Diary

Common Core Teaches a Big Fat Lie

orwellian

The Left has its own Da Vinci Code, a secret woven into the fabric of its power, shrouded by layers of intrigue, and defended to the death by secret societies pledged to its eternal preservation.

Here it is, exposed:

Science = Truth

Philosophy = Opinion

And it’s as wrong today as it was in Plato’s day.

If the fictional Robert Langdon stumbled onto the Church’s hidden legend in Dan Brown’s novel, then all-too-real associate professor of philosophy Justin McBrayer, has vitiated the Left’s Necronomicon in his New York Times piece, “Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts.”

As a philosopher, I already knew that many college-aged students don’t believe in moral facts. While there are no national surveys quantifying this phenomenon, philosophy professors with whom I have spoken suggest that the overwhelming majority of college freshmen in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture.

Given that McBrayer is also a philosophy professor, I can use him as primary source:  college kids tend to be moral relativists.  “That’s true for you” is a phrase I’ve heard many times after hiring newly minted college grads, when discussing any topic involving value judgments.

God?  That’s your truth.  If people don’t believe, why force your view on them?

Capitalism?  That only benefits you [the Man], what about the poor?

Racial tension?  Micro aggressions are real because the oppressed races believe in them.  It doesn’t matter if you [the Man] do.

Gender?  Whatever people identify, that’s true to them.

I, like most conservatives, tended to believe that the liberal takeover on college campuses was to blame; that philosophy itself had been irredeemably corrupted.  But McBrayer looked a bit deeper, and found a frightening truth.

A few weeks ago, I learned that students are exposed to this sort of thinking well before crossing the threshold of higher education. When I went to visit my son’s second grade open house, I found a troubling pair of signs hanging over the bulletin board. They read:

Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.

Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

Hoping that this set of definitions was a one-off mistake, I went home and Googled “fact vs. opinion.” The definitions I found online were substantially the same as the one in my son’s classroom. As it turns out, the Common Core standards used by a majority of K-12 programs in the country require that students be able to “distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.” And the Common Core institute provides a helpful page full of links to definitions, lesson plans and quizzes to ensure that students can tell the difference between facts and opinions.

From the earliest lessons, young children are being taught that facts must be provable and testable.  When I learned the scientific method in school, we were taught to begin with a hypothesis, devise a test, and from the test, determine if the hypothesis could be proven.  We were never taught that a hypothesis became a fact because the test supported it.

Scientific method produces theses, theories, and suppositions, supported by proof (both mathematical and empirical).  Philosophy produces truth claims, supported by logic and deduction.  The two disciplines interact to form a coherent world.  Science never produces truth claims—that’s simply not in its realm.

Liberal thought pits these two disciplines against each other, and incorrectly attributes truth claims to science, while relegating all philosophical truth claims to mere opinion.  This is known (in science and philosophy) as a category error.

McBrayer cracked the code: the Left has built its entire educational foundation on an enormous category error.  They’ve pitted science and the scientific method against philosophy and the logical deduction of truth.

This explains a lot, if not everything.  When a study in Cognitive Science is touted by the Left as proof of religious children having more difficulty “discerning reality”, they’re really relying on their definition of reality as “provable facts”, and lumping children who don’t buy the lie into their own presupposed definition of “religious.”

Here’s what they did:  get a bunch of five- and six-year-olds and tell them stories from the Bible, which the church-going kids already know, exactly as the Bible tells it, then change the stories to swap out God with some fairy-tale magic elements, and then swap out God for a scientific, rational explanation.  For some reason, they expected kids who have some Biblical knowledge to claim that the Bible version is pretend.  One atheist blogger on wrote on Patheos: “When the kids heard the religious stories, they should have said the character was pretend.”

The Left is teaching children that only scientifically testable, provable notions are fact, and everything else is pretend.  This is the generation they’re raising.  Far from wanting kids to question everything and apply deductive reasoning, logic, along with scientific method, they want kids to simply believe theories like macro-evolution and cosmological origins as fact because of science, and reject moral truths like the sanctity of life, because they’re philosophy.

Lest you doubt, McBrayer provides proof:

Kids are asked to sort facts from opinions and, without fail, every value claim is labeled as an opinion. Here’s a little test devised from questions available on fact vs. opinion worksheets online: are the following facts or opinions?

— Copying homework assignments is wrong.

— Cursing in school is inappropriate behavior.

— All men are created equal.

— It is worth sacrificing some personal liberties to protect our country from terrorism.

— It is wrong for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.

— Vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat.

— Drug dealers belong in prison.

The answer? In each case, the worksheets categorize these claims as opinions. The explanation on offer is that each of these claims is a value claim and value claims are not facts. This is repeated ad nauseum: any claim with good, right, wrong, etc. is not a fact.

In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths.

To the Left, Common Core was never about improving STEM eduction, it was instead about promoting the category error at the heart of its own dark pursuits:  there is no moral truth, man is the measure of all things, God’s laws are merely opinion, and religion is fantasy by definition.

Liberals accuse conservatives of being anti-science, but it’s really the liberals who are anti-science, and anti-logic, and anti-philosophy.  Their goal is no less than the death of values themselves.  For this alone, if for no other reason, Common Core must be dismantled.