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Teaching more maths, less religion

Posted in Teaching on February 10th, 2014 by steve

“Breda O’Brien (Opinion, February 1st) uses data from the PIRLS and TIMSS 2011 studies to support her claim that religion should retain its current number of hours in the Irish curriculum. As the researcher responsible for managing the studies in Ireland, I wish to point out inaccuracies in her description of the findings of PIRLS and TIMSS …” (more)

[Eemer Eivers, Irish Times, 10 February]

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Primary teachers should use religious class time to teach maths, says Quinn

Posted in Teaching on January 25th, 2014 by steve

“Primary school teachers who are hard pressed to find enough hours in the day to address the school curriculum should consider switching time from religious instruction to providing literacy and numeracy skills. That is the view of Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn …” (more)

[Tim O'Brien, Irish Times, 25 January]

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Jesus taught rather well without a degree from the college of education

Posted in Teaching on October 24th, 2013 by steve

“… The college of education has become the agent of a mindless sectarian division. Its teachers should be hired for their professional ability alone, not their religion. How could schools hope to find the best teachers from such a tiny minority? Most of us educated in Irish Protestant schools will answer — they can’t …” (more)

[Victoria White, Irish Examiner, 24 October]

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Catholic and Islamic voices decry stem cell ‘bias’

Posted in Research on February 21st, 2013 by steve

“The success of adult stem cell research is being underplayed in favour of more controversial work using embryonic cells, according to religious figures who blame ‘aggressive secularism’ and the ‘personal investment’ of researchers in their projects for the alleged bias …” (more)

[Elizabeth Gibney, Times Higher Education, 21 February]

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Teaching time at primary level

Posted in Teaching on December 19th, 2012 by steve

“Sir, – Your Editorial ‘Teaching time at primary level’ (December 14th) echoes Ruairí Quinn’s misguided supposition that the amount of time allocated to religion in our primary phase of education somehow influences the mediocre performance in mathematics and science …” (more)

[Alan Whelan, Irish Times, 19 December]

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Educational integration: religion and society

Posted in Life on September 11th, 2012 by steve

“Fifty years ago this year, just after my family had settled in Ireland, my parents were looking around for a school to which they could send me. In Mullingar, Co Westmeath, there were a few choices, but they all had one thing in common: whichever school I might attend, each one was part of a religious denomination …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 10 September]

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Bruton defends educational diversity

Posted in Governance and administration on August 13th, 2012 by steve

“Former Taoiseach John Bruton has defended denominational education as a means of protecting diversity in Ireland. Opening the Parnell summer school at Avondale, Co Wicklow, yesterday, he said that Parnell had recognised that Irish people saw a link between ethical formation and religious belief …” (more)

[Stephen Collins, Irish Times, 13 August]

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Which Major Religion Has the Most Holidays?

Posted in Life on April 6th, 2012 by steve

“Friday is a big day in two of the world’s major religions. Christians celebrate Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, while Jews begin Passover, the holiday marking their ancestors’ escape from ancient Egypt. Which of the world’s major religions has the most festivals and holidays throughout the year? …” (more)

[Brian Palmer, Slate, 6 April]

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Third Level Courses – Religion and Atheism

Posted in Teaching on March 14th, 2012 by steve

Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will inquire with the Higher Education and Training Awards Council if, and if so, the reason, it approved the religion module in the higher diploma in arts in primary education in a college (details supplied) which contained statements that have caused extreme offence in the atheist community; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil Éireann, 13 March]

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Complex link found between education and faith

Posted in Life on August 14th, 2011 by steve

“For years, a commonly held belief has been that more educated Americans are less likely to embrace religion. But an article forthcoming in The Review of Religious Research suggests that the relationship between education and faith is more nuanced, and that more education has a negative impact only on certain religious questions, not on all of them …” (more)

[Scott Jaschik, University World News, 14 August]

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Settlement leaves questions of faith and science up in the air

Posted in Legal issues on January 20th, 2011 by steve

“Should the University of Kentucky have hired a qualified astronomer to lead their new observatory, despite his strong religious views and his public doubts about evolution? Or was their decision to pass him over discrimination? Alas for those who would relish a public hashing out of these thorny questions, a lawsuit over the matter has been settled …” (more)

[Emma Marris, The Great Beyond, 19 January]

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Religiosity vs. Academia

Posted in Governance and administration on September 19th, 2010 by steve

“This is a topic that I’ve been interested in posting on for quite a while but never quite got around to it. To me, the idea of religion seems somewhat counter to the idea of being highly educated. I realize I’m going to offend a number of people, so let me preface this post with the following note: this is not intended to malign the religious nor is it an attack on personal beliefs …” (more)

[The Traveling Scholar, 19 September]

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Sociologists Get Religion

Posted in Research on February 9th, 2010 by steve

“When Darren Sherkat published a paper in a major sociology journal in the 1990s, focused on Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, he said that the reaction from many senior scholars was ‘dismissive’. He remembers one telling him ‘this is garbage’ for citing Weber’s views on the significance of religious values. ‘It can’t be religion’ driving human behavior, the scholar told the then un-tenured Sherkat. ‘It’s got to be something else that caused the religion’ …” (more)

[Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 9 February]

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Debating society comes to a hasty conclusion

Posted in Life on March 1st, 2009 by steve

“The UCC Philosophical Society is a forum designed to facilitate democratic debate. At its most recent debate — ‘That we believe God is fraud’ — the audience and those who participated endured an affront to democracy. It was a riveting debate with speakers from far and wide who had earnestly waited until the close for the result of the vote. An audience of about 50 voted and it was hard to tell which side had actually won. Members of the audience called for a count, but instead of counting hands the guest auditor dismissed the votes of the audience saying ‘in the interests of this house getting to the social, I call this debate a tie’. Basically, getting to the pub was more important than seeing which side had won …” (more)

[Mary O’Regan, Irish Examiner, 27 February]

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