Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Science and Religion in Philippine Education

Science and religion is a big issue in the United States, and increasingly in other developed countries such as Australia, Canada and the UK. In other countries of the European Union, it was until recently a non-issue. During the early years of John Paul II's pontificate, the well known evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould who described himself as agnostic Jew, was invited to give a talk in the Vatican for priests who do science. He was the only layman non-Catholic billeted in a seminary within sight of Saint Peter's with two elderly Jesuits who asked him "Why is evolution STILL an issue in America?" Gould who stereotypically believed that Catholic priests are anti-evolution, was dumbfounded. Thus even in the center of the Vatican, evolution is a non-issue. Darwinian Theory is the litmus test to gauge acceptance of science in society.

Thus in America, many studies have tried to gauge acceptance of science and strength of religious belief. A recent issue of Scientific American estimates acceptance of evolution in the USA as around 33%, the lowest among OECD countries. The USA is a paradox. It is the most scientifically advanced nation but has the least acceptance of scientific truth. While the courts have struck down attempts of religious groups to give "equal time" to creationism and intelligent design in school as violative of the separation of church and state principle, the movement to do so continues.

In the Philippines, we do not have any quantitative and published data to show acceptance of science in society. If I recall correctly, the Ateneo de Manila once had a project to survey the misconceptions in science teaching in basic education. The intersection of religious belief and acceptance of scientific principles was part of this project. I don't know if the results have been released.

The Astronomical League of the Philippines and the Rizal Technological University (RTU) Astronomy Department sponsored a study to measure acceptance of scientific principles in astronomy among basic education teachers. The study conducted by Professor Jesus Rodriguez Torres surveyed 102 teachers' attitudes to certain astronomical concepts. In the question "Is the Earth the center of the universe" 31.37% of respondents said the "earth was immovable as stated in the Psalms" and 32.35% said that the writer of the Biblical passage couldn't have known that the Earth moves. Only 6.86% said the Bible was erroneous.

Prof. Torres was disturbed by respondents answer to the question "How long was the process of the formation of the universe?" 20.58% responded "six days" and 46.07% responded "6000 years based on 2 Peter 3:8"

The reader can download the pdf file and read the findings in their totality. What should make science teachers like me think about is that there is this reluctance TO CHALLENGE RELIGION when it comes to science. There is this reluctance to SAY THE BIBLE AND CHURCH ARE wrong when it comes to scientific fact.

There was a time when a student organization invited a creationist to speak at the Ateneo. The university allowed it but the Jesuit scientists lead by Fr Dan McNamara conducted a talk on science the next day and the day after explaining what the Catholic position on science is. A Catholic can say the Church is wrong when it says something scientific since the Church is not in the business of determining what is scientific or not even if it has priests who are scientists!

Readers may have misgivings on how the questions were framed but Torres' study is the first one published to tackle a previously "untouchable" subject in Philippine education. Even at the secular University of the Philippines, science professors are loathe to confront students' religious beliefs and how this affects their understanding of science. However once I had to warn a student that he will get a grade of 5.0 if he insisted on using religious explanations to answer a science exam and in oral reports in class. I warned him that preaching of a religion in class is inadmissable at UP and I won't hesitate to lodge a complaint. He dropped the course accordingly. But this case is extremely rare.

The one thing that disturbs me is that Torres' subjects are science teachers. Some students who belong to fundamentalist sects tell me that they are instructed by their ministers to just keep quiet, answer the questions as needed to pass the course and not to believe. Science teachers cannot impose belief but should be able to teach students to consider scientific concepts as plausible hypotheses. With a Bible Christian biology student, we came to this position after she talked to me about her quandaries. If she doesn't accept evolution as a hypothesis, then it is her own lookout for after she has logically considered the arguments, this affects how she understands nature.

However while Professor Torres and I are loathe to confront fundamentalism directly, there are instances when we have to do so.


53 comments:

Jesusa Bernardo said...

"There is this reluctance to SAY THE BIBLE AND CHURCH ARE wrong when it comes to scientific fact."

So true, blackshama. I know of some biology/MBB students who don't seem to question their Christian/Catholic faith one bit. I mean, how does one reconcile Genesis with the concept of evolution? Why Vatican seems to accept it is only because RC has historically been a "universal" (translation: flexible) religion.

blackshama said...

It is a tradition in the Catholic Church is use reason and faith in knowing the truth. Catholicism tends to look into the universals from the particulars and accept authority for the universals. The greatest doctors of the Church and the fathers are examples of this tradition.

Jesusa Bernardo said...

"It is a tradition in the Catholic Church is use reason and faith in knowing the truth."

That's one way to put it. Another is that RC is flexible enough to keep up with the times and its fluctuating/diminishing sphere of influence (which is actually a good thing--better than some static, close-minded religions around).

Jun Bautista said...

But it took the Catholic Church more than 300 years before officially acknowledging, through Pope John Paul II in 1992, the correctness of Galileo's proposition that the sun is the center of the universe. Quite a long time to keep up with the times, don't you think Jesusa?

Jesusa Bernardo said...

@ Jun Bautista

Indeed. I actually wanted to point it out earlier but decided against it. The thing is that, compared to Islam and fundametalist Christianity in general, which are rather static in their dogmas forever and ever (?)--science-wise or otherwise--the RC is more "admitting" of sorts. Still patriarchal but, as I keep on saying, rather flexible.

GabbyD said...

the answers are mostly supportive of a decent science education. except for the formation of the universe question, which is confusing (what constitutes the formation of the universe)?

Jesusa Bernardo said...

@ GabbyD

If I got you right, an acceptable answer would depend on who's asking. If you wish for a definitive but unproven, faith-based answer, then a religious explanation would do. If you want one based on evolving, physically-grounded knowledge, then a scientific answer to such major question will do. Of course, science at this point can only present theories subject to amendments as new knowledge comes by.

blackshama said...

Give the Church some slack on the Galileo affair. It had to deal with the Protestant Reformation (a religious issue of great importance). With regards to evolution, Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis accepted that evolution is a hypothesis that Catholics can consider when there are more facts. John Paul II confirmed this when he said "evolution is more than a hypothesis" Benedict XVI holds the same view.

The Church unlike in the case of Galileo never condemned evolutionary theory. It took the Church less than 100 years to consider the theory as plausible. contrast this with what some Protestant denominations say.

The Church has correctly refrained from commenting on the scientific basis of evolution (although Benedict XVI's words were misconstrued as support for some ID poistions) but does comment on the philosophical and theological ramifications. But these aren't science.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

Please watch all four segments of the Explainer episode on Darwin last February.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2xfU5y140I&feature=related

GabbyD said...

@jesusa

i meant that the answers point to the rizal kids understanding what they are supposed to when it comes to science. although it can be improved.

the formation of the universe question had perverse answers, especially since they got the age of the earth right.

the text of the article says that the age of the universe is a separate concept from the age of the earth.

my own confusion comes from the notion of 'formation'. when was the universe formed? the big bang event is only a few miliseconds. is the universe formed then?

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

Although much can be improved at our tertiary level of education, the real crisis is at the Basic Education level (grade school and high school) where the Curriculum is so warped against science, they only have a Science subject in 8 of the ten years. No science subject is even taught at Grades One and Two--the most critical part of grade school! (Since 2002!)

GabbyD said...

@DJB

ok i'll bite...

why is grade 1 and 2 the most critical part of grade school?

further, if it is... then we should be teaching them how to read well, right? science concepts later?

manuelbuencamino said...

The reason why the Church cannot accept natural selection entirely is because natural selection is a mindless process. Darwin's theory of evolution says it happens by chance. That undermines the whole idea of a Divine Plan

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

GabbyD,
Not that deep! For me it is simply that there are FIVE subjects in the curriculum: English, Pilipino, Math, Science, Makabayan.

All get TEN FULL YEARS as graded subjects, except Science! Why should that be?

We'll tackle pedagogics later, but let's consider the simpler aspects first, like logistics and what message we are sending.

Since there are only eight years of Science Subjects, Science Teaching is a vastly unpreferred career choice in the Normal schools.

This leads to a shortage of qualified authors and editors to create the science textbooks.

As for Grade One and Two being critical, where were you when we had all those debates about the "mother tongue", hehe?

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

The author hit the nail on the head when he or she wrote the book, "I learned everything I needed to know in Life in Kindergarten."

But GabbyD, I must re-emphasize the asymmetrical treatment of the Science subject in the official curriculum itself.

Aside from the budget allotted to science teaching (its only 80% of the other four!). This affects lab investments, computers, and all the things that are facilities for science teaching.

I must also point out that we used to have TEN full years of science. But when in 2002 they simply chopped out Grade 1 and 2 science, what do you think that did to the upstream science teaching. For example, do you think graduates of four years of science in grade school were prepared for a high school curriculum that assumed they already had SIX years.

Naah. It cut the legs out from under the whole Secondary School Science Program.

If there is any evil which will live on long after GMA is gone, it would have to be the DUMBING of the PILIPINO in the so called "Revised Basic Education Curriculum (BEC 2002).

Just imagine the reaction of the DepED to all the terrible reports of Filipinos placing near the bottom of countries in math and science testing was to ABOLISH science in GRades 1 aND 2.

Now how smart was that??

Jun Bautista said...

If instruction in science is being neglected or not given much emphasis in elementary, religion, on the other hand, is given a prominent position. In some elementary public schools (I can only speak for my town in Pampanga), religion - Catholicism, that is - is being taught as a requirement and during regular class hours. So much for non-establishment of religion.

blackshama said...

Wrong again manuelbuencamino. the Roman Church can accept evolution as a "mindless" process when it deals with the evolution of new forms. However it can't take the creation of the human soul as purely due to chance.

Read

Humani generis -Pius XII
Speech on Evolution to the Pontifical Academy in 1996 - John Paul II
Inaugural homily - Benedict XVI
Caritas in Veritate- July 2009, Benedict XVI

blackshama said...

DJB

too bad!

Next time, get Manolo to invite me. I am a practising biogeographer and evolutionary biologist and corrupted by the Jesuits when I was writing my PhD in science.

And my intellectual idols are

1) Charles Darwin

2) Joseph Ratzinger!

ogie said...

Dear blackshama,

You interest me. Would you please comment on this: Although poorly schooled in biology and genetics, and a progressive humanist, I don't entirely support Darwin in his claim of evolution by chance, most particularly biological evolution. I hold the theory that evolution will proceed ONLY when the need of the specie as programmed in it meets all the ingredients in the exact amount and in their specified properties necessary for it to begin the process of change or mutation leap under favorable conditions. These essential elements in it and outside it must conform to the specifications as printed in its assigned functional part in each cell and must be processed according to its instructions. The change in the specie must meet its changed environment which is the proximate inducer or activator. The changed environment causes the need in the specie to arise, and once aroused it looks into its systems for the right response so that it may make the adjustment in order for it to continue surviving in the changed environment. The environment may be observed to change by chance as Darwin thought, but not really; it changes only when the elements meet the precise formulation under the required processing specs for the event to occur, as in the process of cooking rice where you have rice, water, heat, and time meeting the precise formulation and procedure that results in a well cooked rice. All these leads to the notion that there is this intelligently designed blueprint for processing change that causes purposive predetermined evolutionary process; not caused by chance at all. May I ask who made the blueprint? [In the case of cooking rice, should we run out of cooking gas in the middle of the process, we might be forced to use other means of providing the remaining heat necessary, say an electric stove, to finish the job. Now, tell me, if the rice was cooked by chancing upon the electric stove? BTW, is the whole process of cooking raw hard bland grains of rice into edible soft tasty rice done by chance?]

blackshama said...

@Ogie

Evolution is never deterministic in nature. Natural selection acts due to chance since environmental changes may happen due to chance alone. Humans can direct evolution and we have been doing this since we invented agriculture. if this is the case, then we determine the environmental and even genetic make up suitable to our purposes. Then you have a designer of sorts, the plant/animal breeder. The designer is a legit subject of scientific investigation for he/she is part of a natural phenomenon.

It isn't the business of science to ask who the designer is in nature (if there was so). This is better taken in philosophy and theology, two subjects which I believe scientists should have good appreciation of.

Now there are some people who say that God may have allowed evolution (and other natural philosophical laws) to happen as it is part of natural law. The Catholic Church has always held on to this idea which to me makes sense. It presupposes that God is intelligent enough to allow humans to determine how nature works. A literal interpretation of how God works as written in Scripture to me is an insult to human intelligence. It implies an abdication of reason in favour of faith. This is contrary to Catholic tradition and what the doctors of the Church have always thought. Science inherited this tradition in the scientific method.

If you look at it and consider it in historical context, the "inventor" of evolutionary theory isn't Darwin and Wallace but Saint Augustine of Hippo. Science and its ways is a child of the Roman Church.

Anonymous said...

jesusa,

pa-intellectual pa-atheists (like this cretin in another blog), for example, are amazed to read a talking serpent in genesis, when in reality, there is none. in reality, though, this cretin has only limited appreciation of the fact that human languages do in fact cut across the literal to figures of speech.

and so i find it curious why the genesis should be taken literally for its evolutionary account, when from a literary standpoint, one should read it from an understanding that peoples of those time were not scientific in their thinking, and could therefore only expressed their wonders and amazement of the world in metaphorical language. and therefore to suggest questioning the genesis in a science laboratory is inappropriate. much as it was inappropriate for religion to dabble in scientific facts as it did centuries ago (and rightfully apologized she did). the two however can exist harmoniously. one need only keep an open mind.

i.n.e.

Anonymous said...

djb,

korek ka dyan sa assessment mo on the mutilation of basic education. and so to resuscitate the ailing state of our education, i say bring science on early. drop english, and introduce this in grade 3, much like the european models. it is more important to train critical thinking at the early age when the mind is most curious than to wag the tongue in foreign accent. remember your mother tongue hypothesis, when the concept is applied correctly.

i.n.e.

Anonymous said...

where in the world can you find a government setting up substantial scholarship fund for call-center english, employing engineering students to take telephone orders instead of building rockets?

oh well, talk about quality educational returns: basta maka-english lang, oks na.

i.n.e.

Anonymous said...

@ogie:

i find your example of rice cooking as a deterministic process incongruent with the concept of evolution as random. cooking came about because our ancestors discovered its value, and i suppose not through a deterministic process but by chance and marvel (hollywood suggests ligthning caused the first cooking fire). changes in eating habits evolved not because the right ingredients for change to occur were there but because there was value in this discovery. cooking by fire has since then been retained as a useful meme (social practices handed down), with or without the perfect rice to cook. eating rice is an adaptation for survival. it is even more remarkable to even ask if rice is neccessary for us to carry living on (diabetes-inducing at that).

i.n.e.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

INE--No, if there are five subjects then the default position is 20% time and resources should be the starting point. Why should any of the five subjects suffer at all?

The point is we used to have a perfectly sane division. It wasn't exactly 20% exactly for each of the five subjects, but none of them were cut out of any of the grade levels!

I mean c'mon, if you were designing a curriculum from scratch, would it actually occur to you NOT TO HAVE science taught in all the grade levels?

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

BEN--I would've loved to have had you on the show, instead of the Theologian from UST, who really was not prepared for me! But as I also said on the show, and point upon which you may want to pick up here on the thread is as follows:

(1) The Catholic Church does not disagree with Science in any measurable amount: certainly not with Medicine, or Engineering or Chemistry or Physics, or even Biology as such. It has said as much in various papacies, and most convincingly Pope Benedict as recently as two months ago.

(2) My basic position is that Democracy is Morality not Theology, and it is therefore with Democracy that the Catholic Church and its Religion in particular runs afoul of---Not Science!

The Church does not, cannot and will not deny the reputable claims of Science (those let us say in main stream of scientific opinion) and with good reason.

Thus the basic premise of this article is what I would controvert as being in conflict.

There is no contradiction between Science and Religion from the point of view of the Catholic Church. But from the point of view of Democracy, Religion has no place in the matter of public policy.

And of course public education is a grave matter of public policy.

Theology in particular is banned by Separation of Church and State as the basis of public morality.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

YET--yet!--it was the Catholic Church that CUT OUT the beating heart of the Science program in the Deped Curriculum in 2002.

Never mind Darwinism and Evolution yet, the basic facts of reality are denied Filipno school kids in grades one and two.

It can't get any more basic than that. NONE of them will ever get to Darwin!

blackshama said...

Let's be Darwinian DJB, the Church won't go for complete democracy since it will make itself no longer functional. It will have to compete. The Church has better chance to dance with science. The thing is that Science comes with a self-correcting mechanism. The Church doesn't.

I really find the logic of Humanae Vitae and all subsequent encyclicals acceptable. However to purely argue that it applies everywhere on the basis of morality and natural law alone may be a bit daft. The Church has to include what science says about contraception. Animals and even plants contraconceive when environmental conditions are bad!

Now since the Darwinian conclusion is that we bear the stamp of our lowly origins, this doesn't exempt us from how natural processes in affect our reproductive cycles as humans try to maximize fitness. The Church has partially given in by accepting the delinking of the creation of body and soul. The Church now has retreated to the concept of a soul. Now science can propose a theory that says that the soul is a product of Darwinian evolution when it comes up with an explanation of what consciousness is.

Thus I believe that we have the ingredients for another Galileo affair. In would rather have it now since Benedict XVI has a wide appreciation and grip of science and his theology is sharp. A future pope may not be as sharp as him. Benedict won't confront or place anathemas but is likely to work out a coexistence. This is science not religious fundamentalism where the razor sharp Benedict can easily draw his sword.

We have to admit that of course none of the theologians we have here in UST or the Loyola School of Theology IS AS GOOD AS BENEDICT!

And they haven't completely come out of the Medieaval studium. Now who was that UST theologian that cast Dan Brown's tomes into the bonfire?

Anonymous said...

blackshama,

the church is darwinian: she knows religion is the better meme, and therefore knows how to play her cards. surprisingly, dawkins who coined the term wants her presence obliterated. now, now, that isn't evolutionary, nor democratic, is it? it sounds more like genetic cleansing of a powerful meme. scareee.

Anonymous said...

blackshama,

dan brown's works, be they pro-science or anti-catholic, are ghastly literature pieces. the bibiliophiles have been had.

bonfire? sosyal. they make for better beddings in animals farms.

i.n.e.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

Ben,
I don't think that Religion can compete against anything but Religion. I guess I simply don't buy the "Separate Magisteria" idea at all. There is one Truth about anything and the best way to find it is the Scientific Method. Religion can only compete with other Religions.

I am not even too sure that outside of a decidedly scientific perspective, that believers in religion would have very much to contribute other than the most abstruse and speculative philosophy.

IN other words, Science has taken on a life and direction of its own that does not feel any duty to assuage or include the religious sensibility at all.

It is religion that must find a way to become relevant to the future history of Man.

Jesusa Bernardo said...

@ i.n.e., I find it somewhat surprising why someone as apparently intelligent as you find it strange that atheists tend to look for the literal in the bible. Don't tell me you didn't know the history of the Christian churches and how they taught literal interpretations of the Genesis to their flock in the early times?

The Christian churches brought it upon themselves. When science modernized--discovered reliable knowledge and devised tools--and started to disprove religious teachings, they conveniently shifted to non-literary interpretations but still claim that their religion(s) hold(s) the "truth."

Yes, the Bible and science can exist harmoniously--only, one party has to stop claiming that it is the truth.

GabbyD said...

@djb

how/who in the church cut out the first years? bro andrew? he is la sallian, not cbcp.

blackshama said...

With all that logical fallacies, your Philo I prof would make an example of Dan Brown's rubbish!

ogie said...

Thanks for you replies INE and blackshama [B]. I see that you know very well your science and religion. But on Darwin, I don't know. You two didn't notice that I wrote I didn't believe in Darwin's evolution by "chance." Or, you guys were just too kind since you know that I am not so very knowledgeable, hehe. Thanks for your kindness then :)

You make me understand that there are two theories- deterministic, like Darwin's and random by non-Darwins.

B you wrote that natural evolution in never deterministic. Sorry, this is not in my book. You further wrote that it is always random or by chance in nature, however in laboratories it may often be deterministic.

Did you ever encounter the industrial/manufacturing safety warning sign "Accidents don't just happen, they are caused?" I was delving on it when I was a factory worker and I was convinced that there is always a cause for any occurring event.

You further wrote, "The designer is a legit subject of scientific investigation for he/she is part of a natural phenomenon," but you think science has no business really in doing that. I can agree with the latter statement, but I really can't quite agree with the former since science is into finding out laws that cause yet unexplained observable events to happen; no, not the designer, unless of course you are referring to the cause, which is the proper term I am more acquainted when dealing in scientific works.

B and INE, you seem to be one in accepting that there are two kinds of evolution, deterministic and random which to my limited knowledge are for quite some time now competing theories, meaning only one of them is deemed to be acceptable. You two are quite advanced in your knowledge.

This URL on Darwin's deterministic evolution may be of help, it says science has finally proven Darwin.
http://richarddawkins.net/article,2141,New-Findings-Confirm-Darwins-Theory-Evolution-Not-Random,Science-Daily.

B I need to clarify this with you: "Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis accepted that evolution is a hypothesis that Catholics can consider when there are more facts. John Paul II confirmed this when he said "evolution is more than a hypothesis" Benedict XVI holds the same view."

You do have a whole lot of info about the church. But I seem to remember that Pope Benedict did not accept entirely Pope Paul II's belief. I thought he said, "John Paul had his reasons for saying so, but it is also true that the theory of evolution is not a complete, scientifically proven theory." That says a lot about his not in totally approval of JPII's view, doesn't it? When he said this I believed he added that the debate between creationism and evolution is absurd because science and faith can co-exist.

Thus, I shall not delve on it any longer because I adhere to the German Shepherd's views.

INE, thanks for your elaboration on the rice thing, however I do think you missed entirely my point in using it as a corollary explanation. Your reply though provides additional helpful info.

Bye

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

GABBYD,
Your very question informs me of what a desperate state we are in. I am speaking of the official BASIC EDUCATION CURRICULUM which actually determines how 200 billion pesos are spent by the Deped in 2009 on salaries--and which has NO ENTRY for Grades One and Two under the Subject of Science. Look it up please on the DepED website, or read about it here a Philippine Commentary in over 30 posts. Sigh!

This is abominable. I know your ignorance is not unique, but is in fact a mirror of the state of Civil Society's understanding of the basic facts of our education system.

ogie said...

On deterministic evolution: may I just add a question whether you have thought of the whole universe as one big laboratory?

GabbyD said...

@DJB

which question? i was merely asking how the church "cut" the science out of the first 2 years.

blackshama said...

No scientific theory can be proved, it can only be falsified.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

Ben,
I have a slightly different take on scientific verifiability and falsifiability.

Every scientific theory must be falsifiable otherwise it becomes Religion, whose theories have no such requirement.

But it is not true that no scientific theory is provable. Take the theory that the earth is round. That theory was proved long ago by discovery. It was falsifiable by traveling to its edge, but when circumnavigation happened, that effectively proved the theory.

In a sense, every failed attempt to falsify a theory lends it a measure of proof. Sometimes the failed attempt actually produces an explicit proof of the opposite, such as in the shape of the earth.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

GabbyD,
In the Explainer clip i relate how the 2002 BEC was created and how Opus Dei operatives done the dirty deed. I know for most PInoys this isn't exactly very exciting stuff, cloak and dagger around the effin curriculum. But I suppose you had to have been there to be as mad as me. Look, what is important is that those two grade level subjects in science are now missing, a fact hardly anyone appreciates the long term deleterious effects of.

Anonymous said...

there are material truths which science can prove (including the roundness of the material earth), and psychic truths that cannot be investigated in science labs (with apologies to carl jung).

mathematics is one vessel of psychic truths. the concept 'point' exists, and yet remains unseen (the same cretin in another blog claims that a point can be seen through the cartesian plane, blabbering and not understanding that this very plane is made up of points representing it). just because its non-materiality cannot be verified in science lab does not mean it is non-truth.

now, which truth are we talking about, jesusa?

granting: if the church faltered in its interpretation in the past, do you hold that as truth for atheists to pick up where she stumbled, and proceed to falsify them? so which was falsified: the interpretation or the claim to truth, or the scriptural message?

i.n.e.

Anonymous said...

ogie,

no, i do not claim strong knowledge in evolution, either. am just interested in the subject--still wondering if we humans are at the apex of this process.

as to the universe being one big laboratory, my personal take on this: we are made of 0s and 1s. i cant resist the matrix.

i.n.e.

Anonymous said...

djb,

religion is relevant, was and will always be. it's survives as a meme (tell dawkins that). as long as man will remain to continuosly marvel in his existence, his search for meaning cannot be dissected in a science lab. it is a personal matter.

i.n.e.

ogie said...

INE,

You sound like you know a lot of psychology.

I remember in my one and only psychology class in my life that a point has no dimension – zip, nada. If this is true then it certainly cannot be seen. This would settle the claim that a point can be seen in the Cartesian plane.

I remember too in my trigonometry class that a point can be LOCATED on a plane, but not seen, using the Cartesian method.

In that psychology class my teacher asked how many dimensions does a solid, plane and line have. The guess answer of 3,2, and 1 respectively were correct. Then she proceeded to tell us that a line is composed of a several points put side by side in a continuous array. After this she asked, “How come that the DIMENSIONLESS points when put together so as to form a line would add up to ONE DIMENSION? Of course, we could not answer her. In our minds no matter how many zero dimensions are added together the answer remains zero. Is there an answer to this INE?

Anonymous said...

ogie,

according to douglas adams of hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, the answer to everything is 42. the only question remaining is, what is the question? :D

but seriously, an interesting take you have there. i shall ponder on it, and hope to provide some meaningful answer.

i.n.e.

ogie said...

INE,

Thanks. Please remind me, I gotta go and see Douglas Adams, if only I can find his address. hehe...

I am happy that now I have an able aid in finding a logical answer to the question that has bogged me since 1960.

Perhaps the answer can be had by pondering the issue of creation as it relates to God, the religious intelligent creator that is said in the bible as having come from a mysterious source or something. He or it, this God created the world. The bible says further that God IS, WAS and WILL BE; denoting no beginning no end, pagka weird naman ano, po? From these I am tempted to infer that SOMETHING [very fishy,eh], like the whole universe, can be created from NOTHING, like the one dimensional line that was created from the dimensionless and invisible points put side by side- from NOTHING into SOMETHING! Amazing!

From NOTHING to SOMETHING, [isn’t this something out of this world? Hehe…] and God’s being and existence explained in a simple concept - “IS, WAS and WILL BE.” I’ll be damned! Oops, that’s my science asserting it’s ignorance, sorry.[Where was I when science was taught in school? Of course, I was attending to my religion! Nagsakristan, po. Like what my priest said I should be doing.]

I don't know about you, how these “strange revelations” strike you, but for me these truths, although yet unexplained [sa akin lang, po, kasi minus tayo e], infer a being, GOD, that is NOTHING. How? That would be your challenge if you are willing to ponder upon it. Maybe it is worth your while to do so. Malaki ang kompiyansa ako sa iyo. Perhaps by your pondering you will arrive at a very helpful truth that will help DJB, Blackshama [B] and Torres, and me resolve some itchy bitchy doubts and untruths related to our quest for what kind of science is good for the first two years of primary grades, or find virtues in its necessity in those grades.

In doing so, we may be able to focus more on DJB's quandary about science being eased out from the first and second grades in the primary grades. That is such a very important issue. Now that I am reminded, hehe, let me just put in my two cents on that before B's “Science in the Early Grades and in Graduate School” distracts me. [Speaking of graduate school, I didn't go to graduate school, just help write papers for those who found it difficult to write them. hehehe... researcher lang pala, e. I am afraid that would disqualify me from interacting with B there.]
[to be continued]

ogie said...

[con't]
Here it goes for DJB’s advocacy: Science is interesting and highly profitable. If properly taught it should interest everyone and give each a chance to understand better the scientific jargon or lingo going around everyday in the news, magazines, books, movies and intellectual circles; and more important, be able to participate in the discussions and contribute ideas on how the world may beat all destructive forces coming from nature [God’s creation] and unnatural greed created by men. Madali maalis o mabigyan ng solusyon ang mga kontrobersiya ngayon na nalangkop ng religion at science pag may sapat na kaalaman ng science ang mga tao.

“If properly taught is correct” and so how?

DBJ is right on the money when he said that education should start at an early age as much as possible. Ross Perot, a multi-millionaire and once a third party USA presidential candidate in recent years, in one of his campaign speeches included this topic. He said that the first five years of a child’s life is the best years for learning; the capacity of the child to absorb knowledge is generally greatest in those years; and it is deplorable how our formal educational system starts our children at 6 or 7 which is already past the prime formative learning years.

At an early age is also correct. No debating on that. So what is the implication of this in our education system, particularly on DJB’s science of interest, er, interest on science education? Eh, DJB? Hehe.. sorry, I tend to get amused whenever I see or mention something really interesting.

I suppose it is this: If we can get the students, particularly the better ones [including the geniuses] to get interested [or fascinated which is even desirable], in science as early as possible we would be expecting them to be reaping [faster than lightning, haahhaaha] rewards later in life, in adult life where life counts most and where true education bears its wonderful fruits; hopefully putting the country on top of every TIMSS science exam, instead of being among the pathetic cellar dwellers for years. Naku po naman.
There would be the added benefit of early competition with religious theories that deal on pure magic, that has the property which cannot be dismissed as bearing a very strong “fixation interest” influence on the imaginative and highly impressionable children, whose attitude, brought about by TV and Video games, is to be fast and do fast JUST LIKE MAGIC!!!

“Science experiments, pwe! They take too long, oy! Boriiing, no?”

[Why can’t these ideas get into the minds of our educators, particular those at UP who in every opportunity that comes along try to show up their geniuses! [Iba pa siempre iyong sadyang nagkikre-et ng opportunities, bah! But not all, like our B.]

This magical fascination is what gave Prof. Torres his astonishing but dismayingly anti-or ineffective educational findings. Too strong religious fervor on beliefs, ay, pala, theories, early in life that was not effectively [DepEd] countered at an early age or as DJB would have it at the proper age, say in grades 1 and 2, eh, DJB, my favorite commentator? Kwidaw tayo, ang galing yata ng mga pari, pastores, at mga ministros sa pag-reinforce ng kanilang early teachings! Kaya ano ang magagawa ng science teachers, lalo na pag ipasunod pa sa kanila iyong mga bulok, ehe, kulang na kulang na sistema ngayon ng, aywan ko ba, DeafEd daw? Hindi po makarinig sa ating DJB dahil naging Deaf ang Dep sa DepEd nga daw. Tila alinsunod sa Filipino para sa Pilipino… Ay, aywan ko ba, mali o kulang na sistema?

Kung system ay hinding hindi po pala ang teachers ang may kasalanan. Dito ako hanga sa idolo ko. Kung saan namumukpok si DJB ay siyang tama nga naman pukpukin natin lahat! Ano, B, JB at INE tulong tulong na tayong lahat. Mukha naman yata iisa lang ang isip natin, di ba? Ehe, sori kung hindi. Pero palagay ko, po, iisa.
[to be con't]

ogie said...

[con't]
Speaking of TV and Video games. These are unwanted rotten influences on the young “moldable” minds. Their greatest disservice is the institutionalizing at an early age of the wrong virtue of impatience. Look at how fast the actions are on these modern devices??? Swift and seemingly coming from nowhere, like magic, no?? Where, oh, where does it say in our DepEd policies that parents and kids are forcefully [coercion is best] advised to limit the time spent on these unfettered gadgets?

The TV’s and Video games’ immutable product of IMPATIENCE means resorting to MAGIC to a young impressionable mind, and RELIGIOUS BELIEFS are MAGICS to kids and sad to say even to “captive” adults. Ah, so, how does one expect science to ease itself effortlessly into a child’s fascination faculties to get him on to the right road with these bastard gadgets and the omnipresent priests all around him? Fast science fiction games and movies? If this is the answer, then I suggest we give it more thought so we can come up with the right idea. How? Methinks [excuse the idiom, I am an old man already ],

ONLY THRU or BY THE RIGHT COMPETITION at a very early age – right after birth, if possible [Japan’s Suzuki method says at the age of inception.]. However, I can compromise with my idol, even at grades 1 and 2 will give the magicians a run for their money! Dahan dahanin lang natin sila; sang-ayon lang sa kanilang kaya at kokote. Kasi pagbinibigla at inaapora ay lalong tumitigas ang poder nila sa pagsalungat ng pag-away, ehe, o pag-iwas nga pala na saan sila madunong na maduning. Nasa pwesto kasi sila kaya mahina tayo. Ehe, nasa maling pwesto pala sila at hindi marunong gumamit ng poder nila. Ah…at mukhang pati ulo, ehe,… nasa pwesto sila hindi natin mapaalis,, ano ba.. but ah… more like it.

Like I always say after opening my mouth on the virtue of my own solicitation, I will now wait for the reaction fireworks to begin. But hey, it will be my pleasure to get them, even just one

Jesusa Bernardo said...

@i.n.e.

That the psychic realm exists doesn't prove the truth of the bible. That there is a spirit world/a Creator won't prove the validity of scriptural message (something hard to interpret, really) either.

Say, the story of woman having been created from man's ribs and humans being supposedly created in HIS (MALE God) image. Even if taken non-literally, those parts of the bible still says that male is sort of the default sex. Well, science says otherwise: female is the default sex, with the XX female and XY male, and with fetal development always being female in the initial stages.

Just one of the many scientific facts that disprove the bible (parts of it, at least). What I'm saying is that we should keep on searching for truths and keep an open mind. No one entity or body of knowledge has the monopoly of truth.

Anonymous said...

on female being the default sex, by all means, perhaps this is the material scientific truth. as to its psychic truth: do you think the males will take this assertion sitting down? not that i am suggesting the bible is a chauvinist, albeit i know the feminists have much to harp about in this regard. but the literary innuedoes here have much to do about nothing. being created in the image and likeness of god is not gender specific but a metaphor in glorification. this is the danger of literal reading, where the deep human experience is submerged instead being surfaced all because everything is now read in plain 2 dimensional cartesian x and y. pun intended.

inodoro ni emilie

Jesusa Bernardo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jesusa Bernardo said...

@ i.n.e.

I'm sure that males won't take sitting down my material-truth-based assertion that female is the default sex--haven't you noticed that as a gender tribe, the males have been stepping down on women for ages?

The non-literal interpretation of the bible is such a wonderful thing--those who espouse its "truths" can get away with almost anything. I suspect that the original Old Testament books did not describe God as a male, all male that is, and that the patriarchs merely edited the bible in the bid to control women (Why? Check out paternal insecurity before the age of DNA paternity testing).

My greater point is that the "truths" claimed by religions are mostly subjective and cannot be proved or disproved, especially without the use of scientific studies/tools/knowledge.