Tag Archives: Science
“What you said was the most mind-bogglingly ignorant position possible.”…
Twitchy » US Politics
The House Appropriations Committee voted 31–18 Thursday on a bill that would allow schools to opt out of White House nutritional guidelines passed in 2012. Those guidelines have inspired high school students to shoot a “We Are Hungry” music video and post photos of their paltry school lunches to Twitter. The New York Times report…
Twitchy » US Politics
A Yale University professor says he was surprised by the results of a survey measuring “education, religiosity, ideology and science comprehension,” when he found that identifying with the Tea Party actually correlated positively with science comprehension.
“As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension,” Yale University Professor Dan Kahan wrote in a report.
“But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party,” Kahan admitted. “All my impressions come from watching cable TV — and I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the ‘paper’ (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).”
The professor went on to say he’s glad to have shaken the “mistaken” view — though he still has a “very negative” view of the Tea Party:
I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.
Of course, I still subscribe to my various political and moral assessments–all very negative– of what I understand the “Tea Party movement” to stand for. I just no longer assume that the people who happen to hold those values are less likely than people who share my political outlooks to have acquired the sorts of knowledge and dispositions that a decent science comprehension scale measures.
Glenn Beck and his radio co-hosts Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere discussed the poll on Thursday.
“Doesn’t that say everything you need to know about a Yale professor?” Gray said of the professor’s statement, that all he knows of the Tea Party is what he has learned from the media.
“He thought we were, you know, witch hunters,” Beck added sarcastically.
All three agreed that it was a “positive” development to find someone “honest enough to go through and run the data.”
“I hope you have tenure, Dan, because Yale’s not going to keep you around, dude,” Beck said.
Kahan’s full report, “Some data on education, religiosity, ideology, and science comprehension,” is available here.
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Read more stories from TheBlaze
Washington, DC (LiveActionFilms) — One of the most shocking conversations I have experienced occurred on a train.
I was in the lounge car, watching the sun rise as we glided through the gritty precincts of Los Angeles. Sitting next to me was a young man, about my age, who was an atheist. We had become entangled in a debate on religion, and I was pressing him to concede the reality of objective moral values.
“Surely,” I argued, “You would admit that the Holocaust was truly evil.” “Well,” he responded, “You have to see it from the German point of view. They thought the Jews were a real threat. They told them to leave, and the Jews insisted on staying.”
Years ago, I might have written this young man off as a psychopath. I am afraid, however, that he is really quite normal.
A few months before the train ride, I had a similar experience at my church. I was teaching a class of junior high students, most of whom had grown up in the church. During the lesson, I showed a clip from a WWII era film depicting a German officer mistreating a Jewish man. After the clip was finished, I asked the class to help me compile a list of all of the truths which we could perceive about the event. We quickly assembled a list describing the actions that the officer had taken. After a stretch of silence, I added one more item to the list: “These actions were wrong.” Before I had finished writing this statement, one of the students corrected me. “That’s not a truth,” he confidently asserted. “It’s an opinion.”
I turned around to see the class nodding in agreement. “So you mean you don’t believe this statement is true?” I asked, pointing to what I had just written.
“No, it’s an opinion,” someone else answered.
“It’s true from the Christian perspective,” interjected another, “But obviously the soldier doesn’t believe it’s true, so it’s just an opinion.”
I pressed the question further, but not a single student in the junior high youth group believed that the statement I had written was objective truth. Later that day, I presented the same lesson to the high school youth group and received a similar response.
What is happening here? It is really quite simple. From a very early age, these students, along with the young man on the train, have been taught to believe that science is the only means to establish objective truth. Therefore, since moral claims cannot be empirically verified in a laboratory, they are viewed merely as subjective constructs of human societies.
The articulations of the young man on the train are therefore not as unreasonable as one might at first suppose. In fact, they are quite logical. Provided, of course, that naturalism is true. But what if naturalism is not true? What if reality consists of more than the particles described by physics? In the final analysis, therefore, moral questions cannot be separated from religious ones.
This is why I cringe when I hear pro-lifers say that their views against abortion are founded on science and not religion. What they should say instead is that their views against abortion are neither more nor less religious than their views against rape, child abuse, and infanticide. Science can demonstrate that all of these various actions damage another human being, but science itself cannot tell you whether it is right or wrong to damage another human being. Therefore, while science certainly undergirds one’s beliefs about the content of these actions, any question about the morality of these actions transcends science.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
In short, I do not believe abortion kills an innocent human being because of my religion. I believe abortion kills an innocent human being because of science. But I believe it is wrong to kill an innocent human being because of my religion.
LifeNews Note: Murray Vasser is a 27-year-old science teacher and theology student who contributes to Live Action News and blogs at http://murrayvasser.blogspot.com. This article is reprinted with permission.
A Look Into New Ed. Standards Praised for Putting Science Into Context But Criticized for Teaching Man-Made Global Warming
- The new Next Generation Science Standards seeks make connections between science and other disciplines and update scientific information not found in previous standards.
- It has been nearly two decades since a set of national science standards has been developed.
- The K-12 standards include teaching students core ideas about man-made global climate change, evolution and sustainability as well as topics found in traditional biology, chemistry and physics.
- NGSS is a standard, not curriculum, and is voluntarily adopted by states.
For the past two years, 26 states collaborated to develop a new set of voluntary educational standards for science in schools, updating what some consider horribly out of date previous guidelines from 1996.
“The [Next Generation Science Standards] aim to prepare students to be better decision makers about scientific and technical issues and to apply science to their daily lives,” Matt Krehbeil, science education program consultant, of Kansas, said in a statement. “By blending core science knowledge with scientific practices, students are engaged in a more relevant context that deepens their understanding and helps them to build what they need to move forward with their education – whether that’s moving on to a four-year college or moving into post-secondary training.”
Drafting of the Next Generation Science Standards was coordinated by Achieve, a bipartisan non-profit seeking to help states raise education standards. Achieve also helped developed the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association and American Association for the Advancement of Science were involved in phases of the standard’s development process as well.
The K-12 standards have already been getting buzz from those who believe global warming education was missing from schools for years and “climate deniers” who call it a “victory for progressives and liberals” that “doesn’t reflect correct science.”
Mark McCaffrey, the programs and policy director with the National Science Teachers Association, told TheBlaze their hope is that the standards aren’t “painted as [only] climate change standards” just because climate science and information involving man-made global warming is included.
“[It] cover a wide range of topics,” McCaffrey said. “The new standards are designed to provide young people with scientific understanding and skills.”
A look at the press release about the standards released earlier this week doesn’t even mention climate science being an addition to the standards that was missing from the 1996 recommendations.
Climate science though, MCaffrey said, is one that has “continued to fall through the cracks.”
“Because climate change was not included in national science standards, we’ve lost almost 20 years,” he said. “Now we need to have informed citizens.”
McCaffrey said if climate change education was included earlier, we would be in a “different situation” instead of “paying the price right now.”
When asked about teaching “both sides” of climate change — teaching that there are those who believe the data does not confirm anthropogenic activity is causing global warming — McCaffrey said it is a practice that “shows a false balance.”
NGSS establishes a set of Disciplinary Core Ideas the framers believe students should know by high school graduation. Some of these ideas will include “societal or personal concerns that require scientific or technological knowledge.”
When it comes to climate change and the core idea progression, students learn about weather in younger grades eventually leading up to learning about historical weather patterns and how patterns compose climate. As early as third grade, students would begin learning about how a warming temperature would impact life on Earth.
Once the student is in high school, the NGSS would have them learning about “the role of radiation from the sun and [how] its interactions with the atmosphere, ocean, and land are the foundation for the global climate system.” At this age, information about global climate models predicting future changes in climate, “including changes influenced by human behavior and natural factors,” would be taught as well.
Students will also learn about human impacts on earth systems. Those in grades K-2 will learn about how human actions affect the environment and how “they can make choices to reduce their impacts.” High school students in this category will learn about “sustainability of human societies and [how] the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources, including the development of technologies and regulations.”
The core ideas also include everything from human biology, chemistry and physics to environmental science, evolution and information systems.
Watch this promotional video about the standards:
The framework of the standards want these topics to draw connections between the “interdependence of science, engineering and technology” and how they influence society and the natural world.
“The Next Generation of Science Standards promise to help students understand why is it that we have to know science and help them use scientific learning to develop critical thinking skills-which may be applied throughout their lives, no matter the topic,” Joseph S. Krajcik, professor of science education in the college of education at Michigan State University and a member of the writing team, said in a statement. “Unlike previous standards, where you have separation of inquiry and ideas that students should know, in the NGSS they are now together.”
In the promotional video, Rodger Bybee, executive director of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education, said “the standards …have the power to influence all of the components of the education system.”
McCaffrey told TheBlaze their hope with the NGSS is that it will also help uniform science standards among the states. He called science education across the nation a ” complete hodgepodge” at the moment.
The standards, which were developed with funding from the Carnegie Corporation, now will be considered by states for adoption. They are completely voluntary and states are not obligated to adopt them.
Check out this infographic about the NGSS:
Read more stories from TheBlaze
With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft’s navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL’s descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).
Watch it live HERE