Questionable Motives

September 27, 2011

Why is the US a fading power in the world?

Filed under: Christianity,Education,Religion — tildeb @ 9:48 am

Well, let’s ponder that deeply, parents. Let’s focus for a moment on what family values in public education looks like in action, shall we? Here’s how kids in a South Carolina public school spent part of their day… where the school administration obviously cares nothing about respecting the Establishment clause because it interferes with using the public domain to push private faith-based beliefs. In the meantime, let’s wonder what half a billion Chinese students and a half billion Indian students were doing in the equivalent school time?

The fact that so many parents sat there quietly and were okay with this evangelical production performed at their public school  shows why the the US cannot help but be a fading power in the new world knowledge economy: the widespread belief that ignorance coupled with stupidity promoted as piousness equals a ‘good’ education.

(h/t friendlyatheist)

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14 Comments »

  1. Wow, a very simplistic and boring stance to take: Why are we failing, RELIGION!

    For a kid that didn’t have any discipline, religion helped establish that for me so I could excel in areas of science, reading, writing, and composition. Always struggled with math.

    I would look at the home factors before blindly pinning religion.

    Comment by Luke — November 13, 2011 @ 8:06 am | Reply

    • My point, that you so nonchalantly dismiss because it seems you have no desire to exercise much in the way of critical thinking to inform your simplistic opinion about my post, is that when competing against just the top 10% of Chinese and Indian students who outnumber ALL US students combined, the US is making a fundamental mistake allowing ANY superstitious nonsense like this to interfere with a complete dedication to teaching and promoting critical thinking. This mistake – this lack of a teaching a good education… the term good education to mean the ability to think well – is what is allowing the US to fade as a world power. Because so many Americans are oblivious to this danger of the fast growing superior competition for human intellectual capacity, the general curriculum pablum that currently is being served to so many American youth is clearly inadequate. (Twice as many Americans believe in the literal reality of angels than accept evolution as a biological fact! There’s widespread intellectual ignorance in action!)

      But hey, feel good about dismissing the point by pretending you actually learned anything at all regarding the acquisition of applicable real world knowledge from your religious indoctrination in oogity boogity and Americans can just carry on producing an uncompetitive product called an educated students; they’ll at least be be a pious second rate country and won’t god be pleased about that.

      Comment by tildeb — November 13, 2011 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

  2. Always struggled with math.

    No, that wasn’t your struggle. It was religion. Religion failed to establish that part of your education enough for you. It takes the credit for you excelling in science and reading and writing and composition but left you swinging in the breeze in mathematics.
    Oh well.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — November 13, 2011 @ 8:23 am | Reply

    • Cedric, I doubt very much he will get your excellent point you make with this perceptive comment. But maybe by me writing that sentence will be enough to get him to actually think about what you wrote and realize just how superficial and apologetic is his reasoning when it comes to dismissing religious criticism.

      Comment by tildeb — November 13, 2011 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  3. This is the kind of shit that is infecting – thanks to funding by the Templeton Foundation – public education.

    Comment by tildeb — November 13, 2011 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  4. Wow, for a bunch of people who claim to value reason, this is just a bunch of assumptions about Luke and ad hominem attacks. I showed him this site to see what he thought and I think he’s right. Simplistic, venomous, and infantile.

    Comment by zero1ghost — November 16, 2011 @ 9:46 am | Reply

    • Assumptions? He dismisses an important criticism with a wave of his hand because he attributes religion to teaching him discipline to enable him to learn about science and other academic subjects. That’s merely an assertion that in detail will be incoherent how his respect for one epistemology led him to respecting a conflicting one. In other words, his point is bullshit if he cares to figure out why. And he has the stridency to call such criticism against faith-based beliefs promoted in the schools to be boring and simplistic? Again, bullshit. It matters.

      So where are the ad hominem attacks, Z1G? I’ve called his reasoning simplistic, his easy dismissal of the danger faith-based beliefs in education promotes that impedes the competitive advantage on the global stage superficial, and his nod to religion as helpful to him as apologetic. You, in stark contrast, label us ‘bunch of people’ simplistic, venomous, and infantile. There’s your ad hominem attack right there. So my advice to you is grow up. Stop spewing your venom, and try to understand why the criticisms people legitimately raise about the negative effects of religious belief matter.

      Comment by tildeb — November 16, 2011 @ 10:24 am | Reply

  5. Ad hominems: indoctrinated
    -having simplistic opinion (you are talking to someone with a master’s degree)
    -unperceptive
    -incoherent
    -distorted

    the assumption you have is that he is all of these things without bothering to check it out, thus your emotional and infantile response. which BTW, stating that I should grow up is exactly what i just asked you to do… reading comprehension problems maybe?

    Your original post was simplistic because the assertion of “when competing against just the top 10% of Chinese and Indian students who outnumber ALL US students combined, the US is making a fundamental mistake allowing ANY superstitious nonsense like this to interfere with a complete dedication to teaching and promoting critical thinking. ” was no where to be found. Luke and I both agree that this is important yet the “superstitious nonsense” may actually help in some ways that you’re not prepared to concede.

    If a student comes from a “broken and impoverished home” and lacks funds and family structure to succeed in academics, religion may indeed help. It helped Luke, I know his personal story. His church helped give him structure, discipline and also helped with funding his education through college. You know nothing and yet want to state: ” It takes the credit for you excelling in science and reading and writing and composition but left you swinging in the breeze in mathematics.” It could be he just had a shitty math teacher. Completely unverified. Given that knowledge you did indeed pin religion. and you didn’t even nuance which type you’re pinning… Hindu and Buddhists (they would be in India) don’t have any problem or see any divide between science and religion and can practice BOTH without any second thoughts.

    Here’s the fact: you are unwilling to concede that religion could have ANY positive affect whatsoever on people’s lives. THAT is what he and I criticize you about. That’s wrong, his case would be a great example. Instead you just support your incorrect and poorly support argument based on your pre-existing prejudice.

    Comment by zero1ghost — November 16, 2011 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  6. Again, Z1G, I’ll point out that what you call ad hominem attacks are no such thing because they deal with the argument at hand directly – not the characteristics of the person – and do not direct attention away from the issues involved to something irrelevant to the discussion. And I stand by those: the content of his contribution to the discussion is exactly that. And because you missed my poor attempt at irony, I did indeed turn your admonishment to me back on you. The reading comprehension problems you attribute to me are misdirected.

    I posted the video and made my commentary based on so many parents sitting there quietly accepting that “ignorance coupled with stupidity promoted as piousness equals a ‘good’ education.” This piousness is ubiquitous throughout the United States and I come across its latest expression in public schools almost every day of the school year. There is a good reason why American students continue to fare badly in comparison to the rest of the developed world, and it has to do with providing American students with a good education. But there is so much confusion about what this looks like that the result is what we see in this video. And a great deal of the blame lies with parents who confuse ignorance with piousness. Religion as far as affecting how to teach students to think critically is direct impediment to this goal because of its push to have divine authority ground its epistemology. This stands in conflict with the epistemology of honest inquiry where reality and not divine authority determines knowledge.

    So when someone suggest that ‘religion’ has helped promote knowledge, we have a problem in that the claim is likely not true. And sure enough, you clarify that it was not ‘religion’ that helped Luke- any more than my atheism is responsible for my successfully teaching people math. It was people at his church who helped fund his schooling. So when Cedric points out the incoherent sentiment that ‘religion’ seemed to help him attain knowledge in all areas but math, he quite rightly points out that that failure also belongs to ‘religion’. The misrepresentation of the term ‘religion’ in this sense belongs solely to Luke, nullifying his point that ‘religion’ helps educate anyone about anything. People helping people has a positive affect; attributing this help to ‘religion’ is another and intentional misrepresentation you make to try to present your faith-based beliefs as a force for good. And you are absolutely right: I think religion is a poison, a great blight on humanity and its potential, a force that constantly impedes accepting personal responsibility for our actions and tries to steal our individual autonomy, a way of thinking that accepts no boundaries to its sanctimonious meddling including its claim to determine what reality is to border its revelatory claims, a belief system that promotes the infantile fear mongering of divine wrath for disobedience and promotes and sanctifies superstitious nonsense that infects our ability to gain honest knowledge about our universe and ourselves. Luke’s case is not a contrary example. That you can’t see that clearly is partly my problem, unfortunately, as well as a problem for every parent sitting quietly in that audience allowing their children’s public education to be undermined in the name of piety. The net result are reflected in the statistics we see today where there remains widespread confusion about such facts as evolution and a general disregard of why science works in all human fields of endeavor. We have a growth industry in woo and this is due in no small measure to the notion that whatever you believe about reality somehow equates with reality. It’s a danger to all of us because it’s broken thinking being played out in and upon our lives. That;’s why you need to comprehend why your acceptance of faith-based beliefs as legitimate are actually a growing danger to me.

    Comment by tildeb — November 16, 2011 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  7. Why is it that Chrisitians especially have difficulty understanding what an “ad hominem” means?
    Before you use it, look it up.
    It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    His church helped give him structure, discipline and also helped with funding his education through college.

    That’s not what he said.

    …religion helped establish that for me…

    Spot the difference. I can.

    It takes the credit for you excelling in science and reading and writing and composition but left you swinging in the breeze in mathematics.” It could be he just had a shitty math teacher.

    Well, yes. Don’t you see the irony?
    If someone excells in science..then that’s because of religion.
    Ok.
    But if they fail in maths…then that’s because of a shitty maths teacher. (Heads-Religon wins. Tails-Religion still wins.)
    Convenient, yes?

    People helping people has a positive affect; attributing this help to ‘religion’ is another and intentional misrepresentation you make to try to present your faith-based beliefs as a force for good.

    Oh yes.

    His church helped give him structure, discipline and also helped with funding his education through college.

    That’s great. Good for him. He’s one of the lucky ones.
    Yet people can give people structure and discipline and funding without religion or a church. Happens all the time. The religion bit is superfluous. A different church or temple may well have not done these things.

    I could excel in areas of science, reading, writing, and composition.

    Maybe Luke excelled in these areas because his teachers in these subjects were not shitty? Maybe Luke has a natural talent for these subjects but not for mathematics?
    The score cards are the result of the effort of people-not religion.

    Hasn’t Religion Led The World To Be a Better Place?

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — November 16, 2011 @ 10:02 pm | Reply

  8. Thank you for confirming your bias and thus showing how you can’t be objective on the subject and can be rightly and easily dismissed.

    Comment by zero1ghost — November 17, 2011 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

    • You confuse bias with critical scepticism, Z1G, but always you look for ways to dismiss whatever challenges are brought forth to your faith-based opinions rather than deal with the very real problems your epistemology creates.

      By all means attack various opinions offered here with fact, with good reasoning, with arguments built on knowledge if you can. I, speaking for myself, will change my opinions accordingly to align with the best available information and the best available reasons I can. You seem unable and certainly unwilling. I do not hold to a faith-based dogma that my opinions must be right simply because I believe them to be so; I hold to my opinions because I think they are accurate and correct. The difference may appear too subtle to be appreciated by someone like yourself who I think fortifies a garrison mentality about your religious beliefs with whatever patchwork mortar is available; the intention you bring to these discussions isn’t to learn anything new or have your opinions challenged and dissected in honest dialogue through more informed reasons or better information or new learning, but with the intention to attack and belittle the people whose ideas and opinions challenge your faith-based beliefs. You seek to dismiss and simply rationalize only in your own mind why you are right to do so. I do not see you taking contrary points seriously. I do not see you incorporating new information and altering your opinions one iota. Go back one comment and appreciate just how succinctly Cedric dismantled your argument. You should thank him for taking the time and making the effort not to shower him with praise but to give due credit for enriching your mind with a healthy dose of critical scepticism in action.

      The difference between your kind of faith-based bias and what you think of is mine is that I understand why Cedric, in this example (but the blog has many excellent examples) grants us a glimpse into a sceptical mind, by demonstrating his ability to reason critically and express it effectively, is worth emulating; you think it is worth dismissing and have done so simply by ignoring it. Sure, dismissing is simple to do but there is a cost. On the one hand I am richer and freer for not dismissing opinions different from mine, which is why I always respond to those who disagree with me; on the other hand you are poorer for using these opportunities only to dig into your guarded bias for your beliefs ever more deeply.

      Comment by tildeb — November 17, 2011 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  9. tildeb, you’re superior in every way to us way-ward and delusional people who have no good reasoning ability. You are in no way creating a strawman, you are completely objective and make no fallacies of composition, ad homenims, and you’re so right that you totally listen to other people’s POV’s instead of ignoring them or resorting to long-winded diatribes of beating the same dead horse. You know since you fared so well with Sabio and Societyvs. You’re obviously right and I’ll leave my church and religion.

    Comment by zero1ghost — November 17, 2011 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  10. …to us way-ward and delusional people…

    Believing in magic invisible sky people is often considered to be delusional.

    You are in no way creating a strawman…

    Well, you don’t seem to be able to come up with an example of tildeb actually creating one so…(shrug).

    …you’re so right that you totally listen to other people’s POV’s instead of ignoring them…

    Nobody ignored your POV. In fact we quoted it and critiqued it at length and ended up dismantling it. You are entitled to have a POV but that doesn’t make your POV magically right and beyond criticism. Free exchange of ideas? Rational argument? Examination of claims? Hello?

    I’ll leave my church and religion.

    Maybe you should. It’s your decision. Or perhaps you could talk to one of the adults there and ask ’em why Luke’s religion magically helped him in science but (strangely) didn’t magically help him in maths.
    Remember: Heads-Religion wins. Tails-Religion still wins.
    Very convenient.
    Sorta like the ol’ jug of milk trick.

    The best optical illusion in the world!

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — November 17, 2011 @ 10:12 pm | Reply


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