In an article on Huffington Post, Max Temark examines the the relationship of church doctrine to the actual beliefs held by the flock. This was part of a larger study that looks at the science and religion intersection. The passage that caught my attention was...

Part of the explanation may be a striking gap between Americans' personal beliefs and the official views of the faiths to which they belong. Whereas only 11 percent belong to religions openly rejecting evolution, Gallup reports that 46 percent believe that God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago. Why is this "belief gap'' so large? Interestingly, this isn't the only belief gap surrounding a science-religion controversy: whereas 0 percent of Americans belong to religions arguing that the Sun revolves around Earth, Gallup reports that as many as 18 percent nonetheless believe in this theory that used to be popular during the Middle Ages. This suggests that the belief gaps may have less to do with intellectual disputes and more to do with an epic failure of science education.

As a retired science teacher of 30 years, the last line made me pause – he's right. I know the US academic achievement in science is depressing when placed against all other major countries and a few minor ones. The efforts to improve the system have been, not only ineffective, but all to often detrimental to students and teachers. A significant reason (among many) is the slavish adherence to top down management, from allocation of funds to the intrusion into curriculum – and above all else, protecting the cushy job being one of the “decision makers” affords them .

As to that 35% that have no doctrinal restrictions regarding an acceptance of evolution, they persist . The issue is the science of the idea and the religious response to it. If it's not the church making them stupid then WTF has infested their tiny minds?

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Now, now, Jim we don't want any of that "critical thinking" in our schools anymore.

What was I thinking? ... oh yeah...that's the problem - thinking.

Possibly a TV-addicted culture. I taught science. Three months after we'd completed a unit on a topic, for which most had passed the test, when the topic came up again it was as if none of them had ever heard of it. It was as if they weren't trying to learn, but merely living in the moment/seeking entertainment.

I'm so glad that I don't teach children! I couldn't stand the frustration!

I taught both high school students and adults - I preferred the high school students,  the worst I found was teaching other teachers.

I'm sure TV plays a role as do video games.  When my grandson has his head phones and microphone on and he's playing a video game with 3 other equally equipped teenagers - .communicating with him would be easier if he were on the Moon.

They are flooded with with the complexity of modern culture and shiny toys;  they know so little history they see nothing unique in the present and have no vision of their future.

Yes, I worry about video game addiction among some of the young people today. It's like they have to play the game 24/7 and it is all they think about. There are more important things to life than games. I do play games myself - but only on a casual basis.

Oh you know Ruth - I've had students just like that. They show no interest in science. Just pop culture crap. Like Honey Boo-Boo and junk. Very frustrating.

Speaking from a teacher's point of view, I share the frustrations and experiences each of you describe. From a family point of view, I observed my three children, four grandchildren and now five great grandchildren, I am concerned that their formal education seems as you describe, learn for the tests and then the information flits away. This concerns me greatly.
What also is happening is my children are hands on parents, doing projects and sports, stuff like that with the kids. Camping gives them opportunities to put their school learning to work and they seem quite competent solving everyday problems. My great-grandchildren no longer live in a city and have all the farm routine to do, from feeding farm animals, repairing fences and machinery, and they each have full responsibility for some chore. When I visit them, even the youngest works cooperatively and in good humor. There is no fuss about doing chores without prompting. I attribute it to farm living.

Even the animas are healthier on the farm. None of the neurotic barking of city dogs, for example. They are threatened by raccoons, coyotes  and a bear or two.  It is a heartbreak when we find a pet's carcass  but even that gives the youngsters a sense of life and death.  

My goal in raising my kids was to prepare them to have dinner with a queen and take care of all chores that come up in family life. They are doing the same with their children and grandchildren. I can't say enough for rural living ... they are getting lots of practical experience. I worry about them not getting enough science to spark a light of possibilities there. 

All members of my daughter's family who are over 18 are volunteer fire fighters. They have to take regular and frequent training. It teaches far more than squirting water on a fire; they learn about health of the forest, kinds of timber, how to fight a house or forest fire, proper chemicals and techniques and how to be an effective first responder for illness or injury. 

As to the interface of religion and science, they have no religious exposure, which suits me just fine. They do have a sense of life and death, commitment to family and community, and a healthy feeling of belonging to a team. It takes each one of them to make life function well and each are treasured and they each know it. 

Many of these people home school their children or send them to "Christian" schools.  Often this is for the very reason of controlling the curriculum especially in the area of Science in order to include unscientific subjects such as creationism and Bible study.


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