Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Claghorn, May 21, 2014.
Thanks, our friends and fellow posters at Shibumi Berlin.
So funny, but also so scarily possible.
Congrats on the weight loss, CM.
This has been an interesting discussion in historical circles lately. Not necessarily concerning right wing Christians, but with political groups. You may have heard about some attempts to dictate what historians teach about U.S. history in terms of making it more patriotic. The thing is that these things usually create a lot of buzz because they are controversial, but nothing ever comes of them. Coincidentally enough, I am working on some documents from the Scopes trial for a project right now. Back then the threat was more real indeed.
I hate the idea of politics interfering with education at all, but my concern is much more about politics interfering with science education, and the threat is real. Texas school boards have such great buying power that they can sway book publishers that supply books to other school districts, but beyond that direct impact is the indirect social impact of making scientific fact the subject of debate and opinion (often by those with no standing or credibility, I should add).
I'm going to tell you something that not everyone agrees with, but I think there is a strong case for it. Education IS politics. It is a way of indoctrinating the young into society. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it will always come with some baggage. The idea that education is a beacon of free thought is, unfortunately, never true as far as I've known it. Now, science education is extremely important. I am a rationalist, humanist, and I love science very much. However, in the course of my work in the field of history I have come to believe that historical understanding is possibly more obscured in society today (in all countries), and it is at least as important as an understanding of science. I was appalled when someone said to me last week that "History is just a bunch of victors writing about their victories". Not only is that not true, it has never been true. This wasn't a dumb person, mind you. This person had a great love of science and social justice, etc. but had absolutely no understanding of history. I agree with your assessment about the dangerous affects of political interference in academic research, but I think I slightly disagree with your implied alternative.
Well, as a scientist I would like to believe that some truths transcends politics, but then maybe I'm just naïve......
I agree that there are many truths indeed, that transcend politics. However it's not whether or not truths are taught, it's HOW they are taught that is just as important. Whether we like it or not, you can't escape the human element of interpretation, even in science.
My sister is a professor of history and anthropology and my wife is a professor of education and an art history scholar, so I anticipated that my bias towards science would not go unnoticed.I think we agree on far more than we disagree.
What I would like to see is the US be less partisan and more objective. Why teach kids that their forebears were more just, and justified in their actions, than they really were? Equally, why teach kids that our climate isnt changing, or that we bear no responsibility for those changes? Worse, though, is that we encourage debate without facts and without logic. Ad hominem attacks, argument from incredulity or ignorance, etc. are all encouraged, which is amazing to me given the liberal arts-based philosophy of the US education system (where grammar, logic, and rhetoric - the basis of argument, are supposed to be paramount).
Ooh, a pedagogical discussion in the WAYWRN thread. I just taught a seventy-five minute class. I talked for about seventy two of those minutes. I might've bored them to tears but as god as my witness one of these days I'm finally going to convince undergrads that biblical typology is really important to understand. Come to think of it, I'm going to give it a try in my next class, which starts in twenty minutes.
I take it you have heard ravings like mine before, lol.
On your second point, I think you are arguing two different things. First, the concept of "just" and "justified" are subjective. They are open to interpretation and offer great opportunities for debate. The point being, they are not facts but they are not necessarily untrue either. So arguing over whether education emphasizes subjective terms too much is something you are never going to completely win. Second, climate change, and human involvement, are issues of concrete fact. Either the climate is changing or it isn't. Either humans are partially or completely responsible, or they aren't. So the answer to solving these two problems is different. For the latter it is very simple. Teach what we believe we know based on the best information available. For the first, we must admit that we are interpreting evidence and making value judgments on them. If you do not admit that you are making value judgments, you end up with students like the one who told me "Indians never fought wars for bad reasons, like Europeans did". A false statement for sure, but one that comes from being taught opinion as if they were fact.
Perhaps if you flipped the classroom they wouldn't be quite so bored
They can bore me or I can bore them. I get paid the exact same amount either way. I'm making the rational choice.
Agreed. One of the topics I teach is systems thinking and systems dynamics. It encourages multiple perspectives of problems and solutions and helps us recognize that some problems are convergent and some divergent, so consensus opinions about solutions will often be impossible because of the nature of wicked problems themselves. However, that does not make EVERY problem divergent, or EVERY solution to a divergent problem a feasible or reasonable one.
But I was actually referring, with that bold comment, to your earlier point about making history more patriotic. My recollection of the issue was that history books should downplay the negative parts of US history. It was in Colorado, wasnt it? That is where my sister is a professor, so I'm sure that is from whom I was hearing it.
For now, I'll spare you all my thoughts on both flipped classrooms and the relationship between education and ideology, and just put this up:
Separate names with a comma.