Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quiz

I found it interesting, but most this I didn't learn in high school:

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Politics and Islam

Recently there have been more reports of Senator Obama seemingly shunning the Muslim community. Staffers kept women with a Muslim headdress out of an important television shot and Mosques have been asking the presumptive Democratic nominee to come visit which he has refused. I think this says a great deal about our society and how we look at Islam. It isn't that Senator Obama is trying to avoid Muslims because HE thinks there is something wrong, he is avoiding giving fodder to the anti-Muslims crowd who continue to paint him as a secret Muslim. Daily I see someone say something that tries to link him to not only Muslims but Islamic extremists. If 9-11 and the aftermath taught us anything that the American people can't nuance their racial prejudice. Many people were harassed, assaulted, and some killed for simply looking like Arabs.

Obama, as well as many Americans, know that most Muslims are peaceful, but we will make them less so if we marginalize, discriminate against, and abuse. Obama will likely have to address this head on. Perhaps a speech in Detroit with a large Muslim crowd outlining why racism hurts the way the campaign works. Maybe he can invite people like Glen Beck to tell us how his race and religious are a factor and then play Beck crying when Gov. Romney was attacked for his Mormon beliefs.

The simple fact is that Senator Obama's race, his name, his family religious history and his current faith tradition will be a factor for some. Some of that may even be legitimate. But most is just crap. Too bad that is what helped win the last several elections.

Monday, June 23, 2008

John Freshwater

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/20/teacher.cross/index.html

(CNN) -- School administrators in Ohio voted Friday to begin the process of firing a middle school teacher accused of burning a cross into a student's arm and refusing to keep his religious beliefs out of the classroom.

The Mount Vernon School Board passed a resolution to terminate the employment of John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the past 21 years.

Freshwater, according to an independent report, used an electrostatic device to mark a cross on the arm of one of his students, causing pain to the student the night of the incident and leaving a mark that lasted for approximately three weeks.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the student's family has filed a lawsuit.

Freshwater was also reprimanded several times for refusing to move his Bible from his classroom desk and teaching creationism alongside evolution, according to the 15-page independent report. The report also cites evidence that Mr. Freshwater told his students that "science is wrong because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin and so anyone who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner."



This guy is a nut and if he did this he should be charged with assault. But what is more troubling is that so many people teaching science don't seem to understand science.
It turns out a study reveals that a large percentage of science teachers seem to discount evolution on the whole and teach creationism as a valid alternative:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13930-16-of-us-science-teachers-are-creationists.html

Teachers often say, while they teach it they don't believe in evolution.

Evolution is not a matter of belief, it is a matter of science. There is clear and present evidence for evolution. Replacing it with a belief in something else without evidence is not science. While there are various aspects of Evolutionary theory that continue to be studied, tweaked, enhanced and discounted the fundamental theory has lived up to its predictable expectations. If you are teaching biological science and reject evolution you need a career change. Oh and if you are a public school teacher, and you really want to be a preacher, get out of the classroom.

I think that we need a national science revolution. We need to focus our energies on creating true science literate individuals. So much misinformation causes people to not fully comprehend what is true science and what is pseudoscience. I think an educated population is much better than a ignorant one swayed by half truths and out right lies. Some people call it indoctrination. Funny, one is encouraged to question science with evidence. Can we say that about the ID crowd?

A Tale of Two Scandals

While anyone who knows me knows I feel the Republican party has many problems and it is in fact ready to die a painful death at the hands o...