Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pieces of Flower

Floral pieces

In lab today we saw creatures
From two of the three domains-
Identified cocci and bacilli,
Paramecium and Amoeba swimming
or streaming under cover glass.

Then the plants-mosses green,
With diploid sex brown and erect;
Fern's hidden gametophytes
Androgynous creatures dwarfed
By cozy sitting room fronds.

Finally we consider the lillies-
Pink and spotted petals,
Orange pollen shed from anthers,
Little orange creatures slithering tubes
Down the style for sperm swim to the eggs.

Linnaeus glimpsed the flower's
Blindness to our conceits
Though his colleagues spun around
In their shrouds, screamed:
"No proper plant does this!"

Lab over, petals and sepals and ovaries
Are wings pulled from flies-
Pieces of flowers diced and swept away-
All the bone white facts collected,
Objectives checked for the next quiz.

We return to our cages and sit,
Peeling our soft triploid carpels,
Blind in our shrouds.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Science From Multiple World Views?

Recently I stumbled upon a small publisher of home school materials called Gravitas Publications. This publisher's main product is called Real Science 4 Kids by Dr. Rebecca Keller. I have no expertise in home school curricula, and from what I have seen some aspects of her approach seem sensible.

What bothers me is her claim that science can be taught from the point of view of multiple world views in a strictly neutral sort of way.

She writes:

"Yes! Real science doesn’t choose sides. So when teaching science, it’s important that the lessons let kids explore all sides. Otherwise, choosing one side can get in the way of understanding the real science. Darwinism, creationism, intelligent design theory, and all the other “isms” are simply paradigms (or “lenses”) through which science is viewed. The “-isms” are philosophies based on perceptions for how science is interpreted. Students need to learn how “-isms” play a role in science."

Ok, science doesn't choose sides in that is ideologically neutral- there is no conservative science, or Christian science, or Buddhist science. There ideally is just science. And she is right- our world view does affect how we interpret science. But is science really neutral in terms of the world view it admits?

Personally I think not. For example I don't see much support in science for the notion that the Universe or the Earth is say 10,000 years old or that the goal of a liquid is to seek its lowest level, or that magic is real. At the very least science since it is empirical forces scientific explanations and tests of scientific ideas to be mechanistic and transparent.

At any rate, check out Dr. Keller's video discussing the issue of multiple world views and see what you think:

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Spider


Caught this little jumping spider on a daffodil today. I am just a sucker for these spiders.