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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Just stick with this one, it'll be worth it.

As all of you know I have long suffered from a crippling addiction to that most reviled of repositories of whatthefuckery, Conservapedia. As you also know I have been struggling mightily to reign in my urge to blog about every little bizarre happening at that cesspit of the human mind. In that effort I have been largely successful with- I admit- occasional relapses. At this point I'm managing to hold myself to about one conservapedia comment per month, which is quite a bit better than my previous record.

In any case, today I'm having a relapse. In order to understand this relapse, however, you have to first understand that Andrew Schlafly, the Supreme Leader of Conservapedia, teaches online and in-person courses for home schoolers. Now, as you might guess, these courses are bad. I mean really bad. Take a look at his American History Lecture Five which, among other things, includes comments like this:

Beware of over-reliance on authority. Unless we're talking about the Bible, authority is not always going to be correct. Every book contains mistakes or fails to explain a concept well, and it's beneficial to read many sources, because some authors will cover what others miss. [emphasis added]

Oh, yeah, and according to Schlafly, the infamous "trianglar trade" never existed:

Triangular trade was a mythical trans-Atlantic trade route, developed by the Portuguese in the 16th century, but later used by the other maritime nations of Europe, that had three parts or "sides" to the "triangle": Africa to the Americas to transport slaves, the Americas to Europe to transport raw materials, and Europe to Africa to transport finished goods for sale.

It doesn't make sense because at the time Africa was not a significant market for finished goods. No instance of a triangular trade route has ever been found.

Nevertheless, history books teach that there were many variations on the routes and goods transported.

So apparently African slaves were deposited in the new world by some sort of natural phenomenon like, you know, a wormhole. In fairness, wrangling over this point continues but it's safe to say that American history is being taught by a man who hasn't the foggiest understanding of American history or, at any rate, is prepared to jettison scholarship when it conflicts with her personal biases.

So, amidst all this madness, what is it that set me off today? Well, just this American history midterm exam he's preparing for his students. You may not notice the oddity in it at first, but it's there. See it yet? Try this:

Or, in regular human language:

Boys' version: 33 questions in 20 minutes.
Girls' version: 28 questions in 20 minutes.

That's right, ladies: the girls take a test that is five questions shorter. Because, you know, y'all just can't be expected to perform the way boys do. And just so you don't think this is a mistake, Conservapedia maven BethanyS objected to this state of affairs, remarking:

I am completely against structuring the test so that boys have a different test than girls. Healthy competition is good, Mr. Schlafly. With all due respect, it actually gives the student more incentive to do well on the test and study harder. And the harder they study, the more they will learn. Changing the test also eliminates the student's right to be proud when they do better than others. However, if it becomes a problem, and that student begins to brag, then, naturally, they'll need to be talked to. But by changing the test, students can say that they got a bad grade because 'their test was harder' or 'different', when really, they didn't study all that hard, because they knew they would have an excuse. Making the tests different will also cause other problem. Suppose someone does not do as well as someone else on the test. they might say: 'well my test was harder'. The other person might respond: 'no it wasn't' and so many fights could break out in this manner. The only way to get rid of competition taking place out of selfishness or hate is to talk to that student, tell their parent, or something of the sort.

To which Schlafly responded:

Thanks for your enlightening comment. I'm a big supporter of competition and its powerful benefits. But we have plenty of that within the subgroups of boys and girls. It adds nothing, and actually detracts a great deal, to add competition ''between'' boys and girls.

To which BethanyS, showing the kind of verve social conservatives love in their women, exercises her god-given freedom to shut the fuck up and sit down:

Well, you're the teacher, you make the decisions; I will submit.

Yep: Schlafly is the decider and he has decided. And this isn't an isolated incident- Schlafly has previously asserted that females are inferior to males in areas other than just American History:

Or, in regular print:

Think girls can excel in math as well as boys can? Liberals teach they can, which is teaching a falsehood.

Personally, I think Schlafly just feels inferior to Danica McKellar. Well, okay, I think he feels inferior to just about everyone. And speaking as someone whose wife was a much, much better student than he was, I have no sympathy for Schlafly's position whatsoever.

Mostly, though, I just wonder about the parents and students who have to deal with Schlafly. Is there a point where they will stop, say enough is enough, and tell him to shove it? Or will they allow his megalomania and religious madness to eventually back them into a corner?

I am not optimistic.

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Blogger TamsynX said...

Good lord! I can't believe he's teaching this crap. Sexist and just plain wrong with some of the history. WTF!

Thursday, October 09, 2008 3:26:00 PM  

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