This ed/op article was posted in the Seattle Times recently calling attention to a bizarre statement found in the 2012 platform of the Republican Party of Texas. It isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this. Liberals all over Facebook are posting links to similar articles calling Fie! on the stated opposition to teaching critical thinking skills.
But I don’t really want to talk about the GOP platform. Apparently the statement was included by mistake anyway. An “Oops, now how did that get in there?” Let others debate on the political ramifications of it ever being considered in the first place.
I don’t talk politics. I’m not good at making points that support my political or religious beliefs. I do recognize arguments by others that make perfect sense to me. I am also open-minded enough to listen to reasoned arguments that support a contrary belief and I’m willing to change my mind if presented with evidence. I am open to being taught to modify my behavior and challenge my beliefs. And you know what, my mother, my parental authority, doesn’t mind at all.
It’s called growth and it’s how we progressed from superstitious Dark Age beliefs to modern medicine and sanitary living conditions. Was the first doctor who decided to sanitize surgical implements engaging in “behavioral modification” when he tried to convince other physicians to do the same? Even if you don’t believe in evolution, surely you have to acknowledge that critical thinking has always been implemented and essential to human advancement since the gates of Eden closed behind a penitent Adam and Eve. Don’t you?
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe humans have stopped growing and learning. Maybe we’ve all just stopped. Whatever you believe right now, at this very moment, that’s it. Some of us believe in God and some of us don’t. Some of us think Obama should be the next president, some of us think it should be Romney. Some of us apparently think all humanity is beyond hope and need to be wiped from the planet.
If I am wrong, convince me. Oh, wait, you can’t do that. Not if you believe that it is wrong to engage my critical thinking skills and modify the fixed beliefs instilled by my parents. In that case, we’re all screwed.
The Texas branch of one of our two major political parties opposes teaching critical-thinking skills or anything that might challenge a child’s “fixed beliefs.” So presumably, if a child is of the “fixed belief” that Jesus was the first president of the United States or that two plus two equals apple trees, educators ought not correct the little genius lest she change her “fixed belief,” thereby undermining mom and dad.
For what it’s worth, the Texas GOP says that language was not supposed to be in the platform. Spokesman Chris Elam says its inclusion “was an oversight on the subcommittee’s part.”