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Maksutov
2005-Jan-06, 01:03 PM
Pennsylvania school district defends creationism

A Pennsylvania school district on Wednesday rejected charges that plans to include references to an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution in high school biology classes would be illegal.

The Dover Area School District near Harrisburg is the first in the United States to introduce "Intelligent Design," a theory that the natural world is so complex it must have been made by an intelligent being, rather than occurring by chance, as held by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Read all about it here. (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=724897 9)

I'd be interested in the results of a poll of the biology teachers in that school district re this decision.

Moose
2005-Jan-06, 01:07 PM
rather than occurring by chance, as held by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

*twitch*

Wally
2005-Jan-06, 01:11 PM
rather than occurring by chance, as held by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

*twitch*

Agreed. Someone want to go over there and explain to them the difference between "chance" and "natural selection" for criminy's sake! #-o

Fram
2005-Jan-06, 01:42 PM
Ummm, I may be wrong here, but is the occurrence of a mutation not purely by chance? The survival of that mutation is natural selection, and the combination of both is Darwinian evolution. Very concise, I know...

Wally
2005-Jan-06, 01:50 PM
Ummm, I may be wrong here, but is the occurrence of a mutation not purely by chance? The survival of that mutation is natural selection, and the combination of both is Darwinian evolution. Very concise, I know...

I see what you're saying Fram, but natural selection isn't completely driven by mutation, right? e.g. a giraffe's neck didn't suddenly become long due to a mutation. It slowly, over years/decades/centuries became longer as those with the longer necks survived better than those with shorter ones. Point being, it's also genetic, right? (I'm way out of my league here, by the way, so chew away at me at will!).

Maksutov
2005-Jan-06, 01:56 PM
From the article


On Jan. 13, teachers will be required to read a statement saying that Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view, and that if students want to read more about it, they can read a book called "Of Pandas and People" which they can find in the school library.
Go here (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0914513400/103-3789483-5423826?v=glance) for some online reviews of this book. Please note that the "Editorial Review" was penned by the publisher! The supporters are, strangely enough, creationists, whereas the detractors tend to be of a scientific bent. The best review title? William Jennings Bryan has risen from the grave (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/0914513400/ref=cm_cr_dp_2_1/103-3789483-5423826?%5Fencoding=UTF8&customer-reviews.sort%5Fby=-SubmissionDate&n=283155)

BTW, it's cheap too: 4 used & new from $99.00. Other sources ask for a $25 "donation". Creationists out to make a buck? Nahhhh!

Here are some other reviews of the book that the Dover Area School District is recommending their students read to further their education:

Link One (http://www.kcfs.org/pandas.html)

Link Two (http://www.ncseweb.org/article.asp?category=21)

Link Three (http://www.textbookleague.org/53panda.htm)

Link Four (http://www.nabt.org/sub/evolution/panda1.asp)

The last is from the National Association of Biology Teachers

Now for two more links.

Link Five (http://www.hometrainingtools.com/catalog/science-curriculum/creation-science/p_bk-panpeop.html) A recommended text for those involved in home schooling. BTW, for the uninitiated, "home schooling", along with "vouchers", is a euphemism for "xian indoctrination of children while keeping them away from the immoral secular public school system".

Link Six (http://www.icr.org/creationproducts/creationscienceproducts/Of_Pandas_and_People.html) Recommendation by the ICR. Need one say more? BTW, it was kind of neat how the ICR URL wound up as Link Six. :D

Swift
2005-Jan-06, 02:03 PM
Ummm, I may be wrong here, but is the occurrence of a mutation not purely by chance? The survival of that mutation is natural selection, and the combination of both is Darwinian evolution. Very concise, I know...
That's basically it, as I understand it, with Wally's comments about time. It also depends on what you mean by mutation; we'll all "mutants" in that among humans, for example, we have a variety of genes. Just because I have dark hair and you have light, doesn't make one of us a mutant. But if the environment should start favoring people with dark hair, I would have a better shot at passing on my genes.

I just read in Science News (Dec. 18/25 issue) about some work by Fondon and Garner at U. of Texas Southwestern Mdical Center. They studied changes in domestic dog breeds. They contend that single-point mutations occur too infrequently to have a big impact (1 out of every 100 million DNA sites each generation). However, there are mutations in small repeated DNA sequences called "tandem repeat sequences" (they are repeated sections of DNA and the mutations are in the number of repeats). These mutations happen about 1 out of every 1000 DNA sites each generation and can lead to changes in appearance (they looked at the shape of dog muzzles).

There are arguments that this might not be applicable to natural species/selection, but it is an interesting idea.

mid
2005-Jan-06, 02:47 PM
I understand that this might be a worm can, but can someone point me at a serious explanation as to exactly where "Intelligent Design" differs from your basic Creationism, other than in the use of a handful of pseudoscientific buzzwords? It can't be that simple, surely?

Maksutov
2005-Jan-06, 02:49 PM
It's that simple.

mid
2005-Jan-06, 02:53 PM
Ah, so they've decided to follow the "but its ONLY a theory" argument, by coming up with something else they call a theory. After all, if you've got two competing theories, Science can't tell you which one is right, can it? ;)

Moose
2005-Jan-06, 02:55 PM
Mid, you got it in one. Not a bad summary of most ID arguments.

You can find all the good information and commentary about ID claims you can stomach (with plenty left over) at religioustolerance.org.

ToSeek
2005-Jan-06, 04:26 PM
I understand that this might be a worm can, but can someone point me at a serious explanation as to exactly where "Intelligent Design" differs from your basic Creationism, other than in the use of a handful of pseudoscientific buzzwords? It can't be that simple, surely?

Creationism says "God did it." ID just says "Someone did it," possibly God, possibly superpowerful aliens from M31. Since they don't mention God, it's therefore a theory and not a religious belief. They also to claim to have empirical evidence that "someone did it," while Creationists tend to confine themselves to trying to poke holes in evolutionary arguments.

worzel
2005-Jan-06, 04:42 PM
I understand that this might be a worm can, but can someone point me at a serious explanation as to exactly where "Intelligent Design" differs from your basic Creationism, other than in the use of a handful of pseudoscientific buzzwords? It can't be that simple, surely?

Creationism says "God did it." ID just says "Someone did it," possibly God, possibly superpowerful aliens from M31. Since they don't mention God, it's therefore a theory and not a religious belief. They also to claim to have empirical evidence that "someone did it," while Creationists tend to confine themselves to trying to poke holes in evolutionary arguments.
But ID totally fails as a theory because it depends on "irreducible complexity" and therefore begs the question "how did the aliens/God come about then?" As to their "evidence", I've yet to see any of them come up with anything beyond the IR arguments like "isn't an eye so well designed" -- I wouldn't call that empirical evidence.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-06, 04:46 PM
Ummm, I may be wrong here, but is the occurrence of a mutation not purely by chance? The survival of that mutation is natural selection, and the combination of both is Darwinian evolution. Very concise, I know...
The occurence of mutations is only a small part of evolution, and the theory of evolution only concerns a small part of the natural world, which is how species of living beings change over time. It does not, for instance, say anything about how life appeared in the first place.

"There is probably no other statement which is a better indication that the arguer doesn't understand evolution. Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and SELECTION IS THE VERY OPPOSITE OF CHANCE."

(my capitals)

From Five Major Misconceptions About Evolution (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html) (scroll down to the rebuttal to "The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance.")


Since they don't mention God, it's therefore a theory and not a religious belief.
I would dispute that. ID does not seem to be a scientific theory, at least.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-06, 04:50 PM
Is there anything in ID to cover screwups, cost based engineering, or plain bad ideas? Where are IDs Edsels, Spruce Gooses or Blue Streaks?

I can understand God being infallible (I don't believe it but I can understand it) but infallible aliens?

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-06, 04:55 PM
I don't think ID says the Designer is infallible, only that there must have been a designer.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-06, 04:57 PM
But where are the failed designs? Or are they the bits of the earth that do bad things, like tsunami?

I know I should read some of their stuff, but am lazy and can't bring myself to. Sorry. :oops:

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-06, 05:02 PM
Take a look at TalkDesign.org (http://www.talkdesign.org/). :)

The whole thing sounds suspiciously like the good ol' fallacy of untestability (http://www.intrepidsoftware.com/fallacy/untest.php).

Swift
2005-Jan-06, 05:09 PM
But where are the failed designs? Or are they the bits of the earth that do bad things, like tsunami?

I know I should read some of their stuff, but am lazy and can't bring myself to. Sorry. :oops:
Depends on what you mean by "failed". The complete failures (dinosaurs, mastadons, dodos) are dead.

If you mean, what are the bad design features, just look at humans - there are lots of bad components: knees, backs, appendix, they fact that when we are unconscious our tongue blocks our airway. If there is a designer, we need a design review.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-06, 05:13 PM
The whole thing sounds suspiciously like the good ol' fallacy of untestability (http://www.intrepidsoftware.com/fallacy/untest.php).
TalkDesign examines one of the arguments for ID in here (http://www.talkorigins.org/design/faqs/nfl/), and calls it a God-in-the-gaps / argument from ignorance.

Bawheid
2005-Jan-06, 05:13 PM
Do Creationists and IDers accept these are bad designs?

Ok, ok, I'll read the links. Thanks.

Doodler
2005-Jan-06, 06:59 PM
I'd personally like to see these "Intelligent Design" nitwits sit down with an anatomy book and explain to me the "intelligence" of human design.

Why does the coccyx (sp?) exist? What is the point of a little toe (aside from being PAINFULLY broken)? What purpose to fingernails and toenails serve? What's the deal with wisdom teeth? Why is a vestigal organ like the appendix still around? Why is the human spine still, after all these millenia, still not properly adapted to upright postures? Why do spinal injuries not heal?

russ_watters
2005-Jan-06, 07:14 PM
Regarding the specific story, I wouldn't be too concerned about it. The school board may be a bunch of uneducated jackasses, but the courts don't have a whole lot of tolerance for this kind of ** anymore. This will get shot down rapidly and spectacularly.

Brady Yoon
2005-Jan-07, 06:21 AM
It's a science class, not a religious class. Teach evolution in schools, teach creation in churches. What's wrong with that school district? It's not like churches are forced to teach evolution... Can't they keep them separate?

mike alexander
2005-Jan-07, 06:49 AM
It's obvious that little toes evolved to find chair legs in dark rooms.

Fingernails are useful for opening penknives so that fingernails can be trimmed.

The Tooth Fairy puts wisdom teeth under your gums so the dentist can take them for a change.

The appendix is still shrinking; in a million years or so it will be down to the size of an index.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-07, 08:21 AM
It's obvious that little toes evolved to find chair legs in dark rooms.

Fingernails are useful for opening penknives so that fingernails can be trimmed.

The Tooth Fairy puts wisdom teeth under your gums so the dentist can take them for a change.

The appendix is still shrinking; in a million years or so it will be down to the size of an index. =D> :lol: :lol: :lol: You are very clever, sir. :D

beskeptical
2005-Jan-07, 08:25 AM
Someone needs to remind the religious enthusiasts who got themselves elected to the school board that K-12 is the warm up to college. And if they want their little kiddies to do well in this world, they might want to visit a few college biology classes.

The colleges and universities should step up to the plate here. Perhaps they could save the courts some time.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-07, 08:33 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/01/06/rights.creationism.reut/index.html

It's about darn time that this junk gets taken to court ... now I just hope that the courts do the right thing.

Note that this is not intended to be in any way a religious debate, rather one only on "Intelligent Design," if people decide to "debate" this thread at all.If GW keeps stacking the judicial deck with Evangelicals we may be in trouble here in the near future.

Scientists may want to stay out of the political debates but not have that luxury. Maybe even Phil will have to add a forum for "politics that affect the sciences". [Galileo rolls over in grave]

Fram
2005-Jan-07, 10:24 AM
Ummm, I may be wrong here, but is the occurrence of a mutation not purely by chance? The survival of that mutation is natural selection, and the combination of both is Darwinian evolution. Very concise, I know...
The occurence of mutations is only a small part of evolution, and the theory of evolution only concerns a small part of the natural world, which is how species of living beings change over time. It does not, for instance, say anything about how life appeared in the first place.

"There is probably no other statement which is a better indication that the arguer doesn't understand evolution. Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and SELECTION IS THE VERY OPPOSITE OF CHANCE."

(my capitals)

From Five Major Misconceptions About Evolution (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html) (scroll down to the rebuttal to "The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance.")


I hope I was clear enough in my first post, but to be ceratin: I agree. I was just trying to point out that while saying 'Evolution happens purely by chance' is plain wrong, it is equally wrong to say or imply that chance plays no role in it. I have often (though normally not around here, thankfully) heard Evolution being described as an almost living thing, as having a 'will' of its own, like 'when there's an ecological niche, an animal will evolve to fill it'. That's just plain nonsense, and comes in a way close to ID.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-07, 12:30 PM
I was just trying to point out that while saying 'Evolution happens purely by chance' is plain wrong, it is equally wrong to say or imply that chance plays no role in it.
But did anyone here say or imply that chance plays no role in evolution?
For the record, my use of capitals was directed at the people responsible for this latest attack on science, not at you.


I have often (though normally not around here, thankfully) heard Evolution being described as an almost living thing, as having a 'will' of its own, like 'when there's an ecological niche, an animal will evolve to fill it'. That's just plain nonsense, and comes in a way close to ID.
Ah, Lamarckian evolutionism... It just won't go away. :)
Yes, even biologists talk like that sometimes. I suppose it's a useful metaphor. Unfortunately, it's also a very misleading one.

[Edited for spelling.]

Captain Kidd
2005-Jan-07, 12:43 PM
Fram's comment brought back a memory. I was flipping though the channels bored one day and in the listing was a biology class on one of the university channels about evolution; so out of boredom I flipped to it. Thus began 15 minutes of me sitting there completely flabbergasted before I finally had to turn the channel.

The presenter was talking about how evolution will consciously fill niches, purposely make alterations to existing species to try to improve them, intentionally do this and that to reach a predefined goal. (And those word emphases were almost in his voice too.) Basically, evolution was intelligently evolving species towards some predetermined configuration.

All you had to do was replace “evolution” with “god” and you’d have the perfect Sunday church service, use “aliens” or something else and you’d have ID. The sentences were that interchangeable. That’s when I realized that both sides have there extremists. This guy had obviously taken the theory of evolution and evolved it into a personal belief system. Standing there in front of the college class (this was one of those camera in the back of the room televised classes) he looked like a preacher giving a sermon sans the occasional singing.

I think that a kind of polarization happens. Some, not all just some, of the opposition to teaching evolution is people encountering, or hearing of, those who believe or seem to believe in Intelligent Evolution (ohh, did I coin a new phrase? IE? No that’s a browser. Evolution by Design? ED?) and mistakenly think that’s how evolution is taught. It’s almost human nature that when you’re opposing something to focus on the most extreme example and portray it as the norm of the other side so that your argument gains more credibility. Just like others think that all Christians are YECs.

Wally
2005-Jan-07, 12:44 PM
I have often (though normally not around here, thankfully) heard Evolution being described as an almost living thing, as having a 'will' of its own, like 'when there's an ecological niche, an animal will evolve to fill it'. That's just plain nonsense, and comes in a way close to ID.
Ah, Lamarckian evolutionism... It just won't go way. :)
Yes, even biologists talk like that sometimes. I suppose it's a useful metaphor. Unfortunately, it's also a very misleading one.

Yeah, it's pretty much bass-ackwards, isn't it??? I mean, an animal doesn't evolve to fill a niche. It evolved to what it is because it existed in that niche to begin with, right?

worzel
2005-Jan-07, 01:04 PM
I think that a kind of polarization happens. Some, not all just some, of the opposition to teaching evolution is people encountering, or hearing of, those who believe or seem to believe in Intelligent Evolution (ohh, did I coin a new phrase? IE? No that’s a browser. Evolution by Design? ED?) and mistakenly think that’s how evolution is taught. It’s almost human nature that when you’re opposing something to focus on the most extreme example and portray it as the norm of the other side so that your argument gains more credibility. Just like others think that all Christians are YECs.
I think a lot of IDers would like that take on evolution, as you say, it is almost ID. I think the vast majority of hostility towards evolution exists because people don't like the idea of there being no purpose to us being here. I agree though, there are some who think that the theory of evolution includes purpose and a goal.

One misconception I often hear is the one about us humans being more highly evolved than other animals. People forget that every living thing on this planet now right now can trace it's lineage all the way back to the same first ancestor (probably) so we've all been evolving for the same amount of time.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-07, 01:35 PM
Yeah, it's pretty much bass-ackwards, isn't it??? I mean, an animal doesn't evolve to fill a niche. It evolved to what it is because it existed in that niche to begin with, right?
Perhaps we shouldn't be too picky with words, though. I don't believe that animals (or species, or nature) consciously choose to evolve into a niche, but I think many biologists use that kind of language because, in practical terms, changes happen pretty much as though they had been directed. This is a very suggestive way of thinking about the evolution of biological traits, although it isn't to be taken literally.

Swift
2005-Jan-07, 02:08 PM
I was thinking about intelligent design last night and if I have the concept correct, it makes less sense to me than the purely religous one.

If I understand it correctly, they assume that the universe follows all the laws of physics, etc., but that processes like evolution aren't random but are guided by a "designer". The designer uses the natural processes to reach a desired end point. My problem with that is the already discussed problem with flaws in the design. If there is a designer, they are doing a bad job. (footnote - there was an issue of Scientific American in the last few years where they discussed the mechanical design flaws in humans and how to fix them. If SA can come up with a better design, why couldn't the "designer").

Now in the purely bible-is-the-literal-truth version of creation, you can explain the design flaws. God can do anything he wants (create the universe in 6 days, etc.), doesn't need no stinking physical laws, and does'nt have to explain it. How often have you heard someone who believes this (my sister) say, well, we just don't understand "god's plan". So maybe our flaws are part of god's plan: they are punishment for the apple in the Garden of Eden, or they are to make us humble, or god likes wisdom teeth and slipped disks, or whatever. If god is omnipotent, you don't have to explain anything - all the evidence for evolution is in god's plan to test our faith!

worzel
2005-Jan-07, 02:13 PM
My problem with that is the already discussed problem with flaws in the design.
Personally I think the bigger problem is that it begs the question, "who designed the designer?" Especially if they argue that you can't get more complexity from less complexity.

Swift
2005-Jan-07, 03:29 PM
My problem with that is the already discussed problem with flaws in the design.
Personally I think the bigger problem is that it begs the question, "who designed the designer?" Especially if they argue that you can't get more complexity from less complexity.
Good point and again, the purely religious position makes more "sense" - god just is! Maybe the problem with ID is that they try to have their cake and eat it to, they try to have religion, but with a scientific undertone. But you can't have a little science (logic) - its like being a little pregnant. Once you shine the light of the scientific method on the problem, you have to apply to the whole problem, not just the parts you like.

Ut
2005-Jan-07, 03:30 PM
You know, I hear you can be "a little pregnant" now. At least according to one of those pregnancy tests on the market. :-?

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-07, 03:49 PM
My exposure to ID has been very limited, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that ID isn't really aimed at the common religious person - who is quite content with the it's-all-in-the-Bible approach - , but rather at mainstream science. To the extent that ID proponents are persuasive, it's because they use excruciatingly technical arguments to prove the necessity of a Designer, to which the average scientist or skeptic is not capable of responding, since those arguments come from highly specialised fields. Is this it?

stu
2005-Jan-07, 04:26 PM
Ah, so they've decided to follow the "but its ONLY a theory" argument, by coming up with something else they call a theory. After all, if you've got two competing theories, Science can't tell you which one is right, can it? ;)

It's this "just a theory" stuff that really gets me. Relativity is "just a theory," gravity is "just a theory," QM is "just a theory." The list goes on.

Dr. Eugene Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education, and someone who I've been lucky enough to meet and talk with in person due to the whole ID debate here in Ohio, will be giving a little talk on Tuesday (8:30-9:20am) at the AAS meeting entitled "Intelligent Design and the Creationism/Evolution Controversy." For those who won't be there, I'll try to take notes for my own debunking edification, but I'll also try to post highlights here if I can. For those who WILL be at the AAS meeting this week, I strongly recommend that you go to this.

Ilya
2005-Jan-07, 07:40 PM
Maybe the problem with ID is that they try to have their cake and eat it to, they try to have religion, but with a scientific undertone. But you can't have a little science (logic) - its like being a little pregnant.

I always hated this expression, because it is entirely possible to be "a little pregnant". It's called "temporarily carrying a non-viable embryo", and MOST pregnancies are like that (and end in the matter of days, usually without the woman even being aware of them).

Swift
2005-Jan-07, 08:57 PM
Maybe the problem with ID is that they try to have their cake and eat it to, they try to have religion, but with a scientific undertone. But you can't have a little science (logic) - its like being a little pregnant.

I always hated this expression, because it is entirely possible to be "a little pregnant". It's called "temporarily carrying a non-viable embryo", and MOST pregnancies are like that (and end in the matter of days, usually without the woman even being aware of them).
Sorry, it was just an expression; I didn't know it was a touchy subject. :oops:
However you want to phrase it, that is still my take on ID, they are trying to be religion and science together at the same time, and are not doing a good job on either.

archman
2005-Jan-07, 11:26 PM
Fram's comment brought back a memory. I was flipping though the channels bored one day and in the listing was a biology class on one of the university channels about evolution; so out of boredom I flipped to it. Thus began 15 minutes of me sitting there completely flabbergasted before I finally had to turn the channel.

The presenter was talking about how evolution will consciously fill niches, purposely make alterations to existing species to try to improve them, intentionally do this and that to reach a predefined goal. (And those word emphases were almost in his voice too.) Basically, evolution was intelligently evolving species towards some predetermined configuration.

All you had to do was replace “evolution” with “god” and you’d have the perfect Sunday church service, use “aliens” or something else and you’d have ID. The sentences were that interchangeable. That’s when I realized that both sides have there extremists. This guy had obviously taken the theory of evolution and evolved it into a personal belief system. Standing there in front of the college class (this was one of those camera in the back of the room televised classes) he looked like a preacher giving a sermon sans the occasional singing.



Yeah, that presenter crossed the line. Probably not an evolutionary biologist, but some "generic" biology prof. Folks like this give evolutionary theory a bad name.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-08, 04:21 AM
'Selection pressures acting on random mutations and new combinations in offspring' is the language you will find most accurate. Genetic science will overtake the current biological threads that haven't yet incorporated such terms into their vocabularies.

I just wish the public caught up as fact as the science moves. It's very annoying to have to constantly tell people their arguments are long out of date. We are in the information age and lots and lots of people haven't figured that out yet.

Gillianren
2005-Jan-10, 05:11 AM
My exposure to ID has been very limited, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that ID isn't really aimed at the common religious person - who is quite content with the it's-all-in-the-Bible approach - , but rather at mainstream science. To the extent that ID proponents are persuasive, it's because they use excruciatingly technical arguments to prove the necessity of a Designer, to which the average scientist or skeptic is not capable of responding, since those arguments come from highly specialised fields. Is this it?

more accurately, it's a dodge from the courts, or at least an attempted one. see, they can't teach pure creationism, and they know it--that pesky First Amendment keeps getting in the way. creationism is a purely religious belief--God, capital G, the one in the Bible, capital B, created the world. that, when taught in the public schools, is government establishing religion, because it's pretty obvious that Buddhists and Hindus and Pagans (oh, my) don't believe in Biblical infallibility.

the arguments aren't all that technical, and they don't tend to convince anyone who knows much about biology (the bad design of the human body keeps coming up in those discussions). but if they can pretend it's a legitimate scientific theory (which it's not; no falsifiability), the courts might let it sneak through into science classes.

to be honest, this actually makes me much angrier than Moon Hoax People. this is brainwashing kids into modern Christian evangelical fundamentalism, simply because they're taught it as science in school. (if the kids don't know how to get information elsewhere, that is, which seems increasingly likely to me.)

worzel
2005-Jan-10, 11:06 AM
My exposure to ID has been very limited, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that ID isn't really aimed at the common religious person - who is quite content with the it's-all-in-the-Bible approach - , but rather at mainstream science. To the extent that ID proponents are persuasive, it's because they use excruciatingly technical arguments to prove the necessity of a Designer, to which the average scientist or skeptic is not capable of responding, since those arguments come from highly specialised fields. Is this it?
I agree. Inetelligent Design, Irreducible Complexity, etc. etc. are all just attempts to disguise creationism as a scientific theory, and attempt to bamboozle the average reader into thinking they are more than just a statement of belief. It doesn't matter how unscientific they are, if they sound scientific and elicit sceintific responses then they point at the discussions and say "look, scientists disagree on this matter". It is for that reason that Dawkins and others won't even engage with them.

Doodler
2005-Jan-13, 05:48 PM
Looks like the courts are still holding strong.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/13/evolution.textbooks.ruling/index.html

Donnie B.
2005-Jan-13, 06:25 PM
Looks like the courts are still holding strong.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/13/evolution.textbooks.ruling/index.html =D>

Swift
2005-Jan-13, 06:34 PM
Looks like the courts are still holding strong.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/13/evolution.textbooks.ruling/index.html
Doodler, you beat me to the posting. :D
Interesting ruling (some details in the article).

"Due to the manner in which the sticker refers to evolution as a theory, the sticker also has the effect of undermining evolution education to the benefit of those Cobb County citizens who would prefer that students maintain their religious beliefs regarding the origin of life," Cooper wrote in his ruling.

His conclusion, he said, "is not that the school board should not have called evolution a theory or that the school board should have called evolution a fact."

"Rather, the distinction of evolution as a theory rather than a fact is the distinction that religiously motivated individuals have specifically asked school boards to make in the most recent anti-evolution movement, and that was exactly what parents in Cobb County did in this case," he wrote.

"By adopting this specific language, even if at the direction of counsel, the Cobb County School Board appears to have sided with these religiously motivated individuals."

So the problem isn't the wording, is that the school board was taking sides :-?

Andromeda321
2005-Jan-13, 07:14 PM
The case was heard in federal court last November. The school system defended the warning stickers as a show of tolerance, not religious activism as some parents claimed.

"The Cobb County school board is doing more than accommodating religion," Michael Manely, an attorney for the parents, argued during the trial, according to a report from The Associated Press. "They are promoting religious dogma to all students."

Also from the article:

"Science and religion are related and they're not mutually exclusive," school district attorney Linwood Gunn said in an AP report. "This sticker was an effort to get past that conflict and to teach good science."


Ok, I'm sorry but I don't even think these people understand the basic facts behind evolution and the way science works at all. That's the only conclusion I can gather from this and it truly saddens me.
I also can't help but wonder about how the ID people don't even think of trying out their case at various public universities throughout the country. I mean if they were so right it would make sense that they'd take their case to that level right? The fact that it's a nonissue at the university level should give them a hint, IMHO.

Doodler
2005-Jan-13, 08:17 PM
The fact that it's a nonissue at the university level should give them a hint, IMHO.

It has, its just that they've arrived at a different tack than you'd think. Instead of battling it out among intellectuals who'd understand, they plant the seeds of conflict in minds still struggling to grasp the concept of critical thought. Religion has always been about indoctrination over reason, and the best place to indoctrinate is in minds not fully capable of reason, young minds.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-18, 08:51 PM
:o It's on the news in the UK now. I think it's even a different school.

Two of the biology teachers will walk out if the governors read out their statement about how evolution is only a theory and another one is intelligent design. Two of the governors left instantly because of what the others were saying, which was something along the lines of "This country was founded by Christians and that people with other beliefs should go back to the country they came from.

Now wait a minute, Christians founded America... so founding involves brutal murdering and blood lust. 8-[

Oh and the head master IIRC said it's wrong not to because some of the students believe in it so it would be discriminating. He then said that one of the governors believed that aliens created life on earth.

One of the people in the town said he didn't believe man evolved from monkey. ](*,)

I'm going to stop and think of the void before my head blows up. 8-[

Nicolas
2005-Jan-18, 09:02 PM
There are strange people. In my school, we were only taught evolution. Nobody complained, both Christians and non-Christians. Still, some people indeed seem to hold to other theories. I think this is their right, but that it does not belong in the "neutral" educational environment. I read an article in the newspaper once in which a man selling fossils claimed he once knew a woman stating that all fossils in the world were fakes or misdated. It is strange how people growing up in what appears to be the same environment can have such a different view on the world.

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-18, 09:17 PM
There are strange people. In my school, we were only taught evolution. Nobody complained, both Christians and non-Christians. Still, some people indeed seem to hold to other theories. I think this is their right, but that it does not belong in the "neutral" educational environment. I read an article in the newspaper once in which a man selling fossils claimed he once knew a woman stating that all fossils in the world were fakes or misdated. It is strange how people growing up in what appears to be the same environment can have such a different view on the world.

Religion appeals to the emotions in a way that education often does not. Maybe if we make science more entertaining, it will gain followers. 8)

rleyland
2005-Jan-18, 09:43 PM
There are strange people. In my school, we were only taught evolution. Nobody complained, both Christians and non-Christians. Still, some people indeed seem to hold to other theories. I think this is their right, but that it does not belong in the "neutral" educational environment. I read an article in the newspaper once in which a man selling fossils claimed he once knew a woman stating that all fossils in the world were fakes or misdated. It is strange how people growing up in what appears to be the same environment can have such a different view on the world.

Religion appeals to the emotions in a way that education often does not. Maybe if we make science more entertaining, it will gain followers. 8)

One of my defining school moments, and deepest held memories :

I was 8 or 9 (in Standard 3), and gave a presentation on Dinosaurs. Always a hot topic for kids, and I was totally interested in the neat names, and weird looking creatures (ok, ok, I still am!). Just after I started, and got the topic rolling, one girl in my class stood up, yelling at me that it wasn't true, that I was lying, and then left the class (in tears).

I was pretty shocked, and shaken up by this. Sensitive child. I had no idea that someone would find something as innocuous, and yet fascinating, as 65+ million year dead creatures could be so antithetical. My teacher (an elder gentleman named Mr Edwards) followed the girl out of the class, then returned quite quickly, and prompted me to continue. When I was done he applauded, and led the class in applause. He got me over a nasty bump, and was able to console the girl in question away from the class.

Looking back, I can see that he was an exceptional teacher, would that we had more like him.


cheers,
Robbo.

PS. this was in New Zealand in 1967-8. I'd like to think we have come a ways since then, but I'm not holding my breath.

SciFi Chick
2005-Jan-18, 10:03 PM
I've personally met two people on both American coasts that don't believe dinosaurs are real...

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-19, 12:10 AM
I've personally met two people on both American coasts that don't believe dinosaurs are real...

To be honest I’ve never met a single person who didn't believe dinosaurs were real, I went to a Christian youth group with about 30 Christians and every single one of them believed in dinosaurs. I've also found an ammonite fossil in my garden before 8)

I got into science on a sick day, I had the discovery channel on and saw CG images of a black hole. It was talking about Hawking’s theories and such I was instantly watching discovery all the time and learning as much as I could about science. I know understand quantum physics, trying for string theory now :) I also don't find quantum physics that weird, but then again I kind of grew up with it and I’m not used to the world like other people are.

I don't get how people cannot believe in science. I'm somewhat religious, I believe in my own things really but I still don't get how people can refute science with such... Ignorance. I can talk to any of my friends about science, like I had a talk about theories of controlled evolution. With someone who doesn't even enjoy science, over here I don’t think we separate them so blindly as we sorted out the science and religious problems 100's of years ago.

No offence meant to Americans because there are a lot of intelligent people there, but where in the heck do some of them come from? I've met people out of their heads on crack make more sense with higher IQ's then some people in America who just defy logic. I mean i thought society was becoming more intelligent not going back to the dark ages.

mike alexander
2005-Jan-19, 12:27 AM
EMP wrote:


No offence meant to Americans because there are a lot of intelligent people there, but where in the heck do some of them come from?

Well... quite a few came from England.... :D


And no offence taken. Just as some Americans wonder why some British actually seem to think royalty means something. :-?

I would only opine that there is a spread of belieifs anywhere, but that certain groups have learned to work the levers of publicity better than others.

worzel
2005-Jan-19, 12:30 AM
And no offence taken. Just as some Americans wonder why some British actually seem to think royalty means something.
It does! American tourist dollars :P

Van Rijn
2005-Jan-19, 12:39 AM
EMP wrote:


No offence meant to Americans because there are a lot of intelligent people there, but where in the heck do some of them come from?

Well... quite a few came from England.... :D


I wrote almost EXACTLY the same thing, but you beat me to it. Some of my own ancestors came from England.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-19, 12:46 AM
And no offence taken. Just as some Americans wonder why some British actually seem to think royalty means something.
It does! American tourist dollars :P
=D>


Well... quite a few came from England.... :D
Hey that’s why I don't get it, how did we get to the state where the majority of people are highly educated and all are taught the same things and learn the same things. Then they get to America and suddenly they believe all the things they just had taught out of them.

Where in heck did the evangelicalism come from in America, I like England no one gives a damn who's religion you are of and they don't try and convert you. If you did you'd get arrested for running a scam or disturbing the peace.

Does anyone know if there are there many evangelic Canadians? I'm going to murder someone if there are 8-[

How do people refute science as false, they use CD players which use the Bohr model of the atom. Basic QM ](*,)

worzel
2005-Jan-19, 01:17 AM
Hey that’s why I don't get it, how did we get to the state where the majority of people are highly educated and all are taught the same things and learn the same things. Then they get to America and suddenly they believe all the things they just had taught out of them.
I have a theory on this. I have no evidence to back it up and no mechanism whereby it came about, but I might be able to make up some anecdotes at a push.

When I was younger and stupider than I am now I used to be guilty of thinking that Americans are stupid (many English people think this). But obviously this can't be true, not only are people more or less the same where ever you go, many of the brightest people in the world get drawn to America (the dreaded brain drain), and an aweful lot of scientific and technological advancement comes from America.

I think American society is basically anti-intellectual. That is, it's ok to be clever, so long as you're still a plain speaking good ol' boy who likes to rope cattle. That may sound a bit cras but the image America exports really does give this impression. I don't like to admit it but I can't believe Bush is as thick as he appears, his popularity surely lies in his ability to ape an ape.

worzel
2005-Jan-19, 01:40 AM
PS. this was in New Zealand in 1967-8. I'd like to think we have come a ways since then, but I'm not holding my breath.
One of the virtues of New Zealand that I was informed of when I arrived (and there were a lot of them) was the fact that it had no state religion, unlike England. Imagine my suprise when a teacher asked us to mark our own work and told us to remember that we do so in the eyes of God. When I put up my hand and asked "Please sir, what if you don't believe in God" he flew into a rage and told me I belonged in Russia! :-? He was actually a great music teacher who inspired me, despite my lack of ability, but I still find that outburst on a 13 year old a little disturbing.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-19, 01:56 AM
Hey that’s why I don't get it, how did we get to the state where the majority of people are highly educated and all are taught the same things and learn the same things. Then they get to America and suddenly they believe all the things they just had taught out of them.
I have a theory on this. I have no evidence to back it up and no mechanism whereby it came about, but I might be able to make up some anecdotes at a push.

When I was younger and stupider than I am now I used to be guilty of thinking that Americans are stupid (many English people think this). But obviously this can't be true, not only are people more or less the same where ever you go, many of the brightest people in the world get drawn to America (the dreaded brain drain), and an aweful lot of scientific and technological advancement comes from America.

I think American society is basically anti-intellectual. That is, it's ok to be clever, so long as you're still a plain speaking good ol' boy who likes to rope cattle. That may sound a bit cras but the image America exports really does give this impression. I don't like to admit it but I can't believe Bush is as thick as he appears, his popularity surely lies in his ability to ape an ape.

I think 2DTV nailed bush's coffin shut over here when they had him put his letter of complaint in the toaster and it set on fire.

But he has speach writers and i feel sorry for the guy because they have to be dumber then him or he he's a really bad reader. Some of the lines he's said have had me in fits of laughter, i think he really should have become a comedian.


I personally like americans but i'll be damned if i let my child grow up in that schooling, i just asked my friend if she even knew GR meant (it was a long conversation i wont bore you with.) and she first asked what GR was so i said general relativity and the answer was, "and that is?". I knew what GR was when i was 3, okay a bit of an exageration but it was before i finished primary school (11 years old). It's only one example but she said she'd bet me anything that there would only be a few people in her school that could tell me, and she's 15.

Oh well i'll just teach my kids, as i build medieval weapons in my back garden for fun :roll:

mike alexander
2005-Jan-19, 02:08 AM
One problem is that anyone is unschooled if he doesn't know what you know. :-?

Another problem I have seen up close is the decline of textbooks, especially in the first twelve grades. Not only are they filled with extraneous dribble, many are not carefully proofread and contain mistakes, some minor, others major (My standing favorite was the illustration of a 'communications satellite' in my son's biology text. Of Skylab.) One reason may be that many are written by committees, and show it.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-19, 12:49 PM
I really don't think this is an Americans vs. non-Americans thing. I think American fundamentalists just happen to be more organized and better financed than fundamentalists elsewhere.


One of the virtues of New Zealand that I was informed of when I arrived (and there were a lot of them) was the fact that it had no state religion, unlike England. Imagine my suprise when a teacher asked us to mark our own work and told us to remember that we do so in the eyes of God. When I put up my hand and asked "Please sir, what if you don't believe in God" he flew into a rage and told me I belonged in Russia! :-?
Funny how people can be more religiously intrusive in countries without an official state religion than in countries with an official religion, isn't it? :wink:

Argos
2005-Jan-19, 01:07 PM
I think the decline of education, and not only in the US, stems from the cultural relativism; the notion that any "knowledge" is valid, and there´s no absolute references. Kind of an awkward extension of the principles of Einsteins´s relativity to the cultural sphere. Decadent values and a lack of mental discipline stimulated by an extremely self-indulgent way of life also play a role.

worzel
2005-Jan-19, 01:32 PM
I think the decline of education, and not only in the US, stems from the cultural relativism; the notion that any "knowledge" is valid, and there´s no absolute references. Kind of an awkward extension of the principles of Einsteins´s relativity to the cultural sphere. Decadent values and a lack of mental discipline stimulated by an extremely self-indulgent way of life also play a role.
Yes I agree, I was shocked when my somewhat younger borther, in an attempt to defend his girlfriend's witch craftery, said "What if I don't believe that TVs exist?" after me pointing out that science is not just faith but does produce testable results, like tv for instance.

This is sort of going down the same road as saying that evolution is just a theory. As someone else on this thread said "everything is just a theory", but the one which says I have two arms seems slightly more plausible to me than the one which says love spells do anything. This is only a slight exageration of the difference between evolution and creationism / ID.

Maksutov
2005-Jan-19, 01:35 PM
I think the decline of education, and not only in the US, stems from the cultural relativism; the notion that any "knowledge" is valid, and there´s no absolute references. Kind of an awkward extension of the principles of Einsteins´s relativity to the cultural sphere. Decadent values and a lack of mental discipline stimulated by an extremely self-indulgent way of life also play a role.
Yes I agree, I was shocked when my somewhat younger borther, in an attempt to defend his girlfriend's witch craftery, said "What if I don't believe that TVs exist?". This is sort of going down the same road as saying that evolution is just a theory. As someone else on this thread said "everything is just a theory", but the one which says I have two arms seems slightly more plausible to me than the one which says love spells do anything. This is only a slight exageration of the difference between evolution and creationism / ID.
Bottom line is, you can ignore reality, but reality will not ignore you.

Captain Kidd
2005-Jan-19, 02:23 PM
On the cultural aspect.

I wish I could find the actual study, but the local news reported a couple mornings ago a poll that really depressed me.

2 out of 3 parents would prefer that their child be in popular through sports and with a C average than studious with an A average (i.e. unpopular). This has always been reflected in childhood social groupings. Who usually gets picked on, the kid that’s in Little League (elementary and middle school baseball) or the kid that reads a lot? Who are usually the prom king and queen, the quarterback and cheerleader or the ones with a perfect SAT score? (A whole new thread could be devoted to this. Is it based in the survival/hunter-gatherer subconscious where those who hunt, i.e. sports, are preferred over those perceived as weak, i.e. weakling bookworms?)

Argue all you want about the education system, (and we have enough gripes ourselves that we’re seriously looking into home schooling if things don’t improve by the time he’s of age) but the most important, and seemingly most forgotten, criteria is a home environment conducive to education. People seem to think that it’s completely the school’s responsibility to teach the children and parents need not lift a finger.

Children will pick up the desires of the parents, either through:
a) active influence. Like encouraging the child to practice at a sport at the expense of homework/studying. Or ridiculing the child for getting high grades but performing poorly at sports. (As stereotypical as it seems, I’ve seen it way too often, “Soccer Mom” hasn’t become a term for overbearing parenting for no reason. Many even view their child as a retirement fund, “Johnny’s going to be the next Tiger Woods, make millions, and as a parent/manager, I’ll get my share.”
It is not surprising, therefore, that many parents view their child's sport experience as a long term investment. [source (http://www.kidsfirstsoccer.com/sport_parent.htm)]

b) or by picking up on subtle signals that the parent(s) might not even know they’re giving off. Like a sigh at seeing high marks on a report card while being told that the child either didn’t have what it takes to excel at a particular sport, or didn’t have the interest in it. Usually being the parent’ favorite sport too.

There’s also the problem of parents living vicariously through their children.
Some parents tend to live vicariously through their child's sport experience. Parent's ego confusion with the child's is evident in situations where the parents uses language such as "Who or where are we playing today?" or "We had a great game today!"[same source (http://www.kidsfirstsoccer.com/sport_parent.htm) as above]

I have a cousin on my wife’s side that is an example of such a parent. She was enrolled in every imaginable sport the area had to offer and expected to excel in them all and to always be chosen for the “best” positions. Additionally, ironically unlike the point I’m going for, she was also expected to be an A student too. Amazingly she did. However on a darker note, this had lead to a person that, now in her mid-twenties, cannot settle down. She was extremely driven in her childhood, it wasn’t uncommon for her as young as 8 or so to be up until 10 or 11 PM and then up at 4 or 5 AM for before-school swimming or practice. College was the same, “4.0 or else we’ll not fund your college and by the way the Polo club needs a new center”, or whatever the position is. Now she goes place-to-place and can’t stay in one spot for long. However, the last couple years have shown a trend to relaxing and actually going against her parent’s wishes by finding a job that isn’t high-profile (or big bucks, another vicarious experience the parent wanted to have).

So in summary. Boy can I babble, oh well, fits the forum name. Schools and/or government policy cannot be fully blamed. Yes, the curriculum offered is important, however, “learning begins at home.” A child will still flunk out of the best school in the world if there’s no, or worse, adverse parental influence. And it seems that in the US at least, the culture perfers popularity over education.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-19, 03:00 PM
I think the decline of education, and not only in the US, stems from the cultural relativism; the notion that any "knowledge" is valid, and there´s no absolute references. Kind of an awkward extension of the principles of Einsteins´s relativity to the cultural sphere. Decadent values and a lack of mental discipline stimulated by an extremely self-indulgent way of life also play a role.
Yes I agree, I was shocked when my somewhat younger borther, in an attempt to defend his girlfriend's witch craftery, said "What if I don't believe that TVs exist?" after me pointing out that science is not just faith but does produce testable results, like tv for instance.

This is sort of going down the same road as saying that evolution is just a theory. As someone else on this thread said "everything is just a theory", but the one which says I have two arms seems slightly more plausible to me than the one which says love spells do anything. This is only a slight exageration of the difference between evolution and creationism / ID.

The only effect of a love spell is if you believe it works. Depending on your frame of mind you could get a date with someone or get rejected and a slap. It's like me thinking I’m the most unlucky person in the world doing this will put me in a downward spiral where I will in fact cause bad luck to myself.

One of my friends believes strongly in ghosts and such even though it's completely irrational and a lot of it has been shown to happen in high magnetic field areas. Even I have fallen for thinking something abnormal was happening when I kept seeing something in the corner of my eye but when i looked straight at it I couldn’t see it. After about an hour of wasted time I figured out it was a trick of the eye from a flashing LCD on my Hi-Fi.
I have to say there is hope for my friend though. Probably because I’d strap them down and play hour after hour of physics videos to them :)

From an ignorant perspective of myself I would have thought refusals to teach evolution would have come from other religions not from Christianity which I thought was leaving it's fundamentalism behind. Apparently not, but I’ve never found a fundamentalist protestant, granted I haven't looked much but one of my friends mothers hates me because I know too much science. Apparently I’m a heretic :roll:

Maksutov
2005-Jan-19, 03:43 PM
Captain Kidd, I know about those parents. Unfortunately first-hand.

My father had been a basketball star in high school. It was about the only thing he ever excelled in.

When I was a HS freshman I was the tallest, not only in the class, but in the school. As might be expected, I was asked to try out for basketball.

Now my entire experience with the sport consisted of my father nailing a hoop to the garage and throwing me a ball. There was no training or instruction (then or ever) since he was in a hurry to get back to his stool at the bar and grill.

I knew "horse", etc., but the actual game rules were unknowns. However I played Little League, etc., baseball and the equivalent of Pop Warner football, therefore I knew those sports' rules from experience. I also knew that, when sliding into bases in baseball or blocking in football, if a guy from the other team was in your way, the best method for taking care of him was to knock him down.

So, the coach greeted me at the tryout. He said the first thing we'd do would be to see my dribbling skills and maneuvering. He stood out of bounds and said he was going to inbounds the ball to me and I was to dribble to the basket and put the ball in. There would be two guys defending against me. "OK", I said.

The coach inbounded the ball to me, and I caught it and started dribbling. Ted and Jerry were the defenders and were between me and the basket. Since they were in the way, I just knocked them down and put the ball up off the backboard and into the basket.

The coach called over and said, "Son, I think you'd be better in some other sport." That was the end of my high school basketball career.

Later, I got my first report card. It was all "A"s and I had made the high honors roll. My mother insisted I show it to my father, who was busy with his newspaper and Rheingold beer.

He looked at the report card, threw it to one side, then stared at me and said, "How come you aren't on the basketball team? What's the matter, you too good to play basketball? Don't like getting all sweaty? Too #@$#&$% good for that? I wasn't! You think you're &%#@*#$ better than me?"

And then the rant descended into a long string of profanities.

When my son was old enough to play Little League baseball, I noticed an ad in the local paper about tryouts, etc. I had been an All-Star in Little League, as well as later. My son liked to watch baseball on TV, especially the Yankees (a rough go for his Dad, who was a Mets fan and hated the Bronxers), and he liked to play the game with the other kids in the neighborhood.

I showed him the ad and asked him if if he was interested. I pointed out that if he wasn't, no problem.

He replied that he'd really like to play Little League because he'd been a baseball fan since the World Series where his hero Reggie Jackson had hit four consecutive home runs. Plus he thought he'd be pretty good at it, based on sandlot games he'd played in.

Needless to say, his approach to the game (and life) was a bit different than those poor kids who had been forced into roles they didn't want to take, only because their "parents" were (re)living their own lives vicariously through their children or submitting to some kind of social pressure.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-19, 08:25 PM
EMP wrote:


No offense meant to Americans because there are a lot of intelligent people there, but where in the heck do some of them come from?

Well... quite a few came from England.... :D

...... =D> =D> =D>

Mike, you just crack me up. :lol: :lol:

Actually, I've been to quite a few countries. I'm sad to say, ignorance is quite prevalent the world around.

Doodler
2005-Jan-19, 09:13 PM
Captain Kidd, I know about those parents. Unfortunately first-hand.

My father had been a basketball star in high school. It was about the only thing he ever excelled in.

When I was a HS freshman I was the tallest, not only in the class, but in the school. As might be expected, I was asked to try out for basketball.

Now my entire experience with the sport consisted of my father nailing a hoop to the garage and throwing me a ball. There was no training or instruction (then or ever) since he was in a hurry to get back to his stool at the bar and grill.

I knew "horse", etc., but the actual game rules were unknowns. However I played Little League, etc., baseball and the equivalent of Pop Warner football, therefore I knew those sports' rules from experience. I also knew that, when sliding into bases in baseball or blocking in football, if a guy from the other team was in your way, the best method for taking care of him was to knock him down.

So, the coach greeted me at the tryout. He said the first thing we'd do would be to see my dribbling skills and maneuvering. He stood out of bounds and said he was going to inbounds the ball to me and I was to dribble to the basket and put the ball in. There would be two guys defending against me. "OK", I said.

The coach inbounded the ball to me, and I caught it and started dribbling. Ted and Jerry were the defenders and were between me and the basket. Since they were in the way, I just knocked them down and put the ball up off the backboard and into the basket.

The coach called over and said, "Son, I think you'd be better in some other sport." That was the end of my high school basketball career.

Later, I got my first report card. It was all "A"s and I had made the high honors roll. My mother insisted I show it to my father, who was busy with his newspaper and Rheingold beer.

He looked at the report card, threw it to one side, then stared at me and said, "How come you aren't on the basketball team? What's the matter, you too good to play basketball? Don't like getting all sweaty? Too #@$#&$% good for that? I wasn't! You think you're &%#@*#$ better than me?"

And then the rant descended into a long string of profanities.

When my son was old enough to play Little League baseball, I noticed an ad in the local paper about tryouts, etc. I had been an All-Star in Little League, as well as later. My son liked to watch baseball on TV, especially the Yankees (a rough go for his Dad, who was a Mets fan and hated the Bronxers), and he liked to play the game with the other kids in the neighborhood.

I showed him the ad and asked him if if he was interested. I pointed out that if he wasn't, no problem.

He replied that he'd really like to play Little League because he'd been a baseball fan since the World Series where his hero Reggie Jackson had hit four consecutive home runs. Plus he thought he'd be pretty good at it, based on sandlot games he'd played in.

Needless to say, his approach to the game (and life) was a bit different than those poor kids who had been forced into roles they didn't want to take, only because their "parents" were (re)living their own lives vicariously through their children or submitting to some kind of social pressure.


I know those types, too. Its frustrating sitting with my friends at their kid's little league games listening to mothers comparing notes about how to keep their sons or daughters weights at certain levels to keep them in certain age/weight groups or the ones I truly would love to have a blind eye turned on me around are the parents of some competition gymnasts. What they put those girls through is almost enough to make me want to ahem.. intervene in the public interest.

sarongsong
2005-Jan-19, 09:20 PM
...I think American society is basically anti-intellectual...the image America exports really does give this impression. I don't like to admit it but I can't believe Bush is as thick as he appears...
Yes, perceived 'coolness' does seem to trump intellectualism in the U.S.
Interesting school grade-level analysis of American presidents' speeches here (http://www.yourdictionary.com/about/news038.html):
"...The grade-level of political speeches began to drop with the advent of radio and was accelerated with the introduction of television and other mass media. The apparent intent of this "dumbing-down" of political discourse was to make oneself understood by the broadest segment of the electorate. American voters are apparently divided on whether they want their presidents to be presidential, statesman-like, or an 'average guy' who can empathize with and relate to their specific situations..."

Doodler
2005-Jan-19, 09:25 PM
...I think American society is basically anti-intellectual...the image America exports really does give this impression. I don't like to admit it but I can't believe Bush is as thick as he appears...
Yes, perceived 'coolness' does seem to trump intellectualism in the U.S.
Interesting school grade-level analysis of American presidents' speeches here (http://www.yourdictionary.com/about/news038.html):
"...The grade-level of political speeches began to drop with the advent of radio and was accelerated with the introduction of television and other mass media. The apparent intent of this "dumbing-down" of political discourse was to make oneself understood by the broadest segment of the electorate. American voters are apparently divided on whether they want their presidents to be presidential, statesman-like, or an 'average guy' who can empathize with and relate to their specific situations..."


Television also heralded the concept of 'sound bite' politics, where a catch phrase would be used, instead of an entire comment, and the anchor would provide interpretation, instead of allowing the viewer to make an informed choice.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-19, 10:32 PM
...I think American society is basically anti-intellectual...the image America exports really does give this impression. I don't like to admit it but I can't believe Bush is as thick as he appears...
Yes, perceived 'coolness' does seem to trump intellectualism in the U.S.
Interesting school grade-level analysis of American presidents' speeches here (http://www.yourdictionary.com/about/news038.html):
"...The grade-level of political speeches began to drop with the advent of radio and was accelerated with the introduction of television and other mass media. The apparent intent of this "dumbing-down" of political discourse was to make oneself understood by the broadest segment of the electorate. American voters are apparently divided on whether they want their presidents to be presidential, statesman-like, or an 'average guy' who can empathize with and relate to their specific situations..."


Television also heralded the concept of 'sound bite' politics, where a catch phrase would be used, instead of an entire comment, and the anchor would provide interpretation, instead of allowing the viewer to make an informed choice.

Television politics are what i call three word politics. I've watched so many of the speeches by Tony Blair and any other person in politics and they tend to have speeches written with a comma every 3 letters.

The weird thing is we have intelligent programs on TV here about psychology and physics etc on terrestrial TV getting ratings of 6 million or more (which is high for the UK) yet Tony Blair and most UK politicians (and world) can't say four word sentences.

A series over here on child development with a Child Psychologist following the millenium children. Runs for 21 years :o People can watch that yet people can't listen to a sentence constructed out of a long list of political buzz words. :roll:

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-19, 10:55 PM
The weird thing is we have intelligent programs on TV here about psychology and physics etc on terrestrial TV getting ratings of 6 million or more (which is high for the UK) yet Tony Blair and most UK politicians (and world) can't say four word sentences.
Or won't. :wink:

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-19, 11:18 PM
The weird thing is we have intelligent programs on TV here about psychology and physics etc on terrestrial TV getting ratings of 6 million or more (which is high for the UK) yet Tony Blair and most UK politicians (and world) can't say four word sentences.
Or won't. :wink:

I bet it, is their writers, who can't write, long speeches for, the politicians to, speak for the, half-hour long interviews, and other such, jobs of their, hard daily lives.

Right that’s it! I am becoming, a political speech, writer for the, world of politics. :D

Gillianren
2005-Jan-20, 03:42 AM
the only aspect of my personality in which I've ever had self-esteem has been my intelligence. I'm smart, and I know I'm smart. I've got a lot wrong w/me, and a lot that I just think is wrong w/me, but I am an intelligent person.

knowing this, apparently, makes me arrogant. but if I knew I was a good athlete, I would just have good self-esteem. in grade school, I was accused of showing off when I knew the answers in class. on the other hand, when I didn't turn in homework, the teachers and my mom had fits. I grew up torn, and I suspect a lot of other people did as well.

I think part of the problem is textbooks, and I think part of the problem is the cult of idiocy. I mean, it's cool to be unintelligent and/or untalented. this is how people like Jessica Simpson and that annoying, tone deaf guy from American Idol have careers.

I think the only thing we can do is to try raising our own kids different, but they're still going to have a hard time in school. don't you think?

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-20, 05:12 PM
the only aspect of my personality in which I've ever had self-esteem has been my intelligence. I'm smart, and I know I'm smart. I've got a lot wrong w/me, and a lot that I just think is wrong w/me, but I am an intelligent person.

knowing this, apparently, makes me arrogant. but if I knew I was a good athlete, I would just have good self-esteem. in grade school, I was accused of showing off when I knew the answers in class. on the other hand, when I didn't turn in homework, the teachers and my mom had fits. I grew up torn, and I suspect a lot of other people did as well.

I think part of the problem is textbooks, and I think part of the problem is the cult of idiocy. I mean, it's cool to be unintelligent and/or untalented. this is how people like Jessica Simpson and that annoying, tone deaf guy from American Idol have careers.

I think the only thing we can do is to try raising our own kids different, but they're still going to have a hard time in school. don't you think?

Well i always found worrying about what other people think tends to be a waste of time. I have friends who spent hours worrying about if girls would like him etc, i spent that time having fun.

Personally i never found any trouble with being intelligent, I wasn't the most popular person but i was best friends with him. I think the other thing was i naturally get on well with girls, which goes down well when being in an all male school. I hated sports but that didn't make a difference either, my whole year group were all lazy and loved to party.

I think i had a good run in school, i could put the geeks to shame most of the time and i fitted straight in with all the 'cool people' and i could put them to shame too. The weird thing is i hated school basically because it was too strict and i was too smart for it before i finished.


But my belief in karma rains true, 5 years in an all male school and hating it. I'm now in college with all girls and loving it, not all the information though. I thought they were nice girls, how wrong i was :D

For anyone who's worried intelligent people are more likely to have a relationship that works. If you're in a sports career you spend time around cheer leaders who are usually good lucking, so you compare your spouse to them end up seeing the other people through rose coloured glasses and screw it up. Psychology's good to learn :)


I'm currently watching George Bush being inaugurated (Don't know the point of doing it again!). He's making larger sentences but it seems he takes longer to make them with longer pauses after. I can't wait for his next speech, I don't like him but i find his speeches funny. Well it gets me watching politics :P
(BTW I don't find his speeches funny because i don't like him. I find Tony Blairs speeches funny and i like him. Purely for the pauses.)

Tom
2005-Jan-20, 05:50 PM
The topic is "The Decline of Education in the United States". The question being asked is, why add religious content to education? I think the answer is very complicated, and as father of four that are/have been in public schools, I have some observations.

It seem the public schools now are making a distinct effort not to educate, but to provide each child a sense of "belonging". Other problems are applying "new" learning techniques to education. My own children struggled with basic math, and I found out the simple memorization of the math tables, a staple of math for EVER, were not used. The children were encouraged to "work the problem". Also, my college junior is struggling with geography. GEOGRAPHY. (I suggested to him that nearly every place in the world has been mentioned in movies and TV. "Watch with an atlas in your lap and find out where they are.")

Also, it seems that with the relatively low pay of teachers, we are not getting teachers who have an actual interest in the subjects they teach. Many are assigned a class to teach regardless of prior experience in that subject. To me, this removes any passion a teacher has for teaching. And, as a result, it does not generate any interest on the part of the child, as the teacher is obviously not interested.

Now, as a result, we have an entire generation that has little interest in education... When the interest in education is removed, something else will move in to take its place. Thus, I think this is the effect we are seeing - people who have been disinterested in education as children, now acting as adults, to provide their children what THEY percieve as important, and not having anything to do with actual quality of education, but to teach their children to be more "like them".

I don't particularly attribute this to ignorance or malice, but apathy. The ID and creationist proponents are not necessarily unintelligent, nor are all of them religious fanatics. It is probably due to a basic disinterest in the sciences.

mike alexander
2005-Jan-21, 01:40 AM
EMP wrote:


I'm currently watching George Bush being inaugurated (Don't know the point of doing it again!). He's making larger sentences but it seems he takes longer to make them with longer pauses after

Whoah. I missed the speech itself, but read the transcript. Something twitched in the cranium and I went back to read Lincoln's second inaugural.

Somebody was doing a little cribbing, and time is unidirectional. [-X


Sorry. You may now resume your regularly scheduled program.

Captain Kidd
2005-Jan-21, 02:24 AM
Also, it seems that with the relatively low pay of teachers, we are not getting teachers who have an actual interest in the subjects they teach. Many are assigned a class to teach regardless of prior experience in that subject. To me, this removes any passion a teacher has for teaching. And, as a result, it does not generate any interest on the part of the child, as the teacher is obviously not interested. Half the science and math teachers around here seem to be coaches with the resulting complaints from science oriented kids. They'll teach from the book and if it's wrong, well the kid's wrong for pointing it out because it's in the book that way and the book can't be wrong.

There's also something called Museum Magnet Schools started up in the public school system. I applaude them for actively involving museums into their curriculum to the point that they go to one 2-3 times a week. The museum is the classroom. They stress that it's not a "field trip" which has come to imply, "yay! time to turn off our brains for a day." What makes me concerned is some of the schools actually use no books whatsoever. Some things I can see not needing books, but every class? They're new and their grades are averaging higher than the regular public schools, but I wish there was a study tracking these kids to see how well they'll do in college when they suddenly come into possession of a stack of books a mile high and are expected to know how to use them (tables and whatnot).

electromagneticpulse
2005-Jan-21, 09:44 PM
Also, it seems that with the relatively low pay of teachers, we are not getting teachers who have an actual interest in the subjects they teach. Many are assigned a class to teach regardless of prior experience in that subject. To me, this removes any passion a teacher has for teaching. And, as a result, it does not generate any interest on the part of the child, as the teacher is obviously not interested. Half the science and math teachers around here seem to be coaches with the resulting complaints from science oriented kids. They'll teach from the book and if it's wrong, well the kid's wrong for pointing it out because it's in the book that way and the book can't be wrong.

There's also something called Museum Magnet Schools started up in the public school system. I applaude them for actively involving museums into their curriculum to the point that they go to one 2-3 times a week. The museum is the classroom. They stress that it's not a "field trip" which has come to imply, "yay! time to turn off our brains for a day." What makes me concerned is some of the schools actually use no books whatsoever. Some things I can see not needing books, but every class? They're new and their grades are averaging higher than the regular public schools, but I wish there was a study tracking these kids to see how well they'll do in college when they suddenly come into possession of a stack of books a mile high and are expected to know how to use them (tables and whatnot).

I'm currently failing my college course because the difference between the amount teachers talked in my school to the amount the tutors don't in college. One tutor never shows up to the lessons meaning I’m being taught by something A4 size and 2 inches thick. The jump between the work level (here at least) is drastic so schools that don't use books may work but IMO they will never teach.

I challenged my teachers at school and could get it right. How will they ever be able to challenge their teachers when they are given a 2 dimensional view. At least text books are written to be un-opinionated so you can form your own, but purely teacher taught could lead to horrific teaching like i only had 1 teacher that managed to be un-opinionated, mainly because he had a psychology degree.

Well i guess we'll see when those kids get into college. Probably with a tell tale sign of mass failure 8-[

Doodler
2005-Jan-21, 09:53 PM
Also, it seems that with the relatively low pay of teachers, we are not getting teachers who have an actual interest in the subjects they teach. Many are assigned a class to teach regardless of prior experience in that subject. To me, this removes any passion a teacher has for teaching. And, as a result, it does not generate any interest on the part of the child, as the teacher is obviously not interested. Half the science and math teachers around here seem to be coaches with the resulting complaints from science oriented kids. They'll teach from the book and if it's wrong, well the kid's wrong for pointing it out because it's in the book that way and the book can't be wrong.


Been there, been railroaded by that. Some of what I read in textbooks, then compared to more timely periodicals was so off kilter, my GPA in high school barely eeked above 2.1 because I couldn't take their work seriously.

When I entered college and was able to work in a more fluid environment in terms of letting new and up to date information into the classroom, my GPA shot up to 3.65.

Mrdomination
2005-Jan-21, 11:47 PM
So one asked Earlier If There were any evangelical Canadains. Well, I no supper religous friends, and have never engaged in a conversation with someone preaching their religion on me.

With that said, about every two years the jahova witnesses and some christian sect come around canvassing for new members. They pretty tough to get rid of once you open the door. Funny story, my mother saw them walking around our neighborhood and put on Alice Copper's song "dead Babbies" as loud as the stereo could go. They never came to our house.

Now the topic is The decline of education in the US. But could it be that the system is "dumbing down" because many of the childern are too. It seems to me that "stupid" people are having more childern than "Intellegent" people these days. And due to evolution, this is the new standard of human intellegence and the education system must be lowered to compensate.

The US can simply "buy" intellegent people from other countries, so there is no need to educate the lower "service" classes. Let them breed drones that the higher class can control.

worzel
2005-Jan-22, 12:41 AM
I challenged my teachers at school and could get it right. How will they ever be able to challenge their teachers when they are given a 2 dimensional view.
That's very true, the whole point of lecturers is having someone to play devil's advocate with. I so wish I was back at uni doing maths and/or physics (I did computer science) rather than trying to learn it from these books. You learn a lot by trying to argue a case, however flawed your argument is - that's why I love Geocentrics :) Books are like Bruce Lee's planks of wood, they test your strength, but they don't hit back!

Makgraf
2005-Jan-26, 03:42 AM
http://instapundit.com/archives/images/Marstheory.jpg

(From Fark)

Maksutov
2005-Jan-26, 06:03 AM
http://instapundit.com/archives/images/Marstheory.jpg

(From Fark)
That picture's label makes a very important point. One should be very skeptical about any universal software interstallars. The "one size fits all" approach just doesn't work. A rating of zero stars for that one.

And to those who would say "Are are too!", I say "Are are not!"

Concerning the need for an "open mind", already having one which accepts such stickers as useful would allow one to avoid the logical action required to achieve such a condition, as recommended by Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff in Horse Feathers:


Why don't you bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out?

archman
2005-Jan-26, 11:06 PM
I recently learned from a parent in Oregon something rather shocking about the public schools. I'll quote what he wrote on the message board.
http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=84967&page=1&pp=10&highlight=oreg on+teacher


First!... A little story...

As of December 20th... I began home schooling my oldest son. (6th Grade.) When I went to his school and asked to find out where his placement tests were, and where I needed to begin... I found out something I thought was absolutely absurd! "In the State of Oregon, there is NO curriculum for 5th, 6th, & 7th grade students in the public school system!"

I was appalled to say the least! The principal said that for these three grades, the "curriculum" is completely up to the teacher, and all that is required is that the student was ready for "8th" grade. (Absolutely "Freaking" unreal! if you ask me!!!) I was HOT!, to say the least.

I live way out in the mountains, and the "County" dictated where my son goes to school. The school in which my son was slated to attend was in the "drug infested" part of town. (30 miles away.) So!... While my son was attending school, I had a concern as to, "Why my son wasn't receiving any homework?" The Principal told me that due to the unfortunate environment that many of the students were exposed to... he felt that many of the students that attend the school were still on "Survival Mode." (those were his words.)

The Principal went on to say that the students would receive plenty of homework when they had reached 8th grade. (So... in the mean time... my son was basically being held back to the slowest kid in the class room!) Up until 8th grade... the Principal wanted his teachers to provide a "Safe, and Fun" environment for the kids. With the understanding that they students must be able to enter into 8th grade when the time came. (This isn't how "I" was raised!)

So, I pulled my son from school and began my search for education. Then it dawned on me!... "If there is NO set curriculum for 5th, 6th, & 7th graders... then that means the world has now become my preverbal oyster for education! I can teach my son in the manner that I see fit, and the subjects that are most suitable for this day and age! (Instead of teaching him about "King Henry," [and all of his wives...] I can teach him about the "Tsunami in Shri-Lanka!")

Presently, we are bringing my son back up to speed on his Math and English studies. But!... I am also creating my own curriculum in Marine Biology! (He will begin these courses in about two months from now.) As far as Marine Biology is concerned, (or any other form of Biology...) there are many courses out there! And!... the vast majority of them are "Free!" All it takes is a willingness to "Dig" and the discipline to "learn!"

Here's the follow-up.

I asked the Principal, "How do you know if a child is ready for the 8th grade or not." He said, Each year the State of Oregon gives quarterly "Benchmark Test". A Benchmark test only verifies what a child knows, and is apparently a part of the "No Child Left Behind" **. (The "**" thing is from me!... Not the school system!) In the mean time, it is the teacher's responsibility to recognize the students weak areas, and focus on them.

**It is to note that the State of Oregon's "Bench Mark" test IS NOT Nationally recognized... rather it is an improvized test which has been developed by the State of Oregon, in an attempt to "Better Qualify" and Identify "Students at Risk." (Whatever that means!)

One of the problems with the "No Child Left Behind" is that the school doesn't want some kids accelerating too fast, while some children are left behind. (Apparently, this would make some kids feel bad, and lose self esteem, if the other kids in class were progressing faster than they were.) So... again... my child was held back to the slowest child in the class.

I had my son in a private school during 1st, & 2nd grade. When he entered 3rd grade, he entered the public school system and was tested at a 4th grade math level. This year, my son took his bench march test and was tested at a 4th grade math level. (He is now in 6th grade!) Only a few kids in his class actually tested at a 5th grade math level. (In fact... No kids in my son's 6th grade class actually tested at a 6th grade math level.)

So... instead of hitting the books... my son's class received "Palm Pilots" for their math (and English,) courses. The teacher made up the daily math quizzes, which she based on both 4th and 5th grade math problems. (They can do this because in the State of Oregon there is NO standardized curriculum for 5th, 6th, &7th grade students, attending the Public School system. It is completely up to the teacher.)

The teacher based her program on a "Pass / No-Pass" curriculum. If the kids did not pass the daily quiz, they were dropped back to the next lowest math quiz. Once that quiz was passed, they could proceed back to the quiz they originally failed. (Of course... if they failed... they were dropped back again!)

The students were not given a score, nor were they given a chance to work on the problems they missed. They simply "Passed or Failed." (The school felt that putting an emphasis on a "score" held no educational value, and could potentially make a child lose self esteem!)

The school feels that the "Palm Pilot" program not only saves a lot of money in learning materials, (paper?) but it makes the lessons more interesting to the children.

When I asked for a math book to be brought home, I was told that only the teacher had a math book, but she needed it for developing her "Palm Pilot" math program. I was also told that "Thousands of dollars" were saved by buying the "Palm Pilots" as opposed to purchasing new text books,(each year,) that would eventually get ripped up and "Destroyed by the Students."

At the beginning of this year, the school received a State Grant, in which they built a "Green House" and placed it on the school's property. The school has no "Horticulture" program, nor any class that even participates with the new Green House. BUT!!!... the school couldn't afford text books! So... Back in November, several irate parents (myself included) demanded that if the school could spend money on a worthless Green House... they better start "Sh***ing some text books!"

Within a month... the school had text books, and we, as parents, were informed that the books would be passed out to the students. In fact... the books were issued... but the Palm Pilot continued, and the books were never opened by the students.

I also attempted to have my son attend another school, who's reputation was slightly better than the school he was presently attending. The Principal of the second school agreed to accept my son, BUT! the Principal of the school my son was attending said "NO"... and the State of Oregon Backed him! (The more students a public school loses... the less money that same school receives for their annual budget.) Presently... the same Principal of the school that my son attended, is now the principal for (2) two schools... due to budget cuts. (I can literally go "On and On!")

So... I pulled my son from the school he was attending, and we found an alternate source of education. The place is called "Falcon Heights Academy" and it is an old Public school that had been shut down many years ago. "FCA" was then taken over by a group of concerned parents and were able to receive State Funding as a "Public" Home Schooling program. They are still funded by the County school district... but there is a slight twist. THEY HAVE TEXT BOOKS!!!!

The deal is that I am home schooling my son, with the exception that he has to attend "FHA" 5 hours a week. (Which is more like a study session.) In this manner, the State of Oregon knows that my son is still learning. (And "FHA" still receives State Funding.)

The ladies who run "FHA" are all "Old School" teachers and are appalled at the present condition of the Oregon Public School System. They also admitted that in Oregon, there is "NO STANDARDIZED CURRICULUM" for students attending Public Schools for the 5th, 6th, &7th grade. BUT!... They also said that because of this... many parents are taking this opportunity and excelling their kids well beyond the State Benchmark scores.

(**There are approximately 600 students attending "FCA". The students parents are almost entirely made up of individuals who cannot afford a private school, and aren't willing to allow their kids to fall victim to "Today's Public School")

So... Since December... I have been working steadily with my son in Math, while my Wife works with his English. Last Thursday, My son took his Bench Mark test, and tested at a 4th month, of 6th grade math level... and at a 3rd month, of 7th grade English level! He is a changed kid I tell ya!

They didn't even have textbooks, and the parent wasn't permitted to transfer his son to another public school. That's amazing... horrifying actually.

dgruss23
2005-Jan-26, 11:26 PM
Also, it seems that with the relatively low pay of teachers, we are not getting teachers who have an actual interest in the subjects they teach. Many are assigned a class to teach regardless of prior experience in that subject. To me, this removes any passion a teacher has for teaching. And, as a result, it does not generate any interest on the part of the child, as the teacher is obviously not interested. Half the science and math teachers around here seem to be coaches with the resulting complaints from science oriented kids. They'll teach from the book and if it's wrong, well the kid's wrong for pointing it out because it's in the book that way and the book can't be wrong.

High school level textbooks are ridiculous these days. The publishers think that a chemistry textbook has to have ink reflecting every wavelength of visible light scattered around each page. Toss in the pictures of tractor trailors, oranges and other assorted stuff and you have sensory overload. Apparently a text book has to be the print equivalent of an MTV video. I don't use them when I'm teaching. They're worthless.

Spacewriter
2005-Jan-26, 11:41 PM
And considering that most textbook publishers are ruled by Texas requirements, I'm not surprised that there are tractor-trailer trucks in the science books.

archman
2005-Jan-27, 05:19 AM
And considering that most textbook publishers are ruled by Texas requirements, I'm not surprised that there are tractor-trailer trucks in the science books.
Ahem! What is that supposed to mean?

beskeptical
2005-Jan-27, 07:07 AM
And considering that most textbook publishers are ruled by Texas requirements, I'm not surprised that there are tractor-trailer trucks in the science books.
Ahem! What is that supposed to mean?

Hopefully the trucks in science was a joke. :D But as to the significance of the post, I'll back it up a bit.

I can't go into politics here so I will refer the reader to this site (http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=3641)for further reading.

I think it's worth discussing that textbooks are influenced by the larger buyers and if the larger purchasers have non-science issues influencing science it matters to everyone else.

I hope to see some textbooks traded in for internet resources but then you have to rely on the effort of the teacher to get good content. That won't always work either.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-27, 07:24 AM
I recently learned from a parent in Oregon something rather shocking about the public schools. I'll quote what he wrote on the message board.

http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=84967&page=1&pp=10&highlight=oreg on+teacher

....I'm not sure there isn't a misunderstanding here. I went to the Oregon schools website and investigated. While there wasn't a standard set for 6th and 7th its because they have benchmark years instead and 8th grade happens to be one of the years.

Here's the search site (http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/standards/center/searchstandards.aspx)for school standards. Click on science, then physical science. If you check for 6th grade you get this message:
This content area uses benchmark standards rather than grade-level standards. Please select the next closest benchmark year (grades 3, 5, 8 or CIM) to view the standards that students are expected to be working toward.If you click on 8th grade (be sure to unclick the 6) you get the standard.

I'm sure 6th grade teachers know they will be teaching to this standard with 3 years, 6,7, and 8, to complete the task instead of year by year. I would think the individual schools would then coordinate the learning within the 3 years.

archman
2005-Jan-27, 07:37 AM
I can't go into politics here so I will refer the reader to this site (http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=3641)for further reading.
Oh boy, that's the most partisan website I've read in months. It may have good points, but the political bias is so thick, I'd rather not take anything said there at face value. What struck me is the omission of information regarding the #1 buyer of textbooks, or other major purchasers besides Texas. Talk about a lack of balance. Ugh.

You're right about quality monitoring of internet content. The amount of incorrect information on many science sites is staggering. I often come across the same errors over and over again. What people are doing is simply copying material from other websites, and sticking it into theirs, without bothering to verify its validity. Thank goodness for message boards like Phils here. Even though its geared towards a science discipline other than my own, I can count on it being chock full of scientists that act like scientists. Wish there was one like this for biology.

archman
2005-Jan-27, 08:33 AM
I recently learned from a parent in Oregon something rather shocking about the public schools. I'll quote what he wrote on the message board.

http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=84967&page=1&pp=10&highlight=oreg on+teacher

....I'm not sure there isn't a misunderstanding here. I went to the Oregon schools website and investigated. While there wasn't a standard set for 6th and 7th its because they have benchmark years instead and 8th grade happens to be one of the years.

Here's the search site (http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/standards/center/searchstandards.aspx)for school standards. Click on science, then physical science. If you check for 6th grade you get this message:
This content area uses benchmark standards rather than grade-level standards. Please select the next closest benchmark year (grades 3, 5, 8 or CIM) to view the standards that students are expected to be working toward.If you click on 8th grade (be sure to unclick the 6) you get the standard.

I'm sure 6th grade teachers know they will be teaching to this standard with 3 years, 6,7, and 8, to complete the task instead of year by year. I would think the individual schools would then coordinate the learning within the 3 years.

A misunderstanding is very possible with a website as convoluted and poorly designed as that one! What a tangled mess of cryptically written gobbledegook! I tried pulling up some of the benchmark standards, and only got error reports. But "mad parent" got his info direct from the school's principal, so I can't fault the website.

The mad parent said that the the benchmark tests are quarterly, which would be four per year. In a best-case interpretation, it's possible that Oregon is replacing curriculum based on grade level with curriculum based on quarterly benchmark tests. However, if that's the case, then that principal would have no problem compiling all four quarterly test standards and showing that to mad parent as a proxy for grades 6&7. That the principal could not produce anything to the parent regarding curriculum content is unacceptable. So either the principal's screwing up, or it's the state. And if students are put on quarterly curricula for three years straight, that sums up to 12 series of academic standards students must all be passing by grade 8. Granted I don't know the details of this system, but this sounds inordinately more complicated and confusing, and apparently isn't too effective if children are scoring far below their anticipated "level" on those math tests.

Actually, it was the story about the Palm Pilots and lack of textbooks that I found stunning. Also that the parent couldn't transfer his student to another public school, that the other school's principal okayed. The pass/no pass "grading" by the 6th grade teacher sounds absurd. The lack of homework doesn't make any sense either. I sure wouldn't want my kid in those schools; they'd just learn to be slackers and become proficient in Palm Pilot use.

Generally speaking, radical changes made to the way kids are taught in public education do little good to the average student. They tend to be implemented due to economic (budget cuts) or political pressures (the newest "fad") of the time. Personally I see no educational advantage to piecemeal removals of grade-based curricula, just as this parent does. I've experienced enough lousy "innovative" teachers to be a strong supporter of educational oversight and standards of curricula. I also don't buy into overriding emphasis on self-esteem practices, as my own early teaching experiments with it proved overall detrimental. Fortunately, modern social science is beginning to seriously question it too.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-27, 09:03 AM
Oh boy, that's the most partisan website I've read in months. It may have good points, but the political bias is so thick, I'd rather not take anything said there at face value. What struck me is the omission of information regarding the #1 buyer of textbooks, or other major purchasers besides Texas. Talk about a lack of balance. Ugh.....I was supporting what I had heard about Texas' influence because of spacewriter's post. I believe the more important issue is the watering down of content to please everyone.

I did notice California and Texas were the big buyers. I don't think you can ignore the impact on textbook publishers though, regardless of whether the books end up being too conservative or too liberal.

History is one of the most distorted subjects since anything bad angers someone somewhere. Real history is just not found in any K-12 text book in the US. I just finished reading, "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong", by James W. Loewen. (http://www.uvm.edu/~jloewen/liesmyteachertoldme/liesmyteacher.html) He mentions Texas' textbook purchases influence on content as well.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-27, 12:06 PM
High school level textbooks are ridiculous these days. The publishers think that a chemistry textbook has to have ink reflecting every wavelength of visible light scattered around each page. Toss in the pictures of tractor trailors, oranges and other assorted stuff and you have sensory overload. Apparently a text book has to be the print equivalent of an MTV video. I don't use them when I'm teaching. They're worthless.
Although I'm not an American, I've noticed the same trend here. But I think most of the blame lies in the schools. If they didn't pick watered down books for their students, the publishers would start publishing better books.

(Of course, judging from my experience, schools pick watered-down books because they're given watered-down curricula to begin with, and because they're constantly being harassed by parents and politicians who just can't understand why learning can't be more like a ride to Disney World, but that's another can of worms...)

dgruss23
2005-Jan-27, 01:43 PM
High school level textbooks are ridiculous these days. The publishers think that a chemistry textbook has to have ink reflecting every wavelength of visible light scattered around each page. Toss in the pictures of tractor trailors, oranges and other assorted stuff and you have sensory overload. Apparently a text book has to be the print equivalent of an MTV video. I don't use them when I'm teaching. They're worthless.
Although I'm not an American, I've noticed the same trend here. But I think most of the blame lies in the schools. If they didn't pick watered down books for their students, the publishers would start publishing better books.

There are a number of factors. Certainly the Texas/California issue cannot be overlooked. If the texts are not accepted in those states, then the major publishers generally don't want to waste their time - because it won't be profitable. The end result is that the curricula of 2 states large drives the available textbook choices at the high school level. I don't have anything against Texas or California - and Chemistry is Chemistry, but in other subject areas it can be a bigger problem fitting a textbook to the state curriculum of that state.

The schools really don't have any choice in this matter. They either buy from what is available, or they go without. Right now we're looking to buy new high school chemistry textbooks in my district. We contacted the publishers and they sent us samples. They're all pretty much the same. One is little different from the next - and they all subscribe to this ridiculous color/picture frenzy that creates a distracting sensory overload. Personally, I think this problem stems from the movement from "education" to "edutainment". Somewhere along the way, it was decided that schools must entertain their students if they want them to learn. Obviously, while we're busy with our edutainment - if textbooks look more like MTV, the students will like that too.

I will say that when I selected a textbook for AP Chemistry (college level) the college level textbooks did not suffer from this color-mania. Very refreshing.



(Of course, judging from my experience, schools pick watered-down books because they're given watered-down curricula to begin with, and because they're constantly being harassed by parents and politicians who just can't understand why learning can't be more like a ride to Disney World, but that's another can of worms...)


You're right about watered down curricula. You can't accomplish your edutainment goals if you keep those pesky difficult concepts in there. So you end up with garbage like the New York State Regents Chemistry Core Curriculum (http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/pub/chemist.pdf).

Teacher's around the state flipped out when they re-wrote what was a d*mn good college prepatory curriculum and turned it into this watered down piece of junk that is best used to collect droppings in a parrot's cage. If you look at pages 30-37, you get a summary of what is subject to testing.

Gone:

Quantum mechanical model (s,p,d,f)
multi-step mole calculations
Bronsted Lowry theory
Equilibrium laws
electrode potentials for predicting spontaneous redox reactions
...

I don't follow this curriculum. I've continued to teach Chemistry and my students are overprepared for the state exam.

worzel
2005-Jan-27, 03:07 PM
I'm not sure that I was very representative of students when I was at school (my girlfriend, mother and brothers all think I'm weird for finding maths and physics interesting). But I found the maths teacher I had at school absolutely brilliant. He used to motivate each subject by first getting us to try and solve a problem we didn't have the tools to do before guiding us through "figuring it out" for ourselves. There always seemed to be a bit of sad resignation when he had to move on from convincing us of the truth of something to the practical matter of getting us able to produce the right answers for the likely questions in the exams.

This method may be slower than learning by rote but in my opinion it is much more enjoyable and must really pays off in the long run. I am amazed how many people who did well in maths at school can remember how to find simple derivatives, say, but haven't got a clue how to prove the correctness of the rules they're using, or when they should be used. Do you think part of the problem with stimulating children could be that they're expected to produce results rather than actually understand what they are doing?

I am noticing this difference myself right now, I lost my book on vector calculus that I was working my way through (left it on the tube when I woke up at my stop). As the shop no longer had it, and as I was aware that at the rate I was going it would be years before I learnt all the basic maths that undergrads do, I bought two books on mathematics for engineers that seemed to cover all the basics. While I am learning a lot faster with these books I don't find it anywhere near as enjoyable, they don't prove much, very little rigour, little discusion, just a simple demonstration of each technique, examples, exercises, then on to the next technique. If I didn't know better I might decide from these books that I don't like maths afterall.

Spacewriter
2005-Jan-27, 04:26 PM
And considering that most textbook publishers are ruled by Texas requirements, I'm not surprised that there are tractor-trailer trucks in the science books.
Ahem! What is that supposed to mean?

Shoulda been a smilie there. Whoa there boy, settle down. ;)

It is true about the significance of Texas and California in textbook design and scope. Unfortunately it's not all good news, as others have pointed out. The site referenced may have seemed biased to you, but the truth isn't biased - these states influence what your children learn, whether you agree with it or not.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-27, 04:45 PM
This method may be slower than learning by rote but in my opinion it is much more enjoyable and must really pays off in the long run. I am amazed how many people who did well in maths at school can remember how to find simple derivatives, say, but haven't got a clue how to prove the correctness of the rules they're using, or when they should be used. Do you think part of the problem with stimulating children could be that they're expected to produce results rather than actually understand what they are doing?
If only they ended up able to produce the appropriate results when needed, it wouldn't be so bad. :P

While some teachers are undoubtedly better than others at explaining the basic ideas of science, I don't think that "producing results" and "understanding concepts" should be regarded as two independent skills. I think they feed on each other. Sometimes, it's only after you've reproduced a couple of results that you begin to understand what you're dealing with.

worzel
2005-Jan-27, 06:24 PM
If only they ended up able to produce the appropriate results when needed, it wouldn't be so bad. :P
Yeah maybe. But a lot of people don't ever have any use for most of the maths they learnt at school anyway. So wouldn't it be better to teach them less of what they don't need, and more of what mathematics is really about, which is understanding, not calculations. Those who go on to jobs/degrees that need more than simple arithmetic will get plenty of practice anyway, and might be more appreciated :)


While some teachers are undoubtedly better than others at explaining the basic ideas of science, I don't think that "producing results" and "understanding concepts" should be regarded as two independent skills. I think they feed on each other. Sometimes, it's only after you've reproduced a couple of results that you begin to understand what you're dealing with.
Yeah that's all true. I didn't mean that one should be taught instead of the other, I meant that there isn't enough emphasis on understanding due to the pressure to produce correct answers to problems of a predetermined pattern.

Makgraf
2005-Jan-28, 02:15 AM
And considering that most textbook publishers are ruled by Texas requirements, I'm not surprised that there are tractor-trailer trucks in the science books.
Ahem! What is that supposed to mean?

Shoulda been a smilie there. Whoa there boy, settle down. ;)

It is true about the significance of Texas and California in textbook design and scope. Unfortunately it's not all good news, as others have pointed out. The site referenced may have seemed biased to you, but the truth isn't biased - these states influence what your children learn, whether you agree with it or not.
The worst thing about Texas is that its censorship is run by a single family [!] Mel and Norma Gabler. To get published in Texas you have to okay it with them and to publish your textbook you have to have Texas (and California) on board. Most of what I know about this issue (having never gone to an American school) comes from The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1400030641/qid=1106877425/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-9038113-8756766?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) (I haven't actually read it , only a longish ~5000 word review, though I hope to soon). It's written by Diane Ravitch a scholar and former civil servant appointed to government positions by both Democrats and Republicans. Her book describes how Texas and California (i.e. the religious right and multicultural left) basically each get a veto on what goes into the textbook. So anything that could offend either group gets cut out.

For example she describes a national test that forbids mention of the following things:
Abortion; creatures that are thought to be scary or dirty, like scorpions, rats, and roaches; death and disease; disrespectful or criminal behavior; evolution; expensive consumer goods; magic, witchcraft, the supernatural; personal appearance (such as height and weight); politics; religion; social problems (such as child abuse, animal abuse, and addiction); unemployment; unsafe situations; weapons and violence.

The review rather hair-raisingly lists a bunch of rejected stories: a "heroic young blind man hiking up an icy trail to climb Mt. McKinley" has disibility bias (It could be seen to imply that blind people don't ordinarily do such things); a story about Mt. Rushmore had to be cut people it could offend Lakota Indians (who might not want it do be there); a story about a dolphin saving a man suffers from regional bias and so on.

The most ironic part of all was that in order to get it accepted into classrooms the publishers of Fahrenheit 451 had removed 75 sections from it. :o

Maksutov
2005-Jan-28, 02:20 AM
[edit]The most ironic part of all was that in order to get it accepted into classrooms the publishers of Fahrenheit 451 had removed 75 sections from it. :o
Ever get the urge to line these people up against a wall and shoot them with bullets made out of the First Amendment? :evil:

What a pathetic farce!

archman
2005-Jan-28, 04:48 AM
The worst thing about Texas is that its censorship is run by a single family [!] Mel and Norma Gabler. To get published in Texas you have to okay it with them and to publish your textbook you have to have Texas (and California) on board. Most of what I know about this issue (having never gone to an American school) comes from The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1400030641/qid=1106877425/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-9038113-8756766?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)

Hmm, it's only $10 at Amazon. Sounds like a good read, though it's likely incredibly depressing.

I spent this afternoon discussing to my class a longstanding error found in most introductory biology texts, that apparently is immune to any correctional efforts. Every year I have to do this, hooray. Oh well, at least they haven't stuck "intelligent design" in there yet. I think most faculty would revolt if that happened.

How's the public school textbook situation outside the U.S.? Is there a general trend, or is every country fairly unique in its policy?

mike alexander
2005-Jan-28, 06:48 AM
Maksutov wrote:


Makgraf wrote:
[edit]The most ironic part of all was that in order to get it accepted into classrooms the publishers of Fahrenheit 451 had removed 75 sections from it.

Ever get the urge to line these people up against a wall and shoot them with bullets made out of the First Amendment?

What a pathetic farce!


Line them up and burn them. It would be a pleasure.... :D


The grimmest humor here is that they are censoring Fahrenheit 451!


Just give your kid some good books and tell him to go at it.

AstroSmurf
2005-Jan-28, 10:22 AM
I spent this afternoon discussing to my class a longstanding error found in most introductory biology texts, that apparently is immune to any correctional efforts. Every year I have to do this, hooray.
It's a little OT, but could you expand on this? Made me curious...

archman
2005-Jan-29, 06:02 AM
I spent this afternoon discussing to my class a longstanding error found in most introductory biology texts, that apparently is immune to any correctional efforts. Every year I have to do this, hooray.
It's a little OT, but could you expand on this? Made me curious...

It's really a minor quibble, 'cept to us invertebrate zoologists. Stinging cells in cnidarians are called cnidocytes. However the bulk of contemporary texts (and online educational resources) refer to the stinging cells as nematocysts. Nematocysts aren't the cells, they're the organelles inside the cells. Normally this wouldn't be such a hill of beans, except that the primary feature that distinguishes cnidarians from all other animals is the presence of cnidocytes. Therefore it's usually part of basic biology lesson plans.

I have to therefore "unlearn" the majority of my juniors and seniors when we revisit the material in more advanced classes. Most of them have no clue what a cnidocyte is, but have a hazy recollection that a nematocyst is a stinging cell. Ugh.

Nearest we can figure, some textbook publisher decades ago got the two terms confused, and the error's snowballed out of control since then.

beskeptical
2005-Jan-29, 07:20 AM
So this page (http://tidepool.st.usm.edu/crswr/cnidocyte.html) would drive you nuts then?

Cnidocytes and cells unique to the phylum Cnidaria. This cell type, prevalent on tentacles, produces structures called nematocysts. Nematocysts are stinging cells used primarily in feeding and defense. :wink:

beskeptical
2005-Jan-29, 07:26 AM
I also found
An undischarged nematocyst is housed within a cell known as a nematocyte. on another site. So is this correct?

archman
2005-Jan-29, 07:35 PM
I also found
An undischarged nematocyst is housed within a cell known as a nematocyte. on another site. So is this correct?

Nematocyte works too. I just rarely encounter it, and it's very easy to confuse with nematocyst. Less intuitive too. I can't believe you looked this stuff up!

beskeptical
2005-Jan-29, 08:05 PM
I also found
An undischarged nematocyst is housed within a cell known as a nematocyte. on another site. So is this correct?

Nematocyte works too. I just rarely encounter it, and it's very easy to confuse with nematocyst. Less intuitive too. I can't believe you looked this stuff up! :D I was curious.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-10, 09:59 PM
Love this quote. Think I might look for a bumper sticker.
Teach Evolution: Leave No Child Behind (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=96&e=1&u=/space/20050210/sc_space/teachevolutionleavenochildbehind)
Edna Devore
Director of Education and Public Outreach, SETI Institute

Gillianren
2005-Feb-10, 10:57 PM
when I was still in college, I took a quarter to study banned books. there is no book you can name that doesn't have offensive content. I not only got to read Fahrenheit 451 but The Day They Came to Arrest the Book and The Drowning of Stephan Jones, all of which at least feature censorship. I got to read Harry Potter. I got to read Tom Sawyer. I got to read some of the greatest books in literature--including, had I wanted to take the time, the complete works of Shakespeare. it was fun, but it was also very depressing.

the parent who wrote that essay is an example, to me at least, of why not all parents are qualified to home school their kids. the grammar in it was horrible!

(edited to fix code.)

Maksutov
2005-Feb-11, 03:00 PM
"Darwin Day" is tomorrow, BTW. Thank you, Charles.


[edit/remove redundant link]

archman
2005-Feb-12, 12:22 AM
Here's an article by Edna Devore that underscores the current situation of science education in the US. (http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_devore_evolution_050210.html)

I feel SO much better now!

Maksutov
2005-Feb-12, 12:31 AM
Here's an article by Edna Devore that underscores the current situation of science education in the US. (http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_devore_evolution_050210.html)

I feel SO much better now!
Sorry 'bout that, beskeptical and archman! I hadn't visited this thread for a few days. I saw the article and immediately posted the link without having reviewed what was new in the thread. I've removed the link to eliminate redundancy. Least I can do having been ToSeeked by you! :D

worzel
2005-Feb-12, 01:15 AM
What does "ToSeeked" mean? I know it's got something to do with the poster "ToSeek", is it just a "I've posted this before"? (where should that question mark go? It looks wrong either in or out of the quotes.)

beskeptical
2005-Feb-12, 01:24 AM
What does "ToSeeked" mean? I know it's got something to do with the poster "ToSeek", is it just a "I've posted this before"? (where should that question mark go? It looks wrong either in or out of the quotes.)ToSeek holds the reputation of getting new science especially astronomy news to the board before anyone else. It helps to search a key word or two when starting a new topic so as not to have 2 or more threads on the same subject.

The ? goes inside the "" if it is part of the quote and outside if the quote is just part of the question. In your sentence it goes outside as you put it.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-12, 01:26 AM
Here's an article by Edna Devore that underscores the current situation of science education in the US. (http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_devore_evolution_050210.html)


I feel SO much better now!
Sorry 'bout that, beskeptical and archman! I hadn't visited this thread for a few days. I saw the article and immediately posted the link without having reviewed what was new in the thread. I've removed the link to eliminate redundancy. Least I can do having been ToSeeked by you! :DYour's was prettier. :wink:

worzel
2005-Feb-12, 02:08 AM
What does "ToSeeked" mean? I know it's got something to do with the poster "ToSeek", is it just a "I've posted this before"? (where should that question mark go? It looks wrong either in or out of the quotes.)ToSeek holds the reputation of getting new science especially astronomy news to the board before anyone else. It helps to search a key word or two when starting a new topic so as not to have 2 or more threads on the same subject.
Ah ha.


The ? goes inside the "" if it is part of the quote and outside if the quote is just part of the question. In your sentence it goes outside as you put it.
That's what I figured but isn't it inconsistent with the practice of putting the period inside the quotes, given that a question mark is a period with a questioning inflection "?"

Gillianren
2005-Feb-12, 03:01 AM
That's what I figured but isn't it inconsistent with the practice of putting the period inside the quotes, given that a question mark is a period with a questioning inflection "?"

ah, but in England, the period follows the same rules. it's only we Americans who have made things confusing for ourselves. I think the theory is that the sentences ends no matter what, but it does rather make a difference who's asking the question.

worzel
2005-Feb-12, 11:53 AM
That's what I figured but isn't it inconsistent with the practice of putting the period inside the quotes, given that a question mark is a period with a questioning inflection "?"

ah, but in England, the period follows the same rules.
But then it would be inconsistent when we put the question mark in the quotes, unless we always end the sentence in quotes and the sentence containg the quote. Then I could say:

Did you know that I said "where does the question mark go?"?

Maybe we should remove the period from the question mark so that we can orthoganally terminate sentences and inflect inquistively :)

crateris
2005-Feb-12, 03:04 PM
I'd personally like to see these "Intelligent Design" nitwits sit down with an anatomy book and explain to me the "intelligence" of human design.

Why does the coccyx (sp?) exist? What is the point of a little toe (aside from being PAINFULLY broken)? What purpose to fingernails and toenails serve? What's the deal with wisdom teeth? Why is a vestigal organ like the appendix still around? Why is the human spine still, after all these millenia, still not properly adapted to upright postures? Why do spinal injuries not heal?


You silly! The reason for all these things is in the bible! It says man was created in the image of god! Therefore god has an appendix, coccyx, sore little toe, and such.(I don't know where he got the idea of the tapir!)

The answers for all questions are in the bible! No need for all the "scientific investigation claptrap!

[-X

C.

And no, I don't capitalize god!

beskeptical
2005-Feb-12, 06:02 PM
That's what I figured but isn't it inconsistent with the practice of putting the period inside the quotes, given that a question mark is a period with a questioning inflection "?"

ah, but in England, the period follows the same rules. it's only we Americans who have made things confusing for ourselves. I think the theory is that the sentences ends no matter what, but it does rather make a difference who's asking the question.I put the period outside as well. Don't know if it's correct but I think it is.

edited because I remember:

I put the periods and commas inside when the quote is the whole sentence with or without an attribute to who said it.

Example:

John said, "Put it inside."

When John said, "Put it inside", yesterday, he was correct.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-12, 06:09 PM
That's what I figured but isn't it inconsistent with the practice of putting the period inside the quotes, given that a question mark is a period with a questioning inflection "?"

ah, but in England, the period follows the same rules.
But then it would be inconsistent when we put the question mark in the quotes, unless we always end the sentence in quotes and the sentence containg the quote. Then I could say:

Did you know that I said "where does the question mark go?"?

Maybe we should remove the period from the question mark so that we can orthoganally terminate sentences and inflect inquistively :)You don't need the outside '?' in that sentence, only the inside one, according to this site. (http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000104.htm)

(My apologies for the temporary thread hijack.)

electromagneticpulse
2005-Feb-12, 06:48 PM
That's what I figured but isn't it inconsistent with the practice of putting the period inside the quotes, given that a question mark is a period with a questioning inflection "?"

ah, but in England, the period follows the same rules.
But then it would be inconsistent when we put the question mark in the quotes, unless we always end the sentence in quotes and the sentence containg the quote. Then I could say:

Did you know that I said "where does the question mark go?"?

Maybe we should remove the period from the question mark so that we can orthoganally terminate sentences and inflect inquistively :)You don't need the outside '?' in that sentence, only the inside one, according to this site. (http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000104.htm)

(My apologies for the temporary thread hijack.)

You're right the question mark goes inside never outside speach marks unless your quoting something. Like asking, is this right "blah blah"?

But i shouldn't talk on that, i got a C in language by luck and a B in writing by bad luck. But the books we read in secondary school were simpler than the books we read in primary.

Primary school we read 'the hobbit', 'lord of the rings', 'the tripods trilogy'. I forget the others (memory is the first thing to go with old age) and in secondary school we read books like space demons until the last 2 years when our teacher chose good books for us to read like 'of mice and men' and 'heart of darkness'. My friends just going into year 10 have harry potter on the list of books they can read for the exam. I'm not joking either i wish i was though.

beskeptical
2005-Feb-12, 07:21 PM
I guess this continues the subject and isn't hijacking.

Are you saying Harry Potter is a bad choice for 10th grade literature or they are lucky to have it on their list?

As an adult, professional, MSN degree, I find the Harry Potter series to be excellent literature. I'm not qualified to judge the reading level and I know a lot of younger kids read the Potter books. But I didn't find the reading level to be dumbed down in any way.

Mike Alexander, I think, sees the Potter series as popular but not classic or something to that effect. I respect Mike's knowledge in the literature field. At the same time, my son had Romeo and Juliet on his 9th grade reading list and it was just boring and out of date for his taste. While it might be important to read Shakespeare in its original archaic language, I fail to see why literature classes cannot let go of such old classics, put them in an electives class, and assign texts that will motivate kids to enjoy classic literature rather than hate it.

worzel
2005-Feb-12, 07:27 PM
You don't need the outside '?' in that sentence, only the inside one, according to this site. (http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000104.htm)Wow! I'm amazed that you found a serious link dealing with that example I gave.

archman
2005-Feb-12, 09:04 PM
Are you saying Harry Potter is a bad choice for 10th grade literature or they are lucky to have it on their list?

This is an excellent point, actually. For a 10th grade college prep class, Harry Potter books are well below standards. Grades 6&7 (late middle school or early junior high) are the more appropriate target levels.

For non-college prep (an increasingly rarer offering), 8th grade would be a sensible cutoff. 9th grade is seriously pushing it... I would put a Harry Potter book in the hands of remedial students only at that level.

Those books, while entertaining, are simply written and designed for pre-teens to follow. They are also highly mainstream books, and many children have already read them. This factor also makes them inappropriate for use in schools, as education is also meant to expose children to topics they ordinarily would not explore on their own (i.e. the classic literature). At the high school level, american children should be reading adult-level material, written by the acknowledged masters of their field. Such material can very easily become dull and disinteresting to students, but so can math, chemistry... science (ugh!). It's the job of the schoolteacher to make the course entertaining and motivating... that's what separates good teachers from mediocre ones.

Depending on the source material to provide the "entertainment" is an increasingly popular crutch used by secondary education to make up for larger class sizes, less qualified teachers, and kids that get more and more of their education off TV and the internet. It's not well viewed by most teaching professionals as a sound tactic. There's a tendency for the curriculum to be dumbed down, often signficantly.

Fram
2005-Feb-12, 10:07 PM
10th grade is 15-16 years old? Then it is way too easy and unchallenging to put on the reading list. Give them at least Philip Pullman, if you want something recent and popular. Or give them classics. What's wrong with a Fahrenheit 451? It can't be too difficult, can it?

mike alexander
2005-Feb-13, 03:26 AM
I would have to check what I wrote before, but I would say that Rowling's works are not yet classic simply because they're not old enough yet. And I realize this is arbitrary. I know I have enjoyed them, the earlier ones a bit more. Call them modern classics and I probably won't argue. Just as The Wind in the Willows is now a classic classic. (Omph).

I may part company with some, but I don't see any reason to exclude these books, per se, from a high school curriculum. The writing is straightforward and clear, character development adequate, the imagination first rate. As a demonstration of how to write a good, engaging, basic story you could do much worse. My kid has read Potter, his class used Fahrenheit 451 this year, along with Krakauer's Into Thin Air. Different types of books written for different reasons. Last year he read Romeo and Juliet and seemed to enjoy it. However, I encouraged (made) him read it out loud, with some feeling, and demanded he look up words and phrases that had changed meaning or were unfamiliar.

I have become quite snarly with the castor-oil school of reading assignments (tastes bad, but is good for you). At that age, building a desire to gulp down the written word is at least as important as the content itself (To say, both are important). One of the things about books is that they are patient; there are things I read now, as my tastes and background have changed, that I wouldn't have touched 20 years ago. And I also know I can't read it all, no matter how hard I try. For example, I've never heard of Phillip Pullman. What have I missed?

beskeptical
2005-Feb-13, 04:27 AM
I do agree so many have read Potter books they may not be the classroom choice. I don't agree the reading level is too low since you'd have to decide what your criteria were and then I could evaluate it. If it's vocabulary or depth then Potter books are not grade school stuff. And as for material interest, I really avoided them thinking they were kid's books until I read one. Then my opinion changed drastically.

I'm surprised you caught I mentioned you, Mike. :wink: We were discussing something about the 'classic lit.' category vs popular fiction. I had no issue with the point you made at the time.

I re-read Fahrenheit 451 a few months back. Actually, we listened to it as a book on tape in the car driving somewhere. There was something clearly out of date at the end that made the story a little less attractive than I had sold it to my son it would be. I can't even remember now.

We also listened to 1984. Way too depressing! and started Brave New World but didn't finish it. Guess I got into a George Bush funk and felt the need to have my son hear/read these books. They are still good but they are dated as the realities they describe have some relevance but it's as if they are on a side track instead of the tracks ahead if that makes sense to anyone.

Anyway, some of the books I read in school that I never would have read on my own have stuck with me as good memories. Tale of Two Cities, Grapes of Wrath, The Lord of the Flies come to mind. My son hated Lord of the Flies though.

But I do think book choices don't have to be the same ones I was given or my parents had. Classic shouldn't mean old hats.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Feb-13, 04:59 AM
10th grade is 15-16 years old? Then it is way too easy and unchallenging to put on the reading list. Give them at least Philip Pullman, if you want something recent and popular. Or give them classics. What's wrong with a Fahrenheit 451? It can't be too difficult, can it?

Fahrenheit 451 i read in year 9, which is pre-gcse where as years 10 and 11 here are for our actual gcse's the things that determine if we get into college or 6th form. War of the worlds and lord of the flies were on the list of books for us, but i can't remember any more, my memory takes a while (weeks) to work. I obviously didn't read them all as we only took the exam on 1 play 1 book and poetry (which got dumbed down).

I'm not sure if my reading age is high or low, i think i gave it a significant boost when i read 9 books in 7 days (forced vacation). I'm reading red mars right now but not doing too well as i'm busy, i've also got through 2 of the ringworld series and a few on physics and quantum physics.

archman
2005-Feb-13, 08:59 AM
High school reading lists do change with time, but there is always a distinct lag, or discernible difference, between what layfolks and literature experts regard as "modern".

One of the main concerns with use of quite recent literature (i.e. Potter books) in the classroom is that it has not gone through a rigorous peer-review process to assure educational standards are maintained. Although this is often not realized by the students (and their parents), a great deal of professional effort goes into literature evaluation and selection, and this process takes many years.

High school english classes that are college prep. are supposed to er, prepare their students for college-level english classes. Therefore the content of their readings need to be complex, rich in vocabulary, symbolism, metaphor, foreshadowing... all that fancy "junk" that separates out masterpieces from the public's flavor of the week. Not that flavors of the week may not turn out to be acknowledged masterpieces in their own right, but they do have the odds stacked against them after the professors of english literature get in their licks. :P

Schoolteachers are often given some degree of latitude in the amount of modern material they are permitted to incorporate into the reading lists, but it is rarely acceptable for such literature to take up more than one-third of the curriculum. The main advantage of older material is the abundance of thorough reviews, reviews of reviews, and the bank of existing outlines and lesson plans. With newer books, teachers have more limited options regarding the quality of their instruction. Sometimes this is abused, leading to the "you guys read chapter x, and tell me what you think" type discussions.

Plus as time progresses, more and more literature becomes available for use. Newer and more "interesting" works can and do become incorporated, but as that happens, older works have to get the axe. It can be quite difficult (and painful) for teachers to decide what "great classics" get the boot. I'd sure hate to be the person that decides whether or not Moby Dick or Robinson Crusoe get replaced with something that made the bestseller's list within the last decade. Sure the latter are easier reads, but hey, are they worth the loss of Moby Dick?

Gillianren
2005-Feb-13, 09:14 PM
I agree about time being a component of classic status. there is no such thing as an "instant classic." this is also why I am so annoyed at AMC these days; in my personal opinion, nothing less than 15 years old can be counted as a classic.

I read Harry Potter in college, actually, and for credit, at that. I would put its aimed reading group at about 11 or 12, though my seven-year-old daughter wanted to be Ginny Weasley when she was four. she's feeling closer to Hermione Granger these days, and if genetics proves anything, she will be.

for the record, I read a lot of children's books--it was that banned books contract I did. (a contract is an independent study quarter at The Evergreen State College.) I also read Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, lest anyone think all I did was read simple books.

in California, teachers don't, as I recall, really get to choose what books English classes will read. the curriculum is set at the state level, and it tries to balance modern literature w/classics, and books written by minorities w/, well, classics. though, oddly, we never read anything by Austen or the Brontes. go figure.

grammar is, I will admit, largely arbitrary. a sentence only needs one ending mark, however, and if it's in the quotation marks, it ends the sentence. if it's outside the quotation marks, it still ends the sentence. in the United States, the comma and the period always go inside the quotation marks. the question mark and the exclamation point go inside or outside based on context. I think this is because commas and periods do not have emotional significance, so they don't affect how the sentence is read. however, as has been pointed out, "blah blah blah?" and "blah blah blah"? have different meanings. (that is also the grammatical location where not capitalizing after a question mark is absolutely correct.)

archman
2005-Feb-14, 02:00 AM
in California, teachers don't, as I recall, really get to choose what books English classes will read. the curriculum is set at the state level, and it tries to balance modern literature w/classics, and books written by minorities w/, well, classics. though, oddly, we never read anything by Austen or the Brontes. go figure.
Being a product of the California high school system myself, I tend to agree regarding reading choices in english classes... although I did have to read Jane Eyre in 8th grade.

All the "modern" books assigned to me in high school came not from the english classes, but from my history classes. Funny how that worked out.

Wolverine
2005-Mar-04, 03:59 AM
Love this quote. Think I might look for a bumper sticker.
Teach Evolution: Leave No Child Behind (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=96&e=1&u=/space/20050210/sc_space/teachevolutionleavenochildbehind)
Edna Devore
Director of Education and Public Outreach, SETI Institute

An equally good follow-up was posted today (http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_devore_theory_050303.html).

Spacewriter
2005-Mar-04, 04:04 AM
Edna is a good one to be writing these. She has a lot of experience -- we were both at the same meeting she describes in her first article.

Maksutov
2005-Mar-15, 09:20 AM
More evidence of the decline.

http://img210.exs.cx/img210/737/lockheedmartinslogan23et.th.jpg (http://img210.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img210&image=lockheedmartinslogan23et.j pg)

In this instance, it's the decline of English. Not only does the slogan contain two grammatical errors (incorrect form of the objective case of "who" (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_proncase.html) and a dangling preposition (http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/rpriebe/cs_ed_sp02/links/prep.htm)), but also the company had the gall to trademark it!

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-15, 10:19 AM
Is it possible that the teaching of creationisum became predominant in neanderta society and that this is what lead to their demise?

kucharek
2005-Mar-15, 10:50 AM
When last evening I put my 9 year old daughter to bed, she told me:
"Daddy, the bible is just a book with histories in it, like fairytales or myths. There are no dinosaurs in it and it is scientifically prooven that dinos existed!"

I asked her, from where she had this. "From school."
I asked her, which subject. "Religious instructions."

:D

A few weeks ago, I saw on tv a report about a German exchange student in Oklahoma. She was absolutely puzzled that her biology teacher believed in creationism and dismissed evolution as a bad theory.

Harald

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-15, 11:00 AM
I think that it would be possible for a biology teacher to believe in creationisum, afterall they don't actualy have to do any science so they can believe what they like.
But I think that it would be harder to do any real science, esp. in biology, if you held with creationisum.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-15, 12:27 PM
More evidence of the decline.

http://img210.exs.cx/img210/737/lockheedmartinslogan23et.th.jpg (http://img210.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img210&image=lockheedmartinslogan23et.j pg)

In this instance, it's the decline of English. Not only does the slogan contain two grammatical errors (incorrect form of the objective case of "who" (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_proncase.html) and a dangling preposition (http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/rpriebe/cs_ed_sp02/links/prep.htm)), but also the company had the gall to trademark it!
I wouldn't call those errors. The word "whom" is becoming archaic in English. It tends to be replaced with "who".
As for dangling prepositions, the rule that says you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition is incorrect (http://www.grammartips.homestead.com/prepositions1.html). It even led Winston Churchill to famously deplore: "That is the sort of thing up with which I will not put!"

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-15, 12:31 PM
I think that we should keep using the word 'whom' especialy as the BBC has started making the Dr.Who series again.. :wink:

captain swoop
2005-Mar-15, 01:13 PM
Dangling prepositions? you will be on about split infinatives next.

Rtemember all these stupid rules werei nvented to make English more like Latin. It stems from the old 'Classics' education which up until the 1960s was seen as the prefered way to og. Science was very much for the lower orders. To get into the Foreign Office or Civil Service you needed Classics, the same held true for anyone who wanted to go into industry or banking.
There are still some who want to see Oxford and Cambridge do away with science and get back to a real education.

Maksutov
2005-Mar-15, 02:25 PM
More evidence of the decline.

http://img210.exs.cx/img210/737/lockheedmartinslogan23et.th.jpg (http://img210.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img210&image=lockheedmartinslogan23et.j pg)

In this instance, it's the decline of English. Not only does the slogan contain two grammatical errors (incorrect form of the objective case of "who" (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_proncase.html) and a dangling preposition (http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/rpriebe/cs_ed_sp02/links/prep.htm)), but also the company had the gall to trademark it!
I wouldn't call those errors. The word "whom" is becoming archaic in English. It tends to be replaced with "who".
As for dangling prepositions, the rule that says you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition is incorrect (http://www.grammartips.homestead.com/prepositions1.html). It even led Winston Churchill to famously deplore: "That is the sort of thing up with which I will not put!"
Perhaps you wouldn't call those errors, but if you were in a decent college English class, and submitted a paper containing those artifacts, you'd get a lower grade due to your grammatical errors. It appears you didn't check the links I provided. Rather than referring to some individual who has her own website (heck, there are websites that provide proof that the moon landings were faked), they're to the English departments of established universities.

"Whom" is far from archaic in formal English. Re dangling prepositions, an appeal to quasi-authority doesn't cut it. Why would "quasi" apply here? Churchill was a politician (who obviously had problems rephrasing things), not an authority on English.

Failing to employ the former and using the latter are both cases of improper usage. See me after class. 8)

Fram
2005-Mar-15, 02:29 PM
More evidence of the decline.

http://img210.exs.cx/img210/737/lockheedmartinslogan23et.th.jpg (http://img210.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img210&image=lockheedmartinslogan23et.j pg)

In this instance, it's the decline of English. Not only does the slogan contain two grammatical errors (incorrect form of the objective case of "who" (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_proncase.html) and a dangling preposition (http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/rpriebe/cs_ed_sp02/links/prep.htm)), but also the company had the gall to trademark it!
I wouldn't call those errors. The word "whom" is becoming archaic in English. It tends to be replaced with "who".
As for dangling prepositions, the rule that says you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition is incorrect (http://www.grammartips.homestead.com/prepositions1.html). It even led Winston Churchill to famously deplore: "That is the sort of thing up with which I will not put!"
Perhaps you wouldn't call those errors, but if you were in a decent college English class, and submitted a paper containing those artifacts, you'd get a lower grade due to your grammatical errors. It appears you didn't check the links I provided. Rather than referring to some individual who has her own website (heck, there are websites that provide proof that the moon landings were faked), they're to the English departments of established universities.

"Whom" is far from archaic in formal English. Re dangling prepositions, an appeal to quasi-authority doesn't cut it. Why would "quasi" apply here? Churchill was a politician (who obviously had problems rephrasing things), not an authority on English.

Failing to employ the former and using the latter are both cases of improper usage. See me after class. 8)

He did receive the Nobel Prize for literature...

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-15, 02:33 PM
Perhaps you wouldn't call those errors, but if you were in a decent college English class, and submitted a paper containing those artifacts, you'd get a lower grade due to your grammatical errors.
That would be a shame, because they are not errors.


"Whom" is far from archaic in formal English.
Fewer and fewer people use it when speaking.


Re dangling prepositions, an appeal to quasi-authority doesn't cut it.
Which is why I posted a link to a more detailed explanation of why it's a false rule. Basically, it was made up by people who wanted to make English be like Latin.
The Churchill quote was just embellishment.

Maksutov
2005-Mar-15, 02:36 PM
Dangling prepositions? you will be on about split infinatives next.

Rtemember all these stupid rules werei nvented to make English more like Latin. It stems from the old 'Classics' education which up until the 1960s was seen as the prefered way to og. Science was very much for the lower orders. To get into the Foreign Office or Civil Service you needed Classics, the same held true for anyone who wanted to go into industry or banking.
There are still some who want to see Oxford and Cambridge do away with science and get back to a real education.
How ironic that someone from the land of the King's English would be so cavalier about the rules that allow English sentences to make sense.

Sounds as though you've got a grudge against those who taught you way back when, as well as perceived barriers based on proper usage.

Next thing you know, all this rubbish about correct spelling will be properly seen as a way to keep the working class down, what with their "split infinatives" and all. :D

captain swoop
2005-Mar-15, 02:39 PM
OK I admit it the way to og was deliberate, the other spellings were myfingers going faster than my brain and a willing refusal to proofread :wink:

Maksutov
2005-Mar-15, 02:47 PM
Perhaps you wouldn't call those errors, but if you were in a decent college English class, and submitted a paper containing those artifacts, you'd get a lower grade due to your grammatical errors.
That would be a shame, because they are not errors.
Yes they are. Try getting an paper through a decent college English class containing those errors. If they went unnoticed, then you should check the college's accreditation.



"Whom" is far from archaic in formal English.
Few people use it when speaking.
And many people use "ain't" when speaking. That's why I said formal English. Try writing your doctorate thesis using a conversational idiom. You'll be lucky if you're not kicked back to undergraduate status.



Re dangling prepositions, an appeal to quasi-authority doesn't cut it.
Which is why I posted a link to a more detailed explanation of why it's a false rule. Basically, it was made up by people who wanted to make English be like Latin.
The Churchill quote was just embellishment.
Your link was to an individual with her own personal opinions about English grammar and usage. That page wouldn't amount to beans if you used it to try to dispute the 'D' you got on a story you wrote, or claim that the publisher was out of line rejecting your story due to poor grammar.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-15, 03:00 PM
Perhaps you wouldn't call those errors, but if you were in a decent college English class, and submitted a paper containing those artifacts, you'd get a lower grade due to your grammatical errors.
That would be a shame, because they are not errors.
Yes they are. Try getting an paper through a decent college English class containing those errors. If they went unnoticed, then you should check the college's accreditation.
Try asking a linguist about how that "rule" originated.




"Whom" is far from archaic in formal English.
Few people use it when speaking.
And many people use "ain't" when speaking. That's why I said formal English.
Ah, yes. I did miss the word "formal".


Try writing your doctorate thesis using a conversational idiom.
Even educated English speakers no longer use "whom" in everyday speech.


Your link was to an individual with her own personal opinions about English grammar and usage.
They are not just her opinions. I have read many a linguist who agrees.

Gmann
2005-Mar-15, 03:17 PM
All of you "monsters of English" would go nuts if someone asked you; "Whuffo you be'es do that?" (no, I'm not kidding) I hear that everytime my supervisor wants to know what I'm doing. Why do I refer to them as "stupidvisors?" Let me think. #-o

Maksutov
2005-Mar-15, 03:20 PM
Perhaps you wouldn't call those errors, but if you were in a decent college English class, and submitted a paper containing those artifacts, you'd get a lower grade due to your grammatical errors.
That would be a shame, because they are not errors.
Yes they are. Try getting an paper through a decent college English class containing those errors. If they went unnoticed, then you should check the college's accreditation.
Try asking a linguist about how that "rule" originated.




"Whom" is far from archaic in formal English.
Few people use it when speaking.
And many people use "ain't" when speaking. That's why I said formal English.
Ah, yes. I did miss the word "formal".


Try writing your doctorate thesis using a conversational idiom.
Even educated English speakers no longer use "whom" in everyday speech.


Your link was to an individual with her own personal opinions about English grammar and usage.
They are not just her opinions. I have read many a linguist who agrees.

Even educated English speakers no longer use "whom" in everyday speech.
Examples, please. Besides yourself, that is.

Hmm, there's a Cole Porter song playing in my mind...heaven knows...

OK, I give up.

To hell with proper English and effective communications.

Just start your own English curriculum.

Plus eliminate all influences of Latin on English (the two obviously are completely unrelated).

Let me know which institution of hire learning accept your premises and I be glad t' attend them there classes, say wha? That be same as yesterday I don't know what linguist mean, and today I are one! You don' got no clue what that means? Get the program with. Ya dig?

N C More
2005-Mar-15, 04:00 PM
The problem (as I see it) has a great deal to do with the incorporation of slang into our writing. Now, this can at times be a good thing. Mark Twain just wouldn't be the same without his colorful depictions of slang speech.

In the second half of the 20th century advertising really took off and here's where one begins to see the real breakdown in the use of English. Something like, "The EZ Bake Kupkake Co." became very common on billboards and television. Without educational reinforcement for correct spelling and grammar our language just begins to break down into an "EZ" format. Kan U C whi thz becums a problum?

Cute advertising and a slang turn of phrase may work to sell cupcakes but the schools still need to focus on teaching English, as it's supposed to be used.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-15, 04:05 PM
Examples, please. Besides yourself, that is.

Hmm, there's a Cole Porter song playing in my mind...heaven knows...

OK, I give up.

To hell with proper English and effective communications.

Just start your own English curriculum.

Plus eliminate all influences of Latin on English (the two obviously are completely unrelated).

[...]

That be same as yesterday I don't know what linguist mean, and today I are one! You don' got no clue what that means? Get the program with. Ya dig?
There's no need to overreact.


Let me know which institution of hire learning accept your premises and I be glad t' attend them there classes, say wha?
Straw man, unless the said institution of is one of Linguistics (and even so, I'm not sure they always practise what they preach).

According to this website (http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001702.html), the Churchill quote has probably been misattributed. Nevertheless, it also says:


Joe notes correctly that in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (see page 627, footnote 11) it is mentioned that "The ‘rule’ was apparently created ex nihilo in 1672 by the essayist John Dryden." (See the article "Preposition at end" in (Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage for more discussion).
P.S. Or you can see The Oxford Guide to the English Language, Oxford Un. Press, 1990, p. 166 "preposition at end".

As for who(m):


In talk who is constantly used for the objective case, especially when an interrogative is governed by a verb or preposition that follows it, as in Who did you meet there? Who did you hear that from? This colloquialism is indeed so common that it is invading printed matter. When a weekly journal, always scrupulous about its English, chooses Who will the Opposition oppose? as the heading of an article, and when a book reviewer in The Times writes Who are such conspectuses really for?, we must presume the choices to have been made deliberately, to avoid any suspicion of pedantry; and, if a writer given to the verbless sentences now so popular writes Who from? as one, his flouting of grammar will be more in keeping with modern idiom than Whom from? or From whom?
I'm quoting Fowler's Modern English Usage, Oxford Un. Press, p. 708, 1990. The entry goes on to say that 'who's invasion of the province of whom has not gone so far in indirect questions as in direct'.

Gillianren
2005-Mar-15, 08:14 PM
um . . . I use "whom" in conversation. no, really. it is, in fact, the only error I can ever remember being marked (well, grammatical error) on any of my papers in college--I used the wrong one, because I trusted grammar check.

the rule about capital letters is relatively modern and essentially arbitrary. still, I get an unbelievable amount of flak for my lack thereof, even though I capitalize proper nouns faithfully. I would never think of doing so off the boards, in any formal setting.

personally, I don't think dangling participles are wrong if they're part of an idiom, but I don't use them for any other reason. hence the awkwardness of "up w/which I will not put." and, correct me if I'm wrong, but Churchill's Nobel Prize was for his memoirs, which strikes me as less, well, literate than a novel, or even a work of scholarship.

English is a changing language, yes, but it strikes me that the people who say that generally do so to throw out rules that have stood the language in good stead for centuries. in fact, the addition of the rules was a change to the language, and is, therefore, no less valid than adding words. since we glorify Shakespeare, in part, for his addition of words to the language, why denigrate people who added rules, and therefore clarity?

in cooking as in grammar, then, you must know the rules before you start discarding them. Shaw's justification of why he didn't use apostrophes in contractions is fascinating, but the rule stands, even all this time later. why? because it makes things clearer, most notably the eternal battle between "its" and "it's." I vote for teaching the rules.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-15, 08:24 PM
personally, I don't think dangling participles are wrong if they're part of an idiom, but I don't use them for any other reason. hence the awkwardness of "up w/which I will not put."
The sentence attributed to Churchill is also "wrong", for other reasons. See the link I posted above. :)


in fact, the addition of the rules was a change to the language, and is, therefore, no less valid than adding words. since we glorify Shakespeare, in part, for his addition of words to the language, why denigrate people who added rules, and therefore clarity?
What clarity can be gained from adding to a language a rule that it has never verified? Won't it just confuse the users of that language?


in cooking as in grammar, then, you must know the rules before you start discarding them. Shaw's justification of why he didn't use apostrophes in contractions is fascinating, but the rule stands, even all this time later. why? because it makes things clearer, most notably the eternal battle between "its" and "it's." I vote for teaching the rules.
Don't get me wrong--I'm all for teaching realistic rules. I just have little sympathy for rules that were made up simply to fit some particular writer's notion of good taste.

TimH
2005-Mar-15, 09:43 PM
-deleted, because my post was about 2 months too late to be relevant-

worzel
2005-Mar-16, 12:28 AM
Come off it Maksutov, "We never forget for whom we are working" just wouldn't have the same ring, init! And contractions like "we're" are also a no-no in formal writing so the fact that you didn't pick up on that undermines your credibility I'm afaid ;)

I would agree that one should "whom" correctly in formal writing (of which the example you gave is not an instance) even though it is archaic verbally, but I have read from several different sources that the "no dangling preposition" is nothing more than a hang-over from the days when our finest minds, mostly educated in the classics, got a little carried away with their latin roots of the English language. And if you put the preposition at the end (which does sound more natural) then the "whom" does sound rather clumsy, IMO.

Maksutov
2005-Mar-16, 02:24 AM
Come off it Maksutov, "We never forget for whom we are working" just wouldn't have the same ring, init! And contractions like "we're" are also a no-no in formal writing so the fact that you didn't pick up on that undermines your credibility I'm afaid ;)

"I'm afaid, Dave."
"No, HAL, you're afraid. I told you you were malfunctioning!"

I thought I'd leave that "we're" alone to see if anyone noticed. Congratulations on being the first to document it.

As for the other anti-grammar comments, well, i'm lovin' it ™

I guess that since majority rule has resulted in the "dumbing down" of the general public in the sciences, then it's to be expected that the same approach would apply to and have the same effect on the language. 'nuf said that 'bout.

The votes are in, and from now on I ain't got no complaint 'bout none of what i reads anywhere. The ref' to the Cole Porter tune was "anything Go" for them what's got no musical Background to speak of.

These my Slogans to believe in:

"Think different." (Apple)

"Think global, act local" (AXA)

"Toyota. Everyday." (Toyota) (...might explain why Toyotas are so ordinary...)

"Treat yourself well. Everyday." (Coca-Cola, for Dasani) (...well, it's just ordinary tap water, after all...)

'coarse, they do this earlier on, like when cig ads were on TV allover:

"Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should." (R.J. Reynolds)

Finally me personal fave, 'fum NewEngland:

"Welcome to Boston. You're more likely to live here." (anti-gun campaign billboard in Boston. MA)

Grendl
2005-Mar-16, 04:10 AM
Really, Maksutov, you are sounding a tad stodgy about this matter of who and whom. You know darn well that advertising slogans are more about sound and economy than grammatic slavery. Besides, Shakespeare used "To who" in King Lear, so get on his case while you're at it. There are also scores of great writers who have ended sentences with prepositions and it's not such a bad thing. As others here have pointed out, many grammarians have taken off the prepositional shackles without much ado. I agree with you that when writing a formal paper, stick with subject and object rules for who and whom and resist the dangling preposition, but not if it causes some mangled, sick sentence begging for a mercy killing; I think that's (or for you, that is) worse than dangling.

Imagine instead of saying to your friend, "Who did you go to the movies with?" you said, "With whom did you go to the movies?" You'd sound like a prig and probably get beat up on your way home from school. Idiomatic language has it's place. Anyway, I think the bigger problem is the comma. I see so many commas! People love 'em to death, though, I am partial to dashes...and other things.


Bestskeptical:
When John said, "Put it inside", yesterday, he was correct.
Commas go inside the quotation marks, but in this case if you wrote When John said, "Put it inside," yesterday, he was correct it would be awkward with yesterday hanging out there by itself; yesterday needs to move elsewhere. Others may argue for only a comma after yesterday. Only question marks go outside quotes as in: Do you think Maksutov is right about our being "dumbed down"?


"Toyota. Everyday." (Toyota) (...might explain why Toyotas are so ordinary...)

"Treat yourself well. Everyday." (Coca-Cola, for Dasani) (...well, it's just ordinary tap water, after all...)
Toyotas and Dasani are for everyday people. LOL. I'd rather drive a Porsche every day.

SeanF
2005-Mar-16, 04:36 AM
"Think different." (Apple)
Tut, tut. There's nothing wrong with this one.

It's an adjective instead of an adverb because it's modifying the thoughts themselves, not the act of thinking. It's no different than telling someone to "think big."

That pretty much applies to the AXA "Think global, act local" slogan as well.

Grendl
2005-Mar-16, 05:28 AM
"Think different." (Apple)
Tut, tut. There's nothing wrong with this one.

It's an adjective instead of an adverb because it's modifying the thoughts themselves, not the act of thinking. It's no different than telling someone to "think big."

That pretty much applies to the AXA "Think global, act local" slogan as well.
I quote from "Sin & Syntax," by Constance Hale:

Apple Computer's "Think Different" campaign also subverts the adverb, lopping off the finally syllable of "Differently." That skimpy tag line should read Think Differently since differently tells us How we should think. But by swapping in the adjective different, Apple creates a double entendre: Not only are we encouraged to think differently, to make our thinking "iconoclastic" and "out-of-the-box," we are encouraged to think of an Apple computer as different from all the others. The sentence reads as if it contained a colon--Think: Different.

That was in the "Carnal Pleasures" section and that was actually clever advertising, unlike Toyota or the simple like instead of as in the Winston tag line.


Edited for the word "the"

Fram
2005-Mar-16, 09:45 AM
Commas go inside the quotation marks, but in this case if you wrote When John said, "Put it inside," yesterday, he was correct it would be awkward with yesterday hanging out there by itself; yesterday needs to move elsewhere. Others may argue for only a comma after yesterday. Only question marks go outside quotes as in: Do you think Maksutov is right about our being "dumbed down"?

Not only question marks, I believe: I think Maksutov is right about our being "dumbed down". I feel that the point in that sentence should come after the quotes, not inside them.
And on the other hand, if you had said "are we being dumbed down?", the question mark would have belonged inside the quotes, and I have put the comma outside them (for clarity), even though normally I would put it inside quotes. It's a tough rule as there are many grey areas.

About bad advertising slogans: it may be because English is not my language and perhaps it is perfectly acceptable English, but the slogan "Impossible is nothing" (Adidas, I believe) looks very wrong to me.

worzel
2005-Mar-16, 10:39 AM
About bad advertising slogans: it may be because English is not my language and perhaps it is perfectly acceptable English, but the slogan "Impossible is nothing" (Adidas, I believe) looks very wrong to me.
I think it is ok. The verb "is" (or "to be") doesn't have an object (hence "who is who", not "who is whom") so the two nouns can go either way round. I am happy! Happy am I!

Fram
2005-Mar-16, 11:03 AM
About bad advertising slogans: it may be because English is not my language and perhaps it is perfectly acceptable English, but the slogan "Impossible is nothing" (Adidas, I believe) looks very wrong to me.
I think it is ok. The verb "is" (or "to be") doesn't have an object (hence "who is who", not "who is whom") so the two nouns can go either way round. I am happy! Happy am I!

Allright! It sounded a bit Yoda-ish to me...

worzel
2005-Mar-16, 12:07 PM
About bad advertising slogans: it may be because English is not my language and perhaps it is perfectly acceptable English, but the slogan "Impossible is nothing" (Adidas, I believe) looks very wrong to me.
I think it is ok. The verb "is" (or "to be") doesn't have an object (hence "who is who", not "who is whom") so the two nouns can go either way round. I am happy! Happy am I!

Allright! It sounded a bit Yoda-ish to me...
Yoda would have said "Impossible nothing is" :)

Grendl
2005-Mar-16, 01:50 PM
[quote=Grendl]Commas go inside the quotation marks, but in this case if you wrote When John said, "Put it inside," yesterday, he was correct it would be awkward with yesterday hanging out there by itself; yesterday needs to move elsewhere. Others may argue for only a comma after yesterday. Only question marks go outside quotes as in: Do you think Maksutov is right about our being "dumbed down"?

Not only question marks, I believe: I think Maksutov is right about our being "dumbed down". I feel that the point in that sentence should come after the quotes, not inside them.
No, the period goes inside. I know it's confusing, but only question marks and exclamation points go outside the quotes of a euphemism, coinage or ironical word or phrase.


And on the other hand, if you had said "are we being dumbed down?", the question mark would have belonged inside the quotes, and I have put the comma outside them (for clarity), even though normally I would put it inside quotes. It's a tough rule as there are many grey areas.
No, the question mark doesn't belong inside in that instance. Do you think Maksutov was right that we are being "dumbed down"? I am not quoting Mak, I am using a coinage phrase. Only when you are quoting someone do you put it inside:
John asked, "Where have all the flowers gone?"

It's not that there are gray areas, it's just confusing. For instance, you don't use a comma after that when quoting someone or when the sentence "includes more than the words used to introduce or explain the quotation." (The St. Martin's Handbook) Huh?

E.g. People who say "Have a nice day" irritate me.

There are lots of rules, some easier than others. I often go back to my books, because I get lazy and we tend to pick up bad habits from sources we think are correct. The NY Times and other major publications have plenty of grammatical errors that grammarians attack all the time.

About bad advertising slogans: it may be because English is not my language and perhaps it is perfectly acceptable English, but the slogan "Impossible is nothing" (Adidas, I believe) looks very wrong to me.
It's not good grammar, but I know what they're saying. That's advertising for you.

Fram
2005-Mar-16, 02:30 PM
And on the other hand, if you had said "are we being dumbed down?", the question mark would have belonged inside the quotes, and I have put the comma outside them (for clarity), even though normally I would put it inside quotes. It's a tough rule as there are many grey areas.

No, the question mark doesn't belong inside in that instance. Do you think Maksutov was right that we are being "dumbed down"? I am not quoting Mak, I am using a coinage phrase. Only when you are quoting someone do you put it inside:
John asked, "Where have all the flowers gone?"

I think we agree on most of the principles but get confused by each others examples.
Example: Someone asked me: "are we being dumbed down?", and I didn't know what to answer.
Have I put the question mark and the comma correctly in this example? Or should the comma go in the quote and the question mark outside? That would look terribly wrong... So, if I'm correct, question marks can go inside, if the sentence that you quote is a question on its own, and in the case that there's already a question mark or exclamation point inside the quotes, the comma goes out of it.
Other example: Someone said to me "we are being dumbed down," and I didn't know what to answer.
This is the standard rule, I suppose. It would perhaps be more consistent with the other three examples I give to have the comma outside of the quotes, but grammar is not necessarily internally consistent.
Third example: Someone asked me "are we being dumbed down?". The question mark ends the quote, the point ends the sentence. This is paraller with the first example, with the point replacing the comma.
Fourth example: Did someone ask you "are we being dumbed down?"? This is rather ugly, but both the quote and the surrounding sentence are questions, and both need their question mark. This is again parallel with the first and third example.

I have not looked these up, it's just my feeling how it should be and how I think it is in Dutch, and how I believe it is in English literature (as seeing it otherwise wouldn't have passed unnoticed).

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-16, 02:39 PM
I think the rules for the order of punctuation marks in English are different from those of (at least some) other languages.

Fram
2005-Mar-16, 02:48 PM
I think the rules for the order of punctuation marks in English are different from those of (at least some) other languages.

Probably, that's why I added that I used the ones I think are the best in Dutch. But honestly, I read a lot of English books (50/50 with Dutch, I suppose), and I think I would have noticed if the punctuation rules as used in those books would be different from those in Dutch (it's the kind of thing that catches the eye, if you expect a question mark and you get a comma instead or so).
On the other hand, it may appear very arrogant to try to correct native speakers of English, and that's not what I want to do: I just give examples of what I think / feel is the correct way of using punctuation in combination with quotes, and you are more than welcome to correct me. I have often noticed that being asked the basic questions by an outsider can help focus you and help you rethink the basic rules you normally take for granted. It's like in ATM, where the debunking of the ATM theory can be very enlightening.

Grendl
2005-Mar-16, 04:04 PM
I think we agree on most of the principles but get confused by each others examples.
Example: Someone asked me: "are we being dumbed down?", and I didn't know what to answer. Correct way: Someone asked me, "Are we being dumbed down?" and I didn't know what to answer.

"My love has drowned!" cried John when he heard the news about the ferry sinking.

His friend replied, "She didn't drown-she was in the pub by the dock," and he laughed at the irony that she was, in fact, drowning her sorrows.



So, if I'm correct, question marks can go inside, if the sentence that you quote is a question on its own,
Yes...

and in the case that there's already a question mark or exclamation point inside the quotes, the comma goes out of it.
Uhh, no.


Other example: Someone said to me "we are being dumbed down," and I didn't know what to answer.
Correct: Someone said to me, "We are being dumbed down," and I didn't know what to answer.

Or: Someone said to me that we are being "dumbed down" and I didn't know what to answer.



This is the standard rule, I suppose. It would perhaps be more consistent with the other three examples I give to have the comma outside of the quotes, but grammar is not necessarily internally consistent.
I think it causes gastrointestinal problems.


Third example: Someone asked me "are we being dumbed down?". The question mark ends the quote, the point ends the sentence. No, you don't use a period.

Correct: Someone asked me, "Are we being dumbed down?"




This is paraller with the first example, with the point replacing the comma.
Fourth example: Did someone ask you "are we being dumbed down?"? This is rather ugly, but both the quote and the surrounding sentence are questions, and both need their question mark. This is again parallel with the first and third example.
It is ugly and that's why the second ? is omitted.


I have not looked these up, it's just my feeling how it should be and how I think it is in Dutch, and how I believe it is in English literature (as seeing it otherwise wouldn't have passed unnoticed).
Grammar, as with math, doesn't like feelings very much. Perhaps, Maksutov will agree. I'm waiting for him to come in and correct me, but I did check with my books. Punctuation isn't up for dispute as who and whom is or the formality or informality of contractions (I love contractions, it feels like I'm slumming, though I would never use them in a paper or business letter).

Anyway, this thread has digressed from an interesting topic. Texas is the second or third largest purchaser of textbooks and what Texas does definitely affects the textbook companies' decisions and the rest of the country. I will have to go search for some recent articles, but I've paid attention and there was a recent spat over some health class textbooks. Then again, I believe that in my lifetime the school textbooks have always been "dumbed down". I also regret that my science teachers were such duds and hardly inspirational. I think science classes could be great fun and they were not in my case.

Jim
2005-Mar-16, 05:12 PM
Texas is the second or third largest purchaser of textbooks and what Texas does definitely affects the textbook companies' decisions and the rest of the country. I will have to go search for some recent articles, but I've paid attention and there was a recent spat over some health class textbooks.

Second largest, behind California and ahead of Florida.

Last year, the BoE mandated a rewording of health texts to include a definition of marriage as a "lifelong union between a man and a woman." This was protested as overstepping by the BoE, which is allowed to reject books only because of factual errors or failure to follow state lege-mandated curriculum. At least the BoE rejected the proposed wording about gays and lesbians being more prone to self-destructive behaviour.

In 2003, the BoE approved biology texts that teach evolution, against the protests of several conservative and religious groups.

Grendl
2005-Mar-16, 06:43 PM
Jim,

That was the most recent issue I was thinking of. I have the article saved, but it's in archives, so I can't link.


Neither publisher added all the changes Leo initially pushed for. For instance, one proposed passage in the teacher's editions read: "Opinions vary on why homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals as a group are more prone to self-destructive behaviors like depression, illegal drug use, and suicide."


Randall Ellis, the executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, said the board overstepped its bounds in suggesting and adopting the new wording.


"Their job is to review for factual information and instead what we see is the insertion of someone's ideology and agenda into the textbook of middle-schoolers," Ellis said.


The board's approval caps months of debate over health textbooks. Much of the debate had centered on how much sex education should be included in high school books.


A controversy arose last year in Texas when the board approved new biology textbooks that contained Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, brushing aside opposition from religious groups.

Here is a much stronger article from 2002 about a similar issue regarding the Texas BOE:
http://www.texasobserver.org/showArticle.asp?ArticleID=1006



edited for clarity

worzel
2005-Mar-16, 10:57 PM
Fourth example: Did someone ask you "are we being dumbed down?"? This is rather ugly, but both the quote and the surrounding sentence are questions, and both need their question mark. This is again parallel with the first and third example.
Incredible that this slightly off topic point has come up twice (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=18783&start=125#415362) on the same thread!

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-16, 11:04 PM
This must be a recurring string. :wink:

worzel
2005-Mar-16, 11:09 PM
This must be a recurring string. :wink:
??...

Gillianren
2005-Mar-16, 11:26 PM
I know this is off-topic, but I've got a few corrections on the corrections, as well as a clarification of English vs. American grammar.




and in the case that there's already a question mark or exclamation point inside the quotes, the comma goes out of it.
Uhh, no.

this is because you don't bother using the comma in that situation. just so we're clear.


Other example: Someone said to me "we are being dumbed down," and I didn't know what to answer.
Correct: Someone said to me, "We are being dumbed down," and I didn't know what to answer.

Or: Someone said to me that we are being "dumbed down" and I didn't know what to answer. [/quote]

you need that there comma, pal. both the first part and the second part (before and after the "and") are complete sentences. adding them together makes them a compound sentence, and therefore, you need the comma. (which would still go inside the quotation marks.)


This is the standard rule, I suppose. It would perhaps be more consistent with the other three examples I give to have the comma outside of the quotes, but grammar is not necessarily internally consistent.

and in England, you'd be exactly right. in America, you're wrong.


(I love contractions, it feels like I'm slumming, though I would never use them in a paper or business letter).

try looking up our friend the semicolon; that was a run-on.

anyway, on the actual point--I studied banned books for an entire quarter in college, and given the set-up of my alma mater, that was all I studied for that quarter. it's actually depressing how long the list is. and, yes, more books are banned in America for being contrary to people's religion than were ever on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum for heresy. (for the record, while Zoonomia, or The laws of organic life, by Erasmus Darwin--Charles's grandfather--made the list, his own works did not.)

Grendl
2005-Mar-17, 01:16 AM
I know this is off-topic, but I've got a few corrections on the corrections, as well as a clarification of English vs. American grammar.

Other example: Someone said to me "we are being dumbed down," and I didn't know what to answer.

Correct: Someone said to me, "We are being dumbed down," and I didn't know what to answer.

Or: Someone said to me that we are being "dumbed down" and I didn't know what to answer.

Gillianren: you need that there comma, pal. both the first part and the second part (before and after the "and") are complete sentences. adding them together makes them a compound sentence, and therefore, you need the comma. (which would still go inside the quotation marks.)

***Noooo, you never put a comma after the and and you don't have to put a comma at all if the clauses are brief. I guess these aren't brief enough, so the correct way is: Someone said to me that we are being "dumbed down," and I didn't know what to answer.

Imagine the comma before and after the and: Someone said to me that we are being "dumbed down," and, I didn't know what to answer. No way!


(I love contractions, it feels like I'm slumming, though I would never use them in a paper or business letter).

try looking up our friend the semicolon; that was a run-on.

*** You want the semi-colon after contractions? I see that. I forgot my comma after though Ok: I love contractions; it feels like I'm slumming, though, I would never use them in a paper. There! I feel complete.


Worzel wrote:
Fram wrote:
Fourth example: Did someone ask you "are we being dumbed down?"? This is rather ugly, but both the quote and the surrounding sentence are questions, and both need their question mark. This is again parallel with the first and third example.

Incredible that this slightly off topic point has come up twice on the same thread!
Bestskeptical gave you a wrong answer to your question about the question mark. So it goes...around again. :D

Gillianren, what list of banned books were you using?

Gillianren
2005-Mar-17, 02:41 AM
***Noooo, you never put a comma after the and and you don't have to put a comma at all if the clauses are brief.

that's what I meant; if you look, you'll note that you left it out. and no, your clauses weren't brief enough. my rule (which I'll admit is arbitrary) is that the clause should be four words or fewer.


*** You want the semi-colon after contractions? I see that. I forgot my comma after though Ok: I love contractions; it feels like I'm slumming, though, I would never use them in a paper. There! I feel complete.

you don't need a comma after though, because you're not using it as a parenthetical phrase; you're using it as a preposition. ergo, no comma after, but definitely one before.


Gillianren, what list of banned books were you using?

any one I could find, really. primarily the ALA. also various books on the subject, most helpful of which was the Banned Books Yearbook (2000; this was a few years ago). I skimmed the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, but since I was focusing primarily on banned books in America in the 20th Century, and mostly in schools at that, it wasn't very helpful. not only that, but I was reading as many of the books on my lists as I could, and I wouldn't have gotten through many of those. especially the ones in Latin, in which I don't know more than a few words.

Grendl
2005-Mar-17, 03:33 AM
I'm glad you agree that the comma shouldn't go before and after and, because that's just uuuugggggly. And I think your "brief clause rule" of four words works well. You are also correct about though. It appears people know some rules without any doubt and others they are pretty confused about, especially as so many people don't give a darn about grammar. Maksutov's point is well taken (even if he's stodgy about who and whom).

I didn't realize you had written about question marks a page back or so--I must have missed that post when reading the thread. I'm not sure I understand this anti-capitalization thing you have going, though. :o

I was looking at the ALA site, and I can't believe one of "The Ten Most Challenged Books of 2004" was, "In the Night Kitchen" by Maurice Sendak, "for nudity and offensive language." That was one of my favorite childhood books, which I still have! What is offensive? Cock-a-doodle-doo? A little naked boy--geesh.

Here's the page: http://tinyurl.com/5t8n3

edited for long url

Gillianren
2005-Mar-17, 04:15 AM
oh, it just got depressing after a while. the most frequently banned book(s) of the 90s was the textbook series I'd used in elementary school--because, for example, it had things w/magic in them. for this decade, it's almost certainly going to be Harry Potter, for pretty much the same reason. I could have read a lot of Shakespeare. I could and did read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig, which is one of the cutest children's books of all time (all the cops in it are drawn as either bloodhounds . . . or pigs).

I read Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, which is about building a cathedral in 11th Century England. unfortunately, the people talk and act like 11th Century English peasants. I read a ton of Judy Blume, because all the teenagers in her books talk and act like teenagers.

and the capital thing . . . I type faster if I don't have to backspace to get rid of excess capitals from not lifting up the Shift key in time. however, I'm English major enough that I still capitalize proper nouns. go figure, right?

Fram
2005-Mar-17, 10:27 AM
oh, it just got depressing after a while. the most frequently banned book(s) of the 90s was the textbook series I'd used in elementary school--because, for example, it had things w/magic in them. for this decade, it's almost certainly going to be Harry Potter, for pretty much the same reason. I could have read a lot of Shakespeare. I could and did read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig, which is one of the cutest children's books of all time (all the cops in it are drawn as either bloodhounds . . . or pigs).

I read Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, which is about building a cathedral in 11th Century England. unfortunately, the people talk and act like 11th Century English peasants. I read a ton of Judy Blume, because all the teenagers in her books talk and act like teenagers.

and the capital thing . . . I type faster if I don't have to backspace to get rid of excess capitals from not lifting up the Shift key in time. however, I'm English major enough that I still capitalize proper nouns. go figure, right?

Do you mean that "Pillars of the Earth" has been banned? Why? Or were you just giving it as an example of creative use of the English language in contemporary English literature (sounds like a title of a paper, that one :) )?

Gillianren
2005-Mar-18, 04:30 AM
it's been banned. frankly, it's a shorter list to name books that haven't been banned, or at least, that's how it feels. while I was studying the subject, I encountered a very nice little girl who told me that all books mentioning magic were banned at her Christian school . . . which, of course, includes Narnia. people don't even bother reading the books before they decide to try banning them.

like the parent who complained about the swearing in The Scarlet Letter.

Grendl
2005-Mar-18, 04:51 AM
The 100 Most Frequently Challenged List for 1990-2000 has depressed me. It includes one of my favorite books I read in grammar school, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I read it in 4th grade on my own, then we had to read it for English class in 6th grade. It was how I learned of the word tesseract. I started reading it again last night (before I conked out) to see from an adult's eye how any parent could challenge this book. It won a Newberry Award when at the time.

Actually, I've read a lot of the books on this challenged list, including all the Judy Blume and S.E. Hinton books, which I read in 5th and 6th grade. In 7th grade we read The Narnian Chronicles for class, as well as Something Wicked This Way Comes. But the C.S. Lewis's books are not on the list--gee, is that any surprise to me? No.

And what's wrong with Where's Waldo? I'm glad my parents didn't censor the books I read--I would feel poorer without this list. You're right Gillian, this should be a list of books every child should read before they graduate high school (well, I don't know about all of them, but there are definitely a bunch everyone ought to be exposed to).

teddyv
2005-Mar-18, 05:02 AM
The 100 Most Frequently Challenged List for 1990-2000 has depressed me. It includes one of my favorite books I read in grammar school, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I read it in 4th grade on my own, then we had to read it for English class in 6th grade. It was how I learned of the word tesseract. I started reading it again last night (before I conked out) to see from an adult's eye how any parent could challenge this book. It won a Newberry Award when at the time.

I loved A Wrinkle in Time. I cannot believe that could be banned (and I went to Christian elementary school).

Grendl
2005-Mar-18, 05:17 AM
The 100 Most Frequently Challenged List for 1990-2000 has depressed me. It includes one of my favorite books I read in grammar school, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I read it in 4th grade on my own, then we had to read it for English class in 6th grade. It was how I learned of the word tesseract. I started reading it again last night (before I conked out) to see from an adult's eye how any parent could challenge this book. It won a Newberry Award when at the time.

I loved A Wrinkle in Time. I cannot believe that could be banned (and I went to Christian elementary school).
I should note, it doesn't say on the page that those books were banned, but that they were the most frequently challenged. See this page for more explanation:http://tinyurl.com/47943 I'm still looking at where books succeeded in being banned. Gillian probably knows more about this off the top of his head. I don't know where A Wrinkle in Time fit in--occult themes?? For me, it broadened my imagination; it made me love reading. I was the only one to get 100 on my test, too!! (well, I actually got a 99, because I didn't follow directions, and I forgot to put a space between two essays #-o )


Snipped from the above link: Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (see The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books):

1,607 were challenges to “sexually explicit” material (up 161 since 1999);
1,427 to material considered to use “offensive language”; (up 165 since 1999)
1,256 to material considered “unsuited to age group”; (up 89 since 1999)
842 to material with an “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism,”; (up 69 since 1999)
737 to material considered to be “violent”; (up 107 since 1999)
515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” (up 18 since 1999) and
419 to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)
Other reasons for challenges included “nudity” (317 challenges, up 20 since 1999), “racism” (267 challenges, up 22 since 1999), “sex education” (224 challenges, up 7 since 1999), and “anti-family” (202 challenges, up 9 since 1999).

Please note that the number of challenges and the number of reasons for those challenges do not match, because works are often challenged on more than one ground.

Seventy-one percent of the challenges were to material in schools or school libraries.2 Another twenty-four percent were to material in public libraries (down two percent since 1999). Sixty percent of the challenges were brought by parents, fifteen percent by patrons, and nine percent by administrators, both down one percent since 1999).

edited for typo

Gillianren
2005-Apr-29, 02:40 AM
sorry--my internet died in mid-conversation, and I've just caught up.

A Wrinkle in Time is banned for "New Age religion," a concept that didn't even exist when the book was written. specifically, page 89 of my copy, wherein they're discussing Warriors for the Light. Jesus is mentioned, but he's not described as being any different from anyone else described.

Where's Waldo, the original, has a beach picture. there's a topless woman on the beach.

publiusr
2005-Apr-29, 07:33 PM
Take a look at the book Korolov--when it talks about how Russian high school was even better than ours during the 50's.

Korolov learned "Strength Of Materials" as a course.

Today they are the among the worlds best metallurgists.

Maksutov
2005-Aug-20, 12:07 AM
The assault on science education by the current administration and majority party continues. First Bush started actively promoting it. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4136690.stm) Now his buddy Frist is pushing the same agenda. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9008040/) One wonders if this is compensatory action for his stem-cell decision.

Perhaps Michael Dorf (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20041222.html) could have a little chat with the two of them and straighten their antiscientific heads out. :D

BTW, I voted in the MSNBC poll on this subject. Here are the results so far. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9008234/#survey)


[edit/typo]

Van Rijn
2005-Aug-20, 12:53 AM
A Wrinkle in Time is banned for "New Age religion," a concept that didn't even exist when the book was written. specifically, page 89 of my copy, wherein they're discussing Warriors for the Light. Jesus is mentioned, but he's not described as being any different from anyone else described.


I bought that book through the Schoolastic Book Club in (I think) grade school. It was many years later before I could really get any religious angle. Even then, I would say it was minimal. As for me, I just liked the book.

Compare that to the Narnia books where the religious references are dense and impossible to ignore, though I've seen where folks have wanted to ban them because they weren't "Christian" enough. :roll:

azazul
2005-Aug-20, 03:08 AM
BTW, I voted in the MSNBC poll on this subject. Here are the results so far. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9008234/#survey)
Yes-19% No-81%

So far the results are better than I expected.

Melusine
2005-Aug-20, 04:20 AM
The assault on science education by the current administration and majority party continues. First Bush started actively promoting it. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4136690.stm) Now his buddy Frist is pushing the same agenda. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9008040/) One wonders if this is compensatory action for his stem-cell decision.

Perhaps Michael Dorf (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20041222.html) could have a little chat with the two of them and straighten their antiscientific heads out. :D

BTW, I voted in the MSNBC poll on this subject. Here are the results so far. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9008234/#survey)
The FindLaw article by Dorf is a nice tidy summation of the argument--everyone should read it. As mentioned in the ID thread where I posted the ACLU's reminder of how religion is allowed and not allowed in schools (because it is to a degree), it all boils down to "Is it scientific theory?" If it isn't, it doesn't belong in science class, per previous Supreme Court rulings. I'm surprised Santorum said he thought it shouldn't be taught in science class--he's quite extreme with his religious views, in my opinion. Frist, otoh, is especially disappointing as he is a doctor. But hey, to expect politicians to talk straight, be consistent, and not pander to potential voters, may be asking too much.

His comment:

"I think today a pluralistic society should have access to a broad range of fact, of science, including faith," Frist said.

Frist, a doctor who graduated from Harvard Medical School, said exposing children to both evolution and intelligent design "doesn't force any particular theory on anyone. I think in a pluralistic society that is the fairest way to go about education and training people for the future."
...the "fairest way to go?" Well, then, it would be fair to teach astrology too, which was a precursor to astronomy--hey, if you're gonna plug holes with theories that have no empirical evidence, why not? :roll: What benefit teaching ID would have for "training people for the future" is beyond me, unless you want to teach people to accept dead-end theories and be happy with that; maybe it will inspire students to go on a crusade to prove an intelligent designer exists, and uh, find some proof. As Dorf points out, it would be better to just poke at evolution theory than create a theory that doesn't add anything to our understanding of how the world works. But nooooo...it's that need for power, to infiltrate, though looking at polls they don't need to--there are plenty of people who believe in a creator, divine or otherwise, despite having been taught about evolution. And what's so annoying, like the Moment of Silence deal we talked about in the ID thread, is this "It doesn't force any particular theory on anyone," "It doesn't force someone to pray, it's just silence"...oh it's just to make things fair for everyone! But then a lot of these same people who promote teaching of ID in school decry "sensitivity teaching" in schools about homosexuals--but we're a "pluralistic society," so where does the "broad range of fact, of science, including faith," end Frist? I'll have to remember that quote: "In a pluralistic society that is the fairest way to go about education and training people for the future." Part of me just wants to laugh at these people.


http://img400.imageshack.us/img400/4395/tmdow0508172fa.th.gif (http://img400.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tmdow0508172fa.gif)

http://img400.imageshack.us/img400/103/tmdsh0508053ng.th.gif (http://img400.imageshack.us/my.php?image=tmdsh0508053ng.gif)

Grand_Lunar
2005-Aug-20, 03:15 PM
I recall one supporter of ID that I had a conversation with. I've long since stopped writing to him, to save my sanity.
I recall that he pointed out some of Jupiter's moons orbit in reverse in relation to the rest (if he knew astronomy terms, he'd know this is called 'retrograde'). He then said that the only way this could happen is if they were pushed in that direction, and said that's an example of ID.
I couldn't help but laugh at his ignorance of orbital mechanics in relation to captured moons.
The guy does have a brain, but he doesn't use it that much, appearently.
Just goes to show the mentality of some ID supporters.