Re: textbooks

Steven Schimmrich (
Fri, 05 Dec 1997 07:03:34 -0500

At 01:04 AM 11/28/97 -0800, Robert L. Miller wrote:

>> Steven Schimmrich wrote:
>>> Perhaps people who DO scientific research should decide
>>> such questions and not accountants, barbers, and plumbers -- many of
>>> whom will tell you they dislike science.
>> Your elitism is showing. Perhaps accountants, barbers and plumbers do
>> not know enough to make informed decisions about textbooks, but they
>> do know that they send their children off to school, and after being
>> processed by the university they get them back as agnostics or
>> atheists, and they don't like it, and science gets a large share of
>> the blame. How do you suggest we fix that?

Do you hire geologists to unplug your toilet?
Do you hire barbers to do your tax returns?

Why not?

Because, in general, they don't have the training or knowledge to perform
such tasks. I don't buy this "elitism" business. I think it's a red
herring designed to appeal to those who dislike science and scientists.

I'm not saying that parents should have no say in what is taught in
schoolrooms, but I am saying that having them "vote" on what should or
should not be presented as the present state of knowledge in a science
classroom is incredibly arrogant because most of them don't know anything
about science (I speak as someone who just taught a large class on
Introductory Geology for nonmajors this fall -- believe me, most college
students I've met know next to nothing about science or math).

I also really doubt your claim that most students are "processed" by
science courses at the university resulting in their becoming agnostics or
atheists. Most college students I've interacted with avoid science courses
like the plague.

If a secondary school science textbook is blatantly teaching that
religion is a superstition, science has proven there is no God, etc. I
would agree that it should not be used (Believe it or not, I'm a Christian
as well as a geologist). This whole issue, however, is about putting
warning labels in all books that even dare to discuss evolutionary theory
-- an essential part of modern biology. That's a very different thing.

- Steve.

      Steven H. Schimmrich             KB9LCG
      Department of Physical Sciences               Kutztown University
      217 Grim Science Building, Kutztown, PA 19530      (610) 683-4437     Fides quaerens intellectum