02.08.11

GOP damaged high school science education: Proven by science

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism, Stumble and Fail, Why the World Doesn't Need US at 9:01 am by George Smith

This quote from the New York Times piece channeling a recent article in the journal, Science, is all you need to know:

“With 15 to 20 percent of biology teachers teaching creationism,” he continued, “this is the biggest failure in science education. There’s no other field where teachers reject the foundations of their science like they do in biology.”

When I was in high school in the Seventies in very conservative Pine Grove, PA, this was not an issue.

One might say it has evolved, driven by extreme religious right GOP efforts to use science as a wedge issue, not only because its findings conflict with its ideology but because people can be rallied by insinuating their faith is under attack by the other side which believes the hated “elites.”

PGAHS had a fine biology lab and equally good instruction. It prepared my entire class, most of which was headed toward a college education.

One of the academics interviewed by the Times did not think more education was an answer. And that’s because the right rejects evolution outright.

“At least 25 percent of high school teachers in Minnesota explicitly teach creationism,” says one professor to the Times.

This would have presented me with a dilemma in 1972.

Walk and try to find a school where there wasn’t a creationist (PGAHS had only one high school biology instructor) or have my time wasted.

And when the president went on television to say we need more interest in science I just laughed. If people who were in a position to do something about that in this country now we would be able to reverse this atrocious statistic and run the creationists out of town.

The paradox is that American science hasn’t been up to this job. For many years the denial of science was taken as just a laugh-it-off kind of thing in University-land.

Who’s laughing now?

One has only to review the history and continuing existence of Michael Behe in the biology department at Lehigh University, my old alma mater, for a working example.

So we don’t live in a country where just more rational discourse has any effect. We live in a country that is in decline, that has lost a self-correcting capability, and this is one symptom of it.

When half the political establishment detests science and actively works to undermine it, it’s a driver of decline.


Over at Armchair Generalist, Jason Sigger has embedded a bit from Bill Maher. Here five trivial people, Maher included, argue global warming and evolution.

At this point there are only two solutions to the behavior.

The nice one is that you don’t give the Republicans an opening. You don’t invite them if you plan to discuss it. It’s not entertainment. It’s just more of the problem.

If Republicans — or any random heevahavas — get to open their mouths they present myths and falsehoods, now packed with the maddening implication that it’s they who have the scientific outlook because it is they who have evaluated all the data and are now being criticized for it.

They cling to the idea that the rightness of something is determined by the number of people who adopt it. And since their tribe is the one to adopt non-belief in science, that is what’s right.

The not-nice solution is to wind up and knock the grinning Georgia politician’s teeth out when he starts up on cable television.

“It’s a mystery how these people get dressed in the morning,” concludes Armchair Generalist.

They are a collective disgrace.

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