The Path Forward
Posted: 14 October 2010 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Howdy everyone.
I’m halfway into the first Chapter of Sam’s enlightening new book The Moral Landscape. I’m a slow reader and the concepts at hand require time to digest. I need to unload some thoughts and I figured this is the best place.

Simply from the premise Sam has introduced I see the need for action. He is correct in his assertion that science can and must offer the world a superior morality and value system. If we are to introduce and ingrain this concept around the world we must begin here at home in the U.S.
To reach our population with the concept, scientific morality will have to be taught in public school classrooms. As Christopher Hitchens has taught us, religion poisons everything. Especially the mind, which is why children at young ages must be exposed to science and scientific morality before religion gets a chance to take hold. Surely we would have
less secular intellectuals in our modern society if we weren’t exposed to the theory of evolution in gradeschool. 

Anyone who has read Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me or Zinn’s A Peoples History of the United States knows that public schools teach a boring, butchered, hideous, Republican form of history in our classrooms. This is shown to be true in many studies that show the more an American is educated the more likely he is to vote Democratic. Religion penetrates further into our education system than History unfortunately and Science is beaten back as well.

So how do we get Scientific Morality into the classrooms? We will need those capable of teaching it of course. The harder part would be getting into the curriculum itself. This branch of education will never be able to enter into curriculum through the Texas Board of Education, which dictates American textbooks. As many are aware the board is currently under neoconservative religious-fundamentalist domination. Atheist Texans under the Texas Constitution, Article I, Section 4 are ineligible to hold public office. Even if that law were found to be unconstitutional, Texas is generation’s away from secularists being able to partake in government as a majority. So any attempts to bring Scientific Morality into American education will have to be fought at the federal level through the DoE.

That’s all I’ve got for now. If anyone has any thoughts on this I’d love to hear them.

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Posted: 19 October 2010 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I don’t have an answer for you Static only another bad example.

I enrolled in Astronomy 101 in the local community college and was impressed that the teacher spent the first class stating over and over that there would be subject matter that might tax the belief systems of some students and that they should reconsider their participation in the class.  Things like the speed of light, the distance to the nearest star, the age of the universe etc, etc.

I sat there with my jaw wide open as this was going on thinking that I must have been transported to the middle of Mississippi and to the year 1901.  What would possess a teacher to make such a series of statements to students that seem so urbane and ‘with it’?

The rest of the course was well worth the effort and I learned a lot but at the last class the teacher described being called into a meeting with the parent of a 20 year old student to discuss how the school could propose that the Earth was over 8 Billion years old.  The parent was demanding that the course be changed to accommodate her impressionable daughter.

That’s what we are up against in even the most modern cities in the U.S.

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Posted: 20 October 2010 12:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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It seems easier to talk about getting a “science of morality” injected into European culture. Still, I have a technical background, so I’m not even sure how to do that.

It would be a major step forward if we could just overcome this taboo against religious criticism. That almost seems like a prerequisite for any other type of achievement in this area.

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Posted: 26 November 2010 10:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Static - 14 October 2010 01:39 PM

So how do we get Scientific Morality into the classrooms? We will need those capable of teaching it of course. The harder part would be getting into the curriculum itself. This branch of education will never be able to enter into curriculum through the Texas Board of Education, which dictates American textbooks. As many are aware the board is currently under neoconservative religious-fundamentalist domination. Atheist Texans under the Texas Constitution, Article I, Section 4 are ineligible to hold public office. Even if that law were found to be unconstitutional, Texas is generation’s away from secularists being able to partake in government as a majority. So any attempts to bring Scientific Morality into American education will have to be fought at the federal level through the DoE.

 

Hi Folks,
I too, have recently read Moral Landscape and feel the need to take action. Unfortunately, I agree with “Static” that while getting it into schools would be the quickest and most logical way to educate children, the battle is going to be long, tiresome and frustrating. The good news is, there’s the internet. And kids are really finding everything there, and they’re doing it on their own.

What Scientific Morality needs is a way to get everyone’s attention. And that requires some good marketing. There should be an internet radio station available 24/7 for people to tune into, with intelligent, charismatic speakers who are willing to take on religion continuously. If people keep hearing the truth, eventually they’ll start to believe it, or at least begin to doubt their faith. Another idea is commercials on YouTube. Commercials that advertise truth, kind of like the smoking ones, but promote evolution, reason, etc. And there needs to be a whole series of these that are really fun to watch, and at the same time, make you think.

If we really want Scientific Morality to catch on, we have to sell it in a way our culture understands. I know it sounds cheap, but it works. Let’s advertise something that’s at least worth discussing.

Feedback, please.

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Posted: 24 February 2011 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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You will all be interested in Skeptic.com’s general guide to activism called “What Do I Do Next?”. There is a summary, but also a whole pdf here: http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/what-do-i-do-next/

The goal is not to do everything, it is simply to do more than nothing.

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Nothing is either good or evil, but thinking makes it so. Now, if only I could get my mind to think it’s “good” to be oppressed, exploited, and intimidated into believing things that I don’t believe…

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