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About Athena

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  • Interests
    Philosophy and just about everything else
  • College Major/Degree
    gerontology and public policy and administrration
  • Favorite Area of Science
    zoology and what makes us as we are
  • Biography
    most important to me is concern about the health of our democracy and our future
  • Occupation
    retired and caring for the future generation

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  1. In another forum someone explained how science is increasingly autocratic and why, and this goes against my belief that science is essential to democracy, so I googled for support of the idea that democracy is rule by reason, and I found this great U tube argument that relates the connection between science and democracy. http://www.ted.com/talks/lee_smolin_...democracy.html
  2. Science is essential to democracy. A democracy needs a well educated mass to make all the decisions citizens of democracy must make, from decisions about the environment to decisions about justice. These decisions should not be based on ignorance and superstition.
  3. It is not my argument that science is not important, and Esbo made a true statement, that does not require mind reading to know what he said. To find fault in what he said, you had to assume he was saying he personally doesn't find science important, and there why would assume this. In fact that isn't even a logical assumption, because why would someone who doesn't like science be here? What he said about most people is true. I will explain. . esbo, on 09 Feb 2013 - 18:35, said: Surely those who insist creationism in school, believe studying the bible is more important than studying science, and some of these people take their children out of public schools so their children are not corrupted with ideas that they believe are false and influence their children in a bad way. And if you check your library, you may find it has few books, if any, on math and science, indicating the people who run the library and most the people who use the library, are not interested in learning math and science. Esbo 's statement is just an observation. Math and science are not normal discussion subjects at parties, and trying to talk this stuff with most people doesn't go very well. Even in my own family, my efforts to interest people in science are frustrating. Except for my 5 year old great grandson. He is too young to be thinking about girls, or to restrict his thinking to what he must know for his job. This kid is a delight. As soon as he enters my home he is wanting to do science experiments. Do you know if you put salt and pepper on a plate, than use wool to get static electricity on a plastic spoon, it will pick up the pepper? You can clean silver by putting it in a pan of boiling water (turn burner off before putting in silver), lined on the bottom with aluminum foil, and than dumping in baking soda. That is really fun because the baking soda foams. The kitchen is a great place for science! But in how many homes do you think someone is doing science with kids in the kitchen? And math, We just do not commicate math as we do words, so of course children will learn to use words, but not math. When I realized this, I started making a point of saying as much about the shapes and numbers around as I can, just to prepare their brains for thinking math as naturally as we think words. But seriously in how many homes does this happen? You have to admit, most people act as though math and science are not important. They might be glad someone else learns math and science and gives them good medicine and electronic devices, but they personally express no interest in either, and then expect their kids to do well in school. My father who was a NASA engineer, would say people do not like to think. They want to experience life, not study it. Personally, I think this is sad, but people think I am strange.
  4. Is it all about the words we use or might it also be how others interpret what is said? By seeing "Science education is not very important for most people". meant from these people's point of view, science is not important to them, this discussion gains a ligitimate argument when it is asked why is science important? There is a ligimiate argument that it is not important, even though you do not agree with that point of view. I think there is value in establishing there are people who do not believe science is important, and even think it is harmful. It helps us understand our reality when we know there is more than one point of view. We can explore why some people do not think science is important, and why public libraries are seriously lacking when it comes to books about math and science, and why schools have math and science teachers that really do not value these subjects and can not inspire the children to like the subjects. Then we can take steps to correct this. This is really about having an open discussion that is inclusive of all points of view, and therefor expands our consciousness, or having a closed discussion, that excludes people and also entrophies our consciousness. It is also about what kind of people we are and want to be.
  5. I think you have made a true statement and it is most unfortunte you got bad points for a true statement. For sure science is not percieved important to my Christian friends, who actually avoid science, because they are afraid of Satan! May be if you had used the word "preceive" people here would have understood what said differently, and they would not have given you bad points. This is the problem we face, many people do not precieve science as important to their lives. Sadly, many schools have teachers teaching subjects they do not understand very well themselves. And I go crazy with home schoolers, who are great at teaching language arts, but terrible at teaching math and science, and they defend themselves as great teachers for their children. And have you checked out your local library? Libraries tend to about amusing people with literature, not spreading knowledge of math and science. There is much to say about this problem. It is really sad when someone has something important to say, and it is judged so badly, because of the mind set of the judges.
  6. I don't remeber anything about an Oaklahoma case, but there are plenty of them going on in Texas. https://www.au.org/church-state/september-2010-church-state/au-bulletin/texas-educator-loses-court-fight-over The fight is going on in Louisiana. I have Christian friends and they ah, have some interesting ideas about how God works. Like one prayed to God to make a computer work, because she didn't know the steps to take to get the results she wanted. These folks seriously believe a God can violate the laws of nature and please them on the condition they are His good children. And they are politically organizing to promote their beliefs through education. http://www.wwltv.com/news/opinion/Louisiana-students-must-learn-evolution-186187302.html Right now this young man is getting all the media in the fight agains teaching creationism. http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-fighting-creeping-creationism/
  7. This was not always true. Education was more focused on what you say is important before the 1958 National Defense Education Act. I painfully remember hating diagramming sentences. I didn't have a clue why this was important, until I began studying the education issue and learned what it has to do with teaching logic. I think Swanspont is talking about the 2012 Texas Republican agenda to prevent education in the higher order thinking skills. Their argument is teaching children to think for themselves, disrupts parental authority. Of course this goes with Texas insisting creationism be taught along with evolution theory, as equally valid science. As for the health care issue, our medical system has failed us. Doctors are ignoring information about wheat causing people with psoriasis and athritis trouble. We learn of this from each other, and it is not being non scientific. Either giving up wheat resolves these health problems or it does not, and each one of us can find this out for ourselves by adjusting our diets. Then we tell our doctors we are experiencing major improvement and we get a blank stare. Unless this is what the doctor was taught, s/he finds it hard to believe and unfortunately does not investigate information and make an independent decision.. Education since 1958, has created dependence on "experts" instead of preparing everyone for independent thinking, as was said in the OP. This is when we switched from education for independent thinking, to "group think" and reliance on authority. This is good for the rapid advancement of technology, but it is not good for a democracy that requires a mass that can think independently. It is not good for our future as it kills innovation.
  8. Perhaps this is a better reply to Swanspont questions. He did say he really didn't care about the subject, but I still have the frustration of not completing a communication about a subject he did question. Today the characteristics of our education are pretty much the same, and no one remembers when our education was different, nor all the aguments against change, so we can discuss the social, economic, and political ramifications of a change that is not part of consciousness. However, those who opposed compulsory attendance have won their fight with laws that make home schooling legal. I have not heard of anyone being fined $300 dollar later, for a child not attending school, but before the home schooling rule parents were fined. But before education was made compulsory, plenty of parents kept children home to work. Child lobar laws applied only to industry. Parents could keep their children and make the work. I am not saying that is a good thing, but who should be the authority over children, parents or the state?
  9. Athena

    Secular morality

    Each culture has a different consciousness and relegates different things into the subconscious by declaring them taboo. How people are educated will make a difference in how they perceive the world. We do not rely on nature as native Americans did and have a very different relationship with it. We can clear cut a forest for the jobs and revenue and have been blind to the consequences of this until recently. However, morality remains consistent, because the consequences are the same, regardless of our intentions or our awareness of them. The morality is not different, but the awareness of it differs. Aztecs had ritualized cannibalism We make cannibalism taboo We are not to even think about it. Ritualizing something that is taboo gives society control over the individual doing. We can not kill, unless drafted into the army and then we are to kill on order. A problem with this is, someone who has been conditioned to kill, may need to be conditioned to not kill when put back into society We have the science to know this, but we are ignoring it. The explanation of what happened in Germany was that people were conditioned to discredit their emotions and follow orders without question. This is presented as having superior logic and reason, and unthinkable things were done, by those "Just following orders". It was culturally expected to behave in this way, with much social pressure to do so. Human beings without the same reasoning, have judged what happened as immoral As we judge cannibalism immoral. Can we use logic to determine morality? What were the consequences of Aztec cannibalism and what happened in Germany? Everyone around these people returned on them. As Socrates said, it may take 3 generations before we realize the problem caused by our bad choices, but sooner or later the consequences will be noticeable. Like that is what makes one thing moral and another immoral, the consequences. Things are not right or wrong, because someone says so, or a holy book says so. It is the consequences of the act that makes something right or wrong.
  10. I think your intentions are clear. I am not sure if this is what everyone says does not happen?
  11. Would fractals qualify as the mathematics of patterns you are looking for? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal I am not sure math begins with arithmetic. People did not begin with Arabic numbers, or equal symbols. For the Egyptians the problem is figuring land boundaries after flooding, and building buildings and monuments, and art which is sacred and controlled by geometry. Greeks used stones arranged in patterns to discover fundamental concepts.
  12. Athena

    education and morals

    Well said. We can be aware of causes of global warming, and the harm being done, and how to reverse the causes, but we can not motivate the masses to cooperate with changes we need to make. We have public broadcasting stations, but the government has cut funding to them, so we are not using this technology as effectively as it could be use to educate the masses. When public broadcasting can not make high quality shows, the average person is not attracted to the public broadcasting stations, and instead of being educated, that masses are being entertained by commercial TV that caters to our desire for entertainment rather than a desire to be informed. This makes no sense to me. We are not using the technology we have as efficiently as we could be using it to have a well educated mass. "The skepticism of scientific reason sapped our critical reason." This is the real problem of the modern crisis. Liberal education prepares everyone for critical thinking, but not education for technology. Liberal education internalized authority and education for technology prepares individuals to be dependent on authority. The reason for this is, technology advances fastest when those entering the fields rely on the experts, instead of rethinking everything themselves. Whereas, social decisions, how to vote and what actions a person may take, require independent thinking. Technology favors "group think" to independent thinking, so people work together to advance technology. You can see this cultural change by comparing the original Star Trek shows with the Next Generation. Captain Kirk of the original series is the John Wayne of space. Captain Picard of the Next Generation is of the "group think" generation. I am saying this is a major cultural change brought about a change in education. Advancing technology is the purpose of this education, not advancing a highly moral and refined civilization. The change has effected our legal system. We used to speak of the spirit of the law, and it was said, to go by the letter of the law, is another forum of tyranny. Today we go by the letter of the law and call it being technologically correct. We trusted judges to sentence those declared guilty and now Oregon has taken that power from the judge and mandates some crimes result in 11 year sentences. Added to this is no longer treating the young as different from adults. We seem to be denying the judgment of a 16 year old is very different from the judgment of 42 year old. In the past a person could hide his errors, but today there is no hiding and there is no new start, but a record open to employers and property managers. Sure there are good reasons for things being as they are, but there were also good reasons for them being different. I think we are becoming increasingly brutal. Then there are the debates about morals, and the opinion that morals are just a matter of personal preference. Okay, if morals are just a matter of personal preference, and if we are to be rational and non emotional, and an employer wants to involve you in wrong doing, what do you do? I will tell you what my public policy and administration professor told the class. "Never argue with authority because it would not be good for your career". That means if your employer is doing something that you believe is wrong, or asks you to do something you believe is wrong, you better go along with what your employer wants. That is how the horrors of NAZI Germany happened. They happened because of how the Germans used public education "to organize capacities for conduct." It happened because of Germany being authoritarian and citizens being willing to obey authority without question. A little different from Patrick Henry who is know for saying, "Give me liberty or give me death". In the US we have a tradition of questioning authority and believing our liberty means independent moral decisions, but I am not sure if this is still important in our culture. It was not important to my professor.
  13. Athena

    Secular morality

    Not that long ago it was common to read secular moral stories to our children, and at the end of the story we would ask, "what is the moral of that story". The answer is always one of cause effect. While this is less common today, I did buy a new book of moral stories. The book not only gives the story, but also explains the moral of the story. It includes stories such as "The Little Red Hen" and "The King With No Clothes". The little red hen asked all her friends to help with the process of making bread, and none of them would, so when the bread was baked, she did not share it. The moral is, if we want to share in the benefits of labor, then we need to share in that labor. Knowing these stories is what we call cultural literacy. I have a book about what kindergarten children should know, and I was surprised by the number of very old stories the book said children should know. Unfortunately, this was not associated with the moral lessons of the stories. For adults, this information would be literacy in Greek and Roman classics. This is the foundation of our democracy and the reasoning for liberty. Cicero, a Roman Statesman is perhaps the most important when understanding the law and moral conduct. Another source of moral lessons is the native Americans of the US. The Haude No Sau Nee would say to be moral, is to "deeply understand the relationships of all living things". They speak of the Peacemaker who came to them with a message that human beings should stop abusing one another. He stated that "humans are capable of reason, that through the power of reason all men desire peace, and that it is necessary that the people organize to ensure that peace will be possible among the people who walk about the earth". From "A Basic Call to Consciousness" the Haude No Sau Nee address to the western world. I mention the Haude No Sau Nee, because of their explanation of reason and our capability to reason, is identical to morality coming from the ancient Greeks. What separates us from animals is the ability to discover the reason of things and the capability to reason. This is what brings us to good moral judgment. Science is "knowledge" and "con" when used as a prefix makes the word "conscience" mean, coming out of knowledge.
  14. I am clear about being in favor of enforcing rules. Both posters and moderators need to be principled people. The leadership of the forum involves many things besides the action of moderators. I have not attacked the leadership of the forum, but questioned the action of those who are probably subordinate the leadership, and possibly loosely supervised or not supervised at all. I am not sure how leadership identifies and corrects errors, only that errors are made. Actually I know nothing of the leadership. I do not know if the owner of the forum is actively involved, or trusting everyone to do what should be done. I do not know if the leadership is one person or many. I have said, occasionally moderators are being reactionary, reacting emotionally to a word or a subject, without paying attention to the content. Can we go back to the original post and determine if that grievance has merit? All the rest of what has happened in this thread is me dealing with the attacks made against me personally, and me trying to convey why, we as citizens, we need to be careful about something as fragile as our freedom of speech, because if we reason against it, we could loose it, and at the same time ovoid being banned for trying to make this point. This has become a moral discussion about principles. That is not what I intended, but it is what others made of this thread.
  15. Hum, you should take your argument to the thread about secular morality. How do we determine what is moral? NAZI Germany is an excellent case of good people committing atrocities. What are you saying is "the insufficient standard"? This thread is about censorship, and censorship without good standards is a bad thing. That was the purpose of this thread, to point out the power of being able to censor someone, needs to go with the merits of being a good moderator. Censoring someone because of the use of a word, or mention of an unpleasant subject, without consider of the context of what is being discussed, is reactionary and this is not a good thing. Moderators need to be careful before reacting. Their reaction needs to be based on reason, not emotion. Having no knowledge of a subject and saying someone is saying outrageous things, is not good judgment, because the opinion is based on what this person does not know. Jumping from this ignorance of what is being said, to accusing someone of violating rules, is equal to the church putting Galileo under house arrest and preventing him from speaking of what science can tell us. The reason the US adopted the principle of freedom of speech is because of human failing, and for the same reason we have moderators. It is not easy being human. It is a big responsibility to be a moderator. Knowing what everyone is talking about, before censoring someone is part of that responsibility. This thread was started because of two cases of moderators reacting emotional, without being careful of what was being said. The proof of bad judgment is the result of the decision. Making bad decisions does not mean the person is bad, but the person is most likely poorly informed, because in general, when we know right from wrong, we are compelled by our nature to do the right thing. However, humans also have this incredible ability to rationalize why what the know is wrong is right. That is one reason we need each other, to keep each other in check. Deming, in his explanation of good industrial management, says not only does management need to pay attention to what workers are doing, but also someone needs to pay attention to what management is doing. Moderators are not perfect gods, but humans who do not know it all and who make mistakes. It seems mostly this thread is arguing that moderators should be treated as perfect gods, who never make mistakes, because by god this forum is private property and the principle of freedom of speech does not apply here. To question this relationship to authority, is to be hateful and an enemy of the people. To say this obedience to authority is what went in wrong in Germany, is to be attacked for being intolerant of other people's opinions. I think these attacks are what we might call projection, because they are seem so completely backwards to me. I argue for freedom of speech and questioning authority and individual rights, and get treated as though I stand for the opposite of everything I value. Oh well, may be in the end everything will come out okay. If not, at least I have done my best to raise awareness and sensitive, and I have stood on principles. I did not cower to avoid the attacks, or act as though nothing matters but being liked.
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