Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Add Romania to the "Absurdly ignorant" list.

UPDATE: A heroic commenter debunks this story. See here for the full scoop. Speaking personally I am slightly embarrassed I didn't figure this out on my own, and considerably amused that the Conservapeons haven't figured it out yet, either.


For those who don't routinely follow the news from comparatively obscure eastern European nations, I have learned recently that Romania has decided to remove the teaching of evolution from its science curriculum:

Romania's withdrawal of the theory of evolution from the school curriculum could be evidence of a growing conservative tendency in teaching. Evolution has been removed from the school curriculum in a move which, pressure groups argue, distorts children's understanding of how the world came into being.

...

The theory of the Origin of Species and the evolution of humans is no longer present in the compulsory curriculum, through a nationwide decision made under the previous Government in 2006. Before the change, Darwin's theory was taught to pupils aged 18 or 19 years old. This was also in the curriculum during the Communist period of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

Information on natural selection, how fish turned into lizards and, more or less, a summary of the first 4.5 billion years of the world until man walked the earth is now optional.


Those who have even a passing familiarity with science realize that this is an enormous step backwards. Those of us who are familiar with the "debate" between evolution and creationsim,* however, realize what the driving force behind the change is. Hint: it's not the educational interests of the children.

At present, children are taught religious classes from ages seven to 18. This is mostly an Orthodox curriculum. They are also taught that to sleep in on Sunday mornings is bad because children should be going to church.

"It's not being taught about religion and what it means," said one headmistress. If a parent wants their child not to attend the classes, because they are, for example, Jewish, Muslim or agnostic, he or she has to draft a letter to the school. The child then sits in a library or the head teacher's office working on, say, maths or languages.

But there are new proposals to make all religious classes compulsory for the education system, regardless of the parents' wishes. All children who do not want to attend Religion classes would attend a Moral and Religious Education class. But there is no one qualified to teach Moral and Religious Education. Some teachers fear that the classes will, with minor additions, be the same Orthodox curriculum dictated by a religious studies teacher to a single Jew, Muslim or Humanist in a library or staff room.


So, to sum up, evolution has been removed entirely from the schools and biology instruction reduced. At the same time, however, students take classes in religion for eleven years and these classes may soon be mandatory. Brilliant. As you might guess, the usual crew of raving idiots are all sorts of excited by this development. Hell, you should see how they defend the mandatory religious education part. Perhaps with a few decades of this type of education, Romanians will start to think that this is a good depiction of evolutionary theory and its potential rebuttal:



Welcome to a brave ignorant new future.


UPDATE: A heroic commenter debunks this story. See here for the full scoop. Speaking personally I am slightly embarrassed I didn't figure this out on my own, and considerably amused that the Conservapeons haven't figured it out yet, either.


* aka barking madness.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Cornel said...

This stuff is so retarded it's not even funny anymore. That Macedonian site copied word for word an article filled with dusty old lies, half truths, and mistranslations that first appeared in December 2007 in TheDiplomat.ro (you can still read it in google's cache - here's a link). Around that time, BBC-Romanian was publishing an article (this is the Google translation of it), in which the same guy that started all this whining, was complaining that the theme "God" was dropped from the high-school Philosophy curriculum. Proof that he's one of those individuals that keeps whining about everything, no matter what. Notice that in the autumn of 2007 they were making news about decisions made in the winter of 2006.

So what really happened. For ONE school year only, between 2006-2007, along with Biology classes, high school students had as a separate discipline "Theory of Evolution". At the end of 2006, someone in the Ministry of Education decided that teaching evolution as a separate discipline while students had lessons titled "Origin and evolution of the human genome" or "Organization of genetic material: Comparative Genomics - establishing the existing evolutionary relations between different groups of organisms" in Biology manuals was quite redundant. So the authorities dropped the teaching of "Theory of Evolution", but only as a separate discipline. Claiming that suddenly in Romania students were taught Creationism or that the educators were serving them some sort of emasculated science in classroom is a blatant distortion of the truth.

How about the Camus, Voltaire, Nietzsche thing. Well, the current Philosophy curriculum for high-school students, approved in 2006, states that professors and authors of manuals must include in their lessons at least one significant text from the following authors: Aristotle, Augustine, Lucian Blaga, René Descartes, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, Karl R. Popper, John Rawls, Jean–Paul Sartre, Ludwig Wittgenstein. For the high school students specializing in philology and social sciences, the curriculum also demands texts authored by Thomas d’Aquino, Mircea Eliade, Friedrich Hayek, G. W. Leibniz, Constantin Noica, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Bertrand Russell. So Nietzsche is still there, Voltaire and Camus could be discussed but they no longer made the list of minimal requirements.

To finish this already long post, here are links to the Google translated versions of the curriculums for Biology and Philosophy classes, all for last years of high-school.

As expected, talking crap about Romania never goes out of fashion.

Monday, December 08, 2008 2:30:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

"As expected, talking crap about Romania never goes out of fashion."

Well, sorry about the inaccurate posting- I have added an update quite prominently to make sure people see what you've got here.

In my defense, however, my goal was not to give Romania crap per se but to give ignorant nitwits crap. It just so happened that I- briefly- thought Romania fell into that category.

Now, if only someone could talk to Texas...

Monday, December 08, 2008 2:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My litany of experiences with Romanians (living with them, business affairs) allow me to believe that Romania is a country full of nitwits.
It comes as no suprise to me that Romania would ban the teaching of evolution in class, or decrimininalising consentual incest.

Sunday, March 22, 2009 9:13:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

You might want to read the updates- prominently featured above- before denigrating an entire nationality. Even if the evolution story had been true, that doesn't mean all Romanians are idiots any more than Andrew Schlafly means all Americans or Catholics are idiots.

Monday, March 23, 2009 6:12:00 AM  

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