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Bremerton School District Textbook Critique
Seventh Grade Science Book

RE: Life Science by Balzer, Berne, Goodson, Lauer, and Slesnick
Published by Scott, Foresman and Company, 1990

The organization of the book has some strong points. It puts the foundation of the whole book, the definition of life, in the first chapter. This makes it possible to assess the value of the text through an examination of the meaning given to life. This will take some time so we’ll take a closer look at this a little later.

On pages 2 and 3 is a brief overview of the history of thought related to “science.” There is no mention of a single thinker, thought, or scientific system from Eastern Civilization. This is a major oversight considering they had ancient scientific systems for thousands of years when Europeans were, according to their own claims, barbarian tribes.

It should be noted that Western historians have rewritten history in an effort to discredit the great antiquity of the civilization of India. But astronomical references in the Vedas prove that parts of them were composed before 6,000 BCE, indicating advanced civilization in India at least by 6,000 BCE. It should also be noted that the Aryan Invasion was not an invasion of India by peoples from north central Eurasia, but a spread of Vedic culture north and west from India, and also throughout Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

In this time when the “public schools” claim to be operating under a new and enlightened respect for diverse cultures this careful elimination of any positive reference to anything from the Eastern Hemisphere is inexcusable. Most Western educators are so ethnocentric in their approach to science that they don’t even know about the science of life that has been practiced in the East for thousands of years. But perhaps they are not fully to blame, because the intense ethnocentrism of the West has, until recently, kept most of this information unavailable in the West.

The claim is made at the end of page 3 that scientists will be able to unravel life’s mysteries. This claim is totally unwarranted considering that there is enormous dissension of this opinion even in the West. There is nothing objective in this statement. It clearly demonstrates the lack of objectivity in the book. Such a clear falsehood at the very outset makes it clear that the book is designed primarily to manipulate the worldview of the student. It is designed to engender faith in science. Because of the subtle nature of the approach it would not be fair to call it propaganda. Rather its purpose and effect is brainwashing.

Gradually over the decades “Public Education” has succeeded in getting most people in the West to make Science their religion and to believe with dogmatic tenacity to its tenants. Science is based on the religious philosophy of materialism. This is diametrically opposed to the supposed teaching of Western churches that God and a spiritual world exist which are more important. Yet so watered down have these beliefs become that if someone chose to live their life based on Spirit instead of for the fruits of matter, they would be either severely reprimanded or simply ostracized. The point in this is that the churches have become dominated by the materialism of “science.” This feat has been largely accomplished by the “public” school system, schools for the manipulation of the worldview and behavior of the public.

Western science, as long as it clings to materialism, will never unravel the mysteries of life. It will not even be able to begin to define life. In order for people to put their trust in science they must first no longer trust their own perception. And it is only by teaching people first to discredit their own experience that they can pawn off on them such a ridiculous definition of life that modern “science” has succeeded in doing.

To illustrate my point, ask yourself a few questions. How do you know that you are alive? Do you need to check the chemical reactions inside the cells of your body to see if they are using energy? Do you need to measure yourself over time to see if you are growing? Do you have to recall that you have used the toilet to be sure you are getting rid of waste? And do you have to have had children or go to a doctor to have your reproductive organs checked?

Of course you don’t. You would know without a shadow of a doubt that you are alive - even without any knowledge whatsoever of any of the five “processes of life” said to be necessary by Western “Life Science” in order to classify something as alive. If you are at all honest you will admit that it is not awareness of the “processes of life” in you that enables you to reach the conclusion that you are alive. You know instantly that you are alive.

It is through intuitive awareness that you know that you are alive, not through reasoning based on the discovery of the “processes of life” in you, or rather, in your body. It is obvious then to anyone who can trust his own experience, that the first and most obvious quality or “process” of life is awareness. If you had no awareness you would not consider yourself to be alive.

You might try to claim, in your dishonesty, that you would still be alive, just without awareness of it. And you could site many examples from Western science to back you up. For example, that important branch of Life Science called Psychology, at least in the modern “scientific” branch, the behaviorists, that follows B.F. Skinner, does not allow consciousness into its world view because they think it can’t be studied. So they deny consciousness even in humans and study only behavior.

But do you really believe Life Science that you have no consciousness even though the behaviorists say you don’t? Do you think it is objective to ignore consciousness in trying to understand life simply because they don’t know how to study it? Can one rely on the conclusions of a life science that does not take consciousness into consideration. Do you really believe such lack of objectivity can lead to a proper understanding of life, let alone to “unravel life’s mysteries?”

Although we have been carefully trained to distrust our own experience, it is important and possible to bring one’s own experience into the “science” of life. Occasionally, when you have plenty of time, relax your body and forget everything that is coming to you from outside yourself. If the sense telephones keep ringing just ignore them. Ignore all those memories of things that have come to you from outside your self. Go deep into your own inner self. Go deep into that part of you that knows “I am.” Try to get to know this inner life that is you. Ask this inner self of you what life is, what you are? Don’t be confused by labels that have been imported from outside your self. Just experience directly what you are.

When you can experience your inner life, your self, as it is, free from all labels and data imported from outside through the senses, and free from names and words (which come from outside), then start looking to see if this life of yours has any of these “processes of lie”, oops, “processes of life” that this textbook claims are necessary to classify something as living.

My experience is, that if you go completely beyond what is imported from outside to experience purely and directly what you know without doubt to be your very own life, you will find none of the processes of life in your own life. You would know directly, from your own experience, that the five “processes of life” are a lie.

But we have been carefully conditioned in this culture not to trust our own experience. And so effectively, that when they call the study of organic activity the study of life, no one seems to notice. And why would they call the study of organic activity the study of life in the first place?

Careful study of history makes it clear that it is the nature of governments to want to control the people - occasionally for the people’s own good, usually for the good of the government at the expense of the people. Why is this?

It is said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Some deny it. Others ignore it. Most fail to understand it. Governments get corrupted by their own power because this principle is not understood.

Power does not corrupt. False power corrupts. People want power because they know something is lacking in their lives. They seek external power over other people and things in the false belief that what they lack is outside of themselves. True power is rooted within. False power corrupts because it does not fulfill what is expected of it.

True power begins with power over one’s own life, power over one’s own state of consciousness. Why do people have so little control over their own consciousness? That is the first question science must answer if it is to ever begin to unravel life’s mysteries. Without control over one’s own consciousness the scientific study of life is not possible. Without control over one’s own consciousness bias and special interests dominate both scientific inquiry and “scientific” conclusions.

This text does not promote a broad, multicultural inquiry into the nature of life. Instead it promulgates a narrow and shortsighted view of life that, although it may well serve the needs of consumerism and those businesses and governments relying on it, it does not lead toward an understanding of life and how to realize its fullness, nor toward insuring its survival on this planet.

I believe this textbook was adopted without the informed consent of the majority. I believe this text draws a very small box around what science of life should study. I believe its main effect is therefore a stifling of true scientific inquiry. I certainly would not allow my seventh graders to use it as a primary text. Although it might be ideal by many parents’ standards, it is a well-organized attack on many of my religious and philosophical convictions.

I would like to hear what other parents think about this particular text, and about the idea of the government deciding what official knowledge, and thus what textbook content, is to determine the focus of their children’s education.


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Last updated: 09-01-99 21:15 PDT