Kansas School Board Once Again Opts to Crush Childrens’ Futures

By Phil Plait | November 8, 2005 10:57 pm

Incredible.

Kansas was the laughing stock of the world a few years back when they devalued evolution in their state science standards for young students. Their reputation was only marginally improved when the creationists who used misleading tactics to get on the school board were ousted.

But a new school board is in again. And they learned nothing since the first time: they voted to falsely smear real science once again.

I am upset by this, very upset. Intelligent Design is a virus, a parasite on reality, and it once again has a toehold, even after what is becoming a resounding defeat in Dover, Pennsylvania.

I don’t have time to write my thoughts now, so instead I’ll point you to my friend PZ Myers at Pharyngula, who shows just why the new school board is dishonest, misleading, and willing to destroy the futures of the very children it should be fostering.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind
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Comments (170)

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  1. Axiom | November 9, 2005
  1. Maksutov

    Another sad day for science in our increasingly Talibanesque country.

    BTW, the poll in the MSN link was poorly worded, as usual.

    >>>
    What’s your view on evolution theory and education?

    104151 responses

    Alternatives to evolutionary theory should be given equal weight in science textbooks. 30%

    Alternatives should not be mentioned in science textbooks. 53%

    Neither response reflects my view. 17%
    >>>

    Nowhere was “alternatives” defined. If it had been defined as “non-scientific alternatives”, then, since ID isn’t scientific, the whole matter could have been easily wrapped up and disposed of, which is what the six medieval folks on the Kansas school board should have done if they had any knowledge of how science works, and had been honest about this matter.

    This sort of reminds me of the stories about the Puritans traveling to the New World to seek “religious freedom”. Once they got here they then oppressed every other religion within their area of political influence and authority. A quick check of the Discovery Institutes’s “Wedge Strategy” reveals that their plan is identical as it applies to science education in particular and American society in general.

  2. HawaiiArmenian

    Congratulations to the 6 bright morons at the Kansas School Board. You just set us back a couple hundred years. While you’re at it, why not just tie up witches to the steak, throw all the physicists, astronomers, chemists, biologists, and all scientists in general in jail.

    I wish I could give those 6 members a taste of the world without a proper footing in science. Why don’t we start by removing their blood pressure medication, their mode of transportation (unless they walk to their rulings), their clothing, cell phones, cameras, computers, and pretty much all the trappings of modern civilized life.

    Guess this amounts to preaching to the choir. BA, I think every rational minded individual is extremely disappointed at this moment. It’s one small battle, but the war is far from over. If anything, this goes to show, that days of understanding, and defensiveness are over. It’s time to futher up the ante, and using war terminology, attack with all our devisions. Let’s blitz the hell out of these morons, before this decision infects other astrology reading, bible thumping, science repressing school board members.

  3. Berkeley

    Now, I’m not on the side of the Kansas school board on this, but not quite on yours either. First of all: You probably don’t spoil the childrens’ future by teaching ID or the like. Even if they can’t become biologists, they can always become lawyers. Second: Is every scientific finding good? Blood pressure was mentionned. Now, with the new guidelines developed from the latest research, more than half of the Norwegian population over 50 years old, ought to be on blood pressure medication. Is that sound? You put most of the population on medication, and that shouldn’t be necessary.

    But I agree the board members shoul walk to their rulings. It saves fossile fuels (did you get it? Fossile? Hehe :) ).

  4. Andy

    I am disturbed by the backlash against Christians this causes in those who are rightly opposed to this.

    A very small minority of Christians; including conservative, evangelical Christians; strongly believe in a strictly literal interpertation of Genesis. An even smaller number believe it’s important enough to make such a problem out of with respect to schools.

    Most Christians, like most people, don’t care too much about the scientific origins of the universe. They take Genesis for it’s theological points (fall of man, etc.) and don’t focus much on the literal seven days, because it means little to their faith.

    Those Christians who are interested in the physical creation can very easily take a much more symbolic interpertation of the 7 days, believe it to be true but embellished over time, and still study and understand the scientific creation of the universe. This is because anybody who accepts that 1) Genesis is a symbolic and glossed account of creation and 2) it is not intended to be a end-all be-all with regards to human knowledge about the begining of the universe, or else it would be longer than half a page, has no trouble viewin gboth science and faith as non-overlapping areas.

    A person who approaches the issue with both logical reasoning and faith can find easy harmony between science and faith once you understand that they are two entirely diffrent fields of study, that at best have only passing references to eachother, instead of being mutually exclusive.

    It boils down to people on both sides viewing faith and science as mutually exclusive. The religious person who dismisses science because the bible doesn’t support it is equally guilty of illogic as the scientist who mocks faith because science can’t prove it. Neither requires the support of the other to stand on it’s own.

  5. In sympathy with the Kansas School Board, I hereby denounce Ohms Laws as well. I’m sick and tired of having to go down to the shop every time the result of U/I=R does not fit the resistors I just happen to have in stock. From now on any resistor wil do.

    P.S. If anybody have electronics they want repaired, just contact me. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.

  6. Blake Stacey

    I wonder if the sane-thinking people in this world could compromise, or pretend to compromise, with the creationist nutjobs stalking the schoolboards. Has anybody else here seen James Burke’s show **The Day the Universe Changed**? I grew up a huge Burke fan, from the age of nine or so, and I probably got my first in-depth view of evolution and natural selection from the episode of that series entitled “Fit to Rule”. I think I lucked out, because Burke presents most of his science material in a historical way, starting with the way people believed at one point and then presenting the discoveries which made them change that belief. “Fit to Rule” starts with Linnaeus, at a time when just about everybody believed in a special creation for each living species. Then, oops, we start turning up fossils of animals that don’t exist anymore. Has God been making mistakes?

    The last third of the episode goes a mite too far, I think: in discussing the effects Darwin’s theory has had on the modern world, he notes that Nazis, American robber barons and Soviet Communists all took the theory for inspiration — even though these ideologies are mutually conflicting. That’s probably right, as far as it goes, but it seems likely these same movements could have arisen without the pseudo-scientific gloss which appropriating evolution’s good name gave them. (I doubt Darwin and Sumner alone are enough to explain Andrew Carnegie.) Still, it’s a heck of a good TV show.

    Now, why can’t we dust off that basic premise? I can vouch from personal experience that the basketball coaches we have teaching biology just love to plunk their classes in front of an “educational” video. What if we made an hour-long show in the “Fit to Rule” format, removing most of the Social Darwinism/Communism stuff so we can spend the time covering more recent discoveries? Off the top of my head, I’d say we could include the origin of drug-resistant diseases, the debate over punctuated equilibrium, discoveries in genetics and genomics — heck, the problem really is choosing which of the many great topics one can fit into an hour and explain well.

    This has the advantage that it “presents alternatives” to the E-word. It just happens to go on and show that, oops, those alternatives don’t work.

    Any budding filmmakers out there? I can also say from my own experience that one can produce astonishingly professional-looking results with a camcorder, Adobe Premiere and a few all-nighters.

    Hey, it’s not likely that we’ll get teachers to show Penn and Teller’s **Bullsh-t**, which is the other great TV treatment of creationism I’ve seen. A friend and I were watching the “Creationism” episode the other day, actually, and (naturally) we laughed our heads off. At one point, one of the ID supporters harassing the local Georgia school board says, “There’s a man-centered world view and a God-centered world view”. How deliciously ironic: if you take “God” in the Einsteinian sense — “subtle but not malicious”, etc. — or if you believe in a Deistic “Watchmaker”, then the modern scientific view is profoundly God-centered. In simplest terms, isn’t creationism just a denial of how big and old the Universe really is? Doesn’t it try to scale things back to the level of human history and nothing more? What could be more anthropocentric — more “man-centered” — than creationism? However you dress it up, it’s still an excuse to believe that we are central, that the Guy in Charge looks basically like us and cares about what we do — that the whole purpose of the Cosmos hinges upon our behavior.

    How unpleasantly vain.

  7. Andy

    the “conflict” between science and religion is like a “conflict” between math and history becasue the history textbook said that 30 out of 100 is “about one third”

    the difference of course is that religion isn’t taught in public schools, but it’s the same basic premise that people are mistakenly viewing two non-overlapping subjects, that at most mention the same general idea in two totally different contexts, as mutually exclusive.

  8. Andy

    and no, creationism has nothing to do with man being at the center of everything “no matter how you dress it up”

    nowhere in the bible does it state that mankind is the center of anything, either metaphorically or physically, with respect to the universe.

    what scares me about some of the comments here is that some of you are just as close-minded as the die-hards who want to teach creationism in public schools.

  9. Oops!

    According to MSN, “The board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.” But that’s what science *is*! They shot themselves in the foot–they *admitted* that they aren’t teaching science. It sounds like this could easily be overturned in court.

  10. Mike

    “and no, creationism has nothing to do with man being at the center of everything”

    Genisis 1: 26, 27 ‘Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air,and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in His image, in the image of God, He created him: male and female He created them.

    Let them have dominion? Seems pretty clear to me!

  11. Harald Kucharek

    In the early 1970’s, James Michener wrote the novel “Space” about the early days of human spaceflight. In the book, he also looks into the future and predicted an anti-science crusade of religious fundamentalists just like we see it now. That he could sense it 30 years ago just shows to me, that we don’t have to deal with a short-term phenomenon that will go away soon.
    Here in Old Europe, we are a little bit better. Some recent quotes from the Vatican even say, that they don’t have problems with evolution. But the fundamentalists also try to get their feet into our doors.
    We must fight ignorance every day, because more and more people seem to think that ignorance is a virtue.

  12. Captain Swoop

    Looks like they even redifined science so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

  13. Andy

    are you going to dispute that man is not the dominant creature on the face of the earth? that seems obvious.

    what we are not at the center of the universe, which the bible does not claim.

    you should understand the difference between the earth and the universe.

    i’m not here to defend this school board, i think it is reprehensible. what i am here to speak out against is close-mindedness on both sides of the issue, that’s it’s not just the creationists.

  14. Thinking that humans are the dominant creature on earth doesn’t make it so.

    In the environment we have created for ourselves we are no longer evolving, we have to rely on our intelligence and technology to survive. Allowing religious dogma to dictate education and scientific research, Oh Yeah! they would love that!, will send us right back into the caves we came from.

    It’s ironic then to realize that this will start us evolving again. :-)

  15. Mike

    Hi Andy,

    I think you’ll find that I’m very open-minded, but I think you missed the point I was trying to make.

    The Bible talks about one planet, right? There is no mention of other planets, with or without organisms, which might exist by the millions throughout the enormity of the Universe. And indeed, why should the Bible do so? Unless you think fundamentalists are open-minded enough to consider the possibility of life on other planets, I will stand by my remarks. However, from my personal experience debating many such religious individuals, the majority of them believe Earth is the only planet with life.

    Nevertheless, my point was that many Christian fundamentalists do regard themselves as being created in the image of God – and act like it. This view is propagated by the kind of scripture I cited from Genesis. Actually, believe it or not, I really do know the difference between the Earth and the Universe, but given the Kansas decision, it does sort of leave one to ponder whether or not they do.

    Your differentiation doesn’t matter so much because the fundamentalist’s narrow view does see man as the apex of all creation from an interpretation of scripture. I’m not arguing whether or not it is justifiable from a logical sense, I’m stating that they do it anyway. So, you’re technically correct, but in practice they do see themselves as the apex of all creation for the aforementioned reason.

    You’ll get no argument from me regarding the ecological footprint we humans are leaving on the Earth. We’ve boldly expressed our “dominance” most assuredly. You might also consider the modal bacter for the dominant creatures:

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_bacteria.html

    Cheers,

    Mike

  16. Tom

    Here’s the email addresses for the board:

    http://www.ksde.org/commiss/bdaddr.html

    According to Pharyngula comments, the following board members voted against the new standards:

    Janet Waugh, Sue Gamble, and Carol Rupe

    According to WaPo, the following board members voted for:

    Kathy Martin, Iris Van Meter and Kenneth Willard

    Can anyone round out the lists so we can let everyone involved know how we feel?

  17. Also Bacon voted for the new standards. Since we know that 2 of the ones that voted against are Democrats, maybe that’d help identifying the 4th member that voted against.

    I was looking at their qualifications, which seem to be, erm, somewhat thin. Since this is basically the top educator position in the state, aren’t they required to have had some better education? Unspecified ‘degrees’ from the university of kansas, or degrees in ‘christian education’ seem a bit dodgy.

  18. It appears that Bill Wagnon is the 4th member that opposed.

  19. pumpkinpie

    Everyone who is voicing their opinion here should also voice it to the rest of the country, as a few people above have mentioned. Like HawaiiArmenian said, we’re preaching to the choir here. Write to the board members, write letters to the editor. Don’t stop until this decision is reversed, and any future move similar to this in any state is defeated. Ask your friends to do the same.

  20. breeze

    Andy,

    I completely agree with you. As a Christian it does disturb me that often people mistake all Christians as fundamentalists. Nothing could be further from the truth. My pastors favorite expression is, “Don’t leave your brains in the narthex (entrance hall).” She loves science. And I lover her for that!

    On another note, I just finished reading Stephen Jay Gould’s Rocks of Ages and you summed it up perfectly!

    breeze

  21. Cindy

    Guess we won’t be seeing any breakthroughs on the avian flu from Kansas. If the virus does evolve to be virulent, it will be a perfect example of evolution.

    I wonder what Kansas would do if top colleges refuse to accept students from Kansas because their science course was not rigorous enough? That would have them change in a hurry.

  22. Mike

    Hi Breeze & Andy,

    There are a couple of polls to consider. One often cites something like 90% of people in the US describe themselves as followers of the Christian faith. Another poll indicates around 50% of US citizens embrace the science of evolution. Clearly, if we accept these numbers then there must be millions of Christians supporting evolution.

    Well, that’s sort of heart warming. Isn’t it?

    Dr. Ken Miller, a devout Catholic and biologist, has written one of the best refutations of Intelligent Design you can get your hands on. His book titled “Finding Darwin’s God” comes highly recommend to anyone interested in this subject. You might also want to pick up the November issue of Natural History magazine, as it is devoted to the subjects of Evolution and Intelligent Design. I was especially moved by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s article “The Perimeter of Ignorance.â€?

    Here’s an excerpt from it on explaining Intelligent Design:

    “I don’t know how it works. It’s too complicated for me to figure out. It’s too complicated for any human being to figure out. So it must be the product of a higher intelligence. What do you do with that line of reasoning? Do you just cede the solving of problems to someone smarter than you, someone who’s not even human? Do you tell students to pursue only questions with easy answers? There may be a limit to what the human mind can figure about our universe. But how presumptuous it would be for me to claim that if I can’t solve a problem, neither can any other person who has ever lived or who will ever be born.�

    For my part, I’ve read the works of Behe, Dembski, Johnson, Plantinga, et al. I am not impressed with irreducible complexity and exposing alleged “gapsâ€? of evidence and knowledge. The statistical and probability arguments have also been thoroughly debunked by Elliott Sober.

    The only group of people I’m taking issue with are those who are trying to poison our public science classroom…be they Christian, Jew, Muslim or whatever. Intelligent Design is religion and does not belong in our public schools. When someone from the ID camp provides a measurable mechanism for an intelligent designer, beyond arguments from ignorance and “God of the gaps” thinking, then I will be all ears.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  23. THX-1138

    First, I agree with Phil and you others on how stupid this is. I am an evolutionist. Period.

    1. The histrionics do not work. Comparing people to the Taliban is only going to drive them deeper into their own camps. I *know* a woman who experience the real Taliban first hand. She’d probably slap you for trivializing what they were with such a comparison.

    I consider Penn & Teller to be the worst thing to happen to skepticism in years, so that should spell out my view on such tactics. I have persoanlly seen how their abusive approach merely makes casual pseudoscience believers just circle the wagons against attack.

    2. The strawman arguments don’t work. No one ruled against blood pressure medicines, cell phones or cars. You need to stay focused on debunking ID. Everything else is propaganda and ideology which, again, is only going to drive away the people you most need to reach.

    3. Stop with the “ID is for STOOOOOPYD people!” rhetoric. Not everyone is well versed evolutionary biology and genetic science, and so don’t immediately see the logic of it all. Not everyone is a science geek. Ignorance is not a synonym for stupid, even if the term is commonly misused in that way. Ignorant simply means uninformed.

    4. As others have said, not all religious people are fundamentalist. You are not going to convert them to and athiestic or even agnostic POV with words. Stay focused on the ID.

    It reminds me of a illustrative joke I heard years ago.

    STUDENT1: Hey, I’m new on campus. Can you tell me where the library is at?

    STUDENT2: Oh, for goodness sake! How did they let you into a fine university such as this? Are you a total moron? You expect to do well here with grammar like that? Now ask me again without ending your sentence with a preopsition.

    STUDENT1: OK. Can you tell me where the library is at, @$$hole?

  24. Tom Sullivan

    Here’s a complete list of how they voted:

    Voting Yes
    Steve Abrams (R) – sabrams@hit.net
    John Bacon (R) – jwmsbacon@aol.com
    Kathy Martin (R) – martinkathy@yahoo.com
    Connie Morris (R) – conniemorris2010@yahoo.com
    Iris Van Meter (R) – vanmeter@terraworld.net
    Ken Willard (R) – kwillard@cox.net

    Voting No
    Sue Gamble (R) – MSGamble@swbell.net
    Carol Rupe (R) – carolrupe@hotmail.com
    Bill Wagnon (D) – bill.wagnon@washburn.edu
    Janet Waugh (D) – JWaugh1052@aol.com

    Please let them know how you feel.

  25. JohnW

    The first word which came to mind was “Unbelievable”. Sadly, it’s all too believable. Hopefully, this will get overturned soon – according to NPR, four of the six who supported this nonsense are up for re-election next year.

    The redefinition of science is a blatant attempt to introduce teaching of religion into the schools, so this all ought to get overturned eventually. But given the increasing Taliban presence on the Supreme Court, I don’t think we can rely on that.

  26. Bradley

    My first reaction?
    Hey, Gravity is just a theory too. So it’s a good thing there are no cliffs in Kansas.

    Here’s hoping that the voting majority in Kansas will develop some intelligence soon.

  27. Phlapjaq

    I am certainly glad that my children go to Catholic school and therefore don’t have all that religious nonsense cluttering up the science curriculum. In an earlier post Harald Kucharek pointed out the prescience of James Michener writing in the 70’s. I submit that Robert A. Heinlein saw it coming in the 40’s. Read the short story Coventry in the book “Revolt in 2100 & Methuselah’s Children”. May the FSM touch you all with His Noodly Appendage.

  28. Evolving Squid

    I can’t wait for the first teacher who instructs his students about the design of the universe by Zeus… or Ptah… or Vishnu… or better yet, Allah, because there’s more than just the concept of ID here. The ID people believe it is the CHRISTIAN IPU that designed the universe. I am quite certain that their heads would explode if a Zeus/Jupiter based concept of ID started being taught.

    ID is a weapon being used by fundamentalist Christians – not religious people in general. The whole fight isn’t just about whether or not there is a god of some sort, nor is it just an assault on science. It’s about the primacy of THE GOD according to a particular group of people.

  29. Peptron

    I said it before and I say it again:

    Keep it fair: If you teach creationism in schools, teach evolution in churches. It’s that simple.

    (or, like Evolving Squid said before, teach creationism in a way you know wasn’t intended. Like the creationism from the point of view of another religion, that is, not christianism.)

  30. Hugh Jass

    Tom, and others, thank you for doing the research and getting us names and email addresses. With the random exception of a few here and there that think science is attacking Christianity, we are and continue to be, preaching to the choir as it were in this forum. I think it is good it allows the subject to stay for front, lest we forget about it as a true threat.

    I encourage everyone to write to these board members and those in the scientific community in Kansas if you know anyone. Especially I would like to encourage those of you who IMO are more eloquent and level headed composers of beautiful arguments, specifically TheBlackCat, Irishman, Maksutov and Grapes.

    This is a great opportunity to actually take an action rather than sit here brain dump to a bunch of like minded folks.

  31. Nigel Depledge

    Mike said:
    “When someone from the ID camp provides a measurable mechanism for an intelligent designer, beyond arguments from ignorance and “God of the gapsâ€? thinking, then I will be all ears. ”

    Mike, I think you missed one : ID is also an argument from incredulity.

    Evolving Squid – What’s an IPU? Is it anything like a CPU?

    If I lived in the States, I would definitely write to or email those people who voted “yes”. For the time being, I’ll save my protests for when ID tries to come to the UK.

  32. Alan Hoch

    THX-1138: I agree with you that Penn and Teller seem (or, at least their public personas) to be exactly what skeptics SHOULDN’T be. They make skepticism look like a technique to browbeat and humiliate people as being “dumb” for no other reason than to inflate the skeptic’s Ego.

    What’s self-defeating about this attitude (while otherwise being psychological dysfunctional) is that it only plays into the hands (and fears) of the “believer” — that skepticism and science are really just a way for one group of people to gain an advantage on another. The probem (IMHO) is that the “believer” (in whatever supernatural idea you care to name) doesn’t see things as a matter of truth or falsehood, but rather in terms of social standing and power. In other words, they treat science as a threat to their position and status in society and not merely as a description of reality.

    When skeptics start treating (in a psychological and emotional sense) science as if it was their “religion” they only harm their own cause. Skepticism is a PROCESS, not a belief system.

  33. Chet

    It would be much more interesting if we could know why the six Republicans voted to change the definition of science to include “supernatural” explanations (no longer limited to the natural)?
    Do they want the public schools to go retro fifties: teacher led Catholic prayers, Holy Bible studies, WASP schools, segregation, etc?
    Will they inlcude all the creationist or ID religions in the science curriculum? Will they include all psuedosciences?
    From Massimo Pigliucci in Skeptical Inquiry Nov/Dec ’05: “Science is a complex misture of empiricism (empirical observations) and rationalism (logical/mathematical) truth.”
    They will all remain firm in their own religious faiths regardless of the emails from any of us. Let me remind you that we are, in fact, in a cultural power struggle of religious faith based sectarianism vs science/secularism (critical thinking). It is very much fortunate for all of us that it is, for now, a political debate and not an “armed” debate.
    Getting slightly off this “ID” topic in order to “prove” to you that Christian faith’s won’t be able to agree on “ID”, they can’t agree on the meaning of the Book of Revelation of St John the Divine’s Chapters 19 and 20!
    I, an Atheist (nope, did not change) recently read “Amillennialsim–Understanding the End Times” by Kim Riddlebarger, Pastor of the Christ Reformed Church.
    On page 33, Kim wrote: Christians have such diverse opinions and have opposing veiw points. If we acknowledge that the three major millennial views [dispensationalism, premillennialism, or postmillennialism) contradict one another–which interpretation makes the most sense of the biblical data–while all of them may be wrong, not all of them can be right.”
    On page 110, “Wherever Christ’s Kingdom advances, Christians must do combat with our three great enemies–the word, the flesh, and the devil.”
    Perhaps this is the “key” to emailing those Republicans that voted YES for ID and changing the definition of Science: even Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians can’t agree on their own Eschatological views.

  34. Evolving Squid

    Evolving Squid – What’s an IPU? Is it anything like a CPU?

    IPU = Invisible Pink Unicorn

    It’s the term I learned long before coming here to see “Flying Spaghetti Monster”, but the sense is the same. It is a non-denominational term representing an unseen, unverifiable, human-defined supernatural being.

  35. Leon

    You defile the FSM by mentioning the IPU before Him?? Into the pot with you!!

  36. Leon

    Cindy Says:

    I wonder what Kansas would do if top colleges refuse to accept students from Kansas because their science course was not rigorous enough? That would have them change in a hurry.

    That would be appropriate (in both the poetic justice and logical sense), at least in universities’ science curricula, if Kansas continues on this path long-term (and other places don’t join them).

  37. Leon

    THX-1138, those are good points. It’s important for us to keep the discourse civil, on topic, and on the evidence–which is, let’s face it, overwhelmingly in our favor–but only if people can be persuaded to listen to it.

    I’m not sure if Penn and Teller are really the worst way for skeptics to be–I do enjoy their show–but I agree that they take it too far over the top. The personal attacks and gratuitous language turn me off. It’s too bad, because they make a lot of good points in between the swear words.

  38. Glen

    I would like to see colleges and universities across the US refuse admitance or Kansas high school graduates since they lack the necessary science prerequisites. I plan to write to my alma-mater and recommend that they review their admission standards and not allow credit for any science course that uses creationism or ID.

  39. Leon

    Not a bad idea, *if* this goes on long-term. We shouldn’t do that sort of thing now, though, since students currently graduating from the Kansas school system aren’t really affected–but if it continues, then the affected years should be identified and graduates from those years not given science credit–at least in biology.

    I don’t think it would be appropriate to target any other sciences, unless the ID strategy succeeds in pushing for changes in other disciplines, such as astronomy. We need to be careful about what and how we would target this sort of thing.

  40. Michelle Rochon

    On the contrary of what some creationists yell and shout, it’s not close-minded to say ID is wackiness.

    It’s just to realize that NONE of the ID “facts” are facts.

    From this moment on now, when I think of Kansas, I’ll only think “what’s wrong with these guys?”

  41. Irishman

    Andy Said:
    >I am disturbed by the backlash against Christians this causes in those who are rightly opposed to this.

    There is a bit of unrestrained lumping going on.

    >A person who approaches the issue with both logical reasoning and faith can find easy harmony between science and faith once you understand that they are two entirely diffrent fields of study, that at best have only passing references to eachother, instead of being mutually exclusive.

    To some extent, I see what you are saying, and I definitely think that from the science and education standpoint (and specifically on ID), we need to focus on the areas we have in common with many christians and not exclude them unnecessarily. The fight over ID is not between christians and atheists, it is over ideology corrupting science. We need to keep the argument focused on topic.

    However, there is a fundamental conflict between the methods and attitude of science versus faith. Faith is about accepting something without evidence – accepting the belief because is sounds good, it’s comforting, it is what you are taught, it would be nice if it were true – any of a dozen reasons that boil down to we don’t have evidence and don’t care, believe anyway. Whereas science is about critical evaluation and testing. You take a claim/belief and subject it to critical review, compare against evidence, evaluate it for flaws, and try to disprove it. It’s only accepted after passing the tests, and then only until a new test can be devised. It is the antithesis of faith, as a mindset or worldview.

    So I accept that people can live their lives operating with religion on the one hand and with science on the other. I accept that many are able to live that way without self-conflict. But I don’t agree that religion and science are entirely different. There are times when religious beliefs intrude upon the real world, i.e. they affect people’s actions and lead to interactions with others. When those beliefs become actions that affect others, and those actions have potentially detrimental effects on others, it is important to point out the places where faith and skepticism are at odds, and why faith is not sufficient to justify the effects.

    An example: is it fair to let Christian Scientists refuse antibiotics for their children? “Oh, I don’t believe in antibiotics, I’ll just pray to God.” Or Scientologists and their e-meters. If Scientologists had their way, would any of us be allowed antibiotics?

  42. Evolving Squid

    FYI: Kathy Martin is replying to e-mail on this topic. At least, I got a reply.

  43. hale_bopp

    I am reminded by Bart’s Comet episode of the Simpsons. At the end of the episdoe, a character says, “Now let’s burn down the observatory so this never happens again!” Great science!

    Rob

  44. Andy

    Irishman:

    You are confusing religion with certain religious beliefs. Religion, specifically biblical christianity (as i can’t honestly speak to other religions), is not inherently in conflict with science. Nor is faith what you state it to be.

    Faith is not the belief in things hoped for without evidence. “faith is the reality of things being hoped for, the proof of things not being seen”

    there is proof of a sorts, but is inherently a personal, internal conviction that can not be proven for others. you might not accept that logic, and you might say that evidence that can not be shown is no evidence at all. then we have reached an impass, for short of experiencing it yourself, there is not much anybody can do to convey it to you.

    as for you’re other point, that science and any religion are inherently opposing worldviews: simply put, science is not a worldview. there is no scientific worldview, science is simply the discovery and study of facts about our universe. it does not have opinions, it does pass judgement. a set of opions about the world is what a worldview is, therefore science is not a worldview but a study, two very diffrent things.

    a worldview a set of opions with regard to (what is believed by the person to be) fact and based upon personal convctions. For example:

    My worldview is Christian-Logical, my convictions are the bible and my personal faith experiences, and my facts are scientific.

    of course, it doesn’t break down into neat categories like that, but you get the idea. as another example, yours (might) be:

    A Moral-Athiest worldview, convictions are science and logic, and you facts are also scientific.

    for the people on this school board, you could say:

    Their worldview is Christian-Conservative, their convictions are their interpertations of the bible, and their facts are synonymous with their convictions (an obvious mistake).

    now keep in mind i’m not trying to categorize worldviews, convictions, and facts like that, all three of these are far too complicated to fit into a defined category, but i’m just using the example that you can have a religious worldview based on both religious text and a belief in scienctific fact.

  45. Leon

    Andy says:

    > “faith is the reality of things being hoped for, the proof of things not
    > being seen�
    >
    > there is proof of a sorts, but is inherently a personal, internal conviction
    > that can not be proven for others. you might not accept that logic, and
    > you might say that evidence that can not be shown is no evidence at
    > all. then we have reached an impass, for short of experiencing it
    > yourself, there is not much anybody can do to convey it to you.

    I think we’re getting dangerously close to arguing semantics at this point, but I really don’t see how that idea of proof can be valid. Proof is solid, incontrovertible evidence for or against something–you can’t prove or disprove the existence of any supreme being. That’s quite a different thing from saying such beliefs aren’t true. You can argue convincingly, you can find facts or circumstances that suggest the existence of a deity, but you can’t prove them.

  46. Andy

    i didn’t mean “proof” as you usually think of it, like i said, it isn’t really something that can be “proven”

    perhaps personal confirmation would be a better term.

    and semantics are important here becaus subtle differences like that are very important differences.

  47. Leon

    Ah, personal confirmation–yes, I can definitely believe that. Makes more sense now.

  48. Hugh Jass

    Andy Says:
    November 9th, 2005 at 4:39 pm

  49. Ed

    Dateline: Kansas;

    Finally a ray of sunshine has burst forth in the heartland of Kansas!

    Maybe this little fragile ember of hope will finally roar to life and put an end to the death grip that the theory of evolution has had on the education system of WE THE PEOPLE.

    It is going to take much more of WE THE PEOPLE to end this illegal and unconstitutional monopoly that evolution has had on our schools, our culture and our society as a whole. Let me be clear here, all I want to see ended is the unconstitutional monopoly that up to now the high tech religion of evolution has enjoyed. Squeal all you want to. Evolution is a high tech religion being foisted on our nation– nothing more, nothing less. Evolution has been forced upon us as an illegally imposed State religion. In spite of all the references to decisions of the courts, there is no direct reference to “The Separation of Church and State in the body of the Constitution, nor in the many Amendments. It simply is not there, which was my point all along. Even the Supreme Court has wandered off from the path it was intended to serve which is defining whether or not something is in the Constitution, instead of creating rulings and edicts to be taken as law. That is for the realm of the Congress, who knows the Constitution as well as the nine elite judges. That is why these appointments are so important, to protect our nation from being held hostage to this high tech religion. Those who try to merge God and evolution together are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I have read that you don’t have to be an atheist to believe in evolution, but, God had better behave himself. He better come in through the back door; use the wash room in the back. Speak softly, mind his P’s and Q’s, and bow His knee to the laws of science? Laws that He wrote, and you have only discovered? He is not subject to these laws. That he chooses to operate by them is up to Him and as it serves His purpose and according to His own good will.

    Go Kansas State Board of Education! You have made a difficult but correct decision. Now hold fast, don’t be swayed by the high priests and Royal guardsmen of the high tech religion of Evolution. They will test your metal. They will blow hard on your door. But hold on, because these priests and guardsmen are blow hards!

  50. THX-1138

    Leon said:

    > THX-1138, those are good points.

    Just sharing the empirical observations of 25 years of active skepticism (starting at age 15).

    > It’s important for us to keep the discourse civil, on topic,
    > and on the evidence–which is, let’s face it, overwhelmingly
    > in our favor–but only if people can be persuaded to listen to it.

    As far as I am concerned, any other approach would be unscientific. 😉

  51. Samara

    …Ed, you’re being sarcastic right?

    If you’re not, I would like to ask you a few questions:

    1. Why do you feel evolution is a religion? What is its major deity? What are its beliefs and morals? Does it have any sacred texts? Where is this belief practiced?

    2. When exactly HAS the Supreme Court made a law?

  52. Andy

    don’t feed the troll, he was being sarcastic anyway. even so, pushing the argument to the extremes like that does nobody any good.

  53. TheBlackCat

    American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    This was not originally the idea of the Supreme Court, they are using Thomas Jefferson’s own terminology.

  54. Maksutov

    To THX-1138 regarding

    “1. The histrionics do not work. Comparing people to the Taliban is only going to drive them deeper into their own camps. I *know* a woman who experience the real Taliban first hand. She’d probably slap you for trivializing what they were with such a comparison.”

    I wrote “Talibanesque”, a usage then means “similar to the Taliban”, not identical. Read the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Strategy (the CRSC is a program started by the Discovery Institute in 1996) and then tell me there’s no similarity between the Taliban’s goals and that of the Discovery Institute, and thus by diffusion, IDers in general. The Discovery Institute wants to start the process by the corruption of science education and then complete it with a step-by-step general overhaul and taking over of American society and government. This kind of takeover of a country by a religious group is called a theocracy, which is precisely what the Taliban established in Afghanistan. Hence the use of the word “Talibanesque”: different methods, similar goals.

    More information on the Discovery Institute, the CRSC, the people who operate and support them, and the lies they promote, may be found here.

    I would advise you to please get the chip off your shoulder and drop the rhetoric. The members of these groups are already so deep into their own camps that nothing, especially things they consider trivial and non-applicable such as reason, logic, and objective evidence, is going to change their minds. The kid gloves method won’t work with these groups. These people are dogmatic, dangerous and cannot be treated lightly.

    Re the woman you *know* slapping me, I’m sure that would prove me wrong and change my mind.

  55. RocketScientist

    I live in Kansas, unfortunately, don’t have the ability to move just yet, but am planning to.
    Kansas will never catch up to the rest of the world. Most Kansasans are older strict Christian’s (or other religous faiths). Most of which believe in ID, they elect people (pay them to run more or less) who have the same beliefs. I have a young daughter (5 mos), she will NOT go to school here. They don’t urge children, especially young ladies to pursue science careers. Trust me, its not just the school board but the residents as well.

  56. bad Jim

    It’s simply blasphemous to suggest that Zeus had anything to do with the creation of humans. We are the creatures of Prometheus.

  57. “Talibanesqueâ€? works for me. Evolution is my “Buddhas of Bamiyan”.

  58. Maksutov

    Quote:

    bad Jim (on November 10th, 2005 at 1:33 am) wrote:

    It’s simply blasphemous to suggest that Zeus had anything to do with the creation of humans. We are the creatures of Prometheus.

    Heck, even a great genius like Beethoven recognized this, hence his music Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus (The Creatures of Prometheus).

    It’s a lot better experience than listening to the resonances caused by the methane emissions produced by the Preachers of Crimetheus (i.e., the IDers). It’s best to avoid and take measures against such flatulence P.D.Q.

  59. THX-1138

    Maksutov said
    > I would advise you to please get the chip off your shoulder and
    > drop the rhetoric.

    What chip? What are you talking about? I offered my opinion calmly and based on decades of skeptical experience. You can disagree or not- I don’t really care- but don’t try to imply some sort of belligerance because I don’t toe your line.

    > The kid gloves method won’t work with these groups.

    That’s sort of my point, too. NOTHING is going to work with them, and using the verbal equivalent of shock & awe is just going to push the much larger, non-hard core folks into the other camp. In the name of a pointless effort to convert the deep level ldeologues you are going to sacrifice everything else. Hmm. Where have I heard that before?

    > Re the woman you *know* slapping me, I’m sure that would prove
    > me wrong and change my mind.

    Oh for pity’s sake… The implication was just that she would be greatly offended, that tossing about such terms trivializes things that has destroyed lives FAR beyond what the dolts in Kansas have accomplished to date. I had a college professor who was also a Holocaust survivor who felt the same way when people made trivial Nazi comparisons.

    Look, you do what you think you have to do. Have fun when it fails, like it always does.

  60. Evolving Squid

    It’s simply blasphemous to suggest that Zeus had anything to do with the creation of humans. We are the creatures of Prometheus.

    True. Zeus didn’t even create the universe… That was sort of Eurynome+Ophion+Chaos+Oceanus IIRC.

  61. TJ

    WHo’s right and who’s wrong is irrelevant to this debate. Me? I’m an atheist and a scientist, but that’s not relevant either. The issue to me is that this is unconstitutional, no matter how you slice it.

    Teaching religion in school CLEARLY crosses the line between the separation of church and state. Religion is for church, school is for knowledge. To mandate the teaching of this absurd, dogmatic crap defies the very ideals that this country was founded on.

    While we’re at it, is there a separation of church and state if churches don’t pay taxes?

  62. Leon

    Ed, the phrase is “test your mettle”, not “metal”. At least get your idioms right.

  63. Leon

    Maksutov and THX-1138…

    I agree with THX-1138: we need to be careful to be civil and avoid mudslinging. It’s true we need to take off the gloves, but that means taking on ID/creationism rather than ignoring it; it doesn’t mean risking alienating those in the middle we hope to convince. They’re our natural allies on this one anyway, since we’re on the side of being sensible and our opponents are extremist.

  64. Hugh Jass

    I suppose it is long past time then we concede. Now the only thing to do is continue along the logical path and introduce alchemy into chemistry classes. The periodic table has held an unfair and unworthy monopoly on chemistry way too long. I move we push forward to allow the alternative view points in chemistry, and introduce alchemy to our children, to the other side of the argument. This notion of atoms and protons and such has been forced upon us with no alternative for too long.

    It is also disturbing how there is no mention of the mystic power of crystals in mineralogy, and geology classes. Think of the children. There has been too long, a strangle hold on the notion that crystals are nothing more than a pretty high temperature precipitates. There should be in every earth science, or geology class, presented the alternative view of powerful crystals and the influences they can have over a persons life.

    This notion that the planets and stars don’t have predictive influence over our lives needs to be addressed as well. If the stars and planets did not have influence over our lives why else are they there. My daily horoscope no longer belongs hidden in the entertainment section of my paper, the signs of the zodiac should be taught in every astronomy class. Our children must be exposed to the complete teachings of all sides of an argument.

    The medical community is especially bad about hiding their methods and keeping the rest of the world away from advancing their cause. The ancient and respected art of spell making shall no longer be kept for medical teaching. This needs to start younger so our school children with the dreams of becoming doctors and nurses can have both sides of this logical argument taught to them. Spell making should be introduced into general science classes so that our students will understand and can make their own decisions. The closed minded zealots of modern medicine must be forced into submission; and the doors have been opened by the obviously free thinking Kansas school board being the first step.

    Go get’em FSM

  65. Hugh Jass:

    I salute you,
    I’M NOT WORTHY….
    I’M NOT WORTHY….
    I’M NOT WORTHY….

    You hit the nail on the head.

    If we introduce Psychokinesis into the carpenter trade, they won’t need hammers.

  66. Irishman

    Andy Said:
    >You are confusing religion with certain religious beliefs. Religion, specifically biblical christianity (as i can’t honestly speak to other religions), is not inherently in conflict with science.

    I am speaking about both religion in general (as a mindset or approach) as well as religious beliefs. The mindset sets the stage, the beliefs shape actions. The beliefs require the mindset. I think that the religious mindset is at odds with the scientific methodology.

    >Faith is not the belief in things hoped for without evidence. “faith is the reality of things being hoped for, the proof of things not being seen�

    I’m not sure where you got that definition for “faith�, but it does not match any definition with which I am familiar. I’m not even sure that definition makes any sense. Reality of things being hoped for? Proof of things not seen?

    >there is proof of a sorts, but is inherently a personal, internal conviction that can not be proven for others. you might not accept that logic, and you might say that evidence that can not be shown is no evidence at all. then we have reached an impass, for short of experiencing it yourself, there is not much anybody can do to convey it to you.

    I accept there are experiences and such which cannot be proven objectively but are nevertheless experienced. Experiences are difficult to share after the fact. 😉 I submit that the interpretations of those experiences and the explanations for the cause of those experiences is where the dispute lies.

    >as for you’re other point, that science and any religion are inherently opposing worldviews: simply put, science is not a worldview. there is no scientific worldview, science is simply the discovery and study of facts about our universe. it does not have opinions, it does pass judgement. a set of opions about the world is what a worldview is, therefore science is not a worldview but a study, two very diffrent things.

    I was struggling for the right terminology. A more correct phrasing than “worldview� would be “approach� or “methodology�. Science and faith are opposing methodologies. Or should that be skepticism and faith? One is testing and evaluating, the other is accepting at face value.

  67. Leon

    Hugh Jass Says:

    The periodic table has held an unfair and unworthy monopoly on chemistry way too long.

    Indeed! Why do the Mendeleevians insist on obscuring the truth with their 100+ elements when it’s plain to see that all things are made from the Four Elements? We disrespect God’s Creation by ignoring the plain truth that He created earth, air, fire, and water.

  68. Irishman

    Andy Said:
    >and no, creationism has nothing to do with man being at the center of everything “no matter how you dress it up�

    >nowhere in the bible does it state that mankind is the center of anything, either metaphorically or physically, with respect to the universe.

    This is very much getting into interpretations and assumptions rather than explicit statements. I will assume we’re not taking a literalistic interpretation and will allow for turns of phrase or figures of speech without expecting them to be “accurate descriptions”. Even then, the Bible is describing the situation thusly: God exists, in heaven. There are angels and such, but God sets out to create the cosmos, the entirety of the universe. This is merely to serve as a backdrop, and foundation for the creation of one particular planet – Earth. He then shapes and manipulates this one planet (out of all the kazillion others out there) so that it has oceans and land, breathable air, day and night, animals and plants. All of this is merely as a placemat, an environment. And then he creates humanity, his crowing achievement, the pinnacle of his intent. Humans are made in God’s image, and given dominion over the Earth and everything in it. Humans rule the Earth, and when they die, their souls are taken to Heaven to be with God for eternity. Well, if they’re good, anyway.

    Then humanity promptly falls from grace, and sin is introduced to the world. No matter, first comes a series of prophets and covenants, followed by the “ultimate sacrifice”, god takes human form as his own son and then subjects himself/his son to torture, death, and trial in hell, all to suffer for humanity’s wrongdoings so we mere mortals don’t have to.

    See? Humans given dominion over Earth. Humans have souls that get to go to Heaven. Humans are worth the sacrifice and suffering of God’s own son in their place. Sounds to me like mankind is the center of everything.

  69. Irishman

    Oops, just found this previous response:

    Andy Said:
    >what we are not at the center of the universe, which the bible does not claim.

    >you should understand the difference between the earth and the universe.

    Which post stated that the Bible or Creationism claims humans (Earth) is the center of the universe? What Blake Stacey said was that humanity is the central purpose for the universe, not the physical center.

  70. Irishman

    Thomas Siefert Said:
    >In the environment we have created for ourselves we are no longer evolving, we have to rely on our intelligence and technology to survive.

    This is not quite true – we are still evolving. We are just countering many of the historical weakenesses upon which natural selection would act, such as poor eyesight. However, the act of preventing them from being weeded out is also evolution – retaining those traits in the gene pool. Plus, natural selection is not the only process of evolution, it is just the key one for giving the changes a consistent direction. There is still mutation and recombination providing for variety and new traits.

  71. Ed

    • Leon Says:
    November 10th, 2005 at 10:35 am
    Ed, the phrase is “test your mettle�, not “metal�. At least get your idioms right.
    Alas! I missed it, spell check, grammar check, and my wife who proof read this for me missed it as well. Thanks for setting me straight. I think we can agree on this point. : )

  72. Sid

    Irony abounds.

    Today, Pat Robertson said that a vote against ID is a vote against God. Wow, what people will believe!

    However, the irony I refer to is this – MSNBC had a poll asking if we think Robertson is right in saying this or not. Once I voted (“It’s pure idiocy!”), they show the results so far, and at the bottom of the screen, it says,”Not a scientifically valid survey.”

    I suppose they are using the definition of “scientific” as it used to be, before the IDiots redefined it.

    By the way, after 5810 votes, 80% claim it is “pure idiocy.”

    Of course, only liberals read what’s posted on MSNBC!

  73. Sid

    To be more specific about what Pat Robertson said, MSNBC reports:

    “Conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting “intelligent designâ€? and warned them Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.

    ““I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected him from your city,â€? Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, “The 700 Club.â€?

    “And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for his help because he might not be there,â€? he said.”

    This world may be doomed, but I doubt it’s because the school board changed in Dover.

  74. Ed

    • Samara Says:
    November 9th, 2005 at 7:31 pm
    …Ed, you’re being sarcastic right?
    No.
    If you’re not, I would like to ask you a few questions:
    1. Why do you feel evolution is a religion? Because it presumes to take the place of Religion. It attempts to answer the fundamental questions, like who are we, were did we come from, etc. Traditionally areas of faith.
    What is its major deity?
    It doesn’t seem to have one, unless you count the good old FSM.
    What are its beliefs and morals?
    Naturalistic Darwinism.
    Does it have any sacred texts?
    “The Origin of the species�
    Where is this belief practiced?
    Unfortunately it is practiced, or proselytized in our schools and Universities.
    2. When exactly HAS the Supreme Court made a law?
    It actually has not made any laws, but the decisions of the court have come to be considered law like Roe vs. Wade has been referred to as the settled law of the land.
    This type of power needs to be curtailed as it was never given to the courts by the Constitution.

  75. Ed

    • TheBlackCat Says:
    November 9th, 2005 at 11:08 pm
    American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,� thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
    -Thomas Jefferson
    This was not originally the idea of the Supreme Court, they are using Thomas Jefferson’s own terminology.

    Nice try, however you should read the entire letter that Jefferson wrote, and this is still not in the body, nor in the Amendments of the document called the US Constitution.
    It is simply Thomas Jefferson’s opinion on an issue expressed in a letter. It is not the law of the land.

    I want to state clearly that I do not want anyone’s beliefs imposed on any body, mine included. I would rejoice if every skeptic on this site, including Phil got saved and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. However I do not believe in, nor do I condone forced conversions. They are like shot gun weddings, it usually doen’t work. They might learn to love you, but more than likely they will look for a way to escape back home to Mom and Dad. I am just as opposed to forced or coerced conversions as you are. I just want a fair place at the table. Nothing more, nothing less.

  76. Hugh Jass

    Um… Ed, I have a question. Let me paraphrase your post. ‘Evolution… Unconstitutional… High Tech State Religion. Blah Blah Blah… ‘Creation should be taught in science classes, because The Constitution does not say separation of church and state…’

    So which is it? Is Evolution, because its a High Tech Religion, Unconstitutional? Or is it ok to teach Creationism because the Constitution does not really make a separation of church and state?

  77. Evolving Squid

    Unfortunately it is practiced, or proselytized in our schools and Universities.

    Perhaps that is because academic institutions are for teaching critical thinking based on analysis of evidence and facts.

    If one wants to learn about some god, one goes to the appropriate church – which is an institution amply more suitable to the teaching of faiths and beliefs in things unverifiable, untestable and indeed, intangible.

    Nobody has been trying to prevent a religious parent from teaching whatever religious beliefs they wish to pass to their children. What people want to prevent is the state-sanctioned teaching of those beliefs to all children, and a state-sanctioned equivalence of those beliefs to science.

    Faith != Science

    It’s really that simple. Evolution or Intelligent Design really isn’t the issue. The crux of the matter is that faith is inherently not scientific BY DEFINITION. Changing the definition perverts science. Actually, it perverts faith too.

    Complicating the issue further, if one is willing to say that faith = science, then it is reasonable to conclude that ANY faith=science. To conclude otherwise would imply that some faiths are better than others, and the scientific method would require proof of such an assumption (and such proof cannot start with “my faith tells me that it is the true faith” since all faiths say that). So not only would one consider Christian explanations to be scientific, but so would Muslim, Wiccan, Ancient Greek, Ancient Roman, Ancient Egyptian, Hindu, Shinto, and other explanations.

    Are you prepared to have Wicca held up as an equally valid explanation for phenomena as you are the Christian explanation? Are you prepared to give equal time to the origin of man as taught in the Qu’ran as you are to what is taught in the Bible? These are the questions that the “alternate explanation / faith = science” people should be asking.

    The REAL winner in the faith versus science debate are the Scientologists. They have detailed pseudoscience explanations for a lot of modern theories and hypotheses. Are the anti-evolutionists prepared to have Dianetics in the science class as an alternate explanation ?

    This is the can of worms that has been opened. Think hard on it.

  78. TheBlackCat

    “Because it presumes to take the place of Religion. It attempts to answer the fundamental questions, like who are we, were did we come from, etc. Traditionally areas of faith.”

    It doesn’t presume to take the place of religion at all. There are plenty of people who don’t find it the least bit conflicting with religion. Religion is based on faith and faith alone. Science is based on evidence and logic alone. They are completely different. Evolution is no different than any science in this regard. If you are going to ban the teaching of evolution because it is religion, then you would have to ban the teaching of all science of any kind, as well as the teaching of history, psychology, sociology, mathematics, and just about everything besides literature.

    First of all, “fundamental question” is entirely subjective. There is no such thing in science. Every branch of science tries to answer the questions that fall under that branch. Evolution makes no claim about who we are. There have been lots of non-religiouns that have made claims about where we came from. The fact that it answers a few questions people think are important does not automatically make it a religion. Religions have answers to question, but those answers are expected to be taken solely on faith with absolutely no supporting evidence and no question. Science answers the questions by looking at the answers that exist in our world. The answers do not come from evolution, or science, they come from the world itself, they are not just answers, they are the answers as nature has shown them to us. Science is simply the way to find those answers. We find them using evidence, logic, and mathematics. They are not accepted on faith, they are accepted on the weight of the evidence supplied to us by nature. Evdience vs faith is ultimately what seperates science and religion. Science has evidence and no faith, religion has faith and no evidence.

    What is its major deity?
    It doesn’t seem to have one, unless you count the good old FSM.

    Hopefully you are kidding about the FSM.

    What are its beliefs and morals?
    Naturalistic Darwinism.

    This isn’t a BELIEF, it is a logical conclusion drawn from nature. There is a difference. Belief is what you have in the absence of evidence. Science is what you have with lots of evidence to back up your idea. When it is well-supported by the evidence, it is no longer a belief. More on the importance of Darwinism in a moment.

    Does it have any sacred texts?
    “The Origin of the species�

    “The Origin of Species” is NOT a sacred text. A sacred text is dogma, it is the center of the religion that defines the beliefs and practices of that religion. The Bible, the Koran, the Torah, etc, these are sacred books. “The Origin of Species” is not sacred. In fact, it is not of particular importance to evolution anymore. Most creationists seem to not realize that a lot has happened in evolutionary theory since Darwin wrote his book. The book had a number of theoretical flaws that have henceforth been corrected. It has also been found that Darwinian natural selection is but one of several different evolutionary mechanisms. “The Origin of Species” is an interesting look at the starting point for modern evolutionary theory, but I have never heard of any modern course in evolutionary biology requiring, or even suggesting, people read “The Origin of Species” because it is hopelessly outdated and of little real value anymore from a scientific standpoint. Nowadays people study science textbooks which give a modern look at how evolution works. On the other hand, I would like to see a Christian group tell its followers to ignore the bible, that it is hopelessly outdated and of no real practical value to todays world. Yet the bible is well over ten times older than “The Origin of Species”. Creationist look at evolution as if it is a religion similar to theirs, they need to find a “prophet” who all the people follow (they target Darwin), the need to find a book that outlines the belief system (they target “The Origin of Species”). What they fail to realize is that these are not the end-all and be-all of evolution, unlike religion the people and books who discover and describe the theory are respected for doing an impressive feat, there is not a single theory today that is completely unchanged from when it was first proposed, and these original works soon are little more than the foundation on which a massive collection of theories and laws are built, the original work and author take on a purely historical importance.

    Where is this belief practiced?
    Unfortunately it is practiced, or proselytized in our schools and Universities.

    So you are saying anything taught in a school is automatically a religion? If so, then we better get rid of the entire US public education system right away so we don’t violate the constitution. If not, then this statement is of no significance. Where are the churches of evolution? Where are the holy sites where the faithful take pilgrimages to? Religion is taught in private school, but so is literature, history, mathematics, and science. But where are the places dedicated to only the worship of evolution and nothing else? That is what churches are for in terms of Christianity (primarily), but schools teach a great many things besides evolution. Where is the equivalent of Christian churches for evolution?

    And the statements of Thomas Jefferson IS of importance to the interpretation of the Bill of Rights. He was instrumental in the writing of the Bill of Rights, his statements are useful for determing the founding fathers’ intent when they wrote that amendment.

  79. P. Edward Murray

    This has very little to do with mainstream Christianity, it is however a gimmick of those who are basically not very smart. It is a tool of the anti-intellectual soul who believes that science is the epitomy of evil.

    I’ve been told that the great Catholic Saint Augustine wrote about this about 1600 or so years ago…the literal interpretation of the Old Testament.

    Catholics have a great tradition in the Jesuit Fathers of teaching just look up Brother Guy, the Vatican Astronomer and you will find a nice interview in which he details this.

    If one believes in God, whether in the form of the God of Abraham, Issac & Jacob, or in the form of the Christian Trinity…God The Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit, you believe that he creates and powers the Universe.

    Science, as I have said many times, is just the use of our brains to ask questions of the Universe that we live in.

    If one believes in God, that when he created the Universe he “….saw that it was good” should realize that the Study of the Universe that he created cannot be anything but good.

    To deny this, is really a slap in the face of the creator……

  80. Evolving Squid

    So you are saying anything taught in a school is automatically a religion? If so, then we better get rid of the entire US public education system right away so we don’t violate the constitution.

    It has always been my impression that there is a certain group of people… a cabal, if you will, that believe and want exactly that. The cabal of my theory happen, by coincidence, to all be Christian fundamentalists. Rarely do I voice this, because it’s kind of a far-out opinion, but occasionally there is evidence to support the idea.

    Right now in Kansas and in Pennsylvania, we’re seeing that evidence.

  81. Tom

    Pat Robertson said:
    “God is tolerant and loving, but we can’t keep sticking our finger in his eye forever,” Robertson said. “If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.”

    Since evolution is based on SCIENCE and ID is based on FAITH, and medicine is based on SCIENCE, then I suggest Pat throw out any medications he’s taking and go visit his local faith healing quack for all present and future health issues.

    Anyone see “The Daily Show” last night with the Cristian Science version of CPR?

    -Tom

  82. NotAFish

    You know what the real problem is here? That anything that speaks about origins that is NOT evolution is attacked, and frankly treated as heresy. What happend to the concept of debate? Why is science being decided in a court room, or legistrative session?

    There are wackos on every side of this debate, but your only considered a wacko if you do not agree with the holy grail of mondern culture, “Evolution”.

    If we are going to be honest, there is a lot of problems with the concept of Evolution, and it does not perfectly explain the origins of life. Thus leaves room for new research, and in normal fields of science would allow room for new theroies to be crafted. BUT not in this area, in this area you either work to prove evolution or your an oucast. That is not science, not good science at least.

    Many are the accepted theroies that have been disproven and forgotten, but whenever one is at the center of a culture, the culture rebles against any attack on it. Such is the case here.

    I have read some of the research behind ID arguement, and while some of it is clearly wrong, alot of it does present very good points, that are sound and unexplainable by any current “popular” theroy, least of all Evolution.

    I do not blindly accept any theroy, esply one like Evolution that is much more politics then science at this stage. Comon Descent is clearly correct, but can only take you back so far.

    Its a shame that the good ppl that are in the ID camp are being over shadowed by the policits and extremeists, because alot of good work is being done there that is endanger of being lost.

    Think on this, given the nature of this site I bet alot of you are familure with SETI, and how it works. One thing that the SETI folks have to do is determine wether or not a signal from space is random noise, or INTELIGENTLY DESIGNED. They have a methodogly for that. No one calls them wackos for using it, yet if you apply the same thought proccess to the orgin of life, you are a wacko. Many fields of science do the same… but only in this one area, this one highly polictical and emotionaly controled area is it considered extremist, stupid, etc.

    The real question for you to think on, is WHY? Why is doing reseach in to theroies other then Evolution so hotly contested? Why is there so much fear an anger in the Evolution camp? No one ever talks about it, but we all see it. Walk into any Evolutionist classroom, and do somthing all scientist should with any theroy… QUESTION the theroy of evolution, and watch the sparks fly. See if your not branded an heretic and insulted… for what? For being a responsible scientist.

  83. Evolving Squid

    Perhaps I am mistaken, but the Theory of Evolution isn’t about the origins of life, it’s about the differentiation of species.

    Biogenesis is another topic altogether.

    This seems to be the fundamental mistake that anti-evolution forces make.

  84. Evolving Squid

    Why is doing reseach in to theroies other then Evolution so hotly contested?

    To the best of my knowledge, other theories are not hotly contested. What you see as hot contesting is repudiation of unscientific hypotheses. There’s a difference between contesting a theory and repudiating an inherently unscientific process.

    If it can be said that there is anger in the Evolution camp it’s because the camp is under attack – not from other scientists, but from people who would apply unscientific means to attempt to repudiate evolution. They do this, in my opinion, not because the theory is illogical, not because the theory doesn’t adequately explain the available evidence, but simply because it bothers them that they were not created in the image of a deity but rather evolved from some ancient proto-ape. There are other non-ID hypotheses regarding the differentiation of species (seriously, Google it up for yourself) but those hypotheses fail when tested in a scientific way.

    Deity-based arguments such as ID require faith. Faith is unscientific. Therefore ID is unscientific. QED.

    When the ID community can come up with a scientific hypothesis, and subject the hypothesis to testing, and the hypothesis passes with repeatable results and verifiable evidence, then ID may well supplant current thinking on biogenesis and the Theory of Evolution. However, as long as ID insists on an unscientific premise and ignoring the plethora of available evidence, people will say that ID is unscientific. It’s not an attack, it’s fact. If ID is such a good “theory” it should be a simple matter to demonstrate its correctness in a scientific way. I challenge you to do so. You will become a very rich man.

    Note that I didn’t say “faith is wrong”, merely that it is unscientific. It is an unshakable truth that faith is unscientific as is intuition, gut feelings, and so forth.

  85. Leon

    You’re not mistaken. The Theory of Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, just its development. The origin is a separate question altogether. Creationists & IDers confuse the two because their ideas answer both questions and they assume evolution does the same.

    NotAFish, attacks on evolution get such a hot reaction because the theory is very, very well supported by the evidence, yet it’s currently under siege by unscientific people for unscientific reasons–that’s why people are so sensitive about it. Religious people are attacking one of the cornerstones of modern science not based on the evidence, but on their already-established beliefs.

    Evolution is not a theory in crisis–the overwhelming weight of evidence supports it. Now the thing is, if you (or someone else) came up with a hypothesis that was based just as strongly on the available evidence, and explained it even better than evolution does, that would open a legitimate dialogue in the scientific community.

    But the ID crowd’s arguement is basically that “I can’t imagine that all of this came about through millions of years of trial and error on the part of nature…and neither can you…so it’s obvious that evolution did not occur.” That’s an arguement from ignorance, not evidence.

    About the thing with SETI–no one argues that, if I built, say, a doghouse, it wouldn’t be intelligently designed (unless perhaps they saw the gruesome results of my attempts at carpentry). Yes, intelligent beings (humans, aliens perhaps) do exist. So what? SETI isn’t looking for signals from a creator being. It’s looking for signals from another civilization–that’s naturalistic, not supernatural. Accepting the ideas of SETI isn’t a contradiction of acceptance of evolution, any more than learning a new language is a contradiction of a belief that languages evolve over time.

    It’s important to make a distinction on this whole issue. Evolution states that organisms change over time to adapt to their environment. Now there may be a creator at work behind the scenes, causing those changes to take place. Evolution ONLY addresses the mechanism for the change; it doesn’t say there isn’t a supreme being behind it all. Those are separate questions, and ID is trying very hard to confuse the two.

  86. Hugh Jass

    Evolution does not, never has, and by the current state of the theory of evolution, will it try to make ANY claim as to explaining the origin of life. There are MANY evolutionary biologists, micro biologists, physiological chemists, and on and on, that currently and until a good answer is found DEBATE the origins of life. Evolution is an explanation for the Diversity of organisms only.

    Come up with a good alternative theory, one based on evidence and science. You will be welcomed into civil debate. Come up with a theory that debates evolution as it really is. Don’t bring me papers written for no other purpose than to say see because I misinterpreted someone’s research evolution doesn’t work. Bring me an ALTERNATE theory. One that explains in as much detail as evolution the diversity of organisms, then back that up. I don’t care to here arguments about why you think evolution is wrong. I want to here arguments as to why your theory is correct.

    Evolution is not political. The defense of evolution as good science is turned political BY the attack upon it that is clearly political in nature.

    I have also read many of the ID arguments, and many are not CLEARLY wrong, but are wrong none the less. They most often cite bad evidence and misquote evolutionary biologists or draw inaccurate conclusions based on half-truths. Do some IN DEPTH research on both sides of your debate.

    As far as ID being overshadowed by extremists, the extremists are the ones doing the “research”. The extremists are the ones putting it out there so the good people of simple faith who would like to be rational are subdued into thinking there is legitimate scientific place for it.

    So have you ever walked into a biology class room and questioned evolution? Sparks may fly if you attack it, but not question it. You will be asked to give your EVIDENCE in support of your claim. If you have any they will attempt to refute your argument with their EVIDENCE. If you have none they will say “then go get some and stop wasting my time.”

    Evidence does NOT mean, “Look how complex this biologic system is it makes no sense that it was just random chance!” Makes no sense to who? Evidence is NOT “I don’t see any transitional fossils so this creature was created as we see it today.”

    So go do your research on alternate theories. Please you’re right that is what good scientists do. But the conclusion should not be God did it, and made prior to starting your research. And in doing your research look for SUPPORT for YOUR theory. Currently ALL research i’ve seen from the ID camp is done for the sole purpose of saying evolution is wrong. That is not evidence of a new theory.

    My previous post about introducing Alchemy, Crystalwhateveritwouldbe, Astrology, and spell making into science classes was of course satirical, and inflammatory, but the point is in reality, there is as little science behind them, and as little place in a science classroom as ID.

    As far as relating ID to SETI? Fine go in that direction. Take SETI as a base model and go do your research to find the Designer. This has nothing to do with evolution. When you find the SCIENTIFIC evidence you are looking for come back. It will turn the scientific community on end, but you will be surprised by the number of truly happy hard core scientists there will be. Not all evolutionists are atheists, in fact by the strict definition atheists might be in the minority (that one is pulled outta my hat but I think I might be right).

  87. Nigel Depledge

    Hi, all. Looks like I’m a bit late coming to this debate.

    First off – Black Cat, I’m with you all the way on that comment.

    Second, NotAFish, when you say
    “You know what the real problem is here? That anything that speaks about origins that is NOT evolution is attacked, and frankly treated as heresy. What happend to the concept of debate? Why is science being decided in a court room, or legistrative session?”

    I must disagree. As has been ponted out, Evolutionary Theory is not about origins, it is about diversity. BUT, any attack on Evolutionary Theory is going up against one of the best-supported scientific theories that we humans have. I’ll say that again : best-supported theory. This means supported by evidence, experimentation, testing, observation, withstanding scientific challenges and more.

    Since Darwin wrote his magnum opus 150 years ago (give or take a little), the theory has been modified to take account of new understanding of the mechanisms that can lead to speciation, but the basic ideas are still sound. Variation within species exists. That variation is heritable. Not all members of a species are equally successful in passing their genes to the next generation. Species have changed over time (lots of it). Creatures once lived that are now extinct.

    The thing is, evolution has been debated. Extensively. And all the evidence to date indicates that it is either completely correct or pretty close to the truth.

    Remember also that science has more stringent requirements for evidence than a court of law (no court of law that I’ve ever heard of requires evidence to be reproducible).

    Furthermore, NotAFish says
    “If we are going to be honest, there is a lot of problems with the concept of Evolution, and it does not perfectly explain the origins of life. Thus leaves room for new research, and in normal fields of science would allow room for new theroies to be crafted. BUT not in this area, in this area you either work to prove evolution or your an oucast. That is not science, not good science at least.”

    Here you demonstrate your ignorance of both evolutionary theory and the way modern science progresses. You are the one who is sounding dogmatic.

    And, BTW, there are several groups conducting research into abiogenesis (which is a separate issue from evolutionary theory).

    Leon said:
    “But the ID crowd’s arguement is basically that “I can’t imagine that all of this came about through millions of years of trial and error on the part of nature…and neither can you…so it’s obvious that evolution did not occur.â€? That’s an arguement from ignorance, not evidence.”

    Sorry to be pedantic, Leon, but the ID-ers’ argument is from incredulity, to give their particular logical fallacy its correct name. This means, in essence, “I can’t imagine how it could have occurred naturally and I therefore choose not to believe tyhat it could have occurred naturally. Therefore, the Designer, etc.”

    Otherwise, Leon, I’m fully with you there. Also, Evolving Squid and Hugh Jass (not your real name, I hope?!) – good points, well made.

    What astonishes me is that the field of Christian apologetics exists at all. Christianity is suposed to be based on faith, isn’t it? But proof denies faith, so without faith, Christianity is nothing. Are these people really so insecure in their faith that they need proof?

    BTW, if you look in any dictionary, faith is defined as “belief in the absence of evidence” or something very similar.

    Hugh also said:
    “And in doing your research look for SUPPORT for YOUR theory. Currently ALL research i’ve seen from the ID camp is done for the sole purpose of saying evolution is wrong. That is not evidence of a new theory.”
    To extend this point, the best science distinguishes one theory from several others. So if, for the sake of argument, you had theories A, B, C, D and E to explain phenomenon X, the best experimenters would focus on the aspects of theories A – E that distinguish them from one another and then design experiments that would rule out one or several of them, or would find a result or take a measurement, the value of which only one or two of the theories predict.

    Finally (I know I’ve rambled a bit, but I’m very tired, it’s been a hard week and I think I deserve a couple of beers on a Friday evening), the theory of evolution is not something that was just invented. The evidence leads us to it. If Darwin had not published On the Origin of Species, someone else, sooner or later, would have come up with exactly the same idea, because it is the only logical and reasonable explanation of the evidence we find.

    Thank you, and good night.

  88. Hugh Jass

    Nigel Depledge Says:
    November 11th, 2005 at 1:45 pm
    “What astonishes me is that the field of Christian apologetics exists at all. Christianity is supposed to be based on faith, isn’t it? But proof denies faith, so without faith, Christianity is nothing. Are these people really so insecure in their faith that they need proof?�

    This is actually just like my comment about evolution not being political, but a response by the scientific community. “These” people aren’t insecure in their faith to need proof, “we” are, and continually remind them of it. The reason the Christian apologetics exist at all is in their constant quest to reach out and spread their faith (a central theme in most religions) they ran into a whole group of folks that need extra work; us. It is done from a standpoint of goodness.

    Basically if you found a particularly good restaurant, you’d probably tell your friends about it right? Well what if rather than a restaurant you found eternal salvation, and according to the teachings of that eternal salvation everyone on the planet was your friend? Take the next logical step from there. Normally I don’t have any objections to this way of thinking. But it can cross a line, where telling me about it and forcing it upon me get a little blurry, and whole heartedly rejecting my views when they are misinterpreted to conflict with theirs upsets me.

    No it’s not my real name, I’m immature, often hot tempered and don’t mind admitting that.

  89. Leon

    Nigel Depledge says:

    Sorry to be pedantic, Leon, but the ID-ers’ argument is from incredulity, to give their particular logical fallacy its correct name. This means, in essence, “I can’t imagine how it could have occurred naturally and I therefore choose not to believe tyhat it could have occurred naturally. Therefore, the Designer, etc.�

    Yes, that’s it. Got the wrong word in my brain as I typed. A Freudian slip, I suppose (and an unfortunate one–I don’t want to insinuate that someone who disagrees with me is ignorant).

  90. Leon

    Hugh Jass says:

    No it’s not my real name, I’m immature, often hot tempered and don’t mind admitting that.

    And a fellow Simpsons fan, I presume. Go science–in your face, Flanders!!

  91. hale_bopp

    Hugh Jass was the one person who actually was at Moe’s when Bart made a crank call, for the record. I am sure the name existed before that, but hey, it was a memorable scene.

    I am reminded of an old joke.

    A man is at his house a flood is starting. The water is up to the door of his house and a boat comes by and offers him a ride to safety. “No, that’s all right. God will save me” the man replies.

    The water keeps rising and the man ends up in the second floor of his house. Another boad comes by and offers to save him. “No, that’s all right. God will save me” the man says.

    The water keeps rising and the man climbs to the roof of his house. A helicopter sees the man and lowers a rope. “No, that’s okay. I have faith that God will save me,” the man declares.

    The water keeps rising and the man dies. He ends up in Heavan and talks to God. “God, I had faith in you, yet you didn’t save me. Why?”

    God looks at him incredulously and says, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter? What more do you want?”

    So, how does this apply? Sometimes, an over reliance on faith can blind us to the solutions that are right in front of our noses.

    It is important to keep faith out of science as faith does can blind us to reality. I have posted before about how I do not “believe” in evolution and tell my students that up front. I accept it as the best explanation based on currently available evidence. Yes, I have read a lot of creationism/ID arguments from a lot of the big names (Hovind, Behe, etc) and have yet to find anything to cast significant doubt on evolution from these guys (the really fun part is that when my students try to trip me up with a “flaw” in theory of evolution, I have the answer for them right on the tip of my tongue since I have read these works).

    I am the Jerry McGuire of science…”Show me the evidence! Show me the evidence!”

    Rob

  92. Hugh Jass

    my first ever post was that same joke. I said it was in New Orleans. And I didn’t present such a clear picture as to why I found it relevant, but could word for word ditto your entire post (except for the my students thing) ID has almost driven me to the teaching profession, but for the fact I live and love California and can’t afford to switch professions, and don’t want deal with the parents. Like I said I’m immature.

  93. Ed

    • Hugh Jass Says:
    November 10th, 2005 at 9:41 pm
    Um… Ed, I have a question. Let me paraphrase your post. ‘Evolution… Unconstitutional… High Tech State Religion. Blah Blah Blah… ‘Creation should be taught in science classes, because The Constitution does not say separation of church and state…’
    So which is it? Is Evolution, because its a High Tech Religion, Unconstitutional? Or is it ok to teach Creationism because the Constitution does not really make a separation of church and state?

    Hi Hugh Jass.
    My main point here is that evolution for the time being essentially has an exclusive in the public schools and in the public forum in general. All in the name of “Seperation of church and State, which I contend does not exist. This is what I mean by un constitutional. It has no fair rebuttal. I only speak for myself, I am no theologian, no scientist, I represent no one here but me, my wife and I.
    When I see how passionately evolution is promoted and defended here on this site. It certainly has the earmarks of a religious passion for someone who either has no religious or spiritual passion, or very little. Evolution defines who they are, to some, where they came from, and how things work. Most would reject the Bibles clear definition of all of these areas, or they subject God and His Holy word to the cold test tubes of science.
    I don’t understand how this can be, but I understand and respect your right to do so. I am just looking for some kind of fair balance. When science teachers seek to purposely challenge and even attempt to directly destroy a students faith. Understand that this is a captive audience. They cannot leave or even opt out. They have to sit there while some zealous teacher constantly barrages a student’s faith until the child either weathers the storm, if their faith is strong enough, or folds under what is essentially a government protected attack on that student’s right to believe as they choose. That is going on right now. Maybe not in every class by every teacher, but it has and does go on.
    I do not want to see the opposite happen either. I do not want faith forced on any child or adult, ever, period. Just some kind of fair balance that’s all. I am not really sure what that would be. I doubt either one of us will be totally pleased with the end result, but to be fair, it needs to be tried.

  94. Ed

    • Evolving Squid Says:
    November 10th, 2005 at 10:12 pm
    Faith != Science
    **********************************
    Not my point at all, however well thought out. My point is more that Science has become faith when it is used by over zealous skeptic minded teachers in a captive classroom environment, where students have to just sit there and take it, and use their position of authority in order to undermine and destroy that student’s faith. Faith which you graciously allowed to be passed on by the parents, instructed in churches, and hammered out of students in school by some science teachers on a mission like it was some kind of disease. Teachers who abuse their power and it has to stop. That is what I mean.
    Faith has to be presented somehow as a rebuttal to this insidious, unconstitutional attack. Just read some of Dr. Phil’s little love letters with a critical eye, and you will see what I mean. He wants to stamp out the Biblical account of creation. He and others like him are using the public school system in order to accomplish this. Equal time must be demanded in order to defend against this.

  95. Ed

    • TheBlackCat Says:
    November 10th, 2005 at 11:16 pm
    If you are going to ban the teaching of evolution because it is religion,
    While that sounds like a good ides to me, it would not pass muster with the Constitution. You may not think of evolution as a faith or religion. When I see how it is zealously defended and promoted, I feel like I am reading some kind of religious track. The zeal that some have expressed here is what I am referring to. Especially when everyone gets all worked up, it almost seems like a revival meeting. That is what I mean. I realize that it is not recognized as a formal religion. I am just trying to get some critical thinkers to think critically. Besides, when was the last time anyone went to bed biting their nails over the results of the next experiment that might prove evolution wrong? I mean, has evolution ever been really challenged, or tested? I think a lot of shadow boxing has been going on. In my humble opinion.
    What is its major deity?
    It doesn’t seem to have one, unless you count the good old FSM.
    Hopefully you are kidding about the FSM.
    Yes, I was kidding. Some hummer must be used every now and then, or we will just end up hating each other.
    I wish I had the time to really go over every thing that you wrote, but I need to go, I just don’t have enough functioning brain cells left at the end of the day.
    OK, that’s a freebie.

  96. Hugh Jass

    Ed Says:
    November 11th, 2005 at 6:02 pm
    “I am just looking for some kind of fair balance. When science teachers seek to purposely challenge and even attempt to directly destroy a students faith. Understand that this is a captive audience. They cannot leave or even opt out.”

    I must wholeheartedly agree. I have the utmost respect for those teachers I’ve had who have been able to keep their various personal agendas out of the classroom, and likewise have absolute disdain for those instructors who feel it is there duty not to teach, but to “convert� as it were in anyway religious or political. But the main argument is not about bad teachers and their influence. It has been about the place of ID in a science class and the notion that evolution is a threat to Judeo/Christian beliefs. I think there have been plenty of posts that go on about evolution and science, that they don’t threaten creationism.

    What is important is that ID cannot properly be taught in science classes. If you are worried about teachers pushing personal agendas now, what do you think is going to happen in that science class where an otherwise reasonable, fair, and respectful 9th grade general science teacher is forced to include ID in his course? His hand has just been forced to accept and teach a faith based religious subject, or reject those beliefs and push more personal ones, say the FSM. I know what I would do, and I would like to think in most circles I am knowledgeable and most of the time, respectful of all religious beliefs.

  97. Evolving Squid

    Faith has to be presented somehow as a rebuttal to this insidious, unconstitutional attack.

    Faith doesn’t belong in a science class. Period. Faith != Science. Teach all the faith you want in a comparative religions class. Teach faith in a philosophy class. But faith isn’t science and faith based explanations for things do not belong in science classes, ever.

    Personally, I don’t think people should be taught to have faith at all. IMO, they should be taught to question and think critically, to analyze available evidence, and make decisions based on evidence.

    In fact, people should ESPECIALLY be taught not to have faith in science because science isn’t about faith. People should be deciding for themselves, not having faith that scientists are right. The scientific method demands this kind of skepticism. Religion abhors it.

    Science has become faith when it is used by over zealous skeptic minded teachers in a captive classroom environment, where students have to just sit there and take it, and use their position of authority in order to undermine and destroy that student’s faith.

    If a student’s faith can be undermined by a single teacher, then I might conclude that the student didn’t have much faith to begin with. Obviously the faith is weak and cannot stand up to scrutiny. Science weeds out weak ideas by exposing them to scrutiny. If faith is such a good explanation for things, it too will stand to scrutiny.

    Science will teach the student to examine evidence, and form conclusions based on that evidence… then assimilate more evidence and modify previous conclusions. The student, applying that method to other areas of his life, may well lose home-taught faith in deities or other dogma. That’s not the teacher destroying or undermining the student’s faith – that’s the student’s mind opening up to a world where one does not need faith. Whether or not the student is better off this way is a personal matter for the student, not for you, not for me, not for his parents, not for law makers.

    Science is the opposite of faith. Faith doesn’t belong in a science class. They’re just not related concepts.

    I think, however, that faith does belong in school. In these modern years, with so many cultures mixing and blending into the fabric of the USA and Canada, a comparative religions course or two should be mandatory in high school so that students are granted an opportunity to learn and understand other people’s faiths. But that wouldn’t be a science class either, and you can bet that there’d be people whinging about how learning the tenets of Islam undermines their Christian faith, etc.

  98. Leon

    Ed says:

    My main point here is that evolution for the time being essentially has an exclusive in the public schools and in the public forum in general.

    That’s true, it is pretty much exclusive. But there’s a reason for that.

    The reason is that the overwhelming scientific evidence points toward evolution, and no other theory explains the available evidence nearly as well as does evolution. Given that, evolution *should* be taught exclusively in public schools as the explanation for the diversity of life on Earth, because our public schools should teach the results of scientific investigation. Science is NEUTRAL on religious questions–that’s exactly why it should be taught to avoid infringing on the separation of church and state.

    In a similar vein, our schools also teach mathematics exclusively, and offer no alternatives to, say (as a highly simplified example) 2+2=4. You’re not allowed to debate 2+2=4, because that’s just the way it is. It’s not religion; it’s mathematics. And IMO the reason there’s no challenge to it is because fundamentalist Christianity doesn’t see anything in the Bible that contradicts it.

  99. Leon

    Ed says:

    > Just read some of Dr. Phil’s little love letters with a
    > critical eye, and you will see what I mean.

    Now you’re attacking the BA himself. Blasphemy!!

    > He wants to stamp out the Biblical account of creation.

    Considering the Biblical account of creation is wrong as literally written, it would be a good idea to stamp out literal interpretations of it. Litarary or metaphorical interpretations of Genesis are quite another thing.

  100. Leon

    Evolving Squid Says:

    >> Faith has to be presented somehow as a rebuttal
    >> to this insidious, unconstitutional attack.
    >
    > Faith doesn’t belong in a science class. Period. Faith !=
    > Science. Teach all the faith you want in a comparative
    > religions class. Teach faith in a philosophy class. But faith
    > isn’t science and faith based explanations for things do
    > not belong in science classes, ever.

    Succinctly and accurately put, E. Squid.

  101. TheBlackCat

    Ed says: Besides, when was the last time anyone went to bed biting their nails over the results of the next experiment that might prove evolution wrong? I mean, has evolution ever been really challenged, or tested? I think a lot of shadow boxing has been going on. In my humble opinion.

    YOU MUST BE JOKING! Absolutely everything we have learned about biology, chemistry, paleontology, medicine, biochemistry, molecular biology, and animal breeding (to name but a few areas) has been a test of evolution. It is tested every day in countless labs across the globe. It has been tested with countless experiments since mankind first started domesticating animals and plants. It has passed every test thrown at it with flying colors. The fact that you would even say something so absolutely ludicrous shows you know absolutely nothing about what you are talking about. Evolution is THE most well supported scientific theory of all time. THAT is why we are defending it so strongly. It represents the pinnacle of scientific achievement. No, people are not sweating about their next experiment to test evolution. They no longer do experiments to specifically test evolution, because there is such a massive amount of evidence supporting it that such tests are redundant. However, every experiment they do tests evolution. Since the experiments are based on the assumption that evolution occured, if it didn’t then their tests would fail to give the predicted results. If evolution was wrong, pretty much every bit of research and experimentation in biology or biologically-related fields would fail, and people would ultimately track that back to flaws in evolution. That is how science works. We no longer test the germ theory of disease directly, but every treatment or diagnostic test for infection, every antibiotic, vaccine, anti-viral medication designed or used, ever time someone looks at a diseased tissue under a microscope they are testing the germ theory of disease. They are not worried that the germ theory will fail, but if it was flawed they would have picked it up (and in fact they did, which led to the discovery of prions’ role in human disease). We are all rallying around evolution because it ihas been set up as the elite advance guard of science. It is our strongest theory, and the first that has come under attack. If it falls, the rest of science will surely not be far behind. In a society, in fact an entire species, whose whole of achievement, in fact our very existance, is due to science, we take such a threat very seriously.

    And this whole “equal time” thing is hogwash. Equal time only applies to things that are equally valid. Creationism is not valid, certainly not as science. Do you think we should give equal time to astrology to balance out all those zealous astromers? Or how about giving alchemy equal time with chemistry? Or phrenology equal time with neuroscience? Or the four humours and leeching equal time with the germ theory of disease?

    Or while we are at it, why don’t we require Christian ministers to give equal time to Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Zorastrian, Vodoo, Greek, Roman, Persian, Polynesian, Babalonian, Native American, and every other belief that has been practiced? Surely if creationist want scientists equal time for creationist ideas in a science setting, then the creationists should be willing to give equal time to all the other religious belief in a christian setting. For that matter I do not see you asking that creationist ministers be required to give equal time to evolution in their sermons to balance out people’s opinions. That is pretty hypocritical. They want science to give equal time to their idea in a science setting, but are not willing to give equal time science or other religions in areas they control. Surely if you think that a non-religious idea can have a massive impact on people’s religion, than a religious idea can have an even greater impact. And do not tell me that classrooms are a captive audience. Children have just as little say about what church they go to as what school they go to. They are just as captive an audience in church as they are in a classroom, and at least as vulnerable considering they don’t just have the “teacher” (the minister in this case), they also have their parents and often many family friends and other respected adult figures there as well, figures who are not present in a science classroom.

  102. Leon

    TheBlackCat says:

    The fact that you would even say something so absolutely ludicrous shows you know absolutely nothing about what you are talking about.

    WHOA DUDE!!! Easy there. The point is to explain, not lambast. You make some valid points, but you’re putting it in a way that’s counterproductive.

  103. P. Edward Murray

    Ed,

    The Catholic Church says Evolution is the way God creates. Other folks who are even not Christian agree.

    Sorry, but you are in the minority and there is something ( not spoken about much ) called the …

    Tyranny of The Minority.

    And sadly, you seem to be part of it.

    Now, I don’t have any problem if you want to believe it yourself because no matter how many pieces of evidence I lay out there you won’t consider it.

    But, when you try to legislate it being taught in public schools, then I have a rather difficult time with it.

    At any rate, I think that it’s pretty telling that most of these I.D.ers are Republican Conservatives & Evangelicals.

    Based on what happened on Tuesday, I suspect that within another year, I.D.ers and other Republicans will, suddenly, be very quiet because they may not have a backing in Congress any more.

  104. Scott Mooney

    Ed, the ToE has been rigorously tested and retested over the last 150+ years. As of this writing, it is the only theory that:
    Makes accurate predictions that can be tested.
    Explains the process of how given traits develop in given species.
    Explains vestigal organs and limbs.
    Explains how viruses keep changing (I suppose we come up with a new flu vaccine every year just for entertainment?).
    Can be proven in a lab.
    Is consistent with all the physical evidence.

    There are no other competing theories aganst evolution because none of the alternate theories that came up have stood up to rigorous testing. The ID position isn’t even a theory, it’s a claim: “Goddidit.” Inquiry ends there. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. When “Goddidit” is the only answer to anything, all development and improvement comes to a screeching halt. If evidence against evolution turned up, then the theory would have to be modified or even thrown out entirely. That’s science. Carved-in-stone dogma is part of religion.

    Has anyone noticed that very few people dispute the germ theory of disease? Or the theory of gravity? Or the heliocentric theory of the Solar System? Why not? Because of the evidence for them. For some absurd reason, creationists deliberately close their eyes to all the evidence of evolution.

  105. Nigel Depledge

    Ed, you said:
    “My main point here is that evolution for the time being essentially has an exclusive in the public schools and in the public forum in general. All in the name of “Seperation of church and State, which I contend does not exist. This is what I mean by un constitutional. It has no fair rebuttal. I only speak for myself, I am no theologian, no scientist, I represent no one here but me, my wife and I.”

    Well, that first sentence has been answered in the posts above. If I take your argument sideways, the theories of gravity, relativity, optics, the atom, quantum mechanics and electromagnetism also have a classroom monopoly. You do not seem to have any objection to this. Why not? Why pick out evolution exlusively? In terms of its scientific standing and the amount of evidence supporting it, evolutionary theory is no different from any of these.

    Plus, your attitude appears very 19th-century. Let your wife speak for herself.

    Ed, you also said:
    “When I see how passionately evolution is promoted and defended here on this site. It certainly has the earmarks of a religious passion for someone who either has no religious or spiritual passion, or very little. Evolution defines who they are, to some, where they came from, and how things work. Most would reject the Bibles clear definition of all of these areas, or they subject God and His Holy word to the cold test tubes of science.”

    No. TRUTH is passionately defended here on this site. According to all the available evidence, evolutionary theory is either completely true or pretty close to the truth. A lot of the people who visit this site believe passionately in truth. The only objective measure of truth that is available is the evidence (including, for evolutionary theory, the fossil record, molecular evidence, various experiments and predictions that are confirmed by new discoveries and so on). Remember that the only measure we have of the truth in the Bible is an assertion in the Bible, which is circular reasoning.

    Be that as it may, it makes sense to me to say “When God created the Universe, He set up all the required physical laws to develop from its initial state to what we see today”. No scientist will question or oppose this, because it comments on something that is beyond the realm of science to assess. I believe that the Bible has some very important things to say to us. However, those things are not science, they are moral. Therefore, I do not take anything in the Bible literally. Biblical literalism demonstrates a denial of reality, because there are too many instances in which the literal text of the Bible is either at odds with reality or at odds with itself.

    You talk about the Bible’s clear definitions, yet the Bible is incredibly vague about matters that are current topics of science. If what I have read elsewhere is correct, different creationists cannot even agree on what the Bible means by the word “kind”. The wording of the Bible is (by coincidence?) a remarkable reflection of what was known about the natural world at the time the various bits of it were written.

    Moreover, you’re slipping from rational debate into rhetoric : “subject God and His Holy word to the cold test tubes of science” indeed! Please explain what you meant by this. If I take what you say literally, the original pages of Biblical text have been put into test-tubes and … er … well, put in a freezer, perhaps. Somehow, I don’t think that’s what you meant to say. If you meant that scientists are subjecting “God’s creation” to detailed and objective examination and analysis, then I say “Go, Science!”. What’s wrong with learning more about God’s creation and hence appreciating in greater depth and detail what He hath wrought? Oh, look, you’ve got me at it now!

  106. Ed

    Whew! OK. There is just too much here for me to take you all on individually. What really is missing in this debate is a nice comfortable setting with a wide selection of munchies and drinks. We would get animated, red in the face, the carpet may suffer some from the excitement and a few spilled drinks, but after 10 or 15 minutes of loud boisterous debating, we would probably find that we have more in common than we realize. Sure, we would not see eye to on this particular area, but in a more personal setting, once the dust has settled we might even find that we.. Dare I say it, might like each other? Some of you have a wonderful wit and sense of humor. I enjoy a good laugh too.
    Let’s take a step back, have a nice quiet evening for a change. Then shake hands and come out swinging another day. I have just come through the eye of Hurricane Wilma a few short weeks ago, and even though I have power again, it takes a while to get fully back into stride. I am really enjoying this; I am just not as resilient as I used to be.
    Would you consider cutting a stubborn, cranky old set in his ways Creationist just a little slack? I would like some time to properly digest what you all have written here and try to give better than a shoot from the key board response. I would like to close with the words of Red Skelton. “Good night and May God Bless�.

  107. Leon

    Not at all a bad idea. I think a genteel get-together with many drinks would do us all some good.

    I appreciate your stepping back and not knee-jerking some of the, well, provocative language that’s come out in the last few posts. If we come off a bit hot-headed, it’s because much of what’s said by the ID and YEC crowd contradicts the rational principles we stand behind.

    I do hope some of the conversation here gives you food for thought. Convincing others is what we always think we want, but getting people to stop and think is a tougher job and, I think, a loftier goal.

  108. NelC

    Tcha! This “just folks” routine is unconvincing. Ed is an uncritical mouthpiece for all the rubbish propaganda of the creationists. He doesn’t know what science is, he posts illogical, inaccurate garbage, and then cries off from argument by saying he’s a bit tired and can’t we all be friends?

    No, we can’t. Ed, we see this kind of thing all the time. All your cohort do this. They throw some mud, stand around looking smug for a while, then disappear when presented with an argument. In a few days you’ll be back, repeating the same old cliches as though you’re completely deaf and blind. It’s tiresome. Take your corrupt distortion of Christianity away, nobody’s buying.

  109. P. Edward Murray

    Ed,

    May I suggest that you look up Brother Guy, the Vatican astronomer?
    If you just Google “Brother Guy, the vatican astronomer” you will find him.

    One interview by a religious group was very concise and to the point.

    I mean, if the Catholic Church can agree wouldn’t you say we could be right?

    Is it possible that your just a bit mistaken? Not about God creating but how he creates.

    Please, I doubt that you really are an amateur astronomer but if not perhaps it’s time for you to get that kind of insight?

  110. P. Edward Murray

    NelC,

    I guess you are talking about Trolls? At least that’s what I call them.
    And you are correct, they seem to spring up or crawl out of a Black Hole, spout their stuff and when it quiets down they kind of slink away if you are lucky.

  111. Ed

    OK. Now that I have had some time to synthesize what has been written, let me see if I can sum it all up.
    You are all right, I and all who accept the Biblical account of Creation, are all wrong, period. And because your position on this subject has passed all possible scientific scrutiny known to man; and my little humble belief has passed none, period. I should just sit down, shut up, mind my own business check my personal beliefs and my Constitutional rights at the door, and stop rocking the boat, period. I should open the doors of all churches so that equal time for all faiths can be proclaimed there, period. And give equal criticism to all of the scientific disciplines and stop picking on just poor old evolution. Oh I almost forgot, period. Some of you seem to like to do that a lot, write some clever little statement, and spell out period, like that was supposed to end the debate. It ends a sentence, but it doesn’t end a debate or a discussion. Period, see I can do that to. Does that make my points any more accurate or succinct? I didn’t think so.
    OK, enough with the periods, I just needed to get my sarcasm vented and out of the way. Thank you for reading thus far, why am I here? Good question, why am I here? I am not here to convert any one to my particular faith or world view, although I would rejoice if any of you did. I am not here to thump my Bible at you, in case you haven’t noticed I haven’t quoted it very much. There is a reason for that. Many of you do not recognize the Bibles authority as the inspired in errant word of the living God. Not all of you, but I think it is safe to say that the vast majority do not share my acceptance of its authority. So quoting from, or thumping as I have heard it said would not impress you. It all comes down to this point; what is the foundation of your authority in life. What filter do you pass everything through? We all have a filter. For some it is naturalistic only science. For others it might just be them selves or their own intellect. For me it is the Bible. I am not a perfect person, I do not walk on water, nor turn it into wine, nor part it. And yes, my stuff stinks, just ask my wife. But my fundamental foundation on how I look at the world, and the issues of life, and living it, I try to base it on the Principals and truths of the Bible.
    On the issue of why have I not questioned other scientific disciplines. My simple answer to that would be, if it does not have a conflict with how the Bible tells me that I got here, or who I am etc. I don’t really have a problem with it. I use cell phones, I drive a car, I use a computer, and I cook my food in a microwave. But if my alarm clock ever woke my by proclaiming; “Rise and shine you lucky monkey, it is time to swing down and out of that bed just like your ape like ancestors swung down out of a tree in Africa millions of years ago?� That alarm clock would be on its way to the landfill. My rule of thumb is if it doesn’t conflict with what God put in the Bible, I am OK with it. Many parts of science do not have a basic conflict with scripture. So, medical advances, space exploration, great! I have a small collection of meteorites and space flown artifacts, love it. Not all science has a conflict. When it does, I just do not recognize its authority to do so. What do I mean by that? When a nation has policies that do not pass muster with your nations policies, if it is bad enough, your nation does not recognizes that Nations government. In essence we do not recognize your government’s authority until you make the following changes. For example, the US does not recognize Cuba. I am not debating the pros and cons of this; I am just giving Cuba as an example. Please do not respond to that. Does this mean that Cuba does not exist? No. It just means that they are on a kind of international time out, until they change their ways.
    I do not recognize the authority, and hence the truth or accuracy of evolution simply because it presumes to tell me that I am the result of some cosmic burp billions of years ago. That I am not created in the image of the Living God, it presumes that I am a lucky monkey whose ancestors swung down out of the trees of Africa millions of years ago. Then ran like hell to get away from some predator who liked monkey for lunch. I simply so not recognize it. Evolution is on a cosmic time out until it learns to behave better.
    Do I expect all of you to just give up and agree with me, saying, “Oh Ed! It is all so clear to me now! Thank you for straightening me out on that. I was so confused!� No, I don’t. It would be nice, but, no I don’t. So why am I here? I am not going to argue science, I am not a scientist. I am not going to beat you over the head with my Bible, it’s authority is not recognized here. I am simply trying to appeal to you as a fellow citizen of this country on the authority of the Constitution. I am simply looking for a fair shake, and a fair rebuttal on a theory that is not shared as ultimate truth by every one. I was asked what about
    ***Or while we are at it, why don’t we require Christian ministers to give equal time to Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Zorastrian, Vodoo, Greek, Roman, Persian, Polynesian, Babalonian, Native American, and every other belief that has been practiced? Surely if creationist want scientists equal time for creationist ideas***
    There is a difference between the schools and other public forums as they are supported by the tax dollars that we all pay. So no, that doesn’t mean my input triumphs, nor your input exclusively, we both, and all who have an interest should have fair input as to what goes on in a public forum. Churches are open to the public, but are funded by the respective congregations. They get to decide what goes on in there as they are footing the bill.
    I actually did attend a church in my twenties where the pastor did invite speakers from different faiths to come and share what they believed. That was not former members, it was Mormon missionaries, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I seem to recall a Rabbi and a Muslim cleric coming as well. They spoke from the pulpit, took questions, and were invited to attend a reception afterwards. The Pastor wanted us to get to know what other faiths believed and did not fear turning over his pulpit for a number of weeks over that summer. He also did follow up lesions to explain any differences, but I learned a lot and was happy that he did it. It shouldn’t be all the time, but every now and then I think it would be interesting. So no, that does not scare me.
    Should they be granted equal time in the schools? I am not here advocating for them, but I see no clear Constitutional way to block it. It might be inconvenient, it might be annoying. A good school board should be able to come up with a lesson plan that fairly covers it. A good teacher should be able to teach it. The Constitution is not here to make teachers jobs easier, it is there to guarantee the right to be heard. Not to allow a school board to stamp out a belief because it may not be popular, or just cumbersome and inconvenient. It is there to guarantee rights.
    That is why I am here. I am just trying to present a view that is not commonly shared here in Bad Astronomy. I actually did not come here to pick a fight. I originally came over from collectspace.com because Phil was doing such a bang up job debunking the moon landing hoaxers. When I saw how he was treating my people? I could not just stand idly by and let him get away with it. So I popped into a phone booth, put on my “Conservative Man� costume, and here I am. I haven’t been active for a while so it smells of moth balls. Sorry about that chief. And I am just making your lives miserable! I am sorry, I am stubborn, I can’t help it, but I am a conservative Republican evangelical right wing extremist. It is my nature to annoy! I don’t have to do anything but exist, or walk down the street and I annoy people. I am sorry; I don’t mean to be a blessed pain in the back pocket. I just am.
    So that is why I am here, declaring the Constitutional right to be heard, in the public forum, on the air waves, in the press and yes in the schools. Until we meet again, or you bombard me with caustic responses, I remain yours truly, Ed. “Conservative Man�.

  112. P. Edward Murray

    Ed,

    I don’t believe you ever told us that you even own a telescope or have looked through one?

  113. P. Edward Murray

    Ed,

    Why do you think you are right?
    Haven’t you ever been wrong at all?

    Perhaps this one time you are not right?

  114. NelC

    Ed first said:

    “Finally a ray of sunshine has burst forth in the heartland of Kansas!

    Maybe this little fragile ember of hope will finally roar to life and put an end to the death grip that the theory of evolution has had on the education system of WE THE PEOPLE.”

    Ed later said:

    “I actually did not come here to pick a fight.”

    Stop BSing us, Ed. A fight is precisely what you wanted.

    To address the specific point of teaching creationism in science classes, creationism has no more place in a biology class than Marxism has in a drive ed lesson. It’s a silly idea, regardless of the merits of the Bible. Nothing you can say will make it even less silly.

  115. Evolving Squid

    I should open the doors of all churches so that equal time for all faiths can be proclaimed there, period.

    We’re not talkign about changing churches, we’re talking about changing schools. Forcing the teaching of Christian or other faith-based explanations in science classes is as inappropriate as teaching Wicca in Catholic Sunday School. I can’t believe you’re not smart enough to see that, so you must be deliberately acting obtuse.

    There is a reason for that. Many of you do not recognize the Bibles authority as the inspired in errant word of the living God.

    That is good. Many of us can quote it right back at you anyway. It would add nothing to the debate.

    For example, the US does not recognize Cuba. I am not debating the pros and cons of this; I am just giving Cuba as an example. Please do not respond to that. Does this mean that Cuba does not exist? No. It just means that they are on a kind of international time out, until they change their ways.

    The difference between your analogy and this debate is that although the US does not recognize Cuba, the existence of Cuba can be tested. The Theory of Cuba says there is a sovereign nation on an island, about 100 miles off the coast of Florida. There is evidence to support this claim – satellite photos indicate a large, cigar shaped island. Radio provides evidence of transmitters located in the vicinity of the island that broadcast Spanish and English programming, and so on.

    Although I personally have never actually set foot on Cuba, the evidence that is available to me leads to the unshakable conclusion that the theory of Cuba is correct and Cuba exists, regardless of the position of the US government.

    The Theory of Evolution is like the Theory of Cuba. All the evidence points to its correctness, and although I’ve never actually seen something evolve before my eyes, I have confidence in the correctness of the theory because I can follow the evidence to a logical conclusion. It doesn’t matter what I think of having some ape-like proto-homonid in my prehistoric family tree because the veracity of the theory stands on a firm foundation of evidence.

    Faith-based reasoning does not lead to the same conclusions. Wherever evidence fails, faith-based reasoning requires that I abandon logic. Because of this, I must conclude that faith-based resaoning is flawed at best, and patently false at worst. What I think of the value of faith in the world or to an individual is simply not relevant. What is relevant is that faith cannot be used to reach a logical, reasoned conclusion about anything. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t belong in a science class.

    Should they be granted equal time in the schools? I am not here advocating for them, but I see no clear Constitutional way to block it. It might be inconvenient, it might be annoying. A good school board should be able to come up with a lesson plan that fairly covers it. A good teacher should be able to teach it.

    Absolutely! In a comparative religions course. Religion is not science. Say that over and over until it sinks in.

    I think it would be an excellent idea for all students to take comparative religions, right along side their science classes… but not IN their science classes.

  116. Nigel Depledge

    Ed, you say:
    “But my fundamental foundation on how I look at the world, and the issues of life, and living it, I try to base it on the Principals and truths of the Bible.”

    Gee, that must be tough. I just try to be nice to people, and have fun where I can. Sometimes it’s really hard, but, hey, I’m only human.

    But, Ed, when you say things like this:
    “On the issue of why have I not questioned other scientific disciplines. My simple answer to that would be, if it does not have a conflict with how the Bible tells me that I got here, or who I am etc.”

    This is (a) cherry-picking of the first order, and (b) just plain wrong. In support of point (a), there is no difference between the kind of evidence supporting evolutionary theory and the evidence supporting such theories as relativity, quantum theory, atomic theory and so on. So, in essence, you are claiming to reject one field of science because you don’t like its implications (yes, that really is what it boils down to, Ed). However, in so doing, you are also rejecting the science that you claim to accept. This is because science is not about picking and choosing; science is about drawing conclusions based solely on the evidence we derive from the natural world. By rejecting an area of science, you refuse to accept this principal aspect of what scientific investigation means.

    Point (b), on the other hand, seems a bit like I’m automaticvally gainsaying your assertion. However, there is no conflict between Christian faith and evolution. Many scientists are Christians; many Christians are also scientists; there is nothing about Christian faith that is at odds with the theory of evolution. Unless, that is, you claim that your interpretation of the Bible is the only valid one.

    Ed, you also say:
    “My rule of thumb is if it doesn’t conflict with what God put in the Bible, I am OK with it.”

    Actually, I think you’ll find that men wrote the Bible. Or do you reject modern Biblical scholarship too?

    Ed, you also say:
    “Not all science has a conflict. When it does, I just do not recognize its authority to do so.”

    This clearly shows a failure to understand how science operates. Either you accept methodological naturalism and hence ALL of science, or you do not. There is no half-way house. By way of analogy, consider a judge. He or she must make decisions based on the evidence presented (at least, in those courts that do not include a jury). He / she must strive to make an objective decision based solely on the evidence. If a judge were to say: “actually, I reject this evidence because I don’t agree with its implications” there would be an outcry. And quite rightly, too.

    And science has more stringent criteria for evidence than the criminal justice systems of the Western world.

    How much authority do you think scientists believe science to have? Because I think it has precisely none at all. The only authority to which we can refer is the evidence, i.e. the natural world itself. It is the only authority that can have any real meaning when trying to determine why and how things we see are the way they are.

    Your analogy of recognising authority:
    “When a nation has policies that do not pass muster with your nations policies, if it is bad enough, your nation does not recognizes that Nations government.”
    is, I’m sorry to tell you, a poor one. You are saying that a nation that does not behave in what we consider to be a civilised manner does not have its authority recognised. Well, that means that we (i.e. other nations) are always judging one another, which is fair and proper to a certain extent. Science is not allowed to do that. Scientists must form theories that explain the evidence we find. We have no option to judge the rightness or wrongness of a particular piece of evidence. In science, nature has the final say. And this often goes against the expectations of scientists (hence the famous quote that many great discoveries are heralded by the phrase “That’s odd…”).

    When you say:
    “I do not recognize the authority, and hence the truth or accuracy of evolution simply because it presumes to tell me that I am the result of some cosmic burp billions of years ago. That I am not created in the image of the Living God, it presumes that I am a lucky monkey whose ancestors swung down out of the trees of Africa millions of years ago.”

    I’m going to assume that you are merely demonstrating your ignorance of what evolutionary theory actually does say (as opposed to creating a deliberate parody). Evolutionary theory makes no comment about how life began. That is abiogenesis, and it is a field with some strong ideas, but nothing that anyone would call a solid Theory. Also, you might think of yourself as a monkey, but you are not one.

    Evolutionary theory does not presume anything. It is deduced from evidence. A lot of evidence. And, as a scientific theory, it has no competitors. All its challengers have fallen by the wayside. Why? Because they could not explain the evidence as well as the theory of evolution does.

    If anything, you are the one being presumptious.

    Ed, you also said:
    “I am simply looking for a fair shake, and a fair rebuttal on a theory that is not shared as ultimate truth by every one.”

    Oh, dear, that is getting to be rather a stale old chestnut. NO scientific theory is ever considered to be ultimate truth. Science is a slave to evidence. As such it has been immensely successful. What do you mean by a fair rebuttal? It seems from your posts above that you are trying to replace a scientific theory with religious dogma. Dogma is a belief despite evidence to the contrary. Science as a whole is the opposite of dogmatic. Scientific theories are always updated or replaced in the light of new evidence that can not be explained by an existing theory.

    Another bit:
    “Should they be granted equal time in the schools? I am not here advocating for them, but I see no clear Constitutional way to block it.”

    Well, judging from your baseless attack on evolutionary theory, you ARE advocating equal time in schools. And, yes, the first amendment does say that Congress cannot make a law that favours one religion over others, nor denigrates any religion. Hence, the government can have no say in matters of faith. Creationism is based entirely on faith. Therefore, it cannot be taught in public (state-funded) schools.

    Ed, you also said:
    “That is why I am here. I am just trying to present a view that is not commonly shared here in Bad Astronomy. I actually did not come here to pick a fight.”

    You are trying to present a view that is supported by no evidence whatsoever. At a website that is requented by scientists and people who are fascinated and amazed by what science has discovered. Therefore, you are either unaware of what science means, or you are proselytising. Keep your faith to yourself. Believe whatever you wish about the universe. But don’t try to foist that off on others. For me, it is extremely distasteful.

    Thanks to anyone who has read this far. Good night.

  117. TheBlackCat

    ED: “You are all right, I and all who accept the Biblical account of Creation, are all wrong, period. And because your position on this subject has passed all possible scientific scrutiny known to man; and my little humble belief has passed none, period. I should just sit down, shut up, mind my own business check my personal beliefs and my Constitutional rights at the door, and stop rocking the boat, period. ”

    Glad we cleared that up. Except the part about constitutional rights, you do not have the right to force your religious beliefs on others.

    ED: “I should open the doors of all churches so that equal time for all faiths can be proclaimed there, period.”

    If YOU expect scientists you give equal weight to your religious ideas in places where science is taught, then it is only fair that you give equal weight to scientific ideas in places where your religion is taught. Claiming that science should respect your ideas when you refuse to give equal respect to science’s ideas is hypocrisy of the highest order. I personally would be far happier if religion stayed out of science classrooms altogether, but if you are going to demand something from science than it is only fair that science demands the same thing from you.

    ED: “And give equal criticism to all of the scientific disciplines and stop picking on just poor old evolution.”

    If you are going to reject one of the best supported scientific theories ever, you are rejecting the scientific method itself and thus all science.

    ED: “Many of you do not recognize the Bibles authority as the inspired in errant word of the living God. Not all of you, but I think it is safe to say that the vast majority do not share my acceptance of its authority. So quoting from, or thumping as I have heard it said would not impress you. It all comes down to this point; what is the foundation of your authority in life. What filter do you pass everything through? We all have a filter. For some it is naturalistic only science. For others it might just be them selves or their own intellect. For me it is the Bible. I am not a perfect person, I do not walk on water, nor turn it into wine, nor part it. And yes, my stuff stinks, just ask my wife. But my fundamental foundation on how I look at the world, and the issues of life, and living it, I try to base it on the Principals and truths of the Bible.”

    So you think the Bible is the innerant word of god? It is infallible, and everything it says is perfectly true? Then I assume you believe that the Earth is the center of the universe, that the Earth is flat, that grasshoppers and some other insects have four legs (by definition all insects have 6 legs), that rabbits chew their cud, that slavery is acceptable, that disobedient children should be stoned, that working on the sabbath should be punishable by death, that happiness is smashing children on rocks, that cursing is punishable by death, etc. And I assume you follow Jewish dietary law as well. These are all taken directly from the bible, if you believe it is the innerant truth than you must follow all of these as well. There are also a number of contradictions in the Bible, so it cannot be innerant because it contradicts itself.

    ED: “On the issue of why have I not questioned other scientific disciplines. My simple answer to that would be, if it does not have a conflict with how the Bible tells me that I got here, or who I am etc. I don’t really have a problem with it. I use cell phones, I drive a car, I use a computer, and I cook my food in a microwave. But if my alarm clock ever woke my by proclaiming; “Rise and shine you lucky monkey, it is time to swing down and out of that bed just like your ape like ancestors swung down out of a tree in Africa millions of years ago?â€? That alarm clock would be on its way to the landfill. My rule of thumb is if it doesn’t conflict with what God put in the Bible, I am OK with it. Many parts of science do not have a basic conflict with scripture. So, medical advances, space exploration, great! I have a small collection of meteorites and space flown artifacts, love it. Not all science has a conflict. When it does, I just do not recognize its authority to do so. ”

    The literal interpretation of genesis does not just reject evolution, it rejects physics, relativity, quantum mechanics, Newtonian mechanics, chemistry, geology, climatology, anthropology, paleontology, astronomy, astrophysics, planetary science, mineralogy, biochemistry, meteorology, oceanography, taxonomy, zoology, microbiology, genetics, particle physics, cosmology, seismology, materials science, ecology, anatomy, cladistics, cytology, epidemiology, linguistics, sociology, as well as the scientific method which would eliminate any branch of science they might not be directly attacking. If that isn’t enough, they are also targeting ancient history in the process. So you are really just cherry-picking evolution because you find it the most offensive. If you are truly believe the bible is literally true, you must reject all science and all the technology of this world that is based on it.

    ED: “What do I mean by that? When a nation has policies that do not pass muster with your nations policies, if it is bad enough, your nation does not recognizes that Nations government. In essence we do not recognize your government’s authority until you make the following changes. For example, the US does not recognize Cuba. I am not debating the pros and cons of this; I am just giving Cuba as an example. Please do not respond to that. Does this mean that Cuba does not exist? No. It just means that they are on a kind of international time out, until they change their ways.”

    What the US government does or does not recognize does not change the facts. Whether the US recognizes it or not, Cuba exists, it is a sovereign country, and that country is under the control of a man named Fidel Castro. The fact that the US does not recognize Castro’s rule does not change the fact that he is the ruler. What someone does or does not believe is irrelevant to the way thing really are. If I were to try to tell someone that Cuba does not exist because I don’t recognize it, then I will likely be thrown in an insane asylum.

    To quote Philip Dick:
    “Reality is what refuses to go away when I stop believing in it.”

    ED: “I do not recognize the authority, and hence the truth or accuracy of evolution simply because it presumes to tell me that I am the result of some cosmic burp billions of years ago. That I am not created in the image of the Living God, it presumes that I am a lucky monkey whose ancestors swung down out of the trees of Africa millions of years ago. Then ran like hell to get away from some predator who liked monkey for lunch. I simply so not recognize it. Evolution is on a cosmic time out until it learns to behave better.”

    Nobody is asking you to believe evolution based on what it says, they are asking you to accept the truth of evolution based on the facts. The evidence for evolution is nature itself, and anybody with eyes and a brain can see it for themself. You can choose to reject reality if you want, that is your business, but reality will keep on doing its thing no matter what you choose believe.

    ED: “Do I expect all of you to just give up and agree with me, saying, “Oh Ed! It is all so clear to me now! Thank you for straightening me out on that. I was so confused!â€? ”

    The reason nobody is going to say that is because you haven’t said anything we haven’t heard before. You haven’t said anything we didn’t expect you to say. These are not new arguments, despite what you may think.

    ED: “I am simply looking for a fair shake, and a fair rebuttal on a theory that is not shared as ultimate truth by every one. I was asked what about”

    I see no reason to give you a fair shake when you refuse to give us one.

    ED: “There is a difference between the schools and other public forums as they are supported by the tax dollars that we all pay. So no, that doesn’t mean my input triumphs, nor your input exclusively, we both, and all who have an interest should have fair input as to what goes on in a public forum. Churches are open to the public, but are funded by the respective congregations. They get to decide what goes on in there as they are footing the bill.”

    That doesn’t change the fact that you are demanding something from us that you refuse to do yourself.

    ED: “Should they be granted equal time in the schools? I am not here advocating for them, but I see no clear Constitutional way to block it. It might be inconvenient, it might be annoying. A good school board should be able to come up with a lesson plan that fairly covers it. A good teacher should be able to teach it. The Constitution is not here to make teachers jobs easier, it is there to guarantee the right to be heard. Not to allow a school board to stamp out a belief because it may not be popular, or just cumbersome and inconvenient. It is there to guarantee rights.”

    I have already covered the meaning of the establishment clause, as sated by one of the people who was instrumental in writing it.

    ED: “That is why I am here. I am just trying to present a view that is not commonly shared here in Bad Astronomy. I actually did not come here to pick a fight. I originally came over from collectspace.com because Phil was doing such a bang up job debunking the moon landing hoaxers. When I saw how he was treating my people? I could not just stand idly by and let him get away with it. So I popped into a phone booth, put on my “Conservative Manâ€? costume, and here I am. ”

    I see, so it is okay for Phil to treat moon hoax theorists a certain way because you are not a moon hoax theorists, but when he starts attacking something that is far more wrong, in direct conflct with far more science, is opposed by far more evidence, and has the potential to do far more harm to our country, but that you subscribe to, the behavior is suddenly inappropriate? As I said, you are being very hippocritical about all this. Things apply to others but do not apply to you.

    And before you start claiming that I would be up in arms if Phil attacked something I hold dear, let me tell you I would not if the science supported him in an unambiguous way, as is the case here. In the end, I follow the evidence. If the evidence says I am wrong, than I am wrong. I do not reject reality because I do not like what reality has to say. To quote Richard Feynman:
    “I’m going to tell you the theory and you’ll think it’s crazy; many of you won’t want to believe it. But it doesn’t matter if you LIKE it or not, because IT’S THE WAY IT IS. Nature doesn’t care if you don’t like the way she does things; they happen that way whether you like them or not.”

  118. Ed

    • P. Edward Murray Says:
    November 13th, 2005 at 8:06 pm
    Ed,
    May I suggest that you look up Brother Guy, the Vatican astronomer?
    If you just Google “Brother Guy, the vatican astronomer� you will find him.
    One interview by a religious group was very concise and to the point.
    I will be honest with you; initially I had no intention of looking this up. But since you have been so nice about pointing this out. and consistently nice about it, unlike others who come and spit venom. Actually you have been one of the nicer ones here, I will look it up. I will let you know. By the way I really am not a troll. I just play one on television.

  119. phlapjaq

    I found this on a website analyzing the engineering involed in the World Trade Center collapse. It had nothing to do with evolution but I think it cuts right to the heart of the problem with “teaching” ID in science classes.

    The following is from that website:
    As scientists and engineers, we must not succumb to speculative thinking when a tragedy such as this occurs. Quantitative reasoning can help sort fact from fiction, and can help us learn from this unfortunate disaster. As Lord Kelvin said,

    “I often say . . . that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.�

  120. Nigel Depledge

    Phlapjaq, I think that’s a neat summary of the way many of us view science.

    Ed, I don’t know who’s been spitting venom (although clearly Leon felt the need to restrain the Black Cat’s enthusiam at one point). It seems to me that the views you put forth have been thoroughly dissected and, to a large extent, refuted.

    There are several reasons for this. I hope that, if I try to explain a little, you might feel less attacked.

    (1) Where you touch on science, it is apparent that you are not yourself a scientist. This comes across in several ways: (a) you are not fully conversant with what evolutionary theory actually says about our world; (b) you seem to be repeating arguments that have been refuted before (sometimes repeatedly); (c) you seem to have accepted a point of view handed to you from an authority without any critical assessment of it on your part; and (d) your point of view does not appear to have changed, even after you have been presented with a whole raftload of evidence that either contradicts what you have said or supports the theory you are rejecting.

    (2) Notice that, almost exclusively, it is your arguments that are being attacked, not you personally. I have some relatives who are creationists, and they are lovely people to spend time with. I just can’t discuss my work with them. However, you have stepped into the arena of science, and your views and arguments will be assessed critically.

    (3) No-one has any objection to people (yourself included) worshipping any deity they choose (provided you harm no other) – be it the Judaeo-Christian God, Allah, Krishna, Vishnu, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, (and it’s a big but) you seem to be supporting the idea of teaching something in science classes that is (a) demonstrably not science, and (b) based on a religious idea. US public schools are not the forum in which to teach religion. There are countless places where religion IS taught in the US (for example, Catholic schools, Mosques and people’s homes). No-one is suppressing anyone’s right to follow whatever religion they choose. Visiting this website, however, there are many people who support the teaching of science (and nothing but science) in science classes.

    That’s all for now from me.

  121. Irishman

    Ed Said:
    > I am just as opposed to forced or coerced conversions as you are. I just want a fair place at the table. Nothing more, nothing less.

    That’s funny, why is it the Christians who just want “a fair place at the table” are so adamant that “In God We Trust” belongs on our money; The Ten Commandments belong posted in government buildings like schools and courtrooms; the Pledge of Allegiance needs “one nation under God”; that government meetings need to open with an invocation (i.e. a prayer), and that prayer must be to a generic monotheistic God, but Pagans, Hindus, etc need not apply; that high school football games (and other sports events) need to be opened by a group prayer (to that same monotheisitic God); that tax money should be given to religious private schools to teach sectarian (i.e. religious) agendas; that tax money should be given to religious groups to perform “charitable acts” that often involve religious methods. Where is the fair place at the table for Buddhists, Pagans, Wiccans, Hindus, Seikhs, Muslims, Jews, Taoists, Chinese ancestor worshipers, Voudouns, Native American spiritualists? Where is the fair place at the table for Humanists, and those with no religious preference or no religious beliefs at all? Why can’t we follow the principles on which this country was founded, that religious beliefs are the personal choice of the individual and that the government shouldn’t show preference for any religious beliefs or lack thereof? Somehow Christians seem to think that their “fair place at the table” is a larger and more significant place than anyone else’s.

    Let’s put our cards on the table. Yes, christians are losing privileges that they have enjoyed in this country, but these are privileges that they should not have had based upon equal treatment to all, they are privileges at the expense of all other groups. These privileges are not in keeping with the intent of the founding of this nation. When this country was inspired by the beautiful words “all men are created equal”, the words were really interpreted to mean “there’s no right to kinghood or aristocracy, but those lesser peoples like Africans and Indians make fine slaves”. It took some time for this country to realize that slavery and the sentiment from the Declaration of Independence were in direct conflict. Equality won out over the previously enjoyed privilege of white men to own other people. Similarly, the right to keep women from owning property and voting was a privilege enjoyed by men in this country, until it was determined to be an unfair privilege not in keeping with the fairness principle of this country. Segregation was another unfair privilege that went by the wayside. These are all privileges that one group had enjoyed at the expense of others, privileges that do not agree with the Ideals upon which this country was founded, and the ideals that we have established of equality of worth and fair dealing. Christians have established and maintained privileges that by fair dealing and equality of worth they should not have been given. These are the issues of secularism vs. religiousness – prayer in school, prayer in government meetings, religious symbols displayed on government grounds (Ten Commandments, crosses, etc), religious terminology and belief statements in government forums (on money, in the pledge). Secularists are fighting to remove privileges from christianity, but only to reestablish the rights of the rest of society.

    NOTE I am not saying that christianity or christians are evil. I am saying they have been privilege to preferential treatment because of their majority position in society. Preferential treatment is inherently unfair. You claim to want fair place at the table, but a fair place at the table means you have to give up room, not take more.

  122. Irishman

    NotAFish Said:
    >Why is science being decided in a court room, or legistrative session?

    Ask the IDers. Why is science being decided in a school board?

    >If we are going to be honest, there is a lot of problems with the concept of Evolution, and it does not perfectly explain the origins of life. Thus leaves room for new research, and in normal fields of science would allow room for new theroies to be crafted. BUT not in this area, in this area you either work to prove evolution or your an oucast. That is not science, not good science at least.

    You are incorrect. Scientific theories are built upon collecting evidence and evaluating it, crafting explanations from the results of the evidence, then testing those explanations by predicting what the outcome of a particular test should be if the theory is correct and the difference if the theory is incorrect, then running the test and evaluating the results. Repeat as necessary to refine the details. If particular details of the theory are incorrect but the overall structure still works, you don’t throw out the whole structure, you tweak the details. It’s only when you run into major flaws that you outright reject it.

    If you’re working from an established theory (i.e. there is a fair amount of supporting data), then outright rejecting the theory is a big deal, because of that supporting data. Thus it is not typically to show only the flaw in the theory, but to propose an alternate. If you want to propose an alternate theory, then you have to justify the alternate by showing how it explains all the data you have already gathered, and at least as well as the existing theory. It does no good to propose an alternate theory that explains less than the current one because that means it has more conflicts than the existing theory that you are trying to get rid of – it is more wrong than the existing theory.

    Even when science encounters paradigm shifts, the new paradigm will typically incorporate the results of the preceeding paradigm. For example, General Relativity as an explanation of gravity. Relativity provides a paradigm shift in how we describe the universe and how it behaves. Relativity replaces Newtonian gravity explanations. But Newton’s Law of Gravitation is not completely wrong, it just is a special case of Relativity. If you expand Newton’s Law of Gravitation to accommodate relativity, you end up adding a correcting term to the equation that adjusts it. However, under non-relativistic conditions (i.e. low speed, moderate gravity), the relativistic equation simplifies mathematically to the Newtonian case. Newton isn’t so much wrong as just not complete.

    Any change to Evolution will be in a similar vein. The fundamentals of Evolution deal with how life developed and diversified on Earth. True, the biogenesis component isn’t fully understood, and what is typically taught in evolution is the mechanisms for change and development (mutation, natural selection, gene frequency shift, recombination during meiosis, etc). Where biogenesis is touched on in biology it is mostly looked at to show what results have been achieved (except typically 50 years behind current research, as many things in pre-college education are). Is biogenesis tied to Evolution? Only by showing what results have been discovered and how they fit with Evolution. When the methods of biogenesis are discovered and demonstrated, they will be naturalistic and explanatory, and mesh with Evolution. Unless some demonstrated naturalistic conflict with Evolution is discovered, in which case Evolution will be modified to correct for those changes.

    But any changes will be explanatory, demonstrated by evidence, and naturalistic, and they will have to incorporate some mechanism that accommodates mutation, natural selection, gene frequency shift, recombination during meiosis, and all the other current mechanisms within Evolution. Any new theory to replace Evolution must include these mechanisms. Not because scientists are dogmatically held to Evolution, but because these mechanisms are proven to exist – found in nature and duplicated in the laboratory.

    This is why ID is a failure. ID as a movement is a religious and political agenda. It is forcing a supernatural belief structure to underpin the science of biology. That is not science, it is philosophy.

    Regarding the details of ID, one could look at the mechanisms that ID proponents propose to justify this philosophical underpinning. These mechanisms so far consist of Irreducible Complexity (IC) and Specified Complexity (SC). If we consider these mechanisms independent of the agenda behind them, they are shown to be invalid. They are based upon unfounded and incorrect assumptions, they do not address the theories they attack for what the theories actually state, and the methodology used by the proponents to interpret them are flawed. Any peer review system will reject it as shoddy work. This is bad science. School should not be teaching bad science as true. IC and SC have no business in science classrooms except as examples of what not to do, and most primary and high school science classes are too busy trying to show what to do and how to do it.

  123. Nigel Depledge

    Irishman, very good points.

    Also, neither IC nor SC, if they exist, is incompatible with evolutionary theory anyway.

    What generally seems to happen is that each example of IC that Behe finds is investigated in more detail by others and found to be false. SC is too vague to mean anything. It is not sufficiently well, er, specified. In short, based on current evidence, IC and SC are examples of insufficient research and sloppy thinking.

    Also, Irishman, I was not previously aware of just how privileged the place of Christianity in the US had been in the past. So, thanks for that.

  124. Leon

    Irishman, that was pretty well said, and hit the nail on the head (re. Christianity having a bigger place at the table than other groups).

    Unfortunately I think you were hitting the wrong nail on this particular issue.

    Ed, there really is a substantive reason that creationism shouldn’t have an equal place at the table with evolution–irrespective of church & state stuff. Our public schools are supposed to teach the findings of the scientific community. Biology has pretty well proved that evolution is accurate, even though there are various religious texts that say otherwise. That’s why evolution should be taught. Likewise, there’s no room in high-school mathematics to dispute, say, 2+2=4–even if there were a religious movement against it. Similarly we don’t give equal treatment to flat earthers, geocentrists, etc.–the available evidence doesn’t bear them out, so they don’t belong in the curriculum. They might fit in at the college level in certain venues, but not in high school where we’re just teaching people the basics to give them a grounding.

  125. Leon

    I didn’t put that last bit real well…let’s see if I can put thisa little better.

    “Teach the controversy” is a good-sounding slogan. It works well in non-physical settings: politics, religion, philosophy, etc. But in physical, naturalistic subjects, the findings of science are what should be taught in our high schools and below. In areas such as evolution, where there’s an overwhelming consensus among the scientific community, that consensus should be taught. There are areas of disagreement in evolutionary circles, but the disagreements are about the details of how evolution occurs, not whether it occurs.

    Part of the problem with the “teach the controversy” idea is that it’s designed to confuse people. The ideas behind evolution are much more complex and take longer to explain than those behind creationism/ID. For example, explaining just how natural selection works, explaining that it’s separate from random mutation and that the two work together, laying out how it all fits in with geology, astronomy, etc.–that’s complicated stuff and you have to get high-schoolers (not the group with the world’s longest attention span) to pay attention to follow the line of reasoning. Pit that against ID, which says that anything really complicated was designed by a supreme being, and the scientific ideas are at a disadvantage for the wrong reason (laziness on the part of students).

    Teaching the controversies in evolution is appropriate at the college level because that’s where the fine points of evolutionary theory can be really discussed. In high school, on the other hand, you’re really just trying to get the basic ideas across to the students. That’s what I was getting at in my post above.

  126. Irishman

    Nigel Depledge Said:
    >Also, neither IC nor SC, if they exist, is incompatible with evolutionary theory anyway.

    Define incompatible. IC and SC are more that just statements of belief that God is behind everything. They are statements that the identified mechanisms of Evolution are incomplete and insufficient to explain the diversity (and origins) of life. That in itself isn’t necessarily completely at odds with Evolution as a concept, but IC and SC do not serve to explain the missing mechanisms. At best, they serve as indicators that something is missing. That’s mildly valuable, but not if you don’t then explain what is missing, with IC and SC do not do. So they certainly don’t enhance or improve Evolutionary theory. And did I mention that IC and SC are wrong?

    Leon Said:
    >Irishman, that was pretty well said, and hit the nail on the head (re. Christianity having a bigger place at the table than other groups).

    >Unfortunately I think you were hitting the wrong nail on this particular issue.

    Those comments weren’t directed at ID, but rather at comments made by Ed in this thread. Also, looking at later posts by Ed, I think I went a different direction than he intended.

  127. Irishman

    Ed Said:
    >My main point here is that evolution for the time being essentially has an exclusive in the public schools and in the public forum in general. All in the name of “Seperation of church and State, which I contend does not exist. This is what I mean by un constitutional. It has no fair rebuttal.

    What are we actually talking about here? Is it belief that god was behind the development of life and humanity, or is it a literalist interpretation of the Bible – that God took seven days, that things popped into existence, that humans were made fully-formed, etc? Because the first is a philosophical proposition that is not subject to science, but the second is a material proposition that is. Science shows the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, that the earliest life was single-celled organisms, that humans developed from earlier ancestor organisms. It is just inconsistent with the findings of science (not just biology, but the integration of many science fields) to state otherwise.

    The only justification for a literalist interpretation of Genesis and the comprehensive picture from the evidence is that God created everything and then planted false evidence – false fossils, false carbon dating, false geologic columns, false coral reefs, false ice sheet build-up in the Arctic. Furthermore, he made the world to work in fairly systematic ways, but then set the initial starting conditions considerably away from zero. He made biological organisms able to adapt and change, but then inserted special humans into the picture, just happening to use Chimpanzee ancestor DNA as his starting template. All of these various assumptions present a very different picture of God, one that does not match with the description given of a God that is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. Why would an all-good God build in lies, lies meant to misdirect and mislead us about his creation? That doesn’t make any sense, and the only justification that the religious have is the unsatisfactory “God works in mysterious ways”. Well, then why did God give us a brain and an unstoppable desire to solve puzzles, if he didn’t want us to use them? Why did he give us a systematic functioning world that leads us away from the “correct” answer?

    There is no place in the science classroom for “God spoke and dirt combined to form Adam.” Many religious people are completely comfortable allowing Genesis to be a poetical description showing God’s role, without relying on the details of that 3000+ year old text to be scientificly relevant.

    >When science teachers seek to purposely challenge and even attempt to directly destroy a students faith. Understand that this is a captive audience. They cannot leave or even opt out. They have to sit there while some zealous teacher constantly barrages a student’s faith until the child either weathers the storm, if their faith is strong enough, or folds under what is essentially a government protected attack on that student’s right to believe as they choose. That is going on right now. Maybe not in every class by every teacher, but it has and does go on.

    Okay, this helps me see where you’re coming from a bit. I can certainly appreciate that some science teachers (as some science advocates) are a bit overzealous in pushing the philosophical aspects they draw from the results of science. There is some truth to the role scientists have had in fueling this debate.

    The historical picture for understanding the development of life on Earth was cast in religious terms. There was no scientific explanation, so the prior religious explanation was accepted without question as if it were science. This framework was build on the concept of God as a direct manipulative agent. Basically god got up every morning and went to work making all the little things happen every day. He had to reach down and rotate Earth on its axis, he had to blow the winds around and stir up the clouds for rain to form, he had to reach in and hand-craft every little detail of every event and occurrence and instant in the life of every organism on the planet. A bacteria couldn’t infect a sore without him directing in, a flu virus couldn’t disperse into the bloodstream without his touch. That conception was the inherent and implicit mental image of god’s role.

    When Evolution came along (Darwin and Wallace and the science community discussion), it built on the newly growing sentiment that maybe the universe was built to run on its own. Maybe there were systematic rules that governed the universe, rather than the constant direct hand of god. This fundamental mindshift casts the role of God differently, and that got people to interpreting god differently. That philosophical underpinning got people thinking about the implications of the results of science explaining the mechanisms of things that were previously not understood and just attributed to the whims of gods, e.g. lighting and thunder as the wrath of gods, etc. Learning the mechanisms behind them led to better understanding of how these things were not Zeus or Odin having a hissy fit, but naturalistic processes. Similar results found for optics and gravity and other areas of scientific inquiriy got people thinking about the philosophical implication for the place and role and even characterisitics of God. These philosophical implications are derived from the findings of science, and were thus characterized as being the results of science themselves.

    However, they are philosophical interpretations. By casting them as science, it unfairly places science at odds with religion. The result is christians feeling attacked, and counter-attacking, and thus the cycle that has gotten us where we are today.

    I’m not saying I don’t agree with the philosophical conclusions being drawn. I think there are good justifications for them. However, that discussion is not strictly in the realm of science, it is in the realm of philosophy and logic. I think it is important for science advocates to recognize the distinction and to emphasize that distinction in their own discourse. By failing to acknowledge that distinction, we only feed the problem. By acknowledging the distinction between when we’re discussing the findings of science and the philosophical conclusions drawn from those findings, we smooth the way for religious believers to accept the science and keep the argument to the philosophical interpretations. And then we move the argument out of the science class and into the comparative religions class where it belongs.

    Which brings us back to Separation of Church and State. A full implementation of that would mean teachers not advocating any of the philosophical interpretations in classrooms. Stop mentioning “god of the gaps” in the science classroom – it doesn’t belong there, either. Instead, emphasize the explanatory nature of science and defer the philosophical interpretations to elsewhere.

    That doesn’t mean giving up naturalism and materialism as the tenets of science, just emphasize the distinction between materialist claims that are the realm of science and philosophical claims that are not.

  128. Irishman

    Have I just made the longest BA blog post yet?

    Have I bored everyone to tears yet?

    Will I ever shut up? 😉

  129. Irishman

    Leon Said:
    >Ed says:

    >> Just read some of Dr. Phil’s little love letters with a
    >> critical eye, and you will see what I mean.

    >Now you’re attacking the BA himself. Blasphemy!!

    Ah, I was wondering what Dr. Phil, the psychologist with the TV show, had to do with the discussion.

  130. P. Edward Murray

    Top Vatican Astronomer refutes Intelligent Design:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1103AP_Vatican_Evolution.html

    Now, tell me why this gentleman is wrong?

    Gotcha!:)

  131. Leon

    P. Edward Murray Says:

    > Top Vatican Astronomer refutes Intelligent Design:
    >
    > http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1103AP_Vatican_Evolution.html
    >
    > Now, tell me why this gentleman is wrong?

    Better yet, explain how the Catholic Church could be “antireligious” because of its stance on evolution…

  132. Leon

    P. Edward Murray Says:

    > Top Vatican Astronomer refutes Intelligent Design:
    >
    > http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1103AP_Vatican_Evolution.html

    Unfortunately, the author misstated the position of ID: it says specifically that life forms did not evolve from less complex ones. Lots of non-ID and non-creationists believe that the universe is so complex it must have been created by a higher power.

  133. Evolving Squid

    Irreducible Complexity is a weak notion, and I like what Irish has said about it. When people ask me what I think of IC, I relate this true story:

    I play Dungeons and Dragons (this fact scares off a lot of die-hard Christians right-off). Part of that game involves rolling a 20-sided die. Our house rules allowed an additional roll if you rolled a 20.

    One session, I rolled seven 20’s in a row. The odds of this occurring are 1:20^7 assuming I was rolling fairly, etc., and there’s no reason to believe I was cheating (it wasn’t even the same die seven times!). 20^7 is a large number – 1,280,000,000,000. If I were to roll a 20-sided die every second, it would take about 37 years before I could expect to see a repeat.

    Now, someone looking upon that could say that because the odds of that happening are so remote, it must have been an act of some unseen power. That seven 20’s appeared could be irreducibly complex… but there are other, non-magic explanations: it could have been random chance, it could have been coerced dice, etc.

    One of those explanations is neither testable nor verifiable. The other ones are. That’s why one of those is not a scientific hypothesis, and the rest are.

    It’s been 20 years since that day, and it hasn’t happened to me again.

    Twice I’ve had 28-point hands in Cribbage. Random chance or irreducible complexity? The odds are almost astronomical.

    Maybe the FSM smiles on gamblers?

  134. Evolving Squid

    ack, I added 3-too-many zeroes. That number should be 1 billion, 280 million.

  135. Leon

    Hey squid, if you’re interested in getting your hands on an unpublished D&D module, I can email you a copy. Shoot me a note: peyre1347@yahoo.com.

  136. Hugh Jass

    >Leon Says:
    >
    >November 19th, 2005 at 12:52 pm
    >P. Edward Murray Says:
    >
    >> Top Vatican Astronomer refutes Intelligent Design:
    >>
    >> http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1103AP_Vatican_Evolution.html
    >>
    >> Now, tell me why this gentleman is wrong?
    >
    >Better yet, explain how the Catholic Church could be “antireligious� >because of its stance on evolution…

    This is actually a bit of a weak argument, as the strongest ID backers, and the hardcore biblical literalists have many issues with Catholicism. Remember in religious arguments often enough the people who are seen as the most evil are those that share a similar but not quite the same faith. Kinda like they are corrupting the religion rather than us heathens who are just lost souls, so we have hope, they are evil. This is seen in many religions not just the different factions of Christianity, and of course not by ALL but some any way.

    I point it out because I believe it is good to, unlike the anti-evolution folks that have never taken the time to learn what the theory of evolution actually says, I learn and want to know what they think. So pointing out what the Vatican thinks goes absolutely no where if you are arguing with someone for the discovery institute for example.

  137. Irishman

    Leon Said:
    >Unfortunately, the author misstated the position of ID: it says specifically that life forms did not evolve from less complex ones. Lots of non-ID and non-creationists believe that the universe is so complex it must have been created by a higher power.

    It’s not that it’s an inaccurate statement – ID proponents do believe that – it’s just not a statement of what ID proposes.

  138. Nigel Depledge

    Irishman, you made this point:

    “[Nigel said] Also, neither IC nor SC, if they exist, is incompatible with evolutionary theory anyway.

    Define incompatible. IC and SC are more that just statements of belief that God is behind everything. They are statements that the identified mechanisms of Evolution are incomplete and insufficient to explain the diversity (and origins) of life. That in itself isn’t necessarily completely at odds with Evolution as a concept, but IC and SC do not serve to explain the missing mechanisms. At best, they serve as indicators that something is missing. That’s mildly valuable, but not if you don’t then explain what is missing, with IC and SC do not do. So they certainly don’t enhance or improve Evolutionary theory. And did I mention that IC and SC are wrong?”

    Actually, although Behe et al. would like people to think that IC is an indication that evolutionary theory is incomplete, every argument they’ve come up with in this vein has been refuted. Take the bacterial flagellum as an example (because the ID-ers were flogging it for so long). There are 29 (or however many, I cannot recall the exact number) proteins that are essential for the function of the flagellum. So if you engineer your bug so it is missing one of those proteins, its falgellum does not work. Behe used this as an example of IC, claiming that such a system could not have evolved (and it is an argument from incredulity).

    However, (a) people have found bacteria whose flagellae have fewer than 29 proteins to start with; (b) no-one ever claimed that the precursor of the flagellum was a functioning flagellum – it is likely to have been a cluster of proteins with a secretory function; and (c) the very first flagellum probably wasn’t very good (after all, it only had to be good enough, when no other cells had such a thing). Therefore, even if the flagellum is (in its present form) irreducibly complex, it could still have evolved (and, in fact, the evidence does suggest that it was a modification of a secretory system).

    Most of the other IC arguments can be treated in the same way.

    Specified complexity, on the other hand, can be defined as a design goal. Since evolution can be viewed as a design process (albeit with the design being specified by the environmental conditions pertaining at the time a feature or trait is being selected), specified complexity as a concept is not incompatible with evolutionary theory. However, arguments put forth in support of SC are usually riddled with logical fallacies (most often arguments from ignorance and arguments from incredulity).

    Having said all that, I agree with you that there is no such thing as irreducible complexity (as defined by ID-ers) and there is no such thing as specified complexity (as defined by ID-ers). Until evidence comes to light that contradicts this position.

  139. P. Edward Murray

    Hugh,

    I like to point it out because these folks are so puffed up with their own
    issues that they forget that their Christian sect is only a branch off the first
    Christian Church.

  140. Someone’s fighting back.

    Just saw this article thought it might belong here.
    I was surprised to se that people are still making comments in this blog. Must be the longest in the history of BA-blog.

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/11/22/intelligent.design.course.ap/index.html

  141. Man, you guys live in a screwed up country.

    I go to a catholic school, here in Melbourne and we get taught none of this crap, only good, scientific grounded theroies like, say, evolution

  142. P. Edward Murray

    Antipodean,

    I hope that you are enjoying the Summertime down there or are we down there to you? It’s winter here and some folks have nothing better to do.
    Gotta wipe out evolution rather than making sure folks in New Orleans have food to eat and a place to sleep!

  143. Lisa

    I think you forget that your “science” is a religion as well. Neither have ever being scientifically proven and neither belong in a class room. But I would rather believe that I came from a divine creator instead of some sludge that washed up on a rock

  144. Lisa are you trying to upset us here?

    You just wrote comment that on a computer, sending it through the internet. I bet you got electricity in your house, hot running water, a TV or a radio (possibly both).
    None of these things works on prayers, faith, crystal power, pyramid power or uri geller power.

    Computers, electricity plants, boilers and entertainment electronics are not “created in seven”, nor can you pray to get them to work when they break down. You have to use good old established engineering to create them and engineering has its roots in science.

    Lisa: >I would rather believe that I came from a divine creator instead of some sludge that washed up on a rock

  145. Hey some got chopped off????

    Lisa: >I would rather believe that I came from a divine creator instead of some sludge that washed up on a rock

  146. It did it again???? that’s it, I’m outta here….

  147. Hugh Jass

    Lisa Says:
    >
    >November 28th, 2005 at 9:28 am
    >I think you forget that your “science� is a religion as well. Neither have >ever being scientifically proven and neither belong in a class room. But I >would rather believe that I came from a divine creator instead of some >sludge that washed up on a rock

    Was this posted for a reason? I know you must be used to having someone else read through a book and pick out a statement here and a statement there then tell you that is the way of things. But read through the entire thread for yourself before making a comment that has been addressed several times.

  148. Irishman

    Lisa Said:
    >I think you forget that your “science� is a religion as well. Neither have ever being scientifically proven and neither belong in a class room.

    I don’t think you’ll come back to read this, but I’ll post it anyway. I think your quoted “science” is intended to mean evolution and not science as a whole. I’m not sure where you get your information, but you’ve been seriously misinformed. Perhaps you have incorrect assumptions about science as well. Evolution is a scientific theory. It is a coherent explanation that ties together many different lines of study, observed behaviors, and fields of study in biology. The mechanisms of mutation, natural selection, sexual selection, and recombination during meiosis are well documented, demonstrated in the lab and in the wild, and form the basis for agricultural improvement and selective breeding. Selective breeding wouldn’t work without natural selection – selective breeding is the manipulation of the same variations by the same mechanisms of natural selection, only the parental pairing is controlled by humans and the results are directed by humans rather than by natural selection. Furthermore, evolution is internally and externally consistent with all documented evidence, from fossils and the geological record to genetics and the structure of DNA, to medicine and the spread of viruses and bacteria. Evolution provides a coherent explanation that helps us understand the diversity of life and to allows us to make correct predictions on what to expect. It is every bit as much “science” as General Relativity, Quantum Electro Dynamics, and the Germ Theory of disease.

    >But I would rather believe that I came from a divine creator instead of some sludge that washed up on a rock

    The two beliefs aren’t mutually exclusive.

  149. Irishman

    P. Edward Murray Said:
    >I like to point it out because these folks are so puffed up with their own
    issues that they forget that their Christian sect is only a branch off the first
    Christian Church.

    I probably shouldn’t say this, but I would like to point out that modern Catholicism bears as much resemblance to early Christianity as Mormonism does. I realize it’s traditional in Christianity to argue for the “one True Faith”, but it is a bit tacky.

  150. Lisa

    Actually, I came across this site on accident lol Tell you guys what, go here http://www.drdino.com/downloads.php and click on any of the siminar audio links. I’m not trying to push off any of my beliefs on any one but, as far as what’s being taught in the class room, I fully agree that there is a thin line between what is actual science and what is a belief. Evolution is a belief. It, along with divine creation, were never proven yet evolution, the age of the earth, etc. are all being taught in schools as facts.

    I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but I think it all boils down to what people want to believe. If you want to believe that you came from an ape, more power to you. But don’t slam a school or a school system that decides to teach creationism, either. After all, we have all listened to evolution being taught since the early 60’s and, maybe, if people weren’t so closed minded, we could all learn a thing ot two from each other.

    Oh yeah, btw, I am sitting in a warm house with running water, a flushing toilet and electricity. I wonder who or what gave man the brains for that?

  151. Hugh Jass

    Lisa, if you are looking for information on the internet, go here:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/

    The rhetoric and babble preached by your link and many other sites like it are full of misinterpretations of science and purposeful half truths. Many of the “gaps” and “inconsistencies” in evolution, geology, astronomy have either been addressed, or are exaggerated by these authors to make a point against science. Talk origins does a very very good job at presenting the TRUE arguments being made by both sides, not taking out of context inflammatory statements as the point the opposition is trying to make.

    Gravity has not been proven either, do you chose to believe your feet stay on the ground because God is pushing down on your shoulders? or because there is an attractive force between masses? We are going to keep teaching gravity in schools as well as all scientific theories that belong, including evolution.

  152. Lisa

    Hmmmm…did you even bother to look at the site, Hugh? That’s my point. You people are so closed minded that you are right and every one else is wrong

  153. Leon

    Irishman, thanks for the coherent and level-headed response. That explains it really well.

    Lisa, evolution is a well-documented scientific theory. In science, something doesn’t become a theory until it’s been, to all intents and purposes, proved. (Science uses the term very differently than we use it day to day.) So when you’ve read and heard that evolution is “just a theory”, the person writing/saying that is misusing the term. Either they’re not aware of what a scientific theory is, or they’re deliberately misrepresenting it.

    The reason evolution and the age of the Earth are being taught in public schools as fact is because all the available evidence (and there’s a vast amount of it) supports them, and doesn’t support cometing ideas (YEC, OEC, American Indian creation myths, etc.). It’s also because evolution and the geologic age of the Earth explain and make predictions that are borne out. They make useful predictions, which, say, ID, YEC, and flood geology do not. They may or may not be true in a religious sense, but in public school we have to teach the conclusions reached by scientific and not our religious leaders.

  154. Hugh Jass

    I’ve looked at the site. I’ve looked at many others like it as well. I am not closed minded; I am very open minded to many things. I’ve wasted more time than I should admit reading articles and arguments from creationist web sites, and it always comes down to the same thing. The authors have no idea what they are ignoring when they try and explain some of their points about science, either that or these good people are lying to you and all that listen to them. How much research have you done into finding out about evolution and what it actually says rather than just listening to what those opposed to it claim it says. Have you fully read all of the posts in this thread that address your fist statements? I don’t look to this site to here what the Bible says, nor what creationist or ID proponents are claiming, I go to the source, I do my own searching and then call BS where I see it. Don’t accuse me of being closed minded, you have no idea what lengths I’ve gone in reading and researching all kinds of different view points, on this subject and many others. Have you done the same? Scientist are not claiming to be right and everybody else is wrong, we are claiming to be searching for understanding of the world around us and to define by logic. YOU have claimed that we are wrong. WE did not start a fight, scientists would much rather continue on our way defining and researching rather than be distracted by people who don’t fully understand the arguments, are too thick headed to learn them, and would rather sit back and make accusations that have been addressed many times over.

  155. Lisa

    Hugh, I am not trying to pick a fight either, merely getting a point across. As far as I can tell, most people don’t research much on either side of the issue and I don’t claim to be an expert on either. It’s just always funny to me how, in school, all I ever heard was evolution. We were expected to sit there and swallow it but as soon as anyone mentioned the bible and or the possibility of a divine creator, they were automatically scoffed at.

    Anyway, I’m trying to work my way through school and it’s been fun talking with you all but I have to get back to the books. One last parting thought though, if you live your life never believing in God, you really are missing on a lot!

    Take care!

  156. Leon

    Lisa says:

    > One last parting thought though, if you live your
    > life never believing in God, you really are missing
    > on a lot!

    This shouldn’t have to be repeated, but…evolution doesn’t say that God doesn’t exist. It does say that a literal interpretation of Genesis is incorrect, but that’s entirely different. The existence of God is a supernatural question, and science exists only to answer questions about the natural world. Supernatural questions are outside its purview.

    Many religious people believe in evolution. There is nothing necessarily incompatible between them. Anyone who tells you you can’t believe in Christianity and evolution at the same time is deluding themselves.

  157. Lisa said:
    >Oh yeah, btw, I am sitting in a warm house with running water, a flushing toilet and electricity. I wonder who or what gave man the brains for that?

  158. To Lisa:
    Evolution gave us the brain! I don’t believe in God but if I did, I would argue that God created evolution and not dissmis all the evidence that can be found in nature for evolution.
    We do not come frome the apes, we share a common ancestor that was neither human nor ape.

  159. Lisa I did have a look a that website and I hate to tell you that the “science” these people promote would stall all human development of technology. It is not science, it’s pure nonsense to promote Christianity.

  160. Irishman

    Thomas Siefert Said:
    >We do not come from the apes, we share a common ancestor that was neither human nor ape.

    Actually, we are apes. Apes are not a single species, but a class (or is it order? I forget where it falls in the heirarchy of classification) of similar organisms that include Gorillas, Orangutans, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, and, erm, I forget at the moment. Anyway, apes diverged from monkeys earlier on, and then diverged to the many types we see today. Homo Sapiens branched off from Chimpanzees later than the branch of apes from monkeys (and after gorillas and orangutans), so humans are technically apes.

    Unless you were using “apes” to mean gorillas, in which case yes, we are not gorillas nor descended from gorillas, but from an ancestor that was neither human nor gorilla.

    (But some humans are guerillas. 😉 )

  161. Irishman

    Lisa Said:
    > Evolution is a belief. It, along with divine creation, were never proven yet evolution, the age of the earth, etc. are all being taught in schools as facts.

    Okay, I have to ask you what qualifies as “facts”, and what constitutes “proof”. You have made the claim that, for instance, the age of the Earth has not been proven. Please give your justification for that statement and a clear description of what would constitute proof.

    >If you want to believe that you came from an ape, more power to you. But don’t slam a school or a school system that decides to teach creationism, either.

    Belief that we are caused by a divine creator is a religious belief – it is not science and does not belong in a science class. It is also not strictly mutually exclusive with Evolution. Belief that the origins of humanity were 6000 years ago, appearing out of nothing, and the Earth appearing in six days is completely at odds with all the physical evidence accummulated through many fields of science. It simply does not match the geologic record, or findings from astronomy, or the way radioactive decay works, nor anything else measured, calculated, or otherwise determined.

    If you wish to belief things that are contradicted by the evidence recorded in the universe itself, well, go ahead, but we don’t teach that the Earth is flat, we don’t teach that the moon is made of green cheese, and we shouldn’t teach that the Earth is only 6000 years old and was made in 6 days. It just isn’t so.

    >Oh yeah, btw, I am sitting in a warm house with running water, a flushing toilet and electricity. I wonder who or what gave man the brains for that?

    If you wish to conclude that God is the cause of our having intelligence, go right ahead. Again, there is nothing mutually exclusive with believing God caused it and believing Evolution was how he accomplished it.

  162. Leon

    Irishman says:

    If you wish to conclude that God is the cause of our having intelligence, go right ahead. Again, there is nothing mutually exclusive with believing God caused it and believing Evolution was how he accomplished it.

    Hear, hear.

  163. antipodean

    will this blog never die?

  164. No I don’t think this blog will ever die, but it does appear to go in circles.
    Irishman, are you calling me an ape? 😉
    What I really meant was we are not apes in the sense that we developed from any of the ape branches you find in the jungles and zoos now. But that is how people, who doesn’t believe (or understand) in evolution, like to present the theory.
    Irishman, you must have blisters on your fingers. :-)

  165. Leon

    Circles, or spirals, hmm? Naah, probably circles. 😉

  166. P. Edward Murray

    Irishman,

    So, what’s your point?

    May I remind you that if you are really Irish you don’t seem to be taking the Chrisitan tack?

    Touche!

  167. Leon

    OTOH, bashing the Church is a favorite Irish pastime!

  168. Irishman

    P. Edward Murray Said:
    >So, what’s your point?

    This is in regards to my response to you? Your comment seemed to suggest that Catholicism has some privileged position in christianity. My point is that it doesn’t.

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