Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by Drexel University or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Topic: Re: How science shaped modern 'rejection of religion'
Replies: 1   Last Post: Apr 8, 2014 9:12 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
GS Chandy

Posts: 6,625
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: How science shaped modern 'rejection of religion'
Posted: Apr 7, 2014 11:37 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Responding to Kirby Urner's post (dt. Apr 3, 2014 11:05 AM, http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9427562}:
>
> So, using OPMS language, I would say "high bovine
> milk product consumption"
> (aka the Cult of Milk, zealous and powerful)
> CONTRIBUTES TO high methane
> production and global warming,
>

The "CONTRIBUTIONS" you've pointed to are probably entirely true, real and correct - and they do (I believe), in fact reflect some of the serious impacts that the "Cult of Milk", which is so zealously promoted by the (milk) industry, has on the environment.

As you've noted in various other parts of your argument on the issue (spread over a couple of postings), such intensive promotion of that slogan ("Milk is Good!") over decades has had quite significant impact on the thinking processes of a great many of the stakeholders in society at large. Now, "Milk is Good!" has become part of the 'accepted wisdom'.

However, I have seriously erred if I've led you to believe that just writing up the prose translations from small parts of 'structural models' would directly lead to ways to resolve the issues involved. In various posts of mine, I had provided some sample "CONTRIBUTION" sentences in an effort to show how the 'structures' (of which I often write) work in the logic of the arguments we put forth. Such sentences are developed from parts of structural models, which are representations of 'mental models'. We need to conduct our discussions on the basis of those structural representations of our mental models - and then try to develop effective Action Planning on agreed things wish to do in support of the specific Mission(s) identified..

I personally would not know how to tackle, for instance, this 'Cult of Milk' - it appears to be something arising from the 'VERY deep structure' of the society we have built over generations (perhaps centuries). And the basis of that 'deep structure' of society is (I claim) our entirely unwarranted belief that we humans are the "MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE!" That belief has a huge effect on all aspects of our society, on the way we live on this earth, on the way we think about ourselves.

To tackle such attitudes would demand a veritable revolution in the way we think about things in society AND about our place on planet earth.

To accept that we are not really the "MASTERS" will demand enormous changes in our mindsets. To illustrate with an analogy:

Slavery was formally abolished in the USA with your Civil War. But yet, as I recall, as late as the early 'sixties of the last century (when I was living in the USA), a fair bit of the 'mental mindsets' had not yet really changed.

For instance, 'blacks' still had to ride at the backs of buses in most of Southern USA. Jim Crow was still enforced. And so on. (None of the above is to claim that India, for example, is free of such societal 'inequities': we still have our caste systems quite a bit in operation today [though there are measurable signs of change coming about]).

Well yes, educating people about the issues you've pointed to "SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO" stimulate them to examine such societal issues. It will take time and PLENTY of effort: there will be a small amount of learning to do - accompanied by a fair bit of 'unlearning'. I've suggested that Warfield's approach to systems science affords us the most effective means to develop practical ways to accomplish such tasks as "changing society".

The sentence you've articulated (which I've quoted above) denotes just one or two out of a whole number of links between various 'elements' in the entire system. The system is much more complex than what may be seen in that "CONTRIBUTION" sentence.

What is needed is that we (stakeholders in the system) learn to set up and read reasonably accurate and realistic 'representations' about our society's structure(s) and then develop some understanding of the whole - all with the view to bring about desirable change.

In brief (and in general in every case), we shall need to learn how we can *integrate* our good ideas into some effective Action Planning (on each isssue identified) - and also how we can get rid of our bad ideas. It's not impossible to accomplish this - but it does demand that we all learn to use 'prose + structural graphics' (p+sg) to help us develop the 'actionable models' we need.

Once the stakeholders in the system have begun clearly to understand the 'structural model(s)' representing their perceptions of the entire system as it stands today, they *may* be able to suggest practical ways to get over the 'system problem(s)' identified in the structures as perceived.

The models we develop may well become the *initiation* of action planning to develop better systems, systems that could, over time, behave in more desirable ways than the ones we have in place today.

This will demand that we (stakeholders) learn first how to develop adequate 'descriptive structural models' of various aspects of our societies and then learn how to take effective action to change things. It all starts with us understanding the structures of our societies.

There is a small amount of learning involved - and a fair bit of 'unlearning'. The 'unlearning' mainly involves understanding that our conventional modes of thinking are simply not adequate to enable *action* on system issues.

It's a long, LONG process that may over time lead to the development of more rational systems than the ones we have in place now. When my OPMS website is up and running, I shall try get participants to develop various group models on a variety of issues of current interest. I had tried to do that at the YahooGroup "Towards Democracy" - but without needed facilities, such efforts can't go very far: a full-scale interactive Website for OPMS should provide a useful place to work from.

I have long believed that the stakeholders in the 'educational system(s)' may well be the most open to change their behaviour patterns to bring about real change - if they're involved in 'teaching' it is possible that they may also be amenable to 'learning'. 'Learning' is of course part of the 'learning+teaching' dyad.

Tackling the 'Cult of Milk' may demand that, first, we have a reasonably effective educational system in place to begin with. And even then, will we be able to make real structural changes in society that has whole industries supporting this cult?

Well, we haven't been able to tackle the tobacco industry as yet - though most of us are by now pretty well aware that nicotine is one of the most addictive poisons on earth AND that smoking involves the ingestion of some scores at least of proven carcinogens and of hundreds or even thousands of other substances, none of which do ANYTHING to promote human health... Instead, our societal structures actually REWARD those poisoners!

(Compared with the people of the tobacco industry [who most folk fully accept are profiting by poisoning them], the people in the 'milk industry' still evoke only 'warm and fuzzy feelings' from people at large in society).

GSC
Kirby Urner's post:
Kirby Urner posted Apr 3, 2014 11:05 AM (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9427562}:

> On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 2:49 PM, GS Chandy
> <gs_chandy@yahoo.com> wrote:
>

> >
> > Well, I don't know whether "milk is bad for you" -

> but certainly the
> > widespread belief that "milk is good for you"
> appears to have huge
> > commercial interests pushing it.
> >
> >

> USA-based high school aged students in many cases
> have Netflix or some
> other video on demand service, and so it is easier
> for them then in
> previous generations to bypass "established wisdom"
> as disseminated through
> a very few network television channels, later
> multiplied with cable, and
> watch documentaries which contravene such
> "established wisdom".
>
> This technological transformation, the provision of
> "video on demand" or
> "dial up video" to many households, is a new headache
> for teachers as
> students raised on video are more likely to research
> using that medium.
> Youtube provides a complementary repository.
>
> So whereas the common wisdom is a bovine blood
> byproduct aka "milk" helps
> build strong bones and makes your teeth stronger, the
> real problem being
> solved is the North American farmer's ability to
> extract huge amounts of
> milk from a vast cattle herd, many times bigger than
> any in world history.
>
> Finding a ready market willing to engage in high
> volume milk consumption
> was not going to pan out unless managed pro-actively.
> Creating a ready
> market of high volume milk consumers, through the
> power of advertising, is
> what industry undertook, and mostly succeeded. The
> grain industry colluded
> with its Breakfast of Champions requiring lots of
> milk mixed with sugar.
>
> So, using OPMS language, I would say "high bovine
> milk product consumption"
> (aka the Cult of Milk, zealous and powerful)
> CONTRIBUTES TO high methane
> production and global warming, and to the obesity and
> morbidity of our
> adult and young adult population.
>
> Coca Cola likewise a cultic faith (i.e. a sincere
> stakeholder community of
> many widows and orphans), CONTRIBUTES TO the general
> unhealth of our
> school-aged and older (and younger) population.
>
> What's interesting about math class is that story
> problems are often
> tightly focused to those of the individual consumer,
> trying to make change,
> shopping for the best interest rate on a car or house
> and so on.
>
> However, the minute you try to "run the numbers" or
> "crunch data" more
> globally, studying the "what if" effects of various
> changes to national or
> global averages ala 'Diet for a Small Planet' (famous
> book), right at that
> point you are accused of "politicizing" the children,
> and your math is
> suddenly called "rainforest math", a blanket
> anti-STEM term of ridicule
> for global modeling in general.
>
> Our induced and artificial milk cravings are helping
> turn the Amazon jungle
> into cattle farms, so lets remember that "rainforest
> math" remains an apt
> term for global modeling software (Sims, SimCity,
> SimEarth...).
>
> Acting locally to buy a home based on a few story
> problems is OK, but
> "thinking globally" is more like communist (more
> Russian?) and should be
> discouraged by milk-pushing, fast-food-loving public
> school teachers.
> That's a prevalent attitude in math classes today I'd
> say. Don't use math
> to question the posters on the wall around you,
> sharing the "established
> wisdom" about milk.
>
> Kirby



Message was edited by: GS Chandy


Message was edited by: GS Chandy



Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© Drexel University 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.