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Author Topic:   Earth science curriculum tailored to fit wavering fundamentalists
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(4)
Message 1 of 1053 (750291)
02-13-2015 8:31 AM


Hi folks, I'm new to the forum and have a very particular topic I'm interested in, but first a bit of history:
I'm mid '50s in age, was raised in the south in extreme bible belt conditions (Seventh Day Adventist Branch Davidian cult stuff). Private bible/home school my only education, and with an almost cartoonish rule set (no secular music, no dating, no TV/radio/newspapers, etc.). Other than the bible, education was literally evil. I got absolutely zero science, no math beyond simply addition/subtraction/multiplication/division, no history (other than the bible version), on and on. I was a curious kid and LOVED anything related to how things work and was SO frustrated when not allowed to explore.
Short version: Left home at 15. Estranged from most family. Educated myself. Ended up spending more than 30 years in high tech in the silicon valley in various engineering and management capacities where I was fortunate enough to hang out with some of the brightest minds doing freaking amazing things with cool science. Due to family reasons I returned to the South a year or so ago and am momentarily semi-retired (or underemployed, depending on how you look at it).
I guess the bubble of the Silicon Valley skewed my perspective because I have been absolutely STUNNED at the level of science education I witness among friends and family back here in the South. I guess because I saw science education highly valued amongst my peers and their kids I assumed that real progress had been made country wide. Of course I'm sure it has in some sense, but not amongst the demographic I have returned to.
While the old guard are as stubborn as ever, I do notice a shift with the younger crowd. They are starting to question (perhaps not openly) an entire layer of nonsense fed to them and are carefully open to hearing new things. I have been successful in raising the curiosity level of several of the younger family group by simply showing them how totally and completely false some of the things they have been told and accepted as fact (Darwin converted on his deathbed sort of nonsense).
Now those of you who have followed the history of the creation 'science' movement will know that the fundamentalist side of the Seventh Day Adventists practically invented it. ( BioLogos - Not Found (404) - BioLogos). Price and Clark (both SDA) started it off before Henry Morris based much of his work on the Price 'model'. SDA fingerprints are on practically every hoax and shyster artifact referred to by the Hovinds, Baughs, Steins and Hams of today. Burdick (Paluxy), BF Allen (ark), Wyatt (kitchen sink of nonsense), ICR, AIG, CRI, all indelibly fingerprinted. This is all the stuff that this younger generation has been force fed.
I have a passion for educating (always have). I'm told I have a knack for educating and explaining things. Though deeply experienced with science, I have never been educated or particularly well versed in the earth sciences. I have spent the last months boning up as fast as I can so I can answer questions accurately and fairly. Talk Origins and EvC have been two excellent sources for me.
So here's my question: If you had a nephew or niece (we'll call the age group late teens, early 20s) who was both open and interested in spending say an hour a week on the topic of creation vs evolution, what sort of 'curriculum' would you attempt to put together for them? I have actually said give me an hour a week for a year and I'll think you'll find you are able to make better decisions for yourself in these areas. Keep in mind that if you rock their world too hard, they turn you off so you can't blast in with cog dis sermons and the like (though it's the truth).
Currently, where I've had success is in merely showing them the absolute false information they are being given. When Doug Batchelor (SDA tv preacher) in the process of mocking evolution crows about how if you take the current population growth and work it backwards to the flood it works out to precisely 8 people, I just say ... Ok, let's do that math shall we? with predictable mathematical results. The more I do this, the more they seem to trust me and not him/them (but it's a slow process). I'm trying to challenge them without being in their face about it (though I want to just scream much of the time).
My thoughts are this:
1: Initially forget anything related to billions of years — that just blows their minds. I just need them to question 6,000 years. If I can get them to consider 20,000 years it blows their familiar model to bits and that's all I need — the sky is the limit after that. I really think dendrochronology may be the key to this, followed by C14 (I can hear them howl already lol), varves and ice cores. I actually am asking to open this thread because of the apparent emphasis and knowledge of some of the active EvC members on these dating sciences.
2: To get past the biblical flood notion, education on how geological layers form starting with the dramatic examples (chalk, etc). You don't get the White Cliffs of Dover by mixing everything up in a flood bucket and letting it settle out. Then perhaps the fossil distribution throughout the layers sorted by complexity .
3: Since no science or scientist is perfect (and this is the wedge they have been hammered with all their lives), I need to develop ways to help them understand the consilience of evidence. All they've heard is they use carbon dating to prove the age of a tree and the age of a tree to prove carbon dating. or they date the fossil by the layer and then the layer by the fossil. I need to be able to show them how sciences like dendrochronology and radio carbon dating are complimentary, not circular.
4: I have to be the absolute opposite of the Hovinds and Hams. When I say something is proven science, I have to be able to produce it, document it and explain it. I can't just want them to believe what I say as truth, I want them to become convinced of it because they have seen it with their own eyes, processed it and understand how it works. I want the opposite of accept, accept, accept (which is all they've known in their force fed version of science), I want question, discover, experiment.
In the end, I would like to hone and produce something that is far more scalable than just for my family. I would like to come up with some series or something that is aimed squarely at the younger offspring of the last generation of fundamentalists. I know them. I've lived among them (now I sound like an anthropologist). I'm not a product of the public school system (brainwashed as they would say), but rather I came to my conclusions from the obvious strength of the evidence and I understand that mental process.
Every heard of the Khan Academy? (Google it if not) It started merely as an effort by Salman Khan to encourage and tutor his young cousin remotely and he has ended up making a difference in the educational lives of many. Ultimately, I would like to aim at something like that (one step at a time) for fundamentalists who are becoming interested in spreading their science wings.
Suggestions?
Thanks
JB

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Tempe 12ft Chicken, posted 02-13-2015 9:57 AM ThinAirDesigns has not replied
 Message 5 by RAZD, posted 02-13-2015 11:00 AM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 7 by NoNukes, posted 02-13-2015 12:53 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 8 by Larni, posted 02-13-2015 1:02 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 10 by RAZD, posted 02-13-2015 1:34 PM ThinAirDesigns has not replied
 Message 11 by Tangle, posted 02-13-2015 1:48 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 25 by dwise1, posted 02-13-2015 10:25 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 38 by christianguy15, posted 02-15-2015 1:40 AM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 65 by kbertsche, posted 02-15-2015 10:45 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 187 by Stile, posted 03-02-2015 12:00 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied
 Message 739 by dwise1, posted 06-24-2015 3:36 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 6 of 1053 (750323)
02-13-2015 12:25 PM


Thanks to all
I will respond individually in a bit, but I just wanted to thank everyone who has chimed with with suggestions and offers. It's much appreciated. Resources such as this are truly awesome.
Thanks
JB

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 12 of 1053 (750341)
02-13-2015 8:32 PM


Again a general response and thanks to all the excellent input.
One thing that frustrates me so much with fundamentalists (actually a ton of other folks as well) is the lack of ability to grasp the simple concept of "If X is true, then Y must also be true." The ability to ignore/justify/rationalize data that doesn't fit your core belief must be honed to a fine edge just to believe the bible as anything but fiction. This is a hurdle I have to overcome with them.
As an example (and I'm going to use a real one from my discussions recently) if you challenge the number of species on the ark, they spout the 'kind' nonsense (something they know nothing about -- it's just a canned response). Just as Nye schooled Ham, you say "OK, now you must compress immense numbers of speciation events to a 4000 year timescale." They look at you and sort of go "Yeah, so?" I then remind them that they had just previously used the argument that evolution could not be true because speciation is nonexistent or at least so rare no one has ever observed it (false argument, but not my point in this case). A blank stare follows as though they don't even see the the ball I just hit back at them.
Now, I'm not talking idiots here - far from it. Neither am I talking willful ignorance - though that exists aplenty, but not with my target audience. Certainly ignorance is a fair word, but programmed rather than willful. Somehow I have to figure out how to stimulate some form of skepticism in their brain that has never been there. I want to teach them to be skeptical of it ALL - including what I tell them.
As several have noted above, some of the early primers must be centered on the basics of the scientific method and critical thinking skills. They have been programmed to blindly believe and follow - both texts and people. Thus they blindly believe that science is the practice of the same. I've actually been asked "Do you follow the teachings of Darwin?". They've been told (and have blindly believed) that the scientific community simply rejects outright any evidence that doesn't fit with it's preconceived notions (projecting much?).
Actually, it's quite understandable for them to believe that, it's all they've ever seen. They honestly don't see the argument as any different than the one they have with any other denomination of religion - they imagine science as just another church who has wrongly made up its mind about something and preaches it.
The fact that 'science' fights and argues all the way to success is something they've never imagined. The fact that Einstein overturns Galileo who proved out Copernicus who overturned Ptolemy and we revere them ALL? Unimaginable to them. They say "But science has been wrong about a lot of things and keeps changing" and I smile and say "Yeah, ain't it cool?". Blows their minds.
Also, the fact that all arguments aren't of the same quality seems foreign to them. They are used to denominations arguing with each other and it being settled merely on faith, not by the quality of the argument/evidence. "We're right and they're wrong" - proof by absolute assertion I like to call it.
I tried to use the aforementioned 'Darwin recanted on his deathbed' story to make a point about science to them. I said "He didn't recant, but let's suppose he did. What would it matter? Who in science would care?" (other than the interesting story side of it). I continued ... "Let's supposed that on his deathbed, Pythagoras claimed he had been young and impetuous and it was all just a joke. Pythagorean theorem would then fall? Of course not - science hones in and settles on what works rather than assume an asserted truth." Mind blown again.
I've got to figure out how to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of many of the things they have been told about science (without being insulting) and then build their trust in a process they've been programmed to mistrust.
Just thinking out loud regarding some of the psychological challenges to overcome.
Thanks again for the forum. I'll start getting to individual responses now.
JB

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 13 of 1053 (750342)
02-13-2015 8:57 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
02-13-2015 9:56 AM


Re: a great place to actually learn
quote:
You're lucky to be living in an area that is so filled with evidence that there was no Biblical Flood and that the earth is billions of years old and an area with so many folk to be taught.
No shortage on that last count. LOL
quote:
Begin with the assumption something is true. If the flood happened what must we see? Take a look at No genetic bottleneck proves no global flood.
There are so many great threads here -- I'll go check that one out.
Thanks.
JB

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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 14 of 1053 (750343)
02-13-2015 8:59 PM


Quick question: Am I missing the typical "quote" button that bookends text with the quote tags? Can't seem to find one anywhere and it's a pain to type them in.
Hope I'm not breaking rules by asking that question here.
JB

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by dwise1, posted 02-13-2015 10:06 PM ThinAirDesigns has replied
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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 15 of 1053 (750344)
02-13-2015 9:14 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
02-13-2015 11:00 AM


Re: tree mendous idea
RAZD writes:
Hi ThinAirDesign and welcome to the fray,
Let me apologize for America letting you down. Glad you were able to work your way out.
Thanks. I've got much to be thankful for.
Your help in putting together some small steps in dating science would be freaking AWESOME!! I also have a ton of questions if you don't mind me throwing them your (and others) direction.
Do you have any trees you can cut down where you know or have some idea when they were planted (or when they could not have been planted, such as a former field to set a known age limit)?
I've got truck, chain saw and know how to drive to the forest. As far as a known age, I'll have to think of a way to work on that one (but I will).
So cool to have such a knowledge resource. Thanks
JB

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 16 of 1053 (750345)
02-13-2015 9:21 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by NoNukes
02-13-2015 12:53 PM


NoNukes writes:
Astronomy is another area where the conflicts with a 6000 year old universe and reality is pretty stark.
Oddly enough with my curious nature, I never got that curious in the upwards direction - never studied the skies. I have collected some basic knowledge in that area just because I read science magazines etc, but no expert.
If you can suggest any threads or papers or books that would be knowledge appropriate I would appreciate it. Remember that even though my target audience is young adult, it can't be much more complicated math/science wise than middle or high school. These kids have no foundation whatsoever in this area.
Thanks again.
JB

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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 17 of 1053 (750346)
02-13-2015 9:24 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Larni
02-13-2015 1:02 PM


Larni writes:
Socratic questioning. It takes time an patience but allow somebody to arrive at rational conclusions is always the best way to go.
HUGE fan of the method. In fact I piss my friends off from time to time - they say "JB, I just ask you the question because I know you know -- just ANSWER IT!). LOL
Thanks Larni
JB

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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 18 of 1053 (750347)
02-13-2015 9:27 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Dr Adequate
02-13-2015 1:13 PM


Re: Age Correlations
Dr Adequate writes:
Please refer instead to the Wikibook I made out of the thread, Historical Geology. The links are better, and there are a few mistakes in the original thread that are fixed in the book.
Holy moly Dr -- what a resource that Wiki is going to be. I'll go through it this weekend and I'm sure I'll have questions. Wow, so cool.
Thanks
JB

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 Message 9 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-13-2015 1:13 PM Dr Adequate has not replied

  
ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 19 of 1053 (750348)
02-13-2015 9:53 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Tangle
02-13-2015 1:48 PM


Tangle writes:
I think I'd start by talking about what scientists do, how they do it and what has been achieved by it. The basic method of having an idea about something, then trying to test whether it's right or not using hard evidence. Then if you can actually do a few little relevant experiments and match them to biblical beliefs, it might start a few thoughts going.
A really good way to lead off.
I've thought about starting with heliocentricity and how it was hypothesized and then demonstrated (and then persecuted). A Foucault pendulum is such an awesome and fun tool. Allows for Newton talks and some laws of gravity and motion discussions as well.
That Helio topic also allows me to make comparisons with biblical texts. While it's extremely rare to find a biblical geocentrist today, there was of course a time when the interpretations of the texts were essentially universal. I've already found quotes from heros of the reformation that these kids will know (Calvin, Luther, Melanchthon, et al) that state believers in heliocentrism are devil possessed (Calvin) and quote the verses to support geocentrism. There is amazing parallel in that topic and YEC currently. Just as with Psalms 93:1 from 500 years ago, 5 centuries from now the default will be "Oh, Genesis 1? -- that was never meant to be literal". Lessons from history. :-)
One obvious one is gathering handfull of dirt, some sand and gravel, stick them in a something like a spaghetti jar, top up with water, shake the whole thing up and leave it overnight to settle.
YES! I've been thinking of that one. I mean, how hard is it to follow that lesson? I get that some things in science are hard, but after a few Mason jar lessons, how difficult is it to see that all layers don't come from one event?
Thanks Tangle.
JB

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Replies to this message:
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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 22 of 1053 (750351)
02-13-2015 10:18 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by dwise1
02-13-2015 10:06 PM


dwise1 writes:
Somebody here typically gives new-comers a quick tutorial on the BBcodes used here. They're very much like HTML tags, only they use square brackets instead of angle brackets.
Thanks dwise. That peek feature is nice.
I'm actually familiar with the BBcode tags, but I'm wondering if on this forum you have to copy and paste what you want to quote and then type in the code tags manually. Usually there are buttons that allow you to highlight text and surround the selection with tags rather than type them in. Also, the behavior of the 'reply' button often includes quoting the post you are replying to so you don't have to copy and paste everything.
It appears that when you hit reply with this software, you get a blank canvas.
JB

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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(1)
Message 28 of 1053 (750357)
02-13-2015 11:07 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by nwr
02-13-2015 10:33 PM


nwr writes:
Right. But then people tend to quote far too much. It is better to quote just a minimal amount to establish context. And that seems to work out well. Also the forward and backward links tie replies to earlier message, so often quoting isn't actually needed.
I certainly concur that a forum frustration is the guy who quotes entire 80 line posts covering 12 topics and adds"I agree."
Thanks to all for the forum tutorial (and history). Appreciated.
JB

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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 29 of 1053 (750361)
02-14-2015 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by dwise1
02-13-2015 10:25 PM


dwise1 writes:
Glenn R. Morton is a practicing geologist and a former young-earth creationist (YEC).
Yes, I found Glenn a few weeks ago through his Demon - so well described.
I learned the hard way that they believe that their faith depends utterly on "creation science" claims being true, such that if the earth is shown to be older than 10,000 years then Scripture would have no meaning
I was discussing this with a friend just a day or so ago. It's hard enough for any fundamentalist to let go of the YEC story, but if you know the 'niche' of the SDAs, they believe that they are the only true church because (among other minutiae) they keep the seventh day as the Sabbath. This they believe is commanded in remembrance of the seventh day of creation. If you let the 7 day creation story go, you lose your entire denomination from the name on down. The SDAs simply can't evolve on that one AT ALL.
A quote from an article in their church periodical "Ministry".
quote:
... if we abandon the 6,000 years, then we become vulnerable to the theory of organic evolution, and once evolution is adopted, the Sabbath will be abandoned and the Seventh-day Adventist Church will cease to be. The 6,000 years is the first in a series of dams extending from the head waters of a river to its mouth. If the dam farthest upstream breaks, then the cascading torrent will burst all the other dams along the course of the river.
Unlike other denominations, it's quite hard for me to say to these kids "You can accept the truth of an OE and still keep your faith and your church." - because they can't. Contrary to their programming, we all know that there is no reason one must give up faith in a God or the bible as a useful text, but they will HAVE to give up their church if they move away from YEC. From a social structure standpoint, the church is all these kids know -- literally. They've never been to a public school. They don't belong to swim teams or neighborhood basketball teams. They don't go to the YMCA or concerts with other kids. The church IS their life.
To bring my ramble back on point, Bristlecone pines MUST grow multiple rings per year - they HAVE to. RC dating MUST date live seals as 3,000 years old. Varves MUST be created by fast moving water (because that's been proven now). Science is a lie -- it HAS to be a lie. If not, then an entire life structure and value system falls.
My challenge is far more psychological than earth sciences, but I see light and cracks and curiosity.
JB

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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


Message 32 of 1053 (750369)
02-14-2015 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by RAZD
02-14-2015 3:49 PM


Re: dendrochronology 101
Awesome RAZD. Thanks.
I am very near large State and National forests and I strongly suspect that at the ranger stations I could get some cooperation regarding this project. They should know logged areas, dates etc.
It's also interesting that you bring up UTK. Through research I had read that they have a rather comprehensive dendrochronology program (The Laboratory of Tree Ring Science) and had already planned on attempting contact with them to see what sort of information they might help with. They are only about two hours away from me. Thanks for that contact.
I will spend more time with your 101 post and will formulate a few questions.
Thanks again.
JB

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ThinAirDesigns
Member (Idle past 1803 days)
Posts: 564
Joined: 02-12-2015


(2)
Message 34 of 1053 (750371)
02-14-2015 4:50 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by RAZD
02-14-2015 4:46 PM


Thanks for those suggestions RAZD. Can't wait to play with that myself.
I feel like I'm back in the middle school science class I never had. :-)
What fun
JB

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