Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why don't you believe in God?

A day or two ago I received the following message on facebook from one of my cousins. Far from offended or put off I was delighted with the opportunity to really put my thoughts down somewhere ... Maybe I can refer people here in the future if questions arise regarding what exactly I believe.

** Just did a once over and there is so much more I could go into .. I never touched on why I think agnosticism and atheism are in fact the same thing, for example....

We can see this as a conversation ... but it's now so freaking long that I feel I have to end it at this point. I'm not after all trying to write a book :) And I've now managed to have a lot of beer ;) **

Anyway .. here's what she sent me

Hey Geir,
How are you and the family doing? From pictures it looks like you all stay pretty busy. 🙂 I'm not sure if you are aware or not, but I recently moved to Dallas, Texas to attend seminary. It's crazy how warm it still is in November....I didn't realize how different it was going to be from Georgia. Although I'm sure it's already pretty cold where you are. 🙂
I realize that this message is coming out of the blue, so please don't feel obligated to respond. However, I would love to get your opinion on something if you felt comfortable. As you can imagine in my seminary classes I have begun doing a more in-depth study of various topics. However, if I'm honest, I am very curious as to the opinions of people from all viewpoints as it relates to God. I am not one who is afraid to learn why people believe differently than myself.
In a completely non-confrontational sense, I would love to know what your view is on God and how you came to that belief. Also I would love to know what your biggest frustration is with Christians in general.
Like I said, please don't feel obligated to respond; however, I am truly curious and would love to know your response if you felt comfortable to share. I hate the idea of making assumptions, so I see this as a way for me to learn from you.
Well, I hope you and your family are doing well! Take care!

I answered that I would love to answer and asked here if it would be okay with her for me to answer in the form of a blog post... She agreed and here we are:

From her message I divined the following questions which i've outlined here (I've interpreted a bit here and there):

  1. What is God? Are you an atheist or agnostic is kinda how I see this.
  2. How did you come to believe this .. pretty straightforward really.
  3. What is it about christians that you find so darn frustrating
I think I'll try to address these all in a series of reflections which I'll flesh out below...

The God of Abraham: In the beginning I was a christian and then after some rumination it made no sense anymore

Like most Americans in my general age group I attended church regularly, and moreover, I attended a parochial school, Good Shepherd Lutheran in Irving, TX ... and look they even have a website now: http://www.gslcirving.com/,  until the 4th grade where religious instruction was a regular part of the curriculum. I constructed "I love Jesus" crafts (something Ann Sofie loves to bring up every now and then), attended church on Sundays (mostly .. I can't remember exactly how often we went, but I know that my mom is a believer and at that time I think we attended quite regularly), and even constructed my own weapons for apostle action figures (we had some kind of arts and crafts assignment in 2nd or 3rd grade where we used popsicle sticks, glue, and construction paper to make our own apostles ... probably we did more than this but this is what I can remember). 

I realize that this is crazy, but it's an indelible memory of mine. I remember combining toothpicks with tiny red straws to create what were would be swords and even constructed tiny bow and arrows for the dozen popsicle stick men I had created. I even had a running narrative where the apostles become blessed with super powers and used their weaponry to exact revenge on Pontius Pilate and his gang of rapscallions (they might've been reading Twain aloud to us around that time as well ...) I also have clear memories of Mr. Lions informing me that this vengence filled indulgence was not only wrong (and probably a bit disturbing .. but I was an eight year old boy interested in ninjas) but was really missing the point. There was a story here that had a message and altering it was not only revisionist (of course he didn't use these words to explain it to me ... but it's the general message I remember coming away with) but derided the very sacrifice that was made. Jesus died without a blood thirsty gang of ninja apostles to swoop in and defend his honor. He died alone. He suffered for my sins. Was tried for my sins. And I needed to be thankful for this.

For my sins. My sins as an eight year old.

And god was omnipotent (and omniscient) 

This whole ninja thing was actually pretty important. I mean I gave up ninjas almost immediately, but the interest in stories and fiction was fierce. I loved it. I loved reading stories and I began to read a lot and in particular I had a penchant for fantasy novels. My father's interest in the natural sciences and let's face it the fact that he was running a nuclear pharmacy also had their impact. At home we watched Star Trek and discussed simple physics and the world seemed amazing ... Even if at the time I thought the christian god was the one behind it all.

Somewhere around this time I also had a sort of puerile philosophical monologue in my head about the nature of god's omnipotence. I remember wondering if God was so powerful that he could somehow be better at being "me" than I was. What kind of sense did it make for God to be more capable of acting out the flawed thinking and actions of an eight year old than that eight year old himself. This is hardly an argument that would convince me of anything today and i'm not sure that this line of thinking is really and truly defensible (I mean I'm not sure omnipotence needs/must be inclusive of such a definition... It's like being tolerant of intolerance ... what kinda sense does that make), but it's part of what ultimately led me to dump faith altogether.

We moved to Houston in 1984. This move meant that we lost the connection we had with our former church and were forced to build a new life in League City. We never found another church to attend really though we did try at least one if memory serves (A presbyterian church). I learned that my father in fact was an atheist (something I remember feeling a special kind of dread about). My interests in science, science fiction, and fantasy were emerging and growing... At the same time I was hearing from my another friend of mine, a baptist, that these interests of mine were injurious and that I should cease with this dalliance immediately. He was a good friend of mine for a time, Darren Strunk, and I even attended lock-ins with him at his baptist church (Lock-ins btw are creepy as fuck.... try explaining this concept to a swede ... It hadn't really occurred to me how bizarre a concept they were until I tried explaining them to people here).

Anyway .. All this came to a head when I realized one day while eating lunch with Darren and McKee that I actually wasn't sure about this whole god thing at all. Darren had again begun to condemn the books we were reading "the Xanth series by Piers Anthony: Xanth) I had learned about the word "agnostic" from my dad.... He had explained that our Aunt Betty Ann was agnostic... To be honest I didn't really understand what it meant more than his simple explanation which was basically, "she wants to see to believe." As it turns out this is a terrible definition of agnostic, but it was enough of a working definition for me at the time ... So at the ripe age of 13 I decided I didn't believe this nonsense anymore.

** I gather she went back to Christianity long before she finally passed (which I'll never understand, btw)... but in the 80's she claimed to be agnostic and I kinda had a special relationship with her because of it. She and I had a number of endearing conversations throughout my adolescence through to adulthood... She was the first person to recommend me to read Hume and introduced me to the concept of empiricism when I was still in Junior High.

There was no God that was going to damn me for playing Dungeons and Dragons, reading fantasy, and enjoying the wonders of science above and beyond what was in the bible. If there was any accountability in the world to be had at all then surely actually committing bad deeds would weigh heavier than enjoying stories.

I know what you're thinking... You're thinking, "But Geir, God doesn't require that at all!!!!" I realize that of course, but you're fooling yourself if you think that many a pundit circa 1988 didn't espouse such things. This was the time where the world was imprisoning people who played role playing games... I was an AVID role player during this period... I only stopped playing really when we got children of our own and really couldn't find the time to do so anymore.

That whole RPG-scare has since died down, but it left its mark on society in general and on me specifically.

This led to a sort of freedom. It turns out my friend McKee didn't believe anyway. His parents were a part of some weird Indian sect that worshipped what they called "The Master." I never really figured out what the heck that was all about, but suffice it to say that he didn't really believe in anything anyway. We began to look at the world more skeptically.

Surely if there were a god there would be some sort of accountability.

What does it mean to live a "good" life?

How on earth could God punish people (depending on the branch of christianity you believe in) who never even knew anything about God or Jesus?

What kind of sense does it make to allow a serial-killer to repent on his deathbed but condemn an otherwise "good" (at least in a biblical sense of good works) person to hell or at least limbo (again depending on your flavor of christianity)`

**** This is really the biggen for me and always has been **** What kind of morality is derived from belief? Can we even control what we believe? Surely our actions and the intent behind them must weigh more heavily than what we believe.

None of this God-stuff made any sense any more. The moment I let go the moment the world started to fall into place ... And it landed in such a way that was far more parsimonious with regard to cause and effect than God ever was.

** A smallish afterword....  Look, this is just how I moved away from God. I'm not suggesting that these particular arguments are especially compelling, but this, I think, is a pretty good rundown of how I left faith behind me... 

College: Studying Philosophy and rewriting God as god

This whole question of god isn't something I've taken lightly... Honestly, this has become a lifelong interest and passion of mine. Why do people believe? And, more to the point, how can I help my peers move away from what is clearly flawed thinking ... How can we as humans move from God to god and thereafter do away with this altogether.

This interest grew so much that I opted to study philosophy in college. I should be clear here,  that it wasn't *only* this god question that caught my interest, rather, the philosophical interest in clear thinking and pursuit/love of wisdom intrigued me. Well, that, and I had a genuine interest in existentialism. My foray there, however, isn't really of any interest here.

I really began to cement my ideas on this god matter in college. There is no God, or at least no evidence of one... And this missing God certainly isn't worthy of a capital "G." We can absolutely refer to him/her with a 'g.'

It was during college when I realized that there really are two different types of arguments around "God" with the capital 'G.'
  • Is there any kind of God, or prime mover, or intelligent designer, or god of the deists, or Brahma, or any other kinda Upanishadic/vedic god that is sort of everywhere but without agency
  • Is there an [insert specificl religion here] god **OR** can we trust [insert religious text here]
The former is a harder question ... Is there a prime mover? How the hell should I know? How can anyone know? What caused the prime mover? Are there turtles the whole way down? Unmoved Mover

This concept comes up a number of times throughout the history of philosophy: Aristotle, Aquinas (really just expanding and trying to christianize Aristotle), Spinoza, and really all the way to the Big Bang. The definitions here are, in my humble opinion, nebulous... It's really just its own formulation of the cosmological argument... The problem is that it's so generic that it can't be answered really.

Then there's the question of specific religious texts and the claims they're making based upon those texts. This second question is the far more polemical question, bizarrely. All of these religions and interpretations cannot all be simultaneously correct. As convinced as you may be of the veracity behind scripture christianity may in fact be declining. Many are speculating that populations demographics will drive more muslims into our global population and that within 100 (maybe even 50) muslims will outnumber christians. This is nothing new ... We've been aware of this development for quite some time.

But what does it mean that the definition of god will change proportionally on the globe? I dunno. Nothing?

For this we have to start comparing scripture. How do we rank scripture in terms of historical and or predictive veracity? That's one question. Another question may even be what their predictive power is for our practical world.

It's this latter argument that garnered my attention in college. Why should we ascribe any meaning and power to the bible if it provides nothing to help what really is our bottom line in this life. How long do we live? How can we mitigate suffering? How can we help people live more productive and meaningful lives?

The bible wants to answer these questions but it simply doesn't. Modern medicine saves lives. Go read up on humorism and decide for yourself if you think this is reasonable... And remember this was officially endorsed by the church: anything else was blasphemy.

Now, perhaps you're thinking ... "Yes, but that was a long time ago. There's nothing inherently incompatible with modern medicine and Christianity." Well, the problem is that this battle has been waged for more than a millennium now this way. With Christianity begging/demanding that research claims stop here or there until the evidence becomes so overwhelming that ignoring it begins to be deemed negligence.

The last 10 - 15 years:ish

The last decade or so has seen the rise of the "four horseman." I don't approve of or agree with everything that Dennet, Hitchens, Harris, or Dawkins have written/said but they certainly did a fantastic job of popularizing the movement. I can actually be a bit stronger than that and say that I find a lot of what Dawkins says on twitter to be repugnant. Not everything and I enjoy seeing him speak in public, but I do sort of wish he'd delete his twitter account.

My personal favorite of these is Hitchens... I can watch his debates on youtube for hours at a time and I've read a number of his books (he died 2011). All that said .. These are just debates and to be honest debates don't really prove anything at all; they tend to turn into a sort of smack-down fest which doesn't really lend itself to finding any truth about anything.

In 2004 or 2005 I read Angels and Demons and then The Da Vinci Code. At the time I had a colleague far more well read than I in patristics .. That's an exaggeration. I didn't know bupkiss about patristics at the time. Anyway, he and I were talking and he basically laughed at me for believing the nonsense written about in Dan Brown's novels. He suggested I read up more on the subject before I started believing this kind of pop-fiction... At this point I was blissfully unaware of the aforementioned four horseman, but they were becoming more and more popular at the time. I still think the reasons I had in college for leaving faith behind me were still more than valid, but the integrity of history is important and this kindled an interest in history that's still very much alive in me today...

So after that I started reading ... I read more and more of the bible. I read Eusebius, I read Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet, and Harris. I read Josephus (well, if I'm honest I read the jesusy parts ... which is like almost nothing. I think I read a bit more than that but not much. It was like 10 years ago too so it's been a while)... Then I read Ignatius, Tertullian, and Ambrose. I read Ehrman. Actually, i've read several of Ehrman's books now. I read Robert Price (and btw ... I think the whole mythicism thing is a bit fringe. It's interesting, but I'm not ready to take that leap yet). Just a few months ago I read Trypho by Justin Martyr .. I also read the Koran and am currently in the middle of the Elder Edda.

Anyway ... This is hardly something i've discarded without thinking about it.

What I find frustrating with Christians

This one is a bit unfair. It's not so much that I have problems with Christians as much as I reject religions in general. I do have significant problems with Dominionism in the US, but that's really an intersection of christianity with US politics.

In the US I think christianity poses the greatest risk to a progressive society, but I'm not blind to the fact that Islam in fact poses the greatest risk globally. Having said that, we should remember that no one cared about Islam 30 years ago. This has become embroiled in its own political struggle

Really, I think I can list only three issues...

1) There seems to be some bizarre notion, among US christians at least, that I just need to have god explained to me again. This is ridiculous. I've given this WAY more thought than the vast majority of people ever will. I've considered this long and hard .. and I'm simply unconvinced. To be honest I think I never would have believed had I not been indoctrinated to do so from when I was young... Like all of us btw ... Or Like Muslims, or Hindus, or Sikhs, etc.

2) There's an assumed primacy among christians that I find annoying and some bizarre predilection to refer to the bible. Why on earth should I rely on the bible as authoritarian for anything at all? Christians should really read the bible more **AND** they should really read some textual criticism. It's ridiculous that most christians have never considered the differences in the accounts portrayed in the synoptic gospels .. that most christians are blissfully unaware that the adulterous woman from john 7:53 - 8:11 doesn't exist in *ANY* of our earliest manuscripts.... and so on .. and so on..

3) And this last point is for me the biggest one .. And it's one that's honestly been with me since I was a teenager. Morality is either a constant or it isn't **full stop**

As an atheist I live a moral life by example. I don't assume that a creator somewhere decrees things good and bad and nonetheless has wiped out entire civilizations multiple times (including children) capriciously. This is an act that if committed by anyone but god has precise wording: genocide. The bible is quite clear on slavery, on rape, and on worship. There are rules for each of these which imply an acceptance of them. Yet, to me these things are relegated to a barbaric past and hardly something I'd elevate according to today's stanards. I'm open to discussion on ethics and I admit that I'm not sure where on the consequentualism spectrum I land but I'm quite sure that you can't both allow that god did "good" by murdering children in the great flood and demand that killing children is bad. And depending on which ten commandments you choose ... why on earth should so many be devoted to how we worship god? Why aren't more people upset with this salient point? It's insane. Why isn't, "thou shalt not rape or enslave thy neighbor" in there at all? It's omission is egregious and historically obvious ... Our norms have changed.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Rush and fleeing hurricane Irma

I want to address the media and reporting and our outrage and the throwing the baby out with the bathwater that i'm often complaining about with regard to the media... Yes, media doesn't get everything right, but that doesn't mean everything they report is wrong.
Anyway ..
I woke early today and read the news that Rush Limbaugh had fled after calling Irma a "liberal hoax." And so I thought i'd look into this. Looking up Rush Limbaugh and liberal hoax in google I found it widely reported.
And just a quick proviso. People who know me will remember that I think Rush Limbaugh is a dangerous conservative whack job... But I don't think he's actually evil, and I certainly want to defend in any case the principle of charity ...
After spending about 5 minutes I couldn't find that he had actually used the words "liberal hoax" anywhere. I did find this entry from his blog/website which I *think* is what all the hubub is about.


And I gotta say I think that the liberal hoax narrative is lazy. I can't see that he's calling hurricane Irma a liberal hoax at all. What I see is a lengthy criticism (in editorial form) of how climate change is reported and he suggests that retailers, media, and the masses sort of feed off eachother in a vicious, hype circle. I do see that Rush Limbaugh took umbrage with the characterization and as I sort of agree with him if this is the real narrative.

Now... About that phrasing: "liberal hoax".... Let's look at how this was reported in some of the major papers.
  • FOX: couldn't find it there
  • NPR: couldn't find it there
  • Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/09/06/rush-limbaughs-dangerous-suggestion-that-hurricane-irma-is-fake-news/?utm_term=.868358e021f2
  • Nytimes: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/09/08/us/ap-us-hurricane-irma-limbaugh.html?mcubz=1
  • cnn: http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/08/media/rush-limbaugh-evacuates-hurricane-irma/index.html
For FOX and NPR it's quite possible that it was reported, but after a few minutes of searching for it I gave up, but I really can't blame them, because I honestly don't think it's very interesting news. The Washington Post and Nytimes gave what I think were reasonable accounts. It's only CNN's headline which I think takes a lot of liberty but the article itself I think gives a reasonable rundown of Rush's rant with regard to hype and fear of hurricanes and climate change. But what about "liberal hoax?" Where is this coming up? Googling from my home in Sweden for "liberal hoax" and Rush Limbaugh does indeed return numerous results but none of these are journals any reasonable person would describe as trustworthy. My conclusion here is that it in fact was reported reasonably by the major media outlets when it was reported at all... Now ... What about his actual claims with regard to hurricane frequency and intensity. I do think this is important piece of this puzzle and so I looked up some real scientific analysis on the subject... This led me here: https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/

This is an excellent run down of the current conclusions. Note this quick rundown from that article:

  • It is premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of the changes or observational limitations, or are not yet confidently modeled (e.g., aerosol effects on regional climate).
  • Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones globally to be more intense on average (by 2 to 11% according to model projections for an IPCC A1B scenario). This change would imply an even larger percentage increase in the destructive potential per storm, assuming no reduction in storm size.
  • There are better than even odds that anthropogenic warming over the next century will lead to an increase in the occurrence of very intense tropical cyclone in some basins–an increase that would be substantially larger in percentage terms than the 2-11% increase in the average storm intensity. This increase in intense storm occurrence is projected despite a likely decrease (or little change) in the global numbers of all tropical cyclones.
  • Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones to have substantially higher rainfall rates than present-day ones, with a model-projected increase of about 10-15% for rainfall rates averaged within about 100 km of the storm center.
So my conclusion here? Well, he's right actually with regard to the science. It's premature to conclude that climate change is causing either increased hurricane frequency or intensity. All that said, I think he goes way to far in describing what, yes, I think would amount to a conspiracy. Having said that I'm not sure why asking this question is itself worthy of criticism .. On the contrary, I looked into it and the science is focused on these questions. We shouldn't dismiss the science just because our politicians have misunderstood the conclusions from the data and current modelling ... And, honestly, i'd much rather have Bernie Sanders asking if there is a link between hurricanes and their intensity with climate change than pundits suggesting climate change is a political agenda...

I will continue to read the major media outlets... In my humble opinion they've reported this correctly.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

National day of prayer ...

Today is the National Day of prayer. A day I find misguided and utterly absurd in 2015 both in virtue of it's utter impotence and it's ridiculous exclusivity.

I don't disparage people who want to pray, but a national day of prayer does irk me nonetheless...

So first some history. This link gives a great rundown on a timeline behind the NDP:


I note that notable figures like Thomas Jefferson stood against the very notion .. But I won't linger on that point, because I want to be forward thinking and besides others will simply point to other notable figures in the US's venerable past who did.

I want to know what we're supposed to do with this day? What does it mean? Can we all sit together and pray away economic inequality? Crime? Dissenters on the 1st or 2nd amendment? How is this day not a national wishing day of individual vice and virtue... And by virtue here I mean the righteous virtue behind biblical sentencing...

I wonder what people pray for today. Too bad we have no statistics for prayer. Would probably be most enlightening.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Be skeptical of hasty conclusions drawn from google search suggestions

There's a patheos article going around with an image of google searches beginning with "atheists should" .. I figured it must be grossly exaggerated so I decided to try it and received the same result. Shocking? I'm not surprised. See here below:

That said, it strikes me that these two words are clearly part of a negative statement and so google's algorithm is only returning those search phrases most in line with it ...

But what about other phrases?

Next I tried with Christianity:

And then Islam:

And then for good measure a couple more:

Note that neither children nor cute puppies resulted in any suggestion from google... My educated guess is that there simply aren't enough people inclined to form a negative search string for "children" and "cute puppies." But when I did it with spiders I think I received expected results... The bunnies list of suggestion was odd...

I am not claiming this to be a scientific study, in fact I'm suggesting that this shows that we should be far more skeptical of any data taken from this type of sample: people aiming to look for other negative postings.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Je ne suis pas Charlie, mais je suis irritée

Several things bothering me at the moment regarding the world's reaction the #CharlieHebdo attacks in Paris.

1) Insisting that Muslims publicly, and formally denounce the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
What kind of since does this make? Where is the reciprocation here? Was the christian world called upon to renounce the views and actions of Westboro Baptist Church? How about the Army of God attacks on abortion clinics. What about the Lord's resistance Army


How about Breivik following the UtĂžya massacre? He referred to himself as a Christian Crusader for Christ's sake ( pun intended ).

2) That we should respect all religions...

I don't respect any religions at all and consider religion a net-negative in the world. I respect implicitly individual rights to practice religion, pray, and worship. That's very different from actually respecting the religious beliefs themselves. 

3) That the recent attacks have nothing to do with Islam
I think this one annoys me the most. When the perpetrators themselves claim religious justification for their actions then i'm inclined to listen. Any claim to the contrary requires an extraordinary explanation.

A better explanation would be to explain that they're part of a sect. That I can live with .. But even then it's a sect clearly justifying its actions based on the same book.

Is this unique to Islam? Not at all, and I mentioned a few of the others under point one at the top.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Email to the Saudi Embassy regarding Raif Badawi's sentencing

In an effort to show support and as a direct copy of Greta Christina's action here is my letter to the Saudi Embassy. You can read what Greta Christina had to say here.

TO: info@saudiembassy.net
Subject: Regarding the sentencing of Raif Badawi

The grotesquely harsh punishment awarded to Raif Badawi for the crime of "Insulting Islam" is in an international context "beyond the pale." That insulting Islam is a sentence carrying offense is in itself worthy of all critique, and that Saudi Arabia is effectively going to torture and exact outrageous fines for his pursuit of a more liberal and progressive Saudi Arabia is reprehensible. This is in direct violation of basic human decency and fundamental human rights. If Saudi Arabia wishes to accord international relations it should terminate all such barbaric actions immediately.



And I'll say as well... Send your own!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Betyg, omdömen och pisaresultat

Ibland blir jag förvÄnad pÄ riktigt....

I mÄndags kom alliansen med förslaget att frÄn 2017 ska betyg ges redan frÄn fjÀrde klass. De hade i och för sig andra förslag ocksÄ, men det var just detta förslag som fick sÄ mycket kritik. Att man diskuterar skolan och eventuell reform Àr inte sÄ konstigt: det Àr valÄr och förre Ärets PISA-resultat Àr fortfarande ett fÀrskt minne. Reaktionerna pÄ förslaget har varit mÄnga men i nÀstan alla fallen negativa och baserad pÄ dessa tre punkter:

  1. Betyg Àr stressande för barnen och ger inget komplett svar om hur ett barn utvecklas
  2. Forskningen tyder pÄ att betyg inte Àr ett optimalt sÀtt att mÀta ett barns utvecklande vad gÀller kunskap och utövandet av den kunskapen
  3. Det Àr kunskapen i sig och inte betyg som ska rÀknas

Att betyg Àr stressande och ger ett icke nyanserat omdöme...

Dagens system bestĂ„r av skriftliga omdömen. Men betyg Ă€r en annan sorts omdöme. De som Ă€r mest kritiska till betyg menar att det ger *ett* svar till en nyanserad verklighet. Att ge betyg betraktar ett barns kunskap i helhet utan att sĂ€ga mer. Det mĂ„ stĂ€mma, men varför Ă€r vi mer intresserad av den nyanserade verkligheten innan ett barn börjar i 6:an. Eller Ă€r det kanske sĂ„ att man aldrig ska ha betyg? Dessutom kan man frĂ„ga sig varför man inte kan tĂ€nka ett betyg system som utgĂ„r frĂ„n flera olika omrĂ„den. Min dotters betyg Ă€r bestĂ„r av alla dessa Ă€mnen och jag som förĂ€ldrar fĂ„r ta del av hela den informationen. 

Att betyg ses som mer stressande Àn nuvarande omdömen sÀger en hel del om hur luddigt formulerade de Àr eller kan vara. Man kan vÀl ana ett skriftligt omdöme som klart och tydligt förklarar var ett barn Àr stark och var ett barn skulle behöva extra stöd. Men funkar det idag? Lite cyniskt kan jag tycka att vi vet att det inte funkar idag annars hade barnen varit lika oroliga för dessa omdömen som de enligt twitter Àr för betyg.

Ja... Var vÄra lÀrare överraskade över hur Sveriges 15:Äringar presterade pÄ PISA? Antingen fungerar nuvarande systemet och levererar barn till 6:e klassen som Àr beredda att ta pÄ sig den kunskapen de behöver eller sÄ fungerar systemet inte.

Forskning sÀger si och sÄ...

HĂ€r tycker jag att de kan ha en poĂ€ng. Har vi trovĂ€rdig bevis som tyder pĂ„ att ett system Ă€r att föredra över ett annat sĂ„ tycker jag naturligtvis att vi ska vĂ€lja det bĂ€ttre alternativet. Men, Ă€r det sĂ„ enkelt? AnvĂ€nder vi betyg som varningssignal och inte som substitut för lĂ€roplanen? PoĂ€ngen Ă€r att fĂ„nga upp problem sĂ„ tidigt som möjligt för att kunna ta itu med det innan det blir alldeles för svĂ„rt. Vi ska inte blunda för att vĂ„ra 15 Ă„ringar inte hade den kunskapsnivĂ„n vi har önskat oss. Är det lĂ€roplanen som det Ă€r fel pĂ„? Som jag sa tidigare antingen var vĂ„ra lĂ€rare överraskade över resultatet eller sĂ„ var de inte det. Jag utgĂ„r ifrĂ„n att de trodde Ă€ndĂ„ pĂ„ kvaliten hos barnen och tycker dĂ„ att betyg kanske inte Ă€r optimalt, men det ger oss i alla fall ett svart-pĂ„-vitt svar pĂ„ hur vĂ„ra barn presterar och redan frĂ„n fjĂ€rde klassen.

Det Àr kunskapen som Àr viktig och inte betyg...

Ja, visst. Och det Ă€r naturligtvis ingen som tycker att det Ă€r just betyg som Ă€r viktigt. Lika lite som vi tycker att just PISA-resultatet Ă€r viktig. Men vi kan rösta bort betyg och vi kan vĂ€lja att ignorera PISA ocksĂ„ men vi ska vara föga förvĂ„nade nĂ€r det pĂ„ sikt leder till att man ifrĂ„gasĂ€tter utbildningen pĂ„ nĂ€sta generationen.