time, and would like to get a copy.

johnwitts
2002-May-03, 10:42 PM
As I work within the Education system, albeit in the UK, I feel I'm qualified to comment on this. In the UK, most Teachers train to be Teachers, and nothing else. Therefore, when they train, they are training to impart knowledge to other people, not to actually use that knowledge themselves in some other industry.

We have an agreed National Curriculum, so that in theory everybody gets to learn the same things. I don't think a lesson on the Moon Hoax would pass even a cursory glance during file monitoring by management, as it is not on the National Curriculum.

The NC was not about while I was at school, but the exam requirements were publisised, so we knew what areas we had to study and to what level. There was a bit more leeway for Teachers then, and I can remember a discussion that went on for about a week in Biology 'A' level classes about the life cycle of the aliens in the Aliens Movies. We had lots of 'off topic' discussions like this, and we hardly ever made notes. There was some panic during revision time just before our exams because we had so few notes to go over. However, everyone in the class got really good grades. Everyone. Why? I guess it was because the subject was made interesing to us, and we actually discussed a lot of stuff without realising just how much we were learning.

If Mr Weiss is trying to get a discussion going about the wrong science in the Fox Documentary, then I think you'll find 12 year olds who are not only a lot more interested in science, but who do well in the future with their critical thinking. The technical 'eduspeke' for this type of teaching is 'sabotage'. You present the pupils with a situation that is counter to their previous knowledge in the hope that they will bite. Most of the time, it's successful, and the pupils learn far more that way. Not only do they know when something is right or wrong, they also know why it is right or wrong. This is much more useful than just filling a child's head with facts and figures.

As I write this, it occurs to me that it is little different to what the Bad Astronomer has done in his book.

JayUtah
2002-May-04, 04:46 PM
He also explained errors in the video as he understood them.

Well, that's half the story. Weiss has made this presentation more than once, and there are two separate occurrences under discussion. He did not personally present the video to the class in which Mrs. K's granddaughter saw it. A substitute teacher played the video in his absence per his instructions. The substitute simply pushed "Play" and did not introduce the video or discuss it afterwards.

That's understandable -- substitute teachers won't necessarily be able to shoot from the hip and make a cogent response. But unfortunately it left time for the video to "sink in" and the students apparently got the idea they were supposed to be questioning NASA based on the video's evidence.

When he played the video for other classes in other schools, he was there in person and discussed it, but he did not do this in the first class, the one in which Mrs. K's granddaughter saw the video. This is what she was most upset about. Only a couple of days ago did school officials explain that the other presentations were not the same as the original inadvertent hit-and-run, despite having been asked about it in January.

No one is calling for discipline against Weiss. At the very worst he exercised questionable judgment to have the substitute show the film in his absence, but it's hard to see how anyone could have foreseen the students' reactions.

Unfortunately some of the students which saw Weiss' full presentation (including rebuttal) also came away having paid more attention to the video than to the rebuttal, suggesting maybe a rebuttal hadn't been given. Hence Mrs. K's understandable questions to the school officials.

Again, we shouldn't be faulting Weiss for this. We should be trying to get him some more exciting material. And this also is where the "inertia" of the school officials was felt. It appears they didn't consider it very important.

But that's been cleared up now. That's why I have pronounced our efforts a success, although I don't think we really had much to do with it. The East Coast equivalent of the Bad Astronomer has visited the school and apparently everyone is quite pleased with what's happening.

The main fear was that the school would sit on this until the students graduated, but it appears that's not going to happen. As I said, I offered him my lesson plans, but he hasn't gotten back to me on whether they'll be useful. I suspect now they won't be.

he says he didn't know of the NASA show at the time, and would like to get a copy.

The question of "editing" is becoming quite a comedy of errors. Weiss' son taped the show from the broadcast on the local Fox affiliate. At first it was believed they had taped only a portion of the program and inadvertently omitted parts of it.

It turns out that in their market, a program aired immediately after which presented NASA's case. Weiss did not know of this program and did not tape it. And apparently it was a local market program only. When Fox was contacted for the names of the producers of the program, the Fox employee thought they meant Conspiracy Theory: Did We Go to the Moon? and provided the names of those producers, inadvertently strengthening the misconception that the Fox program contained a detailed NASA rebuttal that had been "omitted".

All that's been resolved now, however I don't know if they've been able to find the tape. Pamela Mountjoy at NASA has been contacted, but she's working directly with the folks there, and I'm not in that loop. I know they were also going to contact the local affiliate, so it surprises me to hear Weiss still hasn't got a copy of the tape. Of course this would have aired more than a year ago, so I guess I'm not that surprised. Maybe they'll have better luck getting it directly from NASA.

In any case, as I said, people are getting the support and answers they want now, so I'm not pursuing this anymore except to get sporadic reports.

JayUtah
2002-May-04, 05:20 PM
I don't think a lesson on the Moon Hoax would pass even a cursory glance during file monitoring by management, as it is not on the National Curriculum.

We don't have a national curriculum, but each state in the U.S. determines its curriculum and this is further refined by the local districts. But there is generally no restriction on what materials can or can't be used. The curricula in American education are more broad and general than it sounds like are in the U.K.

Nothing would explicitly prohibit the Fox program in schools, although I think formally addressing it in school -- and showing it in school -- is fraught with peril. Too much can go wrong. It was done in Boise, but out of damage control. The students had already seen it and were asking about it.

If Mr Weiss is trying to get a discussion going about the wrong science in the Fox Documentary, then I think you'll find 12 year olds who are not only a lot more interested in science, but who do well in the future with their critical thinking.

And that appears to be the intent in New Jersey exercise. The problem there is that various improbable factors intervened to undermine its effectiveness and give the wrong impression to the students and to the parents. Some of those factors were preventable, and there may be cause to question the judgment of those involved. But the prevailing opinion on all sides now appears to be that "stuff" happens and it really couldn't have been foreseen. Couple this with uncertainty from inexperienced school management and the resulting pressure from the community, and you get the idea that this sort of thing isn't likely to happen again.

But we are happy to learn that Mr. Weiss is not a conspiracy theorist, and incidentally is not in any danger whatsoever of losing his job. We are happy to learn that he did not intentionally edit the video. We are pleased to learn the school administration has finally responded. We are pleased that, in all likelihood, the children are going to get a top-notch rebuttal to the Fox program from a guest lecturer. And if the inquiries at NASA and at the Fox affiliate pay off, the children will get to see the supplementary program.

I think the New Jersey experience differs markedly from the Boise experience in that in the latter the students saw the film and brought it to the attention of the teachers, who responded. In New Jersey it was the teacher who introduced it. In Boise the "sabotage" took place outside the classroom. In New Jersey it took place inside the classroom, but under circumstances that eroded its effectivness.

This really didn't become a problem until January of this year. By November 2001 Mrs. K had worked it all out with Weiss and the school officials and was satisfied. It was only when it appeared that the same mistakes were being repeated in January of this year, following a second presentation of the video, and nobody at the school wanted to talk about it, that it became acute again.

johnwitts
2002-May-04, 06:38 PM
I'll bet that Mr Weiss could kick himself for being off that particular day. I bet he had a kicking lesson planned, then got a cold or something. I can see how a supply Teacher could just put the vid in the player, then fall asleep. Too easy. Then Mr Weiss cops the flack for something that happened while he wasn't there!

I had a similar situation a few years ago. Our school was given some second hand, reconditioned computers by a local company, because one of the employees family had a pupil at our school. I didn't have a computer at the time and they were selling similar spec machines for 150 or so. I went to see them and ordered a machine. I told them to contact the school when it was ready. Then I got a cold. I had two days off work. So did the secretary. Anyway, these guys phone up to say that the computer was ready. The Supply Secretary had never heard of me, so instead of checking with anyone, told them emphatically that 'No John Witts works here'. So they called the police. With embelishment from the pupils grandmother, the police were told that someone claiming to be the headmaster of our school had turned up and 'demanded' free computers. I knew nothing of this, I was in bed sneezing. So, when I finally phoned up to ask where my computer was, I got a very shirty answer. A lot of assumptions were made by various people. Both I and the headmaster have beards, so therefore I must have been the headmaster, only I gave a false name. I wanted a free computer. etc. It took months to sort out.

All I did was go to a supplier, said I worked at such and such a school, wanted to buy a computer, phone me when it's ready. Everyone else then put 2 and 2 together and got the Great Train Robbery. All while I was sneezing in bed.

JayUtah
2002-May-04, 10:47 PM
I'll bet that Mr Weiss could kick himself for being off that particular day.

Sure, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I've done that sort of thing a dozen times: left underlings to manage sensitive projects in my absence only to have an unexpected bombshell fall. It's just part of being a bit indispensible.

I can see how a supply Teacher could just put the vid in the player, then fall asleep. Too easy.

The substitute followed Weiss' instructions. No fault there. And what else would you direct a substitute to do? Playing a video for the students in your absence is ideal, especially if it was one you were planning to show anyway. Simple for the sub. If you felt you really had to be there while the video was running, that means you'd have to quickly come up with something for the substitute to do so you could show the video the day you got back.

The problem, of course, is showing that video without context. So I can easily say, "Sure, have the sub play a video." But I wouldn't say, "Sure, have the sub play that video." Not that I'm clairvoyant and know how the students would have reacted. It's that if I were doing this myself, I'd want to carefully introduce the video and carefully sum it up afterwards. I wouldn't expect a substitute to be able to read my mind. It doesn't have anything to do with hindsight. That would just have been my style. So because it comes down to a stylistic difference, I don't see that it's worth all this.

Then Mr Weiss cops the flack for something that happened while he wasn't there!

But the argument was that he should have been there. Unfortunately, practical concerns can't simply be brushed aside. If he couldn't be there, and didn't foresee the confusion, his actions are perfectly defensible, even if they had unfortunate consequences.

The unexpected boon to this is that people are crawling out of the woodwork to help alleviate those consequences, which is all anyone ever wanted. They have more help than they can use, which was not the situation earlier. They've got resources they didn't know existed; they've got people volunteering their time.

johnwitts
2002-May-04, 11:06 PM
Do we know if Mr Weiss knew he was going to be out of that lesson, or did he phone in sick? ie, did he have the ability to leave instructions for the lesson? Even so, the instructions could have been;

Play Video, Discuss.

If the supply was usually a cooking teacher, then they may think the video made a good argument.

David Hall
2002-May-05, 12:04 PM
I'm glad to see Mr. Weiss is not really on the wrong side here. Just bad circumstances and some conclusion-jumping.

If it were me planning that lesson and I needed a substitute, I wouldn't have him just play the video. I would have the students take notes while watching it and especially have them note anything they think might be in error. Then we could use these notes in a later class on critical thinking when I returned to class.

Of course, once again, this is all in hindsight. Just my thoughts on the matter. I see nothing wrong with using such a video as long as it's done as a real critical-thinking excercise, i.e. to show how you have to look carefully at all arguments on all sides. But if such materials are used in a one-sided, biased manner, especially to promote someone's individual viewpoint, then I'd be all up in arms.

I think this all shows the value of an open system. In spite of Karamoon's complaints, this is exactly the kind of thing public education needs to keep it "clean". Otherwise who knows what our kids would be learning?

Thanks for keeping us informed Jay.

2002-May-05, 02:05 PM
May 5, 2002 6:02 A.M. PST
believe what you LIKE

johnwitts
2002-May-05, 10:55 PM
I'd just like to point out that Karamoon may have had a point here. We should have got all the facts straight before entering 'condemning mode'. It turns out the guy was a victim of circumstance after all.

Donnie B.
2002-May-06, 12:10 AM
On 2002-05-02 21:11, johnwitts wrote:
My book is out in the Autumn, priced $29.99...

Really, what is it you have been working on?

That NASA killed Kennedy so that it could retain it's funding for Apollo. Think about it. JFK visits MFC, Houston, Texas, tells them he's decided to ask the Ruskies to join them, and cut their budget. The next day, one of the NASA NAZIs follows him to Dallas and arranges for a local nutter to shoot him. This leaves pro Apollo, anti USSR LBJ in charge of the whole show. It all makes perfect sense to me, logical at every turn. The documented history totally supports this conclusion, with no margins for misinterpretation....

...and there's nothing imaginable that could possibly change your mind about this!

johnwitts
2002-May-06, 01:29 AM
Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


On 2002-05-02 21:11, johnwitts wrote:
My book is out in the Autumn, priced $29.99...

Really, what is it you have been working on?

That NASA killed Kennedy so that it could retain it's funding for Apollo. Think about it. JFK visits MFC, Houston, Texas, tells them he's decided to ask the Ruskies to join them, and cut their budget. The next day, one of the NASA NAZIs follows him to Dallas and arranges for a local nutter to shoot him. This leaves pro Apollo, anti USSR LBJ in charge of the whole show. It all makes perfect sense to me, logical at every turn. The documented history totally supports this conclusion, with no margins for misinterpretation....


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


...and there's nothing imaginable that could possibly change your mind about this!

The only thing that could possibly alter my perception of this point in history is support from Bill Kaysing, David Percy, Mary Bennett, Bart Sibrel or Karamoon.

That and money.

JayUtah
2002-May-06, 05:09 AM
I'll grant Karamoon was right on this one. After my tub-soak the other day, I decided that at worst he was just being overcautious, and I can't fault someone for that. That's why I decided it wasn't doing any good to argue with him over this.

I'm hoping to talk to Weiss tomorrow. If anything new comes up, I'll post it.

Conrad
2002-May-07, 09:26 AM
On 2002-04-30 09:03, Conrad wrote:
Well, I guess all us non-US citizens should give Mr Weiss a big vote of thanks for sabotaging the American education system.
In twenty years time those 12 year olds will be running the country - probably not very well.
<removes tongue from cheek>
The only good thing about this is that there may well be a response to Mr Weiss that sees him off, off into the far distance.


Ahem! Apologies due to Mr Weiss, eh?
Yum yum, this humble pie is delicious, no, really it is. <swallows with grimace>.
Oh but I love a happy ending.

2002-May-07, 11:21 AM
<a name="20020507.3:14"> page 20020507.3:14 aka Hitlers Astr"OLO"ger
On 2002-05-07 05:26, Conrad wrote: To: Astr"ONO"my

to me? Inforced stupidities [ENFORCED STUPIDITY]
the results take about a generation or so to
MAKE Prime time Nightly
<removes tongue from cheek>



3:16 A.M. PST HUb'
If I can find a LINK to Hitlers Astrologer
I'll put it here {on the line below
1:
as I understand HISstroy($) he had one?
though i really do NOT know!

roidspop
2002-May-10, 03:24 AM
This thread is Reader's Digest Condensed Nightmare of the slurs and innuendos that public school teachers have to live with. Oh yes, we're underpaid, under appreciated, undereducated and all the rest, Mr. U. It also happens that a lot of us are dedicated, resourceful, honest, hardworking, intelligent and determined. Even Mr. Weiss may be, but you couldn't have known that, not having spoken with him directly before making your original, inflammatory post.

I wish you could understand what effect that post could have had on that man's career and even his personal life. Not being a teacher, I doubt that you can appreciate what a hornets' nest you may have unleashed by publishing your allegations and all the 'relevant' addresses. It is fairly likely that even now, a substantial number of people in his community believe that Mr. Weiss is a lunatic or worse, and their friends will learn of it too, in short order. Embellishments will be added. Children entering his class next year may very well have heard rumors about "that Mr. Weiss". This sort of mini-maelstrom can take years to die out, if it ever does, and such things can and most assuredly do lead to the termination of blameless teachers at worst and almost certainly to unnecessarily increased stress applied by "concerned" parents, administrators and even students. Do you ever have to deal with this sort of public-relations HB in your line?

You are an expert. You are the Defender of the Truth. We respect you. But maybe not so much anymore.

What I would love to hear is that, you, the man with the vast experience and excellent education would condescend to take a few years off and give of yourself to America's youth: become a teacher. You and a few thousand more like you could make a tremendous difference...maybe. You would have to learn how to teach effectively before your lunch is eaten, and so many "experts" don't have a single clue as to what is entailed in mastering this art. But they are not slow to demean those who are at least out in the trenches doing their best.

If you should give it a try, after you've spent a few years in a classroom, be sure to call up Mr Weiss and apologize to him. Then you can swap a few war stories. You will have earned the right.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: roidspop on 2002-05-10 02:12 ]</font>

JayUtah
2002-May-10, 05:51 PM
Oh yes, we're underpaid, under appreciated, undereducated and all the rest, Mr. U. It also happens that a lot of us are dedicated, resourceful, honest, hardworking, intelligent and determined.

Granted. I am pleased that Mr. Weiss appears to be as conscientious and committed to the truth as I would have hoped he was. And I am indeed sorry that I misinterpreted the facts originally.

... before making your original, inflammatory post.

The original post contains information I believed to be correct, but which is clearly wrong. This bugs me, although I hope that the remainder of the thread clearly corrects my mistake. I have no problem editing the original post to clearly identify the errors, lest anyone get the wrong impression.

Whether it is also inflammatory is a matter of opinion. I intended only that people urge the school officials to take action and not just "sit on the problem" as it was evident they were doing. I admit that had I supplied the correct facts, others' behavior would likely have been differnt.

Further, this issue is being discussed on mailing lists to which I belong, and I am proud to say I have defended Mr. Weiss' reputation in those venues. There are those who believe he is a hoax believer, and I have dispelled that notion. There are those who believe that Mr. Weiss has deliberately presented only one part of the story, and I have pointed out that Mr. Weiss is in fact seeking rebuttal videos and I have enlisted their help on his behalf in finding them.

Not being a teacher, I doubt that you can appreciate what a hornets' nest you may have unleashed by publishing your allegations and all the 'relevant' addresses.

Upon what grounds do you assume I have no teaching experience? You have simply jumped to the conclusion that I can't possibly know what it's like to teach, but in fact you don't know and you didn't ask me. I admit that it was wrong of me to urge action without diligently obtaining more fact. But it's just as wrong of you to draw a conclusion about me without knowing additional fact.

As a matter of such fact, for two years I taught at the college level, when I was an advanced graduate student. I taught various computer and engineering related topics, including one of the "weed-out" classes were my job was essentially to endure the pleas of unqualified students and the threats of their parents urging me to issue the student an undeserved passing grade.

Further, in my first professional post I taught summer classes for high school students -- six hours a day for eight weeks every summer. This was sponsored by my company and by other engineering and computing companies in my area. The university kindly supplied the facilities.

Finally, I occasionally volunteer at the local planetarium which hosts field trips from area schools.

If you wish to quibble that this does not equate to the long-term experience of Mr. Weiss and his peers, I would be inclined to agree. But I would like to point out that I am not ignorant to the intricacies of education.

Do you ever have to deal with this sort of public-relations HB in your line?

I'm not sure I understand this question, but if you're asking me whether I have to deal with people speaking ill of me to my superiors, the answer is most certainly yes. In my case it is people who have invested millions of dollars in the solutions I am expected to provide, according to strict contracts and timetables. Sadly, when that much is at stake, clients employ various underhanded techniques such as misrepresenting the facts to my superiors in the hopes that they will tip the contractual scales in their favor. Happily, my superiors know me and my work very well, and are not easy to fool.

Because I have been the victim of one-sided information, it is with no small measure of chagrin that I have eaten crow on this issue. And I don't mind eating it because it's crow I clearly deserve to eat.

What I would love to hear is that, you, the man with the vast experience and excellent education would condescend to take a few years off and give of yourself to America's youth: become a teacher.

You might be surprised to learn I have considered it. Unfortunately the cost of obtaining an engineering education is not offset by the compensation of a teacher. I don't have the financial means right now to satisfy my creditors on a public teacher's salary. But I do have that in mind for when the situation improves.

For now I volunteer. And I provide Clavius, which has proven to be an invaluable resource for both teachers and students, and consumes a vast amount of my free time. I expend considerable amount of time and effort -- without compensation -- to contribute to the education of the rising generation.

You would have to learn how to teach effectively before your lunch is eaten, and so many "experts" don't have a single clue as to what is entailed in mastering this art. But they are not slow to demean those who are at least out in the trenches doing their best.

Well, I was thrust in front of classes full of aggressive students with no training. I was expected to learn the ropes as I went. Literally the only preparation I had for my first class was a syllabus given to me by the supervising professor, and a slip of paper with my room number on it.

I was expected to learn on the fly how to teach, and so that's what I did. And it was hard and painful, and at first unsuccessful. But I clawed my way to the top of the evaluation rankings. Not only did I discover a method of teaching that worked for me, I discovered a method of teaching that worked for my students -- and worked better than average.

I had several of my summer high school students come up to me after the final session and tell me I was the best teacher they had ever had on any subject. One of these former students has just acquired an advanced degree from MIT and has invited me to attend his graduation.

I don't know how teachers are taught to teach. I don't know what techniques they are provided. That's what makes me unqualified. But I take issue with your unfounded conclusion that I am inexperienced and would be unsuccessful.

If you should give it a try, after you've spent a few years in a classroom, be sure to call up Mr Weiss and apologize to him.

I plan to call up Mr. Weiss and apologize to him without needing to spend some time in his shoes. I don't need to know how tough his job must be in order to realize that I've done him a disservice.

I hope he will accept my apology, and I would be even more thrilled if he would accept my help.

Rather that persist in recriminations, let's not forget we're all on the same side here.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JayUtah on 2002-05-10 15:26 ]</font>