• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Notable Quotables

    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • ChasDarwinHasAPosse
  • Farm School: A Twitter-Free Zone

  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.


I just read Tim Rutten’s “The Perils of Palin” in the LA Times, from which:

Although she supports the teaching of creationism in public schools, [Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential nominee] Palin thinks it should be presented alongside, rather than instead of, evolution. “Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both,” she said during her gubernatorial campaign. “I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. … Don’t be afraid of information, and let kids debate both sides.”

Well, no. There is no debate, only “teach the controversy” pull-the-wool hucksterism from the Discovery Institute’s “intelligent design” campaign which belongs nowhere near a science class — though certainly in a religion or current events class — or anyone running for US federal office.

Just in case, here’s a back-to-school refresher for all of us, including science students and teachers from Alaska to Hawaii to Alberta, about the word “theory” from editor-in-chief John Rennie of Scientific American:

Many people learned in elementary school that a theory falls in the middle of a hierarchy of certainty — above a mere hypothesis but below a law. Scientists do not use the terms that way, however. According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a scientific theory is “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.” No amount of validation changes a theory into a law, which is a descriptive generalization about nature. So when scientists talk about the theory of evolution — or the atomic theory or the theory of relativity, for that matter — they are not expressing reservations about its truth. In addition to the theory of evolution, meaning the idea of descent with modification, one may also speak of the fact of evolution. The NAS defines a fact as “an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as ‘true.'” The fossil record and abundant other evidence testify that organisms have evolved through time. Although no one observed those transformations, the indirect evidence is clear, unambiguous and compelling. All sciences frequently rely on indirect evidence. Physicists cannot see subatomic particles directly, for instance, so they verify their existence by watching for telltale tracks that the particles leave in cloud chambers. The absence of direct observation does not make physicists’ conclusions less certain.

5 Responses

  1. Now how do you expect to attract GenJ adherents posting such utter blasphemy?? :)

    Actually, I wonder if this election could provide national exposure to the “teach the controversy” scheme, as so many people don’t seem to be aware of it. Or, am I being a pollyanna?

    Love the quote from the LA Times article:
    At some point, too, she’ll have to face the formidable Joe Biden — veteran chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — in a debate sure to hone in on her utter lack of experience with foreign policy and national security issues. If she isn’t careful, Palin could emerge from that encounter looking a lot like Dan Quayle in drag.

    Funny, I have thinking the same thing today.. well, without the Dan Quayle in drag part :P

  2. You, Pollyanna?? Pshaw!

    I actually think Biden has to be more careful than she does. It will be so easy to make a meal out of her, he has to make sure he doesn’t look mean and nasty doing it, especially because she’s come across — in my first glimpses of her — as considerably more competent than Quayle ever did, even at the beginning before he started spelling. No doubt she presents very well, and she’s a take-no-nonsense sort too. Biden will have to be well-mannered without being condescending.

    These next few weeks, as everyone learns more about Palin, should be interesting.

  3. This is the same gal who supports abstinence-only sex-ed and is now about to become a grandmother at 44. I think she needs to have a little sit-down with science and reality — preferably far from the halls of power.

  4. I hardly know what to say — it’s all so disheartening. I live and work right where the Republican Convention is, and I feel like I live in a police state, there are cops everywhere, helicopters circling. It is sickening. But McCain chose a gal, how neato!

  5. Casey, maybe there should be a science litmus test. But never in my lifetime, sigh…

    Mary Lou, condolences on the convention in your backyard. I think it might be fun one of these days to attend one, but not to live nearby with all the security and hoopla. Oy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: