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Topic: Science illiteracy is the US< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 8:38 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From Donald Prothero ( paleontologist, geologist) and his book ‘Reality Check’

‘We have just reviewed all sorts of arguments about why our US students are so illiterate in science despite all the money spent on their education. No doubt all of these things are true to some extent, but they all miss the elephant in the room that is apparent in these data: the stultifying influence of creationism in in US science education. Most of the examples of scientific illiteracy reveled in common survey questions, such as the mistaken notions about the age of the earth and Big Bang, or whether humans lived with dinosaurs, or whether we share a lot of our DNA with chimps, are clearly so out of line with reality because they are part of the creationist dogma. No matter what kids learn in school about these subjects, their religious training at home overcomes the best efforts of their teachers-and their ideas rarely change as they become scientifically illiterate adults. The single biggest predictor of national success in science literacy is not dominated by dogmatic religious beliefs, whether it be fundamentalist Christianity or conservative Islam. As Jon Miller documented, most of these industrialized European and Asian countries have no such strong forces of religious dogmatism in their politics and culture, and their schools teach evolution, climate change, and other scientific topics with almost no interference by religious zealots.’

Pretty cut and dry to Dr Prothero, and it is difficult for me to disagree .
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 8:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
Science illiteracy is the US

Really? Everyone?

Seems like grammar and spelling suck too.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 9:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah I typed that myself, and being a two fingered pecker did not do a perfect job sorry.

What about the subject matter Canis lupus?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 10:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

@Tamarac:

The assertion that Christian Fundamentalism is responsible for America's science illiteracy holds true only if the majority of us subscibe to that particular interpretation of Christianity. But in fact, many of us Americans are not Christians at all.  Many who are Christians aren't "zealots" (using your term above).  And of the renaining who do practice their Christian faith actively - a very big chunk of them (such as Catholics) do NOT subscribe to Fundamentalism at all.  I myself was taught Evolution in Science classes at my Catholic school.

Separately, our students tend to fare poorly in Mathematics when compared to students in most other industrialized and many 'third world' countries!  Then,  our media seem to report time and again that our students are terrible with Geography - supposedly a sizable chunk can't locate even our own USA on a map.  And we are told that Johnny's grammar and spelling are also atrocious...

I think the problems with education in our country are real and they are serious - but methinks they have much more to do with our deteriorating public school systems then with Christian Fundamentalism.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 10:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We know humans existed at the same time as dinosaurs.  There's photographic proof.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 10:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tamarac @ Nov. 01 2013, 7:44 am)
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Yeah I typed that myself, and being a two fingered pecker did not do a perfect job sorry.

What about the subject matter Canis lupus?

I doubt that Fundamentalist Christianity is responsible for the lack of education in the youth of the US.
I'd suspect a larger part has to do with the dumbing down of the education system itself due to a resistance to test kids for education level during and at the end of a school year "because a failure hurts a child's self esteem". Plus teachers' unions objecting to testing their members for actual ability.

Schools are pushed only to graduate kids through rote memorization, not by truly teaching them.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 10:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montanalonewolf @ Nov. 01 2013, 10:41 am)
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I doubt that Fundamentalist Christianity is responsible for the lack of education in the youth of the US.

When you have regular attempts to deny fundamental facts in science (such as evolution) by politicians who control state education boards (Kansas and Texas) your statement rings hollow.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 10:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We are talking only about science education here.

Why such a strong denialism of scientific inquiry and discovery in America then?

It's not in most other  advanced nations which are generally much more liberal/socialist than the us is.

Just two subjects accepted for many years now as scientifically solid-evolution and global warming.

Why such denial on those in America as compared to the rest of the world?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 11:04 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was really surprised at the number of people in the US that deny evolution:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution

I don’t think that it is a major source of our “science illiteracy”. Evolution is a tiny fraction of science, and I imagine that even the most religious zealot could get a Ph.D  in Physics without compromising any of their beliefs.

It is easy to blame our education system, and maybe there are some serious problems?

However, I think that any culpability of our educational system is just simply a reflection of our culture. That is, science (really knowledge in general) is undervalued in US culture.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 11:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I wonder: how much dumber are the kids these days? If they are maybe it's because like that one song says: only stupid people are breeding. Not to suggest that religous people are stupid. But they multiply like the plague. And they clearly don't believe in science.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 11:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(markinOhio @ Nov. 01 2013, 11:04 am)
QUOTE
I don’t think that it is a major source of our “science illiteracy”. Evolution is a tiny fraction of science, and I imagine that even the most religious zealot could get a Ph.D  in Physics without compromising any of their beliefs.

I would argue that the acceptance of evolution and climate change are good barometers of society's understanding of science and critical thinking. The lack of acceptance is by no means the disease of science illiteracy, but certainly a symptom.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 11:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 8:58 am)
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(Montanalonewolf @ Nov. 01 2013, 10:41 am)
QUOTE
I doubt that Fundamentalist Christianity is responsible for the lack of education in the youth of the US.

When you have regular attempts to deny fundamental facts in science (such as evolution) by politicians who control state education boards (Kansas and Texas) your statement rings hollow.

They may be trying to deny it but the simple fact is science IS taught in schools. So are teachers downplaying it as meaningless (very doubtful) or are the kids just too stupid to understand (also doubtful)?
The odds are more likely that schools are being soft on kids by not failing them when they don't learn.
If you want to compare the US system to other countries, you need to also compare the differences in instruction. Countries like Japan demand almost absolute perfection from their students. The US doesn't.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 11:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Didn't George W sign the leave no dumb kid behind especially if his dad is a rich politician from Texas act?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 12:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think Tomas has hit the reality of the situation quite well. There is an active movement by certain interests in this country to sabotage the development of critical thinking skills. Without critical thinking indoctrination allows for far too many of our citizens to default to mythology over science. Those of us that do value critical thinking are more often than not disturbed by the reality that so many can embrace an unsupported "theory" like "Intelligent Design."

I think that logic needs to be a core subject at as early an age as possible. Without premises and syllogisms the ignorant certain agendas manufacture have no where to turn too but outright lies, false assumptions, and deceitful rhetoric.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 12:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 11:38 am)
QUOTE

(markinOhio @ Nov. 01 2013, 11:04 am)
QUOTE
I don’t think that it is a major source of our “science illiteracy”. Evolution is a tiny fraction of science, and I imagine that even the most religious zealot could get a Ph.D  in Physics without compromising any of their beliefs.

I would argue that the acceptance of evolution and climate change are good barometers of society's understanding of science and critical thinking. The lack of acceptance is by no means the disease of science illiteracy, but certainly a symptom.

I agree, but I’m not so certain about any clear-cut causal relationship, or even the direction of that relationship. That is, is the dogma suppressing science literacy, or is the lack or science literacy breeding the dogma?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 12:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Education is an expression of culture. S. Korea and Finland have been extremely successful at improving the scores of the students on standardized tests by using radically different methods. Korean schools are draconian, drilling their students 16 hours per day. I would venture to bet that MontanaLoneWolf would start shooting people if he were dropped into that system. There is no room for independent thought.  Personally, I like the Finnish system, but Americans don't believe in paying teachers as highly trained professionals.

At a Fourth of July party I was talking to an English teacher that couldn't begin to explain why she didn't believe that global warming was occurring. In an effort to keep the conversation going, something that an English teacher should be good at, I asked about science and math at her school. She replied, "Nobody wants to teach science or math, they are hard." There are good teachers, but they are overwhelmed by politics, bad administrators, bad students, bad parents, and bad pay.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 12:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Nov. 01 2013, 12:04 pm)
QUOTE
I think Tomas has hit the reality of the situation quite well. There is an active movement by certain interests in this country to sabotage the development of critical thinking skills. Without critical thinking indoctrination allows for far too many of our citizens to default to mythology over science. Those of us that do value critical thinking are more often than not disturbed by the reality that so many can embrace an unsupported "theory" like "Intelligent Design."

I think that logic needs to be a core subject at as early an age as possible. Without premises and syllogisms the ignorant certain agendas manufacture have no where to turn too but outright lies, false assumptions, and deceitful rhetoric.

I agree completley DC, logic and critical thinking are not emphasized nearly enough in our schools.

I know that we are out here in rock solid Republican fly over country, but for many years I have been impressed, and disgusted, at the influence the local religous fundamentals have had in our school.

My wife taught history and political science, but she walked on very thin eggshells around the subjects of evolution and climate change, purely to avoid being attacked by parents of students who were taught creationism as the one true science, by their parents and by their churches.

She refused to use the word evolution in the classroom but she did offer some lessons that brought out the reality of evolution in round about but undeniable, logical ways.

Drove me crazy, but then that is why I could never be a successful employee of an organization like the school district.  Some of the faithful wanted to get rid of her just because she is related to me!

An excellent example showing the power of culture over science and education, IMO.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 12:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(markinOhio @ Nov. 01 2013, 12:23 pm)
QUOTE
I agree, but I’m not so certain about any clear-cut causal relationship, or even the direction of that relationship. That is, is the dogma suppressing science literacy, or is the lack or science literacy breeding the dogma?

I would argue that in the case of evolution it is dogma suppressing the acceptance of the theory by introducing unsupported counterarguments.

In the case of climate change, it is simply society's unwillingness to accept responsibility and need to change patterns coupled with the economic costs.


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(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 11:49 am)
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In the case of climate change, it is simply society's unwillingness to accept responsibility and need to change patterns coupled with the economic costs.

There's much more to it than that. Climate change denial is a very well-funded propaganda machine that has been tied in with "conservative" politics in the United States.

Sure, people have an aversion to acknowleding and taking measures to cope with a challenge as huge as global warming (not to mention America's love affair with trucks & SUV's) but that merely makes them a little more receptive to efforts by owners of polluting industries like the Koch brothers.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 1:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Drift Woody @ Nov. 01 2013, 1:15 pm)
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(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 11:49 am)
QUOTE
In the case of climate change, it is simply society's unwillingness to accept responsibility and need to change patterns coupled with the economic costs.

There's much more to it than that. Climate change denial is a very well-funded propaganda machine that has been tied in with "conservative" politics in the United States.

I agree! I'm saying that the denial from the conservatives is based on not wanting to acknowledge humanity's affect on the environment.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 1:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 7:58 am)
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(Montanalonewolf @ Nov. 01 2013, 10:41 am)
QUOTE
I doubt that Fundamentalist Christianity is responsible for the lack of education in the youth of the US.

When you have regular attempts to deny fundamental facts in science (such as evolution) by politicians who control state education boards (Kansas and Texas) your statement rings hollow.

Rings hollow?  Try again...

Let's agree upfront that foisting a religious belief onto science is NOT a good thing. But the reality is that the great majority of American parents are NOT anti evolution or anti science at all.

THEREFORE, it is disingenuous to blame America's subpar performance in science on religion!  As well,  American educational standards in reading, writing, math, geography, history, etc. are also subpar - and these cannot be blamed on religion at all!  So when you speak of ringing hollow - methinks blaming the 'religionists' is what's truly ringing hollow here.

Our public education system today leaves much to be desired.  Blaming religion  is definitely barking up the wrong tree.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 1:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 12:23 pm)
QUOTE

(Drift Woody @ Nov. 01 2013, 1:15 pm)
QUOTE

(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 11:49 am)
QUOTE
In the case of climate change, it is simply society's unwillingness to accept responsibility and need to change patterns coupled with the economic costs.

There's much more to it than that. Climate change denial is a very well-funded propaganda machine that has been tied in with "conservative" politics in the United States.

I agree! I'm saying that the denial from the conservatives is based on not wanting to acknowledge humanity's affect on the environment.

That, and the enormous profits at stake for those funding the denial propaganda.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 1:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

THEREFORE, it is disingenuous to blame America's subpar performance in science on religion!  As well,  American educational standards in reading, writing, math, geography, history, etc. are also subpar - and these cannot be blamed on religion at all!  So when you speak of ringing hollow - methinks blaming the 'religionists' is what's truly ringing hollow here.


Once you abandon logic and critical thinking in one important area of the curriculum the sloppiness and self indulgence spreads quickly to the whole curriculum, so I certainly do blame the religous fundamentalists, along with the political reactionaries.

It will eventually be a self correcting problem, but how much pain and loss will America suffer before the truth of both evolution and climate change become undeniably obvious??

Why do we always have to do things the hardest way we can find??


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(wwwest @ Nov. 01 2013, 9:32 am)
QUOTE

(double cabin @ Nov. 01 2013, 12:04 pm)
QUOTE
I think Tomas has hit the reality of the situation quite well. There is an active movement by certain interests in this country to sabotage the development of critical thinking skills. Without critical thinking indoctrination allows for far too many of our citizens to default to mythology over science. Those of us that do value critical thinking are more often than not disturbed by the reality that so many can embrace an unsupported "theory" like "Intelligent Design."

I think that logic needs to be a core subject at as early an age as possible. Without premises and syllogisms the ignorant certain agendas manufacture have no where to turn too but outright lies, false assumptions, and deceitful rhetoric.

I agree completley DC, logic and critical thinking are not emphasized nearly enough in our schools.

I know that we are out here in rock solid Republican fly over country, but for many years I have been impressed, and disgusted, at the influence the local religous fundamentals have had in our school.

My wife taught history and political science, but she walked on very thin eggshells around the subjects of evolution and climate change, purely to avoid being attacked by parents of students who were taught creationism as the one true science, by their parents and by their churches.

She refused to use the word evolution in the classroom but she did offer some lessons that brought out the reality of evolution in round about but undeniable, logical ways.

Drove me crazy, but then that is why I could never be a successful employee of an organization like the school district.  Some of the faithful wanted to get rid of her just because she is related to me!

An excellent example showing the power of culture over science and education, IMO.

When Americans demand "wealth redistribution" to end the outward symptom of a widening wealth gap - instead of taking a hard look at the actual causes (such as the case where more and more people in the rest of the world are now able to perform jobs done by lower and middle class Americans at a fraction of the cost)... and focus on remedies that can help maximize the number of Americans who can win this latest round of fierce global competition (versus relying on handouts from some government 'tax and redistribute' scheme)...

When Americans support warring with nations that they know next to nothing about and can't place on a map -- but thinking they can remold millennia-old societies in just 3 years...

When Americans continue to attack and mock each other with tired and inane soung bites rather than working together to truly understand and tackle fundamental problems...

CRITICAL THINKING has been in woefully short supply these last few decades.  And anyone trying to pin this on 'religionists' is just one more example of said short supply.


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(Drift Woody @ Nov. 01 2013, 10:33 am)
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(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 12:23 pm)
QUOTE

(Drift Woody @ Nov. 01 2013, 1:15 pm)
QUOTE

(tomas @ Nov. 01 2013, 11:49 am)
QUOTE
In the case of climate change, it is simply society's unwillingness to accept responsibility and need to change patterns coupled with the economic costs.

There's much more to it than that. Climate change denial is a very well-funded propaganda machine that has been tied in with "conservative" politics in the United States.

I agree! I'm saying that the denial from the conservatives is based on not wanting to acknowledge humanity's affect on the environment.

That, and the enormous profits at stake for those funding the denial propaganda.

Really?

First off, I'd like to repeat what I wrote earlier - that I too take a dim view of 'religionists' trying to foist their particular theology onto science.  Yes,  that's a bad thing.

But seriousy, just how numerous are these people and how pervasive their influence on the NATIONAL education picture?

Folks here are writing as if science / evolution have been driven underground or to near extinction!!   How many school boards or school curricula have been successfully hijacked by 'religionist' parents??  Truth of the matter seems to be a relatively small handful - mostly in a few land-locked, semi-rural pockets?

For sure, we have REAL PROBLEMS facing our public school systems.  But pinning them on 'religionists' whose extreme views render them a mere minority in great parts of our nation is disingenuous - and itself a symptom of too much kneejerk emotions and far too little critical thinking!


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(wwwest @ Nov. 01 2013, 10:40 am)
QUOTE
THEREFORE, it is disingenuous to blame America's subpar performance in science on religion!  As well,  American educational standards in reading, writing, math, geography, history, etc. are also subpar - and these cannot be blamed on religion at all!  So when you speak of ringing hollow - methinks blaming the 'religionists' is what's truly ringing hollow here.


Once you abandon logic and critical thinking in one important area of the curriculum the sloppiness and self indulgence spreads quickly to the whole curriculum, so I certainly do blame the religous fundamentalists, along with the political reactionaries.

It will eventually be a self correcting problem, but how much pain and loss will America suffer before the truth of both evolution and climate change become undeniably obvious??

Why do we always have to do things the hardest way we can find??

Wrong, wwwest.

If anything, folks today are far less religious then they were 50 years ago!  Wonder how we ever made all those huge leaps and bounds in all the sciences these past few centuries -- all the way to these recent decades!!

If indeed our pursuit (and understanding) of the sciences have taken a recent tumble - it makes no sense at all that it should come just as the hold of religion has been weakening on more and more Americans!?!


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 2:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There is a national impact that derives from what happens at a state level.  Publishers don't like making state-specific textbooks, so when a big state like Texas demands redaction, it affects everybody.  Texas and Kansas together are having a nationwide impact on science education.  

Frontline documentary
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 2:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Folks here are writing as if science / evolution have been driven underground or to near extinction!!   How many school boards or school curricula have been successfully hijacked by 'religionist' parents??  Truth of the matter seems to be a relatively small handful - mostly in a few land-locked, semi-rural pockets?


You mean little out of the way places like Texas, I suppose.

The same Texas that took the strategic position of critiquing all school text books for improper attention to evolution and the abscense of creationsism, and coerced the national book publishers to alter those textbooks to comply with Texas standards, thus foisting the Texas version onto the whole nation throught the necessity of corporate efficiency and maximizing profits??

Or were you thinking about some other small, semi-rural pockets??


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 2:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Nov. 01 2013, 2:24 pm)
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There is a national impact that derives from what happens at a state level.  Publishers don't like making state-specific textbooks, so when a big state like Texas demands redaction, it affects everybody.  Texas and Kansas together are having a nationwide impact on science education.  

Frontline documentary

Thanks for the timely link, BigLoad!

I had watched it long ago but not gone to seek it out yet.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 01 2013, 2:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

If indeed our pursuit (and understanding) of the sciences have taken a recent tumble - it makes no sense at all that it should come just as the hold of religion has been weakening on more and more Americans!?!



Au contraire, Ben.

It is precisely when these extremist groups are in their death throes that they put up the most desperate battles.  

The recent suicidal position of the Tea Party advocates and representatives, willing to trash the US economy to make their political point.

And they are part and parcel with the creastionists who must stop teaching the true facts of evolution in our schools, or face up to losing the cultural wars.

As a totally dedicated anti-abortion advocate you should understand these facts better than most.


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