“scientific falsehoods being purveyed in the name of religion.”

I had suggested that the elevation of DUP MLA Mervyn Storey to Chairman of the Assembly’s Education Committee could see “more skirmishes ahead in the battle against The Un-Enlightenment.” And Lo! It came to pass.. The NewsLetter today carries his comments on his “personal” belief that

“Creationism is not for the RE class because I believe that it can stand scientific scrutiny and that is a debate which I am quite happy to encourage and be part of. The issue for the current Education Minister (Caitriona Ruane] is that she tells us she’s all for equality – surely if that is the case, you can’t have one set of interpretations being taught at the expense of others.”

Time for the introduction of those guidelines, in particular – “The use of the word ‘theory’ can mislead those not familiar with science..” Fortunately Richard Dawkins was around yesterday to respond in The NewsLetter article

“I have no objection to all kinds of daft ideas being taught in comparative religion classes but in science what we should teach is what there is evidence for and children should be encouraged to examine evidence,” he said. “If this politician (Mr Storey] wants to import creationism into science classes, I’m wondering which kind of creationism – Hindu creationism, Jewish creationism, Babylonian creationism, Aztec creationism?”

Or indeed His Noodly Appendage’s creationism.. The article also makes mention of the on-going pressure from young-Earthers over educational material at the Giant’s Causeway Centre. Adds Knowledge is, indeed, power.

, , , , ,

  • Essentialist

    joeCanuck

    The DUP don’t control the curriculum – the DENI do. They take advice from CCEA – hence the name. Strange how no one wants to take up the subject on this thread instead choosing to micro-dissect the academic credentials of Dawkins. The local curriculum is what is taught in schools. The DENI set policy -Teachers are professionally responsible for its delivery. Both may end up in the courtroom.

    Perhaps the sleuths can direct their talents to QUB School of Education. Start with the academic at the top and work down. It will make immeasurably better reading and give a perspective on how we came to be in such a mess on education reform.

  • Doctor Who

    “Creationism is not for the RE class because I believe that it can stand scientific scrutiny.”

    What utter bilge, this is of course religion fighting back. With more and more people turning their backs on superstitous mumbo jumbo, this is an attempt by the God squad to gain credibility by introducing itself to the science class.

    The scary thing is that creationists have brought this issue to courts in the USA and won. They do of course have a powerful lobby supported by the king of kooks himself, George W. Bush.

  • willis

    Essentialist

    We might be a bit more convinced if you did a bit of digging first.

    Come to think of it. How do you feel about Mervyn Storey’s approach to science?

  • Essentialist

    Willis,

    to use a quote from another blogger on this thread:

    “I’m not your researcher”

    I’ve provided you with the clues. If you decide to ignore them it’s up to you. Horse…water…

    As to Mervyn Storey and science: what approach?

    There is no shortage of pseudo-science throughout the Northern Ireland educational primary and secondary sectors.
    Try the “enriched curriculum” “brain-based learning” “primary movement” and “linguistic phonics” to start with.

    Type any term into the search engine of your choice and away you go.

    For added fun try to obtain the doctoral thesis of Glenda Walsh of Stranmillis University College/QUB.

  • Rory

    Just ask Dawkins to explain the origins of the universe, or how his belief in determinism is squared with freewill, or who designed and maintains the natural laws and constants that govern our existence and you will see him squirm.

    Never mind Hawkins, Sam G, here are my answers to your tricky little questions:

    1. Q:Explain origins of universe.
    A: Pass.

    2. Q:Reconcile free will with determinism.
    A: Nope.

    3. Q:Who designed natural laws etc.?
    A:Dunno.

    They will also, I believe be similar to the answers that any person (excluding your good self naturally) who is not a charlatan or simply absolutely bloody barking (including, I imagine, Richard Dawkins).

    Now would you please be so good as to provide us with the answers? I’m so excited, I can hardly wait.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Essentialist,
    Not sure I understand your concerns about “enriched curriculum” “brain-based learning” “primary movement” and “linguistic phonics”. I had a look at them and they all seem like perfectly reasonable educational developments to me. They are being researched and tested so what is wrong with that? Just because it’s not how granddad was taught at school doesn’t make it invalid. We are constantly learning new things about child development and learning so why not incorporate some of that into classroom activity?

    Oh yes and Mervyn Storey is an utter arse and embarrassment to NI. I am not in the slightest bit surprised at these recent outbursts by the DUP. It was always my view, and one I believe I expressed over 3 years ago on Slugger in response to suggestions about a DUP UUP merger, that the DUP were at their core fundamentalists. It’s been disguised by the concentration on the constitutional question but now that the GFA has pushed that to the side and moved other issues up its become evident how ridiculous outdated and extreme the views of the average DUP representatives are. They are at the far fringes of mainstream British political thought. I don’t limit this to the likes of Storey either, I would challenge anyone to go and ask Donaldson or Dodd’s or some of the other seemingly more respectable DUP figures what their views are on evolution or homosexuality. For that matter can they articulate any kind of political philosophy that is not in some way purely theological in its core? They are not classical liberals and have little to no respect for such classic British notions as individual freedom, separation of powers or the rule of law. Their approach is more often than not grounded in a particular biblical based moralizing or pseudo fascistic racist nationalism that is fortunately generally an aberration in British political life. I for one am glad to see it finding its way into the public arena where the DUP can be scrutinized for what they really are.

  • Greenflag

    For those who genuinely want to ‘research ‘evolution ‘ there are hundreds of tomes out there .

    Richard Dawkins – ‘River out of Eden’ is a good read as is ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’

    Stephen Jay Gould is also an excellent source .
    Here are some of his titles

    ‘Ontogeny and Phylogeny’

    ‘Ever since Darwin’

    ‘The Panda’s Thumb’

    ‘The Mismeasure of Man ‘

    ‘Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s toes ‘

    ‘Wonderful Life’

    ‘Bully for Brontosaurus ‘

    ‘The Flamingo’s Smile ‘

    Then there is Richard Leakey’s ‘Origins’
    and Paul Ehrlich’s ‘Human Natures’

    Even more popular and generalist writers such as Jared Diamond , Carl Sagan , Bill Bryson and others all accept ‘evolution’ as a basic fact of human existence in their books .

    If anyone can wade through that lot and still believe in ‘creationism ‘ or ‘intelligent design’ then he/she/it needs to head for the nearest brain surgeon to ascertain whether or not their ‘brains’ are

    It is in 2008 ironical that ‘Protestantism ‘ once seen as one of the building blocks of the Enlightenment should now in it’s latest manifestation as seen with many of Northern Ireland’s fundamentalist politicians , pentecostalists and other irrationals be seen as one of the last remaining bastions of superstitious nonsense , scientific ignorance and general backwardness in all of Europe bar perhaps some parts of the Balkans 🙁 not to mention such renowned centres of world thought and research as deepest Kentucky , Mississipi or Louisiana .

  • Greenflag

    ‘They are at the far fringes of mainstream British political thought.’

    I should think so 🙁 They make the Celtic fringe look like it’s only as far north as Baker St or Euston Station by comparison .

  • Essentialist

    Duncan Shipley Dalton

    It seems your cursory examination of constructivist ideas on education was secondary to an attack on the DUP.

    The danger behind all these “developments” is that they come from the same local sources. They are not evidence based nor do they adhere to any scientific evidence base upon which education changes must be measured. The work has generally ignored opposing views, peer review and has been sold to teachers on the back of evangelism from the education authorities. I draw a parallel with concerns about Storey’s outburst but it seems that the unelected and unrepresentative can get away with it – and at taxpayer’s expense.

    Lest we forget Donaldson was once a leading light in the UUP camp.

    Now that the UUP and Conservatives are playing mating games it should be remembered that Cameron has no desire to touch the grammar school/academic selection tar baby. One can only assume that UUP thinking moves along those lines also.

    So what method of teaching to you advocate?
    Direct Instruction or Discovery methods?

  • willis

    Essentialist

    This really takes the biscuit.

    “So what method of teaching to you advocate?
    Direct Instruction or Discovery methods? ”

    Horse…. course….

  • willis

    Dr Glenda Walsh Doctoral Thesis

    http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v7n1/walsh.html

    So what is wrong with it?

  • joeCanuck

    The scary thing is that creationists have brought this issue to courts in the USA and won

    Incorrect. The rationalists took the teaching of Intelligent Design (creationism)in the classroom to court and won handsomely.(Dover)

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Essentialist,
    I am not an expert educationalist but since I was a politician that lack of expertise does not prevent me from having an opinion and expounding it. I am not sure that the formal dichotomy you present of Direct or Discovery is appropriate. There is a fair amount of evidence that direct instruction can be highly effective particularly in complex specialist subjects like math’s, sciences or computer programming so there is obviously a place for direct instruction but equally Blooms Taxonomy breaks down cognitive learning into 6 categories and it seems to me to be extremely important that the higher cognitive learning of such things as ‘analysis, synthesis and evaluation’ are skills that are essential in a complex modern society and represent the aspiration of a good education. In that way my concern is that an emphasis solely on direct instruction particularly where done badly can tend to concentrate only on the development of the lowest form of cognitive learning ‘knowledge’. There seems to me to be a role for direct instruction combined with discovery learning and advanced problem solving to develop those higher cognitive skills. I am struck by for instance how Japanese math’s classes would use a problem based teaching approach and a class would be given a complex math’s problem with several different potential solutions and then left to work in teams to consider possible solutions. This type of learning can be effective at teaching the higher cognitive skills but does I believe have to be based on some basic direct instruction of mathematical concepts and techniques to give the students the tools to actively discover learning themselves. So to that end I would reject your dichotomy.

    My concern with teaching is that as broad ‘profession’ (I use the word loosely as I do not think teachers are sufficiently professional in their organizational and institutional behaviour) and has a wide variety of skill levels within it. This randomness of skill level has an enormous impact as a great deal of empirical data that supports the hypothesis that the single most important factor in effectiveness of learning in any classroom is the teacher’s skill level. Its my view that the teaching profession needs to rethink its practicing norms to more effectively reduce variation in skill level and to better spread best practice methods amongst different organisations. I would like to see a more defined system of methodology than the tendency to eclectic teacher behaviour that the profession tolerates now. Where effective teaching methods are indentified the onus should be on any school organization to spread those methods throughout all classes. The empirical data from the US suggest that in any school district or school there are always pockets of excellence there will be one teacher who is just better than the others. What is needed is for the effective techniques of that teacher to be spread throughout the organisation. To use a metaphor teachers should be more like the medical profession. When a surgeon performs an operation they do so based on a carefully developed surgical technique that is laid down based upon experiences of other practitioners. This model is followed by the surgeon in question. There is room for individual flair in places but broadly each surgeon will operate pretty much the same surgical method for any given procedure. This seems to me to be a model for the teaching profession. A teacher in teaching a particular subject should be following well tested experience based models of effective instruction. These should be well known and widely shared amongst the teaching practitioners. Unfortunately this is not what happens. Instead teacher s are given theories at training college and then sent out to figure out effective instruction themselves. Its bit like giving someone all the theory of guitar playing and then sticking them in a room on their own for 20 years with no further guidance to figure out by themselves how best to play the guitar. In the US that’s the model of teaching instruction and I have no reason to doubt that it’s not substantially similar in the UK (if it’s not someone please inform me).

    So a long answer to your short question.

  • BfB

    ‘Every time I hear a new born baby cry,
    Or touch a leaf or see the sky
    Then I know why, I believe’

    The King….

    Written by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, and Al Stillman…
    Elvis recorded it January 12, 1957
    Those were the days……

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Damn the bloody spell checker and my lousy typing. I hope my meaning remains clear despite the appalling grammatical and spelling errors.

  • Oswald

    “Whilst it’s clear that you don’t rate Dawkins (and have serious difficulties understanding the concept of Qxford University’s Professorial Fellows), I’m struggling to understand the point (let alone the relevance to the subject in hand) behind this statement: “To help you further, in the field of physics, Stephen Hawking (the Pope’s mate) is not a heavyweight but Weinberg (Pope hater) is.” Posted by Dec on Aug 07, 2008 @ 01:43 PM”

    Dec: it is you who do not understand. Museum curator Dawkins is NOT an academic and he has no right to call himself a professor. He has no academic credibility. He is a populist like Hawking (who, unlike Dawkins, has some academic credibility. If you want to believe his mumbo jumbo, go ahead and do it. After all, what is good enough for creationist air heads should be good enough for their equally vacuous opponents.

    From the mumbo jumbo of Marx and darwin to the mumbo jumbo of Dawkins and Hitchens.

  • willis

    Oswald

    I know this will have no effect whatsoever on your closed mind, but here is a link to Richard Dawkins profile at New College Oxford. Please feel free to forward yours.

    http://www.new.ox.ac.uk/Teaching_and_Research/Staff_Profile_Page.php?staffId=15

  • Driftwood

    Willis
    DNFTT
    Couple of good Steven weinberg quotes though..

    The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.

    -With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
    Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999

  • Oswald wrote: “Museum curator Dawkins is NOT an academic and he has no right to call himself a professor.”

    Oswald, I’m forming the hypothesis that one of your aliases is Aschlafly. Do correct me if I’m wrong as your observation led me to a very interesting and ludicrously protracted discussion on the processes for the creation of “professors” and “professorial fellows” in which our fearless fundamentalist seems guilty of some terminological imprecision.

    Fortunately, one of your (?) interlocutors made the effort to resolve this debating point:

    “In order to resolve this point I have filed a second Freedom of Information request with Oxford University, directing them specifically to the Gazette notice and its prefaratory note, and asking them whether this means the title was not properly conferred on Dawkins; whether there were any changes to his academic subject area; whether Dawkins currently holds the title; and if he does, which academic departments he is currently associated with. A Freedom of Information request – as I’ve noted before – is binding on institutes of higher education in the UK as a result of the Freedom of Information Act 2000[28], and the University is legally obliged to provide accurate and truthful information[29].

    Oxford’s official response on 11th December was as follows:

    Thank you for your request for the above information.

    a. I confirm that the title of Professor was properly conferred on Dr Dawkins in the first recognition of distinction exercise in 1996.
    b. No changes were made to the academic subject area of this title. Had any changes been made (which they were not) they would not have invalidated the holding of the title of Professor.
    c. Professor Dawkins still legitimately holds the title of Professor. He is associated with the Departments of Zoology and Continuing Education.”

    If you hold as a matter of faith that Oxford University are dissembling on this matter, it is incumbent on you to report them to a higher authority.

  • Driftwood

    Thanks expat
    Now we have the trivial matter of Professor Dawkins academic credentials on record.
    Now – Mervyn Storey. Surely his personal view will not get to changing the NI curriculum, which already gives far too much to believers in sky pixies, and too little to REAL science.
    Evidence. That is the key word.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    ‘Every time I hear a new born baby cry,
    Or touch a leaf or see the sky
    Then I know why, I believe’

    The King….

    Written by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, and Al Stillman…
    Elvis recorded it January 12, 1957
    Those were the days……

    Ah Bfb, isn’t that so lovely, It brings a tear to my eye. But sorry, it was a piece of dirt that caused the tear.

    Why oh why, do we get get this sentimental claptrap…ah, cause the good lord made it so.
    So what about all those deformed new born babies, the ones that have two heads, the ones that have no heads, the ones with missing limbs, the ones with too many limbs. The ones that are so deformed that they do not survive outside the womb when born. Candidates for the incerator and no one is any the wiser, including the peter pans and fairy believers. Is it the good lord that makes them so or is it nature? Is it just life on earth? We live, we die! Cest la vie!

    A white tuxedo for Oswald Murphy, with the sleeves that securely fasten on the back!

    Obscure nonsense has no relevance!

  • Hooly hand grenades Oswald, please stay off the internet – the Conservepedia articles and waffle you quote have been discredited by even the people who run that site. Hawking and Dawkins lightweight? Yeah sure! That Einstein bloke was a chancer, Darwin a failed priest, Planck a drunkard…how much science (i.e. proper peer-reviewed science) does it take before ignorance is banished from this isle? I would not ask the ignorant to read the science (that is: more than a triple award science of yer GCSE…but proper science), but rather they do a simple analysis…almost ALL biologists accept evolution. A vocal percentage of religionists do not. Given a choice whose money are you on being right?

  • TAFKABO

    Greenflag.

    That’s a good list you gave upthread but I would also add The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time By Jonathan Weiner.

    Someine said earlier in the thread that evolution was a theory that hadn’t been proven. Aside from the usual mistake of not understanding the way scientific theories generally operate, the person who said that was also ignorant of the simple fact that evolution has been proven and documented, and this book is an account of that.

    One striking difference between the two sides in this debate is that the likes of Oswald Murphy will bleat on for days using ad hominem attacks, whilst those supporting the scientific principle have nothing but facts to support their argument.

  • Dec

    If you want to believe his [Dawkins] mumbo jumbo, go ahead and do it.

    You just don’t get it do you Oswald? I don’t believe Dawkins. I believe, as Dawkins (and frankly anyone with half a brain) suggests we do, the evidence and certainly not some 2000 year old collection of fairy stories written by a bunch of anonymous chancers who never actually met their precious ‘messiah’. If more compelling evidence of the origin of the species comes along in my lifetime than I’ll believe that instead.

  • rabelais

    Oswald seems to have been trying to muddy the waters of this debate. To what end, it is hard to say.

  • willis

    “Creationism is not for the RE class because I believe that it can stand scientific scrutiny and that is a debate which I am quite happy to encourage and be part of.” Mervyn Storey

    I await his paper to Nature and the peer review.

  • Garibaldy
  • Greenflag

    rabelais.

    ‘To what end, it is hard to say.’

    ‘To the end of the rainbow -where Elvis still lives and all is bright and beautiful .:(

    How does ‘creationist ‘ science explain the Permian extermination of 97% of all life forms (250 million years ago ) in the Permian or the 75% extermination of all life forms including all dinosaurs (65 million years ago ) ? Could the ‘all knowing ‘ Creationist Designer at times morph into Creative Destroyer?

    An an antidote to ‘creationism ‘ in RE classes why not have a class in ‘destructionism ?. Ooops can’t do that as there is actual evidence for ‘destrucionism’ ergo it can’t be taught as ‘religion’:(

  • Greenflag

    Tafkabo,

    Thanks for the Weiner ref . That list btw was just an intro . There are hundreds of works out there in scientific journals , libraries and on the web which support ‘evolution’ as a fact of life .

    Willis ,

    ‘I await his (Mervyn Storey)paper to Nature and the peer review. ‘

    I await even more ‘revelations’ from the ‘creationist brains trust ‘ of the DUP . So far we have had Mrs Robinson telling the world that ‘gays’ can be cured and now Mr Storey telling us that the world was made 6,000 years ago ?

    We may now laugh at 17th century Archbishop Ussher’s ‘exactitude’ for his date and time of the creation but at least he was a man of his time and did not have access to the scientific discoveries which both Robinson and Storey have .

    How many more are there like this pair ‘lurking’ within the DUP Assembly Party or amongst their council representatives ?

    GUBU time again 🙁

  • rabelais

    You can mock the DUP Greenflag but my money is on them returning triumphant after the next election. Then where will enlightened souls like you and I be? Still, you’ve got Elvis and I’ve got Sam Cooke

    Don’t know much about history
    Don’t know much biology
    Don’t know much about a science book
    Don’t know much about the French I took…
    …What a wonderful world this would be

    Could have been writen for the DUP.

  • Greenflag

    rabelais ,

    ‘You can mock the DUP Greenflag but my money is on them returning triumphant after the next election.’

    Mine too . I’ve never underestimated the power of voters to vote for ‘gobshites’ . It is one of the ‘weaknesses’ of democracy . It’s the price we pay for relative peace . But now and again ‘reason’ does break through usually when the ‘bleeding obvious ‘ becomes so obvious that people cannot mistake the blood flowing in the streets for the spill from a overturned paint van carrying only red paint 🙁

    ‘Then where will enlightened souls like you and I be? ‘

    Where we are today. I have no intention of voting ‘creationist’ Not that there is the remote chance of somebody of that ilk putting themselves forward in a Dublin constituency for any of the main parties and probably not even as an ‘independent’

    ‘you’ve got Elvis and I’ve got Sam Cooke’

    Elvis ? I confess I’m a non believer in his continuing existence 🙂 . Sam is of course definitely dead at least in the physical sense .

    Gimme Ella Fitzgerald anytime over the King – That must be it . Greenflag recoils viscerally from any connotations of ‘monarchy ‘ 🙂 Although I have to admit that some of his numbers do strike a chord 🙂

  • Greenflag

    rabelais,

    ‘Could have been writen for the DUP.’

    Apart from the spelling error 🙂 which I’ve corrected below . Call it the politically correct version which keeps the DUP faithful in line with the Great Ex Leader’s political legacy 🙂

    Don’t NO much about history
    Don’t NO much biology
    Don’t NO much about a science book
    Don’t NO much about the French I took

    As for the band’s moniker ?

    What else but

    ‘ The No No’s ‘

  • rabelais

    For what it’s worth I cut and paste the lyrics from a site in the US. Bloody yanks playing fast ‘n’ loose with the Queen’s English.

  • Essentialist

    Willis,

    Your citation is not Glenda Walsh’s thesis. If you had read to the bottom of the paper you would have noted this:

    “Her doctoral thesis concentrated on the play versus formal debate, evaluating the quality of practice in Northern Ireland and Denmark for the 4- to 5-year-old child. This paper grew out of work begun in her doctoral thesis and will be of interest to all those involved in the process of evaluation in early years education.”

    The evaluation was pre-determined to suggest the end of the formal approach to children’s education against all of the best worlds evidence to the contrary.

    Glenda Walsh re-invents a Quality Learning Indicator (QLI) then has it evaluated by her colleagues also involved in evaluating the “Enriched Curriculum” Cosy self-certification.

    John Gardiner her co-author on this paper was her supervisor for the thesis. Gardiner authored a privately sponsored paper “Testing the Test” which was extensively used to attack the 11-plus.

    Gardiner also “re-invents” a problem of measurement identified and published by Please in 1971

    Walsh advocates “children thinking about thinking”

    Is it any wonder that constructivism leads to chaos in education and confusion from politicans who cannot differentiate science from pseudo-science?

  • rabelais

    Greenflag,
    Sorry, completely missed that. I’m hyper-sensitive to accusations of bad spelling and grammar… largely because my spelling and grammar are awful!

  • Greenflag

    rabelais .

    ‘Sorry, completely missed that.’

    You are obviously more highly evolved 🙂 I missed on any genetic disposition to hyper sensitivity 🙂

    As for spleing and granmar -The bugger who invented engleesh spelling needed hangin before he invented it 🙂
    Enjoy the weekend .

  • I am reminded of Paddy Kavanagh’s frustration at trying to explain himself to fools.
    Stephen Hawking is not as highly regarded in the world of physics as he is in the popular world. Hawking has some credibility but he is not a real heavyweight in the world of physics the way Weinberg is.
    Hawking’s Brief History of Time is not peer reviewed. Most of Dawkins’ work is not peer reviewed and almost none of his work in the last 30 or so years is. He is a populist, not a true scientist.
    I have no ideas who the earlier poster calling attention to his lack of qualifications is but I would appreciate a link to his posts so that I can see if I can glean anything from them.
    There is little to be gleaned from most posts here, which consist of cheap shots against the DUP/FPC and similar outfits.
    Little ideas for little minds, as it were.
    Fir further clarification: I am not interested in the M Storey side of the debate as it has been thrashed to death on countless occasions before. The Dawkins-Dennett-Harris etc etc side is much more interesting as they get such a free pass. That is what debate is supposed to be about. But then some people were never into debate. Much easier to slag off people and refer them to Lenin, Marx, Mein Kampf, Dawkins etc
    Little ideas for little minds, as it were.

    Incidentally: As wallace published before Darwin, he is the real founder of the theory evolution, which Eerasmus Darwin and others earlier propounded)

  • TAFKABO

    Most of Dawkins’ work is not peer reviewed and almost none of his work in the last 30 or so years is. He is a populist, not a true scientist.

    This is pretty typical of your contributions to this thread, a bunch of words strung together which have verisimilitude but fall part under scrutiny, that is to say, you’re not really saying anything.

    Little ideas for little minds, as it were.

    Now if you had taken anything Dawkins has put forward as scientific thought and demonstrated clearly where he gets it wrong, you might have a pint. As it is, all you have offered is ad hominem, little idea for little minds indeed.
    Let’s look at it another way.
    The basic premise of your argument against Dawkins is that he has no credibility. Leaving aside the fact that this terminology is pretty ambiguous to begin with, can you show us where those who regard as “true” scientists have shown anything Dawkins has put forward as scientific thought to be false?.

    Using the scientific principle we can assume that were your opinions here to be accurate reflections of reality then we would see abundant examples of the many books Dawkins has published being rubbished by those you consider the true scientific community.

    Over to you.

  • Oswald wrote: “I have no ideas who the earlier poster calling attention to his lack of qualifications is but I would appreciate a link to his posts so that I can see if I can glean anything from them.”

    Here you are then.
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Talk:Richard_Dawkins
    Over six months of closely argued debate with the founder of conservapedia Andrew Schlafly. In the interests of fair debate you should also check out the rebuttal of conservapedia in general given at http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Dawkins

    If you are genuinely interested in the literate anti-Dawkins viewpoints, you should track the writings of Mary Midgeley, Terry Eagleton and Michael Ruse to get the angles from philosophers, Marxists and atheists.

    For an admirer analysis of the main “flea” books, you can check the Paula Kirby review of McGrath, Cornwell and others at http://www.richarddawkins.net/ Since you appear to be a fan of Lennox, McGrath and Robertson, the conclusions may surprise you.

  • And for weekend entertainment, you could do worse than draft a general rebuttal to the points in this review:

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/article,2285,Fleabytes,Paula-Kirby

    Fleabytes: A review of 4 books written in response to The God Delusion:
    John Cornwell, Darwin’s Angel: An Angelic Riposte to The God Delusion, Profile Books, 2007, Alister McGrath with Joanna Collicutt McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion? , SPCK, 2007, David Robertson, The Dawkins Letters: Challenging Atheist Myths, Christian Focus, 2007, and Andrew Wilson, Deluded by Dawkins? A Christian Response to The God Delusion, Kingsway, 2007

    When you have your rebuttal ready, you can post it at http://www.richarddawkins.net/article,2285,Fleabytes,Paula-Kirby

    As Oswald wrote: “That is what debate is supposed to be about.”

  • Oswald,

    Since you want anti-Dawkins material, you should the famous article in which Midgeley confessed reluctance to “break [Dawkins] butterfly on a wheel”.
    http://www.royalinstitutephilosophy.org/articles/article.php?id=14

    I’ll leave it for you to find the counterblast yourself.

  • Oswald,

    You also need in your collection the Eagleton review to give you the “former Marxist possibly returning to liberal Catholicism” review. This description is my own invention resulting from recent conversations with some of Eagleton’s circle. It may be completely inaccurate but I’m sure you can subject it to some scientific method while searching for the truth.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html

    Terence Francis Eagleton (born 22 February 1943, Salford, Lancashire) is regarded by many as Britain’s most influential living literary critic.[1] Formerly Thomas Wharton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford (1992-2001), he is currently John Edward Taylor Professor of English Literature at the University of Manchester. He has written more than forty books, including Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983); The Ideology of the Aesthetic (1990), and The Illusions of Postmodernism (1996).

  • And to encourage you to read the Eagleton review, see if you can spot this quote:

    “As far as theology goes, Dawkins has an enormous amount in common with Ian Paisley”

    Should be useful for stirring debate in some of your future postings….

  • willis

    Essentialist

    Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.

    I did read to the bottom of the article but I posted it anyway.

    Given that you have read and judged her thesis I thought it might help our other readers to have an insight into what is floating your boat.

    “Is it any wonder that constructivism leads to chaos in education and confusion from politicans who cannot differentiate science from pseudo-science?”

    So it is Glenda’s fault that Mervyn talks about creationism?

  • willis

    Expat

    Thank you.

    I am already enjoying your link to Terry Eagleton’s article.

  • TAFKABO

    And to encourage you to read the Eagleton review, see if you can spot this quote:

    “As far as theology goes, Dawkins has an enormous amount in common with Ian Paisley”

    Why was I not surprised to read that?

    One constant, indeed the only constant in the criticisms of Dawkins’ work is that so many feel the only way they can attack his argument is by attacking him as an individual and hoping people will fall for the con trick.
    Of course the gullible will, they already fell for the bullshit that is religion.

  • willis

    TAFKABO

    So what is so bad about having an enormous amount in common with Ian Paisley?

    Did you read Eagleton’s article?

    Let’s be clear, you would have to stack at least 1,000 Mervyn Storeys on top of each other to create a scientific colossus equivalent to Dawkins, but does he understand theology?

  • TAFKABO
    As I already said, books are not peer reviewed and do not count for much in the academic world. I say that Dawkins has no academic credibility. He is a reasonably good TV presenter and I am sure his bank balance is very credible, what with all the non peer reviewed books he churns out.
    Because Dawkins writes mostly against religion, this is of little direct concern to scientists. (Read Weinberg on this). Dawkins’ speculation about memes is not mainstream and is certainly not verifiable. There are varying accounts of evolution and the jury is still out there as to how precisely all things evolved. However, as Dawkins is not a palaeontologist and has not published in the area, his views are not academically important. As he is a determinist, he is old hat.

    Dawkins’ academic forte seems to be TAFKABO
    As I already said, books are not peer reviewed and do not count for much in the academic world. I say that Dawkins has no academic credibility. He is a reasonably god TV presenter and I am sure his bank balance is very credible, what with all the non peer reviewed books he churns out.
    Because Dawkins writes mostly against religion, this is of little direct concern to scientists. (Read Weinberg on this). Dawkins’ speculation about memes is not mainstream and is certainly not verifiable. There are varying accounts of evolution and the jury is still out there. However, as Dawkins is not a palaeontologist and has not published in the area, his views are not academically important.

    Dawkins’ academic forte seems to be ethology, the behaviour of animals. However, I have not read anything he has written from his PhD (on crickets) and, as he has long ago stopped writing about what he supposedly knows about (the ethology of some crickets), I would not turn to him for advice on anything except the level of knowledge on crickets 20 years ago. In this, he is quite like Noam Chomsky, who speaks on everything and anything, except linguistics; I have no quarrel with Chomsky by the way but I just hold him up as a comparison.

    Expat: Your posts are helpful and I will follow up those I have no already followed up on. I am not a fan of Lennox but I do think he won the debate with Dawkins. Lennox debates but Dawkins harangues. Go check out the debate as it is on line even more so than Paisley.

    And to repeat: Dawkins is not a “scientific colossus” as Willis and Dawkins’ groupies would like him to be. He is a populist with feet of scientific clay.

    Finally, TAFKABO: Thanks for the offer of a pint. I don’t drink but I do intend to eat further at the tree of knowledge, complements of Expat, the behaviour of animals. However, I have not read anything he has written from his PhD and, as he has long ago stopped writing about what he supposedly knows about (ethology), I would not turn to him for advice. In this, he is quite like Noam Chomsky, who speaks on everything and anything, except linguistics; I have no quarrel with Chomsky by the way but I just hold him up as a comparison

    Expat: Your posts are helpful and I will follow up those I have no already followed up on. I am not a fan of Lennox but I do think he won the debate with Dawkins. Lennox debates but Dawkins harangues. Go check out the debate as it is on line even more so than Paisley.

    And to repeat: Dawkins is not a “scientific colossus” as Willis and Dawkins’ groupies would like him to be. He is a populist with feet of scientific clay.

    Finally, TAFKABO: Thanks for the offer of a pint. I don’t drink but I do intend to eat further at the tree of knowledge, complements of Expat

  • willis

    Oswald

    You don’t really do irony do you?

  • Essentialist

    Willis,

    I believe Walsh has no direct relationship to Mervyn Storey or his personal beliefs. She has however influenced the education prospects of thousands of children many from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds with her unbalanced work.

    Perhaps you should read this article and reconsider the “thinking about thinking” advice from the constructivist educationalists.

    http://www.miskatonic.org/godel.html

    The final paragraph states:

    The other metaphorical analogue to Gödel’s Theorem which I find provocative suggests that ultimately, we cannot understand our own mind/brains … Just as we cannot see our faces with our own eyes, is it not inconceivable to expect that we cannot mirror our complete mental structures in the symbols which carry them out? All the limitative theorems of mathematics and the theory of computation suggest that once the ability to represent your own structure has reached a certain critical point, that is the kiss of death: it guarantees that you can never represent yourself totally.

    Perhaps Glenda and her crowd know something different?

  • Greenflag

    Oswald .

    ‘There are varying accounts of evolution and the jury is still out there.’

    Where ? Evolution is accepted as a fact of life by 99% of the world’s scientists , biologists , paleontologists and anthropolgists . They have for the past century or so accumulated a damn sight more evidence for evolution than have the ‘Creationists’ with their 6,000 year old Earth horse manure .

    ‘I don’t drink’

    Perhaps you should . I’d recommend several cases of a good Nuit St Georges .Allah may not approve but Jesus IIRC was fond of ‘creating ‘ it from water so it’ll expand your conciousness no end !

    ‘ But I do intend to eat further at the tree of knowledge’

    So far it would appear you have left only a few canine toothed scratches on the bark of the rotting tree of ‘creationist’ mythology.

    Load of oul cobblers is what it is your ‘creationism ‘ . Dressed up as pseudo science to give comfort to the ignorati who still want to believe in an ‘intelligent ‘ creator and destructor 🙁

  • TAFKABO

    So what is so bad about having an enormous amount in common with Ian Paisley?

    Listen mo chara, if we’re going to have a discourse, let’s agree to be honest with each other.
    the comparison with paisley in that review was meant in the most unflattering way, it was an appeal to a populist opinion of Paisley as a demagogue. You know that if you’ve read the full article, so don’t come the funny bugger with me sonny Jim.

    Did you read Eagleton’s article?

    Not all of it, I got bored with it about a third of the way in since the premise seems to be that we can’t compare god to the tooth fairy or the Loch Ness monster because…well just because, and lots of theologians agree on this point, so you must read theology to understand the deeper meaning of this “‘just because” argument.

    Let’s be clear, you would have to stack at least 1,000 Mervyn Storeys on top of each other to create a scientific colossus equivalent to Dawkins, but does he understand theology?

    Define understand?

    My understanding of theology is that it’s bollox, will that suffice?
    Not only that, but Eagelton paints a picture of Jesus which is radically (literally) different from the Jesus of modern Christendom, but at the same time most Christians will claim the credit for his analysis.
    this is a common parlour trick of believers, they insist that you know all their theology, but if you point out the discrepancies of one train of thought they’ll shift the argument to another school of theology, all of them believing different things, but all of them claiming a victory if they can get one school of thought to stand up under scrutiny.

    A final point.

    The irony is that this thread is about some Christian nutter insisting that his fairy tale creation story is as valid as scientific thought and established facts, even though it’s patently obvious that Storey wouldn’t know his arse from his elbow as far as scientific facts are concerned, and then we get a link to an article which claims people who haven’t read theology have no right to criticise belief.

    Why have I as an unbeliever no right to call shennanigans on religion?
    Does Eagelton address the why, or is it another of his oh so fiendishly clever “just because” arguments?

  • Just noticed that Paula Kirby’s review of anti-Dawkins books is now followed by 7,766 comments in the thread.

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/articleComments,2285,Fleabytes,Paula-Kirby,page156#comments

    That’s a lot of weekend reading….

  • willis

    TAFKABO

    “don’t come the funny bugger with me sonny Jim”

    You have me bang to rights there.

    I think Terry Eagleton is right. RD and IJP are both fundamentalist demagogues, however IJP has the virtue of a sense of humour. Why else would he have teamed up with Marty to give us the ‘Chuckle Brothers’.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Richard Dawkins is a National Treasure. I wish we had his equivalent in Engineering. However he appears to be entirely bereft of a sense of humour.

    The truth about the distant past is that we do not know what happened. No seriously, we don’t. We can make very good guesses but we cannot experiment in the same way we can with the present.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The truth about the distant past is that we do not know what happened.’

    How distant is distant ? Geologists have proven the Earth is some 4.5 billion years old . We know it took a couple of billion years to ‘oxygenate ‘ the earth . The evidence is still there in stromatolites a few which are still extant off the NW Australian coast . The Matopos National Park in Zimbabwe rests on a granite underlay which is some 3.5 billion years old . We know that complex life emerged in the sea some 600 to 700 million years ago. We know that animal life was alost exterminated in world wide catyclisms one generated from within the Earth the Permian mass extinction and the other 65 million years ago by a mix of an asteroid the size of Mount Everest crashing into the gulf at 6 miles a second plus the world wide volcanic eruptions set off by after effects .

    We are as human beings extremely fortunate to be here . If we rolled back the historical clock and left out just one major factor geologic or climactic e.g the particular location of the continent of Africa 4 million years ago or that undergound volcanos did not erupt and join the north and south american continents thus coolin the northern hemisphere and indirectly creating the African savannah which enabled an ancient primate forebear to stand on two legs etc etc -then we would not be here – and the planet would no doubt be a more congenial place for the thousands of species whuch humanity has exterminated either willingly or in ignorance .

    We know the future too . Some day the tectonic plate movement and vulcanism which gave the earth life will stop and the Earth will become a Mars – devoid of life except perhaps a few hardy bacteria.

    Not to worry :). It won’t be for a billion years according to the geologists so that should give the species some time to come up with an alternative plan 🙂

  • pauljames

    TAFKABO

    Good call on Eagleton and others it’s known as the
    courtiers reply.
    I also find that the increased ad hominems on Dawkins are a pathetic response by supernaturalists to an argument already lost. He is the Chair for the Public Understanding of Science, it’s his job to be populist!

  • Greenflag: You obviously have not read my posts for whatever reason. I am not a creationist or a supernaturalist as Pauljames puts it and I actually wrote where the Jewish myths came from. Darwin’s myth proves nothing as a theory that explains everythng explains nothing. Isn’t it strange that Darwinism, like Marxism and other crackpot nineteenth century theories still has its adherents?

    I note your smart ass remarks about alcohol and religion and take them as an indication of why drinking in bars is a lower class pursuit.

    I did FLICK through some of the other links helpfully given. Eagleton is just your average literate religious apologist, of no great consequence, and Paul Kirby’s defence of Stalinist “religion”, not to mention the 7,766 replies, is not worth wading through at this point of time.

    Read Crick and other established, credible, anti religion scientists on evolution. Then get back to us.

    Pauljames: I am glad you agree Dawkins is a mere populist. Any chance of a link to his PhD? Wasn’t it Men in Black that popularized the notion that crickets answer all?

    Weinberg says the whole universe is pointlewss. So is arguing with lager louts.

  • steve

    Apparently we have all been blessed by Oswald having lowered his standards to bother talking with the untermenschen

  • Gareth

    You know Oswald, I think it is probably not a bad thing for a biologist to have done his PhD on crickets, with them being an animal and everything. There are very few people who go on to win a Nobel prize with their doctoral thesis, but come up with quite interesting stuff later. This is just an example of you being nasty, which is a bit of a turn off by the way.

    Plus, all this stuff about populism. It is seen as a good thing these days that academics engage with the public, no more ivory tower and that. So if he is raising public debate, then good. Obviously you are getting hot under the collar that he is ‘winning’. Are you some sort of Janotus de Bragmardo theologian who is feeling a bit vulnerable?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “I am prepared to be proved wrong but I am on a quest similar to Nietzsche or that outlined in The Emperor’s New Clothes if the nutty Nazi inspirer is too much for you.”

    …..and so said Oswald Murphy.

    Probably a wrong comparison as Nietzsche was so anti-religion! His utterings equating slavery and christianity in ‘The Anti-Christ’ no doubt inspired atheism among subsequent philosophers and scientists.

    I think that you basically have a hang up about Dawkins, and his ‘popular science’. His denouncements of god and theology probably appear rather cheeky coming from a man with ‘no qualifications,’ as ye say.

    BTW I know a person form Armenia who works and lives here in Ireland now. As ye know Armenia was part of the former USSR, so this person grew up in a rather communist, religion free environment, despite Armenia once having a strong Christian past heritage and many a fine ancient church/cathedral to boast. St. Bartholomew is the patron saint. Anyway, this ‘godless’ person is so civil and polite, a pillar of the community, one could say, and has a superb cool attitude to the stresses of work etc…They are rather amused too by the religious folk here in the west and indeed back home as the Orthodox church is a bit more popular again. So living without the concept of god is possible. BTW Marx, Engels etc.. theories on society was a product of their time. Like the Utilitarians it was an attempt at reforming the injustice and inequality of the imperial social structures of the late 19th century. (Okay, it went askew, with a horrific loss of life).

    Gilgamesh and Noah, probably expert boatmen et al, but I’m sure their fear of a god and floods was really an ignorance of early climate change!

    Here’s a link to Terry Eagleton’s review of the God Delusion…..

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html

    Here’s an extract, it’s so awful too….

    Perhaps when he speaks of ‘god’ he is really refering to his own deep ‘subconscious’ and what’s inside himself!

    “This, not some super-manufacturing, is what is traditionally meant by the claim that God is Creator. He is what sustains all things in being by his love; and this would still be the case even if the universe had no beginning. To say that he brought it into being ex nihilo is not a measure of how very clever he is, but to suggest that he did it out of love rather than need. The world was not the consequence of an inexorable chain of cause and effect. Like a Modernist work of art, there is no necessity about it at all, and God might well have come to regret his handiwork some aeons ago. The Creation is the original acte gratuit. God is an artist who did it for the sheer love or hell of it, not a scientist at work on a magnificently rational design that will impress his research grant body no end.
    Because the universe is God’s, it shares in his life, which is the life of freedom. This is why it works all by itself, and why science and Richard Dawkins are therefore both possible. The same is true of human beings: God is not an obstacle to our autonomy and enjoyment but, as Aquinas argues, the power that allows us to be ourselves. Like the unconscious, he is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He is the source of our self-determination, not the erasure of it. To be dependent on him, as to be dependent on our friends, is a matter of freedom and fulfilment. Indeed, friendship is the word Aquinas uses to characterise the relation between God and humanity.”

  • Greenflag

    Oswald ,

    So you have a personality problem with Dawkins ? Sorry can’t help you on that one .

    ‘Isn’t it strange that Darwinism, like Marxism and other crackpot nineteenth century theories still has its adherents?’.

    So has the 18th century French Revolution ,the American Revolution and the Enlightenment .

    Marxism given it’s time of origin was not ‘crackpot’ . It was a comprehensive attempt to ‘unravel’ and understand ‘ a fast industrialising world and how ‘capital ‘ or those that possessed it managed to accumulate it through the exploitation of the rest of humanity.
    There are many in the West today who ‘miss ‘ Marxism not that they were ever or could ever be adherents of that doctrine but it’s no coincidence that since the demise of State ‘marxism ‘ in the former USSR and it’s slave States it’s been no accident that many millions of middle and working class people in the developed ‘ capitalist ‘ states have a slow but steady ’emisseration’ of their relative living standards etc .

    Darwinism is still extant and continues to grow in stature simply because it explains for life what the geologic record explains for the history of the Earth . Dawkins explains that ‘process’ in reverse in his book the ‘Ancestors Tale’

    Go and read it and educate yourself. So what if Dawkins is not a cool dude !

  • willis

    Much as yet another discussion of Richard Dawkins is to be welcomed, the point of this thread is the declaration by the DUP’s currently most senior politician in the Education field that his understanding of science and the scientific method can bear scrutiny and debate. This is despite the fact that he has no formal scientific qualifications.

    Mervyn Storey, one must assume, is a supporter of Academic Selection at 11. Judging by his choice of Secondary school, he either did not take the 11+, failed it, or decided that having passed it he had no need for an Academic education. Yet he has no problem in asserting that his knowledge of subjects which he has never studied is equal to that of an Oxford Professor.

    Catriona Ruane must be very pleased about how things have turned out.

  • BfB

    Obscure nonsense has no relevance!
    Posted by Greagoir O Frainclin on Aug 08, 2008 @ 01:10 AM

    Jaysus! I’m glad I’m not you.

  • Essentialist

    Willis,

    “the point of this thread is the declaration by the DUP’s currently most senior politician in the Education field that his understanding of science and the scientific method can bear scrutiny and debate. This is despite the fact that he has no formal scientific qualifications.”

    Now apply this concern to those who have provided the education policy reform and research advice to government over the past ten years or so and you may elicit some degree of concern that applies to the contributions of many others up to their necks in matters that cannot withstand scrutiny and debate.

    Projects such as the “enriched Curriculum”, pupil profiles, brain-based learning, primary movement, etc. The same names pop up time after time. It has all the appearances of self-certification.

    How come the silence from those with opposite viewpoints? Are they afraid of being uninvited to the constructivists club and the money it attracts?

  • willis

    Essentialist

    “Now apply this concern to those who have provided the education policy reform and research advice to government over the past ten years or so and you may elicit some degree of concern that applies to the contributions of many others up to their necks in matters that cannot withstand scrutiny and debate.”

    Would a constructivist have been able to construct a sentence to equal that one? I think you are trying to suggest, as on previous occasions, that everyone in DENI is as potty as Mervyn.

    I fear that up until now I have not made any serious attempt to address your concerns, mostly because I thought you were a monomaniac.

    I am not in the least involved in early years teaching, however I am very involved in Adult learning. I can see how you would be concerned that concepts which are appropriate to Adult learning can be damaging when imported wholesale into early years teaching however I am not convinced that this is currently a problem.

    In Adult training the ideas of Kolb

    http://www.haygroup.com/tl/Downloads/Why_People_Learn.pdf

    are accepted generally because they work. Businesses are not generally inclined to wear the Emperor’s New Clothes if it costs them money. Do the ideas look familiar?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Jaysus! I’m glad I’m not you.”

    Yes indeed Bfb, but are you glad you are you?

    That’s the question you should be asking yourself!

  • I very strongly encourage everyone interested in the future of education and creativity to watch this talk. Perhaps N.I.’s politicians should invite him to advise them….

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Expat,

    that was excellent. Leaving aside the serious nature of the content which was original and thought provoking, some cracking jokes and a brilliant delivery.

  • Greenflag

    Expat ,

    Thanks for the link.

    ‘ Perhaps N.I.’s politicians should invite him to advise them’

    I don’t think so :). Quite a few of them ‘dance around enough already . Many dress up in all kinds of paraphenalia and have been seen sashayiny up and down the streets of NI for most of each summer anyway or so it would appear . The ‘effect’ of all of the above ‘artistic ‘ creativity on finding practical solutions to pressing economic and political problems remains yet to be seen 🙂

    On a more serious note much of what Sir Ken says rings a bell from personal life experience .He is largely correct in regard to the system as a whole being designed to produce ‘professors’. But then what area of modern life is not designed from the top down to feed the egos , bank accounts and career or political prospects of the ‘establishment ‘? Look at health care systems in the USA . Designed for the patients or designed for and by the private health insurance companies, drug companies, and the legal and medical professions ?

    As for the world in 2065 -assuming we survive the next ‘eagerly’ awaited Mayan Armageddon 2012, the Asian ‘giants ‘ China and India as well as other countries in the region and elsewhere are ‘producing ‘ tens of millions of mathematicians , scientists, and engineers and in another ten years will have ‘produced ‘ in absolute numbers more of the above than all the western countries have since the Industrial Revolution . How creative will they be ? We saw how the Japanese from being a feudal age economy in the early 19th century became the number two economy in the world by the late 20th century . With respect to Sir Ken they did’nt get there by ‘dancing’ or by reading the Bible .

    Off thread so I’d better stop 🙂

  • Essentialist

    No need to stop Greenflag.
    At least Sir Ken differs from the two Ken clowns involved in education here. Enough said.

  • Greenflag

    Essentialist ,

    ‘At least Sir Ken differs from the two Ken clowns involved in education here.’

    Darwinism in action . If brains aren’t needed at top policymaking level in NI then nature allied to politics will ensure they won’t be supplied.

  • Expat

    Existentialist wrote: “Walsh advocates “children thinking about thinking”…Is it any wonder that constructivism leads to chaos in education”

    Existentialist,
    Since you enjoy “thinking about thinking” and Hofstadter’s puzzles, here’s another link to “the meaning of meaning” that you might like. Among the more esoteric aspects of the commentary, you’ll notice that Intelligent Design theory (aka “creationism”) reappears as the way in which Justice Antonin Scalia tries to prove his point.

    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002603.html

    For more down-to-earth amusement, have a look at what happened when someone left a knowledge management talk early and the meaning of this in that context became the subject of a thread.

    http://www.cognitive-edge.com/blogs/dave/2008/07/social_constructivism.php

    Sometimes the simplest answer without too much “interpretation” is all that is needed.

  • willis

    ‘ Perhaps N.I.’s politicians should invite him to advise them’

    Oh they have, they have.

    http://www.dcalni.gov.uk/unlocking_creativity_-_a_strategy_for_developement.pdf

    Read and weep.

  • Essentialist

    Yes Willis – we’re weeping. The educationalists and those directing them (note SF’s McGuinness as Minister of Education) have never been slow in adapting other’s ideas in order to promote constructivism. Evaluate the deliverables for yourself.

    Expat

    I fear that you have pegged me incorrectly. It is impossible to think about thinking. In exchange of ideas why don’t you take a look at the references supporting Martin McPhillips of QUB School of Psychology work on Primary Movement. (note this is the same school that came up with the “enriched Curriculum)

    Are you seeing the beginnings of a pattern?

    Now turn your brain on by rubbing your tummy children. (not a joke) These people have fooled the entire teaching profession in N. Ireland. There has been no dissent on Primary Movement from any of the educationalists. A nice little earner for McPhillips since he runs the company. Try asking you GP or a medical consultant if it has any basis in medicine. In past times music and movement served to get children out from behind their desks

  • Expat

    Many thanks for the pointers to what goes on in N.I. education. Having virtually no knowledge of the personalities or educational dogmas developed over here the last 35 years, I have a lot to catch up on. My main focus in looking at N.I. education is to see when Mandarin Chinese will be offered at primary level since that is the best time to orientate the brain to a non-alphabetic language.
    Now it’s time for me to fly off to the far end of the Mediterranean for a while and out of reach of the Internet. I’ll look back at this site when I get back to learn about these developments in education strategy. Thanks and bye for now.

  • Essentialist

    Sticking to the theme of questionable science imposed on the back of religious/philosophical ideology i invite further examination of local imposition.

    To provide some perspective on the Primary Movement study by QUB (from an idea from CCEA) it may be useful to include criticisms already highlighted about this area in the published literature. Why is Martin McPhilip’s name not to be found as an investigator on the paper?

    Possibly because as stated in an abstract in Dyslexia 2004 Nov;10(4);316-38 …”the persistence of primary reflexes cannot be used as a causal model for reading difficulties, including dyslexia.”

    The real question to be answered is why were CCEA (an exams and curriculum quango) initiating studies in this area?

    Back to the Trojan Horse agenda again.

  • Essentialist

    Before the floods of self-certification references deluge the thread intrepid blog investigators may wish to read:

    The Psychologist Vol 14 No 2 from February 2001

    The Title of the article is; On Reading, Reflex and Research.

    It features Martin McPhillips. This quotation may help explain how the old saying “if at first you don’t suceed….. now ends …try CCEA.

    ……”One would expect research grants to be
    pouring in for Martin. ‘No,’ he smiled. The
    Dyslexia Project had been turned down for
    funding by numerous bodies. ‘We seem to
    fall between two stools. The programme is
    too medical for the educational grants and
    too educational for the medical grants. Also
    we are coming at learning from a different
    dimension.’
    In that case will I see Martin McPhillips
    brushing the streets of Belfast next week?
    I asked. He smiled and told me the job
    security would be welcome. The study was
    only possible because of funding from the
    Peter F. Smith Charitable Trust. ‘Quite
    a few times I have come into the office
    and started to pack my bags because
    I could not see a way of continuing.
    Sometimes I wondered should I just give
    up and move to steady employment. My
    wife and two children noticed I was a lot
    grumpier,’ he smiled. However, seeing the
    kids do well makes it all worthwhile.”….

    Oh shucks. What next – intelligent design?

    How much shall we pay Mervyn and the other advocates?

  • http://rapidshare.com/files/136767099/dawkins_lennox.rar

    Gents: Here is a link to the Dawkins_Lennox debate. I have all rounds, except maybe the last one to Lennox. Richard “Continuing Education” Dawkins mught have shaded the last round by getting jesus to intervene a la WW Wrestling.

    Hope this educates those of you who are not totally brain dead.

    |No time now as some of us have to work foor a living.