(Updated) Trump’s Presidency Will Be a Disaster for Public Education

I didn’t post to Rosetta Stones for most of November because America’s election of the least qualified president in our history has me scrambling to assess and mitigate the damage. Much of what he’s done so far doesn’t yet touch on geology, which is what that blog is mainly concerned with – but we will be talking about the threat to our national parks, and there will doubtless be impacts on the USGS and other agencies responsible for essential geological services like volcano monitoring, seismic studies, and similar, which we’ll address.

Trump is already showing which direction he’s taking the country’s public education. If you care about kids being taught science, you’d best gird yourself for a war, because we’re going to have to fight to preserve our children’s right to a strong STEM education.

To begin with, Trump’s Vice President, to whom he plans to delegate most of the actual presidential work, is an evolution-denying Christian extremist who wants creationism taught in public schools. He’s also brought all his political power to bear on overturning the will of Indiana voters while he pushes for expansions of school vouchers and charter schools.

Trump also plans to slash NASA’s earth science division, which would not only cripple our nation’s climate change research, but also have a terrible impact on earth science research.

That rather sets the tenor for what’s to come.

But Pence is merely the beginning. It gets worse. Continue reading “(Updated) Trump’s Presidency Will Be a Disaster for Public Education”

(Updated) Trump’s Presidency Will Be a Disaster for Public Education
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(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education V: Wherein We Map for God

Honestly, you’d think something as prosaic as mapping could avoid Godification. Science of the Physical Creation doesn’t even bother with a chapter on cartography: maps are maps, and they’ve nothing to say about them.

Earth Science 4th Edition, however, devotes a whole chapter to the subject. And yeah, it gets goddy.

Image is a pastel-colored hand-drawn map of Jerusalem from 1650. ZION is printed in the bottom center-right.
Yes, possibly even as goddy as the Thomas Fuller map of Jerusalem. Image courtesy Geographicus Rare Antique Maps via Wikimedia Commons.

The chapter starts out fine: instead of a creationist cartologist, we get a nice demonstration of the power of maps, using, of course, Dr. John Snow’s cholera map. And the BJU staffers who wrote this chapter, at least, aren’t completely anti-vax. They discuss how government agencies use maps to track down areas with high disease rates, and say that targeting vaccination programs toward “areas with high rates of infections” is “far more effective and costs less than vaccinating a whole population.” Which may be true with rare or not easily transmitted diseases, I suppose, but I do wish their emphasis had been on getting everyone vaccinated for the common stuff. Herd immunity is an important thing. Still. At least they’re not taking this opportunity to say never vaccinate. Small mercies.

They do a fine job explaining what maps are, and scale, and perspective. But for some reason, there’s a textbox on Progressive Creationism right smack in the middle. I have no idea why. It’s nothing to do with maps, and they don’t even try to relate it. They just yammer. And it’s obvious they don’t like those progressive creationists, no sir. You can tell from this question: Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education V: Wherein We Map for God”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education V: Wherein We Map for God

(Repost) Adventures in ACE X: Misinformed About Metamorphic

There comes a point when, during the perusal of an ACE Science PACE, the brain bluescreens. The system shuts down for self-protection. It’s usually at about the point where you’ve encountered the umpteenth wrong thing in as many sentences, and you begin wondering how any adult can be so bloody fucking ignorant. You suddenly realize that more than one bloody fucking ignorant adult was involved in writing this pablum. And you begin to consider that some of the children being subjected to this shit will never recover, but will someday regurgitate this shit with updated pictures and errors, then expect a whole new generation of kids to lap it up. This is about the point where the brain crashes.

It’s hard to get through without multiple system failures, is what I’m saying. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in ACE X: Misinformed About Metamorphic”

(Repost) Adventures in ACE X: Misinformed About Metamorphic

Protected: Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XL: Wherein Evolution Goes Turbo

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(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IV-E: Wherein there is a Climate of Jeer

The Christianist authors of Earth Science 4th Edition, after achieving a crescendo of crackpottery, manage to dial it back down to nearly knowledgeable as they explain Short-Term Climate Change. They describe things like ENSO and La Niña in terms befitting a science text. But you can see them slipping when they devote a section to volcanism. All that ash! It cools the world!

Um. Actually. Ash is just a part of what causes cooling due to volcanic eruptions. But BJU writers can’t be bothered with little things like sulfur dioxide. They also claim forest fires and “large regional dust storms” can cool the climate like volcanoes. Forest fires in Northern latitudes may cool it a bit, but not because of ash – it’s because all those lovely dark green conifers are gone, which means snow’s free to reflect the sun’s heat, and it’s not like that’s going to reverse the upward trend in warming. If an area hasn’t got snow, even that bit of cooling is unlikely. And, of course, burning trees releases bunches o’ carbon, which ultimately leads to more warming. As for dust storms, sure, those dust clouds can reduce temps – but that’s neglecting the winds that, in some regions, bring warm air right back in. And if increased dust starts landing on snow, you get an increase in solar radiation absorption, and you’ve warmed stuff right up again. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IV-E: Wherein there is a Climate of Jeer”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IV-E: Wherein there is a Climate of Jeer

Protected: (Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXXIX: Wherein We’re Zapped by Creationist Crap

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(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IV-d: Wherein there is a Climate of Sneer

If you’re one of those wacky people who thinks the opinion of 97% of scientists counts for something, you may want to grab a stick, wrap it in leather or a leather equivalent, and place it between your teeth. One of those mouth guards for people who grind their teeth in their sleep would also work. A stress ball would help avoid damage caused by clenching hands. If you’re prone to pounding surfaces when frustrated to the point of apoplexy, please acquire a pillow or punching bag before continuing. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IV-d: Wherein there is a Climate of Sneer”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IV-d: Wherein there is a Climate of Sneer

Protected: (Tier 1) Adventures in ACE XXVII: Stormy With a 0% Chance of Science

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(Repost) Adventures in ACE IX: More Senseless about Sedimentary

We left our merry band of Creationists, so ignorant even other YECs can’t stand ’em, breezily ignoring all the sedimentary rock in previously-frozen wastes. Now we shall continue on while they butcher the rest. I hope you have hair. You’re gonna need some to pull out. If nature has blessed you with a pate that requires no shampoo, you may wish to glue some locks to your noggin. Don’t worry about having to acquire appropriate hair-care products: they won’t be there for long.

Now just imagine having to read this tripe repeatedly…

Image is a polar bear standing against a rock wall with its front paws over its face. Caption says, "Ahhh, the horror! Make it stop."

Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in ACE IX: More Senseless about Sedimentary”

(Repost) Adventures in ACE IX: More Senseless about Sedimentary