Monday, March 10, 2014

The alchemy curriculum

Turns out that certain Jewish girls schools in Hackney, London have been doctoring their science exam papers to redact (hide) specific Biology questions. This vandalism is apparently because the people who run those particular "faith" schools don't like the idea that the facts of life, as confirmed by mountains of scientific evidence and indeed common sense, conflict with their religious dogmas. Predictably, it's evolution that's the subject at the core of this education scandal. Like most religions the fact that humans are evolved animals rather than magically created demi-gods doesn't fit with their mythologies and feels intuitively wrong to them. Our experience however shows that as we outgrow such myths and explore the universe honestly, we come to the realisation that reality does not conform to our parochial, tribal wishes or intuitions and also that ego's are notoriously bad drivers of real education.

I have a little thought experiment for the governors of such schools; how about if the secular society that provides the cultural and technological foundations for such establishments does a bit of redacting of it's own? How about we allow any old faith school to rip up carefully developed (factual) curricula and to insert any old supernatural nonsense instead? We allow this freedom under the condition that none of the graduates from such schools are permitted to hold positions involving science, technology or the evaluation of evidence, so forget careers in medicine, law, science, government, consultancy or technology because your kids simply aren't trained for it.

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