Showing posts with label schools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label schools. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jessica Ahlquist in Illinois

and the Illinois Family Institute is mad about it.

First reported by The Friendly Atheist, the IFI has their granny panties all in a bunch over the fact that Jessica Ahlquist is speaking to some local schools during constitution week.

You can read their diatribe here:
http://illinoisfamily.org/education/constitution-week-at-york-waubonsie-and-downers-grove-north-high-schools/

Hemant Mehta, and I have to say myself, suggested using their own email system against them to praise the schools and condemn the IFI.
http://www.facebook.com/groups/NAPofIllinois/

Well,  it turns out that IFI was not too happy about that either.
http://illinoisfamily.org/education/teen-atheist-friendly-atheist-and-accuracy/

To which Hemant replies, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/09/18/atheists-beat-the-illinois-family-institute-at-their-own-game/


I am glad that Hemant reported that Jessica is doing good with no problems from theistic hate mongers like the IFI.

If you want express your gratitude to the schools that sponsored Jessica please go here.
http://ffrf.org/news/action/tell-illinois-schools-to-stand-by-jessica-ahlquist/

Please remember to be courteous and respectful.  Also, I would like to add, call AFTER 10:00am Central.  Schools get a lot of calls in the morning from parents, please don't tie up the phone lines for them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Conservatives do not want you to learn

A couple of links that "graced" my computer screen this morning.

The first is the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries"
http://www.humanevents.com/2005/05/31/ten-most-harmful-books-of-the-19th-and-20th-centuries/
I am not sure what they mean by "harmful" because by my understanding the most harmful book ever published was "The Bible" followed by "The Koran".  But this is a conservative website so who knows what they are thinking.  Let's look at a few of the books.

"The Communist Manifesto" and "Das Kapital"- I am not a fan of communism and I have not read these, so I can't comment.

"Mein Kampf"  ok I can't disagree with them here.

The Kinsey Report" they are really quote mining this one.  This book pushed the understanding og human sexuality out of the dark ages.  Yes, it has it's problems, to list this one as "Harmful" says more about the people making the list.

"Democracy and Education" now this is just plain stupid.  Dewey was brilliant and I have based most of my educational career on his ideas. Calling this a harmful book is pushing some agenda.

"The Feminine Mystique" again the only reason this is on the list is because these guys want some members of the population to go back to where they were and shut up.  Their reasoning is full of  Ad Hominem attacks as well.

"The Course of Positive Philosophy" and "Beyond Good and Evil" they disagreed with religion therefore they must be bad.  What are these guys afraid of?  I say guys, but there was one woman on the panel.

I really have no words for these people.

The other is "14 Wacky "Facts" Kids Will Learn in ouisiana's Voucher Schools"
http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars

Dinosaurs and men hanging out together?  The nice KKK?  This one has to be seen to believed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guess Who Called Me?

I got a call today from Callista Gingrich. Yup the current (for now) of Newt Gingrich.
Well not her, but a recording of her.

I guess she is selling some new book and video called "Rediscovering God in America".  She was going on and on about how the founding fathers were hard core Christians.   Guess she never read the Treaty of Tripoli.

But she was going on also about we, yes the atheists, have destroyed America.  We don't let prayer in the schools and we cause town halls to have to take down their 10 Commandments.


It took everything I had to keep from laughing.  


When I got a real person on the phone all I said was I am a Atheist, they hung up on me.

In truth I should have kept them on the phone.  Every minute they were on with me is one less they could sell their nonsense to someone else.

If you get a call from them let me know how it goes.


Monday, June 25, 2012

How the World Sees Us

I like to watch BBC News.  It gives me an unfiltered view of US politics and world news, free from the lens of US political interest.  The antidote to too much Fox News and MSNBC.
It is nice to see how the world views us, even when most of the times that view is unfavorable.

But this next item might be too much.

We all know that there are certain states in our union that are populated with mostly idiots. Well one such state, Louisiana is using the Loch Ness Monster and Godzillia as a means of "disproving" evolution.  Now if this home grown idiocy was bad enough, to make it worse they are talking about it in the Scottish press and laughing at ass.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/education/how-american-fundamentalist-schools-are-using-nessie-to-disprove-evolution.17918511

http://www.scotsman.com/news/odd/loch-ness-monster-cited-by-us-schools-as-evidence-that-evolution-is-myth-1-2373903

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/06/25/scotland-is-laughing-at-us/

Great.  Now a much of backwards creationist idiots in Louisiana are making the rest of us look stupid.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Neil deGrasse Tyson

If Carl Sagan has an heir apparent then it is astronomer and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I don't quite know as much about him as I do Sagan or even Stephen Hawking, but I have watched him on TV (PBS' Nova) and seen a number of his interviews to know that this guy is smarter than rest of us.  He is a staunch advocate for science and the teaching of science in our schools.  In one interview I saw him give on C-SPAN he told a congressional committee about how important science education is, not just to raise child to be scientists but also to understand the world we live in now.

Tyson is a bit more of an atheist than Sagan was, but he still considered himself agnostic.  Many though hear him talking and assume he is an atheist.  In truth if he were define himself as anything I think "Scientist" would be his preferred label.  He is a staunch opponent "Intelligent Design"  calling it an impediment to science education.

Among his books that are my faves (which I have not finished reading) are "Death by Black Hole" and "The Pluto Files".

I am looking forward to learning more about this guy and reading more of his work.

http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson
http://anamericanatheist.org/interviews/interview-with-neil-degrasse-tyson/

And to be honest, this graphic that appeared everywhere on Facebook a while back explains it perfectly.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kidding...

as in, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

Here is a bit of news out of Tennessee where they are boldly going to the 19th century.

"Tennessee Governor Allows Creationism Bill To Become Law"
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/04/11/tennessee-governor-allows-creationism-bill-to-become-law/

So in Tennessee teachers are now required to mention a "debate" that doesn't even exist in science.
People will argue about "teaching the controversy" but there is none.  No one with any bit of scientific background that isn't blinded by faith thinks there is any other plausable theory other than evolution.

It is not because scientists are closed minded or because there is a vast scientific conspiracy but because no other theory fits the data better.

Yet these bozos in public office keep trying to shove their Dark Ages beliefs down the throats of students because they are in power.  You know who else is like that?  The Taliban.

Any time someone places religion above science in our schools we all lose.  But none more than the children.

I could go on and on about these idiots we have in public office. But here are a few news clips and blog posts:

http://timesfreepress.com/news/2012/mar/28/bill-would-expand-students-religious-rights/
http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/10/28/santorum-advocates-assassinating-scientists/
http://www.atheistrev.com/2012/04/pat-robertson-demon-hunter.html (not a public official, but funny)
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/04/proof_is_not_what_most_people_think_it_is.php?utm_source=combinedfeed&utm_medium=rss
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/04/10/in-missouri-an-in-god-we-trust-sign-goes-up-and-an-atheist-runs-for-city-council/
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/04/09/billy-grahams-daughter-i-would-not-vote-for-an-atheist-to-be-president/
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/rev-billy-grahams-daughter-i-would-not-vote-for-an-atheist-poll/

These are all just from April.

Look. If we are to move forward as a nation and as a species then we need to keep this crap out of our schools.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Evolution

Why is it that Evolution is such a sticking point with both Atheists and some* of the faithful?
* Now I know that vast majority of Christians say they are fine with evolution.  Even the last pope before this one said that evolution was the mechanism in which species grow.

But yet then I read data about how 54% of Americans don't believe it and some even advocating young Earth creationism?  It boggles the mind.

In southern states this is still a contentious issue, and I am not just talking about the Scopes Monkey trial here, I am talking about school boards just last week still fighting to take evolution off school curricula or put the horribly misnamed "Intelligent Design" on.

Here is the deal. The Theory of Evolution is one of the most supported bits of scientific inquiry there is.  There is evidence for it in biology, chemistry, geology, and genetics.  If it failed to make predictions or describe the data in any of those areas it can be thrown out. But it hasn't.  To be a scientific theory it must falsifiable, that is it must able to be proved false. If a complex animal is discovered in the fossil record that can't be explained then evolution has a problem.  The deal is that this has never happened.

Yet there are still groups out there that doubt it's claims.  Many seem to think this is an either/or option.
I recall a conversation I had some time ago with someone I had considered intelligent.  He said he didn't believe in evolution, he believed in God.  I had not realized that they were mutually exclusive.

I could go on and on about evolution here, but this is not Wikipedia. Nor am I Richard Dawkins.
I am though an educator and blogger.  So I take it to you, my audience.

What do you all think?  Have you ever run into controversy about evolution in schools? Either yourself or your children?  For the Christian readers here, how do you reconcile evolution with your faith?  I suspect the vast majority of you do, you are just so quiet about it!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Evil Little Things

Kids today have it hard.

My sons have more homework in grade school than I ever recall having.  There are so many clubs, cliques and activities it is hard to keep up.

Now add on top of that being an atheist.

I don't have to guess, I know a couple.  Jessica Ahlquist currently at Cranston High School and Damon Fowler, formerly of Balstrop High School.  Both of these brave kids sued their schools.  Jessica for a prayer banner in her school and Damon for a school-led prayer at graduation.

They both did the right thing, and of course suffered for it.

Jessica was called an "evil little thing" by RI State Rep Peter Palumbo. Damon was disowned by his family (more or less, his older brother is helping him) and called horrible things by his former teachers.  Of course in every case the adults look like fools and as adults we can mock them, deride them and point out their ignorance and general lack of understanding.

The kids though are still hurt by the remarks.
I have had the chance to become Facebook friends with both of this young people.  If for no other reason to offer my support.  Others have come through with more than just words, they have set up scholarships for them.  Both have been brave, but they are hurt like kids will be when they are bullied.  Make no mistake, the adults were bad in this, but the other kids were much, much worse.

I never had it rough.
Sure I was, what I thought, the only atheist in my high school, though now I know that is incorrect.  But no one ever really treated me different. I made no attempt to hide what I felt.  When religion was talked about or mentioned I usually had a comment or two.  I never felt oppressed.

Sometimes I do wonder what it would have been like to have been more open about what I believed in. To do the things that Jessica and Damon did.  Hard to say really.  It was a different world back then.  The big monster under the bed was not people of other religions, it was still people of different color, or sexual orientation, or even the Soviets still.  Maybe because in the world of Ronnie Reagan people didn't think atheists existed.  Maybe that is a thought for another time.

To the Damons and Jessicas that are and the Tim that just didn't quite get there, keep your head up kids, one day you will own the future.