Grade 8 Social Studies

In regards to our discussion today about depriving children of language, here is some more info on the experiment I had heard about. Please note that this information was taken from Wikipedia. The “he” referred to in the paragraph is Frederick II, a Holy Roman Emperor in the Middle Ages, whose experiments were recorded by a monk (Salimbene) of the same time:

In the language deprivation experiment young infants were raised without human interaction in an attempt to determine if there was a natural language that they might demonstrate once their voices matured. It is claimed he was seeking to discover what language would have been imparted unto Adam and Eve by God. In his Chronicles Salimbene wrote that Frederick bade “foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language (which had been the first), or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments.”

“I think the discovery of the Hobbit helped create an atmosphere in which it’s okay to expect the unexpected, and that we shouldn’t get fooled into thinking that we have all the answers, ever.”
– Prof. Richard Roberts

taken from the BBC article:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29665829

We have been talking about myth and theory in social studies. One of the statements we have been thinking about has been the idea that the theory of evolution could be considered a modern day creation myth. This statement was attributed to Prof. David Christian and so I reached out to him to see if he could offer further insight into that idea. He was kind enough to respond. Here are his comments:

 I have indeed argued that it is helpful to think of modern science in general as doing for modern society what origin stories did in earlier societies.  Thinking like this is helpful in helping us understand the power of traditional origin stories in their own time and place.  But you also need to be very careful of language that implies that natural selection is a myth: some will take that as a license to treat the theory of natural selection less seriously than it deserves.  It is absolutely central to modern science, particularly biological science, and most scientists would be very uncomfortable about using the word ‘myth’ in connection with it.  Modern understanding of evolution underpins not just paleontology, but also genetics and many aspects of medicine so it is not ‘mythic’ in the common sense of an idea that you can take or leave.  If you live today you need to take it very very seriously indeed.

What is he cautioning us about? Do you agree/disagree? Why or why not?

David Christian is by training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, but since the 1980s he has become interested in world history on very large scales. He has written on the social and material history of the 19th-century Russian peasantry, in particular on aspects of diet and the role of alcohol. In 1989, he began teaching courses on “Big History,” surveying the past on the largest possible scales, including those of biology and astronomy. – http://www.ted.com/speakers/david_christian