November 19, 2005
Heroes live on...
Alice Walker’s piece is a true testament that heroes never die. Even though Zora Neale Hurston didn’t have any children or grandchildren to leave behind her legacy, she left a piece of herself through her written work. Some may think that her work is not enough to capture who she was, but no one can deny that it captured her at her best and displayed her true capabilities. I think someone’s life was worthwhile if they were able to touch another’s life in some way, and it is clear to me that Zora did just that since Walker felt such a connection to Zora just through her work. The journey Walker describes in her piece is a way of honoring Zora, and in the process Walker learned a little about herself as well.
Zore Neale Hurston
Even though that Zora Neale Hurston was African-American, she didn't behold herself to the same beliefs as other African-Americans. She did not belong to the "sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a low-down dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it." She considers herself to be just a "fragment of the Great Soul that surges within the boundaries" of being an Merican citizen and colored. When she should feel discriminated against, she didn't feel angy. She was astonished how someone could have denied the pleasure of her company. She was an individual and did stuff that benefited her, even if it came along with disgust and hatred from others in the African-American community.
November 8, 2005
Kansas School Board Passes Intelligent Design Requirements
In the wake of all of our comments and thoughts on Intelligent Design, I thought it was relevant to note that today the Kansas School Board voted 6 to 4 to instate education standards involving Intelligent Design. MSNBC and the Star Tribune have articles on the decision.
October 24, 2005
Reading Questions: Bernstein, Wolf, and Liu
Here are the questions we used in class for the Bernstein, Wolf, and Liu essays. Think of these as tools to help you better understand the major points and themes of each essay. Use these questions, IF they help you, when you re-read whichever essay will be the focus of your assignment #3 essay.
October 18, 2005
the idea of teaching intelligent design as science
For the past seven years, I have formally dedicated much of my intellectual pursuits, my free time, and even my imagination to issues involving science, technology, and communication. Even with that, I feel I have no real advantage when it comes to better understanding the intelligent design debate. My belief in science as one very valid way of knowing and understanding the world has only been strengthened by my research into the history, philosophy, and practices of science. But science is not the only world I inhabit. My faith -- unconventional, syncretistic, often at odds with science – is also a large part of who I am. And I often find myself divided between what I know to be truth and what I want to be true (or what I feel compelled to believe). For me, science falls in the first category, and my spiritual beliefs make up the second. I personally feel no need to make my spiritual faith fall directly in line with my scientific beliefs.
I am made to feel uneasy by the “scientific” claims of intelligent design as well as the push to teach it as “science.” I am also uneasy about the dominant conceptualization of a belief in evolution as precluding any spiritual or religious beliefs. I have far too many logistical questions as to how and by whom this “subject” will be taught to students. Will this designer be presented as a unitary, solitary (often masculine) deity? Will there be a deity mentioned as all? Will intelligent design be presented in a way that is more congruent with the three western religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam)? If so, my own faith, which is not based on these three traditions, will be left out of this conversation. But faith is important and the ability to talk freely and openly and intelligently about faith stands as the foundation of most religious traditions. I am partial to Cole’s suggestion; perhaps students in high school should be allowed an elective course in religion, culture, and ethics (I think these three things are not nearly combined as they should be). As far as the science curriculum is concerned, I think science – however that is understood by the discipline itself – should be the focus of the curriculum. Science has a very particular way of viewing the world and very important lessons to teach us all about searching, experimentation, but also finding proof and drawing conclusions based on that proof.
I am happy to see how engaged you all are in this debate. I appreciate the way in which you have expressed your opinions and voiced your concerns – opinions and concerns that are as different as you are.
For me, my belief in science is what keeps me honest and grounded in my religious faith. Science, however, does not have to be viewed as an irreligious pursuit that seeks to “disprove” religion. True, science does seek to explain and understand the world free of any references to a higher power or powers; science proves god is not necessary, some have said. Whether or not that statement is true to what science actually “does” makes no real difference to me. For me, science is science; faith is faith. They should not be anymore confused than math and history. True, these subjects – science and religion as well as math and history – do intersect, but I do not think anyone of these should be used to support or explain the other.
T. Kenny Fountain
October 17, 2005
ID in the classroom??
Personally, I think the best thing that could possibly be done is to let people decide what they want on their own and let them learn about whatever it is on their own. Don’t take one idea, such as Intelligent Design or Evolution, and teach that one thing exclusively. What we should do is take a little time for several different views and introduce them all in the classroom. Introduce Intelligent Design as the belief that there is a greater body at work, not necessarily any specific god, but just a greater being. Also introduce the Evolutionary Theory, and along with it even combine the two to introduce how the two ideas could work together. Children could be told ahead of time what was going to be introduced during the next class; therefore if the parents believed it was against what they wanted their kids to hear, they could be presented with an alternative agenda for that day in class. Once the kids hear all these different sides of the argument on creation, it’s up to them to decide what they want to know more about and what they want to just leave behind.
However, if this were going to be taken seriously, then it obviously wouldn’t be put into effect until later on in a child’s education, around the high school years. I only say this because they would need to be able to understand what they’re being told and also be able to do the research to further understand whatever they choose. Then again, kids are being more and more tech savvy at a younger age; so in a few years, it could be possible to teach this at an earlier age.
Kristen's Ideas on Intelligent Design
Intelligent design is the belief that the world was made by an ultimate creator who then designed earth and its inhabitants so that they would evolve to become stronger and better suited for their changing environments. It involves the basic concepts found in religion with those of the modern scientific world. Although intelligent design is a belief of people who have their own evidence in why to support it, I believe that it does not have a place in science classrooms. Science is based off of a specific method of making a hypothesis, experimenting, and then gathering results and conclusions from the data obtained. A public classroom is no place to start teaching religious beliefs instead of tangible truths. While some may be open to the idea of intelligent design, others have already formed their own ideas on how everything came to be which might not even include a supreme being. To teach any religion is to unify church and state and this goes against United States law. A more important question to be raised is if we are taught there is a supreme being, then which religion’s god will be used. Will the ideas of the Catholic, Christian, Jewish, or perhaps a lesser known religion be taught. If all people can not decide which religion is completely based on truth, then how can we base a school course on one specific idea? Intelligent debate does have its own place in society. Those who are open to new ideas and will not take offense to these ideas can choose to be exposed to new theories. To force anyone, especially young people who take a teachers words for truth, to sit in a classroom and get graded on beliefs stemming from religious views is wrong and should not be held acceptable in public science classes in schools. -- KRISTEN
October 15, 2005
intelligent design debate commentary
I am torn about the issue of whether or not Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. In some instances I believe that Intelligent Design should be taught in the classroom along side evolution, and in other ways I believe that there are too many problems associated with teaching Intelligent Design.
I think students should be educated on the Intelligent Design theory, even though I believe that evolution pertains more to science. Being well-informed on diverse views is important because it makes students well rounded. The argument against Intelligent Design that says it is not scientific, I believe is acceptable, but I don’t believe science can determine truth. For that reason, I don’t think evolution is more valid than Intelligent Design. Since no one knows for sure how the world was created I do not feel that any theory should be placed below another. For example, I believe in creationism but I don’t put my belief above the theory of evolution, and I am also knowledgeable on evolution. I think that you can believe in thing and also learn about other people view points.
I think that problems could arise when deciding how Intelligent Design is going to be taught since it is not very scientific. When one starts talking about a higher being, they are leaning away from science because it is something that cannot be observed and experiments can not be conducted. This could be a problem since it would be hard tying science into the Intelligent Design lesson. Also will students just be taught that the theory says that there is an intelligent designer or will the designer be specific like God or Buddha? If so, this might cause confusion among the students who have a different religious background. Also, problems might happen if religion is apart of the teaching of Intelligent Design since religion can not be taught in public schools.
The debate over Intelligent Design being taught in schools is complex. In some instances I agree that it should be taught with evolution, but before that happens I feel that how it is going to be taught needs to be thoroughly thought out.
Intelligent Design? Bad Science.
The debate about Intelligent Design is not a debate at all. It is a group of religious conservatives hoping that if they repeat the same story enough times, it will become true. Creationism by itself would never work, so they change its name to Intelligent Design and try to pretend it has scientific backing. The main argument for ID is that life is so complicated today that basic evolution can not account for everything. This is not scientific evidence. It is a postulate, a supposition at best.
Perhaps if there were some evidence, something material in support of Intelligent Design, we could treat it like any other scientific theory: poke holes in it and go back to the drawing board. That is the foundation of science, not wild claims whose supporters refuse to even discuss. If ID were to be taught in schools, how would we explain it alongside science? “Kids, I want you to understand that evolution is based on real evidence, but the next subject we are to learn is conjecture lacking any realistic basis at all, but the religious conservatives say we have to teach it.” Bad science abounds in the world today, let’s not let it cross to the next generation, as well.
October 14, 2005
Commentary on Intelligent Design
After reading the three articles on Intelligent Design, I still am unable to arrive at a complete stance on the issue. The theory of evolution has been taught for many years and has been accredited with the existence of humans. Although that assumption is not proven, it is hard to introduce Intelligent Design to my brain while evolution is still more credible. Allowing Intelligent Design to be taught in schools may expand a student’s mind by introducing new ideas. However, I don’t know the validity of this new idea or whether it contains any substance that may be useful to learn.
The commentary written by Bobby Henderson gave me the impression that the purpose of Intelligent Design is to conjure new beliefs solely for entertaining and gaining believers. My reaction to the Intelligent Design debate is that although it took sides, it expanded the viewpoint that we as citizens should educate ourselves more about science. Without gathering all the data and evidence, I am likely to be condemned to believe in theories that may have no place in my culture. To me, the editorial about science and religion seemed to veer its purpose away from Intelligent Design to the purpose of analyzing how the different cultures interpret the new theories. To me that is a truth-seeking piece of writing. By gaining more knowledge about my culture and what it holds true, I may be able to put more faith towards what I accept as true in the realm of scientific discovery.