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Author Topic: Want to get some frustration off my chest.  (Read 2101 times)

MattyG

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Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« on: May 16, 2013, 06:58:12 pm »
I tutor in an 8th grade class twice a week, and there's just this one student who's really getting on my nerves. She frequently asks questions about her science class and then states "I don't understand this because I don't believe in it." I just want to point out that clearly, the reverse is true.

Today's little discussion was about Big Bang Theory. I personally don't see why a Christian should have any problem with Big Bang Theory. Everything came from nothing is pretty consistent with the Genesis story. But, it's a concept that's a little more difficult to understand than "Magic sky-man said some words," so why try to think harder I guess?

Then, she felt like dragging the conversation to evolution, because why not? Of course, she argues that "I didn't come from a monkey," even though no one's ever said that she did. The main argument was that "I don't have a tail," but she didn't know what to say when I pointed out that some people are, in fact, born with tails.

This isn't really so much a call for discussion, as a need to vent. I really just want to tell this kid that if Genesis 31 (Jacob and the Stripey Sticks) is accurate, her parents must have been staring at Homer Simpson when they conceived her.

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2013, 07:06:16 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;108848
I tutor in an 8th grade class twice a week, and there's just this one student who's really getting on my nerves. She frequently asks questions about her science class and then states "I don't understand this because I don't believe in it." I just want to point out that clearly, the reverse is true.

This always annoys me. Understanding something does not require believing in it. I understand the old Steady State theory (which competed with the Big Bang theory for years in the middle of the 20th century) but don't believe in it. I understand Youth Earth Creationism, but I don't believe it. I understand Supply-Side Economics, but still think it is (mostly) nonsense -- especially at the macro-economic level.
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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2013, 07:08:45 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;108849
This always annoys me. Understanding something does not require believing in it. I understand the old Steady State theory (which competed with the Big Bang theory for years in the middle of the 20th century) but don't believe in it.

Hell, my father has publications coauthored with a steady-state guy (as far as I know he mostly did the programming for the models) and as far as I know he doesn't believe in it either.  (He said that if I went into astronomy I should probably not do so under my legal surname. ;) )
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 07:09:10 pm by Darkhawk »
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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 07:25:22 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;108849
This always annoys me. Understanding something does not require believing in it.


Which is why my response to the student would have been "Fine.  Just humor me".  

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2013, 07:36:11 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;108850
Hell, my father has publications coauthored with a steady-state guy (as far as I know he mostly did the programming for the models) and as far as I know he doesn't believe in it either.  (He said that if I went into astronomy I should probably not do so under my legal surname. ;) )

There are still a few astronomers working on a newer version of the Steady State theory (now called Quasi-Steady State Cosmology), but it does not seem to stand up to reality all that well. But still, belief is not required to understand it.

I'm not sure where the idea that belief is needed for understanding comes from. Although I see to remember being told by a few (fundamentalist) Christians that one cannot truly understand Christianity unless one believes it completely. That position makes no sense to me.
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MattyG

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2013, 09:44:39 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;108857
I'm not sure where the idea that belief is needed for understanding comes from. Although I see to remember being told by a few (fundamentalist) Christians that one cannot truly understand Christianity unless one believes it completely. That position makes no sense to me.

I just wonder how many years it will be before anti-evolutionists and their like will have the same status as flat-earth believers.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 09:44:53 pm by MattyG »

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2013, 09:58:01 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;108848
I tutor in an 8th grade class twice a week, and there's just this one student who's really getting on my nerves. She frequently asks questions about her science class and then states "I don't understand this because I don't believe in it."


She (and more than likely, her parents as well) is still in an early faith development stage. Frustration is an apt word for the feeling one gets when trying to explain a simple concept (to us) to someone who is not ready to hear it.

As a tutor, and especially with children that age, you must have a tremendous amount of patience!

MattyG

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 01:12:39 am »
Quote from: fjfritz;108882
She (and more than likely, her parents as well) is still in an early faith development stage. Frustration is an apt word for the feeling one gets when trying to explain a simple concept (to us) to someone who is not ready to hear it.

As a tutor, and especially with children that age, you must have a tremendous amount of patience!

 
Yeah, I completely understand the whole "early faith development" thing. If it was just the fact that the girl was young and still learning how to think critically and balance reason with faith, that really wouldn't bother me. I'm more bothered by the fact that, in all likelihood, she has parents, grown adults, at home teaching her to completely disregard logic in favor of blind faith. I intend on being an educator, and it just makes me sad to see adults showing a complete disregard of intellectual activity.

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2013, 04:12:41 am »
Quote from: MattyG;108848
I tutor in an 8th grade class twice a week, and there's just this one student who's really getting on my nerves. She frequently asks questions about her science class and then states "I don't understand this because I don't believe in it." I just want to point out that clearly, the reverse is true.

Today's little discussion was about Big Bang Theory. I personally don't see why a Christian should have any problem with Big Bang Theory. Everything came from nothing is pretty consistent with the Genesis story. But, it's a concept that's a little more difficult to understand than "Magic sky-man said some words," so why try to think harder I guess?

Then, she felt like dragging the conversation to evolution, because why not? Of course, she argues that "I didn't come from a monkey," even though no one's ever said that she did. The main argument was that "I don't have a tail," but she didn't know what to say when I pointed out that some people are, in fact, born with tails.

This isn't really so much a call for discussion, as a need to vent. I really just want to tell this kid that if Genesis 31 (Jacob and the Stripey Sticks) is accurate, her parents must have been staring at Homer Simpson when they conceived her.

 No point in having an argument with a 8th grader!
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Nyktelios

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 09:54:58 am »
Quote from: MattyG;108848
This isn't really so much a call for discussion, as a need to vent. I really just want to tell this kid that if Genesis 31 (Jacob and the Stripey Sticks) is accurate, her parents must have been staring at Homer Simpson when they conceived her.

 
That does sound frustrating. There are some kids that can think for themselves, but many just regurgitate the views of their parents, culture, and religious community. Since she gave the token "I didn't come from monkeys" response, she has probably been programed to defend her family's conservative Christian ideology. For example, when I was in high school and would take a pro-choice stance in those kinds of arguments, I was met with the typical "what if you abort the baby who grows up to cure cancer" responses. I think churches prepare their followers to defend their views in arguments with reasonable people. Hopefully your student gains a more open mind when she has some more life experience, but there's probably not much you can do now except be patient and keep educating.

Materialist

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2013, 12:42:42 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;108848
I tutor in an 8th grade class twice a week, and there's just this one student who's really getting on my nerves. She frequently asks questions about her science class and then states "I don't understand this because I don't believe in it." I just want to point out that clearly, the reverse is true.

Today's little discussion was about Big Bang Theory. I personally don't see why a Christian should have any problem with Big Bang Theory. Everything came from nothing is pretty consistent with the Genesis story. But, it's a concept that's a little more difficult to understand than "Magic sky-man said some words," so why try to think harder I guess?

Then, she felt like dragging the conversation to evolution, because why not? Of course, she argues that "I didn't come from a monkey," even though no one's ever said that she did. The main argument was that "I don't have a tail," but she didn't know what to say when I pointed out that some people are, in fact, born with tails.

This isn't really so much a call for discussion, as a need to vent. I really just want to tell this kid that if Genesis 31 (Jacob and the Stripey Sticks) is accurate, her parents must have been staring at Homer Simpson when they conceived her.


Maybe you should tell her to keep her religion-tinged questions in her church, and not in the classroom. Her questions sound like they're disrupting the teaching session to me. They don't sound like they're promoting the educational experience for the rest of the class.

Sarah

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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2013, 12:53:35 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;108928
Maybe you should tell her to keep her religion-tinged questions in her church, and not in the classroom. Her questions sound like they're disrupting the teaching session to me. They don't sound like they're promoting the educational experience for the rest of the class.

 
To be fair she probably doesn't know how to ask questions that are not religion tinged. she likely grew up in a family and atmosphere where everything is about religion in a really overt way.
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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2013, 06:27:47 pm »
Quote from: maybeimawitch;108930
To be fair she probably doesn't know how to ask questions that are not religion tinged. she likely grew up in a family and atmosphere where everything is about religion in a really overt way.

Bingo. That would be my guess as well.
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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 05:54:27 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;108848
I tutor in an 8th grade class twice a week, and there's just this one student who's really getting on my nerves. She frequently asks questions about her science class and then states "I don't understand this because I don't believe in it." I just want to point out that clearly, the reverse is true.

Today's little discussion was about Big Bang Theory. I personally don't see why a Christian should have any problem with Big Bang Theory. Everything came from nothing is pretty consistent with the Genesis story. But, it's a concept that's a little more difficult to understand than "Magic sky-man said some words," so why try to think harder I guess?

Then, she felt like dragging the conversation to evolution, because why not? Of course, she argues that "I didn't come from a monkey," even though no one's ever said that she did. The main argument was that "I don't have a tail," but she didn't know what to say when I pointed out that some people are, in fact, born with tails.

This isn't really so much a call for discussion, as a need to vent. I really just want to tell this kid that if Genesis 31 (Jacob and the Stripey Sticks) is accurate, her parents must have been staring at Homer Simpson when they conceived her.

 
I get frustrated with this kind of thing, too.  My household wasn't particularly religious, but people in my extended family are of a fundamentalist type religion.  When I was a child and too young to understand something like the theory of evolution, I, too, picked up on some of these silly views.  It's kind of a weird thing since now that I am older and more familiar with the Bible I know that not only are there two different accounts of creation in Genesis, but other varying accounts in the Psalms and even the Book of Job (not all of which are monotheistic).  When I learned more about evolution and biology in class, I couldn't ever really reject it because it was just too sensible, it even seemed self-apparent.  To my knowledge, not even John Calvin read the creation accounts in a literal way, and that was before Darwin came along.

I've known some really smart people with fundamentalist beliefs.  Sometimes it takes a while to get over something like having anti-evolution beliefs ingrained into you from childhood.

I wouldn't waste too much time arguing with a fundamentalist.  They believe what they believe.  Hopefully if they have a degree of introspection they will one day move on.  Many others have made that move and gone in different directions.

The whole anti-Big Bang, anti-evolution drama seems to be a particularly American thing.  It's worse in the South.  I was told by my sociology professor that in northern parts of America about 70% of Christians accept evolution, but even that number seems low to me!
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Re: Want to get some frustration off my chest.
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2013, 08:28:04 pm »
Quote from: MattyG;108848
I tutor in an 8th grade class twice a week, and there's just this one student who's really getting on my nerves. She frequently asks questions about her science class and then states "I don't understand this because I don't believe in it." I just want to point out that clearly, the reverse is true.

Today's little discussion was about Big Bang Theory. I personally don't see why a Christian should have any problem with Big Bang Theory. Everything came from nothing is pretty consistent with the Genesis story. But, it's a concept that's a little more difficult to understand than "Magic sky-man said some words," so why try to think harder I guess?

Then, she felt like dragging the conversation to evolution, because why not? Of course, she argues that "I didn't come from a monkey," even though no one's ever said that she did. The main argument was that "I don't have a tail," but she didn't know what to say when I pointed out that some people are, in fact, born with tails.

This isn't really so much a call for discussion, as a need to vent. I really just want to tell this kid that if Genesis 31 (Jacob and the Stripey Sticks) is accurate, her parents must have been staring at Homer Simpson when they conceived her.

 
I understand the essence of what you're trying to say but when you fail to understand the nature of a deity that is ignorance. How many times do people have to explain symbolic appearance? Originally in Christian art, God was never shown except as a hand reaching down from heaven to bestow something. Though I do understand your frustration about everything else.
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