Scottish schools fuss

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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Brian Jordan » Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:01 pm

jon_12091 wrote:No idea. But slightly odd I should be able to access it free just because I'm in Scotland.
Maybe you have a Scottish browser :-) I find Firefox only shows me about half a page then goes into an endless wait for the rest to load. However, this can be overcome by switching page view to "no style". As this works, I haven't tried to read the Herald in a different browser.
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby a_haworthroberts » Fri Dec 26, 2014 8:59 pm

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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Peter Henderson » Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:20 pm

Scotland has made a complete ass of itself. Ken Ham is thrilled. Must be an answer to prayer:

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs ... ation-ban/

Still, at least it's not Northern Ireland.
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:09 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:Some comments from


Happy birthday, Peter!
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Peter Henderson » Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:33 pm

Roger Stanyard wrote:
Peter Henderson wrote:Some comments from


Happy birthday, Peter!


Thanks Roger :)

Not doing much today as Lorna took me out last Monday. Lovely meal at the Curran Court in Larne and good getting out without the kids for once :)
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Peter Henderson » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:40 pm

Some comments from Larry Moran who disagrees with both the Scottish Secular society and Jerry Coyne:

http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2015/01/sho ... s-ban.html

Should politicians and lawyers ban the teaching of some subjects in public schools?

The Scottish Secular Society (SSS) was upset that creationism might be slipping into some schools in Scotland. They petitioned the Scottish government requesting that teaching creationism be banned in public schools in Scotland.1 Government officials refused on the grounds that there were already mechanisms in place to ensure that students received a proper science education [Schools creationism ban rejected by Scottish Government].

The official said,

Safeguards include; school managers having oversight of curriculum planning and resources; local authorities with robust complaints procedures, independent school inspections and the development of curriculum materials through a collegiate approach that provides for early identification of any inappropriate material.
This seems like the proper approach to me. Governments can set up mechanisms to create standardized curricula and that should include descriptions of what should be taught in each grade. They can even pass a law saying that all schools have to adhere to the guidelines.

I don't think they should be responding to pressure groups that want to ban the teaching of certain subjects. Most of us would react strongly to any government that banned teaching of sex education, evolution, communism, Islamic culture, feminism, gun control, or post-modernism.2 We should also be wary of banning other subjects even though we are certain that they are wrong—subjects such as Young Earth Creationism. If you give politicians the right to ban teaching of certain subjects then don't be surprised if it backfires.

It's best not to give them that power in the first place but to rely instead on curricula and standards that are developed by educators and enforced by educators. Mistakes will be made but it's better in the long run to do it that way than to have education influenced by the power of lobbyists and pressure groups and petitions.

Jerry Coyne disagrees. He thinks that the Scottish government should have banned the teaching of creationism [Scotland refuses to ban teaching of creationism]. This is one of those issues where Jerry and I strongly disagree. He wants to fire teachers who teach creationism and he wants government to pass and enforce laws that prohibit the teaching of certain subjects.

Here's the letter he wrote to Fiona Robertson, the director of Scotland’s Learning Directorate.

Dear Ms. Robertson,

As an American professor who teaches evolutionary biology, I was deeply disappointed to read in The Herald of Scotland that your country’s education directors refuse to ban the teaching of creationism to schoolchildren....

As the author of a popular book on the evidence for evolution (Why Evolution is True), I am fully aware of the massive evidence for evolution and the complete absence of evidence for any creationist views, which invariably stem from Biblical literalism. Creationism is thus a purely nonscientific view based on religion, and I’m saddened that Scotland won’t take even a minimal stand to ensure that its children are not indoctrinated with such bogus "science". The truth of evolution, I’ve found, is not only fascinating, based as it is on mountains of diverse but congruent evidence, but also deeply enlightening, showing us how our own species, and other species as well, came to be. It is the true story of our origins.

I hope that Scotland, like England and Wales, will have the resolve to explicitly establish some guidelines about what Tim Simmons, head of the Curriculum Unit, called "well-established science." Without an explicit statement that creationism is not well-established science, schools are at the mercy of whatever their teachers want to impart about the origins and diversity of organisms.

Thank you for your consideration.
Cordially,
Jerry Coyne
Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolution
The University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637 USA


I don't agree with Jerry Coyne. I'm all in favor of teaching evolution and proper science but I'm also in favor of teaching students why things like creationism, astrology, and homeopathy are wrong and why the Loch Ness monster doesn't exist.

It's a bit ridiculous to pass laws banning the teaching of every single thing that "is not well-established science."

It's true that "schools are at the mercy of whatever their teachers want to impart" but the way to fix that problem is to change the views of society, and teachers, about evolution and creationism. There isn't much evidence that simply banning certain subjects will actually change whether students believe them or not. If that were true, then we would expect that the students of Dover Pennsylvania have now come to accept evolution and reject creationism.

1. I'm using "public" school in the North American sense to refer to schools that are open to the public and supported by government funding.

2. I'm a bit ambivalent about banning post-modernism
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Brian Jordan » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:31 pm

The proposed ban is against teaching creationism as valid science. If there were classes debunking astrology, homoeopathy and other nonsense, then it would be appropriate to include creationism. However, I doubt such a thing could be further from the minds of the cdesign proponentsists.
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Peter Henderson » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:03 am

To be honest. I'm not quite sure what Moran is getting at Brian.

Ir was the change in the national curriculum that prompted the row at Lisburn a few years back (2007). The audio footage in the Radio Ulster interview with Paul Givan in this video confirms this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGF2AxlQsYE
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Roger Stanyard » Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:40 am

Peter Henderson wrote:To be honest. I'm not quite sure what Moran is getting at Brian.



Me too Peter. The issue isn't about teachong creationism, it's about teaching creationism as vaiid science. The issue is, rightly, political insofar as the state funds state education and therefore has the very real political responsibility to ensure that state schools are not used as vehicles to proselytise each and everyone's different private religious beliefs.
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Peter Henderson » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:06 am

No, we are not alone:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/ ... .116853853

Christian MSP: science can't disprove Earth created in six days

The SNP's John Mason has lodged a formal motion in Holyrood urging what he sees as respect for religious beliefs in schools.

His plea - as yet unsigned by any other member - comes after one of Scotland's biggest councils, South Lanarkshire, effectively moved to bar creationism from its classrooms.

Mr Mason dislikes the term creationism but passionately believes God created the world - although he does not know how long this process took.

His motion reads: "The Parliament...understands that some people believe that God created the world in six days, some people believe that God created the world over a longer period of time and some people believe that the world came about without anyone creating it.

"The Parliament... considers that none of these positions can be proved or disproved by science and all are valid beliefs for people to hold, and further considers that children in Scotland's schools should be aware of all of these different belief systems."

Scottish scientist James Hutton, the father of modern geology, disproved that the world could have been created in six days in the late 18th century.

His revolutionary study of Scottish rocks showed geological processes had taken too long for the Bible to be accurate.

Mr Mason, speaking to The Herald, said: "I also believe that Jesus could turn water in to wine; even if a scientific study of that wine showed that it was years old.

"These are the beliefs of Christians, Muslims and Jews and as far as I am concerned they cannot be proved or disproved by science."

Spencer Fildes, chairman of the Scottish Secular Society, said: "I welcome Mr Mason's motion.

"We wanted the Creationism issue in front of every MSP. We now have that."

Mr Mason said his motion was a response to one from his party colleague Stewart Maxwell, congratulating South Lanarkshire on its stance.

The council had been at the centre of a row over what is called "young earth creationism" at a non-denominational school in East Kilbride by an American sect that rejects evolution and condemns gay relationships.

Many parents only realised their children were being exposed to the evangelical group's agenda when pupils took home young earth creationist books they had been handed at assembly which showed mankind living alongside dinosaurs.

Mr Maxwell's motion read that the parliament "believes that creationism should not be presented as a scientific theory and viable alternative to the established theory of evolution". It also congratulated South Lanarkshire.
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:38 am

Peter

Bloggers have blogged about Mason as you may now be aware:
https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/201 ... arliament/
https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.co ... arliament/

According to Wikipedia the MSP attends a baptist church - and he appears to have no science background at all.

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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby Peter Henderson » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:32 pm

and he appears to have no science background at all.


What's new Ashley.

Personally speaking, I can forgive the scientifically ignorant like Mason in a way. It's those who are highly qualified in science that believe this crap who I get annoyed with most. For them there is no excuse.
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Re: Scottish schools fuss

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:56 pm

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