Friday, 31 October 2008

Of Politics and Religion

Lorna drew our attention to this truly excellent article (How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington) in the Comment & Debate section of Tuesday's Guardian newspaper.

Only one thing doesn't completely square, though no doubt there's a good explanation. The other day I checked out the Texas TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills) pdf (which I now can't find but I did find this), detailing what high school students would be taught about biology and it was deeply impressive. Of course, what the curriculum states and what actually gets thoroughly taught aren't necessarily the same thing.

Edit: Of course, our own standards are in freefall anyway. Since the schools are graded on their exam results, naturally, they choose the easiest examination boards for their pupils to take. That pressurises the exam boards to make the exams easier, so magically, the results continue to get better and better.

So, do we believe that the pupils are getting brighter, or that they are working harder, or that teachers
are getting better, or that the exams are getting easier? Err, tricky, can I have notice of this one.....?

And I am endebted to the superb Pharyngula for publicising this incredible 18-year-old, who expresses in this YouTube video quite a few of the reasons I'm an atheist, but so much more coherently and concisely than I ever could.

It's interesting that she posted quite a few YouTube videos expressing her opinions about religion, then Pharyngula posted a comment about her, and within a very short space of time the Christian right were demanding that she be banned from YouTube, and this in the liberal, free-thinking, democratic US of A.

What I don't understand is why the fundamentalist Christians feel so threatened by one 18 year old girl. And what gives them the right to impose their views on her. And how they can square their Christian teachings (turn the other cheek, love your enemy, etc) with their threats of violence against anyone who dares express an opinion that doesn't support their personal view of the world.

And by the way, CB1, this is not intended as any kind of a poke in your direction. It's a long time since I came across anyone in the CofE that I would call remotely fundy.


The Dotterel said...

You make it sound quite tame, Rob - 'fundy'! Not at all like the long-bearded, closed minded truth of the position.

Rob Clack said...

I've just followed up on Pharyngula's post about Nathan Phelps, son of the Reverend Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church and it really does make you quite thoughtful. The article describes his upbringing and is followed by an unpleasant tirade from his sister. I only read the first few lines before back-clicking in disgust.

Rob Clack said...

Duh. Inline editing of the text of my previous comment left it poorly structured. What I meant was his sister posted her rant as a comment on the article. (Sigh. Read the whole text through one more time before pressing Publish!)