Generational Indoctrination. The status of public education in America.

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America, just 50 years ago, was known to have the greatest educational system in the world.  Perhaps the greatest in all of history. No rational person would say the same today.  What happened?

A mere 50 years, a tiny drop in the ocean of time has passed, and we now have one of the least successful, least effective, most profligately wasteful educational systems in the world.  As stated by educational expert Arne Duncan,  “At no level – early childhood, K-12, higher ed – are we even in the top 10 internationally. And that should scare us. It is scary and it does not bode well for the future.” (1)

What happened? Well, of course, many things have happened. Atheism happened. Scientism happened. Working moms happened. Multiculturalism happened. Abortion happened. Substance abuse happened. Indoctrination happened. But how did we get from fidelity, to foolishness in education?

Without any attempt to inject politics, “At the state and federal level, the United States spends more than $620 billion dollars on K-12 education each year,” Trump said on Sept. 8, 2016. “That’s an average of about $12,296 dollars for every student enrolled in our elementary and secondary public schools.”(2) Even the liberal-leaning site Politifact admits this is true. We once had the best schools, but now all we are left with is the most expensive schools in history.

Perhaps no single factor can be isolated upon which to cast all the blame. But we can be certain that the cause is NOT a lack of teachers, nor a lack of funding.  These simplistic, knee jerk responses have been tried ad nauseam for decades, with massive, seemingly perpetual increases in funding.  And the results? Massive, seemingly perpetual losses in educational outcomes for students.

Education, first and foremost, must pass on truth.  Educational techniques are important but not essential.  Many different teaching styles can be successful. Class sizes and budgets are, in the end, far less important than educational content.  Style, in the end, is vastly less important than substance. No educational system that denies ultimate truths can, in the end, be successful.

Our public educational systems, and most of our original colleges and universities, were founded on a belief in the Bible and a desire to pass on the teachings and beliefs contained therein. Then came the scientific revolution, and the sexual revolution. And from the top down, educational systems have come to represent atheism as the new norm, and eventually to ridicule all things associated with the Bible and Christianity. Oddly enough, as that process has occurred, all the measures of educational excellence have simultaneously declined.

Columnist Dennis Prager has stated that a causal factor of the rise in atheism is the “secular indoctrination of a generation,” and that “From elementary school through graduate school, only one way of looking at the world – the secular – is presented. The typical individual in the Western world receives as secular an indoctrination as the typical European received a religious one in the Middle Ages.”(3)

What is the source or reason for this indoctrination?  There have been amazing advances in the scientific fields that have captured the imagination of teachers, students, and school boards alike.  So much so that they have nearly all fallen prey to the fad of scientism. And in the process, students have come to expect the “magic” of science to solve all their problems, without room for faith, logic, mind, will, or even perseverence.

Austin L Hughes,  Carolina Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina, in his superb article The Folly of Scientism, writes, “Of all the fads and foibles in the long history of human credulity, scientism in all its varied guises — from fanciful cosmology to evolutionary epistemology and ethics — seems among the more dangerous, both because it pretends to be something very different from what it really is and because it has been accorded widespread and uncritical adherence.“(4)

Jason Barney adds, “Scientism is a problem because the field of education is not a hard science, but a branch of moral philosophy, scientia mōrālis. Every philosophy of education necessarily relies on a previously established account of what it means to be human. But scientism screens out such foundational questions about man, the good life, and ultimate purpose, in an attempt to be more precise—or precise in a different way—than the subject matter admits of (cf. Aristotle, EN I.3, 1094b12-15). In so doing, it does not actually attain a neutral, “objective” viewpoint; instead, half-baked philosophies and unexamined assumptions rush back in, as seven demons take the place of the one that was exorcised. Scientism promises us firmer knowledge, not swayed to and fro by the winds of history and the waves of philosophy, but in reality it delivers only ignorance of how we are recycling old ideas by recasting them into new, scientific-looking forms.”(5)  Wow!  What a succinct and cogent realization!  If only our educators could see and understand this!

As I wrote in “To Teach. To Educate. Or to Tell the Truth“, teaching is a high calling, and that high calling involves always instilling truth, not lies.  It also involves equipping students to search out truth, and recognize falsehood. But today, even in American high schools, colleges and universities this is often not the case. We instead see a focus on messengers, and messaging, and political correctness. Truth, the student is told, is always relative, not absolute.  Many educators focus on instilling “liberal values” and “fighting creationist propaganda” rather than evaluating the issues themselves, or seeking out truth in the midst of lies. They have even created “safe spaces” where students and groups can avoid any open debate that threatens their preconceptions or their liberal mindset. Teachers with a more conservative mindset often feel cowed into submission, unwilling to face the persecution certain to come if they stray from the secular atheistic agenda.

The solution to “what is wrong with schools in America” is not funding, or class size.  It is not methods, or media.  It is not even school choice or neighborhoods.  All of these may have positive or negative impacts and should be addressed.  But the solution to America’s educational dilemma is admitting that:

  1. For decades we have taught the lie of scientism.
  2. For decades we have promoted godlessness and atheism.
  3. For decades we have allowed concern with populist topics like sexism and racism to overshadow all other concerns, including education itself!

 

If we could just find and teach the truths of literature, history, and science in their proper context, in the eternal light of God and the Bible, all these other educational concerns will vanish. If we return to teaching Truth, the minds of our next generation will be the best educated in all of history.

 

(1) http://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2018-07-27/americas-schools-arent-working-for-americas-kids

(2) http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2016/sep/21/donald-trump/trump-us-spends-more-almost-any-other-major-countr/

(3) /www.conservapedia.com/Atheist_indoctrination

(4) http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-folly-of-scientism

(5) http://www.circeinstitute.org/blog/problem-scientism-conventional-education

 

Published by

evolutioncreation1

Emergency Room Physician. Student of science and student of scripture. Defending truth in a post-truth society. I believe that Truth exists, and I believe it is our duty and privilege to seek it out, amidst ignorance, frivolity, and misconceptions.

19 thoughts on “Generational Indoctrination. The status of public education in America.”

  1. Can you explain why top school systems in the world are in secular countries which also don’t teach about God in school? I grew up in Canada, where we didn’t learn about God, in an extremely multicultural classroom, where abortion was legal, and then gay marriage became legal at least a decade before the U.S. and somehow we still manage to maintain a better school system. Your thesis is absolute bunk.

    Also you seem to be very confused about what averages mean. Using the average to describe the state of education is like using the average on an exam to explain the highest and lowest score on the exam. It’s meaningless. We still have amazing schools here in the U.S, that can put up against many schools internationally, but we also have ridiculously poor schools and districts as well. There is a great deal of educational inequality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your comment, and input. I think you might be taking paragraph 3 out of context. I am not blaming all the things I listed for the educational changes, but I think they are all symptoms of the same larger issues. As to your second comment on averages, I think that is quite a weak point. If at one time we had, on average, the best schools, and now on average we have terrible schools, that is a huge problem. I think many educators are more concerned with indoctrination than with education. For that reason I believe millions of our graduating students are ill prepared for work, life, logic, reason, or debate.

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      1. I don’t think I’m really misunderstanding you that much. In your conclusions about what is wrong you actually dismiss the actual issues for promotion of the idea that what you consider as sinful or liberal ideals are what is wrong with the education system.

        For decades we have taught the lie of scientism. – many other countries do this and have excellent education systems. Also teaching students about knowledge that uses a reliable methodology is the only equitable way to teach information that is not subjective by personal belief systems. It’s not like school is the only place students learn. There is plenty of time for families to teach their own values and belief systems.

        For decades we have promoted godlessness and atheism. – the absence of promotion of one religion is not the promotion of godlessness and atheism. In fact plenty of curricula teach about all sorts of religion.

        For decades we have allowed concern with populist topics like sexism and racism to overshadow all other concerns, including education itself! – You provide no evidence of this, which isn’t surprising since it isn’t true. But if including curriculum that teaches children how to be empathetic for people who aren’t like themselves is problematic for you, then I’m more worried about you than our children.

        And no my concern about your quoting the average is actually not a weak point. For example, in 2009 it was determined that the total personal wealth of all Americans was 54.2 trillion dollars. If we think the average is representative of the whole, then this means every American has $180,000 of personal wealth. This is obviously wrong. The pertinent variable to look at has to go beyond the average but to assess the degree of inequality. And in the U.S. there is quite a bit of that. Should we tell the impoverished that we are under no obligation to help them…because the average is so high? That would be ridiculous.

        You quote the average as some sort of a metric, but the only reason the average has fall is because the bottom end has fallen so far away from the top. Our best high school graduates from our best high schools (both private and public) compare very well to students in excellent school systems. Our problem is educational inequality, and so touting the averaging misses the specifics of the issue. Also you haven’t even demonstrated that our education systems was one of the top education systems. I mean was it the best before or after de-segregation? I mean can we say our education was every the best when we have a history of denying women chances for quality education? When we denied African-Americans chances for quality education?

        You don’t provide a single refereed journal article to support any of your claims. Your opinion piece is supported by opinion pieces. And the one fact you have about the average, is a meaningless metric in addressing the issues with the education system.

        Also I just find it the height of hilarity when a theist complains about secular indoctrination. I mean are you just upset because that has been religion’s MO for so many years to make sure the populous remains fearful of divine punishment and blind little followers of religious authority? If teaching children that you actually have to have evidence to determine what is true and what isn’t, instead of relying on belief to define reality, is indoctrination, I would say we are far better off. Hey religion had a good run. It was completely awesome how the religious class the world over made sure to keep all the books to themselves and to make sure other people weren’t literate. This better education system you pine for is either one in which you wish for religious indoctrination, or increased critical thinking skills. If the former then you are only unhappy that you don’t get to indoctrinate Christian bullshit, and if the latter, then religiosity declines regardless of the education system we have.

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      1. Seriously, I have studied the Bible for 50 years. I have several copies. I have read it many times, cover to cover, but more importantly I have listened and read those who have dedicated their lives to understanding it. I consider it the word of God. I have always found immense comfort in knowing God cares for us personally. I take even more comfort in that now that I have a diagnosis of cancer. I thought Bible gateway might be a bit too much for the atheists.

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      2. I think you’ll find most atheists know the bible far, far better than most Christians.

        Sorry to hear about the cancer. I hope you get good care and kick it. But I am serious about Conservapedia’s bible. Through the Conservative Bible Project, Schlafly re-interpreted virtually everything.

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  2. Thank you for the reference to Prof Hughes’ article. Fascinating indeed. His point seems to be that philosophical questions underpinning scientific knowledge- how may something be known, what is sufficient scientific proof for an assertion- are not strictly scientific questions.

    So- what? Scientific evidence from, say, the core samples drilled at the Chicxulub impact site show the effects of the meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs. Some people might make questionable assertions based on that evidence, but the general outline is demonstrated. Similarly, CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuels, or by the destruction of the rain forest, is warming the atmosphere.

    What scientific facts taught in schools do you think are disproved by epistemology? Why? While the question of how facts are demonstrated is complex, do you think scientific research is entirely vitiated?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. These are good questions, and the article by Hughes is a good one and I think he’s right in that scientists should take more philosophical training. However, the quote from Atkins in the paper, while perhaps a bit extreme is not entirely wrong. Philosophy in of itself doesn’t really make truth claims but teaches us different ways to think about problems. And as we take those different paths not all of them are supported by evidence. And that’s important to note. It’s also important to note that philosophical paths need not always remain open for consideration.

      For instance if we observe the sun move around us in the sky. We might say, that the sun is orbiting the Earth. Philosophy would say “Yes it is possible that the sun is going around the Earth, however one might also observe the sun moving across the sky if the Earth is turning on it’s axis”. Here philosophy has given us some option. Evidence only bears out one of these possibilities as being true.

      If philosophy has helped us arrive at the scientific method and modern science, it is not necessarily the case that we need to go back to philosophy to think of other ways of discovering truth. It could be that this is the best way. We can certainly think about other ways of discovering truth but this would have to be borne out by evidence. The reason we put stock into the scientific method is because of the reliability of results.

      The fact that scientists can be biased and illogical is a separate issue and we need to better train scientists in these areas, no question.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for your comments. I would say that my concern is not that scientific inquiry is invalid. Far from it. I am a physician. I need science to provide good care. However, I see evidence of biased science in every aspect of medicine. Science, and the scientific method are often “sold to the highest bidder”. This occurs in medicine, and on our universities. It is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as human nature and the shamans.
      Currently, my concern is that evolution is still being taught even though
      1. It was never proven.
      2. Most of the original “proofs” of evolution have been discredited.
      3. No evolutionist can account for the origin of life.
      4. Virtually all current “examples” of evolution are merely natural selection, or DNA sharing, and there are absolutely NO examples of mutations which provide additional genetic material. Such mutations are the supposed foundation of evolution, yet they never occur.
      5. Haeckels embryos and most of the other foundational “proofs” of evolution were proven fraudulent”.
      6. After a hundred years of searching for the missing link, no one has ever found an example, There should have been thousands by now.
      So how is it that students are taught evolution is “proven fact”?

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      1. On your last question, the changes are clear, for example the changes of trilobites over 200m years.

        Darwin’s advance was not to prove evolution, it had been observed for decades before, but to explain it, by natural selection.

        But I agree with you about the sale of science: is it not shocking that there remain climate change deniers?

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      2. I would say that probably 99%to 100% of humanity living in Darwin’s day would disagree with your statement that evolution was already proven or accepted. As to the Trilobites, you might find some interesting, counter-cultural facts about whether they actually evolved in my Sept 7 blog “Try, Try, Trilobite” at evolutioncreation.net. Trilobites actually offer at least as much proof for the creation/flood scenario as the old age earth cosmology.

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  3. Although this is probably merely a “science denier” and “climate change denier” bait question. I will answer it as honestly as I can. I believe this world was CREATED. It is not, and never was an accident of cosmology. The Creator or the world had total control of how and when and why it was created, and continues to be in total control. It will end exactly as God has known it will end since before it was created.
    I have solar on my roof, and I drive an electric car. I take better care of the environment than most, and have a smaller carbon footprint than many. Nevertheless, mankind should concern it self more with seeking God, and less with carbon emissions. Our Ultimate destiny is not predicted by a video game or Marvel Universe movie. Neither is it predicted by any human, be they atheist or Christian or Deist. But the Bible has been proven over thousands of years to be accurate, inasmuch as we understand it. And the Bible says God is in control of when and how the world ends.
    Scientifically speaking, as you know, all it would take is one large volcano eruption to put us into a persistent Global winter. And most of the reasons behind global warming are political, not scientific . So I don’t lose any sleep over it.

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    1. Not sure who this comment was directed to, but if I may address it.

      I’m assuming you believe Yhwh to be a competent (and caring) Creator. So, from a historical perspective, does ‘competent’ and ‘caring’ translate to, for example, the Great Oxygen Catastrophe 2.5 billion years ago which killed off virtually all life on earth, but created an oxygen-rich atmosphere which enabled multicellular life to take root? Any rational person would conclude, No; having to kill off virtually all life because you stupidly got the atmosphere wrong does not indicate competence or mindfulness.

      When applied to the actual world, you can see, obviously, how your worldview is thoroughly incoherent. It does not explain the world that is, has been, and will be, and without that, you seem not to be in possession of an explanatory model, rather a pantomime.

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      1. John, two pertinent points. I doubt the seriousness of your concern for “virtually all life on earth” when that live was single cell life. Do you brush your teeth, or take antibiotics when you are sick, killing billions of bacteria? Do you take Tamiflu and kill “billions of innocent viruses” without thought? Second if you had read prior posts on the old age “proofs” of the universe and the assumptions underlying carbon dating, you will know that the “Great Oxygen Catastrophe” is based on circular reasoning, and basing any view of the past world on such assumptions is in your words “thoroughly incoherent”. I hope you will humbly admit that calling the Creator of the universe and the Origin of all life “stupid” is probably an unwise strategy. Please see previous posts “Who are you going to Trust” and “The Uniformitarians”. Be blessed.

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      2. It seems you’re not aware that c14 is only used for dating objects *younger* than 50,000 years old.

        The breakdown of potassium (40K) to argon (40Ar) is what is used for things older.

        If you knew that you wouldn’t have penned such a factually ridiculous comment.

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      3. The carbon 14 dating comment is old news, but what is even older is your continued disrespectful tone in all your posts. If you read from the beginning, the stated goal is for a respectful discourse. You will also see answers to many other “old age earth” questions if you start at the beginning. It is not that the science cannot be interpreted to show that the earth might be that old. Of course it can. But it requires many unproven assumptions. For scientists to say they know how old the earth is is absurd. Blessings.

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    2. It was not a bait question: I was interested in what you would say. As a physician, you cannot be stupid, and yet I consider your misunderstanding of the Bible devalues the Bible as well as the scientific community. I don’t want to abuse you, or persuade you; I want to know what you think.

      It would have to be a very large volcanic eruption, something like the Deccan Traps. Krakatoa did not have nearly that effect. So the Yellowstone caldera could spread ash across the continental US, and carbon into the air- cooling then warming. If we are to discuss the Deccan Traps I need to ask: how old do you think the Earth is, thousands or billions of years?

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