President Obama on the necessity of science

June 16, 2009

Many Americans took great pleasure in Barack Obama’s noting the importance of science, and the importance of heeding science, in his inaugural address.

In April he attended an annual meeting of the poobahs at the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world’s premiere science organizations and the backbone and guts of the science movement that drove American prosperity and security in the 20th century.  Historians will want to note especially the history President Obama recounted in the first few minutes of the speech.

Can we use video for DBQs in AP courses yet?  Here’s one to use.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Blue Ollie.

Real racism: Should we brace for protests?

June 16, 2009

Here’s a story exposing a real case of racism, “Latest Republican racist e-mail.”  HillbuzzTexas Darlin’?  Are you going to go after this despicable display?  Are  you going to defend a color-blind society and anti-racism?

No, we didn’t really think so.  Now that we’ve established what you really do, we’re just haggling over the price.

Fake quotes in prize-winning essays

June 16, 2009

Rational Rant crashes into some use of faked and edited quotes in prize-winning essays and speeches.

Nothing new to careful observers.  Several of the Usual Suspects™ bad quotes turned up.

The trouble with these quotations, which are central to the theses of both pieces, is that all of them are fake. And by fake I don’t mean, please note, that they had a word off here and there, or that they were a popular misquoting of something Washington or Franklin actually said or wrote—I mean that they were out-and-out fakes, words put into their mouths by somebody else with an axe to grind. (And even worse—a number of them were actually misquotations of the original fake quotation.) Here are the seven, in all their glory:

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ! (falsely attributed to Patrick Henry)

It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here. (falsely attributed to Patrick Henry)

He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world. (falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin)

The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart. (falsely attributed to Thomas Jefferson)

The future and success of America is not in this Constitution but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded. (falsely attributed to James Madison)

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. (falsely attributed to George Washington)

It is impossible to rightly govern a country without God and the Bible. (falsely attributed to George Washington)

It’s difficult to get students to attribute quotes with proper citations.  Students are mightily confused by the notion of plagiarism.  We teachers need to work harder to get them to verify what they quote, and to offer appropriate citations.  Since these quotes can’t be cited, students should have discovered the errors as they wrote.

One of the offending pieces was written by a high school junior, the other by a 10-year-old.  There’s time to make them savvy (but will anyone do it?).

Do we need to give judges, of essay and speech competitions, sheets of the quotes that most frequently show up, though they are faked?

On the immorality of Darwin, Hubble and others

June 16, 2009

Thought of the day, stumbled into at John Wilkins’s site, Evolving Thoughts, “The Demon Spencer”:

Surely that's an avatar, and not really John Wilkins!  It looks like Snowflake.

Surely that’s an avatar, and not really John Wilkins! It looks like Snowflake.

RBH // June 16, 2009 at 7:56 am |

I wait in vain for a condemnation of Newton’s laws of motion, since they account for so many deaths in virtue of their description of how bullets, speeding automobiles, and the like generate so much energy of impact. F=MA must be immoral.

Where are Richard Weikart, Francis Beckwith and Douglas Groothuis when they could be useful?

Why is it Darwin gets all the flack from fundamentalists, when it was Newton who pushed the angels out of the heavens, Hubble who peeked into the universe’s running without gods?

Wilkins’s post is also useful for his scalpel-like arguments disembowling the claim that Darwin led to Hitler, in comments.


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