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Re: [alt-ed-india] JUST A FEW THOUGHTS-Response to discussion

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  • aparna pallavi
    Hi Amit,   there is an essential difference of perspective here between how each of us see it, which may not be very easy to sort out. So for the time being
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 28, 2009
      Hi Amit,
      there is an essential difference of perspective here between how each of us see it, which may not be very easy to sort out. So for the time being let us agree to disagree. Meanwhile, Fukuoka makes very interesting reading. The full text is available on the link provided by me.

      --- On Sat, 28/2/09, Amit Mathur <a.k.mathur@...> wrote:
      From: Amit Mathur <a.k.mathur@...>
      Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] JUST A FEW THOUGHTS-Response to discussion
      To: "alt-ed-india" <alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Saturday, 28 February, 2009, 11:03 PM

      Hi Aparna,
      2009/2/28 aparna pallavi <aparna_pallavi@...>:
      > This discussion is about evolution, a subject on which there are many
      theories, but none, as far as I know, has so much evidence on its side that it
      can 'prove' itself 'right' and others 'wrong'. The
      origin of life on earth -- and not just the origin but the wonderous
      manifestations of life every moment and every second, before our very eyes -- 
      for all these theories, remains a mystery, forever evading the grasp of the
      human intellect by just that much. And after you have run through all the
      theories, examined their pros and cons, finally, I think the most fulfilling --
      edifying, uplifting -- call it whatever -- way to experience it is as just that
      -- as a mystery, a wonder. Afterall, the theories are all about what might be --
      but the wonder, the mystery, that is there now -- available to our direct
      experience every moment.
      To me, the mystery, the wonder is not the final but the starting
      point. Once you know that something is unknown or mysterious, it is
      very human to want to know more about it; slowly chip away at it and
      bring more to light. I think, that is the very essence that makes us
      Way far back, rising and setting of sun must have been a mystery and
      cultures and civilizations floated different theories. But, surely
      someone decided to not just revel in the mystery but try to understand
      why it is so. Slowly, we understood the solar system and even beyond,
      pushing the boundary of that mystery. As a side effect, we got to
      travel to moon, set up communication satellites, etc.
      After all our goal is to not just learn about the existing theories.
      But, to advance them - take them one step further to the truth. That
      comes only when you don't stop at the mystery but take that as
      challenge and want to find more about it.
      > it is not possible for the human mind and intellect to
      'understand' anything at all
      I haven't read the book. I would like to know more about why the book
      says that. But, let's say even if it were true that we cannot
      'understand' anything, that should not stop us from our quest to find
      out more.
      > I wonder if by insisting too much on 'proof', spending too much
      time on trying to 'select' the 'right kind' of theory to take to
      our children, we may not be missing out on this most important experience -- of
      the mystery and the wonder. I think one possible solution among many would be to
      let our children know that different theories exist, that each has its
      limitations, to let them study it if they want to, and to let them know that
      they are, finally, just theories. And most important, to help them experience
      the wonder as deeply as they are capable of. Of course, to do so, we as parents
      would have to first undergo the experience ourselves.....
      I would put it this way: the most important thing would be to equip
      the children with what we collectively know, the tools and
      methodologies that have worked so far, and then set them free to push
      the boundaries of it. Take every mystery as a challenge. I think
      children do that naturally anyway.
      > Aparna
      > mathur@...> wrote:
      > From: Amit Mathur <a.k.mathur@...>
      > Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] JUST A FEW THOUGHTS-Response to discussion
      > To: "alt-ed-india" <alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com>
      > Cc: "ejohnkolkata" <ejohnkolkata@...>
      > Date: Friday, 27 February, 2009, 11:33 AM
      > Dear Elizabeth,
      > I really appreciate your concerns. Let me try to add my thoughts. Just
      > want to add that I am not trying to hurt anyone and others please
      > correct me if I am wrong:
      > 2009/2/27 Elizabeth John <ejohnkolkata@...>:
      >> Dear all,
      >> Since this discussion has gone this far I would like pen down a few
      > thoughts. I don't claim to know much, but from the little that I
      > I'd like to address a few issues brought in here , so that we can at
      > think about them.
      >> 1) This discussion started because a video on evolution was posted
      > was watched by most of us.
      >> There have always been different schools of thought regarding the
      > of life ,the 3 main ones being evolution , big bang theory and
      creationism, or a
      > combination of these.
      >> Now,if the person who shared the video on evolution was doing the
      > thing by bringing something relevant to education , then why has someone
      > spoke about Creationism done a wrong thing and deserves to be out of the
      > Firstly, evolution is not a theory about origin of life; neither is I
      > think big bang. Creationism also so far does not look like a
      > scientific theory. Treating it on par with other scientific theories
      > will be wrong. We do want a clear separation between things backed by
      > evidence and things which are not. I am sure you wouldn't want, things
      > like ESP, voodo, pranic healing, UFO, all considered science.
      >> 2) I often wonder why we humans consider every topic under the sun
      > bringing under the banner of education but the moment the word
      > comes in , it becomes boring, irrelevant and not worth our time.Is it
      because we
      > are uncomfortable about  there being someone higher , more powerful and
      > knowledgable than human beings? I have great respect for
      scientists because
      > they have a very high level of intelligence and have invested many
      years in
      > studying and doing research . But I strongly believe that the human mind
      is very
      > much limited ( though we have higher intelligence that all other animates)
      > its understanding of the vastness and the astounding variety of plant and
      > life found on earth.   Even till this day, whatever man has discovered
      > within the universe is only a tip of the iceberg. By the way, there are
      quite a
      > few scientists the world over, who believe in creationism.
      > We should definitely not brush off anything as boring or irrelevant.
      > But, at the same time, many people like to believe only based on
      > evidence (including many small kids). I think, you should empathize
      > with them since evidence for any god is still weak. That of course
      > does not take away your right to believe in god or a higher being, but
      > I don't see how you will have credibility without showing any tangible
      > evidence.
      >> 3) Earlier on this forum Svani spoke about child led learning
      > i.e., providing the child  with all available resources to enhance
      learning of
      > whatever interests the child, be it history, science , maths or whatever.
      > what if children ask us questions like ( most children do ) who is God?
      Why are
      > there so many religions? what is truth ? Why do people not believe in God?
      > believe in God? Will God help me become a better person?and so on so forth
      . Are
      > we going to tell them that these things are irrevelevant and that they
      just need
      > to concentrate on their " studies'?
      > Not at all. Rather we should expose them to all the literature and
      > facts that exists and let them judge for themselves.
      >> Please do not take personal offence to anything I've expressed
      > its important for us to have healthy discussions which I believe will
      enable us
      > to help each other in making our homeschooling experience fruitful.
      > Warm regards,
      > Amit.
      >> Warmly,
      >> Elizabeth
      >> --- On Thu, 26/2/09, S P Mathew <ashokhosp@...> wrote:
      >> From: S P Mathew <ashokhosp@...>
      >> Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] wonderful educational video
      >> To: alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com
      >> Date: Thursday, 26 February, 2009, 7:29 AM
      >> Thank you all for writing in.
      >> "Origin of life is not yet well understood" as one writer
      > admitted, and yet on what basis do people then make further
      assumptions of so
      > called lower animals apparently "evolving' into higher animals?
      >> Information coded in DNA is what makes an animal simple or complex.
      > to assemble life using chemicals is like building Windows Vista or Adobe
      > Photoshop using a hammer and chisel. Ask a scientist who wrote the
      > in your DNA and in the DNA of an amoebae.
      >> 'Higher' or more complex organisms have more information.
      > when Richard Dawkins wwas asked to provide a single example of useful
      > information actually having been increased by 'mutations' or any
      > process, he was unable to answer!
      >> http://www.evolutio nnews.org/ 2007/09/a_ response_ to_richard_
      > dawkins.html
      >> [The question posed to Dawkins was, “Can you give an example of a
      > genetic mutation or evolutionary process that can be seen to increase the
      > information in the genome?” Dawkins famously commented that the question
      > “the kind of question only a creationist would ask . . .” Dawkins
      > “In my anger I refused to discuss the question further, and told them to
      > the camera.” Dawkins’ highly emotional response calls into question
      > he is capable of addressing this issue objectively]
      >> Is it not irrational and illogical to use a theory that cannot even
      > explain the origin of life to try to explain the incredible variety of
      life on
      > our planet earth?
      >> In contrast, my faith [and those of many others who believe in
      > is not based on blind assumptions but made taking into consideration all
      > available evidence to my complete satisfaction. Being a Medical Doctor has
      > certainly helped but that is not the point.
      >> I can only say that if people would examine the evidence and ask hard
      > questions they would realise that this 'Tree of Life' is not at
      > true. Let children ask you and anyone else hard questions.
      >> Thats why I agree that we should be careful that in name of
      > point
      >> of reference", we are not passing our irrational beliefs of
      > to our children in the guise of home schooling.
      >> --- On Wed, 25/2/09, Satish Natarajan <satish_en@yahoo. com>
      >> From: Satish Natarajan <satish_en@yahoo. com>
      >> Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] wonderful educational video
      >> To: alt-ed-india@ yahoogroups. com
      >> Date: Wednesday, 25 February, 2009, 6:52 PM
      >> Dear Amit,
      >> Thank you for your excellent mail.  But I would like to disagree with
      > on this.
      >> What I was talking about is absolutely rational.  It is the core or
      > essence of education.  I would encourage the children not just to think
      > also become aware of the thinker.  Here is a brief of a talk given by
      > J.Krishnamurthi.
      >> But if education is only about providing facts to children whether it
      > scientific in nature or otherwise and not about knowing themselves, then
      > all this discussion is irrelevant.
      >> The duality of thinker and thought  - J.Krishnamurthi
      >> As you watch anything—a tree, your wife, your children, your
      > the stars of a night, the light on the water, the bird in the sky,
      > anything—there is always the observer—the censor, the thinker the
      > experiencer, the seeker—and the thing he is observing; the observer and
      > observed; the thinker and the thought. So, there is always a division. It
      > this division that is time. That division is the very essence of conflict.
      > when there is conflict, there is contradiction. There is “the observer
      and the
      > observed”—that is a contradiction; there is a separation. And hence
      > there is contradiction, there is conflict. And when there is conflict,
      there is
      > always the urgency to get beyond it, to conquer it, to overcome it, to
      > from it, to do something about it, and all that activity involves time....
      > long as there is this division, time will go on, and time is sorrow. And a
      > who will understand the end of sorrow must understand this, must find,
      must go
      > beyond this duality between the thinker and the thought, the experiencer
      and the
      > experienced. That is, when there is a division between the observer and
      > observed, there is time, and therefore there is no ending of sorrow. Then,
      > is one to do? You understand the question? I see, within myself, the
      observer is
      > always watching, judging, censoring, accepting, rejecting, disciplining,
      > controlling, shaping. That observer, that thinker, is the result of
      > obviously. Thought is first; not the observer, not the thinker. If there
      was no
      > thinking at all, there would be no observer, no thinker; then there would
      > be complete, total attention.
      >> Regards
      >> Satish
      >> --- On Wed, 2/25/09, Amit Mathur <a.k.mathur@gmail. com> wrote:
      >> From: Amit Mathur <a.k.mathur@gmail. com>
      >> Subject: Re: [alt-ed-india] wonderful educational video
      >> To: "alt-ed-india" <alt-ed-india@ yahoogroups. com>
      >> Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 8:56 PM
      >> Firstly, I don't know whether this discussion is directly relevant
      >> home and alternate schooling. But, since so many people have
      >> responded, I thought, I will speak out as well.
      >> There are several point that S P Mathew raised:
      >>> I am always amazed at how highly educated people accept as gospel
      > truth
      >>> everything except the gospel.
      >> Well, the idea is not to take anything as gospel truth, including the
      >> Gospels. Every idea should be accepted based on the weight of evidence
      > behind
      >> it. In fact, it is quite common in science that theories are rewritten
      > the
      >> light of newer evidences. If something does not allow for proof
      > (verifiability
      >> and falsifiability) , it fails the first criteria for being a fact.
      >>> Scientists know best and are impartial:
      >>> A simple example would be the assumption that scientists have no
      > hidden
      >>> agenda in promoting the  "millions of years" concept to
      > explain the so
      >>> called evolution of or appearance of the so called higher animals.
      > suggest
      >>> you see the movie called "Expelled".
      >> If you are claiming, scientists worldwide have a hidden agenda, could
      >> please do better than offer a movie as proof.
      >>> Simple cells could easily form from chemical soup:
      >>> Many decades ago people thought that a cell is 'simple'.
      > we know that a
      >>> simple cell is a million times more complicated than the most
      > sophisticated
      >>> airliner and yet how come people blindly like to accept that time
      >>> chance produces a single cell with its intricate organelles??
      >> Firstly, this is a theory about origin of life and not evolution by
      > natural
      >> selection. Origin of life is not yet well understood, but if your
      > is
      >> about complex things forming from simpler things in nature, that has
      >> answered thoroughly. For a layman's explanation, refer to: The
      >> Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins.
      >>> Man's IQ has been increasing:
      >>> Again a wrong assumption. If you look at the Pyramids, or any of
      > wonders
      >>> of the ancient world, you are amazed at how they made it without
      > of the
      >>> modern equipments.
      >>> The fact is that our DNA has been gradually degrading, as expected
      > from
      >>> repeated duplications over centuries.
      >> That is patently false. DNA is not degrading and contrarily can be
      >> copied exactly (humans share more than 96% of DNA with other mammals).
      >> However, there are copying mistakes that happen from time to time,
      >> which allows for selection within organisms, and hence evolution.
      >> I don't know about any trend in Man's IQ over millenias since
      > there is
      >> no record of it. But, from circumstantial evidence, just look at the
      >> computer and the internet you are using, electricity running your
      >> house, trains and aeroplanes - all of that was built after the great
      >> pyramids. It does not look like man's intelligence is decreasing.
      >> Bhuvana Venkat said:
      >>> Absence of proof is not proof of absence. You can use that
      > for
      >>> science and the concept of God.
      >> Bhuvana, you shouldn't accept that as proof of God or of anything.
      >> Rather than asking for proof of absence, I think the imperative of
      >> proof is on those who are claiming something extraordinary - existence
      >> of a supernatural being. As Marcello Truzzi said, "Extraordinary
      >> claims require extraordinary proof."
      >> Satish Natarajan said later:
      >>> What is the relevance of this to education and home schooling?? 
      > what we
      >>> do in the name of education is only help create a point of
      > for our
      >>> children.  Wont it be good to allow them another point of
      > also, so
      >>> that when during their course of life, they can decide what point
      > need to
      >>> use to experience life.
      >> At the same time we should be careful that in name of "another
      >> of reference",
      >> we are not passing our irrational beliefs to our children in the guise
      > home
      >> schooling. Rather, I think, we should encourage them to independently
      > think for
      >> themselves.
      >> Regards,
      >> Amit Mathur.
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      > --
      > Amit Mathur
      > http://www.magnionlabs.com/blog
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