ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

Location: Oxford University, England
Members: 4065
Latest Activity: 6 hours ago

The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Discussion Forum

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Atheist activism

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Second Law of Thermodynamics

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The "Cute" T-Rex

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The 'Most High' father of Yahweh

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Comment by Hania Uscka-Wehlou on September 26, 2011 at 2:14am
I watched "Religulous" yesterday. I am a (strong) atheist, but I was raised in catholic Poland and used to believe in the catholic god + Jesus when I was very young. There are several striking differences between christians in Poland and christians in the USA. I have never ever met a single person from Poland who would not believe in evolution (is it really something you can BELIEVE or not BELIEVE? There is a lot of hard scientific evidence for evolution). The creation story from the Bible is (in Poland) always commented as something you have to see as a symbol (of triggering the Big Bang by god?). This is why there is no such a clear contradiction between religion and science in Poland. I know a lot of Polish people who are scientists and believe in god. I wonder where the difference in the attitude towards science in religious people in the USA and Poland comes from. Any idea?
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 Napoleon Bonaparte on September 11, 2011 at 8:38am

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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?

 

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