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Educate children about science and religion will cease to exist
Posted: 10 June 2010 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]
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In primary school, we teach children very little about science. The flawed thinking in science and math teaching is that before you can teach anything about a science topic, the child has to be ready to understand everything about that topic. Before the child is ready we tend not to teach anything about the topic.  This means that children grow up not being taught about the scientific creation story: The big bang,  nucleosynthesis, evolution etc. etc at the time when they could understand the basic scientific picture here. This leaves a void in the minds of children that religion can easily fill. And once indoctrinated by religion, science has a harder time entering the brains of children.

What we do teach is done too late and at too low a level. The way we teach math and physics is not inspiring at all, it is very boring. No one is going to decide to study physics at university because of those awesome “block sliding down an inclined plane” problems. I decided to study physics after reading popular books by Paul Davies and Heinz Pagels. Those books were in the adult secion of the library; school children were not meant to lend these books.

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Posted: 10 June 2010 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I agree.  I think it started when my parents bought me a chemistry set for my 7th birthday.  I had no idea what the chemicals were, but the booklet had quite a few experiments.  I also tried my own mixing, most of which failed (which helped my understanding).  I also spent quite a bit of time by myself watching spiders, birds, garter snakes, various bugs, and figuring out what they were doing.  Then when I was nine we moved to California near a local branch library.  I had a ball going though all sorts of science books.  Then I ran into Henley’s 20th Century Book of Formulas - no theory, but a great deal of practical stuff.  By the time I was twelve, my friend and I found a druggist who would sell us just about any chemical we wanted.  When I got to the 11th grade chemistry classes and 12th physics classes I already knew just about everything that was being taught.  So, you are right that science should be taught much earlier.

However, even more important is starting out with the practical, next introducing the scientific method and critical thinking, and finally the theory.

I’ve seen too many chem majors in university who did a great job of memorizing everything and feeding it back on tests, but who were useless when they got to an industrial lab and had to think for themselves.  I’m not sure how to teach creativity, but that is also extremely important.

And, yes, if one has a good grounding in science and scientific thinking, it’s pretty difficult to believe in any part of theism.

Occam

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Posted: 10 June 2010 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Count Iblis - 10 June 2010 05:21 PM

This leaves a void in the minds of children that religion can easily fill. And once indoctrinated by religion, science has a harder time entering the brains of children.

I am not sure this is entirely true. I was taught about evolution, but my biology teacher was a fanatical communist who somehow omitted to include natural selection in his classes and fed us instead Lamarck’s theory—under the name of Darwin’s theory of evolution. I often thought about how exactly evolution worked but could never figure out until I read Dawkins’s Selfish Gene.

All I can say is that it was very easy for me to let go of Lamarck. But I already despised communism so maybe the switch was easier for me compared to a religious person. When I lost Lamarck I “only” lost hope for our species (I have already found it again), but the religious lose their immortality. So maybe my experience is not all that similar.

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Posted: 10 June 2010 06:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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George, perhaps the age at which you learn things matters. I learned a lot from my father at the age of 6, and from what Occam writes, I think he learned a lot at around that age too. But I actually did believe in God until the age of about ten. My parents were religious and at school there was religion class, although it was not compulsory. It was the science and reading books about science that slowly led me conclude that things really do not add up if you assume that the Bible is correct (in some sense).

Concluding that religion is false meant concluding for the first time in my life that what different older and wiser people were telling me was very likely wrong.

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Posted: 10 June 2010 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Why don’t you try a science fiction creation story.

Tau Zero is a science fiction novel by Poul Anderson. The novel was based upon the short story “To Outlive Eternity” appearing in Galaxy Science Fiction in 1967. It was first published in book form in 1970.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tau_Zero

In the 60s science fiction made science more interesting than the science teachers I did not get until high school.  The stuff called sci-fi today may be entertaining to some people but it is not very informative about anything.  Neuromancer gave us the new word “cyberspace” but how does that help anyone actually understand computers?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dg96tefnEU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0wk4qG2mIg

I was sent to Catholic schools but I learned about the concepts of atheism and agnosticism from sci-fi books.  No adults said anything about them.  I decided I was an agnostic at 12 but Catholicism started seeming really dumb by the time I was 9 or 10.  God can create the universe but can’t come up with a system more intelligent than Hell?  YEAH RIGHT!  LOL

psik

[ Edited: 10 June 2010 07:01 PM by psikeyhackr ]
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Posted: 11 June 2010 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Psikeyhackr, if you check back to just after you joined, I posted a very short story called “Virgin Birth”,  7/21/2010.  That may be the kind of thing you are describing.  smile

Occam

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Posted: 12 June 2010 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Occam - 11 June 2010 04:38 PM

Psikeyhackr, if you check back to just after you joined, I posted a very short story called “Virgin Birth”,  7/21/2010.  That may be the kind of thing you are describing.  smile

Occam

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/2718/

Sorry, I don’t get what that has to do with my suggesting Tau Zero.  It is a hard SF story and off the top of my head I don’t recall anything religious in it.

I was wrong.  God is mentioned in the very first line and quite often in the 150 pages.

“Look — there — rising over the Hand of God. Is it?”
“Yes, I think so. Our ship.”

Her folk continued regardless to follow Earth’s calendar, including observances for the tiny congregations of different religions. Each seventh morning, Captain Telander led his handful of Protestants in divine service.

When it blows up and space starts to expand again, we’ll spiral out ourselves. I know this is a sloppy way of phrasing, but it hints at what we can perhaps do…. Norbert?”
“I never thought of myself as a religious man,” Williams said. It was odd and disturbing to see him humbled. “But this is too much. We’re — well, what are we? Animals. My God — very literally, my God — we can’t go on ... having regular bowel movements ... while creation happens!”

  LOL  LOL  LOL

paik

[ Edited: 12 June 2010 02:36 PM by psikeyhackr ]
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Posted: 12 June 2010 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sorry, I don’t get what that has to do with my suggesting Tau Zero.  It is a hard SF story and off the top of my head I don’t recall anything religious in it.

I suggested that because of your initial statement in the earlier post:

psikeyhackr - 10 June 2010 06:56 PM

Why don’t you try a science fiction creation story.

Occam

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Posted: 14 June 2010 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Educate children about science and religion will cease to exist.

I don’t see how any of the discussion here relates to the title of this thread.  Physical science will never cause the destruction of religion, although it may eliminate and/or change certain theologies.  Physical science will never cause the destruction of religion, although it may eliminate and/or change certain theologies.  Religion will adapt as always has to any new discoveries in the physical sciences. 

IMO, education is needed in the area of the social sciences, sociology, psychology , comparative culture and religions for people to understand that they create religion and are therefore responsible for actions taken under the guise of the religion that they have created.

Try to get these subjects into an elementary school curriculum and watch the political explosion you have.  angry

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All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 14 June 2010 09:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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garythehuman - 14 June 2010 07:36 PM

Educate children about science and religion will cease to exist.

Try to get these subjects into an elementary school curriculum and watch the political explosion you have.  angry

That is why you just supply kids with “selected” science fiction to read.  The ideas are presented better in SF books than in many science books.  They present the important ideas without wasting a lot of time on the trivial details.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23197/23197-h/23197-h.htm

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/24749/24749-h/24749-h.htm

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29458/29458-h/29458-h.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_of_the_Galaxy

The system works on keeping kids minds inside the approved box with the approved ideas.  Expose them to stuff outside the box and there is no telling what will happen.  The education box is a mis-education box.

psik
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[ Edited: 14 June 2010 09:57 PM by psikeyhackr ]
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Posted: 17 June 2010 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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the heading of the post says it all…I agree.

I also think it would help if they all had “comparative religion” courses, because I think when an intelligent person is confronted with competing (and false) ideas about the world, they will more easily recognize the superiority of the scientific method.

Islam, for example, denies cause and effect.  The Bible talks about unicorns and great floods, yet provides nothing actually scientifically useful or sound.  Exposing them early and often to the myths of religion (not just the Greek “gods”) would be better for us all.  It’s a way to front-load all the deprogramming needed later.

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Posted: 17 June 2010 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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About ten years ago, when I was a teen group advisor, one of my kids gave me a paper he had written for his hiighschool comparative religion class.  The instructor asked that they choose some religion and write an analysis of it.  His paper was extremely well done, and the subject was atheism, written in a very positive light.  I was curious about how the instructor would react so I asked him to let me know when he got it back.  I was delighted that the had given him an A+.  I don’t know anything about what the religious kids wrote.

Occam

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Posted: 18 June 2010 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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A few years ago, for a paper in one of my English courses I took in college, I wrote a paper on discrimination toward atheists in contemporary America.  I got an A- on it.  Not bad for something I wrote in three hours the day it was due.  If I do say so myself. wink

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Posted: 20 June 2010 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Now these cheap computers provide a new way to educate children about science.

Students could access the latest information via the Internet. The interactive animations on science Websites are a million times better than a picture in a textbook, he said. And unlike some textbooks, multiple Websites on a single subject offer more than one perspective.

http://www.lmtribune.com/blogs/2010/06/15/tribune-tattler/get-rid-of-textbooks-and-lockers/

I think what really matters is what can be downloaded and run on the computers.

http://www.shatters.net/celestia/

http://www.physicsbox.com/indexsolveelec2en.html

psik

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Posted: 20 June 2010 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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psikeyhackr - 20 June 2010 10:30 AM

Now these cheap computers provide a new way to educate children about science.

They are also a great conduit to expensively mis-educate children about nearly anything. smirk

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Posted: 20 June 2010 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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asanta - 20 June 2010 11:42 AM
psikeyhackr - 20 June 2010 10:30 AM

Now these cheap computers provide a new way to educate children about science.

They are also a great conduit to expensively mis-educate children about nearly anything. smirk

Yeah, that just goes to show the technology itself is STUPID.  That is why we need to find and provide links to stuff that make s sense.  While encouraging the kids to put their brains in gear and evaluate what they are being fed.

psik

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