Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Education of an Alienated Wannabe

The alienated wannabe is one of the few local bloggers in favor the voucher proposal. The reason for his position is that public schools teach evolution as fact instead of theory.

There are two ways to interpret his post. Most people seem to read into his post that he is a right wing nut job who favors creationism creationism to science. I take the guy at his word. It seems to me that the real gist of his argument is simply that the public school system does not teach logic.

Science is dependent on logic. When you remove logic from the curriculum, science becomes a religion. It is possible that the Alienated Wannabe is more interested in protecting his faith than in the well being of kids.

I am more fond of science than religion. I think that modern efforts to transform science into a religion does more harm to science than the existence of a bunch of silly religions.

It is clear that the Alienated Wannabe feels that something was missing from his education. My guess is that he has never encountered a logic text. Without logic, we are unable to explain our ideas.

Like many, my first encounter with logic came in the form of a graduate level class.

The Classical Curriculum taught informal logic in primary school.

If the curriculum included logic, then this silly debate between the creationists and evolutionists would be muted as people would realize that both ideas are theories. Evolution appears to be a better explanation to the make up of this planet. Logic does not pit evolution in opposition to Christianity. After all, evolution is a process of creation.

Now, it is possible that the alienated wannabe is upset simply because his group does not have the hegemony in public education, and that he would be happy if his group had power. If this is the case, then it is true, the alienated wannabe is really not in favor of an open education market. There is a large number of people who only see value in freedom when they are not in power.

When you have a monopoly system in education, you will always find that there is one group or another cout out of the picture. If the lunatic right removed evolution theory from the class room, a different group of alienated people would be wanting to pull their students from the school.

The fundamental argument here is that both the left and right are full of ideas that they want to dictate to others. The right would as abusive with hegemony in the public education as the left currently is. The current monopolistic structure of education has the culture war take place in shrill screaming matches behind closed doors in teaching schools or in the legislature. The market allows for issues to work their way through in open public discourse and with parents finding the school that best suits their needs.

BTW, if you look at the curriculum of most private schools, they teach evolution and actually do a better a more thorough job of teaching the subject than public schools which still handle this important theory as a hot button political issue. When you have an open market of ideas, the best ideas tend to come forward.

Someday explorers might find a large black obelisk that spontaneously generates animals of different species. Were we to find such a device I would change my opinions about evolution in a heart beat, because the creationist argument would have more merit. Were our first interstellar voyage to bounce off a large black curtain encircling the solar system, I would abandon my believe in the large universe theory and readopt the helio centric view. In the market place of ideas, people tend toward the strongest ideas. There is also a long history of brilliant scientists who thought they got it right, but got it wrong.

It is precisely because people will veer toward the best explanation that an open market, open minded system of education would produce produce better results than a top heavy, monopolistic, bureaucratic system.


Anonymous said...

I think your criticism of my little blog buddy A.W. is unwarranted. It's not really that he doesn't understand the science of logic...on the contrary, read some of the exchanges between the two of us at both his blog and mine, and you will certainly appreciate the sharp, incisive, didactic accuracy of his logic...the only problem is, his conclusions tend to become obfuscated because of his strong religious beliefs. There's nothing unusual nor even unexpected by that here in Zion. Parents here are naturally much more concerned about and interested in the education of their children...which is actually a good thing. The fact that A.W. does not want his children exposed to theories like "evolution" and unholy subjects like "sex education" is to be expected, not unnecessarily evaluated. That's his inalienable right, as far as I'm concerned. So, try not to be so judgmental, please. He's really a good guy, with a heart of gold (as opposed to Mitt Romney...sorry, you'll have to read my blog to understand that one...and that's a sad, sorry example of self-promotion if ever there was one).

y-intercept said...

I hope my post did not come off as judgmental of the Alienated Wannabe.

His blog seems to show that he has a logical mind. I strongly suspect, however, that he never had a good class in logic.

IMHO not failing to give people compelled to strong logical thinking classes in basic informal logic is a form of neglect.

Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear y-intercept,

Sadly, I am probably a "right wing nut job" who is simply in denial. But, I actually like to think of myself as being balanced.

I suspect if someone were to read all the material I post to the blogosphere that balanced image would come across a little better.

Unfortunately, I am notorious for leaving really long comments on a variety of other people's blogs while I end up neglecting my own. So, my readers probably know less about me than those who frequent other sites.

Hopefully, I will eventually learn my lesson and focus on keeping my own pathetic blog up to date. But, until then, please let me just say this:

I actually think that it is important for children to be taught all the theories of evolution as well as to receive sound sex education. However, and you have alluded to this fact already, it is extremely difficult to teach these topics without also imparting some kind of a bias.

So, what bias do we want to impose upon the rising generation?

That there is no God? There is no metaphysical reality of good and evil, right and wrong? That the old morality and traditions of our parents were based upon foolish fables? That the existence of everything can be explained scientifically without having to resort to the mythologies of a more primitive age?

You are educated enough to know that none of the preceding statements come from science. Yet, there are those who want to believe that they do. And, these folks -- pardon the pun -- are hell-bent on imposing this bias upon society.

For purposes of brevity in communication, I have chosen to use the label of "secular humanist" to identify such individuals.

So, how is a believer supposed to respond to these folks? Roll over and let them have their way? Try to impose his or her own doctrine upon them? Or, grant parents the right of choosing the school (the bias) that they want for their children.

I have come down on the latter approach in advocating for vouchers. For me this path represents the non-monopolistic option that best provides for the "free marketplace of ideas" you reference.

As for me, personally, I believe in both God and evolution. In my view, they are not mutually exclusive positions.

Man's understanding of evolution is evolving. Things we used to think were true have since been exposed as being false.

Science represents a methodology for pursuing knowledge. It does not pretend to have even come close to answering every question, nor does it pretend to be the only way to acquire knowledge. The truth is that it commonly reveals many more questions than it provides answers.

For anyone to surrender an intuitively acquired belief in God based upon someone else's biased representation of science would be a terrible mistake. That is what I am combating.

Thanks for taking me seriously, y-intercept. And, thanks to my friend, Part of the Plan, for covering my back. (I love ya, buddy.)


y-intercept said...

Thanks for the response.

Quite frankly, I think Christians are far more balanced and rational than the secular progressives. From its inception, Christianity has had a high regard for reason. This is extremely clear in the writings of Augustine and Aquinas.

Secular progressives tend to mistake cunning for reason.

Logic was a central feature of the Western curriculum (the trivium) up to modern times.

If you come back, it would be great if you answered the question of whether or not you had a logic class in your early education. This question is not an insult. How can you take classes that the schools don't offer?

My first exposure to logic came in a graduate level math course.

Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear y-intercept,

You are right. I was never enrolled in a formal course on logic. All of my exposure to that discipline took place within the study of another subject such as Mathematics, Programming, etc. It would have been nice to have been given more instruction growing up.

Thanks, again, my friend.