One of those 'More Important Things'
My mother says I'm a Radical.
I say I'm my own flavor of realist.
One thing is for sure: I am my own species in Utah.
I just finished a book today called "The Untied States of America". I'm pretty sure it will piss as many people off as it informs positively. He wrote the book to start a debate, and sounds like a man, who believes much like me, that when people are angry enough, they tend to challenge more, learn more, intake more. Discussion is not a bad thing.
The discussion tonight with my mother was about God and science. I stated that I thought God had no room in a science classroom, and she stated God had everything to do with science. I thereby said if we are going to teach one religions view of creation, then we need to teach all of them, as Genesis isn't the end all be all of creation myths (erm, sorry replace myth with "factual accounts"). Every religion has a story, and if we are going to teach one of them we need to teach all of them. Not all students in America are christian, after all. So if that happens, then we will be taking up quite some time teaching creation... uh... stories so we should have an optional "world religions class" you can take or not. It will never happen, but that seems logical to me. Of course, we live in a completely illogical society where pro life people blow up buildings and kill those housed in them all the time... my idea has no hope.
Now, that isn't the main premise of this blog, but it starts me on the road to my point. The author stated a fact. It was a fact that I had never really thought of before and quite honestly I was ashamed of myself for that. It was so obvious, so point blank...
The fact was (bear with me here):
"Science doesn't necessarily shut down religion and vice versa. Various translations and interpretations of the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, and every other holy book have proven one thing time and again: We keep learning. We discover an ever more complex and vast universe. And therefore, humans should never place a period where God as placed a comma...
"Treating science the way one used to treat sex in the 1950's is not smart.
"Libraries and schools used to burn and ban books that tangentially addressed sex. To celebrate the new millennium and the greatest explosion of data and knowledge ever seen, many U.S. schools have been busily banning or burying evolution, Darwin, fossils, the age of the earth....
"...When the feeling that "we know enough already and do not have to learn or teach a lot more" permeates a society, declines soon follows.
"(i.e. Egypt 1200's, China 1300's, Spain 1490's, Japan 1600's, Mexico 1800's, France 2000's.)"
I stated this point to my mother today who got that frosty "your challenging my religious mores" look, she tight lipped asked me "do you think that is where we are?"
I told her "all you need to do is take a road trip to Kansas to see." Kansas has legally stopped the education of Evolution, Darwin, age of the earth etc in their public schools. This is an offense which is punishable by law. Other states are not far behind.
I took an "Evolutionary Anthropology" class in college (*gasp* HEATHEN!) My professor had participated in cross global studies, she had been on various TV shows, written books, been to an ivy league school. The class was packed. The first day she handed out the syllabus and stated something along the lines of "people misunderstand evolution. Evolution simply means change. People were shorter in the 1700's than they are now. Just go to Europe and see the sizes of their doors from back then. We're taller now. That's evolution. It simply states that over time, species have altered and changed, and that is evident around us. Evolution is proven," she paused and smiled slightly when people emitted the shocked *gasp* then continued, "where we came from is not. That is the debate."
The next day, the class volume was cut in half.
Honestly, I don't think Evolution vs. Creation is really that big of a deal in the first place. I will state again what I have stated so many times before "we have more important things to worry about", but the debate does raise an issue that I feel is one of the "more important things to worry about."
Children are the future, correct?
I don't have any children, but I know many parents (10 of them happen to be related directly to me) and I have seen them stare into the face of their children time and time again and state "this is the future." What an incredible feeling. What a blessing it must be to have a child, and watch him or her grow into something which in even a small way will help plough the worlds future.
Then they start with public education. And in other ways they are still "cute" until they turn 13, at which point they turn over the right of "cute" until they are 18, 19 and/or 20.
They are taught in rooms with not enough desks, teachers who are overloaded with too many pupils, bathrooms that don't function properly, building which in any other time would be abandoned and dilapidated...
Quick fact: America ranks 27th in the world for education. in 2004 the top achieving countries were Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark. The US failed to even make the top five. It ranked 7th, after Iceland.
Put into perspective that we are now competing against raising nations with huge populations. India, China, Korea, Japan and many others. Their education soars far beyond ours. They graduate roughly 600,000 engineers per ever 100,000 that we graduate. Their industry is picking up, their education is incredible and getting better quickly.
They are rising in the world.
We have fallen in standards of education, and aren't making a move to get any better anytime soon. One government plan to test every student in the nation isn't going to change our status.
Fun Fact: In 2004 67 percent of students in America (grades k-12) thought Canada was another U.S. State.
Teaching things that are "uncomfortable" just might get us more scientists, engineers etc. More importantly, it will give the youth the GLOBAL chance they deserve to compete better in international markets. And we need that, we need that badly.
So while we piss away our money, energy, trouble and various other things I can think of arguing over whether or not the world is 6,000 years old, and whether or not Johnny should learn about God in science class, our youth aren't getting what they need.
No, take back the word "need".
Our youth aren't getting what they DESERVE.
And that, I believe, is one of those "more important things."
Food for Thought:
The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think - rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men. ~Bill Beattie
Prayer: How to do nothing and feel like your doing something.