Anti-opinion Science Classes sign now

We, the undersigned, feel that the teaching of personal opinions presented as scientific facts by science teachers in public high schools is wrong and incorrect, and should thus not be allowed. We, the undersigned, support the following motions:

1. That all questions in science classes, specifically those at iQ Academy Wisconsin, be based on either scientific fact, or, if based on an opinion or theory, be presented as such.

2. That any existing questions on quizzes, exams, or any other graded material, expressing a personal opinion of the class instructor in the Biology curriculum at iQ Academy Wisconsin be changed so the question expresses the fact that it is based on a personal opinion, or theory, etc., at no expense to the grade of any student who has taken the quiz/exam/etc.

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I [Sean Schwartz, author of this petition] have attached below an email conversation I've recently had with my Biology teacher. This conversation is the reason I have started this petition. I am a Senior and I attend iQ Academy Wisconsin, an online school based out of the school district of Waukesha, Wisconsin. The conversation began concerning a question on a quiz, in which my teacher presented a personal opinion as a scientific fact. I realized that things like this need to stop. What has become a slow poison in our public school's veins is this: teaching students a slightly tainted truth, a truth that progressively gets more and more perverted. And then these perverse lies become truth in the minds of students. It's the little strokes like these that are cutting down the once great oaks of our nation, and it must be stopped.


The following is the conversation I had with my Biology teacher:


(For the sake of his privacy, I have changed the name of my Biology teacher to "Mr. X" in the emails.)



From: Sean Schwartz
Sent: Friday, November 7, 2008 2:13pm
To: Mr. X
Subject: Biology

In the Lesson 2 Quiz 6, in Question #5, it says "The first multicellular organism to live on land was an arthropod. True or False?"

I'm assuming that the "correct" answer is "True" (as according to the textbook). But I believe that the question cannot be correctly answered. Whatever theory this is being based on, it could not have been proven true, because the first step to scientific investigation is Observation. And clearly, if the first multicellular organism to come onto land was an arthropod, then there could not have been a scientist there observing it.

I think the question needs to be removed from the quiz, or the wording needs to be changed to cite the theory on which it is based.

"According to the theory of evolution (or whatever theory this is based on), the first multicellular organism to live on land was an arthropod. True or false?"

And I think the same principle applies to other questions on the quiz. #7, #9, and #10.


- Sean Schwartz



From: Mr. X
Sent: Friday, November 7, 2008 4:03pm
To: Sean Schwartz
Subject: RE: Biology

Hi Sean,

I will consider adding the phrase according to the theory of evolution or according to paelotologist, or the fossil record or some such thing when I rewrite the questions in the future for the present you will have to mentally insert those phrases.
Thanks for the input.

Mr. X



From: Sean Schwartz
Sent: Friday, November 7, 2008 4:42pm
To: Mr. X
Subject: RE: Biology

Mentally inserting phrases does not change the question. If I'm mentally inserting things, then I can make any answer I give to any question the correct answer, even if it's not.

Example:

Biology is a science. True or False?

My answer: False.

Am I correct? Yes.

Why? Because I mentally inserted a word so the question said "Biology is NOT a science. True or False?" thus making the answer I gave (false) the correct answer.


So if you're telling me to insert phrases mentally, you're basically telling me that any answer is correct, because my mental insertion can manipulate the answer to the question.

-Sean Schwartz



From: Mr. X
Sent: Friday, November 7, 2008 7:06pm
To: Sean Schwartz
Subject: RE: Biology

Sorry Sean I really did not think this was an issue. Please answer the question correctly which in this class means you should pick the answer for the question you think the book and your instructor would indicate to be correct.

Mr. X



From: Sean Schwartz
Sent: Friday, November 7, 2008 10:55pm
To: Mr. X
Subject: RE: Biology

Oh, but it is an issue Mr. X. It's one thing for you to believe that all land life started with an arthropod, but it is an entirely different matter to put that in a quiz and give me a grade based on your belief. Because that's what it is, a belief, a faith, because there is no concrete scientific evidence to back it up.
If I am to answer these questions based on a book or an instructor, then I believe that should also be specified in the question. And if I'm answering as to what I would think you would indicate to be correct (not facts) then I'm just being taught your opinion, aren't I? It's just an idea that you hold to be true, isn't it? And as a result of that, wouldn't that make you, not a science teacher, but a preacher*? And I do not feel that it is within the bounds of your job description to preach to your students, much less is it to quiz and grade your students on those personal beliefs.

*[Preacher] n.
2:Someone who urges acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action.

-Sean Schwartz



From: Mr. X
Sent: Saturday, November 8, 2008 12:51pm
To: Sean Schwartz
Subject: RE: Biology

Sean,

Evolution is a scientific theory that has overwhelming scientific support. It is constantly being tested and reevaluated which is the norm when it comes to using the scientific method. Scientist continue to ask questions and as a community are never satisfied and welcome any and all critique. Answering questions is what it is all about. With that said I will grade your quiz using the key I established using the questions I have put in place, and I will do this for all concepts being taught this semester regardless of your philisophical or religois objections and while I encourage you to ask questions which will better help you understand the conepts being taught in this class I will not enter into philisophical or religius discussions.

Mr. X
iQ Academy
Science Teacher {& PREACHER OF EVOLUTION}



From: Sean Schwartz
Sent: Saturday, November 8, 2008 9:17pm
To: Mr. X
Subject: RE: Biology

There may be "overwhelming scientific support" for evolution, but it cannot be proven. And there is quite a bit of "overwhelming scientific support" that a Divine Being created the world. There may be overwhelming SCIENTIST support for evolution, but who cares? Just because a lot of people say it is correct, that doesn't make it correct. Because there are a lot more people out there who believe in Allah and God than people who believe in Evolution, so if a majority support makes something correct, then Evolution is still incorrect, because they outnumber you.
And you say it is "constantly being...reevaluated". So it keeps changing. It's not concrete, so why are you teaching (or rather, preaching) a "science" that is not grounded in facts, but in an ever wavering theory, a shape shifting belief. It boils down to a religion. You have no proof that it happened, you simply choose to believe it because you don't want to accept any other alternative.
Scientists may never be satisfied, but they are sure of some things. The earth is round. The earth revolves around the sun. The moon revolves around the earth. These are all known, concrete facts. Evolution is a continually shifting, changing IDEA that will never be satisfied because it cannot be scientifically satisfied, because there is not (and cannot be) any proof that it happened.
Answering questions is what this is all about? Ok, then answer this question. Is God real? And don't tell me that that's a religious question, because the concept of God is just as scientific as the concept of evolution.
"With that said I will grade your quiz using the key I established using the questions I have put in place" Those are your words. As I have stated before, you are basing some questions on a personal belief (a belief with no scientific evidence to back it up), but stating them as scientific facts. And thus by grading me on your personal beliefs, you are not teaching a science, but a religion. So, another question Mr. X. Is it within your job description to grade your students in your SCIENCE class based on your own personal bible and religion? To grade on your OPINION? Isn't that a little biased? Wouldn't the scientific (and education) community frown upon that? I mean, I could see you grading on opinion if it is stated in the question that "this is just my personal opinion" or "this is the opinion presented by the theory of evolution", but stating it as a scientific fact? That is just incorrect.
And you already have entered into a religious discussion, because you're teaching it. Preaching it. You're preaching a religion, thus engaging in a religious discussion every time you discuss evolution.

-Sean Schwartz

P.S. - I noticed an error at the end of your previous message, so I corrected it. It's in caps typeface. (And "{" "}")



From: Mr. X
Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2008 8:39am
To: Sean Schwartz
Subject: RE: Biology

You seem to think you are very knowledgeable about science It is clear from your communication that you have some major misconceptions about what the scientific method is and what a theory is. It is also clear that you are not willing to have a discussion about science but you wish to discuss religion. I do not teach Theology. I do not see a topical question included and thus I have no reply for you and in the future if you send me your religious views I will not reply. Also if you have a question concerning the material covered in class I am certainly open to assist you.

Mr. X



From: Sean Schwartz
Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2008 1:30pm
To: Mr. X
Subject: RE: Biology

Have I once claimed to be "very knowledgeable about science"? No, I don't believe I have. I'm not sure where you got that idea from.
This discussion is not about what a theory is, so it doesn't really matter if I have "major misconceptions" about them (I also find that statement slightly derogatory, because you're making that statement based on my standpoint on creation. Which, by the way, I have never stated. So it is a blind statement based on a presumption, a slur with no foundation.). This discussion is about the fact that evolution is indeed a theory, and thus should not be presented on quizzes as a scientific fact, but as a theory.
By saying that I only wish to discuss religion, you directly admit that evolution is your personal religion, because that is what I've been talking about this entire time, evolution. Have I once in this discussion made reference to any other form of religion? I have mentioned Allah and God, but those are not strictly religions, and were not so in the context that I used them. They can be viewed as religion or as people's relationships with what they believe to be God, and I referred to them in the latter context. And thus, if "It is also clear that you [Sean] are not willing to have a discussion about science but you wish to discuss religion"(- your words) and all I have been discussing is evolution, that is an admission on your part that evolution is indeed a religion. Wouldn't you say so? (In the case that you do not answer this question, I will take your silence as an indication that you do agree with me.)
I never indicated that you are a teacher of Theology, but a preacher of evolution.
"in the future if you send me your religious views I will not reply." Excuse me? What religious views have I sent you? None, thank you very much. You don't know if I'm religious. You don't know if I'm Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic, or Atheist. Because I have not expressed any religious view whatsoever.

Mr. X, you have not answered my questions from my previous email. "Answering questions is what this is all about." Those are you own words, so I would like answers to my questions please. Do not try to tell me that the questions are not topical, they are. Are you deliberately refusing to answer the questions of one of your students? Isn't that a direct dereliction of your duty as a teacher?

-Sean Schwartz

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My Biology teacher never replied to this email.

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