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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Discussion Forum

Genetically Engineered Fungi are Part Human and Part Yeast

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Donald L. Engel yesterday. 1 Reply

Drug Rejuvenates Stem Cell Functioning in Old Mice

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Gerald Payne May 15. 10 Replies

Fossilized Brain

Started by Patricia May 11. 0 Replies

Bud Light Withdraws Offensive Slogan

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 30. 16 Replies

Dinosaur Highway

Started by Patricia. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 29. 8 Replies

Evolution is a FACT, not a theory.

Started by Idaho Spud. Last reply by Joseph P Apr 25. 15 Replies

L'homme "blanc" n'existe en Europe que depuis 6500 BC

Started by Dr. Terence Meaden. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 16. 1 Reply


Started by Dr. Terence Meaden. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 15. 196 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN to add comments!

Comment by Marc Draco on September 17, 2011 at 8:19am
New book alleges Sarah Palin was seen to snort coke while on a skiing trip.

Look people, it's Sarah Palin we're taking about - it was SNOW!
Comment by Rod MacLeod on September 7, 2011 at 5:29am
@Andre  Off topic but do you have sister Michelle?  The name Woodvine, a musician  and Barbados tells me that you must.
Comment by George on September 7, 2011 at 5:20am

Craigart14TrekJunkyNatalie A Sera, et al,

I've started a new discussion above, "Improving Education" for the ongoing topic.

Comment by Andre Woodvine on September 6, 2011 at 9:05pm
Excellent post Craigart14, thanks for sharing that interesting glimpse into the challenges of modern education! You have my sympathies.
Comment by Craigart14 on September 6, 2011 at 8:49pm

Natalie, I feel your pain.  I teach at a small state university in Georgia, and the students I get are probably the ones that other teachers gave up on.  My doctorate is in American lit, but I teach world lit and Shakespeare while someone with a degree in comparative lit teaches the American courses.  About half of my students never buy the books for class.  Half also fail statewide tests in reading and writing, though the tests were written for a tenth grade level.  I have a large collection of plagiarized papers, which I am required to report, but the campus judiciary committee does nothing beyond upholding my grade.  None of my colleagues even bother to report cheating anymore.  A lot of our students don't even care about grades as long as the Pell grants keep coming.  Some attend the first day of class, then go home to their families and jobs, using Pell to supplement their incomes.


One change I would suggest is going back to basics, just reading and writing and arithmetic for the first few years, along with critical thinking, argument and ethics.  My students are hopeless at critical thinking, and it is at least in part caused by religious indoctrination.  In world lit we study portions of the Bible, approaching it as I would any other book.  When I point out a problematic passage, students say, "That's not what it means" or, "You're taking that out of context."  It means what their pastor says it means, regardless of what it says, because he has gotten "the call," and I haven't.  I have even had other faculty WITH DOCTORATES tell me they will have to ask their pastor about problematic passages.  I'll probably get in trouble for this, but if you have a doctorate in literature but you follow a pastor who has no degrees at all, then you are a sheep.


Colleges have become vocational schools that students attend for training rather than education.  Many of our country's "leaders" have studied business or law, but have no understanding of the humanities, which require abstract thinking and drawing conclusions from information that cannot readily be quantified.  They have even less understanding of science.  Can one really become President with only three hours of college credit in literature?  Or history?  Or philosophy?  Yep.  Dammit.

Comment by George on September 6, 2011 at 6:41pm

@Mike K. I agree it is a good idea to move this to the discussion forum.  Not only will it unclutter the comment wall, it will be easier to follow comments and replies and keep the discussion on focus.


Comment by AtheistTech on September 6, 2011 at 6:36pm
In light of Natalie's rant, does anyone else feel betrayed by the education system? For our kids' sakes, I mean. Are we seeing the media giving this problem attention? The way Natalie explains it, it is a total failure. I would ask Natalie if her experience was in a poor area. I am sure she is not the only teacher who is also an atheist. Is there anyone else who has had a different experience? Or a similar experience? I think this is an ultra important issue.
Comment by AtheistTech on September 6, 2011 at 6:21pm

@ Richard H. McCargar

I am sorry that I cannot form clear thoughts with every answer perfect for the satisfaction of at least one person. I contend that religion is bad for science and vise-versa. I think that teaching science will reduce the number of religious people. I think that teaching science is not enough, though. I think that teaching children how to think for themselves is another way to increase the number of non-religious people in the US. If we as atheists considered that the possibility that teaching our children how to think for themselves will bring about more atheists and agreed it would, wouldn't that be a lofty goal? I think that most parents would agree that teaching our children how to think for themselves is a lofty and achievable goal as it is. So, before I move on, is anyone here in agreement with me?

Comment by Bryon on September 6, 2011 at 9:46am
being informed and intellectual curiosity are the devil...
Comment by Rod MacLeod on September 6, 2011 at 9:26am

@Natalie  I am not a Teacher but I know some and unfortunately your story is not anything new.  When Ever I hear people complain that teachers have it so easy ie. teach 9-3 have summers off etc. etc. I feel like punching them in the face. And some of these parents that as soon as a teacher says anything negative about their kid thinks the teacher is crazy. I have always admired teachers and would have loved to be one myself but anyone who thinks it is easy is just plain uninformed.



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