Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ignorance truly is a social disease

sent this to a sociology list in response to a colleague getting some grief about using "upsetting" material in the classroom...

I have to admit that I find it odd that anyone would suggest that any practitioner within a scientific discipline would employ specific pedagogical techniques designed to "shock or upset" -- sounds like your Dean is confusing reporting scientific information in creative ways with the idiocy that passes as substantive commentary in the media (think Glenn Beck et al).

I find it particularly ironic that a biologist would question (or characterize it as upsetting or shocking) the utilization of a heterosexuality questionnaire to point out how sexual orientation is entirely a human creation. Any biologist knows that "sexual orientation" in any species is a non-starter -- there are many species that display "hetero-, homo- and bi-" sexual orientations (for whatever those ridiculous characterizations are worth), why would humans (since we are animals) be any different? Many species are hermaphroditic...would a questionnaire designed to inquire about reproductive organs within a human population be considered shocking or upsetting? I am sure it would...but that isn't the issue. The issue is that we present scientific data/findings since we are part of the "reality-based community" and unfortunately, many students, parents, administrators, etc., have a hard time accepting social-biological reality.

Ignorance is a deadly social disease, IMO.

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