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Politics & Current Events Discussion on political views, the war and world events here. Strictly moderated forum, so use your better judgement when posting.

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Unread 06-10-2011, 10:53 PM   #1
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Bias found by students unlikely to change opinion, regardless of politics

The journal College Teaching found that students who were convinced they are right are more likely to perceive bias in their professors, regardless of where the students fall on the political spectrum.

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/87567555.2010.511312

It appears that some students who have never been exposed to someone playing Devil's Advocate see the tactic as an attack, as opposed to an attempt to think through and validate one's position, as well as an opportunity to examine one's reasoning for weak points.

Students who were more flexible and less rigid in their thinking and viewpoints perceived no bias in the same situations.

Interesting, no? I'm always fascinated when someone refuses to even consider alternate viewpoints, and when asking questions about their viewpoint is viewed as an attack, that can make discussions a difficult thing.

Your thoughts?

If you don't care enough to research your own question, why should anyone else care more?

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Unread 06-10-2011, 10:59 PM   #2
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When I find someone like that, I just use Socratic irony. Works every time, and I've met people like that, because I can sometimes act like that.
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Unread 06-10-2011, 11:46 PM   #3
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The more I read the OPost, the less I understand it:

"...found that students who were convinced they are right are more likely to perceive bias in their professors, regardless of where the students fall on the political spectrum."

> Suggests students who are not "convinced of correctness" don't appreciate political concerns?

"never been exposed to..."

>Can a student (young person?) be expected to react predictably to a prime experience?

I would say that the advertising text for this report fails to impress due to it's vagueness and lack of specificity. Grade = F-

If the body of the text differs greatly from the introduction, I would not be greatly surprised. Looks like a foregone conclusion, rather than a test, from the intro.




From the weblink:
...suggesting that students who are strongly committed to their identity are more likely to perceive an instructor as having a political bias. Recommendations are made for how to address perceptions of political bias.


Further, the theme is about REMOVING the appearence of a "liberal bias on campus"...

Quote:
Political Bias in the Classroom: Rethinking the Way You Teach

By: Darren L. Linvill, Ph.D. in Trends in Higher Education

In today’s article the author discusses steps faculty can take to eliminate that perception in the classroom.

The perception of a pervasive, liberal political bias in the halls of academia has become commonplace in recent years. While research suggests that professors’ political beliefs have no measurable effect on students, the perception of bias is no less real and may be affecting the credibility of higher education as a whole. Real or imagined, perception becomes reality for students and the public alike. The professoriate needs to take the perception of political bias seriously and make steps to change this perception for the better...

Right, I understand now. Teachers are under various pressures and must become identity devoid automatons of dissemination... Here is an example treatise from the author:

Political Bias in the Classroom: Rethinking the Way You Teach | Faculty Focus

Lacks specific context and detail of "example teaching modalities" with regards to the vague conclusion. What is "biased teaching?". Article grade = F-

There's more to this than meets the eye...

* I shall research his (Darren L. Linvill) critics... see what fun happens. Crazy teachers *sigh* *


... And (sic) I always thought it was political leanings that made a person want to be a teacher... *sigh*


Explorer, have I got this all totally wrong and misinterpreted?

There's so much of this stuff online! It's all nonsense... No wonder the kids are confused, if the teachers take this nonsense seriously i.e.

Kemmelmeier, M., Danielson, C., & Basten, J. (2005). What’s in a grade? Academic success and political orientation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 31, 1386-1399.

A special report: The Chronicle survey of public opinion on higher education (2004, May 7). The Chronicle of Higher Education, 50(35), A12-13.

Mariani, M. D. & Hewitt, G. J. (2008). Indoctrination U.? Faculty ideology and changes in student political orientation. PS: Political Science and Politics, 41(4).


*** Edit: finally, I got the price out of the website.... $34 !!!!! ***


***Edit: I understand now...

Read this article:
http://diverseeducation.com/article/11987/

Basically, the author is concerned about a survey that suggests public perception is that liberal professors are more successful in their careers, due to their political bias. The author Darren L. Linvill is attempting to ask teaching professionals to self regulate their political bias, before it is enforced from above, with his articles. Here is the final paragraph of the linked article:

Quote:
Darren L. Linvill:
Intellectual diversity, however, should be fostered from the ground up, starting in the classroom, not mandated through legislation. If academic freedoms are not protected and education professionals are not allowed to teach following the standards of their field, the intellectual diversity movement could have an impact that is the opposite of the one intended by limiting campus discussion to only topics that are deemed “safe.” This is not an invitation for educators to indoctrinate students in a certain political view, but rather to challenge students to grow intellectually by evaluating all views equally.
Initially I was confused by his methods, but now I see his desired outcome, I can empathise with him. Shame he has to do it ass ways. Rather than cry freedom, he recommends whispering *very quietly*... /Rather than / Before getting told to stop entirely.
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Unread 06-10-2011, 11:47 PM   #4
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Doesn't this all seem just a tad obvious?
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Unread 06-11-2011, 12:05 AM   #5
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Browsing the site was fun...

Look here:

Coping with Seven Disruptive Personality Types in the Classroom | Faculty Focus

$149 in PDF format. An additional $200 for the deluxe "keep it on campus version to review at your leisure" multiple user rights version.

That looks to be their most valuable information. Clearly the tactics of a mercenary...

52-pages ONLY! $3 per PDF page!!! Must be powerful infos.

No examples on the page, no testimonials, no exerpts... Advertising Fail!

Here is a similar work from the good Dr Amada, for free.
http://www.mnsu.edu/conduct/disrupbehav.pdf

Enjoy!

Just read the first few pages.... It's like a script from "Saved by the bell" (80's crap TV show, set in school of reprobates). Page 2 is my favourite:

"With advancements in medication and treatment, there has been a marked increase in the number of students with psychological disorders attending colleges..."

Looks like the meds don't work then, Dr Amada...

Last page ... *excellent: after the Dr has suggested that all difficult students are simply the product of failed brain chemistry...*the final advice is: "Avoid using labels e.g. "the student is paranoid"...".

Overall, I think "paranoid" best describes that body of work (total 4 pages with big pictures to save on text).

Gerald Amada, Ph.D.

His writing credits include: His tenth book, Mu Shu: A True Story (Biographical Publishing Company), is the "autobiography" of his Shar-Pei.

A Shar-Pei:


Strange, that a man so outspoken about his perception of America's children finds time to write in the style of a banzai dog...

I know nothing about American education. From reading Amada the threats to the teaching profession seem to be : verbal, legal, physical (in order of frequency). Is it really some kind of war zone in colleges?
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Unread 06-11-2011, 03:09 AM   #6
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I'll try to find some free links which are more informative than the abstract.

I don't know how many of you have ever taught, but even if you haven't, you can probably easily imagine those students at the far left and right who view any statement or question from the professor as an attack on their beliefs, by imposing dead males on them, or evolution, or white history, or capitalistic fascism, and so on.

I just thought it was interesting to see an actual study researching claims of bias, and its findings that perception of bias was tied to being inflexible in one's own viewpoints. It's one thing to see these stereotypes in any comedic college movie, but quite another to hear a bit about the mechanism, instead of just trading stories in the office later.
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If you don't care enough to research your own question, why should anyone else care more?

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Unread 06-12-2011, 08:01 PM   #7
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It's not genuine research. It's propaganda for Darren L. Linvill "teachers free from persecution*" campaign, which I think is well founded.

*my invention based on his article linked & quoted above

It took me 20 minutes to research, but I think that is clear. My initial post was a train of thought as I went through it. Maybe I should tidy it up.


Would you guys care to open the debate up a little?

So, what are the root causes of students unpreparedness for new concepts?

From what I hear and read of America there are a diverse range of organisations spreading convoluted information, each regarding themselves as the leaders of consciousness. The state, the churches, the bankers, the military industrial complex, the oligarchs and the unions. Each has a distinctly divergent perception of history, its' participants and it's significance. They would each seek to portray events favourably to those that would pursue their aims and so, finally, we get to the education of the next generation; those that would carry out this work.

(That's a general who, why and when just for background, add more if you want, but the topic is how to teach humanely, right? )

I would start with an introduction to learning as the first lesson.

1> Why we learn.

Life is a constant struggle against the mundane and the monotonous. Throughout your life you will come into contact with many people, some of whom may not share your views or values. In order to prepare yourself to share the company of other human beings, becoming aware of their founding paradigms will allow you to maximise the possibilities of those interactions.

Through this study you will not just learn about others, but through them, you will learn the significant value of your life: You will come to know yourself.

(to sweeten it up, change mundane and the monotonous to unwinding spiral of challenges and surprises... Depends on your bias towards honesty.... Mwahahaaha /jk )

I mean, that's the deal, right there. Prepared to face the onslaught of horrors that is history and why people were convinced to do such terrible things that can never be justified.

I don't really recall being repelled by the carnage of history as a child, of course there is a period of shock and denial, but it didn't really come as a surprise. That's why I've only ever taught music privately, I would not allow myself to be responsible for explaining human cataclysm to young people.


This made me cry (I'm man enough to admit it!!! ).
*don't watch if you don't like crying, everyone cries when they watch this - unless they are dead, or worse, dead on the inside... *

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX18zUp6WPY


Explorer, I have question:
No Nikola Tesla, why????????????

You have to get to degree level in engineering to be force indoctrinated about him here (UK). Most are ignorant of his name but, lately, video games have used him depicted as the mad scientist, for which he was prime archetype *irony*. At least it's out there.


As a final thought about my bias: after studying various religions and philosophy for a template, looking at history and politics and researching ... I've come to the conclusion; only the observer matters. I would like to see empathy, compassion and generosity in abundance, so these are the things I try to emit. That is the only goal worth striving for, for me. So politics and the subtle and manipulative forces of division are not guides to the limits of my possibilities of expression, especially when sharing the company of other human beings.


1 more thing (I always do this!)
The kids don't like hearing their parents' views being questioned as they have no foundation to build an argument. The desperate search for material worthy in response causes, amongst other things, a defensive reaction. This invariably causes a negative response, thus an experience worthy of report to the aforementioned parents (or subconscious builders) is deemed a complaint of bias.

Done... $34 please.
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Unread 06-12-2011, 09:12 PM   #8
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It's almost like Shono's evil genius brother!

My real dad is a professor, and from the stories I've heard, there are a ton of kids who just got into this or that, and argue from that standpoint with youthful conviction and abandon. Shit, I do it myself. I think you have to take a look at the age of the kids, and not the teachers. If they're college age like I am, then they're searching for causes to help define themselves, generally unaware that who they are now and what they support now will most likely change in a decade.

Of course, that doesn't bode well for me, as I'm covered in atheist tattoos. Let's hope I don't change, right?
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Unread 06-12-2011, 09:57 PM   #9
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Out of curiosity, are you saying that "College Teaching" is a shill for Linvill?

Or are you asserting that the study, even though subject to the journal's policies (to wit: "All articles in this journal have undergone editorial screening and double-blind peer review"), made it past that vetting but was falsified?

----

You state various entities as having distinct points of view, but it seems like you're stating that all members of such groups are part of a monolithic group in terms of opinions. I'd say that in any organization, you will have people who are authoritarian ("Do what I say without asking questions") and others who are authoritative ("Here's all the available information from which you can make your decisions and judgments").

Having witnessed loud vocal disagreements among church memberships, union members, chambers of commerce, and other groups, I assure you that the united vision you seem to be asserting doesn't exist. Maybe your experience has been different from mine... although, in that case, why do political parties have to vote in their primaries, instead of just deciding as a monolithic block?

----

People try to instill things as best they can, and one of the possibilities to instill is an ability to question in order to make good decisions. Flexibility is more valued by many than molding others into automatons, especially if one wants someone who can react to an unplanned situation.

One of the great results of a balanced university education is that universities do try to teach their students to consider other points of view. That's why even hard science majors have to take certain core credit hours (languages, history, etc.) which don't directly relate to their ultimate goals. I understand that some universities don't want their students to learn to question things (Bible colleges, for example, will have severely curtailed science classes), but most accredited universities will uphold certain standards.

----

I'm not sure why Nikola Tesla came up in the conversation. Is your point that the history of science should be taught in physics classes, as opposed to a history of science class? Science classes are about teaching the best state of the art... or, at least I'd hope that everyone had classes like mine. I'd think that if one wanted to take a class to learn about Tesla, Da Vinci and others, there are no rules against that, but I'm not sure what that has to do with bias or openness to learning, so perhaps that topic (why are misunderstood geniuses not taught about?) is better for another thread.

----

I have no problem with waiting until someone is ready to learn, including psychologically. There's no reason to teach 6-year-olds about all the details of the Holocaust, for example. However, if one is of legal age, and attending a university, then one should be open to learning, even if it is not comfortable.

----

It's not the parents' views which are questioned at the university level, at least not in the classes I've taken or taught. The person being questioned is the student. "Why do you think that's a good idea? What about this one instead?" To state that a university student is just a puppet reciting a parent's indoctrination is to severely overestimate the amount of students with authoritarian parents.

Yes, there are those who do grow up in those circumstances, and when they hit the real world they often will receive many shocks to the system. Often, they wind up being disillusioned.

Cheers!

If you don't care enough to research your own question, why should anyone else care more?

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Unread 06-12-2011, 10:49 PM   #10
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When somebody starts spouting bullshit at me, I just start trolling him or her.

I actually had a teacher of Russian who, when trolled by myself, would simply play along and counter-troll. Now, in that department in this school, the classes were friggin' tiny, so it's not like there was too much disruption, but it was awesome. *chortle*

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Unread 06-14-2011, 12:27 PM   #11
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I think that research was biased!

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Unread 06-14-2011, 12:54 PM   #12
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Show me a human being with no bias and I'll show you a liar.

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Unread 06-15-2011, 05:52 AM   #13
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@Explorer

I enjoyed your post and appreciate your point of view. There is certainly benefit for all in reading your clear, precise and concise posts, Explorer.

As a newcomer to Linvill, I think it clear that he is on a crusade to protect the personal identity of educators from legislative "gagging" orders.

Please excuse my rambling posts earlier. I was alt+tab 'ing through different windows looking at the reference material (from the links provided) and noting the agenda in progress.

I would support his cause, assuming my perception of it is correct. It would be impossible for me to cast aspersions about the content or quality of his work as I have not studied it. But the introduction posted at the link caused me to doubt it lacked a specific purpose in a greater scheme. From reading some of his articles online (quote posted earlier), it seems that the work is an intellectual rebuttal to flawed surveys and serves a purpose in a grander scheme of protecting the expression of educators and the content they provide to their students.

In England, college is commonly attended by 16-18 year olds. University is attended by 19-21. Other ages do attend, but those ages are the perceived norm and those that deviate, I would guess, are a minority.

My comment regarding parental indoctrination (meant not in a sinister context, simply; mimicking the political views of others without personal research) would better describe this age group, than older US students.


I found Nikola Tesla to be a huge source of inspiration. He did more for the benefit of others than any figure in history, improving comfort and quality of life with his advanced technologies. A bold claim, but I can't think of any comparisons at the moment.

If inspiring figures like Nikola were taught more freely in schools and colleges, just take a moment to think of how motivated they would be by the time they attended Univeristy or College in the US. . . I was not taught about Nikola Tesla during my time in education, his name was not mentioned a single time.

Regarding the autocratic monolith; I did not mean to suggest there is not divergence of opinion, merely that opinion makers have subtle methods - including the publication of educational materials. It was a crude short hand to give context.

The holocaust was not in my mind when writing about history as a tale of human cataclysm. I was thinking more of ancient empires rather than the several brief decades of war in the last century.


Finally, I would like to reiterate my belief that if students were educated under a clear brief, which I'm sure Explorer's class (and Linvill's ) are made explicitly privy to;

"These opinions are those of the source, intended to prepare the student with understanding, empathy and compassion. They are not directly indicative of opinions held by individual members of staff or the faculty as a whole."


I've watched many documentaries discussing freedom to teach in America and find parallels in England, although there are less diverse fundamentalist groups here. I see the trend of the elimination of concepts as a component of the Orwellian prophecy...

(remove contentious terminology from the dictionary/lexicon = remove it from the potential of human expression).


There's a great expression; The wind will break even the strongest oak, but the willow will bend.
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Unread 06-15-2011, 07:26 AM   #14
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Here's the plight of a potential teacher (art & ceramics) on the forum. Teachers need more respect (especially from government). They're building the future.

Today i finished my degree..


Also, just noticed this which is relevant to discussing modes of detecting bigotry/indoctrination:
http://www.ex-cult.org/General/lifton-criteria


Quote:
DR. ROBERT J. LIFTON'S CRITERIA FOR THOUGHT REFORM
THOUGHT REFORM: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TOTALISM
CHAPTER 22
(Chapel Hill, 1989)


Any ideology -- that is, any set of emotionally-charged convictions
about men and his relationship to the natural or supernatural world
-- may be carried by its adherents in a totalistic direction. But
this is most likely to occur with those ideologies which are most
sweeping in their content and most ambitious or messianic in
their claim, whether a religious or political organization. And
where totalism exists, a religion, or a political movement becomes
little more than an exclusive cult.

Here you will find a set of criteria, eight psychological themes against
which any environment may be judged. In combination, they create an
atmosphere which may temporarily energize or exhilarate, but which at the
same time pose the gravest of human threats.
...Continued at the link provided.
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Unread 06-15-2011, 06:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan-ZenGtr- View Post
@Explorer
I found Nikola Tesla to be a huge source of inspiration. He did more for the benefit of others than any figure in history, improving comfort and quality of life with his advanced technologies. A bold claim, but I can't think of any comparisons at the moment.

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Unread 06-16-2011, 03:00 AM   #16
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It could well be that the author has a particular point of view. That's often the case in terms of any study: someone notices something and decides to investigate.

However, when one publishes or presents, others won't necessarily be agreeable to just rubber stamping the results. I've been at one conference where an audience member asked many pointed questions about some anomalous results, and finally ended with the question and comment, "That's really what happened? I truly doubt that." Open accusations of falsification do happen, and then there is often a request for primary materials, which can sometimes vindicate... or sometimes expose fraud.

And, sometimes a simple comment can deflate an idea. There was one presentation where someone made the claim that many languages allow using a positive to actually mean the negative, but that English had no such structures. Someone in the audience called out, "Yeah, yeah!" in negation, and the entire assembly broke out laughing, as it rendered the remaining time in the session basically pointless. *laugh*

With those experiences in mind, I can easily concede that Linville has a particular viewpoint... but I believe it is unlikely that his research is bogus. I previously gave a few examples of opinionated students that anyone who has been involved in academia would instantly recognize, all of which always seem to want particular ideas suppressed, as well as no challenges to their own ideas.

----

Regarding Tesla, there is enough documentation about the claims (for example, he invented polyphase alternating current) and the actual facts (actually invented in 1832, and used by many inventors in Europe while he was trying to develop his system in New York) that I don't need to spend a lot of time here debunking it. He was a smart guy, but there is a lot of Tesla worship which isn't warranted by the facts.

I have a friend who taught a masters class on religious practices, and a lot of her students were deeply into modern Wicca and paganism. When she talked about the actual history of those practices, her students who had invested a great deal of time reading and studying books written for the new age market were most offended that she didn't share their beliefs in what they believed were its true history. I'm sure fans of Tesla would also be dismayed to actually find out what the patent applications on many claimed Tesla inventions actually revealed.

Cheers!

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Unread 06-21-2011, 11:42 AM   #17
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I have to say as a student at a University I hate the fact that teachers need to be so discrete when they talk. An open minded discussion begins with bias from both parties leading to overall better conversation and maybe even an enlightening conversation. There is a difference between discussing each others views, however, and political intolerance which leads to a verbal fist fight so to speak. Either way I wish teachers could speak their mind, but then again I don't really like anything that binds me or others to a certain predetermined lifestyle. Who knows, if we were all allowed to speak our minds freely perhaps we could actually solve tomorrows problems and fix some today.
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Unread 06-21-2011, 06:24 PM   #18
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Kids should be taking logic/critical thinking type classes as mandatory subjects by the time they're 12 or so, not as a random elective at the university level. Probably debate too. Look at how many adults can't form a simple deductive argument or tell the difference between correlation and causation. It's ridiculous.
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Unread 06-21-2011, 09:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by troyguitar View Post
Kids should be taking logic/critical thinking type classes as mandatory subjects by the time they're 12 or so, not as a random elective at the university level. Probably debate too. Look at how many adults can't form a simple deductive argument or tell the difference between correlation and causation. It's ridiculous.
This, I've often thought that children too young to understand chemistry and physics and stuff should be taught how to draw logical conclusions from evidence, learn the difference between opinion and fact, and other such skills that will lead to a more logical understanding of there other classes.

I remember when I was little there was an American cartoon on T.V. where there were these lawyers, and they used the scientific method to win cases that, at first glance, seemed unwinnable. Now I really want to remember what it's called, because that was a great show.
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Unread 06-21-2011, 11:37 PM   #20
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This, I've often thought that children too young to understand chemistry and physics and stuff should be taught how to draw logical conclusions from evidence, learn the difference between opinion and fact, and other such skills that will lead to a more logical understanding of there other classes.

I remember when I was little there was an American cartoon on T.V. where there were these lawyers, and they used the scientific method to win cases that, at first glance, seemed unwinnable. Now I really want to remember what it's called, because that was a great show.
It was first called Science Court, then they changed the name to Squigglevision. I think.
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Unread 06-22-2011, 12:33 AM   #21
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^^Thanks for that, this is the exact sort of thing that put my onto the concept of free thought. Brilliant show, there should be more like it.
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Unread 06-22-2011, 01:17 AM   #22
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It was first called Science Court, then they changed the name to Squigglevision. I think.
It was done in squigglevision, like Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
That wasn't the name of it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squigglevision

EDIT: I stand corrected, they did start calling it that during reruns.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_Court
My bad.
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Unread 06-22-2011, 10:09 PM   #23
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My best teacher in college (so far) was the exact opposite of me in every way. Politically, religiously, personality..ly, etc. Then again, he was also a Math teacher.

I also had a leftist anti-war Climate change propagandist whom was a proud gun owner. <3

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Unread 06-22-2011, 10:29 PM   #24
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Now I'm starting to think that when a teacher showed Rashomon in school it was like dividing by zero.

Unfortunately, there's really no escaping the "black box" that eats facts and shits-out spin.

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Unread 06-22-2011, 10:31 PM   #25
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There was also my high school Economics and Social Studies teacher that would show either Bowling for Columbine or Capitalism: A Love Story to every one of his classes.

I loled at the hicks in the back rows falling asleep.

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