A series made using Plotagon to promote Unitarian Universalist ideals

Plotagon is an app that can be used to make videos to tell dramatic stories. I decided to make a series of videos with characters for representing Unitarian Universalism. If the Caleb and Sophia videos work for Jehovah’s Witnesses, why not do such videos for UUs?

https://www.plotagon.com/desktop/

A non-religious version of the infamous One Man, One Woman Jehovah’s Witnesses propaganda piece

__________________

Plans for a new Unitarian Universalist group

____________________

Dale Husband visits the town to explain UU teachings

___________

Debbie, her teacher, and her mother fight

_________________

Facing a dilemma in town, fight or flee

And the final episode of the series:

The First Unitarian Universalist Service in Town

As well known as I have been for my blog entries slamming the Baha’i Faith, I am really most proud of this project. Tearing down one religion is useless if you do not replace it with something better.

Bigotry and laziness disgrace America’s medical profession

Look at this story:

https://news.yahoo.com/am-worth-why-thousands-doctors-194203051.html

‘I Am Worth It’: Why Thousands of Doctors in America Can’t Get a Job

Emma Goldberg

 

Dr. Kristy Cromblin knew that as the descendant of Alabama sharecroppers and the first person in her family to go to college, making it to medical school might seem like an improbable dream. Her parents watched in proud disbelief as she inched closer to that goal, enrolling in a medical school in Barbados and enlisting in the military with plans to serve one day as a flight surgeon.

Then came an unexpected hurdle: A contentious divorce led Cromblin to take seven years away from medical school to care for her two sons. In 2012, she returned for her final year, excited to complete her exams and apply for residency, the final step in her training.

But no one had told Cromblin that hospital residency programs, which have been flooded with a rising number of applications in recent years, sometimes use the Electronic Residency Application Service software program to filter out various applications, whether they’re from students with low test scores or from international medical students. Cromblin had passed all her exams and earned her M.D., but was rejected from 75 programs. In the following years, as she kept applying, she learned that some programs filter out applicants who graduated from medical school more than three years earlier. Her rejection pile kept growing. She is now on unemployment, with $250,000 in student loans.

“There are times you question your worth,” Cromblin, 43, said. “You wonder if you’re useless. I’ve had to encourage myself over and over: I am worth it. I am useful. I am damn good.”

Cromblin is one of as many as 10,000 chronically unmatched doctors in the United States, people who graduated from medical school but are consistently rejected from residency programs. The National Resident Matching Program promotes its high match rate, with 94% of American medical students matching into residency programs last year on Match Day, which occurs annually on the third Friday in March. But the match rate for Americans who study at medical schools abroad is far lower, with just 61% matching into residency spots.

Note the description of the doctor in question:

the descendant of Alabama sharecroppers and the first person in her family to go to college

A contentious divorce led Cromblin to take seven years away from medical school to care for her two sons.

Which indicates to me that she is black, and as a single mother as well she has TWO strikes against her!

Continuing the article:

Last year, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a study that found that the country would face a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033, a prospect made all the more alarming as hospitals confront the possibility of fighting future crises similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet each year thousands of graduates emerge from medical schools with a virtually useless M.D. or D.O.; without residency experience, they do not qualify for licensure in any state.

Then don’t make residency experience an issue, obviously.

Residency directors say that although they are committed to diversity and consider many factors beyond test scores, they sometimes use filters in sifting through applications because they receive thousands of applications for just a handful of spots. “Nobody has the time or desire to read this many applications,” Dr. Suzanne Karan, an anesthesiologist at the University of Rochester, wrote in a 2019 blog post. “It makes my job a lot easier when I can filter your applications by M.D./D.O./foreign graduate.”

But Dr. William W. Pinsky, the chief executive of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, which credentials graduates of international medical schools, said residency directors who down-rank medical students from abroad were missing out on opportunities to diversify their programs.

“I understand program directors have to do what they have to do,” Pinsky said. “But if they put on a filter to leave out international graduates, they’re cheating themselves.”

Of course, but to a racist, cheating yourself doesn’t matter if in the end you can surround yourself with people like you. We need to stop making excuses for these biased hiring practices and just call these residency directors out on their bullshit.

Aspiring to help

The pool of unmatched doctors began to grow in 2006 when the Association of American Medical Colleges called on medical schools to increase their first-year enrollment by 30%; the group also called for an increase in federally supported residency positions, but those remained capped under the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act in 2019 to increase the number of Medicare-supported residency positions available for eligible medical school graduates by 3,000 per year over a period of five years, but it has not received a vote. In late December, Congress passed a legislative package creating 1,000 new Medicare-supported residency positions over the next five years.

Dr. Adaira Landry, an emergency physician in Boston, said of all the young doctors she had mentored, those who went unmatched were the most challenging to assist: “They want to be part of our health care system,” she said. “But they have this boulder blocking them.”

But it’s not just black doctors that are discriminated against.

At some point, Dr. Saideh Farahmandnia lost count of the number of residency rejection emails she had received. Still, she could remember the poignant feeling of arriving in 2005 at Ross School of Medicine in Dominica, thinking she was “the luckiest person in the world.” She had grown up in a religious minority community in Iran in which access to higher education was restricted. When she passed her licensing exams, she ecstatically called her parents to tell them they had raised a doctor.

After medical school, she spent two years doing research with a cardiothoracic surgeon at Stanford, thinking it would make her residency applications more competitive. But she applied to 150 residency programs, from rural to urban community hospitals, and received 150 rejections. She kept applying every year until 2015, when her mother died suddenly and she took a break to grieve.

“You leave your family to follow your passion and promise you’re going to help the country that adopted you,” Farahmandnia, 41, said. “At the end, you’re left with $300,000 in student loans and a degree that took so much of your life and precious time with your mother.”

Note this detail:

She had grown up in a religious minority community in Iran in which access to higher education was restricted.

Most likely, she is a Baha’i, and Baha’is in Iran ARE denied higher education. Even as a critic of the Baha’i Faith, that strikes me as stupid.

The average medical school debt for students graduating in 2019 was $201,490, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Students who match into residency positions soon advance and become attending physicians, making an average of nearly $200,000 a year. But unmatched students are left scrambling to find other areas of work that can help them repay their debts.

With the ongoing controversy over student debt in general, this is even more serious. I wonder if some kind of class action lawsuit would help.

Dr. Douglas Medina, who graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2011 and has been unable to match, says he pays at least $220 each month in loans, though some are now paused. “Just a couple of weeks ago I tried to decide between student loans or a stroller for the baby that’s coming,” he said. “It’s not just our careers being ruined, it’s our families.”

Remember this the next time you see some conservative in politics speak about the need for “family values”. They mean WHITE family values.

‘The cold smack of reality’

Students graduating from American colleges choose to go to medical school abroad for many reasons. Some have test-taking anxiety and prefer to apply to schools that don’t rely on MCAT scores for admission; others are attracted by the warmth and adventure promised by schools based in the Caribbean, which tend to have acceptance rates that are 10 times as high as those of American schools.

But many applicants, especially those coming from families unfamiliar with the intricacies of medical training, say they aren’t warned of the low match rates for international medical students.

“When I graduated, I got the cold smack of reality that all my credentials don’t matter, because you’re not getting past that match algorithm,” said Kyle, an international medical school graduate who asked that only his given name be used because he is reapplying for residency after an initial rejection.

Most frustrating, Kyle said, is being unable to work when he is aware of the urgent need for Black physicians like himself, especially in places like Atlanta, where he was raised. “It really hurts, because everyone thinks I should be a doctor,” he said. “They saw me pass my tests, they celebrated with me.”

Pinsky of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates said that the organization was working with the World Directory of Medical Schools to ensure that international schools described their credentials in a more clear and honest way.

“Unfortunately, there are schools that perhaps exaggerate a bit on their websites in terms of the success of their graduating students,” Pinsky said.

The 61% match rate for international students may understate the problem, some experts say, because it does not account for medical students who receive no interview offers. With those students included, the match rate for international medical students may drop as low as 50%.

Residency program directors said that in recent years they had increased their efforts to look at candidates holistically. “Straight A’s in college and perfect test scores does not a perfect applicant make,” said Dr. Susana Morales, an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “We’re interested in diversity of background, geographic diversity.”

Question: Why do medical students who study abroad insist on coming back to America to proceed with their careers?

Standing on the sidelines

Some international medical students struggling to match have looked for alternative pathways into medical work. Arkansas and Missouri are among the states that offer assistant physician licenses for people who have completed their licensing exams but have not completed residency. Unmatched doctors, eager to use their clinical skills to help in the pandemic, said that they had found the opportunity to serve as assistant physicians particularly meaningful during the crisis.

After she failed a first attempt at a licensing exam, then passed on her second try, Dr. Faarina Khan, 30, found herself shut out of the matching process. Over the past five years, she has spent more than $30,000 in residency application fees. But with an assistant physician license, she was able to join the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team in the spring, helping out in medical facilities where staff members had tested positive for coronavirus.

“Hospitals need to realize that there are people in my position who could show up to work in the next hour if we’re called,” Khan said. “I didn’t go to medical school to sit on the sidelines.”

Legislation allowing for similar licensure is being considered in a handful of states. This position typically pays about $55,000 per year — much less than a physician might earn — which makes it challenging to pay off loans, but it allows for medical school graduates to keep up with their clinical training.

Cromblin, in Prattville, Alabama, felt a similar urge to join the COVID-19 front line in the spring. She had defaulted on a loan and had little in her bank account, but as soon as she received her stimulus check she bought a plane ticket to New York. She spent the month of April volunteering with the medical staff at Jamaica Medical Center in Queens.

She applied again for residency positions this year, although she says her sons have a hard time believing that their mother will ever become a practicing doctor.

“Every time I get a rejection letter, I go through my positive affirmations,” she said. “I say, ‘There’s a place for me, this just isn’t the one.’ ”

I know a place that must be desperate for doctors to come help its people: AFRICA!

Two Reasons for Public Ignorance

There is a reason why I call Africa the Cursed Continent. It was almost entirely taken over and beaten down by European imperialism around the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries:

africa-partition

And even after the Europeans gave up control of those areas after World War II, they mostly left the Africans to fend for themselves. The results were horrific. The following cartograms, representing different territories in the world by size according to various statistics, show what Africans are suffering:

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=230

Malaria Deaths

https://i1.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/230.png
In 2003, 92% of malaria cases and 94% of malarial deaths were recorded as being in African territories. The other 6% of deaths were mainly in Asia Pacific and Southern Asia. The total deaths recorded were 0.15% of the total cases. Whilst there were most malaria cases in Southeastern Africa, there were most deaths in Central Africa. Symptoms of malaria include fever and vomiting. Most deaths occur in cerebral malaria.The term ‘malaria’ comes from the medieval Italian ‘mala aria’ meaning ‘bad air’. The term was coined at a time before the mosquito had been identified as the carrier of the parasite.

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=232

Cholera Deaths

https://i1.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/232.png

Cholera deaths result from severe dehydration caused by diarrhoea. This is treatable: in 2004 the number of cholera deaths was only 2.5% of the number of cholera cases that year. Distributions of cholera cases and deaths differ due to differing availability of treatments.

In 1962, in Papua New Guinea, 36% of cholera cases, which was 464 people, died. In 2004, in the Central African Republic, 15% of cholera cases, which was 48 people, died.

In contrast, there were 73 territories where nobody died from cholera, because of good sanitation, clean water and available treatment. These territories have no area on this map.

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=236

Yellow Fever

https://i2.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/236.png

Yellow fever is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes. Unlike malaria, also carried by mosquitoes, yellow fever is not found in Southern Asia. This disease is almost exclusively found in Northern Africa (68% of cases) and South America (31% of cases).

Yellow fever is also known as black vomit (vomit negro in Spanish). Both of these names describe some of the more severe symptoms. “Yellow fever” due to the fever and jaundice that can occur. “Black vomit” because of the congealed blood in the sick of its victims.

A vaccine against yellow fever exists, but not everyone has access to this. 1 in 10 yellow fever cases lead to death.

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=227

HIV Prevalence

https://i2.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/227.png

HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection, attacks the immune system. It eventually causes AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. With cases first recognised in the United States in 1981, AIDS increases the risk of many infections and tumours.In 2003, the highest HIV prevalence was Swaziland, where 38%, or almost 4 in every 10 people aged 15 to 49 years, were HIV positive. All ten territories with the highest prevalence of HIV are in Central and Southeastern Africa.Transmission of HIV is through sex, using infected needles and in the womb. Infected children are not shown here. HIV/AIDS often has an acquired social stigma.

Despite Africa being the most disease ridden continent, it also has the fewest doctors to treat those diseases.

http://archive.worldmapper.org/display.php?selected=219

Physicians Working

https://i0.wp.com/archive.worldmapper.org/images/largepng/219.png

A physician can also be called a medical doctor. Physicians may be general practitioners or may specialise. The Caribbean island of Cuba has the most physicians per person working there; the fewest physicians per person are in the Southeastern African territory of Malawi.In 2004 there were 7.7 million physicians working around the world. The largest number were in China, which is the largest territory on the map. If physicians were distributed according to population, there would be 124 physicians to every 100,000 people. The most concentrated 50% of physicians live in territories with less than a fifth of the world population. The worst off fifth are served by only 2% of the world’s physicians.

So there is the obvious solution: if you can’t get a position in America, MOVE TO WHERE YOU ARE REALLY NEEDED!

Private schools be damned!

One of the most contemptible stunts American conservatives have pulled over the past several decades is attempting to undermine the public school systems in the various states of the USA (which are expected to be open to and educate ALL children) and promote private schools which are designed to teach members of one specific religion. The results can be places of brainwashing instead of genuine education. Instead of merely teaching ABOUT religions, they often indoctrinate children with lies to justify religious bigotry.

This was shown clearly to me by this comment on another blog:
http://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/01/12/no-my-diversity-doesnt-have-to-include-your-bigotry/#comment-189808

I spent first through fourth grades in a Roman Catholic private school. We were taught that the only people who were Christians and who were going to Heaven were Roman Catholics. Everyone else was damned. No one else believed in God.

The summer between fourth and fifth grades my parents bought a house and I was told I would be going to the public school. I was terrified because I was going to be associating with the damned.

On the very first day of fifth grade I had a crisis of faith because how did the school day start? One of the kids stood up in front of the classroom and read five verses from the Psalms. In four years of school at a RC private school, we never once read from the Bible.

In my public school there were Jews who believed in God, Methodists who believed in God, Presbyterians who believed in God, black people who believed in God, Asians who believed in God…

That was the beginning of my leave-taking from the Roman Catholic Church because those lay teachers, nuns, and priests had lied to me.

I find it hard to believe that the Roman Catholic Church would deny the Christianity of Protestants, of Eastern Orthodox believers, or of others. Then again, it is common for conservative Protestants to claim that Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, or even Seventh Day Adventists are not true Christians, but are “cults” instead. But from a Jewish perspective, Christianity clearly began as a cult breaking away from orthodox Judaism. A cult is merely a dogmatic religion that has not (yet) gotten very popular.

Which is why I said elsewhere, “It is easy to assume you have the only true faith when you have only that one faith in your community and do not know followers of other religions except through crude stereotypes. Once you get to know those followers as people, those stereotypes tend to break down. Exposure to those people breeds tolerance quite naturally.”

In places like Saudi Arabia, only Islam is tolerated and it is therefore like a cult there. In some other countries of South and Central America, Roman Catholicism may be the cult. In parts of Israel, Hasidic Judaism may be the cult. When the state directly supports ANY religion and excludes all others, the religion no longer becomes a healthy means of support for the community and instead becomes an instrument of oppression and thus EVIL!

Weren’t Christians persecuted by Romans before they came to dominate the Roman Empire later? Wasn’t the Prophet Muhammad and his first followers persecuted by their pagan neighbors? Weren’t the Puritans persecuted by the Anglicans before leaving England to found the colony of Massachusettes….only to oppress others who were not Puritans, even killing some suspected of being witches? And don’t get me started on Israel’s Jewish dominated government and its bigotry against Arabs and Muslims!

These things happened because people did not fight for religious FREEDOM for all, but only for the right of their own specific religion to take over and rule the society. And that is evil. Equating any religion with exclusive goodness and truth is to lie to people. Goodness and truth can only be determined by how it actually affects real people in the present time; it does not matter in the slightest what scriptures said in the past, because we are not living in the past!

We need to stop the lies in the USA, in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world. We have to oppose and condemn private schools that are designed for one specific religion so that all children can be exposed to as much truth as possible.

Quite simply, I do not want children being taught only religious bullshit like what is recorded on these earlier blog entries without some sort of response from non-believers:

https://dalehusband.com/2011/03/09/insulting-and-libeling-unbelievers/

https://dalehusband.com/2009/10/12/lying-about-history-for-the-bible/

https://dalehusband.com/2017/03/12/lying-about-history-for-the-bible-round-2/

https://dalehusband.com/2010/09/14/the-book-of-mormon-is-a-p-o-s/

https://dalehusband.com/2011/01/05/how-to-lie-to-children-about-evolution/

https://dalehusband.com/2010/08/20/the-prophet-isaiah-did-not-predict-the-coming-of-jesus/

And it is not just religion I worry about. What if private schools teach nonsense like that from the “Health Ranger” Mike Adams and insist everything he says is true?  https://dalehusband.com/category/skepticism/natural-news/

Or the lunacy of Pamela Geller as if she is always correct:  https://dalehusband.com/2014/08/30/pamela-geller-pathological-liar-hypocrite-and-bigot/

Or how about these dogmas?

https://dalehusband.com/2017/03/16/responding-to-the-future-of-freedom-foundation/

Yes, I already said similar things here, but I think it is well worth repeating now.

Celebrating Black History Month, Stupidly

Read this embarrassing article:

http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/black-history-month-inspired-school-lunch-menu-cau/ndGPD/
Black History Month inspired school lunch menu causes outcry

menuNoelle Walker and KTVU.com

CONCORD, Calif. —

A student effort to come up with a special menu for Black History Month backfired at Carondelet High School in Concord.

Interim President, Sister Ann Bernard, said students who were members of the Black Student Union club at neighboring De La Salle High School planned a special lunch to celebrate the month.  The menu included fried chicken, corn bread and watermelon.

“They thought this was a very clever way, in their own way, of celebrating Black History Month. It was as simple, and naive as that,” Sister Bernard explained.

On Thursday Bernard publicly apologized for the event she said was planned without following procedures to get staff approval.

“It was the parents who thought, rightfully so, we were being insensitive to African American culture, which is not who we are or what we profess,” Bernard said, shaking her head.

The first staff or administration heard of the proposed menu was when it was announced over the loudspeaker Monday morning.

“Most people were laughing, but they were laughing nervously because they knew it wasn’t right,” said sophomore, Dom Carpenello.

While Carpenello admitted the menu sounded tasty, she admitted, “The menu really doesn’t have anything to do with black history.”

The chief curator at Oakland’s African American Museum and Library, Rick Moss, agreed.

“I guess there’s an impression that all black people eat this kind of food, which of course is false,” Moss said.

He said the menu came from a place of ignorance about what Black History Month means, but says the reaction to the students’ misstep was also wrong.

“So this is wonderful opportunity to actually inform people, not something to react to,” Moss said.

Carondelet High School is using the incident as a “teachable moment,” Sister Bernard said there will be teacher sensitivity training and a student assembly this month.

“There’s education needed on every single level, not just for students, but also for faculty and staff,” she said.

As for the menu, Bernard said, “I can assure you that fried chicken and the rest of it is not part of it.”

I cannot believe the sheer ignorance being displayed here! This issue is about misrepresenting the culture of an entire race. Fried chicken, corn bread. and watermelon are not and have never been “black” foods, but were among the cheap foods served to the enslaved ancestors of most African-Americans by slaveowners. It would be like showing pictures of Nazi concentration camps as part of celebrating Jewish History Month!

For more details on the incredible stupidity of it all, read this:

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/02/07/fried-chicken-lunch-black-history-month-really/

Women shouldn’t teach at Christian schools, round three!

Not again!!!!

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/women-shouldnt-teach-at-christian-schools/

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/women-shouldnt-teach-at-christian-schools-round-2/

And now……

http://www.inquisitr.com/550024/pregnant-woman-fired-for-premarital-sex/

A pregnant woman was fired for premarital sex, according to a lawsuit she filed that claims wrongful termination.

The woman, Teri James, was a teacher at San Diego Christian College when she was called into her supervisor’s office in October.

Her supervisor got straight to the point when she asked if James was pregnant, reports TODAY. James, unmarried at the time, confirmed the news.

The admission was a violation of the school’s rules, according to the lawsuit filed by James in San Diego County superior court. She explained in the lawsuit that the termination letter included:

“Teri engaged in activity outside the scope of the Handbook and Community Covenant that does not build up the college’s mission.”

James added that her then-fiance was offered a job by the school, even though they knew he engaged in premarital sex. James added of the meeting where she was fired:

“I had to leave right after the meeting. I had to go into the office with all of my co-workers and say I’m leaving. I never came back so I don’t know what my co-workers thought, but for me, it was humiliating.”

ABC Local notes that Teri James isn’t suing to get her job back. Instead, she is suing for damages because of wrongful termination and invasion of privacy.

The school’s community covenant states that Biblical character is highly valued and desire. It also states that the school frowns on sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, though it doesn’t say what the consequence would be for a violation. Teri James added of her termination:

“San Diego Christian College did not show any mercy or grace towards me, and acted completely un-Christ-like. They made more of a business decision than showing God’s love.”

James’ attorney, Gloria Allred, added that the college, while a Christian school, still has to “comply with the laws of the state of California.” This means they cannot discriminate against an employee based on gender, marital status, or pregnancy.

Do you think the college was right to fire Teri James for having premarital sex?

Even Jesus was quoted as saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Clearly, those Christian schools and their “Biblical” values are a load of crap!

Women shouldn’t teach at Christian schools, round 2

First, look at this:

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/women-shouldnt-teach-at-christian-schools/

Are all Christian schools this bigoted? Appearantly!

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/former-coach-fired-christian-school-wedlock-pregnancy-145601399.html#

Former coach of the year fired from Christian school for out-of-wedlock pregnancy

In an incredibly bizarre situation that appears headed for a legal challenge, a Dallas-area volleyball coach and science teacher was fired by the Christian school at which she worked for becoming pregnant before being married.

As first reported by Dallas Fort Worth network WFAA, Rockwall (Texas) Heritage Christian Academy volleyball coach and science teacher Cathy Samford was fired during the fall semester after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Samford had led the volleyball program for three years and had been named the school’s coach of the year once during that span.

Still, that couldn’t help save her job when she first admitted her pregnancy during the fall semester, with the school terminating her based on a  violation of her contract’s morals clause because it was determined her pregnancy meant she could not serve as “a Christian role model.”

“I looked it up and thought, ‘They can’t do this,'” the 29-year-old Samford told WFAA. “We all have different views and interpretations. It’s not necessarily the Christian thing to do to throw somebody aside because of those.”

While Samford and her lawyer, Colin Walsh, are working toward filing a discrimination suit against the school, their case may be complicated by the fact that Heritage Christian Academy is a private school, and recent Supreme Court decisions have defended the right of Christian schools to exert more influence on their hirings and firings because they consider teachers to be “ministers in the classroom.”

“The Supreme Court, as a matter of fact in the last month, has ruled 9-to-0 that a Christian school does have that right, because this is a ministry, so we have the right to have standards of conduct,” Heritage Christian Academy headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor, who acknowledged that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had contacted the school, told WFAA. “How’s it going to look to a little fourth-grade girl that sees she’s pregnant and she’s not married?”

 

While the two parties attempted mediation, those efforts failed quickly because the school refused to consider a settlement for the case.

That has left Samford uninsured and in financial distress as she heads towards giving birth, a situation she never considered possible when she was a proud member of Heritage Christian Academy’s faculty.

Would it have been better if this teacher and coach had chosen abortion to hide that she was ever pregnant? According to traditional Christian morals, isn’t having an abortion even worse than having the baby out of wedlock? And have any men been fired for getting a woman pregnant out of wedlock? I’ve never heard of that happening!

This is why I will never teach at or send any children I have to such a school….most of them seem to be run by sexist hypocrites! This is not about enforcing morals, this is about a school trying to save money by denying an insurance claim, something you would expect only from corrupt private businesses! And even if having a baby out of wedlock is considered immoral, the BABY should not be punished for her parents’ mistakes!

Grades in school should be eliminated

It has occurred to me that giving letter grades to students in school is a form of rating some better than others that has nothing to do with whether they are successful or not. If the lowest passing grade is a D-, then a student who gets that grade will still pass, just as much as one who gets an A+. So why bother with such grades at all?

I would propose instead that all students be allowed only TWO levels of achievement: P (pass) or F (fail) and that in order to pass, they must score an average of at least 90% on tests in a certain subject, the average being calculated at the end of a school year instead of every six weeks.

Another reform I would make would be to stop graduating students from high school after they complete 12th grade. Instead, I think the various levels in school should be:

Elementary school:  Level I through Level V (I’m using Roman numerals for the various levels),

Middle school:  Level VI though X,

High school: Level XI though Level XV.

with “college” or “university” levels eliminated because they will be integrated with the high school levels.

For example, in math, basic arithmetic could be Levels I and II, algebra could be Level III or IV, and calculus could be Level X or XI. Similar designations would be made for other subjects.

A student who fails a level would be forced in the next year to retake the course(s) he failed, without exception. Thus if he was at Level II, he would remain at that level until he passes all his Level II courses. Thus, there might be children well past puberty that would still be in elementary school. Students who have finished elementary school but not yet reached middle school may leave school, though their job prospects would be limited. The same is true for students that have finished middle school but not yet reached high school.

ROTE LEARNING MUST BE BANNED! Instead, children of all ages should be expected to express creativity and critical thinking by writing the answers to their tests in essay form, not merely marking “true” or “false” to a question or answering a multiple choice question in which it is possible to get the right answer by accident or by cheating! By causing children to take controversial positions and defend them before their peers, they may soon learn that many things they assumed were absolutely true from their parents and others are not necessarily so.

The New Atheists step up their campaign against the NCSE and the BCSE

This is the direct sequel to:

https://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/atheists-shrieking-about-the-aaas/

Once again, P Z Myers and Jerry Coyne have decided to push for the elimination of all mentioning of religion in scientific organizations, including the NCSE (National Center for Science Education, the American organization defending evolution) and the BCSE (British Centre for Science Education, the version of the NCSE in the United Kingdom).

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/a-bright-spot-at-the-chronicle-and-an-open-letter/

Open letter to the NCSE and BCSE
Dear comrades:

Although we may diverge in our philosophies and actions toward religion, we share a common goal: the promulgation of good science education in Britain and America—indeed, throughout the world.  Many of us, like myself and Richard Dawkins, spend a lot of time teaching evolution to the general public.  There’s little doubt, in fact, that Dawkins is the preeminent teacher of evolution in the world. He has not only turned many people on to modern evolutionary biology, but has converted many evolution-deniers (most of them religious) to evolution-accepters.

Nevertheless, your employees, present and former, have chosen to spend much of their time battling not creationists, but evolutionists who happen to be atheists.  This apparently comes from your idea that if evolutionists also espouse atheism, it will hurt the cause of science education and turn people away from evolution.  I think this is misguided for several reasons, including a complete lack of evidence that your idea is true, but also your apparent failure to recognize that creationism is a symptom of religion (and not just fundamentalist religion), and will be with us until faith disappears. That is one reason—and, given the pernicious effect of religion, a minor one—for the fact that we choose to fight on both fronts.

The official policy of your organizations—certainly of the NCSE—is apparently to cozy up to religion.  You have “faith projects,” you constantly tell us to shut up about religion, and you even espouse a kind of theology which claims that faith and science are compatible.  Clearly you are going to continue with these activities, for you’ve done nothing to change them in the face of criticism.  And your employees, past and present, will continue to heap invective on New Atheists and tar people like Richard Dawkins with undeserved opprobrium.

We will continue to answer the misguided attacks by people like Josh Rosenau, Roger Stanyard, and Nick Matzke so long as they keep mounting those attacks.  I don’t expect them to abate, but I’d like your organizations to recognize this: you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism.  And I doubt that those attacks have converted many Christians or Muslims to the cause of evolution.  This is a shame, because we all recognize that the NCSE has done some great things in the past and, I hope, will—like the new BCSE—continue do great things in the future.

There is a double irony in this situation.  First, your repeated and strong accusations that, by criticizing religion, atheists are alienating our pro-evolution allies (liberal Christians), has precisely the same alienating effect on your allies: scientists who are atheists.  Second, your assertion that only you have the requisite communication skills to promote evolution is belied by the observation that you have, by your own ham-handed communications, alienated many people who are on the side of good science and evolution.  You have lost your natural allies.  And this is not just speculation, for those allies were us, and we’re telling you so.

Sincerely,
Jerry Coyne

Let’s look at some excerpts from this open letter:

There’s little doubt, in fact, that Dawkins is the preeminent teacher of evolution in the world. He has not only turned many people on to modern evolutionary biology, but has converted many evolution-deniers (most of them religious) to evolution-accepters.

Note that Coyne does not specify that Dawkins has converted all these former evolution-deniers into atheists.

Nevertheless, your employees, present and former, have chosen to spend much of their time battling not creationists, but evolutionists who happen to be atheists.

How so? By not openly supporting atheism?

you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism.

HA HA HA HA HA HA! So not affirming atheism is the same as attacking it? REALLY?! Show me ONE official statement by the NCSE or the BCSE that attacks or denies atheism. Just one!

your repeated and strong accusations that, by criticizing religion, atheists are alienating our pro-evolution allies (liberal Christians), has precisely the same alienating effect on your allies: scientists who are atheists.

Coyne, you are alienated only because you are so convinced that only atheism is true. But that has nothing to do with teaching science. The fact remains that many children from Christian backgrounds will be learning evolution in schools and if they see a conflict between evolution and the Bible, they will remain Creationists rather than give up their faith and accept evolution. The efforts at accommodation by the NCSE and the BCSE are intended to show that you can choose to be religious and deal with science as it is also. It is YOU that is being intolerant, Coyne! It is YOU that choose to be alienated. You can still advocate atheism on your blog while promoting evolution too. No one in the NCSE or the BCSE is saying you cannot.  So what is the problem?

Then P Z says on his blog:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/the_bcse_blows_up.php

How often do we have to repeat ourselves? There is no goal of turning the NCSE or the BCSE into an atheist organization; we think having an organization that is honestly neutral on the religious issue is extremely useful in advancing the cause of good science education for all. We want the NCSE/BCSE to support neither atheism nor religion.

You know what? The atheists in this argument have a crystal-clear understanding of the difference between atheism and secularism, and are saying that the science education organizations should be secular. It’s these sloppy accommodationists who have allowed liberal christianity to become their default position who have violated the distinction.

First, no one is asking Myers and other atheists to repeat themselves, so that is just rhetorical crap. Second, the NCSE has made clear its own religious neutrality.

http://ncse.com/about/faq

What is NCSE’s religious position?

None. The National Center for Science Education is not affiliated with any religious organization or belief. We and our members enthusiastically support the right of every individual to hold, practice, and advocate their beliefs, religious or non-religious. Our members range from devout practitioners of several religions to atheists, with many shades of belief in between. What unites them is a conviction that science and the scientific method, and not any particular religious belief, should determine science curriculum. (Emphasis mine)

Sorry, but until atheists become the vast majority of American and British people, the screaming about accommodation by atheists is pointless. I just don’t accept it. If the atheists wish to have all science organizations never mention religions or treat any religious people with respect again,  they can push for that. And once they get their way, the political support for scientific organizations will most likely dry up.  And the only ones who gain from that would be Creationists. The atheist fanatics are giving them exactly the talking points they need to fight longer and harder the public relations war over science education!

Please support both the NCSE and the BCSE. Here are their websites:

http://ncse.com/

http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/

No Fun with Dick and Jane

See Johnny read. Johnny reads about Dick and Jane. Read, read, read Johnny. Boring, boring book. Johnny hates to read. Johnny can’t read the newspaper yet.

Seriously, the people who created and published the classic Dick and Jane Readers of the 20th Century should have been banned from working in any school or publishing company! I wonder how many young minds were ruined by those idiots!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_and_Jane

I am a champion of phonics, and hope we never repeat the mistakes made in dumbing down our education via a long discredited method of teaching reading. Rudolf Flesch is one of my heros.

Attacking homophobia and bullying in the Fort Worth City Council

Having lived in the Fort Worth area all my life, I was never prouder of that than I was when I saw this video on YouTube. For the people of Texas, there is hope for greater enlightenment as long as people like Joel Burns and myself are around!

Such courage may cause him to be voted out of office, but it may also lead to a revolution. Let us keep up the pressure to stop the hate, the violence and the ignorance.

I’ll add this much older voice to Mr Burns’ as well:

Because bigotry is evil no matter where it comes from, and even if religion or social standards support it.

A damning statement about public schools

Occationally I find a statement by someone so stunning in its brilliance, yet so obvious, that I feel the need to spread it around. Such as this:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/08/i_am_the_wrong_person_to_answe.php#comment-2702235

Posted by: skeptifem Author Profile Page | August 3, 2010 10:28 PM   #9

Public school isn’t meant to genuinely educate. It never will. They dole out skills that increase the value of the lowest rung of workers. That is the purpose of it. Having customers and workers who can read and do basic math is something that power structures need, so we have it.

The current cirriculum in schools does not prepare students for huge portions of living, perpetuating privilege and disadvantage. People come out of school knowing nothing about how to go further than HS, medicine, the law, economics, and history. Children are taught obedience and discouraged from thinking critically. The liklihood of a state institution portraying the state honestly (which is to say, in a negative light) is unlikely. So it isn’t as though everyone who grew up in public school isn’t pumped full of ridiculous lies in the same way the homeschoolers are, it is just a different set of lies.
Real knowledge and the ability to think critically is kept to classes of people who are conditioned for obedience. The number and variety of meaningless hoops a person typically has to jump through in order to make it far in education weeds out radical people. Even on the K-12 level, people are branded “behavior problems” (of course there are genuine ones as well), or put into “slow” or “advanced” groups based on what people should know by a certain age, as if minds don’t vary wildly in that respect. It divides em, often along race/class/sex lines. It teaches learning is a chore (that takes place between 7 and 3), and you learn what other people say, and that you unwind by doing a bunch of non thinking by buying products or staring at screens all day. It kills the motivation to learn. Children don’t see the past or future of the world they are in, shut in with only people their own age except for authority figures.

SO yeah, I unschool. I don’t see the supremacy of public school at all. Crappy homeschools literally move school into homes- that is what creationist homeschoolers do in spades. School would have to be radically rethought for me to approve, and they have been before. Voluntary skill swaps, anarchist free schools from the early 1900s, that I would approve of in a school. As is public school is a crock of shit.

I must note that I was brought up in public schools, even in college. I guess I was lucky I learned to think as critically as I do. But I am not against public schools. But P Z Myers, who wrote the blog entry skeptifem was commenting on, said at the beginning:

I am not a fan of homeschooling; in fact, if I had my way, I’d make it illegal.

I am glad that P Z is not a dictator over us, then. Not all homeschoolers are religious fundamentalists. That’s an urban myth we need to stamp out.

There are indeed secular homeschoolers. Here are some of their websites:

http://www.secularhomeschool.com/

http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/

http://www.secularhomeschoolers.net/

http://www.atheistview.com/secular_homeschool.htm

There are also Unitarian Universalists who homeschool:

http://www.uuhomeschool.org/

Public schools may provide a valuble service, but no one should rely on them exclusively to educate their children. Parents and other adults also have a responsibility to be teachers, now and forever. Let it be so.

The stupidity of “Life After People”

The History Channel is showing a series titled “Life After People”. It is the sequel to a two hour special that was broadcast on the same channel last year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_After_People

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_After_People:_The_Series

The assumption in all versions of this show is that humans disappear SUDDENLY, by some completely unknown and unexplained process, leaving all man-made structures to slowly decay and become overrun by wildlife and plants. Some Protestants claim a simular event will occur, called the Rapture, but it will only involve them, not humanity as a whole. Quite simply, this idea is completely unscientific and irrational.

Here’s another version of the same concept:

0,,351113,00

Let’s face it: While it may be fun to speculate what might happen to man-made structures after we are gone, it is pointless to do so while avoiding the real issue of what might cause humans to go extinct. Why are we so afraid to actually discuss this? It is a process that will take at least 100 years, involve massive death and suffering, and may be preventable. The History Channel is being profoundly irresponsible and cowardly NOT to discuss this in detail.

Besides, its not even history, is it?

Honorary degrees should be ILLEGAL!

And here is why:

This happened on May 25, 2007. The man being booed and condemned by the graduating seniors of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst was Andrew Card, the former White House Chief of Staff under Bush Jr. He took no classes to earn that degree, it was just given to him. He was a major player and promoter of the Iraq War that Bush Jr started.

Such a man getting an honorary degree sends the wrong message: that you can lie to the American people to start a war for shoddy purposes, send thousands of Americans to their deaths in that war, and still be rewarded for that insanity.

An explanation for the awarding of that honorary degree was given here:

http://thesciencepundit.blogspot.com/2007/05/hooray-for-umass-grads.html

Will said…
No, no — the board of trustees awards the honorary degrees. The trustees are political appointees, mostly selected by the recently departed Mitt Romney. They’re about as far removed as possible from sentiment in the “ivory towers” of UMass.

Indeed, that is reason enough to ban the practice of honorary degrees altogether! Politics should have NO bearing on such a thing! Only academic achievement!

Science needs a new superhero

Carl Sagan died in 1996, yet he still lives in the hearts of those who knew him, whether personally or as the public celebrity he became.

Now the time has come for science to move on and find a new superhero, someone who can command both the public respect that Sagan did and challenge society for the better. Although Sagan was an agnostic who championed skepticism, he did not come across as openly hostile towards all religion, as Richard Dawkins does. Such hostility, even if justified, can turn gentle souls away from science. So who can possibly succeed Carl Sagan? Who can be the champion of reason, rationality, and tolerance for all?

I will. And so can you. And you, you, you, you and you, if only you just care to be as dedicated to science and to the welfare to humanity as Sagan was. I have championed the philosophy of Honorable Skepticism as my tribute to Sagan. But the best way to honor him is not merely to keep playing his COSMOS series and talking about what he did, but to make our own contributions to science, to EXCEED Sagan’s work, to become superheros of science ourselves. We are not expected merely to blindly follow what Sagan taught, for he was by no means infallible. Because he was human as we, we can carry his vision forward, and we will do it by eliminating the concept of “sacred cows” and seeking change to improve our societies, regardless of what short-term and localized interests get stepped on. They deserve it! And we cannot afford to appease those interests anymore. Having a global and long-term perspective is what will save us, not any religion or political ideology.

Do NOT beat your kids!

The saying “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a tragic misunderstanding of a passage of the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 13:24). The rod referred to that used by shepherds in ancient times to guide sheep to go in a certain direction, but NOT to ever BEAT them! Beating children with anything should be considered abuse, because adults are stronger than children. Therefore, the only thing kids can learn from being beaten is that bullying is acceptable and thus they can get ahead by bulling weaker and smaller people!

Why science education must be naturalistic

One of Creationists’ most serious objections to how science is taught to students in most public schools is that all supernatural explanations (miracles) are rejected out of hand, and this somehow limits the vision of scientists. But the truth is actually the opposite. To explain why, consider this scenario:

Supernatural explanation:

Child: Daddy, what causes lighting and thunder?

Father: God sends lightning bolts and thunder blasts to frighten people into submitting to His will.

Scientific explanation:

Child: Daddy, what causes lighting and thunder?

Father: Lightning is caused by unequal electric charges between two clouds or between a cloud and the ground causing a massive discharge of electricity. Thunder results from lightning heating the air and causing it to expand suddenly, producing powerful sound waves.

OK, Creationists, would you want BOTH these explanations taught in science classrooms regarding how weather occurs? Well that’s about as silly as requiring any form of Creationism taught alongside evolution! There is no evidence whatsoever that God directly causes lighting or thunder, and indeed such an idea might lead to the assumption that anyone struck by lighting was being punished by God. This is “magical thinking” which, if it had not been questioned centuries ago, would have prevented research into finding ways for people to avoid lighting by understanding how it behaves. Thus, any supernatural explanation, one that totally ignores or negates the known laws of physics and chemistry, would be no explanation at all, but merely an argument without evidence. And that is exactly why Creationism can never be scientific, but evolution is. Evolution is consistent with all known scientific laws, it is based on physical evidence, and it leads to more research. Acceptance of Creationism, or even the assumptions that allow for Creationism to be considered credible, would bring scientific advancement on almost any subject to a grinding halt, because you could then simply dismiss any unusual or complex phenomenon by saying “God did it, I believe that, so it’s settled”.

Therefore, there is no place for the supernatural in science education.