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  • A Real Education

    Chapter 1: What is a Real Education?

    By Punkerslut

    Start Date: January 10, 2002
    Finish Date: January 28, 2002

    What is a Real Education?

         When a person thinks about education today, they are likely to get pictures of colleges, universities, teachers, and schools in their head. Rarely, if ever, do they consider the actually value of a real education. Today in school, the curricula taught to the students is likely to consist o academics and health issues. Students receive the same daily dose of history, math, English, and science. In classes, students are taught to memorize various bits of data. For history, they memorize dates, people, and locations. For math, they memorize various formulas and equations. Science and English tend not to differ: it is the memorization of sterile facts and static data. The schools today are not a place where things are learned, nor is it a place that is bent on creating a sense of wonder and awe for the average student. Rather, it is a place of repetition, to turn students into cassettes that can replay information at desire. Information that is only lost with years of life that degrade the useless education learned at our modern learning institutions.

         What year was the Treaty of Ghent signed? What city did John Calvin spread his Theocracy to? What is Photosynthesis? These are all questions which, in themselves, they are not useless pieces of data. To those in certain fields, however, they can very valuable pieces of information. To others, they are simply interesting and intriguing to know such information. However, the retainment of such memorized facts is often a fruitless venture, resulting in wasted money, time, and energy. You may be able to make a child memorize the United States Constitution, but within a few weeks, I would find it doubtful if the child could recollect more than three sentences. Instead, you could have taken that time to show the child something real and meaningful. A child could be taught how logic and reasoning abilities. They could be taught how to separate science from pseudoscience. They could be taught about a cultural idea that would interest them and get them involved in a book, an author, a song, an artist, a musician, an orator, a leader, a poem, a technology, an art form, etc., etc.. They could be taught about how the Universe formed: the origins of life, matter, stars, higher elements, as well as thousands of other topics.

         The formal, educational system as it is working today certainly does not produce any fine, intelligent individuals. It does not foster independence and it did not teach compassion. It is the affirmation of dependence and dogma. In tests of average 17-year-olds in many world regions, the U. S. ranked dead last in algebra; they averaged 43%. Only 13 nations did worse in chemistry. Even though many American high school seniors are in advanced chemistry courses, only 1% know as much as 25% of Canadian students. South Korean students are far ahead of American students in all aspects of mathematics and science. 59% of school children in 1984 believed in astrology. The problem isn't just with school students. Every philosopher who has dealt with the education problem has at least admitted that how children are taught eventually leads to the production of how the new society thinks. It shouldn't be amusing that American adults lack in education as well. A quarter of Americans believe in astrology. A third thing that Sun-sign astrology is "scientific." 63% of American adults are unaware of the fact that all the dinosaurs were dead before humans arose. 75% do not know that antibiotics do nothing to viruses. 57% do not know that "electrons are smaller than atoms." Polls show that half of Americans do not know that the Earth goes around the Sun and takes a year to do it. Undergraduate classes at Cornell University, even the brightest students, and many of them do not know that the Sun itself is a star. 95% of Americans are "scientifically illiterate." That's the same amount of African slaves that were illiterate prior to the Civil War -- and a slave learning to read back then carried severe penalties! [*1] Carl Sagan notes on this lack of education...

    In American polls in the early 1990s, two-thirds of all adults had no idea what the "information superhighway" was; 42 percent didn't know where Japan is; and 38% were ignorant of the term "holocaust." But the proportion was in the high 90s who had heard of the Menendez, Bobbit, and O. J. Simpson criminal cases; 99 percent had heard that the singer Michael Jackson had allegedly sexually molested a boy. The United States may be the best-entertained nation on Earth, but a steep price is being paid. [*2]

         Carl Sagan wrote an article concerning these statistics and it was published. Many of the letters he received were from classrooms. Here are some of the responses concerning the dwindling education of American students (grammar and spelling unchanged)...

  • Not a Americans are stupid We just rank lower in school big deal.
  • Maybe that's good that we are not as smart as the other countries. So then we can just import all of our products and then we don't have to spend all of our money on the parts for the goods.
  • And if other countries are doing better, what does it matter, their most likely going to come over the U. S. anyway?
  • Our society is doing just fine with what discoveries we are making. It's going slowly, but the cure for cancer is coming right along.
  • It's true that some Americans kids don't try, but we could be smarter than any other country if we wanted to.
  • If we want to rank first, we could go to school all day and not have any social life.
  • When you put down how far behind we are in science and math, why don't you try to tell us this in a little nicer manner?... Have a little pride in your country and its capabilities.
  • I think your facts were inconclusive and the evidence very flimsy. All in all, you raised a good point. [*3]

  •      It is obvious that formal education extinguishes whatever love of sciences and knowledge that existed prior to the schooling. From school one learns to hate knowledge. Upon hearing or learning of new scientific progress, an average American is likely to associate it with the monotonous educational system that is in place today. With this association comes the apathy of learning new knowledge. Students are taught to retain facts for a relatively short period of time. It would be doubtful if a student could recall 10% of their classes, or even 2% of what they learned in those classes. From the statistics of the intelligence of Americans and school students today, it is obvious that any intelligent person would hold skepticism towards the efficiency of the modern, formal, educational institutions of our time. As far as school goes, a man will learn more of he does not attend, and a person's natural love of the sciences will be freed from the sheer inadequacy of schools. Albert Einstein is most notable for stating, "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education." However, we need not take the word of a high-ranking scientist to know that modern schooling is destructive to education. Any experience within American schooling will be able to easily confirm the theory that formal schools in America today make for individuals who detest learning itself. To quote Carl Sagan's experience when teaching various grades in school...

    Except for children (who don't know enough not to ask the important questions), few of us spend much time wondering why Nature is the way it is; where the Cosmos came from, or whether it was always here; if time will one day flow backward, and effects precede causes; or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know. There are even children, and I have met some of them, who want to know what a black hole looks like; what is the smallest piece of matter; why we remember the past and not the future, and why there is a Universe.

    Every now and then, I'm lucky enough to teach a kindergarten or first-grade class. Many of these children are natural-born scientists--although heavy on the wonder side and light on the skepticism. They're curious, intellectually vigorous. Provocative and insightful questions bubble out of them. They exhibit enormous enthusiasm. I'm asked follow-up questions. They've never heard of the notion of a "dumb question."

    But when I talk to high school seniors, I find something different. They memorize "facts." By and large, though, the joy of discovery, the life behind those facts, has gone out of them. They've lost much of the wonder, and gained very little skepticism. They've worried about asking "dumb" questions; they're willing to accept inadequate answers; they don't pose follow-up questions; the room is awash with sidelong glances to judge, second-by-second, the approval of their peers. They come to class with their questions written out on pieces of paper, which they surreptitiously examine, waiting their turn and oblivious of whatever discussion their peers are at this moment engaged in. [*4]

         The schooling process has rendered curious, intelligent children into mindless zombies: uninquisitive, dull, and uncreative. If this is not the surest proof that our schools need reform, then I am not sure if any such proof exists! Bright-eyed children who are yearning to learn about the Universe enter our school system. What comes out at the other end are quite the opposite: adults who are neither ambitious enough to learn nor creative enough to invent. The flame of every individual, the lust for learning and desire for knowledge, is thoroughly extinguished by these traditional methods of "teaching." The only thing accomplished by modern schooling is a backward process: destroying any creative processes in the minds of its students. There may be students in these schools who genuinely wish to excel and try to do so by doing well in their studies, but in the overall perspective, the educational system fails to develop students into lovers of learning or intelligent beings.

         The education system should return to the roots of education. It should not be based on shoving knowledge down the throats of unwilling children, making them hateful of learning. Learning should be a creative process. It should not be burdened with tests and quizzes, constantly questioning the intellectual level of the student. School should be a place of learning, not a place of grades and marks. 25% of Canadian students are at the same level as 1% of the best American students in chemistry, despite the fact that American students are subjected to rigorous testing. It is obvious that even with testing, American students do not retain the knowledge that they learn from such classes. Such information is eventually lost and discarded at a later date. It should be no surprise, either. When students have to take certain courses in their schools simply to graduate, and when many of these courses contain completely erroneous data, the students will forget all of the useless information fed to them. Year after year, this process continues: short-term memorization of facts and eventually deletion of these facts. The student, in the end, gains nothing but a diploma which only holds assurance that nothing of value was gained. In mockery of diplomas, Mark Twain has written...

    Now then, to me university degrees are unearned finds, and they bring the joy that belongs with property acquired in that way; and the money-finds and the degree-finds are just the same in number up to date--three: two from Yale and one from Missouri University. It pleased me beyond measure when Yale made me a Master of Arts, because I didn't know anything about art; I had another convulsion of pleasure when Yale made me a Doctor of Literature, because I was not competent to doctor anyone's literature but my own, and couldn't even keep my own in a healthy condition without my wife's help. I rejoiced again when Missouri University made me a Doctor of Laws, because it was all clear profit, I not knowing anything about laws except how to evade them and not get caught. And now at Oxford I am to be made a Doctor of Letters--all clear profit, because what I don't know about letters would make me a mutli-millionaire if I could turn it into cash. [*5]

         The same monotonous, traditional methods of teaching should be abandoned. History class should not be restricted to a book anymore than wood shop class or art class. Education should not be about repetition and memorization. Education is supposed to be about learning new things that can intrigue students and mesmerize them. It is about making students independent so that they can enter society as productive, happy, free, and capable citizens. Education is not supposed to make anyone compassionate or kind, but it is what gives students tools to become compassionate and kind. It provides a way for individuals to better themselves. Education is about the building of the character, of the person, of each individual student. It is not at all about the memorization of static facts which soon become forgotten. What education can principally be defined as, is the creation of independence of an individual, so that they may be creative, productive, and happy in their own life. To this end, it is only obvious that all school classes must be made voluntary. The mere concept of forcing a child into a "learning classroom" is absurd! To make courses and classes mandatory is tantamount to extinguishing the flame of curiosity. When a student, particularly a child, is forcefed facts and monotonous data, it can do nothing but harm the child. It makes them hate education, because all they can associate education with is the dread of being forced into classes where they learn nothing at all. But this is not fair at all, to say they learn nothing at all. They certainly do learn to detest the government which unrightly abuses them and they learn to hate education in all its forms. If a child is given the privilege, the independence, to choose the classes which interest them the most so that they may excel in those fields, then they child will become educated. Mandatory classes will dishearten the student's zeal for education. The facts of mandatory classes are soon forgotten, and the class itself is useless. It is stupid and ignorant to believe that students can be forced into classes and then make them learn information. The only way a student can learn is if they willingly desire to learn, and the only way to do that is to provide students with a wide range of classes to choose from with interesting, provocative topics, as well as to give the student the opportunity to attend classes voluntarily or not at all. To quote Carl Sagan...

    Since most school children emerge with only a tiny fraction of what they've been taught permanently engraved in their long-term memories, isn't it essential to infect them with consumer-tested topics that aren't boring... and a zest for learning? [*6]

         The case for proper educational reform is two-part: to produce a vast array of intriguing, provocative, and classes, and to give students the independent choice to select the classes that they wish to take. Few, if any, can argue with the first part. It is obvious that when a student is interested in what they are learning, it will be more likely that they will learn more. To make a class interesting, it must avoid repetitive exercises and the educational administration should do as much as possible to make the class as different, informative, and as creative as possible. This is something that I hardly need to argue. There are those, however, who would find it improbable that a society can move forward when students are wholly given the option themselves to choose classes or not. If given the choice to go to classes or not, many would assume that students would simply skip all the classes that they signed up for. If this voluntary system of choosing to go to the classes you desired was put into effect today, I hardly doubt this objection: students absolutely would skip their classes. However, this would be entirely due to the boredom, monotony, and the generally poorly run classroom. When individuals learn in a hostile environment where they are forced to learn, they learn only to detest schooling. With this idea in mind, it is obvious that students would skip class, and the reasons are all too clear: the hatred of education is bred into students from our modern, formal, educational institutions. If classrooms were set up in a way that was intriguing and interesting, they would have more appeal with students. There is then the other objection: if classrooms provided an interesting, intriguing atmosphere, children who were apathetic still may avoid school altogether. However, a child who is forced to sit in a classroom "learning" will only dishearten any interest they have for education. A student can easily memorize dull facts and forget them a year later with great ease. A student gains nothing by being forced into a class that is uninteresting or dull to them. In fact, it hurts any natural feelings they have for learning. Education cannot be forced. It can only be chosen. That is the principle of an efficient school: freedom of conscience and classes.

         The question of religion now comes into regard with education. Many schools and colleges during the Renaissance were supported by the Jesuits and the Catholic Church. To what extent shall religion govern education? Any educated person can come to the conclusion that religion is an ignorant pursuit in itself. To incorporate its principles into the educational system is much worse than not teaching students anything at all. It sets a shaky foundation. Perhaps one or two individuals can find moral or inspirational value in religion, but to search for facts, science, and truth, religion will be the last place to aid in any way at all. In reference to Isaiah 40:22, Carl Sagan has said...

    If you accept the literal truth of every word of the Bible, then the Earth must be flat. The same is true for the Qu'ran. Pronouncing the Earth round then means you're an atheist. In 1993, the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz, issued an edict, or fatwa, declaring that the world is flat. Anyone of the round persuasion does not believe in God and should be punished." [*7]

         In 1999, 68% of of the public want the teaching of both Evolution and Creationism as science in school. 40% are in favor of teaching Creationism instead of Evolution. [*8] Carl Sagan notes on the religious fervor of Creationists...

    I meet many people offended by evolution, who passionately prefer to be the personal handicraft of God than to arise by blind physical and chemical forces over eons of slime. They also tend to be less than assiduous in exposing themselves to the evidence. Evidence has little to do with it: What they wish to be true, they believe is true. Only 9 percent of Americans accept the central finding of modern biology that human beings (and all the other species) have slowly evolved by natural processes from a succession of more ancient beings with no divine intervention needed along the way. (When asked merely if they accept evolution, 45 percent of Americans say yes. The figure is 70 percent in China.) When the movie Jurassic Park was shown in Israel, it was condemned by some Orthodox rabbis because it accepted evolution and because it taught that dinosaurs lived a hundred million years ago--when, as is plainly stated at every Rosh Hashonah and every Jewish wedding ceremony, the Universe is less than 6,000 years old. The clearest evidence of our evolution can be found in our genes. But evolution is still be fought, ironically by those whose own DNA proclaims it--in the schools, in the courts, in the textbook publishing houses, and on the question of just how much pain we can inflict on other animals without crossing some ethical threshold. [*9]

         The ethic of incorporating religion into education cannot be ignored. Only a slight knowledge of history is required to understand that scientific dependence on religion will bring about the ruin of a civilization. As Adolf Hitler took control of Germany, he commented on a new way of thought, "We stand at the end of the Age of Reason. A new era of the magical explanation of the world is rising. There is no truth, in the scientific sense." [*10] On the evening that Hitler took control of Germany, Leon Trotsky is noted for saying...

    Not only in peasant homes, but also in city skyscrapers, there lives along side the twentieth century the thirteenth. A hundred million people use electricity and still believe in the magic powers of signs and exorcisms.....Movie stars go to mediums. Aviators who pilot miraculous mechanisms created by man's genius wear amulets on their sweaters. What inexhaustible reserves they possess of darkness, ignorance and savagery! [*11]

         Adolf Hitler's usage of religion was sparse. He used religion to justify his actions. To quote him, "Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work." [*12] Considering that his tyranny was based on religious dogma, it's no doubt that he detested free and secular schools. In regards to schooling, he has said...

    Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.... We need believing people. [*13]

         In one statement to the public, Pat Buchanan stated, "We're going to bring back God and the Bible and drive the gods of secular humanism right out of the public schools of America." [*14] Rev. Romaine F. Bateman - Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Milburn, New Jersey - said, "Washington and Lincoln were un-Christian and their names are unworthy of being brought before the public." [*15] How could an intelligent history class occur when names are erased from the book because of religious dogma? William Dembsky once said, "Any view of the sciences that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient." [*16] I don't think any educated person would find themselves shaken from this babble -- the fact that astronomy, chemistry, or physics do not incorporate religious dogma does not mean that they are deficient. Jerry Falwell, the Christian Fundamentalist, once said, "The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible,without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc." [*17] Since it is commonplace information that the Bible has many mistakes, should we actively teach those mistakes, including the Flat-Earth Theory and Creation "Science"? Bill Keith has said, "If I had my way, I would have the Book of Genesis taught in all our elementary schools." [*18] By teaching a religion, students do not gain anything of value, but learn to incorporate dogma and superstition - false tools - into their lives. Upon seeing iguanas, Reverend Walter Lang said...

    We really have dinosaurs today, without any question. You just need the right weather conditions, as I see it, to get huge creatures. And in the ocean, of course, we have huge creatures.... this is where the plesiosauruses seem to be today, and perhaps also this fire breathing dragon is still down there -- very rare, but occasionally there. [*19]

         Walter Lang is not the only Creationist who believes that dinosaurs still walk the Earth. Kent Hovind has quoted many sitings of dinosaurs, all from the middle of Europe to Florida, and even accepting the testimony of individuals who were intoxicated with LSD. Kent Hovind has said the following...

    Well, if Evolution is true, you're nothing important. You're just a bit of protoplasm that washed up on the beach. And you're not worth a thing. As a matter of fact, you're part of the problem, because you're one of the polluters of the environment, and the more of you we can get rid of, the better. See, that's normal thinking if Evolution is true. [*20]

         The fallacy of Hovind's quote is that it lacks intelligence. It doesn't rely on evidence and it makes arguments by making Evolution look bad rather than by debunking it. In fact, he says things about Evolution that aren't even true. If someone believes Evolution, it does not mean that they are trying to "get rid of" humans. However, to the audiences that are willing to pay $50 to listen to Hovind slander Evolution, they learn that Evolution is about not being worth anything and that humans are problems. This isn't science. This isn't even remotely smooth talking. On Kent Hovind's part, this is making yourself look stupid. Mockery of science hardly disproves it. Hovind is not the only one to make himself look ignorant. Henry Morris has said the following...

    The approach we try to take here [Morris's Institute for Creation Research] is to assume that the word of God is the word of God and that God is able to say what He means and means what He says, and that's in the Bible and that is our basis. And then we interpret the scientific data within that framework. [*21]

         Henry Morris believes that the world is only a few thousand years old, as do many Creationists. Evolution is not the only belief which affirms the billions of years old the Earth is. So many scientific fields are entirely dependent upon the age of the Universe being billions of years old. Geology, astronomy, biology, cosmology, and physics are all sciences which require that the Universe is millions or billions of years old. One cannot delve into the chemical fission or fusion of stars, the evolution of animals, the formation of rocks, the movement of stars, the nature of starlight, or any other particular subject without immediately recognizing that the Earth is billions of years old. Even the elementary basics of so many fields requires us to accept the age of the Earth to be hundreds of millions of years old. The Creation Research Society is quoted for saying...

    We are an organization of Christian men and women of science who accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The account of the special creation of Adam and Eve as one man and one woman and their subsequent fall into sin is the basis for our belief in the necessity of a Savior for all mankind. Therefore, salvation can come only through accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. [*22]

         Are these people scientists? Should we depend on them for delivering knowledge and objective truth to us? Absolutely not. They are obviously biased individuals who are not attempting to be scientific in any way. They do not look for evidence nor do they attempt to use rational principles. They use faith, not reason. It is quite dubious that they are religious zealots who are attempting to prove the "scientific ground" of a purely religious belief. They are not the only religious zealots. Rev. W. D. Lewis is noted for saying...

    I shall never be in full sympathy with our system of irreligious education. Why should we be compelled to attend and support our schools if there is nothing that can be done to compel us to attend and support our churches? ... If education is absolutely necessary for our community life, so is religion. Or yet why should we be compelled to support the idea of government if we are at liberty to treat the idea of God with contempt? ... You will never make a full success of a compulsory government or a compulsory education until you give the same dignity to religion and make it compulsory; at any rate compulsory enough to make it respected throughout the land. The nation that plays fast and loose with its idea of God will soon or late play fast and loose with its idea of education and its idea of government.... If God doesn't matter, then nothing else matters, and all the compulsions of life might just as well be set aside. [*23]

         The Creationist position wishes to advance itself by taking the battle to courts, schools, and the legislative branch. One Fundamentalist, William Jennings Bryan, who was the prosecutor in the Scopes Trial, is noted for saying, "All the ills from which America suffers can be traced back to the teaching of evolution. It would be better to destroy every other book ever written, and save just the first three verses of Genesis." [*24] Tennessee eventually dropped Evolution as a subject in schools. To quote the law itself...

    It shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the universities, normals, and all other public schools of the state which are supported in whole or in part by public funds of the state, to teach any theory that denies the story of the divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower state of animals. [*25]

         There are many serious efforts to destroy modern science from various religious standpoints. To quote Carl Sagan...

    Under the guise of "creationism," a serious effort continues to be made to prevent evolutionary biology -- the most powerful integrating idea in all of biology, and essential for other sciences ranging from astronomy to anthropology -- from being taught in schools. [*26]

         Easily deducted from an analysis of religion and science, as well as religion and the school system, it becomes quite obvious that they have no place together. Religious individuals would have our schools teach that the dinosaurs are still alive and roaming the world today, despite the utter lack of scientific proof to back this up one bit. Furthermore, there are a wide variety of various dogmas which may inhibit the intellectual institution which we wish to nurture our students in. Should we teach students that the Earth is only a few thousand years old? In doing so, we throw out hundreds and hundreds of subjects of science that depend entirely on the Universe being billions of years old - from chemistry to anthropology to geology. Should we teach students that Creationism is the way humans were created? In doing so, we throw out all the evidence and proof that shows distinct relation between humans and apes. The fact that apes and humans share 99% DNA is thrown out. The fact that humans have many vestigial organs which serve no purpose to us now yet served a purpose to our ancestors (such as male nipples which served an Asexual species, or the appendix which is believed to have served the Digestive System of a larger species) -- all this evidence is thrown out. The determination of causal relationships in the natural world is destroyed. As learners and thinkers, we must understand things for ourselves. To appoint a god to explain things is only proof of our ignorance, and to teach this god to students would corrupt their minds and destroy any possible education. I do not believe that we should teach students that there is no god at all; I do not believe that god should be taught in the classroom, just like I do not believe that Atheism should be taught in the classroom. It is imperative to education that schools do not teach god as an acting force on nature.

         If we teach that rainbows are a sign of god that he will not flood the world again, and if we teach this in school, what will the students think when they create the chemical reaction that produces a rainbow in their own laboratory? If we teach that lightning is the work of Allah trying to kill people, as the Qu'ran would have us believe, what would students think when they find out that it is actually the build up of positive and negative electrons on different surfaces? If we teach all these dogmatic, superstitious, and - inevitably - religious doctrines, then these students will not be able to understand and grasp scientific causes to effects. I do not believe that the thought of religion should be removed from school entirely. In fact, I think quite the opposite. Religion should be discussed in a history class, so that students may see it with an objective sense and learn how it affected cultures and societies. To teach religion as fact, though, is no real education at all. Francisco Ferrer recounts his experience with a religious woman...

    AMONG my pupils was a certain Mlle. Meunier, a wealthy old lady with no dependents, who was fond of travel, and studied Spanish with the object of visiting my country. She was a convinced Catholic and a very scrupulous observer of the rules of her Church. To her, religion and morality were the same thing, and unbelief-or " impiety, " as the faithful say-was an evident sign of vice and crime.

    She detested revolutionaries, and she regarded with impulsive and undiscriminating aversion every display of popular ignorance. This was due, not only to her education and social position, but to the circumstance that during the period of the Commune she had been insulted by children in the streets of Paris as she went to church with her mother. Ingenuous and sympathetic, without regard to antecedents, accessories, or consequences, she always expressed her dogmatic convictions without reserve, and I had many opportunities to open her eyes to the inaccuracy of her opinions.

    In our many conversations I refrained from taking any definite side; so that she did not recognize me as a partisan of any particular belief, but as a careful reasoner with whom it was a pleasure to confer. She formed so flattering an opinion of me, and was so solitary, that she gave me her full confidence and friendship, and invited me to accompany her on her travels. I accepted the offer, and we traveled in various countries. My conduct and our constant coon compelled her to recognize the error of thinking that every unbeliever was perverse and every atheist a hardened criminal, since I, a convinced atheist, manifested symptoms very different from those wash her religious prejudice had led her to expect.

    She thought, however, that my conduct was exceptional, and reminded me that the exception proves the rule. In the end, the persistence and logic of my arguments forced her to yield to the evidence, and, when her prejudice was removed, she was convinced that a rational and scientific education would preserve children from error, inspire men with a love of good conduct, and reorganise society in accord with the demands of justice. She was deeply impressed by the reflection that she might have been on a level with the children who had insulted her if, at their age, she had been reared in the same conditions as they. When she had given up her belief in innate ideas, she was greatly preoccupied with the following problem: If a child were educated without hearing anything about religion, what idea of the Deity would it have on reaching the age of reason? [*27]


    *1. Concerning information about lacking knowledge in Americans: Catherine S. Manegold, "U.S. Schools Misuse Time, Study Asserts," The New York Times, May 5, 1994, p. A21.; Concerning belief in astrology: R. B. Culver and P. A. Ianna, The Gemini Syndrome: A Scientific Explanation of Astrology (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1984.); Concerning slaves and reading: Max Purtz, Is Science Necessary?: Essays on Science and Scientists (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991).
    *2. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, page 376, published by Ballantine Books.
    *3. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, pages 339-340, published by Ballantine Books.
    *4. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, pages 321-322, published by Ballantine Books.
    *5. Mark Twain's Autobiography, edited by Charles Neider, pages. 348-349.
    *6. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, pages 341, published by Ballantine Books.
    *7. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, pages 325, published by Ballantine Books.
    *8. 1999-AUG: ABCNEWS.com quoted The Gallup Organization's most recent results relating to public opinion about the teaching of creationism in public schools.
    *9. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, page 325-326, published by Ballantine Books. The percents used in this quote were gathered from the 1999 August Gallup Organization's polls.
    *10. Quoted from Victor J. Stenger, Has Science Found God? (2001), and The Demon-Haunted World, by Carl Sagan.
    *11. On the eve of the Hitler takeover in Germany.
    *12. Mein Kampf.
    *13. April 26, 1933, from a speech made during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of 1933, quoted from the Freedom From Religion Foundation quiz, "What Do You Know About The Separation of State and Church?"
    *14. Pat Buchanan, campaign address at an anti-gay rally in Des Moines, Iowa, February 11, 1996.
    *15. Rev. Romaine F. Bateman, New York Herald Tribune, Feb. 18, 1932, on the occasion of his refusal to permit citizens of the community to hold a celebration in honor of George Washington. Mr. Bateman also remarked that Washington's service to his country was "merely incidental compared with his un-Christianity." Quoted by Joseph Lewis in The Ten Commandments p. 563.
    *16. William Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology (1999), p. 298, quoted from Victor J. Stenger, Has Science Found God? (draft: 2001).
    *17. Jerry Falwell, Finding Inner Peace and Strength.
    *18. Bill Keith, address, Monroe, LA, 1986, quoted from Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom.
    *19. Reverend Walter Lang, founder of the Bible-Science Association. Quoted in various articles, including American Atheists, "From the Mouths of Creationists."
    *20. Dr. Kent Hovind's Online Creation Seminar, Part 1.
    *21. Henry Morris, as quoted in Brian J. Alters, "A Content Analysis of the Institute for Creation Research's Institute on Scientific Creationism," Creation/Evolution 15, no. 2 (1995): 1-15., quoted from Victor J. Stenger, "Has Science Found God?" (draft: 2001).
    *22. Website of Creation Research Society. Statement of Faith.
    *23. Rev. W. D. Lewis, quoted from E. Haldeman-Julius, "The Meaning Of Atheism."
    *24. William Jennings Bryan, quoted from David Milsted, The Cassell Dictionary of Regrettable Quotations (1999).
    *25. Statute of the State of Tennessee, 1925 (not repealed until 1967), quoted from David Milsted, The Cassell Dictionary of Regrettable Quotations (1999).
    *26. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, pages 263, published by Ballantine Books.
    *27. Francisco Ferrer, Origin and Ideals of the Modern School, chapter 2, published 1913.

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