The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Science without experiments?

From Times Online: School lab health and safety rules ‘could stop future scientists’:

It is a scientific fact, tested and proven by generations of pupils, that experiments in school laboratories win young people to the cause of science. White coats, goggles and the chance to set fire to things foster a passion for chemistry that even years of examinations do not extinguish.

But government advisers and eminent scientists are warning of a disturbing development that could endanger generations of future scientists: pupils are no longer allowed to experiment.

Health and safety concerns are preventing students — including those taking A levels — from performing vital and exciting investigations into what happens when one sets fire to magnesium ribbon, or drops a small glob of sodium into a dish of water.


The comments follow an Ofsted report warning that the national curriculum and testing regime led to boring science lessons. Schools spent too much time drilling students for tests, it said.

Jane Lees, head of Hindley High School in Wigan, and a former head of science, agreed that health and safety had put an end to a number of “whiz-bang” experiments. “But we’re moving on to different ways of teaching science — with videos, and on the web with virtual learning environments which are quite as interesting. It’s a different way of learning but it should still be able to turn them on. What you need is inspirational teachers.”


Experiments at risk

Ammonium dichromate volcano Make a pile of ammonium dichromate and set the tip alight using a magnesium fuse. The result is a tiny volcano, complete with ash, steam and nitrogen gas

The thermite reaction Mix metal powder with metal-oxide to create thermite and set it alight. The mix will burn at an exceptionally high temperature

Potassium in water The classic school experiment. Drop potassium into water and it reacts violently, making hydrogen, which then ignites in a small fireball

Safety is very important, but these demonstrations can be done safely with the proper training and setup.

I still remember demonstrations from middle school physical science and high school chemistry (a long long time ago), such as sodium in water, and (gasp) actually handling mercury (do students today ever even see mercury?).

Grace and Peace

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry, Science Education | 2 Comments

The Conservative Bible?

Further wackiness from Conservapedia (the conservative alternative to Wikipedia): The Conservative Bible.

This Bible will get rid of liberal bias in Bible translations, such as the inclusion of that liberal “woman caught in adultery” passage in John 8.

Some further objectives:

  • express free market parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
  • identify pro-liberal terms used in existing Bible translations, such as “government”, and suggest more accurate substitutes
  • identify the omission of liberal terms for vices, such as “gambling”, and identify where they should be used
  • identify conservative terms that are omitted from existing translations, and propose where they could improve the translation
  • identify terms that have lost their original meaning, such as “word” in the beginning of the Gospel of John, and suggest replacements, such as “truth”
  • preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio

Was the Bible written to defend “free market principles?” Is government a liberal concept? I thought God instituted government (Rom 13). Is the objective of good Bible translation to have “conservative” terms? Is there any good rationale for changing “In the beginning was the Word” with “In the beginning was the Truth?” (John 1:1)?

This Bible will be an update of the King James Version. The translation will be done by the leading, um… the site doesn’t say. Which Greek and Hebrew scholars are going to be doing this? Or will it be leading “conservative” scholars? And will being politically conservative be more important than Biblically knowledgeable?

Here’s some great perspectives from the blogosphere:

Right wing dementia marches on apace. Some of this has a grain of sense to it, as ideological madness always does. For instance, the dumb attempts to feminize Scripture are pernicious and need to stop. But seriously: the story of the woman taken in adultery is “liberal”? Free market as Sacred tradition? Liberal wordiness? — Mark Shea, Catholic and Enjoying It.


You really need to read the whole Conservapedia entry to grasp how crazy this is. It’s like what you’d get if you crossed the Jesus Seminar with the College Republican chapter at a rural institution of Bible learnin’. — Rod Dreher, Crunchy Con.

I laughed really hard at Dreher’s comment.

Let the Bible say what it says. It is just as wrong to translate the Bible with a politically conservative agenda as it is to do so with a politically liberal agenda.


HT: World Magazine

Grace and Peace

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Christianity | , | 8 Comments