He’s ba-ack. Playing the provocateur from behind his Harvard science degree and geographic proximity to the deservedly renowned PZ Myers, destroying intelligent discourse in whole communities all the while claiming HE is the injured party — science is about recognizing and intelligently interpreting patterns, and this one is repeating itself in classic form, another human pot stirring to generate a fresh batch of the same recycled crap with which to fertilize his ego-operated science bloggery.
He did it to evolved homeschoolers in 2007 and was rewarded with enough traffic to earn a coveted scienceblog all his own! If those memories aren’t seared in your brain, see this and this and this for a refresher course in the baiting process he indignantly pretends is intelligent inquiry.
It’s like I’ve read it all before, and I know what’s coming next. I have better things to do with my time.
I don’t mean to insult any of you who participated passionately — good for you! — that game just isn’t for me. The fight seems futile, and I’m not sure what the prize is for winning. Do we get Greg Laden to write a “I love homeschoolers” post? What would that be worth? Maybe you want to participate so people can see that there are reasonable and effective home educators out there? You[r] voice will probably be heard quietly, but prepare to be dismissed as atypical and therefore irrelevant.
While I don’t see much upside for participating, I do see a downside. Some of the commenters in this game are downright nasty. I remember how COD got slammed out of the blue when they came into a discussion at Greg’s earnestly trying to give him a broader perspective on homeschooling. As I recall, Doc, Nance, JJ and others got similar treatment, and responded with varying degrees of patience. Did they get mean after that? Yep, but they started out very nice, and even ignored the first few shots. And their nastiness is nothing compared to what has been sent their way.
Then there was that unbelievable attack on JJ and her daughter that ended up carrying over into one of my posts. The discussion here turned from nasty to scary without spending much time at interesting. I deleted the nastier stuff, it was getting pretty threatening with cmf talking about how s/he can “… can kill, murder, maim and maul with words if I want to…” and what not. You can’t do that on my site.
See also examples of his arsonist inclinations in his careful use of scientific terms for his opponents (e.g. “dogmatic poo poo heads”) at COD’s blog.
Laden repeats the same dishonest and exploitative formula against various targets, sometimes exactly the same claims in the same words. He issues blithe general smears and personal insults (women and girls seem to be particular targets) but acts wounded and misunderstood when called on it, then accuses anyone willing and able to nail him for it, of misreading his good intentions and being too stupid, childish and “boring” to be worth his exalted effort to engage.
When Nance and I objected to various misstatements and manipulations of his hosted homeschooling “debate” it turned into some unspeakably vile personal attacks on young Favorite Daughter from his deranged comment puppet, attacks that Ladenblather unjustifiably justified along with defending himself as a misunderstood genius unfairly attacked by his victims, finally dismissing us as irrational hysterics and “boring.”
Just as he does again here, to this female target (preciously talking about himself in the third person, blechh):
Laden does not like the Isis persona much. She creeps him out. She is boring.
Reprint in full of Rolfe Schmidt’s classic, “Keep Your Radicals Free” post because his blog is inactive and may not be accessible forever:
I’m learning. Slowly.
It seems like much of the ‘liberal’ resistance to homeschooling is based on a sort of authoritarian progressiveness. The resistance is progressive because it is based on the idea that one should improve our existing system by working in it, make progress. It is authoritarian because it demands that everyone be progressive.
When it comes to education, homeschoolers are radicals, not progressives.
The progressive would say something like this: “if I don’t like the way my local school is working, I will join the PTA, work with the teachers, and incrementally make it better. If I abandoned the school I’d be cheating the system, causing regress.”
The radical might say: “If I don’t like the way my local school is working, I’ll take matters into my own hands and teach my kids the way I think they should be taught. My kids will be grown up before the system gets fixed, and other people might not want the same things I do anyway.”
I find both of these sentiments noble as long as they are kept personal. When you start to impose your views on others, it doesn’t matter if it is progressive or radical. It is authoritarian and it stinks.
So homeschoolers reject the establishment. They are radicals, at least when it comes to education. This is true about unschoolers, school-at-homers, fundamentalist christians, atheists — all of them. Some seem more unorthodox than others, but rejecting the establishment is the defining step. After that whatever you do is radical.
Much of the “should we restrict homeschooling” debate looks like a battle between authoritarian progressives and radicals. The progressives have a point: when a radical leaves the system, the system loses all of the time, talent, and passion that person has to make things better. And radicals run high on passion, so this is a big loss.
But the progressive argument goes wrong at its next step. They say that the loss to the system is a loss to society (and of course civil liberties must go out the window whenever society might pay a price for them). I say that the system is not the same thing as society, and that while radicals are bad for systems they are good for society. This is true for radicals in all areas, not just homeschooling. This is true no matter how kooky or backwards or different they may be.
I wish everyone were a radical in some way, living life on their own terms, rejecting what they want to reject and building up what they find valuable. I don’t want authoritarian radicals telling everyone they need to do things a new way, just personal radicals. Imagine how much more interesting life would be if the people around us were all flourishing in their own way.
And I don’t think that radicals are good just because they are interesting. They are leaving the establishment to try their own way. They experiment — at their risk, not yours — with new ways to live life. Maybe they are finding new ways to teach children, or learning how to live without oil. Maybe they are preparing for some future tribulation, trying to live spiritually, or trying to live communally. These people give our society diversity that is deep and true.
These millions of private experiments in living will give rise to successes and failures. The failures will likely move along and try something new. The successes will grow and inspire others, maybe even improve the establishment down the road. The radicals put their own necks on the line, but when they find something that works, we all win.
And real diversity is critical to our society whenever we face a crisis. People who think this is obvious in biological evolution somehow miss the point entirely when it comes to societal evolution. But when we face a crisis, all of those nutty yahoos out there will be affected differently. Some will even thrive. And that will reduce the burden on everyone else. It may be the critical element that determines whether our society survives (if that really means anything).
So don’t try to enslave everyone to the system for the good of the system. The system is for the people, the people are not for the system. Embrace true diversity, live your own life, and keep your radicals free!
Note: This post by Liza Sabater made me think about homeschoolers as radicals. This post at the anti-essentialist conundrum, which I found thanks to opit, made me think about what the words ‘radical’ and ‘progressive’ mean in the first place — it goes into much more depth than I do, I’m just