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Thread: Life in the slow lane

  1. #81
    Don't we all

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  2. #82
    An example in the Miami Herald of my earlier stated concern about the alternate reality crowd making inroads in the public classroom. Anybody can believe whatever they wish, but I see it as shortsighted to indoctrinate one’s own children with alternate realities, and downright criminal to try to indoctrinate other’s children with their manipulative fantasies.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fred-grimm/article160012514.html?utm_campaign=crowdfire&utm_c ontent=crowdfire&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twit ter#350509998-tw#1499456664311

    There is a huge difference between hard science and alternate realities, regardless of how well-meaning. It seems though, that many would rather hide their head in the sand than care about the world their children will need to get by in. I say this for humanities sake, as Nature is content to move on to new life forms.

    On a site where extensive reading is known to be a prerequisite to better writing, I’m surprised to not be aware of anyone that has even cracked the cover of “The Sixth Extinction, An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert. One might learn how to make a dry subject interesting at the least.

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  3. #83
    More jumping to conclusions.

    Query : Who do you believe is capable of deciding what ALL children should be taught?

    Query : Why should people, whose tax money is PAYING FOR the school and its teachers have ZERO say in what is taught?


    The purpose of public school in the USA was to create an educated voting population. That mission has failed. Many drop out or graduate still barely able to read. Few graduates have critical thinking skills.

    Schools, both public and private, are not teaching the importance of living in harmony with Nature. If you lived in Florida, that law would give YOU the right to influence the curriculum in the ways YOU believe are important. OK. Maybe the odd one who wants global warming to be removed would also be trying to enact change. But think of how much worse it would be if the school board decided to remove global warming -- AND THERE WAS NO RECOURSE FOR PARENTS.

    Think about it. It cuts both ways. Very little is all good or all evil.

  4. #84
    Seems to me some are missing the whole point as might be expected (not a dig, simply a demonstrated fact as addressed below). We humans are simply a variation of physical life forms, with inherent behavioral tendencies similar to all life forms, occupying a liminal thread in the web of life. Our thread has and end even with background mutation evolutionary change. The overall issue is that humankind's progress thus far has been to severely shorten our liminal thread by increasingly diminishing the habitat and biodiversity that are essential to our very existence.

    All that is hard science, and if one has an objective curiosity about the details, a quick course in natural history might be had by reading the book “The Sixth Extinction, An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert. There are many other hard science books with which to expand one's understanding, but the one I mention is the best starting point I've come across.

    The exasperating thing to me is that I believe we have the potential to understand the reality of natural life, and live in respectful coexistence with all life forms. Unfortunately,
    despite the efforts of many outstanding authors such as Elizabeth Kolbert, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and on and on, too many choose alternate realities, either because they don't know better or other reasons I won't speculate on.

    One of those outstanding authors is ​William Stolzenburg, and a couple pertinent snippets from his book “Heart of a Lion: A Lone Cat's Walk Across America” follow.

    "From the first teetering steps to the inimitable cocky stride in humanity’s six-million-year journey— from tree-dwelling, knuckle-walking offshoot of an African ape, to bipedal globe-trotting pedestrian of the world— had come uncounted sidetracks and detours through the bellies of big cats. Being hunted was a fact of early life that forever shaped the growing brains and bodies of the people who would come to be."

    “Researchers from around the world were returning with disquieting reports of forests dying, coral reefs collapsing, pests and plagues irrupting. Beyond the bulldozers and the polluters and the usual cast of suspects, a more insidious factor had entered the equation. It was becoming ever more apparent that the extermination of the earth’s apex predators— the lions and wolves of the land, the great sharks and big fish of the sea, all so vehemently swept aside in humanity’s global swarming— had triggered a cascade of ecological consequences. Where the predators no longer hunted, their prey had run amok, amassing at freakish densities, crowding out competing species, denuding landscapes and seascapes as they went."


    With a careful reading of the above it's easy to see how we got on this destructive path, but with our supposedly increasing mental capabilities it's not so easy to understand our continuing on the same path. The opposition to reality is formidable though, from coming up with explanations that have no scientific basis, to distracting from and putting their own spin on real science. Distracting from what I've been trying to say is an example. Are we humans so full of ourselves that caring for the world our children will have to get by in is overly inconvenient? I hate to think what our children and grandchildren will come to think of us, having had the opportunity to do something meaningful for their quality of life and not doing so.

    So the overall question is, do we really have the potential to recognize the reality of natural life and work towards a better quality of life for our children, or are we steadfast in hiding behind alternate realities and believe it's more important to indoctrinate our children in such?

    I for one truly care for my grandson and have worked towards caring for the world he will have to get by in. You might understand why I find introducing alternate realities into the public classroom abhorrent. That's not to say that public schools are great, but introducing alternate realities will make things worse.

    There's much more that I could say, being a lifetime student of natural history, but I've said enough to explain my stance, and there's no point in my explaining further to those that don't want to understand.

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    The simplest truths are written on the wall,
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  5. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    Query : Who do you believe is capable of deciding what ALL children should be taught?
    As you say it's rarely all or nothing (nor reducible to a single set of people to solve the problem) so your question is a little leading, but to bring it back a bit, in the main I would say educators and people in the education field are best placed to decide that. Certainly not politicians or the general public. What do they know about it? What interest do they have? The powers that be here in the UK have reduced a once-leading educational system to a political football that is subject to nonsense like the vagaries of the property market, and every teacher I know is constantly pushing for less of that type of external control.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    Query : Why should people, whose tax money is PAYING FOR the school and its teachers have ZERO say in what is taught?
    Because they don't know enough about it and/or because they can't be trusted not to push their own agendas via the medium of policy-influencing amounts of cash. Just because someone pays money to something doesn't mean they should have any say about it. If anything the opposite applies - you spend that money to fund the people who have the knowledge and experience to make a thing work, or you save money and do it yourself and become one of those people. The idea that money carries the final say or some sort of majority input to public services is toxic. If you want that set up a private institution. I don't want the general public having any kind of influence in my kids' educations without my say-so. They're not accountable, they don't have the expertise and too many of their ideas have historically been bad ones.


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  6. #86
    I suppose b.d. , that might be a difference between the u.k. and the u.s.: we do think we are capable of deciding. As long as all the information is available... On 911 our operators told everyone to remain calm and stay at there desks till 'help' arrived. Some people went to the roof, which was a big mistake because the helicopters are never coming to any roof, (unless you're the President, or Donald Trump).All that heat, the wind, the smoke. It's way too risky. If only they'd known, they might've..

    The survivors... well, you see? That's how you survive. They used their own feelings of self-interest and made a choice. They weren't experts, didn't have every detail, but as it turned out, they had enough: the building is on fire and get the hell out; which was counter to what they were being told by the 'experts': stay in your seats.

    As as far as school choice, we see that collectivist idea that the whole should be held back to accommodate or counter the deficiencies of the low median as ... repugnant. That's like riding the building down. We know it's a farce, propping up the wealthy because for them, those rules don't apply. Freedom of choice...

  7. #87
    I don't want the general public having any kind of influence in my kids' educations without my say-so.
    How many other parents feel the same way? And about important issues, not "flat Earth" theories!

    Common core was a hot issue a couple years ago. Parents and teachers, both, were against it. But "experts" had pushed that agenda. Is it really in the best interest of future generations to push the agenda of a single educator, a so-called expert? Or should parents have the right, and the means, to fight poor choices when the "experts" make them?

    Or are you saying that those judged to be experts are infallible? Completely incapable of making even the smallest mistakes?

    You are part of the general population. We all are. That includes doctors, physicists, criminologists, astronomers, enviromentalists, and many others who care, just as deeply, about our children receiving quality education.

    I think the biggest problem with the educational system, and how it got so bad, is LACK of parental involvement. Too many busy, two income families have relied on "experts" to choose what is taught without parents keeping an eye on the selections.

    Parents are not corporations. Only a small portion of the population rises to CEO or other high level positions. Those in the lower ranks don't care about the corporate goals. They aren't really going to push such agendas in school systems.

    Politicians, on the other hand, are frequently influenced by lobbyists. And politicians have already been given the power to influence education. Giving power to the people will reduce the political influence, or at least has the potential to do so.

    I am offended by the implication that because I chose a field other than education that I'm irresponsible or in some other way incapable of making an important and positive influence on the public school system.

    And the only way to have complete say-so over what your child is taught is to do all the teaching yourself! But homeschooling is another debate altogether.

  8. #88
    It seems the difference is, what are important issues? Are they the longevity of the human species, or some alternate reality? We can all agree that the education of our children can be improved, but is indoctrinating them with alternate realities appropriate to that goal? Flat Earth theories was a satirical analogy to alternate realities, such as denying global warming and our role in such, believing a single religion is best rather than respecting the commonality of all religions, wanting to privatize wilderness areas with complete disregard to altering the ecology our existence depends on, denying that untold amounts of agrochemicals are destroying the soil we depend on, and along with all our other pollutants fouling waters that are the fluid of life, and on and on. Indoctrinating our children with such would be furthering our destructive course, and diminishing the quality of life they have a right to.

    So who decides what the important issues are in our pyramid scheme culture? We've certainly made a lot of poor choices so far. Areas where I do see improvement are Europe being way ahead of us with such as renewable energy, banning toxic substances, protecting more forests, promoting ecology, and so on.

    Read Elizabeth Kolbert's book on the sixth extinction, and tell me point by point what are not the most important issues, given they affect our very existence. Distracting tangents and shifting the onus are a dime a dozen, employed to avoid real issues.

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    The simplest truths are written on the wall,
    where we see imaginary greatness in our fall.

  9. #89
    The "alternate realities" have been going on already, with "experts" in charge of curriculums. The so-called amateurs, the parents, might actually do better.

    I agree that environmental issues, living in harmony with nature instead of trying to control (alter) it, global warming and human contributions to it are all important things to teach. And I'm not an education "expert".

    It might surprise you, but most of the twenty-somethings I've talked with all think global warming is largely man-made. Most have serious concerns about this world and the future of humans. They are not crackpots treating everything as disposable.

    It was the arrogance of the prior generations that created global warming, not those who are stepping into adulthood now.

    I'm done with this. Like a belief in a flat Earth, some people hold onto erroneous ideas despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. It's not worth my time.

  10. #90
    Out of respect for the wife's concern, this Wednesday I'm letting the doc wire me up with an external monitor. I know it'll be a PITA though. All I ever wanted was a natural life, which allows for a meteor strike or the like. It better not get in the way of me illustrating my book though, or out the window it goes I'm hell bent on finishing this illustration project.

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    The simplest truths are written on the wall,
    where we see imaginary greatness in our fall.

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