Ephemeral electronic files

June 1, 2008

Here are some words of caution about all those “keyboarding” and “business computing” courses required in many states:  Will the file systems be there next year?  Will the programs even exist next year?


Moral corruption of Joe Carter and ID advocates

June 1, 2008

I’m often struck at how creationists, including advocates of intelligent design, cannot maintain an argument in favor of their perverse beliefs against science for more than about five minutes without descending into erroneous descriptions of science, or outright lies.

Joe Carter pens the very well-read Evangelical Outpost. He attends church regularly, I gather, considers himself a good Christian, and for all I know studies the Bible regularly and tithes. But he’s also an advocate of intelligent design. In 2007 he provoked a bit of a storm claiming that scientists were making the case for ID by advocating evolution (no, it doesn’t make much more sense in the longer argument). (See “The moral imperative against intelligent design,” and “. . . in which I defend the judiciary against barbaric assault.“)

I missed it earlier, but he followed up in April of this year with a repeat performance upon the release of Ben Stein’s mockumentary movie “Expelled!” — another three part epic. Carter cast away his virtue in the third paragraph of the first post:

Had the critics remained silent over the past decade, ID might possibly have moldered in obscurity. If they had given the theory the respect accorded to supernatural explanations like the “multiverse theory” it might even have faded from lack of support.

But instead the theory’s critics launched a irrational counter-offensive, forcing people into choosing sides. The problem with this approach is that the more the public learn about modern evolutionary theory, the more skeptical they become about it being an adequately robust explanation for the diversity of life on earth. For instance in Expelled, Michael Ruse and Richard Dawkins provide two explanations for how life probably began. Ruse says that we moved from the inorganic world to the world of the cell on the backs of crystals while Dawkins says that life on earth was most likely seeded by aliens from outer space.

When even Dawkins admits that intelligent agency is involved in creation of life on earth it isn’t difficult to see why other people think it is plausible.

Is there a claim in there that is not completely false? Is there one claim that is not demonstrably in error — or an outright lie?

What virus causes this rabid departure from truth-telling among creationists? For if it’s not a virus, it’s a moral failing of the faith, isn’t it? And knowing that, wouldn’t advocates of Christianity’s growth, like Joe Carter, take steps to hide their prevarications?

If you have an idea what the cause is, comments are open.


800,000

June 1, 2008

It’s been a slow month.  Sometime Tuesday or early Wednesday the Bathtub gets its 800,000th view.  Won’t make a million by the 2nd anniversary at that rate, but considering how few posts I’ve made lately, on bland topics, it’s not bad.

As always, thanks to all visitors, and double thanks to anyone who comments.


Not tardy: June 1 American Economics Blog Carnival

June 1, 2008

Still at Struck in Traffic.

So, have I missed them, or do posts from Becker-Posner and Café Hayek not appear?


Encore post: A religious bias against good education?

June 1, 2008

From August 8, 2007, the post that exposed the educationally-destructive, religiously-drenched mathematics curriculum from Castle Hills First Baptist School in San Antonio, Texas.

One might be too stunned to shake one’s head; this is a description for a high school calculus course:

CALCULUS

Millard Fillmore\'s Bathtub Encore Post
Students will examine the nature of God as they progress in their understanding of mathematics. Students will understand the absolute consistency of mathematical principles and know that God was the inventor of that consistency. Mathematical study will result in a greater appreciation of God and His works in creation. The students will understand the basic ideas of both differential and integral calculus and its importance and historical applications. The students will recognize that God created our minds to be able to see that the universe can be calculated by mental methods.

No, I’m not kidding. It’s from Castle Hills First Baptist School in San Antonio, Texas.

The scientist who sent me the link called it “God’s math.” Architect Mies van der Rohe once said, “God is in the details.” But he didn’t mean that math should be taught as anything other than mathematics. He didn’t mean that any religion should be inserted into math classes — and frankly, that’s a little worrying to me. I speak regularly with theologians who read the same text and come up with radically different descriptions of what it means, sometimes diametrically opposite descriptions.

The social studies curricula are more troubling. What is described is at best second-rate course work. One hopes that the teachers teach the material instead of these descriptions:

SOCIAL STUDIES/HISTORY

WORLD HISTORY I
NINTH GRADE
The students will examine the nature of God as revealed through the study of social studies. Students will develop convictions about God’s word as it relates to world history and will define their responses to it. Through the study of world history, students will develop an understanding of the economic, social, political and cultural developments of our world, as they compare countries and civilizations, Students will learn and acquire an appreciation for God’s relations throughout the timeline of world events. The integration of literature into studies of ancient civilizations will enhance and inspire their learning process. Students will develop attitudes, values, and skills as they discover their place in the world. Students will analyze, synthesize and evaluate social studies skills, including social relationships such as family and church.

WORLD HISTORY II
TENTH GRADE
The students will examine the nature of God as revealed through the study of social studies. Students will develop convictions about God’s word as it relates to world history and will define their responses to it. Through the study of world history, students will develop an understanding of the economic, social, political and cultural developments of our world, as they compare countries and civilizations since the Reformation. Students will learn and acquire an appreciation for God’s relations throughout the timeline of world events. The integration of literature into the studies of modern civilizations will enhance and inspire their learning process. Students will develop attitudes, values, and skills as they discover their place in the world. Students will analyze, synthesize and evaluate social studies skills, including social relationships such as family and church.


AMERICAN HISTORY
ELEVENTH GRADE
Students will evaluate the past and learn from its lessons (I Corinthians 10:11), and become effectual Christians who understand “the times” (I Chronicles 12:32). Students will study the history of our country beginning with the Civil War with a biblically integrated filter as they examine the political, social, and economic perspectives. An emphasis will be placed on the major wars, the industrial revolution, and the settlement of the frontier, requiring students to critically analyze the cause and effect relationships of events in history.

GOVERNMENT/CIVICS
TWELFTH GRADE
Students will evaluate the past and learn from its lessons (I Corinthians 10:11), and become effectual Christians who understand “the times” (I Chronicles 12:32). Students will study the foundational documents of our founding Fathers built upon as they formulated the ideals upon which our country was established. Such documents include: The Magna Carta, The English Bill of Rights of 1689, and the Mayflower Compact. Students are equipped with an understanding of the basic principles contained in these documents, and are able to identify their dependence upon biblical and Reformation principles, leading them to an understanding why the American system is meant for a religious people.

ECONOMICS/FREE ENTERPRISE
TWELFTH GRADE

Students will evaluate the past and learn from its lessons (I Corinthians 10:11), and become effectual Christians who understand “the times” (I Chronicles 12:32). Students will gain an understanding of the workings of economic systems, being able to identify the strengths and weaknesses inherent in capitalism (Deuteronomy 8, 15, 28, Leviticus 25), and the reasons for its superiority to the models of communism and socialism (Ezekiel 46:18).

The last description there, for economics, might lead one to understand this school ignores most of the lessons of Jesus, and especially the stories of the disciples in the immediate aftermath of the crucifixion as described in Acts 2. Not only are the courses described inadequate (we hope the teachers teach the state standards instead, at least), where scripture is specifically mentioned, they appear to be tortured to fit the agenda.

Then comes the choker:

SCIENCE

BIOLOGY

Students will study the physical life of God’s creation. They will continue to develop skills in the use of the scientific method. The students will learn methods and techniques of scientific study, general attributes of the cell and its processes, characteristics of the wide spectrum of living organisms, the classification, similarities and differences of the five kingdoms, evolutionary models and the creation model, the mechanics of inheritance, disease and disorders, and the workings of the human body. Students will gain experience in manipulating the conditions of a laboratory investigation and in evaluating the applications of biological principles in everyday life.

There is no “creation model” that is scientific, nor is there one that conflicts with evolution and is also Biblical. What, in God’s name, are they teaching?

CHFB School was established over 25 years ago, and claims to have more than 300 students enrolled, K-12. Surely there is a track record to look at.

Anybody know what the actual curricula look like at this school? Are there any measures to suggest the school teaches real subjects instead of what is described?

What was the Texas legislature thinking when they authorized Bible classes? Isn’t this bad enough as it is?

____________________

Update: See parent and student comments and ratings of the school, here.


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