Swedish Science, like the science of many other countries in our 21st century, is largely controlled by political and corporate interests. When governments (who finance scientific research institutions), businesses and other groups use legal or economic pressure to influence the findings of scienetific research or the way it is disseminated, reported or interpreted, then it is rightly said that science is no longer independent or objective. It is no longer 'science' but pseudo-science and sometimes outright quackery.
I am a scientist. I grew up as a teen with a passion for Biology and Chemistry (which is why I eventually went up to Oxford University to read Biochemistry). I love the scientific method, its orderliness and 'cleanness'. I love intellectual honesty. And I assumed, naïvely, that all scientists were rigorous in their methodology.
That illusion burst at Oxford when I was working on my own thesis in Plant Biochemistry. From the inside I saw how science was not only heavily politicised because of the way in which grants were allocated to researchers - if you wanted to research something the government didn't approve of, you simply didn't get funds and had to choose a politically-acceptable area - and I saw how researchers were willing to twist the data in order to get the desired results published...and therefore continued funding.
It first began when I was with a fellow researcher reading data on a spectrophotometer in the lab. The result wasn't quite what we were expecting which meant the experiment would have to be totally redone...and we didn't have the time. My colleague said: "Look at the needle on the meter at an angle and you'll get the reading you want." I was shocked. "We call that the 'Parallax Method' here", he added.
Now you might call that nothing but coming from a famous and highly respected instution of learning like Oxford it is very much something - and it's a universal phenomenon. I am not saying, of course, that all scientists are dishonest, but I do know for a fact that very many are willing to tweek the facts to fit in with a preconceived and unproven hypotheses.
When I became an educator and started enrolling students in my own college, I met for the first time young men who tried to bribe me to sit their examinations for them. When I refused, they transferred elsewhere until they could find someone who would accept their cash (as these came from rich families - returning home with top grades was a matter of prestige and social acceptance). These men went on to sometimes become engineers and doctors in their own countries.
The world is crooked - but then we all know that. However we can, and must, do something about it, especially when lives are endangered. When poorly built bridges and buildings collapse killing people because those supervising cheated to get their qualifications, and fake doctors start harming their patients, then people tend to wake up.
If only it were that simple in education.What concerns me is how bad and sometimes even outright 'false' science is used to try and discredit homeschooling when legitimate science has already vindicated it - overwhelmingly.
Education Minister Major Jan Björklund is very keen to play the 'science card' in justification of his policies. The fact that he is neither a scientist nor an educator does not seem to bother this 'expert' when it comes to home education, though. What concerns me is what kind of 'science' he uses as an authority.
There may be said to be at least three kinds of modern 'Science':
- 1. Independent, objective science that has no goal other than the discovery of actual facts that are verifiable;
- 2. Politically-controlled 'science' that is pressed to fulfil certain political objectives at the expense of true science; and
- 3. Corporation-controlled 'science' whose objective is to realise certain economic goals at the expense of scientific truth, environment and health.
History provides us with plenty of examples of all three. Nazi racial biology, though having no objective scientific merit, was nevertheless touted as 'science' in the Third Reich. Likewise, in the Soviet Union, scientific research was under strict polititical control, and sometimes with disasterous consequences for life.
I am sure some of my readers are familiar with Soviet agronomist Trofim Lysenko whose state-sponsored 'Science' denied already proven Mendelian genetics, the result being that hundreds of thousands of people were subjected to murderous famine when the promised crop yields failed to materialise. The Soviet Marxists were also hostile to Computer Science (my second area of speciality) with the result that their economy and technological development were severely hampered. And whilst politicised 'science' is still a problem, there is no doubt that the greatest corruption today comes mosly in the form of corporation-sponsored and -manipulated 'science'.
Three examples will suffice to make the point.
Take tobacco and cancer. The tobacco industrial tycoons went to great lengths to show 'scientifically' that tobacco smoking was safe and did not cause cancer. They enrolled doctors to make advertisements for them recommending their particular brand. The tobacco companies funded their own scientists and think-tanks to come to the conclusions that they needed to survive as a very lucrative business indeed, in addition to funding political lobbyists, and running advertisements in medical journals, with a view to blaming tobacco smoke-causing cancer on pollution, asbestos and even pet birds. Millions have suffered and died because of this kind of corporate fraud. Regulation was delayed for years in the USA when they demanded 'more' research to disprove what was already known. Today we know they were both filthy liars as well as murderers. The only government that ever came close to banning tobacco was Poland though Scandinavian countries like Sweden, to their great credit, have gone a long way towards restricting it in public places, even if it is not far enough, in my opinion. Norway's politican performance has been impressive.
Scientists fighting for tobacco truth were persecuted for years. Francesca Grigo, the executive director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Scientific Integrity Program stated:
"We have reports that stay in draft form and don't get out to the public. We have reports that are changed. We have reports that are ignored and overwritten" (Don Gonyea, Bush Science Push Fails to transform Critics, National Public Radio, Weekend Edition, Sunday, February 26, 2006).
Today all cigarette packs contain health warnings but the corporations are still flooding the market with this narcotic. Smoking is a huge peer-pressure problem in Swedish public schools, as elsewhere in the world, one of many reasons homeschooling parents want their children in a healthier and safer home environment. You can do the research online and find plenty of data to show the shady dealings of the corporate tobacco industry.
Perhaps the most controversial and dangerous area of false science today concerns Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Unlike America, Europe is pretty much on the ball as far as GMOs are concerned but the pressure is strong here to buy it from companies like Monsanto. We now know, beyond any doubt, that GMOs are harmful to both people and the environment, and far more seriously so than pollution because the negative effects probably can never be controlled. A disasterous oil spill like the BP one in the Gulf of Mexico will, after several years, be dissipated in the evironment, and even the horrendous Fukushima nuclear disaster will, after a very long time (thousands of years more than likely), be cleaned up, but laboratory-manufactured genes are with us forever because they spread throughout the biosphere. The false 'science' of GMOs that we are fed with in the media by the corporations and their political backers, claiming it is safe when it absolutely is not, is highly distorted and genuine scientists are putting their careers on the line to stand up and expose the lies. See the website, Scientists Under Attack for up-to-date information on this latest environmental catastrophe.
Finally, I do have to mention the cruel (but economically lucrative) hoax that is psychiatric medicine, namely, psychotropic drugs, one of the biggest frauds in history - but you can read more about that on my Psychiatry website. The 'science' of psychotropic medicine is shere quackery but it is backed by so much corporate money and lobbying in government that it will take an enormous political will to bring it to an end.
These three in particular (though there are many others) form three heads of a monstrous hyrda devouring people's lives because corporations have been permitted to pervert the true cause of scientific objectivity.
Finally, we come to the the Science of Education known as Pedagogy. The Swedish government claims to take a scientific approach when it comes to education but in outlawing all other curriculums other than its own it is by implication claiming:
- 1. There is only one perfect, scientific way to educate human beings; and
- 2. The Swedish government has found the one and only way, or at least, the best known way in the world.
If this is what they believe, they must prove it scientifically. If this is not what they believe, the we are forced to conclude:
- 3. State-sponsored and mandated education is an instrument of political control and social engineering
In order to refute the third conclusion, which is also a charge made by myself and others, it must conclusively prove the first and second statements to be true. IT CANNOT BE DONE. I know - and they know - that they absolutely cannot because they are untruths. Indeed, there is no single way of education that can be proved to be the only way to educate someone. Reductionist methods do not work on humans because we are far more complex than the sum of our parts.
Classroom schooling works for some. Structured homeschooling works for others. And unschooling works for yet others. However, there is more than one type of workable classroom schooling, more than one kind of homeschooling and more than one kind of unschooling and they all work. Montessori, Waldorf, and Swedish-type state schooling are but three types of classroom schooling that work. There are others.
"A 2007 study in Sweden comparing Waldorf and state schools reported that Waldorf pupils were more likely to have a positive learning attitude, less likely to have passing tests as the goal of their learning, and had a "more in-depth study style" in higher education. They also showed more tolerant attitudes to minority groups and less tolerance of racist ideologies, were more involved with social and moral questions and were more likely to believe in the social efficacy of love, solidarity, and civil courage as opposed to legislation or police control. In addition, Waldorf students tended to wait longer before attending university" (Bo Dahlin, The Waldorf School - Cultivating Humanity - Karlstad University Studies, 2007:29, pp.60-61 -quoted from Wikipedia).
If Waldorf Schools have been proven to be fulfilling many of the Swedish State's stated goals better than the current state system, why haven't they switched over to the Waldorf method? And if they have, why hasn't a similar acknowledgement been extended to the proven success of homeschooling?
Of course, we know the Swedish government hasn't adopted the Waldorf methodology otherwise state schools would all be Steiner schools, and they're not. Though state and Waldorf schools are both humanist, Waldorf Schools are based on the spiritual teachings of the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner whereas Swedish state schools are basically Marxist-orientated and are based on materialism. Björklund himself has publically said that religion is not based on any scientific 'facts' and therefore cannot be treated as 'real'. Therefore the study made by Karlstad University that showed Steiner School pupils rating high in "the social efficacy of love, solidarity, and civil courage" would not accord well with the Marxist state's preferred method of public order through "legislation or police control". And if there is one thing Sweden is bogged down in it is an avalanche of legislation.
What are the actual goals of the Swedish state when it comes to 'education' (I prefer the word 'schooling')? There are stated ones for public consumption but those of us who have researched the history of modern schooling have been overerwhelmingly persuaded that there are many unstated, hidden goals too. Section B, Articles by Other Writers, Subsection 1c, General Education & Society and Subsection 7, United States - the World Leader in Home Education on the main Home Education Page contain numerous articles, movies and books that clearly reveal what the intended goal of state schooling was and is: to furnish workers for the corporate- and state-owned factories. It is not to "educate" in the classically understood meaning of the word 'educate'. It's purpose is to turn people into batch numbers for society directed by political and corporate interests.
Not everyone wants to become a cog in a factory. Many may want to be, and that's fine - let them go into state educational processing plants. And since (before they reach the age of 16) they are too young to possibly know what they may want to be do in adult life, the quintessential question then becomes: Who should decide whether the child should go into one form of education or another - the state or parents? Indeed, who is likely to know best for the individual?
The Swedish state now gives you one option only - school. A parent has many, including homeschooling. So who of the two is likely to have a greater chance of ensuring that their child will receive an education best suited to their temprement and needs? On balance, it has to be said that the parent does. And a wise parent will consult with experts from all systems, including the state school.
As a professional teacher and educator with many qualifications I readily consult with experts in the state system because there are knowledgeable people there in specialist areas but such expertiese may liberally be found elsewhere. There are lots of people you can ask out there and you are not restricted to a small group of teachers in any one area, especially if you are not a professional educator as I am. My cousin was a special needs teacher in a British state school and I ask her advice. An old school friend was a head master of a British state school. Another old school friend was an educational consultant in the Open University- I have many contacts. I have a very competent Head of State Schools here in Sweden whom I can consult with whom I get on well. And there is an ocean of advice in cyberspace! To claim, as Education Minister Björklund does, that children are dependent on state schools for the exclusive expertise that is there is false - there is expertise everywhere available if you're prepared to seek it.
And I, as a homeschooling parent, have done just that. I am in a position to offer far more alternatives to my children than a state school ever possibly could.
Who, then, in their approach to education, are the more scientific? Homeschoolers everywhere have a proven track record of not only scoring better than state-schooled students but being better socialised too. It's a matter of scientific record. The facts are out there. They're on this website and on other websites. You only have to consult them to know the truth.
What shall we then conclude? We shall inevitably conclude that the Swedish government wants to have the total monoploy on education in order to turn people into carbon-copy, cookie-cutter shaped mental automatons. They want everyone thinking and behaving alike so that they are more 'manageable'. And they're not the first. The communists and fascists wanted exactly the same so that they could create their utopias which turned out to be utopian hells.
Today's dangerously misguided establishment politicians have embarked on a third attempt at making Utopia on earth. It's called Europeism but really all it is is a new synthesis of communism and capitalism, an oil-and-water mix if ever there was one. In reality, it's just communism in a new dressing. It's already failed once, it's been responsible for more deaths than any other system in history, and it's failing right now as the €uro totters on the brink. It's simply an attempt by the élite to hold onto power and to enjoy fabulous wealth squeezed out of the taxpayer. They have tried to make a haute cuisine form of Marxism to appeal to the masses, and especially to the bureaucracy that is the new privileged upper class.
True science has been prostituted to serve the selfish interests of a very dangerous minority of psychopaths who think they can buy off whom they will. So when you hear 'scientific facts' being reeled off in defence of this autocratic, totalitarian system, make sure they really are 'facts' and not ones fabricated to support corporate or political-idological interests. State schooling is not the pinnacle of education. It has already proven a failure for all but those who want to be slaves of the system. That is their choice. But it isn't mine and my older children are sufficiently well educated to know that it isn't their choice either. They have real choice. They know both system. And a few weeks ago I asked my eldest two: "If you want to go to the state school and quit homeschooling, you have that free choice, and I will respect it." They unhesitatingly and emphatically said: "NO!" And the younger of the two has already told her former class teacher why.
I have taught them to think for themselves. And they have...and that is a dictator's worst nightmare.