The Round Table (Rational Pagans Forum)

Science & The Supernatural: A Discussion of the World Around us - Based on Science with an Interest in the Supernatural ...
It is currently 05 Aug 2020, 03:00

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Forum rules


Please note: Discussion here should be relatively civil. Attack the post, not the poster. Thanks!



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: 29 Sep 2010, 11:30 
Offline
Grand Poobah
User avatar

Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
Posts: 5793
Location: Buffalo, NY
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100924/ap_ ... tion_islam

Quote:
Texas ed board adopts resolution limiting Islam
AP

*
Buzz up!115 votes
*
o
Share
o
retweet
o Email
o Print

By APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press Writer April Castro, Associated Press Writer – Fri Sep 24, 7:02 pm ET

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas State Board of Education adopted a resolution Friday that seeks to curtail references to Islam in Texas textbooks, as social conservative board members warned of what they describe as a creeping Middle Eastern influence in the nation's publishing industry.

The board approved the one-page nonbinding resolution, which urges textbook publishers to limit what they print about Islam in world history books, by a 7-5 vote.

Critics say it's another example of the ideological board trying to politicize public education in the Lone Star State. Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates for religious freedom, questioned why the resolution came at a time when "anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country has reached fever pitch."

"It's hard not to conclude that the misleading claims in this resolution are either based on ignorance of what's in the textbooks or, on the other hand, are an example of fear-mongering and playing politics," Miller said.

Future boards that will choose the state's next generation of social studies texts will not be bound by the resolution.

"This is an expression of the board's opinion, so it does not have an effect on any particular textbook," said David Anderson, the general counsel for the Texas Education Agency, when asked by a board member what legal weight the resolution would carry.

"So this is a cosmetic exercise?" asked board member Mavis Knight, a Democrat from Dallas.

The resolution cites world history books no longer used in Texas schools that it says devoted more lines of text to Islamic beliefs and practices than Christian ones. Chairwoman Gail Lowe said the resolution cites old books because board rules prohibit them from discussing current books more than 90 days after their adoption.

"I believe that it's happening in the current (social studies books) even though we can't cover that in the resolution," said board member Terri Leo, a Republican from Spring. The resolution sends a "clear message to publishers that it should not happen in the future."

The resolution also claims "more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are doing now."

Two Republicans broke from their party to vote with the Democrats. Two Democrats — Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi and Rene Nunez of El Paso — were absent for the vote. The initial vote on the resolution was 7-6, but the board later reconsidered the measure. The second vote was 7-5 after a Democratic board member left the meeting.

The measure was suggested to the board this summer by Odessa businessman Randy Rives, who lost his Republican primary bid for a seat on the panel earlier this year. Members of a social conservative bloc of the board then asked Lowe to put the resolution on this week's agenda.

During public testimony, which included comments from activists as well as a handful of parents, Jonathan Saenz, a lobbyist for the conservative Liberty Institute, argued that the board was "doing the right thing ... to prevent any type of religious discrimination or treat any religion in a way that's incomplete."

Several times during the testimony, Lowe intervened, attempting to calm flaring tempers.

"The Board's mission, and Texas' future, is ill-served when the board chooses to use its limited meeting time to discuss and vote on discriminatory and politically motivated measures, such as this proposed resolution," said Frank Knaack, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

The resolution concludes by warning publishers the "State Board of Education will look to reject future prejudicial social studies submissions that continue to offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and by demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others."

Social conservatives control the 15-member board for now, although the landscape is set to change after one member of the bloc lost his primary election bid and another chose not to seek re-election. The board in recent years has become a battleground for social conservatives and liberal watchdogs, each accusing the other of imposing ideological agendas into what about 4.8 million public school students learn in Texas classrooms.

_________________
Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 29 Sep 2010, 11:44 
Offline
Grand Poobah
User avatar

Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
Posts: 5793
Location: Buffalo, NY
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badas ... tial-cure/

Quote:
Blogs / Bad Astronomy
« New Bad Universe clip online!
WANT Part XI: To boldly slice »
Texas school madness, and a potential cure


3

I cannot fathom how the members of the Texas State Board of Education can continue to surprise me with their complete and utter disregard for reality, yet here we are: they’re complaining about a pro-Islam bias in textbooks.
Yes, the same people who try to wedge the Bible into science textbooks, want to teach creationism, want to downplay evolution, want to eradicate the Big Bang, and want to downplay the Constitutional clause establishing separation of Church and State, are worried about someone trying to force their religion into the textbooks.

KABLAM!

Sorry. That was my irony gland turning into antimatter and exploding outward at the speed of light.
Without any apparent sense of self-awareness, Randy Rives, who wrote a resolution to the BoE condemning the textbooks, said,
"If you can control or influence our education system, you can start taking over the minds of the young people," Mr. Rives said. "And so I think we are real passionate that you need to make a bold statement to the publishers that pushing this agenda will not be tolerated in Texas."
Taking over the minds of young people? Heaven forbid.
I suppose I should point out that even if this is true, and pro-Islam statements are being put into textbooks, the answer is not to replace them with pro-Christianity statements. I would think this would be obvious, but when it comes to human behavior I think lots of stuff that turns out not to be correct.
So what can we do to push back against the Texas BoE’s apparently interminable fight against reality? My co-blogger Sheril Kirshenbaum at The Intersection points out that two women are running for seats on the Texas Board of Education, and both are highly qualified and equipped with long experience in education… and one of them, Judy Jennings, has a PhD in educational psychology!
Of course, that in and of itself is not a qualification for a seat on the Board, any more than being a dentist disqualifies you. But it does provide me with a glimmer of hope.
I would love nothing more than to be able to write that Texas voters actually elected reasonable, qualified people to the Board, instead of continually having to write about how the antireality, antiscience, antiConstitutional members keep attacking the very basis of our country’s educational foundation. Check out the web pages for Rebecca Bell-Metereau and Judy Jennings, and Sheril notes there is a donation page for their campaigns on Act Blue as well.
Otherwise… well, you know.

_________________
Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 18 Oct 2010, 16:46 
Offline
Grand Poobah
User avatar

Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
Posts: 5793
Location: Buffalo, NY
I love this.



She's a scientific historian. The point I like? paraphrased: I would like to commend the board for having students write for and against universal common descent. This is in fact an excellent assignment , it's just in the wrong place. It should be in history, not science. No one has argued that seriously since a few decades after Darwin wrote the Origin. To ask students to do this is to seriously mislead students over the depth, the breath and the length of the historical consensus that has prevailed since the 1870's of the acceptance of evolution. I'm not a scientist, I'm a historian.

_________________
Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 19 Oct 2010, 20:06 
Offline
Neighbor of the Beast

Joined: 03 Nov 2007, 09:17
Posts: 667
Well said


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2010, 10:43 
Offline
Grand Poobah
User avatar

Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
Posts: 5793
Location: Buffalo, NY
http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/kit-eat ... as-schools

Quote:
Science Wins, Creationism Given The Boot in Texas Schools
BY Kit EatonTue Jan 27, 2009

The "science versus creationism" debate has been using up much of the energy and time of legislators and educators, but in Texas at least the arguments have come to a close. A series of meetings to revise the curriculum have just concluded, and creationist thinking has largely been given the boot.

For the previous 20 years a tiny section in the teaching guidelines has allowed people to approach the teaching of creationism on the same level of "acceptability" as evolutionary theory. It asked teachers and students to tackle the "strengths and weaknesses" of the scientific theories of evolutionary biology. And bizarrely it was these few words that ended up being a major sticking point, in a sequence of meetings that were reportedly very tense.

The numbers were apparently evenly split, with six members supporting creationist ideals--that the universe and everything in it, including intelligent life, was "made"--and seven being "pro-science," along with a few undecideds.

Ultimately the controversial wording was removed, a move that Eugene Scott, a witness of the meetings and executive director of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, called "a huge step forward."

But the creationists managed to squeeze through a few bizarre amendments that still perversely tackle the roots of scientific theory.

One amendment changed the words of a guideline into investigating the fossil record by adding the phrase "proposed transitional fossils" into the text, with the word "proposed" casting doubt on the validity of transitional fossils--fossils that show a transitional lifeform between two other evolved entities. The most famous of these is Archaeopteryx, regarded as a stage between dinosaurs and birds. According to geologist Steven Schafersman, president of the Texas Citizens For Science campaign group, transitional fossils aren't "proposed" but scientifically acknowledged--the education board is casting doubt on something that's not in question.

The second amendment, proposed by Barbara Cargill--a creationist board-member--changed the final wording in the fossil record guidelines to read that teachers and students should "assess the arguments for and against universal common descent in the light of this fossil evidence." That's another move designed to question a body of scientific work that is widely accepted, and has been so for over a hundred years.

In fact according to recent independent research by Dr Matthew Wills from the University of Bath and the London Natural History Museum, our understanding of the dinosaur fossil record is remarkably complete, and compares to our theory of the "tree of evolution" even closer than scientists may have realized."We are excited that our data show an almost perfect agreement between the evolutionary tree and the ages of fossils in the rocks. This is because it confirms that the fossil record offers an extremely accurate account of how these amazing animals evolved over time and gives clues as to how mammals and birds evolved from them," he says.

The board has to finalize the text in late March, and the hope is apparently that these "unscientific" amendments can be removed then.

This debate is paralleled by another news article today about Britain's foremost TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who reports that his award-winning documentaries prompt hate mail from religious viewers who tell him to "burn in hell and good riddance," because he doesn't credit God in his broadcasts. Sir David referred to the "terrible, terrible" fact that intelligent design and creationism can be taught in some UK schools. "It's like saying that two and two equals four but, if you wish it, it could also be five," is how he refers to allowing unscientific creationism to be mentioned alongside a scientific theory.

Irrespective of either sides viewpoint, it's arguable that a huge amount of time, money and effort has been wasted by the Texas school board debating scientific theories (from non-expert standpoints) instead of tackling much more pressing educational issues.

[via New Scientist, PhysOrg, The Telegraph]

_________________
Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group