Education Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up (Catch-up Edition)

More links this week since I didn’t get around to it last week.

What’s keeping this recession going for so long?  Ask James Madison. Yes, that James Madison.

The 6th Circuit judge that upheld the health care reform individual mandate to buy insurance has really redefined terms in order to make his ruling.

With that reasoning, Judge Steeh thoroughly unmoors the commerce clause from its concern with actual economic activity that Congress can regulate to a more amorphous realm of “economic decisions” which apparently include the decision to NOT enter into commerce at all.

A better example of an activist judge you’re not likely to find soon.

Roger Ebert, in reviewing “Waiting for Superman”, acknowledges that the private school highlighted does better than public school, proclaiming “Our schools do not work”.  His solution?  (Wait for it…)  More money for public schools, for the ones that don’t work instead of encouraging what does work and at typically a lower cost per student.  Liberal education policies are now just talking points rather than reasoned arguments.

Remembering a sociopathic mass murderer, who is extolled by liberal students T-shirts everywhere.  (No, not Charles Manson. I’m talking about Che Guevara.)

The Rise of the (Conservative, Christian) Woman in American politics.

Juan Williams responds to the NPR sacking.  Ah, the tolerant Left in action.

And to close it out, two cartoons to make up for missing a week.  I just love Chuck Asay.  (Click for larger versions.)

Pedagogy Fail

My daughter related that in health class today they saw a small film on two girls, on anorexic and the other (her friend) was bulimic. Her remark on coming home, “Now I feel fat.” 


Social Justice Advocates vs. Israel

College and university professors seem to be a very social-justice-conscious bunch.  900 of them, from over 150 college campuses, signed a petition urging the US to abandon Israel as an ally because of its human rights abuses, for example.

But Prof. Fred Gottheil decided to try an experiment.

"Would these same 900 sign onto a statement expressing concern about human rights violations in the Muslim Middle East, such as honor killing, wife beating, female genital mutilation, and violence against gays and lesbians?" he wondered. "I felt it was worth a try."

The results? "Almost non existent," he told Frontpage editor Jamie Glazov. Only 27 of the 675 "self-described social-justice seeking academics" agreed to sign Gottheil’s Statement of Concern – less than 5 percent of the total who had publicly called for the censure of Israel for human rights violations.

Politics trumps social justice for this paragon of the Left; the academic.  I would really like to know how deep this penetrates other areas of the Left.  How about liberal churches that has divested themselves from Israel; do they also actively divest themselves from Islamic countries for the same reasons?

Young Earth Creation: A Sad Day for Unwavering Dogmatism

Ken Ham, staunch Young Earth Creationist, has recently written a blog post highlighting a recent position change taken by the Assemblies of God (AG) denomination (HT: Ron’s Bloviating). Ham takes issue with the AG for revising their earlier held position, sympathetic to a Young Earth position, for that of one which allows for Old Earth belief as well. For the record, I have grown up in the AG denomination and have been partial to the Old Earth Creation model, despite their earlier stance, since I was in elementary school (the 1960s). In A Sad Day for the Assemblies of God Denomination, Ham writes,

The general presbytery of the Assemblies of God (AG) denomination, in session August 9–11, 2010, adopted a revised statement on “The Doctrine of Creation.” Here is an excerpt from the official AG position paper, that opens the door to evolution and millions of years, and the various compromise positions on Genesis held by some in the church (such as gap theory, day age, progressive creation, theistic evolution, etc)

Of particular concern, to Ham, is the statement by the AG,

The advance of scientific research, particularly in the last few centuries, has raised many questions about the interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation.

evidently because he connects such reasoning as equivalent to succumbing to the lie told by the serpent in Genesis 3, in which he tempted Eve to doubt God’s Word. By comparing a 1977 statement, from the AG, Ham contrasts a previous belief that a “natural reading” of the Genesis 1 creation account results in an understanding that the account refers to consecutive 24 hour solar days. His concern seems to be that any acceptance of data, from scientific research, that points towards a billions of years old universe, is tantamount to the doubting of God’s Word, which he understands – nay, demands – to state otherwise. Ham writes,

The AG with its August statement is now saying we have to take the fallible ideas of fallible humans and use these in authority over the Word of God.

I applaud Ham’s concern, which is ultimately driven by a desire to keep Christians from falling prey to worldly wisdom, yet I seriously question the dogmatic stance he has taken. He posits that a Young Earth interpretation of the creation accounts, found in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, is the only viable interpretation allowed. Such a position has neither a theological, historical, or scientific grounding.

While this blog post is, by no means, an attempt to exhaustively answer the Young Earth / Old Earth debate, I do want to make a few concise points.

In discussing this subject, with Young Earth proponents, I’ve sometimes been told that the Young Earth position is held because “it’s what the Bible says”. The obvious conclusion, from such a position, is that the Old Earth interpretation is NOT what the Bible says. I wonder if Young Earthers, who make such a statement, are really aware of implications of what they’re proposing? Do they really think that some of their fellow Christians are not aware of what they happen to be reading in God’s Word? I also wonder how consistent Young Earthers are with their “natural reading” of “what the Bible says” argument? If they wish to be consistent, then surely they must think that God has wings, that Jesus’ had nails driven through his hands, that it’s the Sun that revolves around the Earth*, that the mustard seed is the smallest plant seed on earth, and that the value of Pi is equal to the integer 3. But, of course, I would imagine that for those references they would argue that the meaning found in text involves intent and context – context which includes culture, language, genre, etc. Try as they might, they cannot get around the fact that the Genesis creation accounts have not been dogmatically held, through Christendom, to mean that God created the cosmos in 6 24 hour solar days, nor that one is mandated to translate the Hebrew text as such. It’s my conclusion that they are incorrect in stating that their interpretation is the “natural reading” of “what the Bible says”.

Another point in which Ham slips up, in my opinion, is his accusation that the belief the universe is billions of years old correlates with a belief in natural process evolution. To his credit, he does not accuse Old Earthers of categorically believing in natural process evolution, but merely states that the Old Earth position “opens the door” to such belief. Still, I take issue with such a proposition, for it demonstrates a lack of understanding of both the Old Earth position as well as the natural process evolutionary position. The Old Earth interpretation attempts to harmonize not only the multiple creation accounts found in the Bible (including and beyond the two major ones found in Genesis), but our understanding of the physical realm as well. If the data points towards a universe billions of years old, and if we can harmonize the data with what we read in the Bible, then it is irrelevant whether or not the natural process evolutionary model also accepts a billions of years old universe. Also, as research continues, the complexity of our natural realm is becoming more evident: from the minute structure of DNA to the makeup of the universe itself. As we discover that advanced life requires this specified complexity, and as we understand that specified complexity is highly improbable, by chance, we begin to understand how improbable our existence is – from a purely natural point of view. Truth is, billions of years is appearing to be not enough time for advanced life to arise through natural means.

It seems to me that many in the Young Earth camp dismiss scientific research too easily. At best, they simply recognize man’s fallibility and apply that fallibility to our interpretation of the natural realm; at worst, they assume some grand conspiracy, in the scientific community, dedicated to the undermining of all religious belief. I will spend zero time discussing the latter option, as I believe it to be nonsense and as I believe that Ham holds to the former option.

I wonder, at what point do I, as a fallible human, disregard the ideas of other fallible humans? Do I refuse to board an airliner simply because it was designed by fallible humans who, obviously, have fallible ideas about aeronautical engineering? Do I take the stairs, when visiting a high-rise building, because the elevator was designed by fallible humans with fallible ideas of structural engineering? How many Young Earthers have ever taken an over-the-counter medication? Since such medication was developed by fallible humans with fallible ideas regarding chemistry, I must conclude that Ken Ham does not take any over-the-counter medication. Speaking of fallible ideas – how about the idea of how we read, and understand, text? I think that we believe, however fallibly, that we are able to see, and then read text, due to the physical action of light photons bouncing off of a page of text, being received and processed by our eyes, through the lens, retina, and optic nerve, with the resulting electrical impulses then being interpreted by our brain. The whole notion of understanding God’s written Word is dependent on a physical process.

You see, the problem with discounting scientific research is that one ends up having to pick and choose which scientific research they will believe in. While we don’t have an exhaustive understanding of the physical realm, we do have some understanding of it and – this is important – our level of understanding grows as we continue to do more research. So, whereas the scientific community in the 1800s thought that the universe had always existed, Albert Einstein threw them on their heads by proposing (with scientific backup), in the early 1900s, that the universe was finite and actually began to exist. It is indeed very interesting that this notion of a beginning was already found in God’s Word.

In the years since Einstein, the ideas of general and special relativity have been refined, through continued experimenting and testing, and as our understanding of cosmology grew. Likewise, in the years since the Wright brothers, we’ve moved from airplanes built out of wood and fabric, capable of carrying only one person, to jet powered airliners which transport hundreds of people thousands of miles at a time. Is there a chance that as we gain a better understanding of the physical realm the ideas of general and special relativity, as well as those of aeronautical engineering, will be overturned? Certainly. As stated earlier, we don’t have a complete understanding of the entire cosmos. However, and this is how the process of progressive understanding works, as continued research builds cumulative support for a particular theory, the more reliable such a theory becomes in explaining the natural realm.

Unfortunately, for the Young Earth camp, they have no credible scientific data which can support a universe of 6,000 – 10,000 years in age. And, to make matters worse, further research in multiple, unrelated disciplines, continues to support an old age for the universe. The Old Earth model is certainly not without paradoxes or weak points, yet one should consider its many strengths before dismissing it out of hand.

Kudos to the Assemblies of God for revising their position on the creation accounts found in Genesis 1 and 2.

* a natural reading obvious conclusion, if the Earth truly does not move (and a conclusion that the church had to revise due to an eventual better understanding of the physical realm).

Friday Link Wrap-up

Yes, it’s that time of the week again, where I toss out a bunch of links that I was too lazy to do a full blog post on.

Turns out the Iraq war didn’t break the bank.  It’s understandable that you might think that, but that only indicates a need to get your news from more sources.  The MSM loves to parrot DNC talking points.

(Liberal) feminism is dead.  Long live (conservative) feminism!

Jim Wallis said that Marvin Olasky (World magazine editor) “lies for a living” when Olasky noted that Wallis got $200,000 from George Soros.  When it was pointed out that he, in fact, did, then came the abject apology in sackcloth and ashes, “Well, it was so small I forgot.”  UPDATE: Wallis has issued a formal apology.

Three months ago, James Cameron was ready to “call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads”, speaking of those who dispute anthropogenic global warming.  At the very last minute, after changing his demands over and over for how a debate was to be run, he cancelled.  Now that takes guts.  Or something.

In England, teachers are dropping history lessons on the Holocaust and the Crusades, for fear of offending Muslims who are taught Holocaust denial and a different view of the Crusades at local mosques.  They’re afraid of challenging “anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils”.  So much for academia being the standard bearer of truth and free speech.

A back door repeal of the First Amendment by … social workers?  Well, when liberal ideologues get ahold of professional organizations, nuttiness does ensue.  Look at most unions.

And finally, a US district judge put a temporary halt to embryonic stem cell research.  Some believe this will devastate scientific research, but  Steve Breen puts it in perspective.  (Click for a larger image.)

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 9)

So… where’s the oil now? Either Obama really is the Messiah he was portrayed as, and it was his mere presence alone that healed our earth; or, maybe, we aren’t quite up to predicting global effects of non-globally sized events? A couple of months ago, it wasn’t difficult to find commentaries declaring that we were were on the brink of planetary destruction, that the Gulf of Mexico would never recover, that oil spill was a foretaste of the effects of Global Warming Climate Change, that God was allowing this disaster as punishment for our sins on Mother Earth. Yet now we see that Obama really has the power to heal the Earth – scratch that – Yet now we see how inadequate we might be in our attempts at extrapolating data, on a global scale, over extended time periods – well – even short time periods. Common sense should tell us that our efforts would be better served by addressing known issues that we currently face, as opposed to potential issues we might face. (also see Joe Carter’s post)


Illegal aliens allowed to get a New Mexico drivers license… so, why not allow them to purchase firearms as well (why should that “right” be infringed upon?). The argument for giving illegal aliens drivers licenses is that it provides for better enforcement of insurance, etc. If that were so, then why not allow illegal aliens to purchase firearms, thereby giving them direct access to the right of self defense?


Well, at least they weren’t burning the books (but a pragmatist would have donated them to a local library). Or have a used-book sale or something to recoup some money?


When in doubt, ask someone who has actually followed the rules. Gabriella, a naturalized U.S. citizen, educates a Tucson City Council member on why the City of Tucson should not sue the State of Arizona over SB1070.


Two exo-solar planets transiting the same star… geekfest time.j


The Ghosts of World War II. Have not confirmed the validity of these images but, if true, an interesting use of Photoshop linking the past with the present.

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 8)

Government doing what it does best. Finally, government cracking down on illegal operations.


Going to university just isn’t what it used to be –

…the entire college degree industry is a scam, a self-perpetuating Ponzi scheme that needs to stop right now.

It might not be the best move to get that higher education within the halls of college.


Rubber figures, handed out at a public school, and considered offensive. No, they weren’t anatomically correct blow-up sex toys… they were rubber fetuses. Evidently, a group of Christian high school students were handing out 2 inch rubber fetus dolls, in an effort to promote abstinence – until school officials stopped them.

Our society has very misplaced values. In an age where gratuitous violence, such as Pulp Fiction, is glorified, and the humanity of the fetus is censored. If one is offended by the sight of a rubber fetus, then there should be a traceable path back to the root of that offense. I would contend that a rubber fetus too readily expresses the inherent humanity of the fetus. Logic would dictate that such a connection be then applied to the practice of abortion.

But logic has never been a weapon of the pro-abort crowd.


A novel approach to lawn mowing.

Repost: King for a Day — Education K-12


In 2005 I had a short series, “King for a Day”, in which I pompously pronounced what the Imperial Highness (which would be me (us?)) would do if I (we) had complete dictatorial powers and could set and establish law and policy in given venues. I invite  (and had invited) commenters to either comment on my policy (or give me trackbacks or comments relating to what they would do in the same place. In the following with slight editing changes, I re-post that now.

The “public” educational system in this country is in disarray. Waste of resources combined with poor results demands some action. Acountability as proposed by Mr Bush & Mr Obama  is/are a first step, but does not go far enough. Some of these ideas I’ve proposed before, but I’ll re-iterate here, now that We’ve been proclaimed King.
Read the rest of this entry

Vacation Link Wrap-up

I’ve been on vacation for about 10 days, so I have some catch-up to do here.  Here are some stories I noticed over the break.  Others will get their own post.

"Young Men’s Christian Association" to be renamed "Young".  This is ostensibly to remain more inclusive, but it’s not like folks have been staying away in droves or anything.  Just some more political correctness, removing even the hint of anything Christian in our culture, even if only ever referred to by its initial.

Handing out the Gospel of John is now "disturbing the peace" in Dearborn, Michigan.  Four kids from a group called Acts 17 Apologetics face jail time for handing out the text and talking to people at a Muslim festival.  The link on their name goes to their YouTube channel.  I’ve watched some of the videos, and I just don’t see "harassment" or "disturbing" going on.

Christian beliefs are now "unethical" when it comes to counseling, according to Augusta (GA) State University.  They want Jennifer Keeton to agree to a plan that includes "diversity sensitivity training" and changing her beliefs before they will allow her to graduate.  Read the article and, even if you disagree with her, tell me that this doesn’t sound like Soviet Russia.

The "JournoList" situation really blew up while I was out.  Oh, that liberal media.  Kenneth Anderson said it best, "To all you non-JournoLister reporters out there, please be aware that your credibility has just taken a big hit, because we, your faithful readers, don’t actually know who is or who isn’t.  You can thank JournoList for that, you can thank Ezra Klein, and you can thank the Washington Post, which has done its outstanding professionals absolutely no favors in any of this."

When even Democrats are poised to revolt over taxes (however temporary that might be), you know there’s a problem

And an appropriate cartoon from Chuck Asay:

Chuck Asay

A Silver Lining to Katrina

Four years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the schools there have made an impressive turnaround.  How this was done was with rebuilding the system with school choice and competition.  It’s working.

Friday Link Wrap Up

Two weeks of links to catch up!

Closing Guantanamo; big priority during the campaign, not so much now.  (Well, especially since even Democrats don’t even want to do it.)

The Obama administration turned down using Dutch oil skimmers because they couldn’t meet our stringent government environmental regulations on how pure the decontaminated water was that they dumped back into the Gulf of Mexico, right on-sight of the spill.  Instead, we transport the oily water to facilities and decontaminate it there.  Huge efficiency drop during a major catastrophe because, ironically, of environmental regulationsRead the whole article for more things we turned down that could have averted a lot of this problem.

Our own Treasury Secretary is ignorant of economic history.  Timothy Geithner said this at the latest G-20 summit:  “One of the mistakes made in the 1930s was that countries pulled back their recovery efforts too soon, prolonging the Great Depression.”  However, precisely the opposite happened.  Recovery efforts failed, lasted too long, and that’s what prolonged the Great Depression.  NewsBusters has the charts.

School vouchers improve graduation rates. Now we have a government study to prove what common sense already told us.

Sharia Law in the UK:  Dogs barred from buses so as not to offend Muslims.

Democrats have decided that there will be no budget this year.  Hey, at least (this time) they’re being honest about it.  I guess they’ll just spend until it doesn’t feel good anymore.  Or until they’re voted out.  Whichever comes first.

In Venezuela’s socialist paradise, the government’s Food Ministry rounds up 120 tons of rice because it might be sold above regulated prices.  At the same time, 80,000 tons of food was found rotting in government warehouses.  Government efficiency at its finest.

Another example of bait-and-switch in the passage of ObamaCare.  Obama rejected the idea that the individual mandate was a tax increase, but in defending it from state lawsuits, the administration does classify it as a tax increase.  This way, the mandate falls under a law that forbids the states from interfering in tax collections.  In addition, “an early draft of an administration regulation estimates … a majority of workers—51 percent—will be in plans subject to new federal requirements….”

If your 11-year-old asks a particular Massachusetts school for a condom, they’ll get it, no questions asked.  Also, parents objections will not be taken into consideration.  Actually, there’s no real age limit on the policy; any kid can get one.  Only in Massachusetts.  For now.

And finally, all that hard work pays off, but not the way you thought it would.  (From Chuck Asay.  Click for a larger version.)

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 5)

You can please some of the people, some of the time, but… Evidently, the city of New Haven has removed the words “in the year of our Lord” from its high school diplomas, this year (HT: First Things). From the school superintendent,

I’m surprised it took this long for someone to notice it. We certainly don’t want to offend anyone.

Well, actually, you are offending someone – me! I think what you really should say is that you don’t want to offend secularists.


And here I thought they were communists. China is predicted, for next year, to surpass the U.S. in manufacturing output. Could there be a profit motive there?


Who’s going where? Interactive map, from Forbes, showing the numbers of people moving to and from various counties in the U.S.


When you outlaw guns… Over the weekend, in Chicago, 54 people were shot, with 10 of them being killed. Chicago has, since 1982, had a ban on new handgun registrations. Imagine how many people would have been shot had there been no handgun ban for almost the last 30 years. Oh no, wait – imagine how many people would have been able to defend themselves, if there had been no handgun ban at all.

Friday Link Wrap-Up

I may start doing this more often.  I collect links during the week, some I comment on here, and some just languish in Google Bookmarks.  But instead of a daily report of links like my co-blogger Mark, I’m going to save it all until the end of the week.  This installment will be a bit longer than others since I’ve got some aging links here that really want to see the light of day.  So here they are, usually, but not always, in reverse chronological order:

Coattails?  What coattails? “Some Democrats on the campaign trail have hit upon a winning campaign tactic: Run against President Obama and his agenda — especially the health care overhaul.”

Seeking asylum in the US for … homeschooling persecution? “A German Christian family received asylum in Tennessee after being severely penalized for illegally homeschooling their children in Germany.”  I’ve covered this particular situation before; here, here, here, here, here and here.

California, parts of which are boycotting Arizona for it’s new immigration law, which just enforce existing federal law, should take a look at it’s own lawbooks first.  They might find something familiar.

The economic meltdown in Greece should be a wake-up call to politicians of both parties in the US.  Otherwise, it may turn out to be, rather, a coming attraction.

ObamaCare(tm) is predicted to increase the crowding in our hospitals’ emergency rooms.  “Some Democrats agree with this assessment. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) suspects the fallout that occurred in Massachusetts’ emergency rooms could happen nationwide after health reform kicks in.”  But he still voted for this snake oil anyway.

“Economic Woes Threaten Chavez’s Socialist Vision” Only on NPR would this be news.  For the rest of this, it’s a redundancy.

Comedy Central stands on the bedrock of free speech and will mock anyone, just as long as there’s no chance of getting beheaded for it.  “The show in development, “JC,” is a half-hour about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father” and live a regular life in New York.”

Green energy falling by the wayside in Europe.  Seems the massive subsidies for this alleged cost-saving energy are too much for governments going through financial troubles.  Should we (will we) take note?

Finally Looking at Secular Sexual Abuse

If you only read the newspapers and watched the TV news shows, you’d think that sexual abuse of children was limited to the Catholic church, and was worse now more than ever.  You’d be wrong, on both counts.  And The Anchoress notes something eye-opening.

In New York, Queens Assemblywoman Margaret Markey routinely presents a bill which seeks to open a year-long “window” into the statute of limitations on child sex-abuse cases, allowing victims whose cases may go back as far as 40 years to bring suit for damages.

Because the bill has -until now- always been limited by Markey to impact the churches, exclusively, it always either failed or been shelved. It is difficult to pass a bill that essentially finds some sexual abuse victims to be more worthy of redress than others.

Markey seems to have figured that out; her new bill includes suits against secular institutions, and the previously silent civil authorities, among others, are reeling.

Pointing fingers is so much easier than self-examination. But "credible allegations" of abuse dropped to 6 last year.  The public school system only wishes they had a record that good.

Priest Child Abuse Cases: Some Perspective

Jim Finnegan, writing in the Naples (Florida) News, was responding to some folks who had commented on his original article on the Catholic Church priest child abuse cases.  Apparently, some folks read his words and though he was saying something directly opposite to them.  In his follow-up, he first had to give the obligatory disclaimers that he’s not excusing anyone, but he quoted some information that puts this all in perspective.

Charol Shakeshaft, a researcher of a little remembered 2004 study for the U.S. Department of Eduction [sic] on the physical sexual abuse of students in schools, pointed out " the physical sexual abuse of students in schools, is likely more than 100 times the abuse of Priests." I am sure this is easy to Google for the entire study should you wish.

Shakeshaft also pointed out that "nearly 9.6% of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometimes durin [sic] their school career." Creditable accounts of Priestly abuse occured [sic] from but 1.7% of the total Priests in the U.S. Thankfully, Shakeshaft’s study is now being revisited by news commentators seeking to restore some sense of proportion to the media’s aggressive coverage of the Catholic Church.

While Priestly sex abuse can never be mitigated by these figures, they do point out the gross imbalance, and bring question to the motives of the news media that are pouring resources into digging up decades old dirt on the Church. Sadly,the nerative [sic] that has been constructed is often less about the protection of the young (for whom the Catholic Church is, by empirical measure now the safest environment for young people in America today

Aside from Finnegan’s need for a spell checker, this does point out a stark double standard in play, by both liberals and the media (apologies for the repetition).  Just going by numbers, you’d think there would be more coverage about abuse in schools, which (if you don’t homeschool) have a mandatory attendance requirement, vs. church, which is entirely voluntary.  Not to mention the fact that the school abuse continues while…

The facts show that Priestly sex abuse is a phenomenon that spiked in the mid 1960’s into the 1980’s. This at the time that the "anything goes" sexual revolution began. These are the old cases that the media has chosen to resurrect in their recent attacks on the Church.

Again, none of this should be construed as excusing anyone of these horrible deeds.  But a little perspective is in order, and the media, since it goes against "the narrative", is simply not providing it. 

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