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Brainwash

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Tweefo
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« on: March 29, 2012, 19:57:19 PM »

I travel around the country presenting astronomy shows in a mobile planetarium. One of the schools we contacted send us this reply.
Quote
I hope this e-mail finds you well.

Thank you for the information you’ve send us, but unfortunately we have to decline.
Our council has decided that they cannot allow a visit from your company anymore.

We are an ACE (Acceleration Christian Educatoin) school and our principals are strictly according to the Bible. We cannot have someone talking to our children about “dinosaurs”, “million years ago” or hint about the “big bang”, as it happened in the past few years. It goes against all we believe in and stand for and we cannot allow that. After every visit, our staff have to do ‘damage control’.
Please excuse me for being direct and to the point, but we cannot sugar coat our reason.

We wish you all the best for the future
How do I answer it? I do not have to answer but I want to.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 20:23:15 PM »

Whoever wrote that e-mail seems to be a product of the same ACE he or she is defending.  The e-mail is frighteningly fraught with errors of spelling, vocabulary and grammar.

I think the gist of your reply should focus on the idea that the biggest educational favour we can do our children is to expose them to as many different ideas as possible, focussing on their strengths and their weaknesses, so that they are better equipped to decide for themselves.  To shield them completely from different ideas is doing their education (and thus their futures) a disservice because their critical abilities are diminished if they do not contemplate different ideas, especially widely-accepted mainstream ones.  By depriving the kids of challenges to their beliefs, the school’s primary tenet seems to be that dogmatism is more valuable than analytical skill.

(For what it’s worth, I think it’s already too late for those poor kids.  If their parents were halfway sane, they’d never send their kids to such a school in the first place.)

'Luthon64
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brianvds
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2012, 06:19:08 AM »

Somewhat related perhaps:

http://www.beeld.com/MyBeeld/Briewe/Erco-probleem-hou-kind-terug-20120329

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Faerie
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 07:30:36 AM »

"Damage Control" Good grief, its sad when an adult are resistant to the curiosity of children and adverse to answering questions honestly and factually.

Those poor kids....
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Brian
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 08:01:40 AM »

Maybe a silly question: Is there no avenue one can take to object to this form of brainwashing and possibly even child abuse through denial of the child's fundamental rights. SA is a secular state and IMO withholding a balanced and equitable education and access to  information from a child seems to fly in the face of sec 28.2 of the Constitution: " A child's best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child" and even 15.1 "Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion." and as Mefiante says the spelling errors and poor language is proof of a sub-standard level of education that requires closer scrutiny.
"Damage Control" in whose opinion? and at whose cost? The children's no doubt.
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beLIEf
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 16:56:00 PM »

Wow this is very sad indeed. "sugar coat our reason"Huh?!! There is no reason there to coat in anything!  I agree with Brian - it surely does or surely should contravene the educational constitution and the learners human rights.

They incidentally contradict their own ethos.. http://www.aceministries.com/aboutus/?content=main

" From its beginning, Accelerated Christian Education® has maintained high Biblical and academic standards and remained committed to setting children on a path for success. The goal is the same today: to prepare children for the world today and give them the academic and spiritual tools necessary to achieve their God-given potential"

It interestingly also says "His learning must be controlled"
Scary.

Did you reply to them yet?
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brianvds
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 18:22:05 PM »

Maybe a silly question: Is there no avenue one can take to object to this form of brainwashing and possibly even child abuse through denial of the child's fundamental rights. SA is a secular state and IMO withholding a balanced and equitable education and access to  information from a child seems to fly in the face of sec 28.2 of the Constitution: " A child's best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child" and even 15.1 "Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion." and as Mefiante says the spelling errors and poor language is proof of a sub-standard level of education that requires closer scrutiny.
"Damage Control" in whose opinion? and at whose cost? The children's no doubt.

Well, I guess you could raise a stink about it until child welfare intervenes and removes the children from their parents, which will traumatize and harm them rather more than their current religiously based education is likely to do. (I wonder when the do-gooders are going to start agitating for having Amish kids removed from their parents...) From what I have seen of fundie kids, they are on the whole no less happy or successful than anyone else. You do not need to understand or accept evolution in order to function in society.

So my advice is, leave them in peace to educate their children as they see fit. But then, I am a bit of an anarchist.

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beLIEf
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 19:55:08 PM »


[/quote]
 I am a bit of an anarchist.
[/quote]

I'm a lot of one and yes live and let live and all that but not when it infringes on rights. Which gives rise to the real question- which is the more important human right? - freedom of religion or the right to a decent education?

[/quote]

Well, I guess you could raise a stink about it until child welfare intervenes and removes the children from their parents, which will traumatize and harm them rather more than their current religiously based education is likely to do. (I wonder when the do-gooders are going to start agitating for having Amish kids removed from their parents...) From what I have seen of fundie kids, they are on the whole no less happy or successful than anyone else. You do not need to understand or accept evolution in order to function in society.

[/quote]
Religious people are in fact probably more happy ... after all isn't ignorance bliss?? If reality (subjective of course)  makes us less happy then we are on the verge of going the US route - see the thread on this forum somewhere...

No one is recommending these children are removed from their homes in any capacity which would of course be chaos and where would that ideology end?? There would be more children in care than in families!!

It is about the restriction that is being imposed.


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Brian
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 07:07:10 AM »

By denying the children access to "balanced" information and education, you are manipulating their lives (as all education does anyway) but in this instance the bounds of what is reasonable and acceptable seem to be flouted. No-one is suggesting removing them but rather proposing that the system be changed to liberalise education...I realise this is idealistic in this instance but even quite conservative Muslim schools encourage the development of enquiring minds, study of the universe, etc.
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Faerie
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 07:18:44 AM »


Religious people are in fact probably more happy ... after all isn't ignorance bliss??

As an offside, I dont think so. I cant offer statistics (although THAT would be interesting to scrutinize), but in my experience in coaching/counselling and mentoring people in the workplace, the religious folk have far more trouble and issues than the agnostic/atheist ones. They're also the lot that generally throw their hands up in the air and "leave it to god, he knows best" instead of attempting to solve the problem. They then live for the next five years or more pondering on the pain in their lives instead of doing something practical to solve it.
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Superman
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 08:04:17 AM »

They're also the lot that generally throw their hands up in the air and "leave it to god, he knows best" instead of attempting to solve the problem. They then live for the next five years or more pondering on the pain in their lives instead of doing something practical to solve it.
I concur and if they do something it only involves praying (more like crying) about it on their knees. Much help that will do them.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 08:29:47 AM »

… in my experience in coaching/counselling and mentoring people in the workplace, the religious folk have far more trouble and issues than the agnostic/atheist ones. They're also the lot that generally throw their hands up in the air and "leave it to god, he knows best" instead of attempting to solve the problem. They then live for the next five years or more pondering on the pain in their lives instead of doing something practical to solve it.
I think what you’re probably seeing is a symptom of religiosity, namely (1) that there are far more religious people than irreligious ones, and (2) that religious people are much more willing to seek help and advice on personal matters from external sources than their irreligious counterparts.  Atheists and the irreligious are fewer in number and their beliefs are unpopular, if not downright frowned upon.  In turn, this societal disdain has the effect of putting them more on the outskirts of society, making them more self-sufficient so that they are less likely to seek external help on personal matters.  So it’s not that they have fewer problems, it’s that they tend be more private about them and to handle them by themselves more.

In any case, it is “common wisdom” among psychologists that “religious people are on the whole happier than the non-religious,” based on several experiments that yielded such results.  I once asked an experimental psychologist to explain how to construct a tool that objectively measures happiness.  Inasmuch as I understood the inflated jargon, the gist of the answer boils down to “self-assessment with control questions.”  This left me entirely unconvinced that such tests actually measure what they are claimed to measure.  Self-assessment is notoriously unreliable, even with controls because the controls are themselves subjective.  The assessment tool just makes the unwarranted an unbased assumption that the controls are the same for all test subjects.  It makes no room, in this instance for example, that the religious and irreligious have a different understanding of what “happiness” means, and so the tests measured different things for the two groups.  More broadly, the answer also did next to nothing to relieve my strong suspicion that much of psychology is pseudoscience:  There’s a theory/hypothesis/schema that fits every conceivable situation of perceived psychological disorder.

'Luthon64
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Mefiante
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2012, 08:47:34 AM »

Oh, and an afterthought:  Even if we accept that religious people are happier than atheists and the irreligious, we should not make the mistake of inferring that they are happier because they are religious.  Correlation is not causation, as is often repeated.  For all we know, happiness and religiosity could both be predicated on a particular, more basic frame of mind, for example one that avoids questioning too deeply.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2012, 08:58:25 AM »

@ Mefiante: gods, I wish I had your skill with words...

Do you speak in the same manner as you write?
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brianvds
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2012, 10:26:10 AM »

I'm a lot of one and yes live and let live and all that but not when it infringes on rights. Which gives rise to the real question- which is the more important human right? - freedom of religion or the right to a decent education?

What exactly is a "decent education"? The stuff they teach at government schools (which turn out record numbers of illiterate and innumerate matriculants)?

Quote
Religious people are in fact probably more happy ... after all isn't ignorance bliss?? If reality (subjective of course)  makes us less happy then we are on the verge of going the US route - see the thread on this forum somewhere...
No one is recommending these children are removed from their homes in any capacity which would of course be chaos and where would that ideology end?? There would be more children in care than in families!!
It is about the restriction that is being imposed.

And what if the fundies flatly refuse to expose their kids to evolution? We'll soon be in a position where we would have no choice but to threaten to remove their children. It is all unnecessary: I am not aware of any clear evidence that the home schooled fundie children in fact end up more ignorant or uneducated or unskilled than the vast bulk of children "educated" in state schools.

As it happens, I live in an area with lots, and I mean LOTS, of Jehovah Witnesses. I go for a long walk in the morning, and they are nowadays absolutely everywhere, standing around on street corner and trying to hand out pamphlets. Very often their children are with them. They drive shiny cars, they are well dressed, impeccably polite, and the children are obviously well looked after. I cannot imagine any reason why we need to interfere with this: they are happy and are clearly doing well economically. I am therefore perfectly happy to leave them in peace to live as they choose.

Short of cases of gross physical, sexual or emotional abuse, nothing will harm a child more than being removed from his parents, so that route is out, and I don't see how else we can force them to give their kids a science education, nor do I see why it is necessary. The vast bulk of the population doesn't know dick about science, and it doesn't prevent them from living happy and productive lives.

Of course, I think they are missing out on all manner of wonders, but it's not my job to ram said wonders down their throats, I think. Otherwise I may as well follow their example and spend Sunday morning thumping Dawkins instead of reading it, and raving about the end of the world as we know it.
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