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Lesson Plans

Re: Religion in public schools

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
wduncan (wduncan)
Fri, 20 Aug 1999 16:53:41 -0500

Larry said,

Historically, I cannot think of any atheists or agnostics who aggressively
sought to make theists not believe in their God, god or gods.

Yes, very few, if any nonbelievers go around advocating not believing.
It's much like worrying about gay people reproducing more of their "own kind",
Some do reproduce, but not many, so why worry.
Please, ArtsEdNeters, I'm not anti gay.
Woody in KC

"Lawrence A. Parker/OCCTI" wrote:

> Maryanne,
> Thank you so much for your thoughts on this topic.
> I agree completely with your thoughts on spirituality (whatever it may be
> based on - perhaps, for now, let's just consider it an acknowledgement, or
> enlightenment, of our common bond to one another and to the Universe around
> us. Whatever it may be, we are all composed of the same 'stuff', at the
> basest level, and whatever our beginning was, it was the same beginning as
> the rest of the Universe.)
> However, the discussion before had several facets to it. One is whether or
> not a school (and, by extension, a teacher) should actively promote any one
> 'religious' belief system. And in some way, this promotion would need to be
> hooked into the student's education and success at the school. The
> promotion would also seek to convert 'non-believers', presenting that one
> belief system as an 'official' belief system, to the exclusion of all
> others.
> Now, the problem with the KS State Board, as far as I understand it, was not
> that it was saying "Darwin's Evolution OR Creationism", in fact I don't
> remember hearing that it said anything at all about Creationism. But such
> is the history of this issue that it seems to have been reduced to an
> exclusive either-or choice.
> The fact of the matter, it seems to me, is that they were excluding, by
> omission on the state proficiency tests, *any* teaching about evolution
> theory. And perhaps this is where their argument falls flat. This is a
> scientific question.
> For one thing, no one either before or after has presented any kind of
> challenging or alternate theory to explain the observed facts as Darwin
> found them. No one has disputed his observations either. One problem, I
> understand, is that we do not fully understand the mechanics, other than as
> he as described them in his 'survival of the fittest genetic variation'.
> But we understand gravity even less and still teach the *Theory* of Gravity
> (as well as many others). The fact that something is a *only* theory,
> should not immediately disqualify it as a topic of education.
> Perhaps I should point out, as I did in an off list message, that theories
> *by their nature* cannot be proven. A theory is a working explanation to
> tie together related 'events' or phenomena. A theory can only be dis-proven
> by at least one example of contradictory evidence.
> By this reasoning, which is the basis for the Scientific Method, ALL of our
> knowledge begins as theoretical knowledge, even what we as individuals learn
> from infancy on a day-to-day basis. It is to the benefit of our children to
> learn and understand how theories are constructed from evidence, how they
> are tested, how they can be proven wrong, and how they can be modified.
> I also agree wholeheartedly that as teachers, parents, citizens we model our
> every belief, in the way we live, in how we treat people, and in so doing
> teach and educate our children (and each other, by the way). And I have no
> problem with a teacher discussing openly her/his beliefs *so long as those
> beliefs are represented as the teachers and not the schools, and certainly
> not as something which the students must also believe if they want to pass a
> test or from one grade to another.
> Historically, I cannot think of any atheists or agnostics who aggressively
> sought to make theists not believe in their God, god or gods. However, many
> theists have taken upon themselves to convert other theists as well as
> atheists and agnostics to their faith. Those who would not have been either
> killed or shunned. As an atheist, I have no grievance against theists and I
> don't try to 'convert' them. But there are many theists who try
> (energetically) to convert me and swear that I am going to hell if I don't.
> Of course, Hell is a part of their world view, not mine. ;>)) I have
> usually found that I have more respect for theists and their beliefs, than
> they do for me and of mine, which is a form of Taoist Humanism
> So, teachers, if you will teach anything in your classrooms, in whatever
> subject area, and if you will model anything, educate our children to be
> human beings first. The rest they will find for themselves.
> I've attached an interesting excerpt from John Locke and hope that you all
> find it enjoyable and relevant.
> Larry
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Name: The Mind has a different relish.doc
> The Mind has a different relish.doc Type: Microsoft Word Document (application/msword)
> Encoding: base64


This E-mail message is from Artist/Teacher Woody Duncan Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas the new URL for school is to see my beautiful grandkids Tim, Tess and Tiff click on to see my students working in the RMSartSTUDIO click on to contact me via E-mail click on wduncan better yet visit my Web Site at

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