American Gospel: What SOC&S Means
of Rights: history & today
of fliers & their craft
of submariners and their craft
Poverty myths & facts
Religions Toxic & Therapeutic
Pacific War Strategies
Health Care in the U.S.
The third age is the time
of life to concentrate on "becoming" at your speed and guided by your
interests — to go where you have never gone before, but wanted to
go. With no exams it is designed for enjoyment, intellectual stimulation, and active discussion of varied interests and issues of the day
Earlier education was for
"preparing" and for "doing." "Preparing" is earliest learning to read, compute, be part of society, while
in "doing" we learned the disciplines for careers. In third age education
we explore how to become our best selves. For some this comes near retirement,
though some begin earlier.
I have taught seminars
at the University
of Texas at Austin Continuing Education "third age" in SAGE, Quest, and Forum and
at the Senior University
in Georgetown, Texas.
If you are new to
third age education or to these seminars, explore these materials. These
may stimulate you to do your own studying
and looking into third age programs near you.
Here are materials
from the seminars I taught and am planning. I emphasize people —
John Holland or Katherine Wright, who searched for answers often using
scientific methods. Those who are taking a seminar
or wanting to learn more can explore the links for further study and exploring.
American Gospel: experiments of American
Until the colony of Rhode Island
was established either church or government made their ideas and beliefs the law over all citizens. After Rhode Island church and government began separating, so governments did not establish beliefs. Only then could people believe freely. We study:
- theoretician John Locke
who broke new ground as he explored separating church and state;
- almost martyr Roger
Williams who built what Locke
had proposed in the new colony of Rhode Island;
- wordsmith Jefferson who
wrote significant documents that we study, especially the Virginia
Statute of Religious
- politician Madison who
was skilled at getting legislatures to pass statutes like Jefferson's
and who wrote a significant document on religious freedom.
We will evaluate this history,
study the defining documents by the founders, follow word changes essential
to defining religious freedom as the First Amendment was debated by the
First Session of Congress. Covering events since, we review court decisions
and current issues. To prepare for the seminar rent the film "Elizabeth"
starring Cate Blanchett to view church and state issues. For more details
see the syllabus where you will also
find links to handouts, books, web sites, and slides.
many myths and tragic truths
Poverty is more than lack of
money, so that parents cannot support their childrens health and
education needs or meet their own needs. Poverty is lack of health and
opportunities for work with a future and with health benefits. More importantly
for many poverty is systemic and generational, which means people use
different language which often cripples their performance in schools,
getting jobs, and keeping them. The social and physical environment is
depressing. Preventive and routine health care is often unavailable. We
will study and evaluate the many obstacles people face and a variety of
tactics that may reduce poverty. Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty was a creative
effort to change the roots of poverty on many fronts; it recruited poverty
people's ideas and direction; we study how it succeeded and why it failed.
To prepare check out the book Nickel and Dimed by Ehrenreich. For
more details see the syllabus where you will find links to handouts, books, web sites, and slides.
The American Bill of Rights: inalienable and developing
That rights are inalienable has what meanings? America's founders believed
as fundamental fact that these rights are ours because we are humans,
people; they are not limited to citizens; governments exist to
protect and affirm these rights.
This idea began with Magna Carta, developed through Henry II and others,
and blossomed in the Enlightenment. But these rights were at first for
the nobles, later for property owning men, then for all men of age,
eventually former slaves, women, the voting rights act. How absolute
are these rights? We review the routine denial of these rights in colonial
the Bill of Rights was ratified. It is best to develop laws, but often
Courts have had to intervene to defend rights. Conflicts today:
- Separation of church and state, evolution & sex education in the
public schools; freedoms to be, to know, to search, to seek, to express:
- Second amendment has quite a history based on community militias that
were similar to volunteer fire departments. We discuss why our culture
is more murderous than others.
- The implications of the right to privacy is disputed, and it led to
the right to abortion and privacy in the bedroom among many.
- When before a court we have many rights, and what they mean today;
see the movie Gideon’s Trumpet.
- Madison felt two rights were the most essential: the ninth is one
but his other was not; what it was and the strange developments of that
See the syllabus for more information.
A century of flying: intrepid people & marvelous machines
In the one-hundred year history of powered flight heavier-than-air craft
progressed from barely rising to rising too high to breathe, across a
field to across the Channel to around the world. The Wrights flew after
years of careful scientific research and experiments. We study men and
women who experimented, designed, tested, and flew ever improved contraptions,
including the Wrights and Glen Curtis, Thomas Sopwith and Geoffrey de
Havilland, Jimmy Doolittle and Bill Boeing, Harriett Quimby and Amelia
Earhart. Their machines overcame countless problems to safely fly people
and cargo and to fight. Pilots at war were more important than their aircraft.
We briefly study lighter-than-air craft. We will see the variety of peaceful
and military aircraft as people pushed the envelope. To prepare for the
seminar see the video, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines
that used replicas of period aircraft.
For more details see the syllabus
where you will find
links to bibliography, sites, handouts, and slides.
Victory: The men who fought in American submarines
American submarines in 1941 were the best in the world. The enlisted men were well trained and worked
together effectively, but their skippers were trained to be over cautious,
so many accomplished little the first year of World War II. They were
replaced by aggressive younger officers, who for example, instead of showing
only inches of a periscope to search, exposed several feet of periscope
to see more. Aggressive skippers created new tactics, they figured out
why their torpedoes failed and fixed them in the field. The enlisted men
were so skilled that half became officers by the end of the war. They
learned to use incredible intelligence that began in 1922,
so by 1944 most submarines were vectored to targets.
They sank two-thirds of all enemy ships sunk. They were given many new
tools by scientists. These men were resourceful and solved problems thousands
of miles inside enemy seas. They brought several nearly fatally damaged
submarines thousands of miles to safety. For more details see the syllabus where you will find links to
handouts, slides, books, and web sites.
A century of submarines from John Holland to Fast Attacks & Boomers
We will review amazing men who in the 17th to 19th centuries invented
weird submarines, some of which killed their creators who did not
seek to understand water pressure. David Bushnell succeeded in 1775
and H. L. Hunley in the Civil War, but John Holland in 1900 is the
father of the modern submarine. After 25 years of scientific work
to solve significant problems he built three working and controllable
submarines. We will study dozens of people who developed designs, construction,
and tactics as submarines evolved from harbor boats to masters of
the deep sea. Some explored the deep, making amazing discoveries where
tectonic plates meet several thousand feet down. Others developed
nuclear subs and developed the technology and training so that dozens
of American nuclear attack submarines, Fast attack subs followed the latest Russian missile submarines, some for over
a month and a half without being discovered. Many
like the Parche tapped Soviet cables repeatedly for vital intelligence.
For more details see the syllabus where you will find slides, books, and sites.
Toxic and Therapeutic Religion
Religions have provided comfort to countless people and have inspired
famous and unknown reformers who worked for justice and peace. But
religions have provided teachings and inspiration to violent individuals
in domestic violence, child abuse, suicide bombers, and
terrorists. What is this toxic and destructive
force in religion, what is its source and inspiration, and how can
religions be rerouted into work for comfort, justice, and peace? Toxic
religion is clearest in its patriarchal control, attitude toward
women and children, in its dread of movements
toward equality and
in its use and misuse of scriptures, in its demand for absolute and unquestioning
loyalty and obedience, and in its attempts to control political power
When religion co-opts government,
the worst tyranny follows. Individuals find comfort and strength in
religion while societies find justice as in the Civil Rights struggles.
The U.S. often shows religious diversity and free expression. See
the syllabus for
Strategies for Victory in WW II in the Pacific
General Tojo, Japan's wartime premier, said the three principal factors
that defeated Japan were island leapfrogging, the depredations of United
States submarines, and the ability of our fast carriers to operate for
long periods away from their bases. Each was developed by mid-level,
creative officers in the 1930s; they implemented them when war came,
and improved them with experiences. We will explore these strategies
for the four central sessions of the seminar. The first session explores
the mysteries of the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941, and the
closing session the decision to use the atomic bomb. See the syllabus for
Care in the U.S.?
Several factors underlie this seminar: the goals and values seminar
participants will list and discuss; the large number of medically uninsured
in the U.S.; the low quality of health care in the U.S. compared to
other nations; the three models of universal care in modern, industrial
such as defensive medicine and litigation that drive up costs; how efficient and effective is
government administered Medicare; my experience with
the state of Texas negotiating and administering contracts for services. Given
these and other factors we will seek to find the best options for health care
in America. See the syllabus for more information.
© 2003, 2007 John F. Yeaman