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Chemistry without those blasphemous isotopes!
August 13, 2008 2:11 PM   Subscribe

In response to the 2005 lawsuit, ACSI v. Stearns, a federal court has upheld the decision of the University of California to deny college credit for science courses that utilize texts with a religious slant. Official statement from the UCOP (PDF).
posted by cgomez (67 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I wish I could unequivocally think that this was a good idea by UC. I just feel really bad for the kids whose parents forced them to attend one of these schools. They never stood a chance.
posted by PhatLobley at 2:18 PM on August 13, 2008


Well, the articles say that they can study for the SATs in those subjects, and be accepted on the basis of those. But I think that upholding certain academic standards is always a good idea; they recognise religiously based courses which also teach all of the required subject, just not those which do not teach all of the facts, ideas and skills which are necessary to study that subject at university.
posted by jb at 2:25 PM on August 13, 2008


The thought of them appealing this in the 9th Circuit makes me giggle. I was just arguing that the theory of evolution itself does not contradict Christian creation theory per se. I'm not sure why the Catholic church gets this, but all the fundamentalists don't.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:26 PM on August 13, 2008


*arguing with my neighbor the other day*
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:26 PM on August 13, 2008


The way you worded your FPP is actually misleading. The University actually doesn't "deny college credit for science courses that utilize texts with a religious slant". The University "has approved many courses containing religious material and viewpoints, including some that use such texts as Chemistry for Christian Schools and Biology: God's Living Creation, or that include scientific discussions of creationism as well as evolution." It just "denies credit to courses that rely largely or entirely on material stressing supernatural over historic or scientific explanations" such as Biology for Christian Schools which "declares on the first page that "if (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong." So a religious slant appears to be fine, you just can't base your course on books that are batshitinsane, which I think is a pretty reasoned decision.
posted by ND¢ at 2:27 PM on August 13, 2008 [11 favorites]


No, it doesn't not recognize religiously-slanted courses, it doesn't accept for credit "science" courses that don't teach science.
posted by orthogonality at 2:29 PM on August 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


what about ballet courses? could they get me college credit for science courses?
posted by jepler at 2:40 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


jepler: perhaps in physics.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:45 PM on August 13, 2008


No, it doesn't not recognize religiously-slanted courses, it doesn't accept for credit "science" courses that don't teach science.

This is the point. Science is how we infidel heathens explain the unknown. Science is the exact opposite of "religion" and "faith." Science is not hostile to religion. Science does not seek to disprove religion. It seeks to disprove itself.

Why is this even an issue? Any "person of faith" who would want to receive credit for science is an apostate and blasphemer who deserves to burn for all eternity in hell. God willing.
posted by three blind mice at 2:49 PM on August 13, 2008


I wish I could unequivocally think that this was a good idea by UC. I just feel really bad for the kids whose parents forced them to attend one of these schools. They never stood a chance.

Dude what? The whole point of a college degree is that it certifies that you learned the stuff. if you don't know the stuff, you shouldn't get credit. We shouldn't be handing out diplomas to people who never even learned the material.
posted by delmoi at 2:49 PM on August 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm still not sure why my English courses didn't count for credit in all fields where English is used.

Bastards.
posted by aramaic at 2:50 PM on August 13, 2008


The way you worded your FPP is actually misleading.

Possibly, but I believe that's just an issue of semantics. By "textbooks with a religious slant", I meant that the primary texts for the basis of course knowledge were blanketed in theology (such as the batshitinsane Darwin-rebuke preface). I agree I could have made it clearer though; next time.
posted by cgomez at 2:55 PM on August 13, 2008


Surely the University/College could have awarded them credit for SCIENCE!
posted by blue_beetle at 3:06 PM on August 13, 2008


Possibly, but I believe that's just an issue of semantics.

Sorry, you set no aspirational time horizons with your original phrasing.
posted by xmutex at 3:14 PM on August 13, 2008


Call me cynical, but if the people who filed the lawsuit and who are filing the appeal had any interest in or connection to the schools in question, I can't help thinking that this is an issue of self-preservation, not of religious persecution.

In the U. S., it's expected that high school prepares you for college. Any high school school that doesn't teach to that standard needs to make it very clear to prospective students and their families that the school's curriculum alone isn't sufficient to prepare the student to pass the SAT or to serve as credit for admisson to college. They also need to make it clear that extra time, effort and expense (in th4e form of materials and tutors) will be required to fill in that knowledge gap.

Again, cynical me can't help thinking that the people who operate these schools might be afraid of losing business or even of being sued.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 3:25 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


If only the damned priests left my family alone, I wouldn't have suffered from living with a utterly scared , ZOMG superstitious catholic, a wanna be protestant with emotive attachments to catholic symbols/morals and an atheist with republican tendencies.

On the other hand, as a kid I surely did have an hell of a time!

Yet pardon my resentment, but given my experience I recommend against letting any faithful person preach (or disguise preaching as teaching) to kids. While some adult can resist, kids are utterly defenseless. Unsurprisingly, some jesuit used to say that any kid can be converted into a soldier of christ ; doh , kids believe in santa too. I'd recommend courses teaching the kids how to spot blind faith and make-believe, as they probably will be reach by religions before having developed a very healthy skepticism.
posted by elpapacito at 4:09 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


such as Biology for Christian Schools which "declares on the first page that "if (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong."

People are allowed to use this nonsense to teach????????????????
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:37 PM on August 13, 2008


"Any "person of faith" who would want to receive credit for science is an apostate and blasphemer who deserves to burn for all eternity in hell. God willing."

Do you really think this kind of sentiment does any good?
posted by oddman at 4:54 PM on August 13, 2008


I'm confused. UC gives college credit for science classes taken in high school based on your SAT scores? Did they mean to say AP? Or did they mean something else entirely?

Because I took "chemistry" and "physics" in high school and did fine on the SAT. But it didn't win me any college credit, and rightfully so. Not because my HS was religious, but because my HS was crap.
posted by gueneverey at 5:05 PM on August 13, 2008


gueneverey - I think they mean that they will or will not recogize the courses as highschool credits for admission to the universities. They didn't appear to be talking about Advanced Placement courses, which can be counted towards university credits.

But I'm not really sure, and probably we should ask someone from California - personally, I come from a province where the courses I took to get into university (grade 13/OACs) don't even happen anymore, and I have no idea what you need to do now.
posted by jb at 5:19 PM on August 13, 2008


What is the Word of God? How do one recognize the Word of God? How can the Word of God be independently verified? Surely, if these questions can be answered, no one would object to "the Word of God" in science class.
posted by wobh at 5:21 PM on August 13, 2008


If California schools are like Michigan ones, you have to have taken certain classes in high school to avoid having to take essentially remedial classes in college, or test out of the section.

But note that in the news story, they said that this was part of the considerations for admissions, having taken science classes.
posted by klangklangston at 5:23 PM on August 13, 2008


I'm not sure why the Catholic church gets this, but all the fundamentalists don't.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:26 PM on August 13


I guess it's just the case that anything can seem forward thinking or reasonable when put up against something even more extreme. I mean, I agree with you, but it's a rare day when one can say that the Catholic church seems progressive.
posted by ob at 5:36 PM on August 13, 2008


ND¢: "if (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong."

three blind mice: This is the point. Science is how we infidel heathens explain the unknown. Science is the exact opposite of "religion" and "faith." Science is not hostile to religion. Science does not seek to disprove religion. It seeks to disprove itself.

Anything that attempts to explain the unknown is by definition, a theology. Admittedly, science has been batting a thousand in recent centuries, whereas Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and a handful of other theologies have either fouled out recently or refuse to even go to bat.

The fact is we don't know. Science is a competing theology. It is NOT the exact opposite of religion. I argue that it is just a new belief structure, which mankind is using to once again crawl out of the (proverbial) primordial slime it is currently in.

A few centuries ago we assumed the world was flat. Today we assume it to be round. A few centuries from now we may realize we only perceived it to be round, when in actuality it's shaped like Bea Arthur. We're still throwing rocks at the moon. They're just bigger rocks... attached to rockets. One day Mankind will have the ability to take the whole of the universe in the palm of its hand, and turn it over, at which point we will all know beyond a shadow of a doubt that imprinted on the bottom of the universe in very small capital letters it reads: MADE IN CHINA
posted by ZachsMind at 5:54 PM on August 13, 2008



The fact is we don't know. Science is a competing theology.


Err.. no. No it really isn't. And I say that as a theist.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:00 PM on August 13, 2008


Ob, that is kind of my point. I'm not defending Catholocism's take on science so much as saying if they can rationalize the coexistence of faith and science it shouldn't be such a problem for the other Christian faiths. But then, I can't understand how fundamentalists can believe in biblical literalness. God is omniscient, but metaphor is too complicated?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:06 PM on August 13, 2008


ZachsMind, I think you are confusing the claims and opinions of people informed by scientific theory with actual science. IANAS, but for me, science is about developing an internally consistent testable framework of hypotheses/theories based upon a set of assumptions. Discussing the validity of said assumptions, or the absolute truth of said framework out of context is the realm of theology.

In other words, using the theory of evolution to explain the fossil record and extrapolate future changes to lifeforms based on said theory does nothing to make a theological claim either way about whether the fossil record was put their by a trickster god, satanic deception, the flying spagetti monster or post abiogenesis evolution.

The refusal to discuss origin myths/dogma/Truths in science classes is warranted by the fact that it is almost always irrelevant to the scope of discussion.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:16 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gueneverey, by SAT I assume they mean the SAT subject tests such as biology, chemistry and physics (which used to be referred to as Achievement tests prior to 1994 — ACH? ACT? can't remember). I think it's appropriate to let students test out of certain classes if they demonstrate sufficient expertise in the subject.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:24 PM on August 13, 2008


Science is a process, not a belief.
posted by ryanrs at 6:29 PM on August 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


DirtyNumbAngelBoy: Err.. no. No it really isn't. And I say that as a theist.

From good ole Wikipedia (and I use it not as some sort of end all be all because it's not - it's just a frame of reference):

"In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation. For the scientist, "theory" is not in any way an antonym of "fact". For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theories commonly used to describe and explain this behavior are Newton's theory of universal gravitation (see also gravitation), and the general theory of relativity."

Those who follow the dictates of science believe a theory to be a synonym of fact, until it is disproven by yet another theory. The word theory, like the word theology, comes from the greek root Theos, meaning god. Some insist that theory comes from "theoria" which means "contemplation" but that's just to avoid this very argument.

Monotheism believes God to be a single entity that is all-knowing and ever-present. The only way for a god to do that, would be to BE EVERYTHING. So a theory is an attempt to explain one aspect of god. Science proves that god is in everything. God IS everything.

I'm not saying this is right, or that this is what I believe. I'm saying this is what science does. Whether it likes it or not. In other words: we're far from done with unlocking the secrets of the universe because mankind still has to shake off A LOT OF BAGGAGE.

Our very senses are put into question by science. For one of many possible examples, we do not know if we perceive a color as what it actually is, or if our brains simply take in the sensory input of the body and reconstitutes it into something the brain can actually fathom.

Color blind people don't see what others who are not color blind see. Are we to tell them that they are wrong? Are your senses the only acceptable way to perceive the world? Of course not, but it's the only way YOU can see the world so it's the only acceptable way for you.

If you're color blind, in your worldview, colors are just variations in black and white: grey. Other people will tell you that's wrong, that there are things called rainbows with all these bright wonderful things, but what you see is right before you and a sunrise is just a little brighter than the sky was a few minutes ago. These "color-sighted" types can describe these "colors" they keep going on about, but they mean nothing to you because to you, they do not exist. Colors are simply not there for you. So to you, the color-sighted are wrong.

That doesn't make you right. It doesn't make them right.

Yet science tries to discern how humanity sees the universe, as if that's the only valid way. I submit that IF we ever find out we have celestial neighbors, one of the first things we're gonna realize is that our perception is VERY narrow, and probably horrendously incorrect, compared to what is actually there.

In what way? How should I know? I'm only human.

I do hope to be there when we try to explain to our new alien friends this concept we call science, because it will probably be the first time we hear them laugh. Then they will probably half-jokingly respond by saying something to the effect of, "did you stop believing in a god yet, or did your 'science' cause you to start believing in her again?"
posted by ZachsMind at 6:30 PM on August 13, 2008


RyanRs: "Science is a process, not a belief."

Heh. You just keep telling yourself that.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:33 PM on August 13, 2008


...chant it. That might help you.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:33 PM on August 13, 2008


The fact that we even have to have a court decide on this is idiotic.

Creationism isn't science. Creationism doesn't have testable, provable, or even disprovable hypothesis.

Colleges and high schools should really be much stricter. To graduate you're placed in a box which leads to a complicated maze and a final exit. To advance through each stage you're presented with a series of puzzles and tasks designed to test your observation and critical thinking skills.

There's no whirling knives or threat of pain, there's not even any loud noises or other distractions. You may bring whatever food, tools or supplies you like - in fact, it's recommended - and you may take as long as you like.

Cutting or brute-forcing your way out is an acceptable solution - but severely frowned upon unless your major happened to be mechanical engineering - in which case the box will be made out of diamond-hardened Unobtanium and will indeed include whirling knives and other dangerous mechanical challenges.

Hacking your way out of the is acceptable if you're a CS/IS major, but you're only allowed to bring in breadboard, wire, solder and loose parts and tools, and all the code you can fit in your head, or perhaps a loose-leaf notebook.

And so on for various disciplines and majors.

You would be judged on not only following the intended forms of the puzzles, but also on your style, creativity and original thinking. At once you'll be measured on your ability to follow rules and break them. You'll also be presented with ethical dilemmas to judge the strength and quality of your character.

You may also pray, chant, wish, work magic or ritual to whomever You like, and if it helps them solve the puzzles and pass the real-world tests it is entirely permitted.


And if you don't escape? If you're unable to demonstrate a reasonably acceptable level of real-world skills using your own observation and critical thinking - well, you don't graduate. You can "tap out" of the puzzle at any time with no penalty and no lost credits, free to go back to school or retake the challenge at a later date.
posted by loquacious at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2008


Heh. You just keep telling yourself that.

Coming from an agnostic - science is a process. It's not based on belief - but observation. Repeated observation. By way of a process of elimination and experimentation.

Please do go read this wikipedia link on the scientific method.

If you can come up with something better to learn about and observe the world around us a bunch of people would like to hear what you have to say, including some old dead Greek guy named Aristotle. Plato and Socrates would also buy you beers.
posted by loquacious at 6:44 PM on August 13, 2008


"If you can come up with something better to learn about and observe the world around us..."

Why would I bother? If I did, it would be no more or less relevant than what we already have on our plate. If I don't, the universe will continue doing what it wants to do. I leave the universe alone. It leaves me alone. Usually. We have an understanding.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:53 PM on August 13, 2008


Why would I bother? If I did, it would be no more or less relevant than what we already have on our plate. If I don't, the universe will continue doing what it wants to do. I leave the universe alone. It leaves me alone. Usually. We have an understanding.

Indeed, why? To exercise one's own flabby, soft mind for starters, to see if there aren't more advanced processes to learn about and discover the world around them.

And why do we do that? So we can have things like electricity and computers and medicine, you ungrateful ignoramous!

Ahem, sorry.

You're using a computer, right? I assume you have electricity? Ever been to a doctor? Taken medicine, whether it's traditional plants and herbs or an advanced antibiotic?

Hell, you can at least breathe and utilize proteins and sugars using the Krebs cycle of metabolization to continue to exist and consume food and excrete waste, right?

You're not exactly leaving the universe alone. And it's sure as hell not leaving you alone.

Without the tools that give you your food, your shelter, your energy and the science that brought them all to you and the communication that makes it all transferable - you would be a pinkish, helpless little newt in a harsh, uninviting world full of continual discomfort and danger.

And even then - as you pawed helpless at the earth for roots and bugs, cowering naked in the blistering sun or blowing rain or snow, you would have to use "the scientific method" merely to survive and observe the world around you so you could figure out what to eat and how to stay out of the elements and protect yourself.

That's what makes all of this so absurd. By virtue of being alive as an adult you've already used the scientific method to survive. "Fire hot!" "Falling hurts!" "Some dogs bite! Watch for growl and teeth!" "Don't eat weird shit!"

But here we are insisting on debating the semantics of belief.
posted by loquacious at 7:09 PM on August 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


ZM, did you really just claim that improving on a 2500 year old method of observation is more or less pointless? Seriously? Think about that, you're claiming that improving on Aristotle is simply not worth your while.

Wow, I can't tell if you are incredibly conceited or just full of it.
posted by oddman at 7:16 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why would I bother?

So you can learn how to predict outcomes. Once you can anticipate how the universe reacts to various situations, you can design neat things. That's the point of science: it enables engineering.
posted by ryanrs at 7:47 PM on August 13, 2008


I would consider the kids that were forced into taking only classes that dismissed scientific consensus to be just as disadvantaged as kids that went to a bad school in the inner cities, because they obviously hadn't been given the same opportunity for learning that other kids have.

Plus, wouldn't it be a good idea for California to let them into university, so that their minds can be broadened? It definitely seems like the preferable option than having them instead attend, say, Bob Jones University.
posted by gyc at 7:54 PM on August 13, 2008


You would be judged on not only following the intended forms of the puzzles, but also on your style, creativity and original thinking. At once you'll be measured on your ability to follow rules and break them. You'll also be presented with ethical dilemmas to judge the strength and quality of your character.

This is called "LIFE". Contrary to popular belief, one does not need a college to play the game of life and 'pass' it.
posted by spicynuts at 7:58 PM on August 13, 2008


Plus, wouldn't it be a good idea for California to let them into university, so that their minds can be broadened?

The University of California is the best public higher education system in the world. Its admission process is highly competitive, and rightfully so. The state also maintains a large number of California State Universities and California Community Colleges. The Community Colleges are the best suited for filling in a spotty high school education. Many students spend a few years there before transferring to a university.
posted by ryanrs at 8:25 PM on August 13, 2008


To ZachsMind, voting is pointless, science is pointless, everything is pointless. Except for telling other people that these things are pointless. That's important enough to do over and over again.
posted by grouse at 8:42 PM on August 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


This is called "LIFE". Contrary to popular belief, one does not need a college to play the game of life and 'pass' it.

The unspoken, unwritten part that I'm positing that "LIFE" is currently inhabited by people that are currently trying to live it without, say, being hampered or otherwise stymied by antiscientific muggles who would otherwise get jobs as pharmacists through useless technical-school diploma-mills and who would somehow erroneously think it was their right and mission to, say, deny someone birth control or contraceptives because they held beliefs that told them it was ok.

This isn't a strawman argument. This is a repeated, real-world scenario. This is why we can't have nice things.

It's a sandbox for people to prove that they are rational, thinking human beings before they have a chance to fuck shit up for the rest of us.

If that's elitist, well put me up against the wall and shoot me.
posted by loquacious at 8:56 PM on August 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Referring to the word of god, that's one thing.

There's no arguing with the equations of god, though. Such as

god = 3 god

which is at the cutting edge of supergodstring n-dimensional theoretic godsyics. And who can forget

5 l + 2 f = 5000 m

where the value of l is loaves, f is fishes, and m is meal for a pre-internet human.
posted by davemee at 9:56 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


davemee- i think the proper equation is:

(5l+2f)^J = 5000 m

5 loaves, 2j, raised to Jesus Power = 5000 m
posted by mrzarquon at 10:16 PM on August 13, 2008


Ob, that is kind of my point.

No, I know, I was just intrigued by it as an ex-Catholic atheist who has often thought about this and who, to be clear, agrees with you. I think of this sometimes and I think, "Well, Catholics aren't so bad" and then I remember all the other stuff.
posted by ob at 10:24 PM on August 13, 2008


ZachsMind:

The word theory, like the word theology, comes from the greek root Theos, meaning god.

Anything that attempts to explain the unknown is by definition, a theology.

Are you just making this stuff up? Neither of these statements agree with any dictionary I've read...
posted by alexei at 10:28 PM on August 13, 2008


If you're color blind, in your worldview, colors are just variations in black and white: grey?

Colour is subjective. Wavelengths aren't.

There's no arguing with the equations of god, though. Such as

god = 3 god


Sorry, you've got it wrong. The proper equasion is:

FATMOUSE + YOU = FATMOUSE
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:49 PM on August 13, 2008


The word theory, like the word theology, comes from the greek root Theos, meaning god.

Anything that attempts to explain the unknown is by definition, a theology.


Are you just making this stuff up?


Yes.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:50 PM on August 13, 2008


mrzarquon, I always forget the jesus exponent!

Like dinosaur bones next to jesus bones, it's always important to show your (and His!) working.

Lose a point for solving the equation. It disproves your faith.
posted by davemee at 4:36 AM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


> the jesus exponent

Worst Robert Ludlum novel ever.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:56 AM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe you mean Frank Herbert?
posted by wobh at 6:53 AM on August 14, 2008


> Lose a point for solving the equation. It disproves your faith.

Actually, since you can't FOIL Jesus, the problem is still unsolvable.

However, through it we can see Jesus in every day science!
posted by mrzarquon at 7:36 AM on August 14, 2008


ZM: The word theory, like the word theology, comes from the greek root Theos, meaning god.

Cite, please.

Oh wait. Here's one. Not.

alexei: Are you just making this stuff up?

Yes, he is:

"1592, "conception, mental scheme," from L.L. theoria (Jerome), from Gk. theoria "contemplation, speculation, a looking at, things looked at," from theorein "to consider, speculate, look at," from theoros "spectator," from thea "a view" + horan "to see." Sense of "principles or methods of a science or art (rather than its practice)" is first recorded 1613. That of "an explanation based on observation and reasoning" is from 1638. The verb theorize is recorded from 1638."

Also.

jebus, I must really need coffee to take ZM seriously enough to post this. Coffeepot, here I come....Although, how do I really know it's coffee? How do I really know that it's not decaffeinated coffee? How ever could I figure that out? Maybe I should ask god if it's coffee. Although I'd probably be dead from a lack-of-caffeine headache by the time he got back to me - I hear he's kind of busy. So maybe what I'll do is go into the kitchen and remove a sample of what's labeled "coffee", put some grounds in the filter, add water to the pot, and sample the resulting brew. I'll compare it against other samples of coffee that I'm familiar with, and I'll note if it makes me feel more awake after I've had some. It's not a blood test, and I don't have access to a lab, but it's a start.
posted by rtha at 8:51 AM on August 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Without referencing the metaphysical overlaps of Science and Religion and getting into that endless debate, I'll just say that I think that there is a lot more purpose in the attempts to put christianity into science education than just "competing belief systems" (another endless debate). Additionally, any claims (obviously these claims are made only by these christians) that any other religious group besides the fundamentalist christians is pushing creationist education is false.

I think the reason for this is the cultural "war" being waged between secular and religious, which often finds its way into left vs right political fighting through popular, yet likely incorrect, generalizations. I also believe that a certain feelings victimization and indignation that has become pervasive in the religious right in this country, as they see that their morality and way of life has becomed threatened. Religious education, I believe, is just another front in this "war". Maybe this is paranoid, but I don't think the fundamental christians who advocate creationism in public schools are upset with evolutionism itself, they're upset with the people who they believe represent the immoral, godless, secular left that has been thoroughly demonized in their subsection of American culture.
posted by hellslinger at 11:34 AM on August 14, 2008


I just feel really bad for the kids whose parents forced them to attend one of these schools.

My younger sister attended Oral Roberts University not because our parents forced her, but because a Christian nutball who was good looking went there and she was too gormless at the time to know any better.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:56 PM on August 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


DirtyNumbAngelBoy: "Colour is subjective. Wavelengths aren't."

Oh really?

When is a particle not a wave?
posted by ZachsMind at 7:59 PM on August 14, 2008


Yes, really. I don't have enough physics knowledge to get into a discussion about wave vs particle, but my point is quite, quite accurate.

When we measure light in terms of wavelengths, certain wavelengths appear to be certain colours. Whether what my brain interprets as 'red' is the same as what yours does is immaterial; we are both seeing the same wavelength of light and we both refer to it by the same word (or a closely related one; red vs. crimson, say).

Just because you don't appear to understand how science works doesn't mean that it doesn't.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:25 PM on August 14, 2008


Oh really?

When is a particle not a wave?


You realize this question makes no sense, right? It's also a non sequitur.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:50 AM on August 15, 2008


Sequiturs are pointless.
posted by ND¢ at 9:55 AM on August 15, 2008


Mental Wimp: "You realize this question makes no sense, right?"

Not to you. Not yet. That's my point.

Quantum Physics has proven that at times a particle displays behaviors that are "wave-like" and vice versa. Matter is energy. Therefore, energy must be matter. How can that be? Science doesn't know. A day may come when Mankind will see words like "particle" and "wave" in old texts, and it will laugh at its own past ignorance, just as today we laugh at the thought Mankind once believed the world was flat and Earth was the universal center. Some people don't laugh. Some people never stopped believing, despite what science tells them.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the man some claim to be responsible for Pluto no longer being a planet, recently explained that the word itself, "planet," is simply out of date. It no longer has any valid meaning to the scientific community, and needs to be replaced. He wants to revisit the vocabulary that scientists use when discussing celestial bodies.

He cites as an example of what he means that back when William Herschel discovered what later came to be known as Uranus, he named his paper on the subject "Something like 'A report of an unusual comet in orbit beyond Saturn.' And you read his paper and it says, 'This is an unusual comet, it shows no fuzz. It shows - yes it orbits the sun... but its orbit is not elliptical like other comets. It's kind of round, like the planets..'."

But Herschel couldn't actually bring himself to admit it was a planet, because up until that point the idea of there being another planet that behaved like Uranus was simply unthinkable.

So Tyson argues that the vocabulary and semantics of a debate can actually keep those trying to forge through new discoveries from seeing the forest for all the trees.

What I've been trying to get you guys to see is that science is not the answer any more than any other theory is. It's just another stepping stone on a trail that is WAY bigger than any of us can even imagine right now, much less see.

Science is surely no substitution for religion. In fact, the two need each other, but they are not the antithesis of each other, nor are they enemies. Science is just another way of looking at the universe. It might appear to answer the universe better for some people, but that's because we're formulating the questions ourselves. A thousand years ago, religion answered all those questions to most people's satisfaction. A thousane years from now, it'll be something else, and we probably STILL won't be any closer to The Truth. Whatever that is. Provided mankind survives itself for another millenium, which I'm not convinced is a certainty.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:00 PM on August 15, 2008


Additionally, you just need a little travel to Britain visting Oxford and Cambridge many colleges to find how many chapels and figures of saint are built into these "temples of tought". How comes? Surely not by chance, as the presence of these structures signifies the control of church over these institution, making sure that no dangerous tought or thinker was allowed to spread "dangerous ideas".

If my memory serves, Hume was denied the chair of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh university because he was too much of an atheist.
posted by elpapacito at 10:07 AM on August 16, 2008


Which springs to mind : catholic schools and universities ? More of the same.
posted by elpapacito at 10:07 AM on August 16, 2008


we probably STILL won't be any closer to The Truth

Philosophers argued this point for hundred years. The "truth as it is" , pure immediate (in the latin sense of the word, not mediated) truth, is a metaphysical concept. It's unknowable by definition, for knowing it would lead to the absurd of knowing what cannot be known.

Imagine that you wanted to know what "really" is a cat, much like Neo saw the matrix in all its pure line-by-line code, without having to rely on your senses , maybe helped by some infinitely powerful computer bilt by using all of Bill Gates zillions, allowing you to perceive something that your senses never could with infinite accuracy, without any built-in human bias. Your are seeking for the "the cat" , not just any cat, but the the "the cat that exists regardless of any of mysekf, my senses, ideas, misconceptions".

Now if you were able to do that, that would imply that the "true cat" is indeed knowable _by you_ and at least for a moment known by you. That would make the cat belong to the set of the knowable objects, which would imply that it has got the properties of a knowable object as well, if for an extremely short period of time. You would still be perceiving something that has to "pass-throught" your own mind, even if the picture was taken by the computer.

The picture of the "the cat that exists regardless of any of my senses, ideas, misconceptions" wouldn't still be that of "the true cat" because you are looking for something that, if know, would still belong to the set to which you belong. Yet you are looking for the a picture of something that exists without all the human ideas about space, time and basically without an human brain.
posted by elpapacito at 10:56 AM on August 16, 2008


What I've been trying to get you guys to see is that science is not the answer any more than any other theory is. It's just another stepping stone on a trail that is WAY bigger than any of us can even imagine right now, much less see.

Whoa, like, cosmic, man! You string together words and thoughts that are unrelated and seem to believe they support your thesis, but they are merely a sequence of non-sequiturs. You are so far behind the curve that you thing the issue is wave-particle duality, not the fact that your question "When is a particle not a wave?" makes no sense and, further, is a non sequitur to the issue ostensibly being raised. There really are chains of logic going on in science, not just feeble verbal attempts to trump in some way what someone else says.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:57 AM on August 16, 2008


Oh for Christ's sake.

Think of life as the Olympics.

Science is the 'pure' sports: running, swimming. Every year, someone learns if you point your toes like this, you go 0.1% faster, and if you use that kind of shoe you go 2% faster.

Faith is like rhythmic gymnastics; pretty, and it has its place, but it is not objectively quantifiable.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:10 PM on August 16, 2008


Quantum Physics has proven that at times a particle displays behaviors that are "wave-like" and vice versa. Matter is energy. Therefore, energy must be matter. How can that be? Science doesn't know. A day may come when Mankind will see words like "particle" and "wave" in old texts, and it will laugh at its own past ignorance, just as today we laugh at the thought Mankind once believed the world was flat and Earth was the universal center. Some people don't laugh. Some people never stopped believing, despite what science tells them.

Translation: I once read something about quantum physics. It confused me, and I didn't understand it. Therefore, it is incomprehensible. It follows, then, that my own incomprehensible theory is of equal value.
posted by alexei at 7:27 PM on August 18, 2008


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