Learning Science

20 07 2015

There have been many theories on why people are not accepting science as fact, some of the theories are quite complex, such as the one about having a religious center in our brains, which might be true, but would you consider this?

Go back to when you were a child, do you recall singing Silent Night, or Away in a manger, at a very young age?

Do you then remember getting to your teens, and falling in love with songs that contained religious themes? Songs that called out to angels, or spoke of divine intervention bringing two lovers together?

Now in contrast, how many songs about science do you remember?

I’m sure you’ll have to think hard about this, and although you may identify a few, how many were you passionate about? how many did you fall in love with?

I think having more songs about science, which even small children will understand, is what’s needed to get more kids away from religion and into fact based science.

But producing songs which people will remember, songs that become ear-worms like Stock, Aitken and Waterman productions, such as “Never Gonna Give You Up” as an example, is essential.

Wolfie Rankin.





Wookiee Food

23 03 2011

Here’s an odd, and slightly nerdy sort of question.

But I want to pose it seriously, rather than as a joke.

What does a Wookiee eat?

I don’t think it was specified in the movies, so we can only guess, and this could be a nice exercise for our minds to think about in the wee hours.

Normally when a “new” animal is found, the teeth and other parts of the body are examined, and it’s possible to get a basic idea of what the creature ate… a good example would be dinosaurs, we have not seen living dinosaur, but their bodies can often reveal whether they ate meat or greens, or a combination of both.

Teeth not only evolved for eating, but also evolved for fighting, Tusks are a good example. and some types of monkey have very long teeth, which are for display more than anything else.

So although a Wookiee may appear to be a meat eater, perhaps they’re not.

And yes, we all saw that Holiday Special, but let’s not colour our thoughts with that too much.

So, Fingers to chins, let us speculate.

Wolfie!





Facts Vs Belief

15 10 2010

I thought of a way to show students the importance of fact over belief.

Tonight I watched the 1958 version of The Blob, the entire thing is on
Youtube, cut into ten minute sections… I’ve watched a few old films
this way.

Now…

You ask the students to pretend they’re reporters for a paper which has
a good name based upon it’s factual stories (no gossip columns here!).

You’re a reporter from the town in which The Blob eats several people,
Your job is to write down, in order, who was eaten.

Now at this point you may want to watch the film yourself.

For those who want me to continue, here’s the rest.

The blob eats, in order…

The Old man who finds the meteorite in the hole.
The Nurse,
The Doctor,
The Mechanic,
The Janitor at the supermarket.
The Projectionist at the cinema.

It has possibly eaten several people at the cinema… and I noticed that when they show the audience on the inside of the cinema, and then the audience running out terrified, that there seemed to be four times the amount of people crashing out the doors.

Anyway, the point is that although the janitor was missing, his items left dumped on the floor of the supermarket, he’s believed to have been eaten… but he could have got away.

And I wonder how many viewers would be convinced that he was eaten, even when there’s no proof that he was.

There’s also the issue of the little dog.

While the heroes of the story are stuck in a supermarket fridge, you hear the little dog, formerly owned by the old man, give a yelp.

We assume that the blob got the little dog, but once the couple escape from the supermarket, we hear one of the other teenagers say that they saw the little dog running terrified up the street.

The questions which could arise here are:

* Did the blob eat the dog?
* Did the dog escape like the teenager said?
* or was the teenager mistaken, since it could have been a dog which looked the same, which just happened to be passing in that direction?

It’s just a thought, it might be a fun lesson, and could lead to some
really good discussion… best of all, it leaves theology out of the
picture, so certain students wouldn’t block the lesson out as soon as
you mention the E word.

Wolfie!





Losing my Religion

4 07 2010

Earlier today I came across a youtube video about brainwashing kids to believe evolution is wrong, dinosaurs didn’t exist and an idiot who thought that teaching her kids religious nonsense was “simply a lot easier and made more sense”.

Mum battled with getting me to believe, Mum grew up among family members who were in the Salvos, in fact a few of our family were in the local Salvo band.

Though she was an interesting case, although she believed in God, she never went to church, at least in my memory, and I’m not sure why.

Mum had been a churchgoer earlier on, and was even a Sunday School teacher for a while, My sister also attended sunday school.

About as much as I can recall of religion when I was growing up, were those awful US evangelists on television on a sunday. In the 70s, it was law for Aussie TV to have several hours of religious content… but this was thankfully dropped in later decades.

Mum was strange though in that whenever a nature program came on, which spoke of evolution, she never criticised it. Though she’d point her finger at me at times and yell “You’re a bloody heathen, just like your bloody Father”. Whenever I was “bad” I was always my Fathers Son or just like the other side of the Family.

We had religious instruction at primary school in the 70’s, but suddenly for whatever reason it was not required anymore, whether this was a change of government or school views, I’m not sure.

I remember some kid dobbing me into the pastor (or whatever he was) telling him that I didn’t believe in God, the fellow had a word with me but I don’t remember anything he said and it didn’t matter anyway, the words ran off me like rain from a ducks back.

The class was strange, My feelings now was that it was a bit like being taught facts and figures and then having a class dedicated to elves and fairies (which may have been more fun).

I always found religion sombre and dreary, it may have been different if I’d been bought up in the US with one of those soulful black choirs, whose music I could feel on the inside… maybe I would have gone on to enjoy music more for the experience, but the religion would have gone just the same.

During the 80s, Mum pushed me into Sunday School, so I had to stand there and sing like a goose and read parts of the bible and pray, She’d glare at me and growl “It won’t hurt you to go” when I’d protest, so instead of laying in bed like a teenage boy with a hardon and a dirty mind should, I was forced to get up an have Jesus forced down my throat, sometimes I wondered if Mum had noticed a few of my urges and was hoping she could squash them back down before I became a total animal with a few threatening words about the man upstairs.

Sometimes I though Mum was in it for the freebies, this church was extremely generous at picnics and I do admit the food was good, and oddly they weren’t too pushy with the whole God thing.

But I think it gave me a whole pile of guilt about my feelings and who I was which ontop of what I already carried around, was something I simply didn’t need.

I briefly toyed with religion myself during the 90’s when I became interested in Chinese Medicine, Shiatsu massage, Natural medicine, Native American beliefs and Reiki (which I was told was the same sort of healing power that Jesus used). I was great at reiki and shiatsu, people loved receiving a massage from me, and it was the sort of quiet hobby I needed at the time.

I became quite a spiritual person, around that time. it was my hippy phase, but without the drugs, booze and the free love.

But I got over it and moved on, and became a volunteer at Melbourne Zoo just shortly before a lot of bad stuff began to happen in my life, including the death of my Father, My wonderful Dog and the discovery of why I had been sick for so long.

Mum came to see me in hospital shortly after the removal of my rectal cancer, which was a six-hour operation. She inspected my wrist band with my name, number, home address and religion on it, and saw that it read “No religion”.

She questioned me on that, and told me that I’m Protestant, I looked at her and said “No I’m not, I don’t even know what that means”, I think she was a little surprised that I’d say… all my life I had not been religious, sometimes I said I believed merely to keep my peace with her, but I never was and this was my moment.. She wasn’t upset with me, she was just grateful that I was still alive.

Mum would sing while she was in the kitchen, she often only knew a few phrases of songs, but it was enough for her. sometimes it was a tune from the 40s, something from theatre or the pictures, sometimes a song that came out during the war… sometimes it was a Hymn.

She loved to watch “Songs of praise” but would get quite upset and angry when an old tune that she loved was “all hepped up”, sometimes she’d fight it by trying to sing louder than the television, in the old style… if looks could kill.

But a few weeks short of her passing, it was odd to hear her singing REMs “Losing my religion”. to me, that seemed to indicate that her God had left her and she didn’t care anymore, perhaps she had accepted that I was right after all.

Wolfie!

The video which was mentioned in the story.