Educational Ruins

March 22, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More
Cloudy Ruins by BrotherMagneto via Flickr Creative Commons

Cloudy Ruins by BrotherMagneto via Flickr Creative Commons

Anyone who has actually visited and studied ruins knows that they are created from orderly structures by a particular combination of forces.

First comes neglect, when people either lose appreciation for the value of the thing and stop maintaining it, or they simply abandon it.

Next comes vandalism, when people actively damage the structure to scavenge materials and souvenirs, to leave their own mark, or to intentionally destroy it. The latter is usually for religious reasons, as in purging earlier figureheads like Hatshepsut, Trotsky or the Bamiyan Buddhas.

Parthenon by Kallistos via Wikimedia Commons

Parthenon by Kallistos via Wikimedia Commons

The Greek Parthenon stood in moderately good shape for over 2,000 years. Then (9/26/1687) it was blown up for tactical (short sighted) military reasons. Pieces were carted off, and it was further ruined by ill considered reconstruction efforts in the 1930’s.

But this post is about an institutional edifice. Education in the United States is falling into ruins. Sure, it still is funded in a nominal sort of way. But people have forgotten its value. They even vote against tax increases necessary to maintain current standards. Schools are closing; one K-12 building in my neighborhood is now condos. My Junior High school was razed for a housing development.

Pharyngula points out how the University of Florida is now planning to shut down its geology department as a cost cutting measure. Geology is the science that gave Darwin the leg up to understand how natural selection works before anyone else. Geology and its understanding affects meteorology, biology, sociology, history, exo-planetary studies, and more.

Florida is one of the states in which regular attempts are made to insert Creationism into school itineraries. And geology is the biggest stumbling block to accepting a Young Earth. But I hope that is not their underlying reason. It is simple neglect of education in general.

But there is a strong vanadlism movement afoot in this country. Anti-science forces are working hard to put non-scientific ideas into science classes. Texas is a recurring battleground as school administrators attempt to keep up education credentials in spite of the onslaught.

Recently, a doomed law is running the gauntlet in the Texas legislature to allow unaccreditable private schools to offer advanced degrees. See Hank’s A Master’s in Creationism. If that seemed too harsh, try Pharyngula’s If you fail an IQ test in Texas, do they automatically put you in the legislature?

Hank is Australian. Yet he cares about how this sort of behavior is making the United States seem ever goofier. To let our once-admirable education system crumble is a step backwards for the world.

Disclosure. No, I don’t have kids. Yes, I pay 3 different school taxes.


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Category: American Culture, Current Events, Economy, Education, ignorance, Politics, Religion, Science

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (5)

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  1. The Florida University is named: "The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences". They should not have named themselves "Liberal". As I understand that word is an absolute show stopper in the US.

    Anyways, in Holland the situation is not much better. Education here is nothing more than a mega budget cutting factory. Mind you, all that money is taken straight out of education itself and poured into the ever thickening layers of education administrators, managers, directors, colleges of senior directors CEO's (and whatever else they think of), none of whom have anything to do with education whatsoever, never have, never plan to. It's just lots of secure, non productive jobs and places to soft-land ex-politicians. And the tax payers are footing the bills for it.

    /rant bit = off

  2. Ben says:

    One of the most amazing places is Chichen-Itza.

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    Haven't been to Chichen-Itza, yet. Nor even to Teotihuacan. But I did tour the ruins of Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, and Cahokia. This last one was the biggest city, yet the most degraded.

  4. Karl says:

    Glad to see Dan admits it was the geologists interpretations of the fossil record that set the stage for Darwin's theories to be so beleived by the geologists themselves who were glad to see supporting evidence for their presuppositions.

    Perhaps geology that is prehistory based upon assumptions should have budget cuts until the economy gets back on track. If they really want to connect their billions and millions of years to each other maybe they can get some more research funding. Other wise, what difference does it make? Which came first the agnostic or the atheist?

    Maybe there would be more public support for geological prehistory that tried to examine the fossil record in other ways than the closed approved peer review process that is entirely based on presuppositions that have been cast into stone.

    No pun intended.

    Glad to see MIT about to make their journals and research more a matter of public record and scrutiny.

    Karl Kunker

    • Dan Klarmann says:

      Karl is quite amusing. Darwin was a geologist who contributed valuable ideas to non-fossil-related geological theory before he got into biology. Sure, his only degree is in divinity, but he was a serious scholar.

      It is a pity that classroom discussion of Darwin doesn't teach of his contributions in the decades before he published his most famous two books on biology, nor of the state of evolutionary theory at the time Darwin was growing up and learning about it.

      Pity that we can't persuade Karl Kunker to follow our many links to find these things out, either.

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