Only 1 percent of fourth-grade and 12th-grade students, and 2 percent of eighth-graders scored in the highest group on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal test known as the Nation's Report Card. Less than half were considered proficient, with many more showing minimal science knowledge.
"It's very disappointing for all educators to see students performing below the level we'd like them to be," said Bonnie Embry, an elementary school science lab teacher in Lexington, Ky. "These low scores should send a message to educators across our nation that we're not spending enough time teaching science."
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the results mean students aren't learning at a rate that will maintain the nation's role as an international leader in the sciences. He and others expressed concern that more students aren't prepared for careers as inventors, doctors and engineers in a world increasingly driven by technology.
"Our ability to create the next generation of U.S. leaders in science and technology is seriously in danger," said Alan Friedman, former director of the New York Hall of Science and a member of the board that oversees the test.
The results also show a stark achievement gap, with only 10 percent of black students proficient in science in the fourth grade, compared to 46 percent of whites. At the high school level, results were even more bleak, with 71 percent of black students scoring below the basic knowledge level, and just 4 percent proficient.
Fifty-eight percent of Hispanic 12th-graders scored below basic, as did 21 percent of whites.
"These are really stunning and concerning numbers," said Amy Wilkins, vice president for government affairs and communications at the Education Trust. She noted that minority and low-income students are the fastest growing parts of the youth population, making the need to increase their achievement levels all the more urgent.
This sad and sobering news shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us – back in the 1970s, when the Republican strategists began looking for new voters to recruit , they discovered that there were a fairly large group of potential voters, who were simply not that interested in the political process – these mostly evangelical and the fundamentalist Christians, who were so consumed with all of their “issues” like the “rapture,” “everlasting life,” “heaven” and “hell’ that they didn’t even concern themselves with such worldly issues as politics. Republican strategists like the great Karl Rove, looked upon these ignorant Christians as the key to gaining control of the White House, and furthering the neoconservative agenda. So they began pandering their support of the issues which they knew these evangelical and fundamentalist Christians were the most concerned about -- like ending abortion, and the institutionalizing of Christian prayer in the public schools, and “returning” the Nation back to its “Christian-roots” - and then they created almost out of thin air, the other issues that they knew would generate fear in the minds of these ignorant and deluded morons as a way of exciting this large group of potential voters – the next step was simply to gain the support of these purveyors of Christian ignorance.
Within the next few years, the fundamentalist Christian preachers had started endorsing the candidates who projected most of their same “values,” and encouraging their ignorant flock to support those candidates as well – hence, the Christian family “values” candidates, and the Christian “value” voters were born (hell, even Pat Robertson, threw his cross into the rink, in a failed attempt at winning the 1988 Republican primary) However, in reality, none of these family values candidates gave a flying fuck about the family; they are only concerned about cutting domestic spending, and cutting the taxes for the rich, and increasing the profits of the big corporations – and the so called Christian value voters, are about as anti-education and anti-science, as the members of The Flat Earth Society are in their resistant to reality and reason – and neither are concerned with the future of our children, or the wellbeing of our nation – and as a consequence of allowing this Christian cult mentality of death, that doesn’t value anything other than dying and going to heaven run ramped for so long, that now, most can’t even conceive of the importance of children learning math and science, and when both math and science conflict with their deluded beliefs.
Our children’s lack of understanding in math and science, are simply a reflection of the things that we deem the most important in our society today - and. the way that we are currently funding our public education systems, are a direct reflection of the value, or lack thereof, that we place on our children’s education. Even as far back as the mid-1980s, I could see where we as a nation were headed, and even back then, I was much, much more afraid of our nation becoming a cesspool of Christian ignorance, than I was afraid of a nuclear war. What I feared the most back then, and what I fear even more today, is us reaching a point in this nation, where the even more ignorant, are simply teaching the young and ignorant, and teaching them just plain ignorance and stupidity – and just like what we see going on in most churches today.
You might agree on just how we got here, but the fact is, we are here – today its math and science, tomorrow it will be history and the arts. I personally believe that there’s no better way of teaching children critical thinking skills, than by teaching them math and science – and I believe that what is currently going on in our public schools, should be declared a crisis – we have declared war on the other issues which we have deemed a crisis, like the war on drugs and the war on crime that we are currently wasting billions of dollars on each year – Let’s end this stupid “war” on drugs, and then use those billions of dollars for declaring a new war on ignorance and stupidity, and then fixing the other social-ills, which lead to drug use and crime in the first fucking place?
Back when I was in my teens, and learning about religion and mythology, I came across the religion of the penis God(s). The religions which are based around the penis deities, are both many in numbers, and worship of the penis gods, are varied from simple rituals, to complex in nature. Almost all of the rituals, involved food offerings and treats, which were usually place at the base of a huge wood or stone penis, or placed in front its balls, (if it has balls I would guess) – some of the penis gods, were as tall as 30 feet in height. In some Asian cultures, it was common for young married couples, to pay the penis-god a visit, on their way home from their wedding - and then pray to this big fucking cock for children (I thought, just how in the hell, would you know, just what in the fuck a huge cock likes to eat?)
Then I was amazed to discover, that even in the 1970s, folks all over the world were still worshiping the penis gods – and in one such village somewhere in Asia, the folks believe that only the penis-god could give a couple a baby. These people lived in the South Pacific, and had been walking around nude or half nude for 1000s of years, and of course having sex and babies; but no one had made the connection between having sex and making babies – they simply believed that feeding and worshiping, a big stone cock was how they gotten their babies – I thought, WTF, even Christians are not that stupid – but, boy was I wrong!
I had a close friend who lived on the other side of town, who had a family of real weird people living next door to him. He said that he had never seen any of the children outside the house before, but he could sometimes hear them screaming in the evenings – so he knew that there were children living in the house, as well as 2 adults. Every morning he would see a man leave the house, and then return in the evenings – he said that the man would be extremely dirty when he returned home, so he thought that the man was going to his job. We would always sit in my friend’s window, and look at this house, and wonder just what might going on over there – was this family like the Adams family on TV – were there blood sucking vampires living in the house (we were both young teens, and both with over active imaginations, I guess).
Then one day my friend calls me on the phone, and tells me that the night before that there was a funeral Hurst parked in front of that house, and they had placed a dead body into the back of the Hurst – he then said that the man had left the house just like he had always done that next morning. About 3 weeks later, my friend and I were sitting in his front yard, when some children came out of the house, then walk a crossed the street , and started talking to us – there were 5 of them, 3 girls and 2 boys, and all between the ages of 14 and 23 – we learned that they were all part of a Mennonite/Pentecostal Christian cult, and that their mom had died, because she had refused to go to the hospital, while she suffered from a long illness – she simply chose to pray to Jesus (this wasn’t exactly what the children had said, but it’s what happened anyway). The children said that they had been home schooled every since birth by their mom – two of them showed us bibles that they had hand copied – their hand writing was incredible, the bibles looked like they had been made on a printing press – and they all could quote bible passages faster than an alley cat could lick its own ass.
Later on in the summer, there was this one girl who was a few years older than me, who lived in that house – who would always come around whenever I was visiting my friend, and I could see that she was hot for me. One day she asked me if she could kiss me, and I said yes, and she started kissing me all over my face. This had gotten me a little excited, and then out of my mouth flew these words, and almost as if I had Turrets Syndrome: “you and I should go and make a baby” i.e.., let’s go and fuck! As she sat there looking at me, a big smile came over her face – and I became even more excited, and hopeful even – at least she hadn’t responded, like most of the other girls that I had used this same line on, had always responded (e.g. “why don’t you just go, and fuck yourself, you little bastard”). Her big smile then turned into laughter, and she said: “I know you’re not that stupid – only God can make babies, and he only gives you one, after you’re married.” As I sat there trying to figure out, just what in the fuck that she was saying, I thought to myself: WTF, she’s almost 17, and she’s still this fucking naïve – I’m going to wax this Christian-ass, before the day is over!
I then told her, that I didn’t really want to make a baby with her – and that I only wanted to have sex with her – she then asked me to explain sex to her. She then said that she would do it, but only after both of us had asked Jesus, and she had prayed about it???
Needless to say, I never got that ass, that day, or any other. I later discovered that she and her siblings were almost never allowed to go outside of their house – their mom had thought that the world was just too evil, and Jesus could only protect them if they stayed at home. I found out that they had never owned a television – and that the only radio they had, that their mom had tuned it to Christian-radio, and then removed the tuning knob.
In hindsight, I believe that they were all suffering from mental illness – even the boys had no conception of human reproduction – one of the boys proclaimed that he wasn’t sure if he was a boy or girl – as god can make you either one that he wants to – I didn’t even ask him to explain!
Do you ever wonder why you never hear of any scientific research tracing the animal migrations after the great flood? Do you ever wonder why you never see any scientific studies analyzing the DNA of the Chiniess people, in attempting to determine which one of Noah’s children that they were the most closely related too – or do you ever wonder which one of Noah’s children that you might even be the most closely related? And if you are a child, do you ever wonder what types of pet dinosaur that your distant relatives, might have played with when they were your age?
If you are a reasonable and intelligent adult, then you already know the answers to the above questions – and if your child is over the age of 9 years old and is still pondering questions about pet dinosaurs, then you are simply raising a little moron – and you are probably proud of it.
When I hear Christians saying that creationism should be taught alongside real science, and then just let the child decide which one to believe, I find at least 2 problems in that kind of thinking, or lack thereof – for one that would not be teaching – why would someone want something taught to children, which has not even one gram of evidence to back it up? The other problem that I have with this asinine and ignorant thinking – as a parent, I spent most of my time teaching our children real science - why should we as atheist parents have to waste valuable time that we could be teaching our children something useful, debunking total bullshit – this is why we don’t let our older children decide if they want to continue to believe in Santa either.
As far as teaching our children bronze aged mythology in the public schools as competing theories with evolutionary theory, and then why just then stop with the Christian-God – why not also teach them about the Egyptian-God(s) as well. Amun the Egyptian God, who created the universe while masturbating, and as he shot-off, and then painted the stars with his ejaculate (talk about a real milky way).
As Christians, you wouldn’t want your children being taught this asinine bullshit as science, and no more than I would want it taught to my children – and I feel the same way about deluded morons wanting to teach my children any other silly myths as well – like the one where your “God,” made the first man from the dirt in a garden, and then made the first woman out of his rib.
Open your eyes Christians, and stop trying to spread your mind-virus – not all of us, take pride in your ignorance – then join the rest of us in reality!
This is one of my favorite images taken by the Hubble of columns of old, cool interstellar hydrogen, and other gases, that are giving birth to new stars. The longest being about 4 light years from top to bottom – it is believed that our own sun, and all life here on earth, all got its start in much the way.
By the time that I had first seen this eerie image of a part of the Eagle Nebula, I had already developed an understanding of the process from which all of the elements within the universe were formed – the creation of all the known elements in the universe, began with the fusion of hydrogen within stars. The fact is that everything here on earth, was all manufacture in the birth, life and death of stars – and there is not one single credible scientist who would dispute this fact. Our current understanding of the universe is derived from the countless observations, experimentation and critical thinking; we then develop theories which are based on the most logical explanations of our observations at the time. These theories are then tested and retested, and subjected to even more meticulous observation and experimentation; however, our current scientific methods, are not about proving anything as absolute truth – it’s more about removing information which is absolutely false – science is simply a tool used to help us understand reality.
Our current understanding of the age of the universe dates it at about 14.5 billion years old, and the age of the planet that we live on, at about 4.5 billion years old. And through meticulous observations, and scientific research, we are now developing a greater understanding of how life began here on earth, and how it evolved into what we observe today. Through science, we are now just beginning understand, just how that all of the elements of which comprise all life here on our planet, were all forged over billions and billions of years within stars.
Our current understanding of the information which is absolutely false, are that the earth only being 6,000 – 10,000 years old, and that the universe and humans, along with all of the other plant life and animals here on earth, all magically appeared, and all in their current forms, and all within the first 6 days of “creation.”
I can understand why at a time, when humans had absolutely no real understanding of life and the universe, just why they simply made up stories, in an attempt to explain the things which they had little or no understanding of – today, however, holding on to such stories as absolute truth, simply verges on insanity – and as a parent, I felt no more obligation for allowing our children, to even being exposed to religious insanity, as I felt obligated in allowing them to be exposed to thieves, liars or pedophiles.
I clearly remember the day, when I first seen this image. A long time friend of mine, and a friend of our family (he is also a physicist and an avid astronomer), who was staying in our home while on his vacation. He had brought with him a few gifts for our children, one of which were large posters of this image. Our children then place the posters on their bedroom walls next to their other posters of space images and other stuff – with the exception of our 5 year old son, who was frightened of the poster, he said because he thought that the image on the poster, looked like monsters – our 2 older children simply loved the posters.
Our house guest spent most of the week, talking with me and the children about cosmology and other science. About 3 weeks after our friend’s visit, our oldest son and I, were looking at the poster of this image, and talking about the origins of life here on earth. That day, he told me that he had realized for the first time – that the universe simply was not made just for us, and that we are not at the center of the universe, or even at the center of our own galaxy either – and we exist, simply of a consequence of the universe existing, and not the other way around. And that he believed that everywhere in the universe where life can possibly exist, that it probably does – I thought, not bad for a 14 year old atheist!
I have known about the inherent problems associated with gambling every since I was a teenager; and I personally believe, that there are far more people addicted to gambling, than there are people who are addicted to drugs – so back when I was a teenager, I had developed a simple strategy for managing the inherent risks of gambling (quit when I’m still ahead). So I started with 100 dollars, and after I had blessed the money in the name of my higher power stuffed sheep’s-ass, I purchased my first 60 dollars worth of tickets, and I won over 400 dollars - by the end of my first week, me and my higher power sheep’s-ass, had really racked up some big bucks. Our hot streak then continued for about the next 5 weeks, but then it got cold, and I had even resigned to the thought that maybe I had been a little too greedy, and my overworked higher power sheep’s-ass had now disowned me, or my higher power stuffed sheep’s-ass, had died or something.
Still having about 70% of the total prizes that I had won while on our hot streak, I simply decided to quit playing the lottery tickets while I was still ahead, and way ahead!
I hadn’t played the lottery tickets in over 3 weeks; however, I always retain all of the tickets that I buy so I can check them again – having dyslexia, I sometimes over look the winning tickets. Numbers like 32, I will see as 23 and 13 as 31 and so on. Then about a week ago, as I was going through a pile of about 50 tickets looking for winners that I might have overlooked, I found 2 five dollar winners, and 1 fifty dollar winning ticket that I had purchased weeks earlier – as I sat there looking at this big pile of worthless lottery tickets, I cried out loud (LOL): “Oh my higher power stuffed sheep’s-ass, why have thou forsaken me?”
Then about 2 hours later, I had went on a planed shopping trip to the store for food and other stuff – and as I was pushing my shopping cart past the lottery vending machine as I was exiting the store, one of the wheels on the shopping cart, started spinning around in circles, and making a sound like a sheep barking – I heard: “Baaaaa, Baaaaa, Baaaaa” so I stopped pushing the cart, and when I looked to my right, staring me right in my face, was my favorite lottery ticket – so without even a second thought, I pulled two 20s out of my wallet, and said out loud (LOL): “in the name of my higher power stuffed sheep’s-ass, I’m going to win money today.”
I then returned home, and about 2 hours later, I scratched the first ticket (020) and discovered that it was a 50 dollar winner, so I had won 10 dollars – I then looked at my higher power stuffed sheep’s-ass, and said out loud (LOL): “only 10 dollars, you cheap fucking sheep.” Then I scratched the other one (021), and found two 500 dollar winners on that ticket – I then spent the next few hours (LOL), praising and repenting to my sheep -- my higher-power stuffed sheep’s-ass moves in mysterious ways!
With the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell,” I am hopeful that this will move the LGBT community closer to having the same rights as everyone else; however, I can just hear the religious nuts saying: “the cats are now sleeping with dogs, and now dead fish in the waters, and dead birds are falling out of the sky everywhere - the end times must be near – repent, repent, repent!” LOL While I’ll simply be trying to figure out how to change the blood back into water (I’ll bet there will be a big market for water).
While officials in Arkansas and Louisiana scramble to determined what caused 4,500 red-winged blackbirds, starlings and grackles to fall out of the sky, officials in Sweden announced Wednesday, Jan.5 that about 100 dead birds have been found there.
The birds fell near Falkoping, a city near Skovde.
"We do not know what the cause is," Skovde police commander Tomas Ahlgren said.
While usually not given mention, reports of mass bird deaths are now surfacing and the public is taking notice.
According to the U.S. Geological Service, 90 mass bird deaths have occurred between June and December 2010, including the recent incidents in the United States.
Reports also show that a parasite killed 1,000 birds in Minnesota and Houston, Texas between Sept. 6 and Nov. 26 of last year.
Biologists also do not know why approximately 100,000 drum fish washed up on the Arkansas River this week.
Seriously, what in the "hell" is going on with these birds?