Category Archives: school

Creationist Vocab Lesson

Last night I went to a lecture at Purdue with my oldest and youngest sons.  That in itself is a rarity – having two of my children in the same place at the same time.  However, getting them both to an esoteric lecture was even more of a rarity.  The lecture was good, although a bit over the head of the Moo.  The eldest enjoyed it though, as did I.

The speaker was PZ Meyers, Evolutionary Biologist, atheist, and blogger.  His talk was about his experiences with creationists and how insubstantial their arguments are.  He used a vocabulary lesson as the springboard for presenting his arguments and their’s, as well as the research to back up his opinions.  I found the discussion to be very educational and surprising at the same time.  Many questions were raised, and he answered many of them, but some remain.  My questions are still present, but rather unformed.

He spoke very briefly about the need to educate kids in evolution, but my mind immediately went to the problem I have historically had with public school.  While the schools are supposed to present a non-religious point of view, and are not to preach any religion, the truth is that most schools fail miserably at this.  While there are no blatantly christian classes, the undertone to almost everything is, in fact, christian.  Winter programs have Christmas carols, Easter is a big thing in the primary grades.  Trying to find a Cub Scout or Brownie troup that isn’t overtly christian is virtually impossible in this state, or in any other state I’ve lived in.  PZ’s answer to this – teach them math.  He pointed out that students who have good math skills are more likely to be critical thinkers.

I don’t think this is particularly helpful in practice.  The foundation for kids is laid in the early grades.  There isn’t another real chance for making a real impact on them until they’re in college, and for most kids, they are too entrenched in religious ideas to really think critically about evolution vs. creationism.  In fact, even adults who do engage in daily critical thinking (I know many who are in IT, where critical thinking is…well…critical) fail to understand, or even attempt to rationalize away the science.  I’ve had more than one person tell me that carbon dating is completely fallable, and can’t be relied upon.  I’ve been informed that the behemoth referred to in the Bible is a dinosaur, thereby proving that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

Really.
And someone at the lecture asked me why I homeschool.

I have to rant..

Just a little bit.  Then I’ll shut up again.  I am really irritated with all things “Christian” right now.  Apparently, unless you’re a “Christian” homeschool parent, or a “Christian” parent, or a “Christian” whatever, you are doing things hopelessly wrong.  Honestly, it’s like a badge of honor they wear.  “Why yes, I AM a CHRISTIAN parent.  How did you know?  Was it my “I’m saved and you’re not” attitude?”

We are parents of the non-Christian variety, and there are a lot of us.  But before I go into that, there’s also the question of who is a Christian.  Apparently, non-Catholic Christians don’t consider Catholics to be Christian.  Why?  I have no idea.  It’s an ongoing discussion between me and a friend about what a “Christian” is.  I say it is someone who believes that Jesus is the son of G-d.  He says there’s more to it than that.  Having been raised Catholic, I had always considered myself Christian – aka not Protestant – until I converted to Judaism.   Going by his definition, Christians barely account for half of the people in the US but they are the most vocal group.  If the civil rights leaders had been as successful in their political rhetoric as the Christians are, we would have had a black president in 1950.  Christians, of the non-Catholic type, account for 52.2% of reported religious believers in the US.  Catholics make up 24.5% of the population, with 14% reporting no religious beliefs.  That leaves the rest of us.

We’re not bad parents.  Or members of society.  Or drivers.  Or students.  Or Teachers.  Believing that some dude let them nail him to a tree and refused to stay dead does not make one a better anything.  Treating people with respect, being kind, doing the right thing…that’s what makes a better person.  Doing it because someone tells you to – in this case Jesus – only makes a person obedient, not better.  Doing it because it’s the right thing to do makes a person better.

I belong to several homeschool groups.  I belong to unschooling groups, secular homeschool groups, Jewish homeschool groups, and Pagan homeschool groups.  And, guess what?  They all want the same things.  They want happy, literate children who grow up to be contributing members of society who think for themselves and are responsible individuals.

Really, what else is there?

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, it was my birthday on Tuesday. For the calendar-impaired among you, that’s March 11. I turned 49. Yep. One more year until th big 5-0. I’m pretty bummed about this. I am having some serious age-related angst. I’m told by lots of people that I don’t look old enough to have a 27-year-old son, or granchildren (from the 25-year-old daughter), but that just doesn’t help when I look in the mirror and see the gray, and the new age spots on my hands, or the one on my cheek. (How do I get rid of those, by the way?)

I also have found that I will have to go back to school and get my bachelor’s degree if I want to keep my job status as it currently is. That sucks on oh so many levels. The age-related one is that I have to go to classes with a bunch of 20 year olds who have absolutely no real-life experience who THINK they do have real-life experience. And instructors who are used to dealing with aforementioned 20 year olds and don’t take into consideration the added responsibilities that working adults have in their lives. Then there’s the stupid classes that have no relationship to real life but are supposed to make us “well-rounded.” I’m almost 50, people, I sincerely doubt that knowing some obscure sociology concept will round me out any better than I am now. Since I don’t go to cocktail parties (does anyone even have those any more??), I don’t think I’ll even be able to wow anyone with my stellar interpretation of a little-known poem by a dead poet, either.

Still, in an effort to maintain my career related status and (hopefully) advance, it’s off to school I go. So, between turning 49 this week, and having to return to school, it’s just been a wonderful time! Let’s not forget about daylight savings time, too…