Oklahoma: One Step from Doom

By Phil Plait | March 9, 2008 7:02 pm

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed a bill that says that a student can receive a passing grade in an Earth Science class if they say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the Earth an hour ago, and then planted false memories into every single living creature on Earth to make it seem like they’ve been around longer.

Of course, that’s not the intent of the bill. The intent is that a student can say the Earth is 6000 years old and still get a passing grade. The bill itself says that a student cannot be graded down if they say that what they are being taught interferes with their religious beliefs.

Specifically, the bill states:

A school district shall treat a student’s voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the district treats a student’s voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject and may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.

It’s the "otherwise permissible subject" phrase that’s sticky. That can easily be interpreted as meaning tests, besides just normal classroom discussion.

For a long time, I have been disquieted by the fact that many people want to give patently ridiculous ideas as much standing as reality. One problem with this is that once you open the door to fantasy, any and all flavors of it can walk on through, as in the example above. But it also elevates fantasy to the same level as reality, and that is simply wrong.

I taught a few classes back when I was a grad student. If someone had answered a question on a test saying the Earth was 6000 years old, I would have marked it as incorrect. That’s because — and sit down for this breaking news — that answer is wrong. The student could complain, they could take it to the dean, the president, the Supreme Court for all I care — I wouldn’t have backed down. Wrong is wrong.

I don’t care what your religious belief is, there are some things that are simple facts. An object with mass has gravity. A lump of lithium dropped into water will create heat and hydrogen gas. An accelerating charged particle will emit radiation. These are facts. It doesn’t matter what you believe: reality is that which, when you go to sleep, doesn’t go away.

What I find most ironic about this legislation — and there is a rich, rich field of irony to choose from — is that it was passed by conservatives, people who no doubt would rail against political correctness and relativism (for example, the bill’s primary author, Sally Kern, has spoken clearly about her being against "the gay lifestyle" — she even compares being gay to cancer), yet this is exactly what this legislation is all about. The problem here is that they are trying to legislate relativistic reality. And that’s simply wrong.

And it’s not like they have to go far to see what a disaster this bill will create: Texas is already in a peck o’ trouble for passing a similar law.

This bill still has to pass Oklahoma’s state Senate before it becomes a law. If that happens, Oklahoma will have taken a long stride back into the Dark Ages. I’ll be honest: if I were an employer, or a University recruiter, and the bill becomes law, I would look very skeptically at any application that came to my desk from a student who graduated in Oklahoma. That makes me sad, but that is the reality Oklahoma is aiming toward.

For more about this horrid bill, check out Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education. Also, evidently this bill will also allow the straightforward teaching of religion in school. Mainstream Baptist has something to say about that.

Hat tip to ERV.

Comments (275)

Links to this Post

  1. The answer is 42 « Steve’s Weblog | March 10, 2008
  2. meneame.net | March 10, 2008
  3. Middle Raged Punk » Blog Archive » More crap from Sally Kern | March 10, 2008
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  5. JamesCallender.com » Blog Archive » Insane lawmaking | March 10, 2008
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  7. Geekatronia » Archivo » Alabado sea el mounstruo de spaguetti volador | March 10, 2008
  8. Unapologetic Optimist » Blog Archive » Oklahoma Haven For Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? | March 10, 2008
  9. The Laymans Guide » The Layman’s Guide Podcast Episode 2. | March 10, 2008
  10. Atheist.nu » Bad Astronomy Blog » Oklahoma: One Step from Doom | March 10, 2008
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  12. A page for randomness » Oklahoma: One Step from Doom | March 11, 2008
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  20. Episode 46: Three Hosts and a Baby : The Scope | March 28, 2008
  21. Creationists can’t fail Earth Science: Oklahoma | May 5, 2008
  22. Skeptical Monkey § On Being Certain | May 27, 2008
  23. Creationalism is Acceptable Science « Random Blog of Random Blogginess | June 1, 2008
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  26. etches stuff » Evolution vs. The flying Spaghetti Monster, oder so. | February 15, 2010
  27. Christianists, Everywhere | February 16, 2010
  1. HEY!!! Careful what you say about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be branded a blasphemer

  2. OneHotJupiter

    Hail , the Flying Spaghetti Monster!!!

  3. John

    Obviously you need the touch of his noodley appendage!

  4. Dan

    Maddening.

    Then again, if you look on the bright side, I suppose Americans will have considerably more job security with an education system such as this. Well… For a time anyway.

  5. Jefs

    The bill has not come to a vote yet in the House, it’s just made it out of committee. I’ll be contacting my representative about it ASAP.

  6. dave

    “”reality is that which, when you go to sleep, doesn’t go away.”"

    Some scientists might dispute that ;)
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

  7. Bad Albert

    I don’t understand what the concern is. Like Dan said above, there will be less competition for science and technology jobs. This is a bonanza for the rest of the country. :)

  8. So somebody studying mathematics could take the biblical value for pi when working out the area of a circle and they would could be marked correct?

    I don’t want to be using anything designed by graduate engineers if that is the case – creationist aeronautical engineers… we’re doomed.

  9. Christian X Burnham

    I wasn’t aware that this law had been passed in TX. It’s hard to keep up with all the dumbfoolery here.

    Bad Albert: Yes, all this means less competition for science jobs. That’s why non-Americans like me are dominating research in physics at US universities. Doesn’t that make you proud of your country?

  10. Christian X Burnham

    Dave, the original quote is:

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

    Philip K. Dick (who pretty much went crazy towards the end of his life).

  11. I’m not American so every time I hear the word Oklahoma I see Steve Martin running around with a pot on his head shouting “Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma…”

  12. tacitus

    The good news is that homophobes like Sally Kern are a dying breed. Across the board acceptance of the gay lifestyle (adoptions, benefits, civil unions, even marriage) is growing, particularly amongst young people. We may be 20 years behind the rest of the civilized world (the Conservative Party leader in the UK, no less, just said he was “thrilled” for a gay parliamentary colleague who has just announced he is getting hitched).

    And where stupid prejudices are on the wane, there is less need to keep the populace stupid so that they will continue to believe in your stupid causes.

    Sure it may take another generation or two, and there will be other reversals, but in the end America will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, hopefully before the rest of the world leaves it!

  13. oldamateurastronomer

    If this bill passes in the OK legislature and other states start adopting similat laws, I’m afraid what will happen in the US will be as what happened in Italy in the early 1600′s. The pursuit of scientific study was stifled in Italy when Galileo among others was censured by the Roman Catholic Church. The result of this was that the next great scientific discoveries came from northern Europe and other places where that church had no or little sway.

    Scientific study is being ‘chased’ out of the US by laws as those being proposed in OK and other states and by lack of support and funding by the present White House occupant and others of his ilk.

    The US used to be a haven for those who wanted to learn science. The very good and great minds used to flock to the US. However, I’m afraid this trend will reverse if it hasn’t already started and the US will become a backwater for scientific study!

  14. KC

    I think that’s reading a bit more into the phrase than is there. “Otherwise permissible” does not necessarily include tests. Plus, the problem for Young Earth Creationists is that they have to show (as they would for any scientific theory) a valid mechanism to explain why there’s every indication that the earth is billions of years old and the universe even older.

    This leads us into a Catch-22 for Young Earth Creationists: If, in fact, “otherwise permissible” applies to tests (a worst-case example), then it only does so if it’s a religious belief. But the Young Earth Creationists insist it’s not purely a religious belief. Therefore, the only way for the bill to apply is for them to admit that their conviction is that the earth is only a few thousand years old is a purely religious belief – which the Young Earth Creationists won’t do.

    Nor would the bill affect Old Earth Creationists, for whom all the evidence that the earth is billions of years old causes nary a blip. And anyone who tries to slip by a “God created it” for an answer can be met with a missed question and an jotted note: We are discussing *how* it happened, not *who* did it.

  15. Coming soon to a supreme court near you.

    And now a message to the last few of you (Ron) Paulites. Paul’s agenda was to achieve precisely this. Place more emphasis on state’s right of self determination, so that it breaks the country down to tidy little morsels where the religious right could impose their will well under the radar. If you didn’t see this coming, well, I hope the kool aide tasted sweet at least.

  16. tacitus

    I don’t understand what the concern is. Like Dan said above, there will be less competition for science and technology jobs. This is a bonanza for the rest of the country.

    Except for the fact that candidates like George W. Bush will keep being elected with the help of people from states like these. Just look at the way McCain has been pandering to exactly this type of people (i.e. John Hagee) in the past few weeks.

    These people also elected nutjob James Inhofe to the U.S. Senate. He played a major part in blocking any sensible efforts to tackle environmental issues while he was in the majority and would abolish the EPA if he could.

    Unfortunately, keeping Oklahoman’s stupid by ruining their chances of a decent education, doesn’t help anyone in the long run.

  17. Jefs

    These people also elected nutjob James Inhofe to the U.S. Senate. He played a major part in blocking any sensible efforts to tackle environmental issues while he was in the majority and would abolish the EPA if he could.

    As an Oklahoma Republican, I can proudly state that I have not once voted for Mr. Inhofe for any political office including his Senate or House campaigns, since as the OP so eloquently put it, he’s a nutjob.

    My wife has been to the Superfund area around Pitcher, and anyone who doesn’t think buying those poor people out of their homes is the right thing to do is an idiot.

  18. Kimpatsu

    Let’s be clear on this issue: what the legislators are doing is not trying to pass an “any view is acceptablw” type of equality; they want to legislate specifically for their brand of conservative Xianity. They no more want the FSM or Hinduism taught is the classroom than they do Catholicism or (shock! horror!) purely materialist science (which they mistakenly conflate with atheism). This is an attempt to crowbar their own religious beliefs into the classroom. Because they’re the only ones who are right, and everyone else is wrong, don’tcha know?

  19. What I read in this bill is that they are trying to protect kids who have had an unfortunately religious upbringing from being penalised academically. I don’t necessarily think that that is negative.

  20. magista

    But Richard, when a student has learned something that is wrong, a good teacher corrects them, and doesn’t give them a pass simply because they were sadly failed by their last teacher.

    Otherwise, how would we even learn something so simple as correct spelling? (Oh wait, this is teh intarnwebs, I forget myself.) :D

    Part of our job, especially for those of us who have chosen to be science teachers, is to expose students to the evidence that allows them to see their misconceptions for what they are.

    That the Earth is 6000 years old may be a religious “truth” to some (note the quotes of sarcasm there), but in a science class it’s just plain wrong, and the sooner we fix it, the better.

  21. Thomas

    I don’t live in OK or TX . A few months ago I hadn’t even given the entire creationists movement much thought. I believed the issue had come to a justly deserved demise years ago. Then I began to see and hear such stupidity in my own community. It is very disturbing to see this trend increasing and once again becoming a political issue.
    There seems to be a growing inability to cope with reality among the American populace. Note everything from the creationists , the intelligent designers , to programming disputing the effects of the greenhouse effect , to shows such as UFO Hunters , Ghost Hunters and Monsterquest that ponder the incredible wthout skepticism . Some groups of people seem so afraid of progress – fearful of the speed at which the world is changing – that they hide within belief systems that offer comfortable solutions but which lack logic and attack those institutions which they see do use logic and evidence to determine the truth . In an ever increasing materialistic world some seem to blame the very science which has delivered us from many diseases , given us once unimagined luxuries , has helped feed the hungry and even tempts us with the lure of the stars as the cause of all evil plaguing modern society.
    I fear the fearful . I fear the ignorant. I fear the world these people would make for my children. I fear a world carved from the darkness of small minds.
    We can not win a battle of wits againist the witless but we can teach , share , vote , and above all openly demonstrate the power of tolerance and open-mindedness. If the creationists , the ufologists and others can cling so passionately to their beliefs then why shouldn’t those who love reality just the way it is .

    America truly needs knights of science to crusade just as strongly as do these serpents of untruth.

  22. Michael Lonergan

    His holy noodliness touched me, and I partook of his righteous sauciness today!

    “He touched me, with one of his many noodly appendages x2
    and oh the sauce that floods my pasta bowl… He touched me and made me full…”

    Also, seriously, if you think Ron Paul had a hidden agenda….Oh never mind… Let’s just say, he was the least of your worries. Think “Mike Huckabee…”

  23. IRONMANAustralia

    Man, I wish my school had this policy.

    I once didn’t have a clue about the correct answer in a math test, so I attempted to prove that any number is equal to every other number thus:

    3 = 3
    Therefore: 3 – 3 = 0 (by subtracting 3 from both sides)
    Therefore: 3(0) = 0 (factorise)
    Therefore: 3 = 0/0 (divide both sides by zero)

    Also …

    7 = 7
    Therefore: 7 – 7 = 0
    Therefore: 7(0) = 0
    Therefore: 7 = 0/0

    Thus: 3 = 0/0 and 7 = 0/0

    Therefore: 3 = 7

    Since this works for any two numbers, my arbitrary answer of 7 must be equal to the correct answer, (whatever that may be). Therefore I am right and should be marked correct for that exam question.

    If only my teacher had been a Creationist, I might have gotten away with it.

    (And yes, the first two steps are completely unnecessary. But they help to baffle the mathematically challenged).

  24. madge

    So I can pass human biology if I say that babies are brought by the stork or found under gooseberry bushes?

  25. IRONMANAustralia

    Whoops. Missed a step …

    7 = 7
    Therefore: 7 – 7 = 0
    Therefore: 7(1-1) = 0 (factorise)
    Therefore: 7(0) = 0 (simplify)
    Therefore: 7 = 0/0

    You’d be surprised how long this red herring can keep people busy for. I’ve had people argue with me over the legitimacy of that factorisation line for quite some time.

  26. Cralis

    I think all of you, poster included, are missing the real reason why this law is bad. It isn’t because they are trying to enable religious freedoms – I believe that is a noble goal (on that note, I think both the creationists and evolutionists are agruing the extreme sides of the same coin, but I digress).

    The reason this law is bad is because it negates the point of teaching alternative view points. So what if you believe in creationism? So what if you believe in evolution? If your in the class then you need to learn what the instructor is teaching.

    The law is bad because answering questions based on what was instructed has very little bearing on your belief. There are many things in college I didn’t believe, but since it was instructed, I learned it. Ironically now they make my arguements stronger since I know both sides of those particular arguements.

    Second, everyone here is missing the point because they are turning it into an evolution vs. creationism. Neither has complete evidence. Both have some evidence. Both have completely fabricated stories to support themselves. And we honestly can’t rule out either theory.

    So evolutionists demanding to remove creationism, and creationists demanding to remove evoultion are both acting in selfish, short-sighted manners that serve no purpose other than to stifle thought. You can think your right, heck you can BE right, and still allow the other guy to think what he wants. He might come across something that supports you (perhaps by accident even!).

    Regardless of what I think if I or my children go into a class, I expect myself and I expect them to learn what is taught. I don’t believe anyone can make a fully informed decision without ACTUALLY being fully informed!

  27. StuartAustralia

    And Americans wonder why the rest of the world regards them as a laughing stock! Ok, that’s not fair, we do know that you’re ALL the same as the people proposing this law, nor are ALL people who believe this rubbish American. When I was at the University of Queensland I would have debates with my friend Neil, an exceedingly intelligent man who gained honours in an extremely difficult Science degree (mathematics). Neil swore (because his father, a pastor, taught him so) that the universe was only 6 000 years old. My immediate response was to ask how then could we see stars that were 7 000 light years away. His answer, without pause for thought, “The speed of light is slowing down!” Now who knows, maybe it is (although I doubt so!), but to think that a man as intelligent as Neil could believe that his story of deccelerating light could explain why I can go out tonight and look through my telescope and see the Sombrero Galaxy 50 million lioght years away in a universe only 6000 years old was incredible. Anything I proposed to “prove” his creation theory wrong, he had some whacky answer for, and he firmly believed in what he was saying.
    The proponents of creation work on “backwards” theory. A “real” scientist will make observations, draw conclusions, propose a hypothesis that fits with the observable evidence, construct a trial to test the hypothesis and when the trial disproves the hypothesis, will review their hypothesis, seek new evidence, trial and test further and so in in a never ending process of refining of the theory until eventually a theory is proposed that is as close to “what really happens” as possible.
    A creationist on the other hand proposes a hypothesis (god created the World in 6 days and she did it 6 000 years ago), and will then go out and attempt to locate evidence (or in the absence of actual evidence, will invent it) to prove the hypothesis. The hypothesis never gets changed or refined. It is unshakeable, immovable. Only the evidence can be changed (read: altered) to fit. Anything that does not fit (i.e reality) is thrown out.
    I must agree with Thomas, “We can not win a battle of wits againist the witless”. These are people of unshakeable faith in something that does not exist, events that never happened. You cannot change facts, no matter what your religion teaches you. That which is, is. That which happened, happened. No matter that your religion may teach differently, your religion is wrong.

  28. Oh dear FSM! Cralis, where you said “Both have some evidence” I think you meant evolution has evidence and creationism has none.

    Where you said “Both have completely fabricated stories to support themselves” I think you meant creationism has completely fabricated stories and evolution has evidence.

  29. Magista,

    I’m not a believer of any of that stuff either – but I’m not particularly for overzealous, aggressive stance against religion manifested in punishing children for being party to it. Hence, I say I can understand the legislation. I dare say there are more than a couple of science teachers overstepping the line (atleast, where it is currently with this issue) and I’m certain that this legislation is there for this exact situation and not for the flying spaghetti theory. I doubt you are over that line, I’m merely suggesting that more than likely some heads have been butting over this issue and this bill is a kneejerk reaction to such a situation.

    I appreciate your stance and opinion on the matter. I just don’t think we’re quite there yet. I also feel that is possible to teach science and phrase exam questions in such a way that this is a non issue.

  30. Jeffersonian

    My religion says that Algebra doesn’t exist because it doesn’t explain why we are here. Can I still get an A on the test if I write in x=5 for each answer?

    @KC
    “I think that’s reading a bit more into the phrase than is there. ‘Otherwise permissible’ does not necessarily include tests.”
    But wouldn’t this bill at least create grounds where a teacher not sharing the views of the bible belt is fired on any grounds inventable?

    @tacituson
    “Sure it may take another generation or two, and there will be other reversals, but in the end America will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, hopefully before the rest of the world leaves it!”
    I was convinced of that in the late 70s but it didn’t happen. I now know that thinking this way sets one up for failure. Never understimate the tide and the resistance to education.

    @oldamateurastronomer
    “The US used to be a haven for those who wanted to learn science. ”
    example: stem cell reserch for medical advancement. I used to think it was sad that the US is falling behind. But, realistically, if the advancements are made by Japanese, French, or Deutsch scientists, mankind still benefits.

    @ Richardon 09 Mar 2008 at 9:28 pm
    “What I read in this bill is that they are trying to protect kids who have had an unfortunately religious upbringing from being penalised academically. I don’t necessarily think that that is negative.”
    So if my upbringing forbade algebra, I should still be given an A on the math test?

    @Cralis
    “evolution vs. creationism. Neither has complete evidence. Both have some evidence. Both have completely fabricated stories to support themselves. And we honestly can’t rule out either theory.”
    Wrong. One has lots of evidence, the other has zero. In Science, once fabricated stories are discovered, they’re thrown out. Evolutionary theories aren’t standing on just one leg; one fabricated paper wouldn’t negate libraries full of supporting evidence. What do you mean by “either theory”? There’s only one theory present. If you need to look up the definition and description of the phrase “scientific theory”, please do so.

  31. Brango

    Okay, okay, okay… I got one… I got one…

    Question: What do the creationists Earth age, and the current presidential approval rating have in common?

    Answer: They are both acceptable as margins of error!

    Tiddleebuum, splish! Hah hah, eh… eh… eh…

    (…crickets…)

    Ah geez… you guys are brutal!

  32. Phil B.

    I hope all non-US members will reisit the urge to judge all of us by a few knuckle-draggers.

    I’d like to encourage all intelligent Oklahomites(?) and other southerners to migrate north. If the folks down there want to live in their own little a*s-backwards fifedom, well then heck, leave’em to it.

  33. eddie

    richard… you need to educate yourself brother. im not going to try and convince you of anything here but do yourself a favor, read a book !

  34. Dark Jaguar

    Fantastic! I never was good at math, and now I can simplify so much by just saying my religious beliefs state that Pi = 3.

    I LIVE in Oklahoma and this really sickens me. Some of you might recall a few years back when they were attempting to set up a creationist exibit at the Tulsa zoo in Oklahoma. Fortunatly that got shot down and rightly so.

  35. Dark Jaguar

    Oh, I read the notion of “protecting kids from being penalized for a bad upbrinding”.

    I too believe in such a thing, however the solution of saying they passed and that they know something they don’t actually know helps no one. How does spreading ignorance and making certificates of graduation worthless help anyone? Don’t hurt the kids who do what they need because some kids can’t keep up. It’s like holding back education of the new super breed of humanoids with nano brains because some people didn’t want the modification. Well fine, no one said you had to wear glasses but don’t hold me back because you can’t see clearly. You chose it, live with the consequences.

    Eh, back on topic, the real solution is for kids to be able to get educated correctly. Fortunatly, we already have that system in place, and it’s called school, and it DOES try to tell the kids the reality of the situation, and give them tests to make sure they absorbed it.

  36. Phil E. Drifter

    I saw pi being mentioned earlier and thought I’d share this little tidbit I stumbled across (woo stumbleupon.com) yesterday:
    (I thought it was from OK but after finding it I saw it was Indiana)

    “In 1897, Indiana tried to pass a bill stating that pi is equal to 3.2, as opposed to its truly infinite value, but it never became a law due to intervention by a Perdue University professsor[.]”

    (source: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/12550 )

    As far as I know, bills that have been passed by both the state house and senate still need to be approved by the governor of said state to be signed into law. (If they ignore said bill then after a period of time yes the bill becomes a law, or they could veto it, meaning OKlahomans would be saved (even though they would curse the idea).

  37. “In my religion we believe that spelling correctly is a sin, and memorizing historical facts is blasphemy…

    Give me an ‘A’ or my parents will sue your school!”

    I can see it now…

  38. This does not anger me, as so many of the freedom-destroying laws of late have. What this does is frighten me – yes, the emotion is fear, not anger.

    As a child born in the 1960s, I grew up believing that we lived in an age of enlightenment and reason; that religious hysteria had finally been defeated by luminaries such as Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein; that the future held an increasing understanding of science and mathematics not just by great minds, but by the population at large. This view was reinforced, even in the Catholic school I went to (my mother is a devout Catholic and wanted me to have a religious education) by the separation of religious studies from all other subjects. When I went to school, Religion and Science were separate subjects that dealt with separate perceptions of existence. Religion did not try to teach me about how Mg + HCl -> MgCl + H2^ or F = g(m1.m2/d^2). Science did not try to teach me to stop and help someone in trouble, or the difference between right and wrong. And when my childhood fascination with science precluded my sharing my mother’s Christian beliefs, adopting instead my father’s Agnosticism, she accepted that and believed that as long as I was a good person, her god would not punish me. I was never taught “creation science” or any similar rubbish, and both my mother and school taught that the Bible was symbolic, a metaphor; God didn’t REALLY create the world in seven days, but seven symbolic “ages”. At no point did my religious training ever attempt to gainsay the findings of science. So because of this religious training, I always felt that religion was a harmless anachronism that would gradually fade away into history as science and reason took hold.

    Wrongo. What I’m seeing here is the same events that led to the fall of the Roman Empire. Religion in school taught me (rightly or wrongly) how the Catholic religion developed after the death of Christ; at first it was outlawed, then Constantine made it permissible, then Justinian made it *mandatory*. This “evolution vs. creation controversy” (which for me is a no-brainer) is the first step on a very slippery slope. If this continues, in 500 years time we will not be terraforming Mars and journeying to the stars; we will be back to burning witches and waging crusades. Or executing scientists for “heresy”.

    So I humbly apologise to you, Galileo and other great minds of history who suffered and died to free us from the shackles of superstition, on behalf of modern humanity, whose increasing regression to superstition renders your sacrifices meaningless. I hereby resolve to honour your memory by being prepared to go to the stake as a heretic, as you great men did, should this madness once again subsume our intelligence, in the name of upholding science and reason in the darkness of superstition and stupidity.

  39. IRONMANAustralia

    Well that’s nothing Derek, imagine that your parents are Holocaust Deniers, and this is your paper on WWII for history class …

    “In 1942 the filthy Jews started a propaganda campaign about our wonderful, loving Führer who was only trying to help them, and improve life for all Germans. They claimed he sent them on trains to be exterminated, but Auschwitz was actually the “Euro Disney” of the time, where they were given free pony rides and cotton candy …”

    Teacher’s comments:

    Good work. A+

  40. boggis the cat

    Further to what IRONMANAustralia has posted above:

    I wonder if such laws could end up working against their agenda (presumably of some fanatical Christian bent). Certainly, here in New Zealand they have gone the other direction and tried to push elective religious study (“Bible in Schools”) out of the classroom.

    The government argument here is that you have to let every looney fringe element religion have equal rights to such access, and it could turn into a nightmare. No real harm in having Islam or Hindu or Budhist beliefs taught, maybe, but then you have the neo-Nazi/white supremacists, fringe cult groups and so forth.

    So what happens when your local nutters glom onto this opportunity?

  41. GaryBee

    Well,
    After recieving an ‘Oklahoman education’ they could still become ‘Oklahoman politicians’, couldn’t they ?

  42. The Baboon Nebula !!!

    I just found it. It’s in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Seriously.

    http://tispaquin.blogspot.com/2008/03/baboon-nebula.html

    Cheers.

  43. hmmm

    It’s PURDUE UNIVERSITY genius… but anyway, yeah, the PI law is part of Indiana’s vast history of stupidity.

  44. The koolest gravitational lens I have ever seen is here,in Abell 2269.

  45. DCpunk

    Reading comprehension would really serve you folks well. The bill specifically states that:

    “Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.”

  46. “Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.”

    cf. Does this sentence contain a single independently verifiable term of reference?

    No.

  47. Wacky religious beliefs about historical facts aren’t as.. practically problematic as wacky beliefs about ongoing phenomena. If someone denies that natural selection is happening now, that’s a problem. If they think we were created from dust 6008 years ago, that’s just irrelevant. Come to think of it, I’ve never used continental drift in my daily life either.

    Sadly, as long as we have compulsory, publicly funded education, we have to continue debating irrelevant Truths.

  48. Moose

    DCpunkon: Reading comprehension would really serve you folks well. The bill specifically states that:

    “Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.”

    This is the key phrase, DCpunkon. You don’t see how that phrase can be abused? The next headline will read something along the lines of: Oklahoman high school defines YEC (otherwise called “teaching the controversy” to dodge the obvious constitutional issue) as a “legitimate pedagogical concern”.

  49. Second, everyone here is missing the point because they are turning it into an evolution vs. creationism. Neither has complete evidence. Both have some evidence. Both have completely fabricated stories to support themselves. And we honestly can’t rule out either theory.

    So evolutionists demanding to remove creationism, and creationists demanding to remove evoultion are both acting in selfish, short-sighted manners that serve no purpose other than to stifle thought. You can think your right, heck you can BE right, and still allow the other guy to think what he wants. He might come across something that supports you (perhaps by accident even!).

    Wrong. Putting one theory that has zero supporting evidence on the same level as a theory that is the de facto accepted explanation for the biodiversity on the planet is just wrong. Creationism has no valid scientific evidence. Their research amounts to nothing more than reverse “engineering” the bible and their loudest supporters are guilty of a constant stream of lies and distortions.

    This bill not only fosters an environment where any religious view can be substituted for actually learning the subject matter but it also creates situations where student are given the floor (such as assemblies, speaches, pep rallys etc…) can use that time to proselytize to what essentially is a captive audience. And because of the loose wording in the bill, there will be nothing the school can do about it.

  50. Moose

    Effeminemon: If they think we were created from dust 6008 years ago, that’s just irrelevant. Come to think of it, I’ve never used continental drift in my daily life either.

    Ever experience an earthquake? Would you like a few minutes warning before the next one hits? Would you like the engineers at the nuclear generating station a few miles from you to have some advanced warning?

    Continental drift is not irrelevant to your daily life. Someone choosing to ignore continental drift is, however, irrelevant to earthquakes.

    StuartAustraliaon: And Americans wonder why the rest of the world regards them as a laughing stock! Ok, that’s not fair, we do know that you’re ALL the same as the people proposing this law,

    Just for the record, this Canadian doesn’t condemn all Americans for anti-science. I do, however, condemn all Americans for persistently voting these people into power, or worse, not voting at all.

  51. Ad Hominid

    A crack in Fundamentalist anti-science?
    Southern Baptist leaders shift position on climate change

    Several prominent leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention said Monday that Baptists have a moral responsibility to combat climate change — a major shift within a denomination that just last year cast doubt on human responsibility for global warming.

    Forty-six influential members of the Southern Baptist Convention, including three of its last four presidents, criticized their denomination in a statement Monday for being “too timid” in confronting global warming.

    What struck me about this was the similarity in language between last year’s anti-GW resolution and Southern Baptist pronouncements on creation/evolution.

  52. Kirk

    With leadership like this in our various US governments, we are doomed. The lean, hungry (and educated) barbarians will soon have Americans working as serfs. I despair for the future of our children.

  53. Jorenko

    Every time I read yet another creationism-in-schools story, I lose a little more faith in humanity. Oh well, at least the catholics are on our side.

    I’ve been mulling a possible compromise that might help to resolve the issue, while still communicating a full understanding of science to the student.

    We tell the students exactly what science is: It is the investigation of the natural world, through observation and experimentation. This does not have to be at odds with religion. They can choose to believe that their own personal Creator made the world/universe at any point in history. If that was 6000 years ago, then they can believe that it was a world where there were fake dinosaur fossils hidden in the ground.

    However, they need to accept the fact that we can still dig up the fossils, and that tried-and-true science shows us that they are millions of years old. Maybe they were created that way 6000 years ago, but [i]they look millions of years old to us[/i], and [i]that’s[/i] the part that matters in science: how things seem to us, that is, humans.

  54. Moose: Someone choosing to ignore continental drift is, however, irrelevant to earthquakes.

    Exactly. I’ll be crushed by debris whether I believe in it or not.

    Well, I don’t really want to argue on the side of ignorance today. I was just thinking that the debate is so heated because 1) we have to share one educational system and 2) some people can’t tell a scientific theory from religious doctrine.

  55. aReddishGreen

    “A lump of lithium dropped into water will create heat and hydrogen gas.”

    - Come on now Phil, you should know better! If you concede that a lump of lithium can create heat and hydrogen then you create a slippery slope leading to an argument that an almighty being that created the entire universe 6000 years ago. If you had seen that as an answer on a test you would have had to mark it wrong too! =)

  56. Koreman

    This collective intellectual suicide is incredible. Apart from teaching of loosely based opinions as scientific facts -which are completely useless in any serious profession- the scientific method is not taught. Tech companies and scientific research facilities will think twice before hiring people who were educated in Oklahoma if this legislation gets through.

  57. Garrett

    I’m a student in oklahoma and my science teacher is about to get some weird test answers.
    Hail FSM!

  58. Michelle

    That’s just idiotic. I can’t say anything more than that. This just lacks so much logic I can’t find the right words to express my contempt.

  59. Moose

    Just an aside: last I checked (five+ years ago), my college system rejects “high school diplomas” from a few fundamentalist “private schools” because their students simply cannot meet our entry standards. And we operate on a first-applied, first-served basis for the most part, so that’s saying something.

    (To the best of my knowledge,) all Canadian catholic high schools currently meet our entry standards, so it’s not an anti-religious thing. We just want people to have a passing familiarity with reality when they come to us.

  60. Don

    I was recently reminded of this quote from years ago and is still just as relevent today.

    “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
    – Aldous Huxley

  61. Just an aside: last I checked (five+ years ago), my college system rejects “high school diplomas” from a few fundamentalist “private schools” because their students simply cannot meet our entry standards. And we operate on a first-applied, first-served basis for the most part, so that’s saying something.

    A group of Christian Schools got their panties in a bunch because the U of California system didn’t accept classwork credit for religious classes using certain textbooks produced by the bastions of higher learning, Bob Jones U and other. They sued the U of Cal system.

  62. Darth Robo

    “they are turning it into an evolution vs. creationism.”

    Funny, no-one even mentioned evolution before Cralis did.

    It seems the fundies are trying it on every state, jumping from one to the other and so on. Considering the hammering they suffer every time they try something stupid, do they seriously think they have a chance at getting anywhere? The best they can do is bog each state down into legal limbo until one day it does go to court and boom – another Dover.

    Hmmm, perhaps they have a cunning plan…

  63. I’ve dug up the original law for those who are interested. Be aware it comes up as a Word document:

    http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/2007-08HB/HB2211_int.rtf

    My main problem is with the phrase “otherwise permissible subject.” What does that mean, exactly? The law tries to clarify, but I still think it’s unclear.

    The law states “Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of the submission by the student. Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.”

    The law then goes on to say “Students shall not be penalized or rewarded on account of religious content.” And gives one example: “If the assignment given by a teacher involves writing a poem, the work of a student who submits a poem in the form of a prayer (for example, a psalm) should be judged on the basis of academic standards, including literary quality, and not penalized or rewarded on account of its religious content.”

    The law seems to state that normal criteria for grading will be used. This example is all well and good for English class. But the subject becomes stickier when you go to science class, where a students’ religious belief may clash directly with the content being taught.

    I think that an analogous example from Biology class would be: A student is asked on a test to summarize the Theory of Evolution. The student answers with: “I believe that God created life and that the theory of evolution is erroneous. However, Darwin and others define the theory of evolution to be…” and then the student goes on to summarize the theory of evolution.

    The law seems to state that the student, if he or she answers the question but puts in his or her 2 cents about the religious issue, should not be marked off or penalized for them.

    Even so, the law is not quite clear on what happens if a student writes down “I believe that God created all life and that the theory of Evolution is not valid.” And doesn’t actually answer the question.

    In the English class example, the expression of religious elief does not directly contradict the assignment. The student can still learn the concepts of alliteration, rhyme, meter, sentence structure, etc and use those tools to compose a poem.

    In the Biology class example, the expression of religious belief (Young-Earth Creationism) directly contradicts what is being taught. The student has a religious objection to the concepts of natural selection, that present species evolved from past species, and survival of the fittest. But these are the tools that must be used to discuss evolution.

    So, does the law state that a student must not be marked down in this case? Or, in a classroom discussion, if the student brings up his or her religious disagreement with evolution, is the teacher prevented from countering this by saying “the evidence (observations, predictions, fossil record) strongly supports evolution?”

    As I said, the law’s vague. And in the vagueness there will be controversy. Even if the law was not intended to quash evolution in the classroom, there will be people who will use the law to argue that a kid who doesn’t answer questions about evolution correctly shouldn’t be penalized.

  64. I know my last post was super-long, but I wanted to clarify one phrase in the law:

    “Homework and classroom work shall be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.”

    This means, more or less, that the student will be marked wrong if the answer is “wrong.” Even so, the way the law is written, with lots of statements seeming to contradict this one, The concern that teachers can’t mark off when a student answers “god did it” is a valid one.

  65. “I’ll be honest: if I were an employer, or a University recruiter, and the bill becomes law, I would look very skeptically at any application that came to my desk from a student who graduated in Oklahoma. That makes me sad, but that is the reality Oklahoma is aiming toward.”

    I think Phil puts it well in that sentence. There is a certain point where I get tired arguing with the “don’t confuse me with the facts” group of people, and I note how quickly their tune changes when it comes to hiring a civil engineer and a bedrock geologist to build a 1,000 foot highway bridge over a river gorge. There are no atheists in foxholes? There are only atheists who build 1,000 foot bridges. The numbers have to add up.

  66. Mystikan writes:

    [[I hereby resolve to honour your memory by being prepared to go to the stake as a heretic, as you great men did, should this madness once again subsume our intelligence, in the name of upholding science and reason in the darkness of superstition and stupidity.]]

    Mental image of Mystikan bravely leaving a bunch of lighters around on park benches, piling up wood around a stake, standing on the pile, tying himself up, and then saying “Go ahead! Burn me!” to some passing seminary students, who look at him briefly, shake their heads, and then keep walking.

  67. Ad Hominid posts:

    [[A crack in Fundamentalist anti-science?
    Southern Baptist leaders shift position on climate change
    ]]

    Did you miss a year ago when 83 prominent evangelicals signed a statement urging Christians to combat global warming? Don’t assume Christians, even fundamentalist Christians, are necessarily right-wing, or are right-wing on all issues. Heck, I’m a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat.

  68. Darth Robo points out:

    [[It seems the fundies are trying it on every state, jumping from one to the other and so on. ]]

    Exactly. Although I’d specify “the creationists” rather than “the fundamentalists” (please use the non-derogatory word).

    They have tried this again and again and again and had their ass handed to them every time. I don’t understand why there’s such panic over creationists. They’re going to keep doing this; they’re going to keep getting defeated in the courts. Especially if a Democrat wins in ’08.

    Yes, I know the statistic about 44% of Americans believing in a 10,000-or-less-year-old Earth. I don’t know how seriously to take poll results like that, though. Remember Carl Sagan’s remark about aliens asking Earth people where babies come from — “I know I would be sorely tempted to tell them about the stork.”

  69. Chris

    You mean the Flying Spaghetti Monster didn’t create

    the Earth an hour ago, and then planted false memories into every single living creature on Earth to make it seem like they’ve been around longer.

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

    Oh well. That’s pretty typical for my embarrassing Okie legislators. As for the aforementioned OK State Rep. Sally Kern, District 84, Republican. She said that Eureka Springs, AR has been taken over by the homosexual agenda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFxk7glmMbo

  70. Lord Monar

    If we have to give a passing grade to a student for religious reasons….why can’t we just give a passing grade to a student who just can’t/won’t comprehend the information?

    I mean if Johnny Biblethumber can say 6000 years and get an A….and I take a WAG because I’m too lazy to take notes/read/study and come up with 1,000,000,000 years….should I not get an A too?

  71. Wait:

    “A school district shall treat a student’s voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the district treats a student’s voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject….”

    Okay, I’d fail a student for writing unsupported secular nonsense, so that means in Oklahoma I’m required to fail the student for writing unsupported religious nonsense too?

    They forgot a comma after “subject” as well. Marks off.

  72. Ad Hominid

    Did you miss a year ago when 83 prominent evangelicals signed a statement urging Christians to combat global warming?

    I did not, but that wasn’t the Southern Baptist Convention and would not be an example of Fundamentalist anti-science and is therefore not relevant to my post.

    Don’t assume Christians, even fundamentalist Christians, are necessarily right-wing, or are right-wing on all issues. Heck, I’m a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat.

    I assumed nothing of the kind. You’re putting words in my mouth, Paul. Where is the generalization about Christians or even about Fundamentalists? Further, I said nothing at all about political orientation and you, not I, introduced the term “right wing” into the discussion.
    “Fundamentalist anti-science” refers to a specific phenonenon that is evident in Southern Baptist declarations in the past. They did pass the global warming resolution last year and they have made many statements in favor of ID and creationism. If that isn’t you, why go so far out of your way to pretend it is?

    Btw, I’m an atheist and a conservative Republican.

  73. Ken

    I’m just glad its not Kansas for once. Usually we are waaay out in front on stupid.

  74. KC

    Jeffersonian:

    My hypothetical retort was inspired by a Bible-Belt Science teacher, circa early 1970s, who would have jotted it on a test in a heart-beat. She was – and still is (she’s in her nineties now) a devout Fundamentalist Christian. The school principal, a Fundamentalist Christian lay-speaker, would have backed her up. Most Fundamentalist Christians aren’t Young Earth Creationists, and this has been the case for at least a century. In fact, I was in my teens before I encountered YEC as more than a rumor.

    The reason why most Fundamentalist Christians aren’t YEC gets into an involved theological discussion. The short version is that YEC believe the term “day” in Genesis 1-2 refers to 24 hour periods while most Fundamentalist Christians interpret “day” as meaning an indeterminate period of time (as in the phrase “Day of the Lord,” which crops up several times in the Bible). There are even more complex hypothesis in Fundamentalist Christian circles. For one example, see a Scofield Study Bible notes on Genesis 1-2 and note that this has been “the” study bible of Fundamentalist Christianity for nearly a century.

    Thus most Fundamentalist Christian churches in the Bible-Belt and elsewhere teach the Old Earth Creationist viewpoint. You hear more from the YEC because, well, they don’t believe the earth is billion of years old. Old Earth Creationists, having no problem with things like radioactive decay pointing to an earth billions of years old or that we can detect light and other electromagnetic radiation billions of light years away, don’t say very much.

    This is why I don’t think a YEC-dominated school board is very likely even in the Bible-Belt. I won’t entirely rule it out because it could be possible to have a population cluster of YEC believers even though this isn’t the predominate Fundamentalist Christian view. There’s a possibility of this happening as long as school boards maintain some degree of autonomy. Yet the situation is worse if school boards lose what autonomy they still have because it introduces a situation where one faction could control school curriculum for a large area. But that gets into politics.

    Suffice to say that while Young Earth Creationism is a subset of Fundamentalist Christianity, Fundamentalist Christianity /= Young Earth Creationism. Since YECs are more vocal than OECs, it’s a common misconception outside of Fundamentalist Christianity circles. And the one YEC I know has the attitude that even if you don’t believe what’s being taught, you must know the material that’s being taught in order to have a passing grade. To the best of my knowledge he never lodged a protest over his children learning the world is billions of years old or learning of evolution. Then again, I only know one confirmed YEC.

  75. KC

    Ad Hominid:

    Since the SBC is a loose coalition of Baptist churches rather than a hierarchical denomination, a statement by a number of “leaders” is interesting but means little until it comes to a delegate vote. I am curious at which declarations are/were unscientific. Offhand I can only think of Confessions of Faith (Baptists has Confessions of faith instead of creeds) and a few statement on theological issues.

  76. FrumiousBandersnark

    Arizona has a similar bill in the works: HB2713: Students’ Religious Liberties Act.

  77. Pete
  78. Ad Hominid

    KC said:

    I am curious at which declarations are/were unscientific. Offhand I can only think of Confessions of Faith (Baptists has Confessions of faith instead of creeds) and a few statement on theological issues.

    I am not aware of anything unscientific in the SBC’s Statement of Faith and Message but the following resolutions certainly promote the anti-science position in terms of current public discourse:
    Resolution 5, “On Global Warming”

    RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in San Antonio, Texas, June 12-13, 2007, urge Southern Baptists to proceed cautiously in the human-induced global warming debate in light of conflicting scientific research; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we consider proposals to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions based on a maximum acceptable global temperature goal to be very dangerous, since attempts to meet the goal could lead to a succession of mandates of deeper cuts in emissions, which may have no appreciable effect if humans are not the principal cause of global warming, and could lead to major economic hardships on a worldwide scale;

    2006: Resolution 10, “On Engaging The Direction Of The Public School System”

    WHEREAS, In December 2005, a federal judge ruled in favor of government schools indoctrinating children with dogmatic Darwinism (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District), which radically influences their view of origins;

    Going a little farther back:
    “Resolution on Secular Humanism”

    WHEREAS, This secular outlook clashes with that of founders of the American republic who in the Declaration of Independence emphasized that the Creator has endowed all mankind with inalienable rights, in clear contrast with the contemporary priority for evolutionary theory in public schools and their evasion and virtual exclusion of creation doctrine from the classroom; and
    WHEREAS, A generation that is academically encouraged to view divine creation as myth and evolution as fact cannot long escape the further illusion that human rights endowed by the Creator are likewise mythical, thus accelerating the drift to personal relativism and social instability in contemporary life;

    “Resolution on Scientific Creationism”

    WHEREAS, The theory of evolution has never been proven to be a scientific fact, and
    WHEREAS, Public school students are now being indoctrinated in evolution-science…….
    …….Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention in session in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 1982, express our support for the teaching of Scientific Creationism in our public schools.

    As you no doubt know, resolutions are expressions of opinion or concern passed during the annual Convention meeting.

  79. Pat

    I see all scholastics becoming multiple-choice. “No, 6000 years was not a response, and no, write-ins are not allowed. No, you can’t put in your own “e” and write none of the above.”

    Now, how to make an essay into multiple-choice…

  80. Moose

    Kenon: I’m just glad its not Kansas for once. Usually we are waaay out in front on stupid.

    Still are, I’m afraid.

    Apparently Kansas just passed a law to fine websites ($500 on first offense and up from there) for not verifying and publishing full names on message board posts. Even as they admit this is going to be a “challenge” to enforce. It still has to go through the Kansas senate.

    I don’t have the link to hand, but it’s on Fark.com’s main page right now. (At least partially because Fark’s based in Kansas, I’m sure.)

  81. Hurley

    IRONman… you cannot divide by zerio. :)

    Also, why is it okay to tell a student that 2+3=4 in one class and give them credit, but not accept an answer that G-d created the universe?

    Evolutionists and Big Bangers cannot prove completely that everything is here today without G-d anymore than anyone can prove that everything is here because of G-d.

    Just teach evolution and the current best science as “the current best scientific answer and other answers may be as valid”. Don’t get bent up about that your answer is the only answer. Science is about challenging the status quo. We found that Newton wasn’t ‘exactly’ correct. We may find Einstein had some things wrong. Einstein did believe the universe was static, then Hubble showed the universe is expanding. D’oh.

    “Do Not Question Authority!”

  82. “there are some things that are simple facts”

    There are facts, and then there are theories. Evolution and creationism are both theories, and there is no “absolute proof” for either. Being a graduate student, you should understand that almost all scientific studies are theoretical.

    Instead of stating “This is fact!”, the proper approach is to say, “This is my opinion!” By not doing this, it speaks highly of your ignorance and failed education.

  83. misanthropope

    i can only hope that as we speak, teams of smartass oklahoma high school students are busy coining new religions to maximize the benefit of this new legislation.

    in particular, irreligious students in catholic schools ought to have a grand time with this.

    FSM fhtagn!

  84. Chandler

    Prove to me that the earth was formed from a Big Bang that formed from a primal soup that formed from …???
    I don’t want evidence, I want proof.

    Don’t go saying that something is wrong when you can’t prove that the opposite (or at least an alternative) is true. It takes just as much faith for you to believe in evolution as it does to believe in Intelligent Design.

    This kind of crap pisses me off because it’s hypocritical. You’re doing the exact same thing that you’re accusing others of doing. Lame.

  85. chris

    I am sorry, but when did evolution theory become fact. I don’t believe that these kids should be given an excuse to fail, but again, you can’t say that they are wrong with both creation and evolution are considered theories.

  86. Edwin Jose Palathinkal

    Singapore welcomes all the scientists who would like to take refuge from The American Dark Ages..

    Don’t be ashamed. Many scientists took refuge in America from Hitler. This is the same thing all over again.

    Many of my professors here at NUS are from Harvard and Ivy Leagues. They came here leaving all of their great labs and facilities in USA. But we gave them even greater things.

    Our doors are always open. And we give permanent resident status easily too. No crime. Chew all the gum you want because it is legal. Excellent health care. Education that is free from Creationism. And 2nd best on the UN Economic Freedoms Index.

  87. Mike

    It’s their right to have a religion, and they can believe in creationalism if they damn well want to. You don’t have any say in that.
    Your totalitarian view of thinking will only push religious types farther away from other important aspects of science and education.
    Build a bridge and get over yourself

  88. ReligionMakesNuts

    My God Flies and has a Hammer.Your God got nailed to a tree, any questions?

  89. Steve

    Sorry. Your statement that the Earth is not 6,000 years old is not a fact. It is inferred from the data available, and there is some uncertainty associated with that information. To present it as something that is absolutely true is similar to presenting that the Earth is 6,000 years old. Both statements have uncertainty.

    You are falling into the same trap that Creationists fall into. And, no, it doesn’t make a great argument to add qualifiers to your statements (and where do those qualifiers end). But, when you are dealing with reality, there is no absolute certainty.

  90. DOOManiac

    I hate my state. :/

  91. Please remember that science only matters to a creationist when it time to fill a prescription.

  92. presser_kun

    *siiiigh*

    This whole business reminds me of Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound at the end of a game, looking downcast and mumbling to himself, “How can we lose when we’re so sincere?”

  93. Kay

    I just have one work of advice for any teachers reading this, or anyone else that ever gets into “intellectual” discussions with the Creationists. Beat them at there own game by quoting fromt he beloved Book. I actually went to a Baptist school and the Bible was drilled into my brain. In Genesis it says “the earth was without form and void” meaning that is was there but it was empty! But there was a hunk of rock there with water on it. Really simple, jsut ask them what they think of that passage because it really lines up with carbon dating and everything. Sock it to em!

  94. Ravyn

    I think this is very well written, by the way. The only statement that I do not agree with is this one: “One problem with this is that once you open the door to fantasy, any and all flavors of it can walk on through, as in the example above.” The problem with this “slippery slope” logic is that it is used by some as a way to justify their own bigotries. For example, a bigoted person might say, “We can’t allow gays to marry because then people will want to marry their sister, their dog or their pet sheep, snakes and ottomans and eventually we will just be one big race of inbred, face licking, wiry, white haired, scaly skinned, foot rests!” Seriously though, why are we still giving this “debate” the time of day? It’s ridiculous. I guess we have to until our politicians stop this nonsense! It’s such a waste of perfectly good brain power though. We could be, I don’t know, finding a cure for cancer with stem cells or something. No wonder 17 other countries produce more scientists than America and we rank below some third world countries in educating our youth!!!!

  95. Moose

    chrison: I am sorry, but when did evolution theory become fact. I don’t believe that these kids should be given an excuse to fail, but again, you can’t say that they are wrong with both creation and evolution are considered theories.

    When it became a theory. That’s not a flip answer. Theories are not conjecture.

    Theories are predictive models. They become fact (or as good as fact) as they get better at modeling reality. They become better through forming hypotheses, through good experimentation, and either rejecting or not rejecting the hypotheses. As you get enough hypotheses, you improve the model, and that improved model becomes the new theory.

    Evolution is a fact. It’s been observed in the wild (in living memory). It’s been reproduced in the lab. It’s apparent all throughout the fossil record. Evolution (the theory)’s predictions have been confirmed many times, by many non-biology scientific disciplines. It’s useful. Not so much Darwin’s original model (a good first try), but Evolution (the theory) has had 150 years to be improved through testing and a lot of hard work.

    Creation has never been a theory, and will never be a theory because it has no use, it makes no predictions (testable or otherwise), and no testing has ever been attempted by the “cdesign proponentists”, let alone successful testing.

    Gravity is a fact. It is also a theory that describes gravity, a fact. And that theory has so much predictive value (except at the extremes, such as past the event horizon of black holes) that the theory of gravity may as well be fact too.

    As gravity is a fact, and a theory, so is Evolution. It’s a fact. And its a theory that is so successfully predictive it may as well itself be fact.

    Creation, on the other hand, is a cynical political movement ultimately trying to establish one, and only one religious variant: their own.

  96. So what happens when these kids go to out-of-stage college? Those answers will not do in any other state and at any university. They are crippling their children’s education.

  97. Adrian

    Did Uncommonly Dense link to this post or something?

  98. Aerimus

    @chris:
    “I am sorry, but when did evolution theory become fact.”

    Look up the scientific definition of “theory”. It does not mean the same thing as everyday, layman usage. Scientist use a definition that mean that a theory is built on observations and evidence, while the ID supporters use a definition that essential means nothing more than “This is what I think”. Whereas evolution is based on things that are observed and testing, ID is based solely on the written description of a religion.

    @Hurley:
    “Also, why is it okay to tell a student that 2+3=4 in one class and give them credit, but not accept an answer that G-d created the universe?”

    2+3=4? Is that a typo, a joke, a reference to all the comments that you could essentially create any answer you like, or is there something “fuzzy” I’m missing?

    As for challenging science, I bet no one on this board would object to a valid challenge that was rooted in science, that had an observational and testable basis. But to teach something that has no such evidence at all goes against science. Science should be changed, but by science – not superstition or personal beliefs.

    @Chandler:
    “Prove to me that the earth was formed from a Big Bang that formed from a primal soup that formed from …???
    I don’t want evidence, I want proof.”

    First off, what do you think that evidence is? I’ll grant that “evidence” may not necessarily mean direct or complete proof, but it is more than simply saying “I belief” and then referring to Bible, the only single source that “confirms” God’s existence.

    —————————

    Personally, as a Christian, I don’t want the government teaching my kids religion. That’s my job and my prerogative, and I’ll thank all the creationist, IDers and those who want to add such training to schools to just butt out.

    As for the law, I like the protect that it would give students in expressing religious ideas in classes such as art, drama, and English (composition). I’ve heard stories of kids getting punished for turning in such works in the name of the Separation Clause, although, it is very, VERY incredible rare. Of course, when I was in school, I used to write all my English assignments about a cannibal named Jeffery, and my that English teach threatened me (jokingly) that she’d shoot me for disturbing her class. If that happened now, I’d been suspended, and if I hadn’t, then I’m sure that teacher would have been fired later, when she made those comments.

  99. Aerimus

    @chris:
    Actually Moose did a far better job with the theory definition than I did. May I also recommend:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory

    And note the bit from the NAS:

    “Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena”

    ———————-

    As an aside and Off Topic, does anyone know what rules the blog uses regarding mark ups? Does it use standard HTML, or some other vague rules, and if so, where can I find them. I’m tired of not being able to clearly mark up my post.

  100. steve

    A question to the evolutionists: Answer the question, how old is the earth?

  101. Aerimus

    @steve:

    Are you the same steve that asked:

    “Sorry. Your statement that the Earth is not 6,000 years old is not a fact. It is inferred from the data available, and there is some uncertainty associated with that information. To present it as something that is absolutely true is similar to presenting that the Earth is 6,000 years old. Both statements have uncertainty.”

    The line of questioning would suggest so. I could be wrong, but I probably have a better chance of being correct than assuming that you are Moose from above, considering the content of the posts.

    We could be wrong, but there current evidence suggest that 4.5 billion is far more likely that 6000 years. Could they both be wrong? Yeah, but outside of the Bible, what real evidence is there to support a 6000 year old Earth, compared to the volumes of data that suggest a earth roughly 4.5 billion years old?

  102. Tony

    @Chris

    Please stop spreading your misinterpretation of the word theory. It’s almost as if you are intentionally trying to spread lies. You must have come across someone that has explained the difference between the generally used term “theory” and “scientific theory”. Here, I’ll even post it so you don’t have to spend your precious time learning how to find facts on your own:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory
    The word theory has a number of distinct meanings in different fields of knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion.

    “In common usage, the word theory is often used to signify a conjecture, an opinion, or a speculation. In this usage, a theory is not necessarily based on facts; in other words, it is not required to be consistent with true descriptions of reality. This usage of theory leads to the common incorrect statements. True descriptions of reality are more reflectively understood as statements which would be true independently of what people think about them.”

    “In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature that is supported by many facts gathered over time.”

  103. Rick

    “I’m not American so every time I hear the word Oklahoma I see Steve Martin running around with a pot on his head shouting “Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma…””

    I am American, Shane, and I see the same thing, only he’s wearing day-glo orange buckskin pants and moccasins. Also, he has mustard on his upper lip.

  104. Skeptic_Al

    Hey,

    Just thought I’d let you know this post has been included the Latest News section on the front page Richard Dawkins’ website.

    Al

  105. JB of Brisbane

    Going back a bit, to IRONMANAustralia,

    Don’t forget that 0/0 can have three values:

    Zero over any number = 0
    Any number over itself = 1
    Any number over zero = Infinity

    Try entering 0/0= into a calculator and see what happens.

  106. joe

    Sounds really easy to me. Just make all the questions pertain to the books that they read. Ask them questions like

    In Chapter 1 of the Science of Life book when do they say the world existed.

    This bypasses individual beliefs and makes it directly relate to the reading. They are not forced to believe it, just state what the book says. When I was in high school they tried to do a similar idea (that was quickly squashed by science teachers that are smarter then rule makers).

  107. Moose

    Aerimus, the blog uses a very basic subset of html for markup purposes. The BAUT forum uses UBB code.

  108. steve

    so a better answer the question, how old is the earth? would be…. WE DO NOT KNOW, but our guess is blah blah blah blah……

  109. Moose

    Steve. Primer on the age of the Earth. It’s a fair starting point.

  110. Moose

    Speaking of which, Steve, while it’s difficult to pin down an exact age for the Earth (radiometric evidence puts it somewhere between 4.404 billion years and 4.567 billion years), and a better estimate would require some pretty solid evidence we don’t have yet, we have more than enough evidence to reject your hypothesis utterly: 6000 years is not the age of the Earth. There’s no legitimate uncertainty about that.

  111. So is anyone keeping a list of states with suspicious science standards? Good universities will need to know, so that they can know which applicants will need remedial science classes. I can’t keep it straight. Which states have shot this crap down and which haven’t?

  112. steve

    The uranium-lead radiometric dating scheme is one of the oldest available, as well as one of the most highly respected. It has been refined to the point that the error in dates of rocks about three billion years old is no more than two million years. TWO MILLION YEARS! Ya gotta have some major faith to believe in the most highly respected dating scheme. I think I will become the wisest evolutionist of all time and say that the earth is at least 984 trillion years old, that way no scientist in the world could prove me wrong :)

  113. Moose

    So far, no states are fully doomed. And by my count, Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida are only potentially doomed. But the trend is clear. Residents of all states need to be vigilant.

  114. Moose

    Steve, except you’d have no evidence whatsoever to back your claim. The oldest object found in the solar system (meteoric material) puts the upper bound at 4.567 billion years. It could be larger, but until we have evidence, that’s the best we’ve got.

    The lower bound, on the other hand, has been definitively determined: 4.404 billion years (zircon from western Australia). The Earth must definitely be older than that.

    … All of which you’d know if you’d have followed the link I provided earlier. There’s no reason anyone should have to sit here and spoon feed all of this to you like strained carrots to my goddaughter when she was a year old and pretty much helpless. What’s your excuse?

  115. Rob

    Thanks for humoring my pre-work ‘digging’ today, I did enjoy the entirely overt tone of your article. A man with a mission!

    If I was you I’d be worried about extremists trying to blow up those you care about than I would about whether someone felt the earth was 6k years old – particularly when those somebodies are typically the people who operate social justice organisations and the like.

    But that’s just me.. and as I can tell by the comments here you’re not alone!

    But an important question is, “what is the product of that belief”? What’s the outcome? Does it result in meaning, purpose and harmony?

    Sadly for some so-called ‘Christians’ it’s a legalistic arrogance which looks down it’s nose and tars any different opinion with the same brush.. resorting to ridicule and abuse

    We all know that’s not fun and doesn’t create any meaningful conversation and I am sure those poor people aren’t alone in that attitude… are they people?

    But I did want to put a finger on the important discussion that’s been overlooked as far as I can tell. That of outcomes.

    I think there are better high horses to get on. So let’s just all get on shall we.

    Cheers

  116. Todd

    @steve

    Just another comment on your 6,000 year-old Earth comment. I came across a compute the other day. There is no direct document that states when it was made. Looking at the history of computers, the components that make up the computer, and the materials used, I can be reasonably certain that it was made sometime within the last 30-40 years.

    Then, someone came along and said that my conclusion is not a fact, that it is based only on inferences from the available data and that it is just as likely that it was made 400 years ago. Well, I was not present when it was made, nor was I alive 400 years ago, so I can’t speak from direct evidence of the technology available then, but I can safely reject that as a falsity based on the preponderance of evidence for my conclusion and the utter lack of evidence for the alternative. Indeed, the evidence available points to the inability of the computer to have even been conceived of 400 years ago.

    This analogy can be applied to your example. As others have said, while there may be uncertainty of the exact age of the Earth, the evidence points toward billions of years old. The evidence further shows that the Earth cannot be only 6,000 years old. So, your initial argument is, indeed, invalid.

  117. Max

    Well… I honestly don’t know what to say. There must be SOME specifics, otherwise, people could just make up their own religion and get and pass every single class. But on the flip side, it indeed will make it easier to get a better job for those of us with any common sense.

    The only reason I haven’t lost faith in humanity yet is because looking back, religion was MUCH more prominent a hundred years ago, and now look at how it is dying out. At this rate, religion will eventually die out, but it will be a longer process than any of us want.

    Oh, and also, couldn’t parents just have their kids go to a different school, instead? I mean, really.

  118. Tom Marking

    “Whoops. Missed a step …

    7 = 7
    Therefore: 7 – 7 = 0
    Therefore: 7(1-1) = 0 (factorise)
    Therefore: 7(0) = 0 (simplify)
    Therefore: 7 = 0/0

    You’d be surprised how long this red herring can keep people busy for. I’ve had people argue with me over the legitimacy of that factorisation line for quite some time.”

    It’s a little bit harder to spot the division by zero if you are using algebra. Hence:

    1.) let x = y = 1
    2.) then x^2 = y^2
    3.) then x^2 – y^2 = 0
    4.) so (x + y)(x – y) = 0
    5.) divide both sides by x – y
    6.) x + y = 0
    7.) 2 = 0

    It took me a while to figure that one out the first time I saw it.

  119. Todd

    @Max

    “Oh, and also, couldn’t parents just have their kids go to a different school, instead? I mean, really.”

    Not necessarily. Depending on the finances of the family, the districting standards, and the overall state program, they may not. If the entire state adopts standards that the parents disagree with, then finding a school that they feel fits may require going to a private school or moving to another state. Both of these require increased financial burdens. If they want to stay where they are, even if there are multiple schools, the districting regulations may prevent them from transferring to a particular school (e.g., a school for those who live in single family homes vs. those who live in multi-family homes). This could stem from local tax laws and issues.

    So, they may have options, but they may not necessarily be feasible.

    Not to mention that they shouldn’t need to seek a different school simply because the school/district/state is contemplating subpar educational standards.

  120. Tom Marking

    “That the Earth is 6000 years old may be a religious “truth” to some (note the quotes of sarcasm there), but in a science class it’s just plain wrong, and the sooner we fix it, the better.”

    No problemo. We just redefine what 1 year is:

    1 year = 276 million days = 6.63 billion hours

    This is now the official definition of year in Oklahoma, which means that Christmas vacation will be happening in only 223 million days from now. The kids should be plenty educated by the time the semester is over.

  121. me, myself and i

    @steve:
    “it has been refined to the point that the error in dates of rocks about three billion years old is no more than two million years. TWO MILLION YEARS! Ya gotta have some major faith to believe in the most highly respected dating scheme”

    two million years uncertainty is less than .1 percents here. (0.0666%)
    thats quite good, eh? and 3 billion years + 2 million years is a little tiny bit less than “at least 984 trillion years”, k?

    are all fundamentalists THAT dumb??

  122. jimt

    Phil,
    I enjoy your writings and appreciate many of your columns. It is insane that the the Oklahoma House of Representatives would pass such a bill, but I have a question for you: Why do you have to be such as a**hole when talking about people who think a differently than you do. I was under the assumption that you were a scientist or at least played one on the internet.

  123. This particular question is tricky as the only irrefutable way to prove the Earth is a certain age is to time travel…. Sorry but creationism and others have tried to place doubt on dating methods, even if there is significant scientific fact to back up the method. They always have the fall back position of “science proves itself wrong at times… Could happen here”

    OK, fine.

    I think the correct way to handle this issue, and it DOESN’T TAKE A LAW TO DO SO…. Is make sure that the exam is based on the MATERIAL TAUGHT IN CLASS.

    If the class teaches the earth is a certain age, then that is what is expected on the exam covering the CLASS MATERIAL. So the “correct” answer depends upon the class the exam is given in.

    This way it covers any view on creation, doesn’t it?

  124. The earth is older than 6,000 years? That may be true for you, Phil, but it’s not true for me. (Incidentally, I’ve decided gravity doesn’t apply to me either.)

  125. Barton Paul Levensonon :
    Although I’d specify “the creationists” rather than “the fundamentalists” (please use the non-derogatory word).

    What’s derogatory about “fundamentalists”? It’s a term they came up with to describe themselves almost 100 years ago.

  126. Todd

    @shane

    I think he was referring to “fundies” in the original post. He corrected it to “fundamentalists” in his quote.

  127. steve

    Age of the Earth in 1862 = between 24 million and 400 million years old
    (apparently millions of years old was much too young)
    Age of the Earth in 1911 = 1.6 billion years old
    (it’s got to be 1.6 billion years old, that what these little radio active particles are telling us!)
    Age of the Earth in 1927 = 1.6 to 3.0 billion years old
    (wait the radio active particles lied not sure how many billions of years old it could be)
    Age of the Earth in 1956 = 4.55 billion years old
    (We haven’t had any scientific revelations in trying to find out the age of the earth for over 50 years, I have a feeling the radio active particles are going to lie to us again, come on evolutionists lets unite and say it is some where in the high trillions so it will stick for sure!)

  128. brett

    I don’t know what the flying spaghetti monster has to do with creation….but if you think
    ‘Something came from nothing, that nothing turned into and animalistic something, that animalistic something from nothing turned into an human something and developed morality to discern between good and evil and even understand the definition of good and evil from nothing….well I’m sorry to say that evolution takes more faith then creationism.
    “Hey we can’t explain this so let’s add millions of years to it” LOL…fools.

  129. Carriep thanks for the link to the bill wording. I looked all over for it, and only found synopses except for the one part I quoted. I still think the wording makes it possible for a student to answer thee question on the age of the Earth as 6000 years old, and demand not to be graded down. If this bill passes, OK is going to be home to a whole mess of lawsuits.

  130. are all fundamentalists THAT dumb??

    Must. Not. Answer. Question….

    Actually this type of discussion always reminds me of Alice in Wonderland and a quote from one of the Queens “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  131. Hungarian

    In Hungary we have a christian party in the parliament (in coalition with the largest party, both right-wing).

    Yet we don’t have such debates. We truly believe in secularism, politicans, teachers would not even dare to question science. Our politicians don’t need to say that they are religious. Or that they are not. Nobody cares.

    Religion is a family/personal matter.

    Our society is far less religious than the american, but atheism is part of religious freedom, so we are more free to believe what we want.

    And although we are poor compared to americans, and we have so many godless citizens, we still have a safer life. Our contry did not sink into an immoral, sinful anarchy that many american christians envision, and the rest of Europe seems to be fine as well.

  132. me, myself and i

    “a god, THE god, whatever, that existed forever, had the idea: hey, i don’t know what to do with eternity. it’s quite long.. i just gonna make.. the world. the only one of course. because in an etenity you only find a free week once. and then he/she/it/…? made the world as we know it and all the seas and mountains and plants and animal and humans and fundamentalists as the crown of it all. then god saw it was quite good, but put some bones into the earth so that the humans would think there was some stuff like evolution…. after that god went back to play strip poker with the angels again..”
    THAT MUST BE CORRECT, IT SOUNDS SO MUCH BETTER THAT THAT CRAZY EVOLUTION THING!!!
    if you can play crazy (indeed i hope you PLAY) i can do so, too..

  133. jimt said: "Why do you have to be such as a**hole when talking about people who think a differently than you do. I was under the assumption that you were a scientist or at least played one on the internet."

    I don’t necessarily have a problem with people who think differently than I do. Why do people feel free to wildly extrapolate form what I have actually written?

    I have a problem with people who want to foist their religion on others. I have a serious problem with people who want to legislate it. I have a problem with hypocrites, and liars, and the willfully ignorant. These are people who actively reject reality and want others to blindly follow suit. If you check the posts I have made under politics, or religion, or debunking, you’ll see it’s those people I speak up against.

  134. wow

    @Ironmanaustralia
    cant divide by zero
    congrats on a brain

  135. Steve, Brett and creationists. Your ignorance is astounding. You really have no idea of the basics of how science works. As someone suggested above, read a book. No not the bible. Books can be found in libraries, schools, bookshops. I think you can even find books at your local Walmart. I believe Walmart has more that guns and sporting goods. For goodness sakes look up a wiki on science or evolution. Try this for starters:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

  136. steve

    There are actually very few dating methods which seem to indicate that the earth is extremely old. On the other hand there are many dating methods which indicate that the earth is quite young, then evolution is obviously a myth and creation becomes the only logical alternative. Could this be the primary reason that only those methods which seem to indicate very old ages are acceptable?

  137. Guy Fawkes

    I’ve lived in Oklahoma. Norman was kind of cool, I will admit, but Altus, Lawton, and OKC – all suck (well, the rock climbing in Quartz Mtn. was a blast). I haven’t been to Tulsa, either, but I heard it was an OK town (pun intended). That said, OK is one of the last states I’d ever want to go back to.

    I don’t want to slam on everyone in the state; I know there are some decent folks there even though I haven’t met a lot of them, but I just don’t get what is going on there. What is it with people lauding their own ignorance? To go so far as to pass laws to enforce willful ignorance is just beyond me.

    By the way, didn’t Hillary win overwhelmingly in OK? That’s saying something right there.

  138. Mark Hansen

    @wow,
    ironmanaustralia’s whole point was that he deliberately put a divide by zero in. He stated exactly that in his post. His reason, also stated, was to catch people out. Obviously you wouldn’t be caught out by anything as inane as a divide by zero, especially if it has already been pointed out.

  139. Celtic_Evolution

    @Steve

    Which dating methods, exactly, indicate that the earth is young?Please, enlighten us dimwits. We’ve apparently been reading all the wrong material!

  140. jesse

    Now, I’m not sure where I land on this legislation. I think that it is good for people, no matter there beliefs, to be taught the current commonly accepted theories about the world and how it works. I only say theories because, as has been mentioned by a few others I think, we consistently change our beliefs as to how the world works. On the other hand, I don’t think its right to force people into accepting a belief that they hold contrary to their religion. I don’t care what you think about Creation or the Spaghetti monster or Xenu (well, I have a problem with Xenu, but thats for another discussion, not this one) it is not right for somebody to force a belief contrary to your own upon you. They can tell you what they believe and try to convince you that their belief, not your own, is correct, but in the end it us up to the individual to decide what they believe in.

    Somebody may believe that the earth was created 6000 years ago, and you will be hard pressed to convince them otherwise. Who is to say that God didn’t create the world 6000 years ago with the appearance and characteristics of a planet that is billions of years old. If you believe in an all powerful God, you would believe that he could do so if he chose to.

    Anyway, back to the school thing. As I said before, belief in a theory of the world that is contrary to the prevailing current theory shouldn’t be an excuse to be ignorant of what that current theory is. So, I guess I don’t think that the law should pass. If you want to believe that the earth is 6000 years old, fine, go ahead, its your prerogative. But you also better know how old the scientific community thinks the world is, and how evolution works, etc. Belief is no excuse for ignorance.

  141. amy

    Democracy and secularism go hand in hand. Europe in the Middle Ages was not particularly democratic. Neither is Iran now. This is just one small step for Oklahoma, but one giant leap for religious nuts everywhere.

    By the way, science and knowledge improves over times. We learn more and knowledge changes. What’s interesting is that you see the same sort of (dare I say the word?) evolution in the Bible. Old Testament God = Big Angry Spaghetti Monster encouraging parents to stone back talking children, instructing on how to sell daughters into slavery, and demanding an eye for an eye, etc. New Testament God = sorta hippie (what us polisci people would call “post-materialist”). Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, not gouge out eyes. Furthermore, he goes on to tell us to offer up our cloak just to cement our good intentions in others’ minds.

    So don’t give me that “the age of the earth keeps changing, you can’t trust science” crap. Science at least will have a rational, REPEATABLE justification for its statements. Religion, any religion, just has the very whimisical will of some entity whose “justifications” can’t hold a candle to the intellect He allegedly bestowed on us.

    And just fyi, I confess Christ as my savior and believe that He is the Son of God. But I figure that the Bible was written by men, not God, and men have their own agendas. My faith is great enough to accept 1) the conscience God gave me, and 2) the brain. And I’ll take that any day over some 3,000-2,000 year old dogma written by polygamous nomads.

    So grow some religious balls, Oklahoma! Repressed homosexuals oftentimes lash out against homosexuality in their struggle with “sin”. Perhaps, these legislating fundis are really just repressed atheists.

  142. Celtic_Evolution

    @ jesse

    the whole problem with your post is your insistence on treating the two sides the same. You even state “we consistently change our beliefs as to how the world works. On the other hand, I don’t think its right to force people into accepting a belief that they hold contrary to their religion.” The problem with that statement is that science has nothing to do with belief. This isn’t an issue of “forcing a belief on someone” any more than telling a student 2+2=4 is a belief.

    In fact, enforcing such a law can come dangerously close to the “belief” being forced on the teaching system. And that’s the whole point behind BA’s post and the reason it treads such dangerous water.

  143. Max

    @ bret
    Yes, because a magical being in the sky creating the animals makes MUCH more sense.

    I don’t see why people just go ahead and believe the research scientists do, when they’re so wrong. I mean, the bible is obviously, right. There’s no denying it. It has to be right! We don’t need to prove it, because we have faith. Have faith in religion, I mean, not in science, because everything science has said has always been wrong, and it has never revised itself for a better explanation of the universe. Ever. Besides, what has religion ever done wrong? Well, aside from the crusades. And denying people their rights. And tearing apart families, but those are all beside the point. I mean, look at science! Aside from curing innumerable diseases, improving the quality of our lives, and expanding our knowledge, what has science ever done for us? And another thing, God is always referred to as Him or He, instead of being gender neutral, which obviously shows that men are superior to women. And animals, too. Just because of the fact that somewhere around 95% (or something) of our genes are the same, that doesn’t mean we are related in any way, mostly because they don’t have souls and we do! But it doesn’t matter, because I probably don’t believe in genes, either. All you sinners really need to accept God, because if you really think about it, everything about HIM makes complete sense. He only wants the best for you, and he only asks you believe he exists. Otherwise, you’ll die and spend the rest of eternity burning in the pits of hell, screaming in pain but unable to ever escape because you didn’t believe in him, or believed in another god, instead, which by the way are obviously fake, I mean really, only God can be real. But he loves you! And don’t even think of using your brain, the most important gift he gave you, to think about alternate solutions to things, because he doesn’t want you to do that! Don’t think!

    I’m sure you get my point.

  144. Celtic_Evolution

    @ amy

    “And just fyi, I confess Christ as my savior and believe that He is the Son of God. But I figure that the Bible was written by men, not God, and men have their own agendas. My faith is great enough to accept 1) the conscience God gave me, and 2) the brain. And I’ll take that any day over some 3,000-2,000 year old dogma written by polygamous nomads.”

    OK… I may be an ex-catholic atheist hethen… but THAT was just GREAT! :)

  145. eewolf

    BA,
    Do you have an idea where this troll infestation came from?

    As far as the proposed law in OK., it is transparent what it is meant for. Discussion about how bad it may be is a waste of time. Locals would do well for their state if they sent a blistering letter to their state reps and to the Governor to put a stop to the embarrassment.
    Then check the voting record for those who voted for expanding ignorance. Don’t forgive them. Don’t weasel out because of party or politics or whatever. Vote them out.
    And let as many people as you can know why.
    I’m in Florida and we are dealing with the same foolishness. Ignorance is sad but fixable. Willful ignorance is a blight.

  146. amy

    In the beginning, a violin played in the darkness. Thin and frail though it was, a more triumphal sound could never be, for this sound was the Miracle; it was the death knell of Silence. The Void and its legions of conformity would never again suppress with emptiness the landscapes of the universe. Fire poured forth from the Sound, and its daughter, Light, was quick to follow. As the carnival of chaos, freed by the Sound, rushed with reality-defying glee into the barren spaces of the vacuum, something else, or rather, the potential for something, also slipped through. Swept up in the onrushing Chaos in this infinite moment, It knew not Its boundaries. Future generations would debate whether It was the Wilderness Itself or only its blessed byproduct, but how could they ever know for certain? For after all these eons, It still does not know boundaries. Primordial Love, after all, is not to know, but to feel. There are many things that will never be understood, there is an eternity of knowledge that will never be apprehended, but this, alone, I want you to accept as true: the Universe was born from the Sound, and the finest note in that rebellious symphony was Love.

    And don’t you dare ask me who made the violin or I’ll turn that right back on you and ask you who made God. When you talk about who made matter and all that you are really just arguing against your own beliefs. Yeah, this has little to do with science (although I’m sure some of you will say that it has too much to do with science). Nevertheless, I offer it up for those of you who can’t comprehend how you can incorporate science into your own beliefs.

  147. amy

    @ Celtic <3!

    See, as a woman I have to think critically about this. Any religion (and that would be most of them), that tells me that I need to submit to my husband and men in general because of deficiencies that God allegedly created in me is somewhat suspect from the start. So, I figure it’s religion’s problem, not God’s. Why God would make some people inferior seems really unethical. So either God is wrong or religion is wrong (or both are wrong, but I’m sticking with the God thing). Furthermore, it is a total and complete argument for why Christianity as taught by the Bible should NOT be taught in democratic schools. Secular morality (yes, there is such a thing) is correct to assume equality for all. If God wanted to be in the classroom, I’m sure He is capable of showing up there. His silence on the matter (by the way, He is also silent on masturbation, so really I think all of you should take the silence thing and run with it) tells me he doesn’t really care about all that.

  148. Kane of Aus

    So now you can answer question wrong on your test at school yet still pass. intresting how things change, i my day a whold 7 years ago if you answered a question wrong you got it wrong not right.

    Oh well looks like i have to go back to school and learn a few things…… or at least the marjority of the US govenment do…

  149. Celtic_Evolution

    @amy

    Good for you! We get a great deal of crap from fundies who come to this site insisting we are all haters of all and any who believe in God or are religious in any way… and for the vast majority of us that just isn’t the case.

    For myself, all I ask, in order to respecr a person and their beliefs, is that they just think for their freakin’ selves! Look at the evidence, be rational, due the research, and decide for yourself. Just as it is plainly obvious that you do.

  150. M Burke

    “I have a problem with people who want to foist their religion on others.”

    Me too… wouldn’t it be nice if the schools, government and atheists would not foist their humans are just animals, sex is fun everyone should do it, if you make a baby just kill it, there is no god but we hate his guts religion upon others.

  151. Celtic_Evolution

    Argh…. and now is the time that we rational beings again request a preview or edit function from the BA. Heck… doesn’t every thread need that complaint at least once? :)

  152. “if I were an employer, or a University recruiter, and the bill becomes law, I would look very skeptically at any application that came to my desk from a student who graduated in Oklahoma. That makes me sad, but that is the reality Oklahoma is aiming toward.”

    This is as absurd as the bill. You might as well say that if someone is black they probably went to an inner city school with lax academic standards and should be ignored. Your statement is just as bigoted.

  153. Gerry

    PETITION to remove Sally Kerns!

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/333266961

    OK to POST/REPOST on other sites.

  154. Celtic_Evolution

    @M Burke

    Wow… is that really your small sampling of the beliefs of all non-christians? You need to get out more.

  155. amy

    @ M Burke

    Who were your teachers and where are they now?

    “wouldn’t it be nice if the schools . . . would not foist . . . sex is fun everyone should do it . . . upon others.”

    Seriously, you had sex foisted on you in school? I mean, it’s obvious that you are a sex-hater, but in any event, that must have been one unusually fun school for the rest of the student body.

    P.S. Humans are animals, but with the ability to develop complex moral and ethical codes. I don’t see why biology has to interfere with you having a religion. In fact, it probably helps :)

    Oh, and the Bible seems pretty pro-sex too. I mean, David and Soloman were some of God’s faves and not only did they have hundreds of wives, but David killed a man to get his wife. Um, if you read Hebrew 11 (what I call God’s all-star list) you see that He vindicates Rahab who was a prostitute and a traitor. Oh, Lot’s in that chapter too. You know, he slept with his daughters. The Bible is hotter than a Mexican soap opera, imo.

  156. Me

    So, if I’m a Christian (which I am) I should have to take your BS as FACT? I’m sorry; don’t worry about the religions of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc. God forbid (irony purposeful) we offend the scientists!

    Teacher: “The Earth is billions of years old.”
    Student: “I refuse to believe that. Recorded history goes back about 4 thousand years, so you cannot accurately date past that. What I believe is the truth is the Bible, which dates to around 6,000 years.”
    Teacher: “WRONG! Your belief is stupid! Forget your religion that has been around for more than 2 milennia; my less than 500-year-old science is more accurate!”

    Same as my stance on global warming. It may or may not be caused by humans; there could be a sort of cyclical weather pattern every x years which causes global warming OR it is possible that it is caused by humans, but it’s doubtful. However, that’s its own argument.

    I propose, since Science is supposed to be FACT, we don’t teach how people got here, how the universe came to be, and how old the Earth is, just the irrefutable facts. The periodic table, biology (sans evolution), physics, etc.

  157. SanguisDraco

    If the class is taught with a prescribed text and test questions are created from that text means that answers will be found in said text, ergo any answer not found from the book is incorrect and can result in a failing grade. It doesn’t matter whether or not the student believes what is written in the text, the text is being presented as fact for all intents and purposes of the class.

  158. amy

    @ Me

    You are right. I retract all my above statements.

    I am now going to go use a 2 millennia old “medicine” consisting of peacock tongues and pig’s piss to cure my sinus infection. That’s going to work a lot better than all those couple decade old antibiotics.

    Better yet, I’ll just pray it goes away.

  159. Darth Robo

    Barton Paul Levenson

    “please use the non-derogatory word”

    Shane answered it for me. ‘Fundie’ is simply short for fundamentalist. Both as bad as each other anyway. (shrug) While it might sound like generalisation, I think the context of the thread is enough to figure out which particular ones we’re talking about. Which in this case are American Christian Oklahoman creationist fundamentalists. Sorry, if I’m a pain in the butt.

    jimt

    “Why do you have to be such as ******* when talking about people who think a differently than you do.”

    Um, because it’s the fundies acting like much worse *******’s by breaking the law, and attempting to replace science education with indoctrination? Hey, if I had my own blog, I’d be saying the same stuff, only you’d like the way I said it even less.

    But this is a family blog. ;)

    steve, brett and other fund-uh, oh sorry, creationists (it was only a matter of time before they struck – with their deadly NERFBALLS!)

    Please stop confusing geology with evolutionary biology. This is why no-one with a brain pays attention to you – unless they want a little fun. Speaking of which, please tell us the scientific “theory of creation”. You can start by telling us the age of the Earth, according to that theory. Then perhaps you could tell us what scientific predictions the theory makes. Then perhaps what scientific tests can falsify creation “theory”. Then point us to PEER REVIEWED papers on the subject.

    Note – Please do not resort to whining about the “Darwinistic Conspiracy to suppress religion/creation science”, or the same said conspiracy involved with getting “creation science” thrown out of court (every single time). Or whining about “academic freedom”, “freedom of speech”, the “religious founding fathers” or that “Darwinism leads to Communism/Naziism/Satanism”. After all, we’re mean old Darwinists who would like to keep that information suppressed to fullfill our evil religious atheistic naturalistic agenda and take over the world. This will save Phil the trouble of censoring dissenting posts later. If you do not comply, we will send Satan himself (or rather ask him nicely) to come for you. You have been warned. Thank you for your co-operation.

  160. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Me

    “Teacher: “The Earth is billions of years old.”
    Student: “I refuse to believe that. Recorded history goes back about 4 thousand years, so you cannot accurately date past that. What I believe is the truth is the Bible, which dates to around 6,000 years.”

    OK… I’ll go that far with you… but no reputable teacher would answer THAT the way you proposed: ““WRONG! Your belief is stupid! Forget your religion that has been around for more than 2 milennia; my less than 500-year-old science is more accurate!”… unless of course that teacher thought like you did.

    More likely it would go like this:

    Teacher: “OK… I understand you’ve been told that and told not to question it. But I’d like you to go ahead and think for yourself for just a few hours. Go ahead… it won’t hurt. Here’s several hundred reference documents… peer reviewed studies… tested and re-tested hypothesis. Here’s all the information you could ever want to make your own informed educated decision.”

    Student: “Is any of this from the Bible?”

    Teacher: “Ummm… no… it’s science… like biology and geology and computer science and lots of other things derived in the exact same scientific method that you don’t seem to have the same problem accepting… so I figure if you just read the research…”

    Student: “Ep, ep, ep… is it in the Bible?”

    Teacher: “No… ”

    Student: “Don’t want to hear it”

    Teacher: “But what about medicine, cancer research, pre-natal care… all things that save lives and were achieved using the same…”

    Student (covering ears): “La la la la I can’t hear you la la la la.”

    Teacher (now out of patience): “Ok… ummm… I have a newer copy of the Bible and IT says that in fact the guys 2000 years ago were just halucinating from starving and heat exhaustion and totally misheard what the Lord says. Turns out the new Bible says the old Bible was wrong, and the earth IS really 4.5 billion years old.”

    Student: “Really? The new Bible says that? Ok, cool… color me convinced”.

    Student passes test.

    Yeah… I think that’s probably a more accurate description of that conversation. Hee hee… that was fun… can we do another?

  161. amy

    P.S. Because “medicine” is biology and because the facts change all the time (look at how it’s treatments improve over time). Yeah, let’s just not teach/use that anymore.

    Evolution is not the only body of knowledge in Biology or science that changes as research improves.

    Also, there are a lot of religions around longer than Christianity (which has been around longer than the theory of evolution as you pointed out). Does that mean they are better religions?

  162. Joe

    I havent fiished with all the comments yet, but I have to say one thing. More power to you if you are going to claim religiouse grounds on every incorrect answer, but you better have a religion in mind that supports your argument.

    “Teacher my religion believe Pi equals three, this answer should be correct”

    “What religion?”

    “………”

  163. Joe

    I haven’t finished with all the comments yet, but I have to say one thing. More power to you if you are going to claim religious grounds on every incorrect answer, but you better have a religion in mind that supports your argument.

    “Teacher my religion believe Pi equals three, this answer should be correct”

    “What religion?”

    “………”

  164. amy

    P.S. @ ME

    Evolution is not the only body of knowledge that changes in Biology or Science for that matter. Think about how medical practices have improved over the last 100 years.

    Also, there are a lot of religions that have been around longer than Christianity which has been around longer than the theory of evolution (which you pointed out). Does that mean those religions are better than Christianity?

  165. i am

    why do you people insist on forcing evolution down my kids throat? are you so full of hate that you cannot stand someone believing something different than you? are all atheists really that big of control-freaks? do you really believe that we came from nothing, are nothing, and are going nowhere? it is with the same condescension you show believers that i say, “Congratulations, you have NOTHING to look forward to.”

  166. Celtic_Evolution

    We also insist on forcing Math, English, Biology, Physics, and other non-made up stuff down your throats. We’re annoyingly consistent like that. Sorry.

  167. why do you people insist on forcing evolution down my kids throat? are you so full of hate that you cannot stand someone believing something different than you? are all atheists really that big of control-freaks? do you really believe that we came from nothing, are nothing, and are going nowhere? it is with the same condescension you show believers that i say, “Congratulations, you have NOTHING to look forward to.”

    No forcing going on. Kids being taught evolution are being taunt the only explanation for biodiversity that has past the muster. There is absolutely no other explanation out there with even a hint of the evidence, research and power for prediction as evolution.

    Period.

  168. amy

    @ i am

    I don’t think scientists are full of hate. They don’t mind you believing what you want to believe. They just mind people teaching arbitrary things in schools. I’m all for people learning religion at church. But biology class is NOT Sunday School just like German class isn’t creative writing.

    To quote Ecclesiastes 3:

    1 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    2 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

    6 a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    8 a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

    To this I’d like to add: “A time to go to school and learn science,
    a time to go to church and learn religion.”

  169. I don’t know if anyone has ever done a study on this, but I personally believe that part of the reason science education is so lacking in America is because of the home schooling movement. It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of parents who do this are NOT teaching evolution to their kids.
    Now California is trying to crack down on home schooling.

  170. Todd

    @i am

    “do you really believe that we came from nothing, are nothing, and are going nowhere?”

    Umm…no, actually. Let’s clear something up here. Evolution does not look at where we (or any other organism) came from or started. It looks at how organisms change over time, in response to internal and external variations. This concept, that Evolution does not even deal with the origins of life, seems to be missed by the Creationist crowd. In this respect, it is not impossible for a person of faith to accept Evolution and believe that a supreme being created life.

    Also, on the age of the Earth topic. Evolution also does not address this. For the age of the Earth, you really want to talk to geologists.

    Others have already brought up medicine, which brings up a currently observable evolution phenomenon: superbugs! Through successive generations of bacteria exposed to and surviving antibiotic treatments, the bacteria evolve to be more resistant to the antibiotics. Staph is a good example of this. So, if you feel like teaching evolution in schools is a bad thing, then perhaps you also want to avoid taking any modern medicines to treat what ails you.

  171. Todd

    Just an added thought on teaching Creationism/ID/whatever in school. I say, go ahead…as an elective course in philosophy or humanities. If they happen to gather sufficient scientific evidence to back up their ideas, then they can join the science curriculum. Otherwise, they should only be extended the same treatment as, say, the geocentric “theory” of the universe.

  172. KC

    Ad Hominid:

    Thanks for the references. I’ve thought this post for a few hours, but nearly every reply I could think of sounded like a troll – which most certainly isn’t my intent.

    I don’t think the SBC statement on Secular Humanism is anti-science, because Secular Humanism is a philosophy. Since Secular Humanism and Christianity are as compatible as water and oil, the SBC statement isn’t surprising.

    Given the way evolution is handled nowadays, I think the SBC statement has some merit. Whether or not it’s considered anti-science depends on whether we see science as concentrating on the method or on the acceptance of facts. File this one under irreconcilable differences.

    Nor am I troubled by the statement on Scientific Creationism. Call it ID or whatever. Why? Because it can be treated like any other hypothesis. If there’s evidence to support it, fine, if not, then the hypothesis isn’t valid. That’s what the scientific method is all about.

    I wouldn’t dare touch the AGW statement some SBC “leaders” signed toda, at least not here where it would seem troll-like. I’d sooner discuss Mac vs PC or Windows vs. Linux :-)

  173. Rosa W.

    Heeeeeere we go again! OK, all those who would argue against science classes teaching, yanno, actual science: please read the following definitions before you comment.

    SCIENCE: The study of the natural world using a process of forming models, testing these against the evidence, predicting future results and comparing predictions to new evidence. If a form of knowledge does not follow the basic precepts of “testing models against evidence”, it is not scientific. That does NOT imply that non-scientific knowledge is worthless; it is simply not science and therefore should not be taught in a science class. I’m a fan of non-scientific poetry, myself. (Also see above comments by Moose, Aerimus, Tony…)

    THEORY: in science, an explanation (“model”) for a set of observed natural phenomena, which (a) is supported by substantial evidence, (b) has not been contradicted by any verifiable evidence to date, and (c) is able to accurately predict the behavior of the phenomena in the future. By the nature of science (see above) a theory is subject to constant testing and, if evidence calls for it, revision.

    EVOLUTION: An observed tendency of living populations, namely that the distribution of genetic characteristics of the population changes over time. Evolution has been observed in the laboratory and in the field, as populations of everything from viruses to insects have shown changes in the frequencies of certain genetically-based characteristics.

    THEORY OF EVOLUTION: A scientific (see above) theory (see above) that explains the observed process of evolution (see above) by such mechanisms as natural selection and genetic drift. Not to be confused with abiogenesis. Ever.

    ABIOGENESIS: The origin of life from non-living material. Not explained by the Theory of Evolution (see above) which only deals with living populations already present.

    THEORY OF ABIOGENESIS: No commonly accepted scientific theory of abiogenesis covering the entire chain of events from “non-living chemicals” to “living cells” has yet been developed, although pieces of the problem have been successfully modeled. Stay tuned.

    CREATIONISM: The statement that the world and all living beings were created in situ by an intelligent being. This statement is not supported by observations of the natural world; it does not predict what we should observe in the future from natural systems; it contradicts existing evidence from the natural world; and it is not subject to correction or revision, apparently, no mater what evidence may be brought up. (If you wish to argue that last point, please state at least one example of an observation of the natural world that would prove creationism to be incorrect.) It is, therefore, not science (see above) and should not be taught in a science class. (Note: This does not detract from its validity as an opinion, or the respect due to others who may hold it as an opinion. However, one may respect the holder of an opinion while pointing out that said opinion does not meet the criteria for a scientific theory.)

  174. Joe

    careful, some of the examples are not quite proven, they are just assumed for the lack of ability to be sure beyond foolish doubt

    but nonetheless you are correct

  175. Peter Eldergill

    Huh.. I left some warnings about my bad language in my last post but they didn’t show up

    I said “warning Phil I’ve been on Baut for 4 yrs without incident…swear words coming” or pretty close to that

    I used “” as brackets…did that screw it up?

    Can you tell I’m upset at “I am”‘s post?

    Pete

  176. # Mooseon 10 Mar 2008 at 5:36 am

    Just for the record, this Canadian doesn’t condemn all Americans for anti-science. I do, however, condemn all Americans for persistently voting these people into power, or worse, not voting at all.

    —–
    Thanks! That’s very nice. So glad I bothered to vote and try to make a difference.

  177. Kevin

    It seems to me that religion is a way to explain the unexplained and provide a sense of purpose in an otherwise seemingly purposeless life. However, when religion is used to contradict something that has an explanation based is scientific fact (ie, creationism against evolution), the religion seems to be overstepping its bounds. I feel guilty saying this, because I was born and raised a Catholic, but this seems to logically be the only explanation for religion.

  178. smif

    making us stupider is the plan….. they want as much religion as anyone can handle, because its fact that it provides you an out to critical thinking when you can rely on imagination and superstition. It just tears my soul out seeing people adamantly deny reality and science in favor of religion. So let me get this straight, thousands of years a go your god openly performed miracles and public supernatural spectacles, yet…… god wont do it now? Please stop it people, ffs. Funny how the sea wont part for anyone in this day and age.

  179. Ronn!

    Moose wrote:

    “Steve, except you’d have no evidence whatsoever to back your claim. The oldest object found in the solar system (meteoric material) puts the upper bound at 4.567 billion years. It could be larger, but until we have evidence, that’s the best we’ve got.

    The lower bound, on the other hand, has been definitively determined: 4.404 billion years (zircon from western Australia). The Earth must definitely be older than that.”

    To be absolutely precise ;) you need to take into account the uncertainty in those figures . . .

  180. Ronn!

    ReligionMakesNuts wrote:

    “My God Flies and has a Hammer.Your God got nailed to a tree, any questions?”

    Wouldn’t that make both of them mighty thore?

  181. Ronn!

    The rationalresponders.com ad says “Believe in God? We can fix _that_.

    Unfortunately for their case they put the above question under a picture of an example of creation that would make a lot of men believe in God and sing His praises . . .

    ;)

  182. Pat

    Wow, a lot of trolls on this thread – more likely the same one. Conflation of support for biological evolution and natural selection with atheism because science doesn’t support biblical inerrancy. Quite a tall straw man for a single troll to build.

    This alleged “assault” doesn’t exist – it has not historically been science that has shut out religion; science doesn’t have that kind of social clout. Look at the instant images people have of scientists (mad scientists, asocial lunatics, etc.) versus the religious (pious, quiet, full of fortitude and quiet courage). Now, tell me who has the “power” here again? If anyone is to blame for this schism it is organized religion and its insistence on control.

  183. Fudd

    The unfortunate thing that about the word creationist is that it has simply become another word for backward. I’m not trying to insult, but that is simply how the word is viewed the world over.

    Somehow blind faith circumvents everything and therefore you can sit with privilege in an exam hall. However any parent who takes a responsible approach to their child’s education has to do it the hard way, child included… in time the overall standards of education slip further and further because not everyone will take a responsible and honest approach. Little Johnny just has to go to a good college!

    Everyone is that little bit less better off. Well Done, take a bow.

    Also, I am a curious fellow; please direct me to the facts and/or evidence supporting creationism, God and the like. Please don’t say the Bible or I will be very disappointed as I’ve read it and it’s a bit light on the ol’ evidence.

  184. Jason

    NOT ALL SCIENTIST ARE SO ARROGANT……..

    Why is it that so many scientists (intellectuals) are so arrogant, basically stating that any other belief other than evolutuion is mere IDIOCRACY. I heard guy speech about poor ‘science’ teaching, that he was appalled more people don’t believe/know ‘science’ and that it was the schools and universities responsibility to teach ‘better science’ with facts and data.

    The FACT is there is probably more PROOF for RELIGION than there is for many of the SCIENCE theorys that have been taught as TRUTH.

    BIG BANG for example, I was taught BIG BANG, then it was STRING THEORY, then BLACK MASS, and now on cover of a leading science (Popuar Science I think), there is was an article on How the Big Bang is falling apart.

    As an Engineer, just because you can show A+B=C, that doesn’t mean that is how it happened, just a possibility, and we are often proved wrong.

  185. MartinM

    Why is it that so many scientists (intellectuals) are so arrogant, basically stating that any other belief other than evolutuion is mere IDIOCRACY.

    Something to do with the enormous amount of evidence in support of evolution, perhaps.

    BIG BANG for example, I was taught BIG BANG, then it was STRING THEORY, then BLACK MASS, and now on cover of a leading science (Popuar Science I think), there is was an article on How the Big Bang is falling apart.

    String theory is not a replacement for the big bang, nor is dark matter, which I assume you mean by ‘black mass.’ If Popular Science said that the big bang was falling apart, then Popular Science is wrong. Big Bang models are still central to cosmology. If you want to discuss modern science, you really ought to try learning something about it first.

  186. Rich

    Good luck to those kids when they take their SAT tests….

  187. Derrick

    I also generally agree with Jason.

    I understand many of your thoughts on how science can support evolution, and as a theory it does. Although, I do also beleive that there are holes in both explanations. Just because someone believes in creation, and not evolution does not mean they are thowing all science away or are void of rational thought.

    Whether or not we evolved (micro or macro), mutated, adapted or were created, I do know that science DOES evolve. We don’t currently have the knowledge or substantial evidence to definitively PROVE either side of this debate.

    I personally don’t except something as reality or fact only because it’s supported by mainstream science.

  188. Pat

    Derrick, there is a flaw in your thinking; science and religion cannot be conflated. They are different beasts in many ways, because you can question science without risking apostasy. You can do your own experiments to attempt to test every scientific assertion out there. But saying you don’t believe it doesn’t make it not true. Science is not a bit of doctrine you can deny or choose to ignore, or exclude as apocryphal. It’s a long series of complicated observations supported by evidence and experiment; it is fundamentally opposite to religion in this regard. It is not antithetical to religion; it just does not support religion as religion would like to be supported: without question.

  189. Darth Robo

    Jason, please read the rest of the comments on this thread, and you will get an idea of the differences between science and faith.

  190. Moose

    Brooke: Thanks! That’s very nice. So glad I bothered to vote and try to make a difference.

    That’s precisely my point: your country’s electoral system is under a massive assault by a very destructive minority. And all you’re doing about it is showing up at the ballot box?

    I assure you the creationists aren’t so complacent. They’ve got a small army of lobbyists throwing cash at the crooks in office. They’re canvassing, and campaigning, and running their own crooks to get more political leverage. They’re ramrodding dozens of unconstitutional bills to try and get something to stick or at the very least wear down/bankrupt those who would stand up to them. They’ve got the major candidates from all parties in all branches so terrified of offending “the base” that they do nothing that doesn’t at least partially pander to the creationists. Heck, they may even be counting the votes on your behalf. (And with no paper trail, you’ll never know for certain.)

    And all you’re doing about this is voting? Pfff. As Bill Maher says: that’s literally the least you can do. You could at least put a colored ribbon magnet from China on your car to show you mean business. Maybe a lapel pin. Now that’s taking action.

    The price of your freedom is eternal vigilance. For internal threats most of all.

    Pick up your pen. Write your congresscritter and senators. Make sure they understand your expectations of them. And if you don’t think they’ll do their jobs in an acceptable way, replace them with people who will through your primary system. Do not stop until you have somebody acceptable in office, even if that means you have to do the job yourself.

    Believe me when I say the creationists are doing exactly that right now.

  191. Blayne

    Can I take a Theology class and get a passing grade if I claim I’m an atheist under these new laws?

  192. Shukes

    I think quite simply this entire issue can be resolved incredibly simply, teach science in the science class and religion in a religion class, i mean this seems pretty much intuitive but apparently some people have made that connection.

    I went to a religious primary, secondary and 6th form here in the UK and i learnt in my R.E. (religious education) lessons that christians believe that the world was created in 6 days etc. as well as studying other religions and their beliefs and then in my science class i was taught about the facts and the scientific process.

    What is a religious belief should not be taught as a fact, thats the amazing thing about science, it doesn’t care what you believe, it only cares what the evidence shows, and really people who can’t accept this should not be allowed to make decisions about the education of others

  193. Jason

    WHAT EVIDENCE? Evolution: Micro or Macro? Where are all the missing links? Where are the fossil records?

    It was Actually SCIENTIFIC AMERICA
    The End of Cosmology? : An accelerating universe wipes out traces of its own origins
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-end-of-cosmology

    I’m not wanting to start a evolution/creation or science/religion debate, I am just stating too many people in the ‘science community’ are very arrogant, although science is always changing/altering theory and strategy. ie: Big Bang, Global Cooling, Global Warming ect….

    I am an ENGINEER, so I do have great respect for science (chemistry, physics, mathmatics), but I also am a REALIST and see first hand how FUZZY SCIENCE leads to WRONG ASSUMPTIONS.

    I understand, it is kinda lame for RELIGIOUS LEADERS to reference the BIBLE as proof, I too like to see some evidence, correlation, or some tangilbe evidence. What the BIBLE does contain is GENEOLOGYS, used to ‘date’ important events by means on a timeline.

    With this, I think SCIENCE and RELIGION can come together. Remember Galilieo. Check it out….
    http://www.anchorstone.com/

  194. Yes, Max, we got your point about a fifth of the way into your long, unfunny diatribe.

    P.S. Sorry, Amy, I meant “what makes that society WORK,” not “what makes that society WRONG.” One more reason not to post when I’m smashed.

    P.P.S. BA — is there no way on Earth to add a preview function to this darn blog?

  195. Amy writes:

    [[Oh, and the Bible seems pretty pro-sex too. I mean, David and Soloman were some of God’s faves and not only did they have hundreds of wives, but David killed a man to get his wife.]]

    And was condemned for it, and repented, and the child born of that union died. Anyone who can read that passage and think the Bible was advocating either adultery or murder just doesn’t know how to read. Period.

    [[ Um, if you read Hebrew 11 (what I call God’s all-star list) you see that He vindicates Rahab who was a prostitute and a traitor. Oh, Lot’s in that chapter too. You know, he slept with his daughters. The Bible is hotter than a Mexican soap opera, imo.]]

    Again, you have to read intelligently. Lot sleeping with his daughters was primarily an ethnic joke aimed at the tribes said to be descended from them. In the story itself, Lot becomes more screwed up the closer he gets to Sodom, and less screwed up the more he moves away from it.

  196. “Me” writes:

    [[I propose, since Science is supposed to be FACT, we don’t teach how people got here, how the universe came to be, and how old the Earth is, just the irrefutable facts. The periodic table, biology (sans evolution), physics, etc.]]

    Modern biology is largely evolution, and no one dependent on evolutionary design in modern medicine (e.g. those who depend on humulin to control their diabetes) are going to let you take biology back before 1859. How people got here, how the universe came to be (absent the final cause), and how old the Earth is are pretty much facts too.

  197. Lugosi writes:

    [[I don’t know if anyone has ever done a study on this, but I personally believe that part of the reason science education is so lacking in America is because of the home schooling movement. It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of parents who do this are NOT teaching evolution to their kids.
    Now California is trying to crack down on home schooling.
    ]]

    And you think this is a good thing? You want all children educated in government schools? Maybe they should routinely join the Young Pioneers as well?

    It’s this kind of absolutism that upsets a lot of the fundamentalists. Personally, I think a voucher system would be better — let parents choose where to educate their kids, whether it’s in a public school, a fundamentalist Christian school, a Communist Party school, whatever. Minimum standards for literacy and numeracy. The kids from the fundamentalist schools won’t be able to become biologists without remedial education, but I think that’s a lesser evil than forcing everyone into the same mold through the coercive power of the state.

  198. Jason writes:

    [[I was taught BIG BANG, then it was STRING THEORY, then BLACK MASS]]

    I didn’t know there were Satanist high schools in the US. That would explain some of the school football games I’ve seen, though…

  199. Celtic_Evolution

    @ Barton -

    “Personally, I think a voucher system would be better — let parents choose where to educate their kids, whether it’s in a public school, a fundamentalist Christian school, a Communist Party school, whatever.”

    Not that I necessarily disagree that this might be a good idea… but I would say that such a voucher system would tread dangerously close to the state sponsoring religion. It least it could easily be spun that way. And I’m not sure that asking the state funded public schools to remain secular is exactly “forcing everyone into the same mold through the coercive power of the state.”, as you put it.

  200. Peter Eldergill

    Barton…

    What can I say, I was upset…not my best post to be sure

    Who’s Dale Carnegie?

    Pete

  201. Steve

    I’m a Math Atheist. Math is fake, 1+1 doesn’t equal anything! PROVE IT!! No it’s not 2, that’s a trick of the devil!

  202. Peter

    There’s no such thing as an “evolutionist”. Or at least, there shouldn’t be. Evolution is not a belief system.
    Am I an “evolutionist”? Or am I a “gravitationist”? Or maybe a “electromagnetist”? Maybe I’m a “thermodynamicist”, or a “astronomist” or a “atomicist” or a “quantumist”?

    [sarcastically]
    Anyway, I think a perfectly reasonable compromise is in order here. All science teachers should devote equal time to the time spent teaching evolution, geology and astrophysics to the preaching of creation science and appropriate creation myths. In the interests of fair play, a random choice of (say) 5 creation myths from current and historical religions can be used. Evolution text books can have that little warning sticker in the front, as before.

    In return, of course, all preachers, priests, religious teachers and so on must spend time equal to the time spent preaching a religious explanation to things in their places of worship teaching evolutionary theory, astrophysics, geology etc. And all religious texts should have a sticker in the front warning that not everyone accepts a supernatural explanation of events or that the histories presented within are at all accurate, and that there are many other competing religions that also claim to teach the truth.

    Sounds fair to me.

  203. StevoR

    The BA said :

    “An object with mass has gravity.”

    Even electrons, positrons and neutrinos?

    Don’t sub-atomic particles count as objects?

  204. StevoR

    said another # Steve on 11 Mar 2008 at 5:41 pm

    “I’m a Math Atheist. Math is fake, 1+1 doesn’t equal anything! PROVE IT!! No it’s not 2, that’s a trick of the devil!”

    Hmmn.. Actually 1 = 1 = 11! ;-)

    Or then again if you put one cat together with one mouse you’ll get one (happily fed) cat! ;-)

    As usual it all depends. Gotta admit I’m a maths athiest too …

  205. darth vader

    Everyone keeps arguing about how this bill allows for religious freedoms and the spread of religion, but no one looks at how this is just another way for America to try to be more politically correct. Political correctness is ruining the country, not bills like this. As America tries to be more politically correct and protect the feelings of more people, we end up hurting ourselves. Society as a whole cannot protect the feelings of every single person. Just because there are some people that do not want to learn school curriculum does not mean we should change the way school is taught to protect them. Whether you look at the “threat” of the spread of religion, very sarcastic quotes there. Why is religion such a threat anyway? It has been proven by many anthropologists that every society in the world has some form of religion, so why is it do dangerous for people to believe in religion? How can one country adapt and change in order to accept the differing view points of hundreds of millions of people? The threat of this bill is not due to “Southerners in their own as*backwards society” who “force” religion onto others, but to the fact that this is just another way that we are lowering the standards for kids of future generations, IN EVERY WAY, to succeed at life. We are making it as easy as possible for future children to get by with the bare minimum and that is the scariest thing about this bill. A voucher system just sets us up for more closed minded people in the future. Separate children so that they can learn the long standing prejudices of their fore-fathers? How does that aide a diverse society such as ours in any way? Personally, I think that teaching religion is not a terrible thing, as long as it is done in an anthropological sense and no one religion is being focused on more. I like the idea of students learning about ideas from other parts of the world because it would aide in the elimination of stereotypes and racism by actually informing students as to what people from other parts of the world are like and not allowing them to base their opinions on stereotypes, especially with how the world is becoming smaller and smaller as technology brings people closer and closer together. And getting back to my original point, allowing children to educate them selves apart from other students again makes it easier for them to get out of school because they never learn how to interact with people from other cultures who posses different belifes.

  206. MartinM

    Start here.

    It was Actually SCIENTIFIC AMERICA
    The End of Cosmology? : An accelerating universe wipes out traces of its own origins

    That article doesn’t say anything about the Big Bang falling apart; indeed, the model it describes is a Big Bang model.

    I’m not wanting to start a evolution/creation or science/religion debate, I am just stating too many people in the ’science community’ are very arrogant, although science is always changing/altering theory and strategy. ie: Big Bang, Global Cooling, Global Warming ect….

    The problem is that you’re stating this from a position of ignorance. You believe that some scientists are overstating the case for certain theories simply because you aren’t aware of the state of modern science.

  207. MartinM

    Bugger. Last post should have started with the following quote:

    WHAT EVIDENCE? Evolution: Micro or Macro? Where are all the missing links? Where are the fossil records?

  208. This is the same as Muslim fundamentalism. Belief in blind faith above all else.

    Seveal years ago I took some students to Comdex and while we there I took them on a day trip to the Grand Canyon. Both were Christian Fundamentalists and both refused to believe that it had been created over millions of years.

    I couldn’t believe my ears – one of them now works for Cisco and would appear to be a functioning network engineer – I just don’t know how his brain can cope with simulaneously being on the internet and in the dark ages.

  209. Darth Robo

    Jason, there is no difference between “macro” and “micro” evolution. Indeed, the ONLY thing which would stop “macro” evolution would be if the Earth was only oh, say, 6,000 years old…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils

    That takes care of your fossil problem, DNA also provides evidence of common descent.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    “I am an ENGINEER, so I do have great respect for science (chemistry, physics, mathmatics), but I also am a REALIST and see first hand how FUZZY SCIENCE leads to WRONG ASSUMPTIONS.”

    So, being an engineer, you have no quualifcations to critique biology, or geology. Why was biology missed off your list above, by the way?

    “I understand, it is kinda lame for RELIGIOUS LEADERS to reference the BIBLE as proof, I too like to see some evidence, correlation, or some tangilbe evidence.”

    But THEN you say…

    “What the BIBLE does contain is GENEOLOGYS, used to ‘date’ important events by means on a timeline.”

    So, it’s okay for YOU to do that but not religious leaders? Okay. The genealogies of the Bible are based on an assumption that they form an unbroken line. There is of course, no corroborating evidence to back this up. As you say, the Bible is not proof of itself.

    By the way, your ‘Anchorstone’ link argues for dino’s living recently and the story of Noah,s Ark for God’s sake. No WONDER the scientific community doesn’t take it seriously.

  210. Todd

    To follow up on the genealogy comment. In many older texts, genealogies were used as a tool to provide legitimacy to someone’s claim (to fame, to power, etc.). By linking someone to a revered figure in the past, their stature and regard among the populace is increased. Somehow, being so-and-so’s great great great great great great grandson makes him more fit to be in such and such a position. Tales about heroes, genealogies of royalty, mythologies and religions all utilize this technique. Unfortunately, without any real form of birth certificate or other corroborating evidence, they cannot be relied upon to be accurate.

    Furthermore, to use them as a dating technique is ludicrous. Genealogies, such as those found in the Bible, even if accurate in terms of lineage, do not provide any data on when each successive generation was born. This increases the margin of error tremendously. Not to mention the Bible’s tendency to have people living for hundreds of years in the early days. Was the person born when their parents were in their 20s or in their 120s? Or 320s?

    In the end, while the current scientific tools for dating the age of the Earth may not be accurate down to a couple of years of wiggle-room, the Biblical genealogies provide absolutely no reliable data.

  211. Michael Mandeville

    ‘When I go to sleep, the thunder stops’ was said by the Irish-born Bishop George Berkeley.

  212. Fenris

    1 + 1 = 3

    This would be a correct answer in a math test.

    Why? Because it’s correct under certain circumstances in biology…
    1 male + 1 female can become 3 beings.

    It’s akin to this.

    “The world is 6000 years old” might be permissable in a religion class. But why should that also make it permissable in a science test?!

  213. Cody

    I’m doing this story today for a news station. Little do they know I’m not a Christian. HA!

  214. @StevoR
    Read something for C*****s sake. You are not learning ANYTHING while you type.

    I’ll feed you two spoonfulls, then run off and play, will you?

    “Even electrons, positrons and neutrinos?”

    Yes!

    “Don’t sub-atomic particles count as objects?”

    Yes they do.

    Now. please stop showing off your ignorance as if you were proud of it. You should either try to learn something real, or find something entirely else to do. Like playing? Do you like playing? No, don’t answer, just go play, please.

  215. Dadelus

    What does carbo diem mean? Seize the carbohydrates?

  216. What does carbo diem mean? Seize the carbohydrates?

    Nope, probably closer to carbohydrates of the day.

  217. Moe

    …only in america

  218. Jason

    [quote]there is no difference between “macro” and “micro” evolution. Indeed, the ONLY thing which would stop “macro” evolution would be if the Earth was only oh, say, 6,000 years old…[quote/]

    NO, not at all, Micro and Micro are entirely different…

    Macro is the development of a new species. FISH to BIRD.

    Micro is developement changes within a species. Survival of the fittest and breeding. Such as Giraffes getting taller, or HORSE + DONKYEY = MULE. Does the breeding of dogs create a new species? Such as the Miniature Pinscher and Doberman Pinscher misconception. Which came first and are they even related?

    Many of those Transitional Fossils looked more like Micro to me.

    A position of ignorance? Probably right. NO, I do not claim to be knowledgable of the state of modern science, but I have researched some specific areas of interest. NO, I do not know everything, but I have come to a logical conclusion that SCIENCE really doesn’t have an ANSWER either. There is lots and lots of data, hypothesis and theories peiced together with logical guesses, but for some reason these THEORIES have been presented as FACT.

    As for pointing to the BIBLE, I was merely stating there are certian GENEOLOGIES and EVENTS that have been linked by historical records and archeology, however these links are quickly discredited by those who defend SCIENCE THEORIES as FACT.

    I am MAN enough to admit I don’t know EVERYTHING, and never will. I think some defend SCIENCE as a matter of defending their EGO, so that their life may somehow seem more meaningful.

  219. Celtic_Evolution

    “NO, not at all, Micro and Micro are entirely different…

    Macro is the development of a new species. FISH to BIRD.

    Micro is developement changes within a species. Survival of the fittest and breeding. Such as Giraffes getting taller, or HORSE + DONKYEY = MULE. Does the breeding of dogs create a new species? Such as the Miniature Pinscher and Doberman Pinscher misconception. Which came first and are they even related?

    Many of those Transitional Fossils looked more like Micro to me.”

    You’re next comment on this pretty much says all that needs to be said on this comment: You really ARE speaking from a position of ignorance. And that would be fine if you didn’t then decide to follow it up by using that igorance to bolster an already flimsy argument.

    “A position of ignorance? Probably right.”

    You said it… why bother continuing past that point?

    “NO, I do not know everything, but I have come to a logical conclusion that SCIENCE really doesn’t have an ANSWER either. There is lots and lots of data, hypothesis and theories peiced together with logical guesses, but for some reason these THEORIES have been presented as FACT.”

    Totally, totally, totally false. For about the gazillionth time, THEORIES are presented as THEORIES. That includes evolution. Your reluctance to acept the merits that said theory is what comes closest to explaining the origin of species is what causes you, and only you, to insist that they are being presented as fact. You are the only one confusing THEORY with FACT. Deal with it.

    “I am MAN enough to admit I don’t know EVERYTHING, and never will.”

    And yet here you are continuing to make arguments on a subject you are clearly not informed enough to argue intelligently, and even stated so yourself. And what does being “man enough” have to do with being able to admit one is not omniscient? There are several members of this board that will tell you that they don’t know everything, and aren’t men at all. What a goofy statement.

    “I think some defend SCIENCE as a matter of defending their EGO, so that their life may somehow seem more meaningful.”

    I think you’re confusing science with religion again. I think we defend science so that we don’t end up back living in caves and mud huts, eating whatever was slow enough or diseased enough to catch, dying at the ripe old age of 31 as the village elder.

  220. Todd

    Jason,

    Just a couple questions and comments. First, on the macro- vs. micro-evolution bit, what is a species? The actual definition is not as solid as fish vs. bird. There really is not a great consensus, and the definition of a specific species can change. At what point does something become a new, distinct species? Because of this lack of specificity, one cannot make a distinction between macro and micro evolution, as you have defined them. In fact, the terms weren’t even in the evolution lexicon until ID proponents coined it, IIRC. To support your differentiation, you mention horse + donkey = mule as an example of micro-evolution. However, horses and donkeys are different species that combine to produce sterile offspring which are entirely different than either parent.

    You have also used “theory” in the popular sense (i.e., opinion, guess, etc.), rather than in the scientific sense (i.e., a model that makes predictions, based on evidence, and which can be tested). Others have made the full definition clear earlier in the thread, so I won’t reiterate.

    On the genealogies and events in the Bible, you claim, now, that they have been linked by historical records and archaeology. However, your first mention of genealogies tried to use them to point to the age of the Earth, which cannot be done. Genealogies, particularly in older texts, are unreliable as timelines. See my post earlier on this subject.

    To imply that those supporting scientific methods are not willing to admit they do not know everything, and that it is only because of their egos that they defend it, is little more than ad hominem attack. No one here has claimed to know everything. There is nothing wrong with defending science as a means of observing, measuring and explaining the world around us. However, to argue from a viewpoint that because science does not have all the answers somehow invalidates statements of fact hints at some degree of ignorance. Keep in mind, for something to become a scientific theory, it must have enough evidence to support its conclusions to such a degree that it is, for all intents and purposes, fact. Take for example the theory of gravity. It is a theory. It is a fact. The same applies to the theory of evolution. This has been stated several times already in this thread, so I’ll stop here.

  221. Jason

    Please don not take it personal, I am not trying to argue with anyone in this board, just simply expressing opinions, observations and ideas for puposes of discussion.

    The comment about being a MAN had nothing to do with gender, just an expression.

    I never implied the use GENEOLOGIES as means to determine the age of the Earth, just a means to date/corralate certain events.

    WHat I am trying to state is NEITHER RELIGION or SCIENCE has all the answers to PROVE itself entirely, although both sides try very hard. Now if we could somehow look at things slightly different to determine if possilby they could support one another, such as Galileo. Must one disprove the other?

  222. Celtic_Evolution

    *sigh*

    “The comment about being a MAN had nothing to do with gender, just an expression.”

    Ok… it was still a goofy thing to say. Your ability to state that you aren’t omniscient is not a show of strength. And again, no-one here has ever claimed that they are. So I’m not sure what the point of making such a silly statment was in the first place.

    We’ve already put the Galileo thing to rest earlier in this thread, Jason. Galileo was at direct odds with the church and was arrested and exiled because of it. The church only acquiesced when the purponderence of evidence forced it to, and Galileo only recanted because he was forced to. I’ve already linked to the article that plainly states this once before in this thread so I’m not doing it again. There was no “support system” between Galileo and the church. That you keep insisting to use that as an argument for “cooperation of religion and science” just shows that you really don’t know what you’re talking about. And frankly, especially in the case of Galileo and his issues with the church, YES, one DOES disprove the other.

    So, what I’M trying to state is that your statement that “NEITHER RELIGION or SCIENCE has all the answers to PROVE itself entirely” is completely, utterly, totally irrelevant. It’s NOT a one or the other thing. Religion *is_not_testable* and therefor can not be proven or dis-proven. Period. Stop comparing the two as if they hold an equal footing on providing explanations for the way the univers works. You are trying to argue that is we “just look at things differently, we might find acceptible explanations using both religion and science”… and if you haven’t read enough in this thread alone to understand the fallacy of that statment, then you truly are just lost.

    Good luck to you.

  223. Todd

    @Jason

    “I never implied the use GENEOLOGIES as means to determine the age of the Earth, just a means to date/corralate certain events.”

    Oops. My bad. Just went back and reread your statement. I mixed it up with another claim someone made about evolution and age of the Earth.

    My argument still stands, however, that genealogies in ancient texts are not a valid tool for placing things on a timeline with any degree of accuracy.

  224. Well there’s another reason I’m happy being a European. If I were to write that the earth is 6000 years old i’d probably be kicked out of university! Dunno about the spaghetti monster though. I haven’t tried that…. yet :P

    Cheers from Finland! Great website!

  225. Darth Robo

    “As for pointing to the BIBLE, I was merely stating there are certian GENEOLOGIES and EVENTS that have been linked by historical records and archeology, however these links are quickly discredited by those who defend SCIENCE THEORIES as FACT.”

    Then perhaps you could give references to certain genealogies of the Bible which have evidence outside of the Bible to back it up. I’m aware that Herod’s tomb has apparently been found, but that’s all I know of, off the top of my head.

  226. A word on behalf of Bishop James Ussher — yes, he estimated the world was created 4004 BC by adding up the time-to-reproduction of the patriarchs and back-dating from the founding of Solomon’s temple. But the bishop was actually a pretty thoughtful and educated guy — remember that he was writing in the 1600s. He said that his estimate was provisional, and that he hoped some day science would provide a better estimate. It’s ironic that the Young Earth Creationists have glommed onto his date so strongly, because he himself didn’t take it all that seriously.

  227. Jason

    “it was still a goofy thing to say……..if you haven’t read enough in this thread alone to understand the fallacy of that statment, then you truly are just lost……….”just shows that you really don’t know what you’re talking about. And frankly, especially in the case of Galileo and his issues with the church, YES, one DOES disprove the other.”

    It is statments like these that demonstrate a sense of arrogance I was referring to. How can you say such things when you don’t even know who I am? Do you believe I am some type of niave Creationist that does not consiider or discredits any scientific evidence?

    As for refrence to Galileo, YES, he was ‘persecuted’ by the church for claiming the Earth revoloved around the Sun, retracted his claim, and was later found correct, that was POLITICS and DOGMA of the time. Aristotelian science had become CHURCH tradition which claimed the Earth was the center of the universe referencing the verses stating the Earth could not be moved, on solid foundation and the sun rose and set…… HOWEVER, Galileo followed Copernican science, which did not interpret the BIBLE literally, and referenced verses that stating the EARTH was hung over nothing (space) and its circular shape and/or path (orbit). Galileo was a man of faith as well as science and believed Copernican theory did not conflict with Scripture

    Science views Galileo’s conflict with Church hierarchy as a great triumph of science over religion. My argumetn is, beware of holding to a particular interpretation of Scripture and/or a scientific model, which may be in error.

  228. Jason

    BTW, I fully understand what THEORY is. Just because you can show A+B=C, it is not always so.

  229. Watch out other states!

    This exact same bill is now LAW in Texas and is being introduced in other states (Arizona last week), sometimes with the same name, sometimies under the banner of ‘acadmic freedomn’ such as one now in Florida. The bills are written by a group of fundamentalist lawyers in Plano, Texas, and pushed by the Discovery Institute and other groups of their ilk.

    Don’t write Oklahoma off just yet. Since 2000 we have been able to stop anti-evolution bills every year (except 2007 when there were none, there were four such bills in 2006, five this year). The other bills this year appear ‘dead.’ The current bill (HB 2211) has a good chance of being killed in the Senate Education Committee. If it makes it to the Senate floor, it will pass. The Democratic Governor’s veto is problematic. Should it become law, watch for the suiits in Federal Court! I understand that some Texas groups are planning a lawsuit against their law. As TRhe Dallas Morning news editorialized – “Watch the Lawsuits Come Rolling in” – meaning against school districts that attempt to apply the vague provisions of the law.

  230. blf

    I am just stating too many people in the ‘science community’ are very arrogant,

    “I am just stating …” could be considered arrogant.

    although science is always changing/altering theory

    Good. Experiments, evidence, and all that.

    and strategy.

    Eh? Strategy?

    … I am an ENGINEER …

    As an engineer I’d like to apologise to all the readers of this blog. This nutcase is not representative of the profession.

  231. “Don’t forget that 0/0 can have three values:

    Zero over any number = 0
    Any number over itself = 1
    Any number over zero = Infinity”

    Hence 0/0 being undefined. I think.

  232. Jason

    “As an engineer I’d like to apologise to all the readers of this blog. This nutcase is not representative of the profession.”

    So unless you conform to the opinions/views of your profession, you are a nutcase? Sorry, but engineers are not taught evolution, but logic. Logic differs for everyone, not every scientists comes to the same conclusion. Some believe in Creation, some Evolution, some Intelligent Design w/o GOD and some believe a mixture.

    “word of advice for anyone that ever gets into “intellectual” discussions “with the Creationists. Beat them at there own game by quoting from the beloved Book. In Genesis it says “the earth was without form and void” meaning that is was there but it was empty! But there was a hunk of rock there with water on it. ask them what they think of that passage because it really lines up with carbon dating”

    What are you trying to imply, without form and ‘void’ seems to agree with the science ‘hunk of rock’?

    “when did evolution theory become fact. ….When it became a theory.

    Theories are predictive models. They become fact (or as good as fact) as they get better at modeling reality. They become better through forming hypotheses, through good experimentation, and either rejecting or not rejecting the hypotheses.”

    Evolution is a fact. It’s been observed”

    They still are not FACT… although it is often taught as fact. Why can’t both EVOLUTION and INTELIGENT DESIGN be taught as possble theories? YES, Evolution is FACT, we are all evolving.

    So INTELLIGENT DESIGN has no evidence and/or puts GOD in school. First, many beleive in intelligent design, but not GOD, or not the same god in the BIBLE. Next, intelligent design can be somewhat ‘theorized’ by means of probability. When one buys products, is there any question of a designer/engineer? I think it is funny how some of the same poeple who think gambling/lottery is dumb because of the odds, “might as well throw money away, stupid tax”, deny or discredit any possiblity of intelligent design.

  233. Todd

    @Jason

    “Why can’t both EVOLUTION and INTELIGENT DESIGN be taught as possble theories?”

    You partially answered this question yourself in your next paragraph:

    “So INTELLIGENT DESIGN has no evidence”

    A scientific theory makes predictions and has evidence to support those predictions and back it up. It is an established exaplanation, more or less verified, accounting for known facts (Dictionary.com). If ID has no evidence, then it is not a scientific theory. An hypothesis, perhaps, but not a theory (i.e., a conjecture put forth as a possible explanation or course for further investigation, ibid.).

    “and/or puts GOD in school. First, many beleive in intelligent design, but not GOD, or not the same god in the BIBLE.”

    ID is an inherently religious idea, as demonstrated by Discovery Institute documents (e.g., the “Wedge” document) brought forth during the Dover, PA case. As a religious idea, it should not be taught in a science classroom. Put it in philosophy, religion, mythology or humanities classes, fine, but not in a science class, until sound, scientific evidence can be provided to back it up.

    “Next, intelligent design can be somewhat ‘theorized’ by means of probability. When one buys products, is there any question of a designer/engineer?”

    There’s a problem in this line of arguing. First off, when you buy a product, you already know the capabilities and common activities of the designer/engineer in question. You know what the designer/engineer is (i.e., human or human-designed and built robot). And, a good portion of the time, you can actually point to and identify the maker, thereby verifying their existence (and don’t start philosophical debates about what is “real”). Knowing the identity of the designer, you also know the range of capabilities that designer possesses, as evidenced by vast amounts of evidence from a variety of sources. The evidence itself tends to speak toward a human. I might ponder that it could have been designed by a garden gnome, but there is no evidence to support such a belief.

    When it comes to ID, you do not know the identity of the designer (though some claim it is the God of the Bible, some other deity, an alien, etc.). Not knowing the identity, you do not know what the designer is capable of doing. You may argue that the designer is capable of building mountains/canyons, bacterial flagellum, and so on, but there is an incredible amount of evidence that these things occur through natural processes.

    “Ah, the IDer counters, but those processes were designed and put in force by the designer!” To which I respond, show me the evidence.

    Thus far, ID has only offered criticism of Evolutionary Theory, without making any predictions or offering up valid evidence in support of ID. The evidentiary cornerstones that IDers tend to present, the bacterial flagellum and the immune cascade, have already been discredited and shown to have no sound basis.

    I strongly encourage ID supporters to do research and try to build their evidence base. If done with strict scientific rigor, the result would be one of two things: they find sufficient evidence to support their hypothesis and nudge it toward theory status, or they continue to come up with nothing, which would probably lead to more time spent following more promising leads. Of course, due to its faith-based status, there will likely always be people defending it, regardless of the evidence against it or the lack of evidence to support it.

  234. Joe

    *Sigh*

    The fact that someone that stupid (and hateful) actually got elected to the Okla. House of Reps saddens me and makes me fearful of where the US is headed. Why the sudden explosion of Creationist mumbo-jumbo? You’ve got that stupid museum that recently opened in Kentucky, school districts around the nation are seriously debating whether or not to allow ID to be taught in schools, etc. It’s enough to make me want to move to Europe, or maybe even the moon (if I could)!

  235. Jason

    “You partially answered this question yourself in your next paragraph:
    “So INTELLIGENT DESIGN has no evidence””

    That was more of a rhetorical statement from the evolution side. What about statement of ‘theorizing’ or ‘hypothesising’ using probability? And/or statistics and entropy(even tough it is argured the sun provides energy, the earth is not closed system). Again, just ‘theorizing’ for sake of ‘thinking’.

    Found a site that kinda summarizes my viewpoint…
    “The Bible is not a text book of Science. It is a mistake either to classify scientific theories as Biblical and non-Biblical, or to believe that the proof of God’s existence will be found in the failure of science to explain something. We believe that God set the universe in motion with consistent and sufficient mechanical rules. Science studies those rules.”

    http://www.charleswood.ca/reading/evolution.php

    And to add, the ability for science to explain something does not disprove the exitence of GOD and/or Intellectual Design.

    “Why the sudden explosion of Creationist mumbo-jumbo? You’ve got that stupid museum that recently opened in Kentucky, school districts around the nation are seriously debating whether or not to allow ID to be taught in schools, etc.”

    Again, what’s wrong with that? All of a sudden?, I beleive “Creationist” or the belief of a designer has been around much longer than Modern Science. Never been, but I think what hurt the museum more than anything is their ‘employee’ issues and lack of using science, archeology and historical records, much of which I have found on web, to support their otherwise niave displays.

    “I strongly encourage ID supporters to do research and try to build their evidence base.”

    That is my view and/or goal. Ultimately, I like to link ID to Science, and Science to ID. It seems both sides sometimes pigeon hole themselves into their specific belief, rather than looking at entire overall picture to use science/archeology/historical records to support ID (and/or religious beliefs) and ID/religious concepts to help support scientific explanations (and/or failure to expalin)

  236. Todd

    @Jason

    “And to add, the ability for science to explain something does not disprove the exitence of GOD and/or Intellectual [sic]Design.”

    The general stance of scientists agrees with you, here, that scientific explanations do not disprove God or ID. That whole null hypothesis thing. What science can do, however, is to show that certain natural processes are more likely explanations than intervention by a supernatural power. However, there are certain claims made by IDers and other religious types that can be disproven through scientific methods, depending on how the claim is worded. Most of the time, though, science deals strictly with the natural world, while religious belief deals with the spiritual, or at least it should.

    I’m not going to touch the entropy bit, as I have not studied it. As for statistics, based on what we know of how nature works, any natural phenomenon (e.g., species differentiation) is statistically more likely the result of natural processes (e.g., evolution), rather than due to the workings of some being the existence of which there is not yet any evidence. Someday down the road, evidence might emerge, in which case the statistical models and pretty much every single area of scientific pursuit will change dramatically to try to incorporate this new data.

    However, the main point of this thread is that ID is not a valid scientific theory and therefore has no place in science curriculum. If it were included, then why not include instruction on cold fusion, perpetual motion/free energy machines, psychics, etc.?

    The problem with this whole ID vs. Evolution thing is that the ID supporters are trying to make the issue a question of free speech and human rights, rather than a question of science. Unfortunately for them, that doesn’t work in the scientific arena. Unfortunately for supporters of Evolution, educational standards are based more on public opinion than on sound, scientific thinking.

  237. Jason

    [i]“What science can do, however, is to show that certain natural processes are more likely explanations than intervention by a supernatural power……”[/i]

    I agree…..

    [i]“certain claims made by IDers and other religious types that can be disproven through scientific methods……”[/i]

    Agreed

    [i]“science deals strictly with the natural world, while religious belief deals with the spiritual, or at least it should.”[/i]

    Yes and No, yes science can explain natural phenomenon, such as Natural Selection, Adaptation, Erosion, Gravity, Global Warming ect….. But how did it start? ID deals with the initial development of the natural world, (I guess can be labeled as philisophical/theological) directly opposing EVOLUTION in the science class.

    For example, the Grand Canyon, above it was metioned “Christian Fundamentalists refused to believe that it had been created over millions of years”, ie. evloved. I agree, that is pretty niave, as erosion is pretty undeniable. but how did it start?

    We can use science to model what we ‘believe’ to have happened, but can’t fully explain. We can model/map our entire ‘known’ solar sysytem, predict our next solar eclipse, the next time we’ll see Haley’s comet, and each planet and constellation location at any given time. I think they say somehting like “looking into space is like looking into the past”; meaning we can take this model and work backwards to determine our origins, such as BIG BANG. How does the universe keep such perfect time and order? How was Earth so lucky to maintain a orbit around the sun that life has been maintained for millions of years? By chance? Before long our solar system seems to us as nothing more than textbook physics, a understandable creation, much like a trained mechanic working on a internal combustion engine, and before long there is no need for a CREATOR. Much like today, kids born into technology who really have no concept of ‘doing things the hard way’. Do cellphones somehow make the inventor of the telegraph meaningless and trivial?

    [i]ID supporters are trying to make the issue a question of free speech and human rights, rather than a question of science.[/i]

    In certain circumstances YES, 1st AMendment “freedom of speech and religion”. Many are preaching tolerance, unfortunatley some are only tolarant of there own belief, coupled with ‘seperation of church & state’, ID w/ or w/o God, has no chance in the public school.

    [i]educational standards are based more on public opinion than on sound, scientific thinking.[/i]

    I don’t think public opinion or science has any relevance America’s public school system, mostly politics. I think the the majority of ID’ers would be statisfied that if during the week of teaching BIG BANG, that it was atleast metioned that ID was/is by some considered the origin of the universe/life and the differences between micro and macro evolution. I don’t think anyone has asked to start preaching in schools.

  238. Derrick

    Jason,

    I truly believe that some are missing the point that you summed up in your last paragraph:

    “I think the the majority of ID’ers would be statisfied that if during the week of teaching BIG BANG, that it was atleast metioned that ID was/is by some considered the origin of the universe/life and the differences between micro and macro evolution. I don’t think anyone has asked to start preaching in schools.”

  239. We thought you might be interested –

    SCIENCE AND SCIENTIST
    Inquiring into the Origin of Matter and Life
    January-March 2008

    Bhaktivedanata Institute’s latest quarterly newsletter
    is now available online.

    You can download the January-March 2008 issue from:
    http://scienceandscientist.org/current.php

    ______________________________ ______________________________ __

    What’s it about?

    Modern science has generally been directed toward investigating
    the material world, excluding consideration of the conscious
    scientist who is essential to the whole process, since, of
    course, the very existence of the scientific endeavor itself
    depends upon consciousness. Complete scientific knowledge must
    consequently include both objective science and subjective
    consciousness.

    In addition to other programs, Bhaktivedanta Institute’s Science
    and Scientist Newsletter is humbly offered to inspire scientists
    and scholars to contribute their sincere efforts toward
    developing this grand synthesis. The result will be valuable not
    only for helping to better understand the “hard” problems of
    science such as the nature and origin of life and the cosmos, the
    mind-brain connection, artificial intelligence, etc. But the
    pressing problems of ethics in science, world peace, and
    interfaith dialog will also benefit from a more inclusive
    scientific worldview.

    In our modern era science and religion are the predominating
    influences determining the fate of mankind. Promoting and
    developing a culture of harmony between such diverse fields has
    the potential to expand our conception of reality and advance
    human knowledge in the new millennium, in which it is said the
    study of life will be pre-eminent. Let us welcome the dawn of
    that new epoch with great hope and determined endeavor.
    ______________________________ ______________________________ __

    Newsletter Homepage: http://www.scienceandscientist.org

    Newsletter Subscription:
    http://www.scienceandscientist.org/subscribe.html

    Please send comments/questions to:
    editors@scienceandscientist.org

  240. Swift

    I’m starting a new religion that has as one of its central beliefs that 1 + 2 = 27. That way I can be sure and get out of having to actual get algebra correct.

  241. angryrat

    Well, looking at it cynically, it’s good news for me. The country will need foreign researchers with this mindset. That is, of course, only until they start burning men and women like me at the stakes for wizardry.

  242. Diego

    Anyone who takes the number “6000″ and defends it to death trying to make people believe a scientific fact with it. Has no idea what the scientific method is all about.

    Why 6,000?, Why not 7,000?, Because that’s what the bible says?, Who created the bible?, does it have any scientific validity?, No. Why are you trying to mix fantasy and reality then?

    I think it’s totally correct to tell your student that he is wrong if he answers something wrong. No matter what, in class, truth is all that matters, and there should *never* be any excuse to think otherwise.

  243. If you wish to be taken seriously as a scientist, then it would be wise to tone down your disdain for believers of religion — otherwise, you reduce yourself to being just as much of a bigot as you accuse them of being.

    As for what is fantasy or reality — I suggest you take your philosophy courses in college again. I suggest you study what greater minds than yours have said about what “reality” is. “Reality” cannot be agreed upon by greater minds than yours. Who are you to judge, then what is “reality?”

    As for saying you’d refuse to consider any job candidate from Oklahoma, you are guilty of the same extremism you accuse religionists of. What if a religionist job candidate goes on to create innovation or high profits for your competitor? Are you willing to cut off your nose to spite your face?

    I agree with you that the bill itself is misguided and innapropriate as it is worded. I am a religionist who accepts the prevailing scientific standards. You must understand, however, that like it or not, religious freedom is still part of the highest law of the land. Your disdain for it will not change THAT reality, a Constitutional FACT. The underlying issue BEHIND the bill is still valid. When you violate someone’s Constitutionally protected freedom of religion, you are breaking the law, science or no science.

    As for what is “truth?” Who defines it? Read your philosophy texts again. If you have no background in philosophy in higher education, then I would be the one who refused to consider YOUR resume, because it suggests you are too stubborn in your own mindset that you cannot consider or respect other viewpoints. As a manager in business, I definitely would not want a stubborn scientific bigot on my team.

    There is no doom, no inquisition, no Papal courts, no burning stakes. Your shrill exaggerations and mouth-foaming anti-religionism detract from your assertions and call into question your credibility as a critical thinker.

    I respect your status as a scientist. Your emotionalism against religion takes away from your credibility as a reasoned thinker.

  244. Ryan M

    “If someone had answered a question on a test saying the Earth was 6000 years old, I would have marked it as incorrect.”

  245. “If someone had answered a question on a test saying the Earth was 6000 years old, I would have marked it as incorrect.”

    In all honesty, if you marked anything other then “No one knows” to that question, I would of marked it incorrect. Science needs proof, there is no system of measurement to get an exact birth date of the Earth, and no one was there to observe this happening.. Thus we don’t actually know. If you said the earth was some 600 billion years hold, and in actuality it was 600 billion years and 30 seconds old, you’re in fact wrong as well. I would give the child who placed 6,000 years, half credit (if he could come up with supporting logic to his own case), and you, none.

  246. Birdzilla

    If there was any goverment buracracy that needs to be eliminated its the EPA i mean its nothing more then a burdensome stone to free markets and buisnsesses if any goverment dept that should be abolished its the EPA

  247. Hank

    Awesome article. I agree wholeheartedly. Yet, just a slight nit-pick: even though the word “conservative” has come to mean big-government social authoritarian from the Religious Right, it would be more accurate if you used another word in its place. Being a “conservative” is an economic political affiliation, and there are many conservatives that do not affiliate themselves with the Religious Wrong. There are even atheist conservatives, like myself, who believe in government spending as little as they do God. Just my 2 cents.

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