Can Students Opt Out On State Standards?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by mariecurie, Nov 13, 2014.

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  1. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    I grew up in a very strict and religious home. I attended church school my entire life, including university. Our teachers got around these issues by simply teaching "controversial" things as opinions. As in "SOME people believe in evolution. This is what evolution says..." and then we would learn the same lesson, nobody would be "forced" to agree with things they didn't believe in.
     
  2. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    That works for science classes, but I'm concerned with the students who are not allowed to learn about war as a concept or historical occurrence. I get that we can only offer the lessons and they can opt out of learning them (and deal with the consequences on the tests). However, there is that saying about those who do not learn from history.
     
  3. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    I see your point. I don't know how anyone could teach a socials lesson without mentioning war!
     
  4. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Science is NOT an opinion. And you don't "believe" in science. Belief suggests taking something on faith. In science we accept theories based on evidence, observation, and research.

    Evolution is a scientific fact - it's the natural selection part that's a theory. Not "believing" in evolution is like saying you don't believe in gravity.

    This is why we needs students to stay in their science classrooms.
     
  5. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    mariecurie, I see your point, but the fact is there ARE people who do not believe in evolution. There ARE people who disagree with many scientific facts. And as teachers, we need to find ways to work with those people.
     
  6. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Nov 19, 2014

    SF_Giants66, You are welcome to continue the discussion here if you refrain from personal attacks.
     
  7. SF_Giants66

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    I didn't make any personal attacks.
     
  8. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    What I was stating is parents don't have the right to opt their children out of public school curriculum if they are sending their kids to that school. If they don't want their kids to get a real education, they can send them to a religious school.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    SF_Giants66, I know religious schools that are first-rate at education across the curriculum; the Jesuits in particular are justly famed for their teaching of science and modes of argument, and it seems to me that you've much to learn about the latter.

    You've come to the notice of the site owner: that's a sign that what you seem to think of as coruscating wit merely has you on rather thin ice.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Science teachers who present evolution as simply fact, and say this is what happens, without providing the mountains of evidence that led to these conclusions are not teaching it properly.

    Gone are the days of reading in the textbook and simply accepting it as true. Students need to be faced with the evidence, experience it themselves in the laboratory, and then come up with their own conclusions.

    No sentence should start with "Scientists believe..." because that's not science. Instead they should start with, "Here is the evidence for..."

    If a parent doesn't want me to present evidence to her child and portray science as an "opinion" well they can go suck eggs. I'm not going to make an entire class believe that science doesn't have a solid foundation and hinder the growth of students who could possibly grow up to be brilliant scientists, to please one parent.

    I know the post was deleted, but I still believe religion retards the growth of the human mind.
     
  11. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Umm.....

    My great-uncle helped create the prototype for the first spacesuits. He was a deeply religious person.

    My uncle was the lead architect for a worldwide hotel chain for years. He also served as a leader in our church.

    My mother's cousin was on the team at NASA's JPL that lands rovers on Mars. While he wasn't active, he never denied his testimony.

    One of the top ranking leaders in my faith was an extremely gifted and innovative heart surgeon.

    The father of one of the highest ranking church leaders in my faith, Henry Eyring, developed the Transition State Theory in chemistry.

    Harvey Fletcher played a central role in developing stereophonic reproduction. He was religious.

    H. Tracey Hall who was the first to create synthetic diamonds, yup, religious.

    Richard G. Scott who was a nuclear engineer. He's a leader of my faith right now.

    Some things invented by members of my faith: television, electric traffic light, odometer, headphones, hearing aides, audiometer, stereo sound, transistor radio, modern word processors, CD/DVD technology, electric guitar, repeating rifles, automatic shotguns, the artificial heart, heart bypass machine used in open heart surgery, tetrahedron press.

    Things discovered by members of my faith: in addition to the Absolute Rate Theory of Chemical reactions. The Mechanism of ATP synthesis, and soil physics.

    We also brought back irrigation c. 1850 that had not been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians.

    Let me quote from an official church publication, "Education is an important part of Heavenly Father's plan....He wants you to educate your mind and develop your skills and talents....your capacity to appreciate life. The education you gain will be valuable to you during mortality.....Education will prepare you for greater service in the world....It will help you provide better for yourself, your family, and those in need. Education is an investment that brings great rewards and will open the doors of opportunity that may otherwise be closed to you. Plan now to obtain an education. Maintain an enthusiasm for learning throughout your life...."

    For further reading, let me direct you to http://yfacts.byu.edu/Article?id=181
    This gives various rankings of one of my church owned universities against various schools around the country.

    All of this from a surprisingly small fraction of the world's population.

    Please don't automatically assume that because someone believes in God that they are uneducated or unread. Religion and science are NOT mutually exclusive.
     
  12. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Nov 19, 2014

    That is an ignorant comment coming from someone that is educated.
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    If you read my post I never said someone religious is uneducated or unread. I said that it retards the growth of the human mind. And it necessarily does that because of the nature of belief. If you believe in something and ignore evidence to the contrary, you are willfully closing your mind to reality and instead accepting something which is not supported by evidence.

    Yes there are a LOT of people through the ages who accomplished a lot who were religious. That is because in the past few centuries, the majority of those who existed, were religious. It's been one of the original pillars of human civilization.

    But upon analyzing the nature of religious belief, I don't know how anyone can say that ignoring evidence and sometimes entire branches of knowledge is in the best interest of the growth of human thought. (especially seeing where it has taken certain groups of people)

    I think religious people can be brilliant, smart, and kind people (though of course the opposite end exists as well for both religious and non-religious people), but on principle, I still believe that religion retards the growth of human thought.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

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    It would seem, Peregrin, that you think of religion as the primary or even exclusive means by which minds get closed. You're welcome to believe that - but that belief itself is a kind of closed-mindedness. And it confuses cause and consequence.

    The chief factor that leads to the closing of minds is fear, primarily fear of that which is Other. That one has seen this fear among those who practice religions cannot be doubted; it resonates in some truly ugly episodes of human history. But insofar as religion breeds closed minds, it's not because religion is religion: it's because human minds are human minds, and they tend to close under stress. One need only point to pretty much any public discussion of politics leading up to the recent midterm elections to find ample evidence of closure of ranks driven by closure of minds.
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't think that religion is the primary or exclusive means by which minds are closed. I simply think that as a prerequisite for following religion or belief, (if you are following the religion carefully) you are required to ignore evidence in favor of belief systems. That's what belief or religion is.

    If you accrued evidence for your claims, and weighed all evidence equally without viewing it solely through the lens of your personal beliefs, then you wouldn't be a religious person. You would dismiss some of your beliefs if evidence arose to the contrary. But then you woudn't be a good follower of your faith.

    I agree that fear closes minds, and non-religious folk can be just as closed-minded as religious folk if not more so in certain cases. I just don't feel that an institution that requires its constituency to ignore evidence and data and simply follow it's tenets unquestioningly is beneficial to mankind, nor necessary. I feel humanity would be much better served to free itself from the mental chains of religion altogether.

    Religion served to gather mankind into community and provided illumination in times of intellectual darkness, when we didn't have the means to find the answers to the questions around us but had the burning desire to explain the world. But now that we do have the means to explain a lot of it, and press further, we need to drop the mental crutch of religion and move past it.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

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    The Protestant Reformation, the Copernican revolution, and the 19th-century abolition movement are three fairly major counterexamples: people of faith looked at evidence and decided that what they'd been taught was wrong. Do you really mean to argue that Luther, Copernicus, and Wilberforce (not to mention the Beecher family) ceased to be good practitioners of the faiths they continued to follow? That's going to be a very difficult argument to sustain.
     
  17. Peregrin5

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    Again, I am not saying that people of faith cannot change their mind. I am saying that they are breaking their precepts of belief when they are doing so.

    Belief in a religion or a faith generally holds that you are not allowed to question the ideas or faith in any way unless you are the religious figurehead (i.e. the pope, or the messiah). If you do, you are breaking the faith (which is probably why Martin Luther had to leave the Catholic church to start the Reformation). I do think that they ceased to be good practitioners of their faith, and at the very least, those in the Catholic church at that time would say so, because they stopped believing in Catholic doctrine.

    They took up another faith, but then those who would oppose that new faith would be seen as poor practitioners of the faith then.

    Again, a religious person can make a scientific breakthrough that alters their beliefs. But based on organized religion, if they change their beliefs because of this new evidence, they are not adhering to the faith at best, and are heretics at worst.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    "Equivocation" is the logical fallacy of using the same term in more than one sense. It's frowned upon when one is attempting to construct a logical argument. In your first paragraph you have used "faith" in ways that seem to mean 'religion in general', 'Christianity in general', 'tenets of a belief', 'a random variant of Christianity', and 'a particular variant of Christianity': that's equivocation, and in multiples. You've constructed that variant of Christianity so that it has just the properties that are convenient for your attack. That's a different logical error: it's called "straw man." You're also edging perilously close to circular reasoning. A course in logic would be a good thing for you - though you'd find amazingly many Jesuit names in the resources, and that might disquiet your certainty that belief is incompatible with rigorous thought.

    It may be recalled, by the way, that the Protestant Reformation has that name because it was originally a REFORM movement: Luther's original intent was to call the Church of which he was a priest back to its proper foundations. (That's, um, a kind of questioning.) The Church heard him out; there was a procedure to follow for this sort of thing, because it wasn't that unusual, so there were hearings and the 95 theses went to Rome and an assortment of legates and nuncios talked to Luther in a variety of forums, he had an assortment of opportunities to recant, and when he declined, it attempted to swat him into silence via excommunication. Only then did Luther break from Rome - but, in his view, it was Roman practice that had strayed from the true Church, not the other way around.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    :yeahthat:
     
  20. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Thank you for saying what I was about to, but much more eloquently than I would have. :)
     
  21. Peregrin5

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    I still don't think you understand. I am not talking about a variant of Christianity. I am talking about all faiths in general and their doctrine. The precept that a follower of a religion needs to follow the beliefs of its religion and ignore evidence to the contrary is something that is true of all religions.

    That may be true, but it still stands that now there are two doctrines, and both believe the other to be wrong and not 'true' followers of the religion.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I believe that you are mistaken about this. Most religions that have been around for more than a minute not only allow for questioning but actually encourage it. Furthermore, many religious folks find that science and reason can co-exist with faith and belief, that these things are co-dependent rather than mutually exclusive.

    It seems to me that you are considering the actions and beliefs of a handful of extremist-type religions/denominations and applying those actions and beliefs to all/most other religions. That's unfair, and it makes you look like you don't know what you're talking about.
     
  23. greendream

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    This seems like an unnecessary, insulting comment.
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I am very familiar with many different religions, and know very well how they work first hand. Granted I have the most experience with Christianity as I was raised in both Protestant and Catholic denominations, and confirmed and baptized in both. My father is also a Baptist pastor. While this may have very little to do with how much I understand this particular religion, just be aware that I've spent many hours in Sunday schools, Wednesday church meetings, Friday night meetings, lunch time Bible study, and attended private Christian schools, throughout my entire childhood, etc.

    But how much I know about faith is beside the point. I do understand, based on the many lunch-time Bible studies that debate and questioning is a big part of the religious process. However, there is no questioning of the validity of the religious texts. Just about what it means and the different contexts. Nobody in these Bible studies will say: "Well this part of the Bible is wrong, we can just ignore it." They will instead find way to twist the meanings of the Bible passages so they agree with their points of view.

    I will post more, and more specifically, I would like to break down my argument into concise logical points (similar to how they would do it in a logic class), since there are posters questioning my logic. But I have class at the moment. Be back later!
     
  25. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    He does this all the time, usually he uses a Bill O'Reilly word of the day thrown in as well.
     
  26. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This is an uncomfortable shift in this discussion, isn't it?
     
  27. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    The tide goes in, the tide goes out - you can't explain that!
     
  28. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    The original intent of my post was to discuss whether or not students can sit out of classroom lessons that cover state standards due to religious views. And whether or not this should be allowed or how it affects their grade. Astronomy is not tested at a state-level after 8th grade, so it will be interesting to see how that comes into play.

    I am still waiting to hear back from our district curriculum leaders about this issue; I will post again when I get an answer.

    As to the rest of it, I'll simply quote Neil DeGrasse Tyson, "The good thing about Science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
     
  29. Pashtun

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    The tide goes in and out becasue the world is an obelisk!!!!!
     
  30. TamaraF

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    mariecurie, I will be interested in hearing what your district says. I'm grateful I teach English, and don't have to worry much about science vs. religion in my classroom!
     
  31. Peregrin5

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    If I'm not mistaken, TeacherGroupie is female. But I could be wrong. In any case, I did not find her/his comment insulting.

    Alright, here is my argument.

    If the following is true:

    1. Religion requires its constituents to believe a set of beliefs and doctrine.
    2. It requires its believers to maintain their core beliefs even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    Then it follows that:

    1. Those who are religious and following their beliefs faithfully will ignore evidence in favor of their core belief system.

    It follows that:

    1. Those who ignore evidence and data in favor of a position with very little evidence are not thinking scientifically.

    And this is my belief, but I think that thinking scientifically would greatly increase the capacity of human thought and development. This is the basis of my argument.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    What's a "Bill O'Reilly" word?
     
  33. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Purposely trying to use obscure, no wait, esoteric words.
     
  34. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    You may not have been insulted, but it was quite condescending.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Now I think I see where this is coming from. Peregrin, I'm deeply grieved on your behalf. But not all Christians are in the habit of using Leviticus as a bludgeon.

    mariecurie, I apologize to you for the hijacking of your thread.
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Wait: so it isn't a goal of education to teach students to use language purposefully?

    "Coruscating on thin ice" is a pun - try reading the phrase aloud, with long A, and think of winter sports. Punning is another of my lamentable vices, along with the vocabulary you deplore.

    For the record, obscure is not a synonym of esoteric. ("Maund" is obscure: it's an Old English word meaning 'handbasket'. "SBRR" is esoteric: it's a technical term of reading whose meaning is unclear to outsiders.) To shame me for my vocabulary, more apt choices exist: "recondite" and "jejune" have the requisite negative connotations; so does "sesquipedalian", though I think "coruscating" is a bit short to qualify.
     
  37. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    Here is the response from our Education Department:

    The students must learn the science concepts related to origin of the Universe (Big Bang). This does not imply they must personally "believe" that explanation for the origin of the Universe. They should understand that scientific processes of developing conclusions based on the available physical evidence have led to this scientific theory. There certainly have been other ideas about the origin of the Universe that have come from other processes of reasoning and students have a right to incorporate those ideas into their world view. The ideas that we present in science classes are those derived from the constraints of science reasoning criteria. From an instructional standpoint it is often helpful to point out that science does not have methods for fully explaining some aspects of human experience such as love, beauty and faith. Districts have the right to allow alternative methods of instruction, often arranged by families. But the students are still accountable for learning the standards.
     
  38. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Excellent response! All we can do is offer the lessons.
     
  39. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I know you may think this is coming from poor experiences among the religious, but I assure you it is not. I still believe in my original assumption, that religion requires you to suspend reason in certain instances (usually regarding scientific discoveries that contradict the teachings of the religion) at least until there is enough outer pressure from society to require that religion to accept reality.

    I do want to remain as respectful as I can in this discussion, and I know that it may not seem that way, because religion and faith becomes a very deep part of who a person is, and when that idea is rejected in front of them it may seem like I am rejecting that person, but I am not. But my argument against religion is purely based on the points that I have mentioned, and my past simply serves as experiential cement to glue my thoughts about this together.

    I know that there is a vast spectrum of those who regard themselves as religious, including brilliant scientists, and reformationists, as well as those completely set in their ways.

    But I still think the underlying basis of faith or religion is that you are expected to believe in it even with no evidence. And this strong resolve of belief often leads people and whole religious denominations to ignore evidence to the contrary if it arises, because they've already accepted this belief as part of who they are. I think this is something that naturally and necessarily occurs because of that original basis of belief.

    I'm sorry to be holding this discussion if it offends you, but I personally am tired of remaining the quiet atheist, to the point where I feel the need to speak up, even if it may offend others. I hold great respect for you, and other religious folk on this board, despite my ramblings against something that you hold dear in your life and I know that this board is more faith-based than most other boards on the internet (we have a prayer section). So again I apologize but those are my thoughts.

    Also: I apologize to you mariecurie for hijacking your thread. I'm glad that a solution was found.
     
  40. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Funny, my pastor says the same thing about God.

    The problem I see in the logic thrown about here is the use of absolutes. Ideas like "no evidence" are rather preposterous. It is possible that there is "no evidence" you accept (which, I'd remind is the exact accusation you are making) but to say there is no evidence whatsoever is simply false.

    It we were strictly discussing the original question about the Big Bang and such then it would be at least somewhat defensible to focus strictly on scientific evidence but to bring all religion in and then say there is no evidence for any of it's tenets is just too much.
     
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