Category Archives: Disciplines

Defending science, history, etc.: A promising precedent?

It seems to me that the case of David Rudovsky and Leonard Sosnov v. West Publishing Corporation (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 2010), provides an intruiging suggestion for defending genuine science and social studies materials for school curriculum. A December 21 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports the outcome of this case. In […]

Mooney & the “new atheists”: another round

Another round in the ongoing Neuatheismusstreit was touched off by an opinion piece in the L.A. Times by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, authors of the new book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. They write: It often appears as though Dawkins and his followers–often dubbed the New Atheists, though some object to […]

TX “experts” and revision of the state Social Studies standards

Unlike school “Science,” the school subject(s) of “Social Studies” has no such well established recognized identity. If the Texas State Board of Education succeeds unchallenged in accepting people like David Barton to serve as “experts” on Social Studies, this reinforces the establishment of Social Studies as a school subject in which political, ideological, and religious agendas can be played out on the basis of sheer political power, unchecked by anything like the authority of experts in the disciplines.

“Science” education in Japan — 理科, 科学: 違いは何ですか?

There are two words in Japanese that are both translated into English as “science.” My purpose in this post is to ask about the differences–and the relationships–between these words: their senses or meanings, their usage, the ideas that they signify … I know that both “kagaku” (科学) and “rika” (理科) are translated as “science.” Are these just two different words for the same thing? I don’t think so; but I don’t fully understand the relationships and differences between them.

Pluto demoted: Opposition in state legislatures

Last night I watched the BookTV airing of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s talk on his new book, The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet. Sometimes I find his showmanship annoying — a distraction from the substance that I’m interested in. This time I thought his presentation was wonderful. You can see the […]

Dunbar, Scott on Arber: scientific consensus vs. scientific knowledge?

During the January 21 hearings of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), there was an exchange between Board Member Cynthia Dunbar and Eugenie Scott (of the National Center for Science Education) that is, I think, particularly significant. The exchange concerns the views of Nobel laureate Werner Arber. Dunbar had invoked Arber’s name (or some […]

Teaching evolutionary life science in Florida (NYTimes)

Amy Harom has a great piece in the August 23, 2008 New York Times on a Florida teacher engaged in teaching evolutionary life science to a high school class that includes religiously committed skeptical students. The article is unusual in looking at the issues as matters of curriculum, requiring knowledgeable responses by educators, and not […]

Discourses, genres, and other “form fields”

From physics, we know about magnetic fields, gravitational fields, electrical fields, and other fields of physical force. If curriculum is the semiosic activity or course of experience in which human being comes to form, then curriculum theory and curriculum studies must be concerned with the fields of semiosic forms guiding the formation of human persons, […]

Zimmerman on Historians and the Public

Zimmerman to fellow historians: If we really want to improve historical understanding in this country, we’ll create new venues—and new incentives—for public engagement and instruction. Or we can continue to speak exclusively with each other, acting shocked—shocked!—when nobody else understands us.

“Researcher” says humans to evolve into 2 subspecies

This story has circulated globally today. Jay Leno used it in his monologue tonight (October 18), although he did not mention the “2 subspecies” idea. You can expect the anti-evolution folks to attack this as an example of evolutionary science. I don’t have time to write a proper article now. I may expand this later; […]

Time now for a new Constitutional Convention?

Jeff Weintraub’s post Re: Jefferson, Madison, & Burke on the US Constitution includes his own comments, followed by the text of a review by Cass Sunstein in The New Republic of a book by Sanford Levinson on how the US Constitution is and has been viewed, and used, from the contrasting views of Jefferson and Madison to the present day. I think there’s a lot here (in the book, review, and commentary) that could be put to great use in social studies.

It’s not a matter of disallowing talk about ID

In a post on Jonathan Wells’ Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, Chris Mooney (author of The Republican War on Science) says on his blog that he agrees with Wells on the point that (quoting Wells) “Anyone who studies American history knows that telling people they are not allowed to talk about something […]

Is(n’t) all biology “evolutionary”?

On Panda’s Thumb, Matt Brauer comments on a news article by Sam Kean in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which reports that the list of majors eligible for the SMART grant omits only the code for “evolutionary biology” among all the biological disciplines. Does this reflect a way of thinking in which those in the other […]