Romania: DOOMED

By Phil Plait | December 8, 2008 10:30 am

UPDATE: Weird. I was just informed that Cristian Adomnitei has been replaced, but the article linked below didn’t mention it. If you have updated information, please leave a comment!

To most Americans, Romania may seem like some far-distant land that has nothing in common with us. However, sadly, that’s not true; they have taken a step a lot of antiscientists in America are actively trying to make happen: schools in Romania no longer teach evolution.

Sounding much like the antiscience embarrassments that are the creationists on the Texas Board of Education, Cristian Adomnitei, the Romanian Minister of Education, said this incredibly Orwellian thing:

This subject can be found implicitly from middle school to high-school… Do you think that the studies about the world where we live, its evolution or genetics can ignore the evolution theory? This is impossible.”

If you don’t actually teach the topic, then your definition of the word "ignore" must be different than mine.

Happily, not everyone in Romania is satisfied with either this policy of the Education Minister:

But Remus Cernea, president of Solidarity for Freedom of Conscience, is unimpressed by the Ministry’s position on implicit learning.

“How can the evolution theory be implicit?” Cernea says. “The evolution theory is either present in the curriculum and in the text books and is studied by everybody, or not present in the curriculum and nobody studies it.”

The Education Minister’s position is so artfully dumb that I suspect that it will be eagerly incorporated by creationists here in the States. I can imagine the reasoning: "By not teaching science, we are implicitly teaching science. We teach the students everything except science, and they can figure out what science is by looking at the gaps!"

Tell me that’s no more crazy than what we have heard coming out of Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Dover…

I know America doesn’t have a strangle hold on antiscientific nonsense that could eventually destroy the next generation of scientists we produce. But this is one particular export that simply carries too high a tariff.

Romania, you need to wise up, literally. Nicolae Ceauşescu may be gone, but that doesn’t mean everything will be milk and honey after that. And that’s an analogous object lesson to us in the States as well: just because we are getting rid of the worst antiscience President we have ever had does not mean that we can let our vigilance slip.

So until they see toward what a disaster they are headed:

Romania: Doomed

Tip o’ the pălărie to Michael Lonergan.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking, Religion, Science
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Comments (160)

  1. “By not teaching science, we are implicitly teaching science…”

    If that were true then we ALL be experts on science, mostly in third world countries!!!

  2. Daffy

    This stuff is scary. Anyone with even an elementary school knowledge of history should know what happens when religion (any religion) gets control of things. But, like incumbents, everyone thinks their religion will be different and is perfectly OK to run things.

    The world’s headlong rush to the stone age continues.

  3. Daffy

    Hypatia, your namesake is a perfect example of what I am talking about. They even made the mob leader that brutally murdered her a SAINT for crying out loud.

  4. MarkB

    BAUT: DOOMED

    Have you thought of saying Hi once in a while or is it beneath you these days?

    The absense of both yourself and Frasier is creating a vacuum that needs to be filled.

    You are forever advertising other peoples websites/blogs isn’t it about time you looked after your own or let it go?

    MarkB

  5. This whole creationism thing is what started the ball rolling for me, giving me resolve in fighting the attack on science that so many religious people are waging. I do have to wonder if they realize that they are ultimately pushing a lot of people away from religion, including Christianity. That’s what ultimately caused me to leave Christianity and write my book, Christian No More, in which I spend a great deal of time defending science against the religious attacks. What’s sad is the more they do this, the harder we have to fight to make sure that our children truly learn *science* and not some bastardized version of it. If they get their way, it’s just a matter of time before kids grow up thinking science is half R&D and half prayer, where they think that they can create medicines and high-tech devices that only partially work, and simply rely on prayer to make them work the rest of the way. I know that might sound far-fetched to a lot of people, but it’s not: Look at the people here in the US who are avoiding modern medicine altogether and instead praying, ultimately letting their children die. The more the Creationists push their cause, the more they’re going to push religious people away from science and cause an overall distrust for sound science.

    Jeff Mark

  6. Daffy

    MarkB,

    There are only so many hours in a day; if it is a choice between Phil having time to write or spending time on a message board, I for one, would rather he keep writing.

    You sound like a jilted lover; I suggest you get over it.

  7. Did you and Steven Novella get together on these blog entries? 😉

    http://skepticblog.org/2008/12/08/skeptical-battlegrounds-part-ii-%e2%80%93-creationism/

    I suppose being an ignorant hick is a good thing in some of these countries, but I’d prefer to actually look to the future. While the fight is most visible in the US, other countries seem to suffer from this Epic Fail as well.

  8. mena

    Instead of a cat and mouse, shouldn’t that be a picture of Nosferatu with the caption “Doomed, bwahaha!”?

  9. It’s a bizarre thought.. instead of saying “Evolution isn’t necessarily true so we shouldn’t teach it” it’s “Evolution is SO necessarily true that it’s obvious and we shouldn’t teach it!”

  10. IVAN3MAN

    Romania is the ‘Kentucky’ state of the E.U.

  11. Mark Montgomery

    Who is the idiot that came up with this idea? The rest of the world already looks at Romania as a backward, third world country and this move will only reinforce people’s misinformation about Romania. First of all, all you need to do to confirm the existence of evolution is to look at the progression of viruses. They evolve to different forms when they meet a mortal danger too often. So there is no question about the existence of evolution. There is a question about the intelligence of a group of people who believe in a magical man up in the sky who controls everything and created the entire universe in 6 days. Get the religious morons out of education. Mark Montgomery boboberg@nyc.rr.com

  12. Disappointing. When I visited the natural history museum Bucharest for a short time this summer, I was impressed with level of detail with which it presented evolution. Near the beginning of the tour is a wall-sized diagram representing the origin of life from a common ancestor. The literally thousands of specimens on display around the museum (They love their dioramas!) paint a clear picture of the work of evolution. I’ve seen much worse here in the states!

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  13. Todd W.

    @webrunner

    Nice point. Imagine if that was applied to other aspects of education. “The history of World Wars I and II is so obvious, we don’t need to teach it. It’s implicit in the modern social structure of the world.”

    But, I guess that their increase in religious education means that God is not at all obvious, therefore they need to teach more.

  14. Todd W.

    @Mark Montgomery

    About how long do you think it took for your comment to appear after the article?

  15. dany

    wow if we don’t belive in the evolution theory we’re backwords and stupid. first of all I’m not relgious but stiil I don’t belive in that crap. It’s just a THEORY not something scientific prooved or at least fully prooved (there are many many things that don’t fit in). Btw the communists were teaching the evolution theory and the religion was banned in Eastern Europe (many Christians were killed or imprisoned), that’s why they are so religous… inform yourself before talking cause you’re showing your stupidity.

  16. NOT DOOMED!!!

    This is Romania calling…

    OLD news!… but it brings back great memories of very smart people joining against stupid people. Cristian Adomnitei was a joke… he trully believed that the EU flag had 15 stars… incredible ignorant.

    Romania is not backward and the education system is truly serious and woo-woo free. And this is why in an 90% believer in Ortodox Cristianity country… very few people speak against evolution and once they do that… they are ridiculed.

    Of course we have the really old people (above 70 years) from the villages with no more than 4 years of education … but they are nice folk… and their believes (flat earth, creationism) are because nobody told them otherwise.

    I’m an atheist… and even if everyone I know believes in some form Cristian religion, I can have smart conversations with all them and shake their world from time to time with my (lack of) beliefes.

    Cristian radical are rare… and laughable characters… they exist only for the amusement of other and antiscience… is political suicide.

    We are not DOOM,
    We are just fine… but then again… thanks for noticing,

    From Romania,
    A big fan!

  17. It must be working. I read the link and it made me say “Ah, Jesus Christ, what is the world coming to?”

  18. Darth Robo

    dany, the Communists were teaching Lamark, and if you’re equating the word “theory” with “wild guess”, then perhaps you should inform yourself before showing… well let’s see if you can figure it out.

  19. @ dany,

    You are using the word theory as a layperson. That is about the furthest from reality that you can be. I suggest you read this link: http://wilstar.com/theories.htm and educate yourself at least a little before condemning a theory.

    :)

  20. danezia– the article I linked to has a recent date on it, but you write as if Adomnitei is gone. Do you have more current news?

  21. Dan

    @dany

    And we once again see the misunderstanding concerning the word Theory.

    Dany, ALL things is science are theories. GRAVITY is officially considered a theory. Science only deals in theories.

    There is a large difference between the colloquial everyday “theory” and what science considers a “theory”

    Science begins with a hypothesis, only AFTER the hypothesis has stood up to rigorous testing is it called a “theory.” So evolution has stood up to rigorous criticism and testing.

  22. Todd W.

    @danezia

    Old news, indeed! I just noticed that the first comments are from March! Do you know of any updates on whether evolution was kept in the curriculum?

    @dany

    It’s just a THEORY not something scientific prooved or at least fully prooved (there are many many things that don’t fit in).

    First, yes, evolution is a theory, in the scientific sense of the word, meaning that it has evidence to support it, makes predictions, has evidence that validate those predictions, and so on. It is not just a guess, in the colloquial definition of the word “theory”. And, of course, it is not “fully” proved, just like any good scientific theory. There could always be something that comes along and invalidates it, but, like the Theory of Gravity, there’s a good bit of support for it, far more supporting data, indeed, than data calling it into question.

    Second, what do you feel doesn’t fit? Perhaps there may be people here that may answer some of the questions you have about the Theory of Evolution.

  23. P.S.

    things really look strange for a foreigner with really not very much knowledge of the country…

    like the religion classes… which everyone loved to hate. (They are called “History of religion” by the way and can be skipped if your parents agree), biology was always serious… but during religion class you could only hear question about Copernicus, Darwin… evolution… and making fun about the church and about the people that really believe in all the religious norm was all the time on the menu.

    I teach Environmental Science at the University and I had only one student in 200 that openly said that he did not believed in evolution…

    He was raised in a protestant family…

    As for the stupidity of the religion classes, new religious cults and the resurgence of conservative believe, “intelligent design”… I only “thank” America. Here we still look up to the “great” USA.

    I hear it all the time>

    “If they do it in the USA… than it must be right”

    So please be careful of what you show to the rest of the world before calling us “ignorants” and “backward”.

  24. Todd W.

    @undercover

    Let’s keep the unwarranted disdain to a minimum, please.

  25. IVAN3MAN

    Further to my comment above…

    Religion in Europe

    Belief_in_God_ per_country

    Belief that “there is a god” per country.
    (Click on the image for link to the Religion in Europe article.)

  26. CLM

    Just for that, Romania, you have to give back that part of Hungary you were given as the spoils of WWI (see On The Great Unification).

  27. dany

    @Todd W. I know there is an evolution, viruses get stronger earch year and so on, but I don’t think is that ‘big’ I mean the evolution of man is that we became smarter, we get taller each year (some countries), we get ‘anomalies’ from the phisical factors (black/white skin, blue/black/green eyes) but it’s too much to say that we evolved from monkeys. We’re the only inteligent species on earth, why?
    I’m an engineer (mechanical) for 12 years now and I was raised in a liberal family (only went to church at Eastern and Cristmas) so i’m a very open mind person, I studied very much both theories and I came to a conclusion that both are right in a way. As an engineer I know that everything needs to be created by someone not by pure chance or luck (the DNA was brought on earth by an asterioid..), and this ‘creator’ dosen’t have to be God, Budha, Jahve or Allah.. . I just want to say we need to search more for an answer, we shouldn’t limit owerself with this two theories.

  28. hale_bopp

    I had the pleasure of giving two days of teacher workshops in Bucharest earlier this year. The attendees were primarily at what we would call middle school in the U.S. Although it is a very religious society, several teachers specifically asked what was up with all the creationists in the U.S. They had a hard time believing that it was even an issues in what was supposed to be the most advanced country in the world.

  29. dany

    Well it seems that there are many hungarian extremists on this page…

  30. Cheyenne

    Ah yes, as an American I definitely feel like I should be telling even more nations what they should be doing within their own borders (it’s worked out so well for us recently). And making fun of them if they don’t do as I want…. :)

  31. What gives you the right to “doom” a country whose culture you do not know? In my country there are idiots like these all the time but no one pays attention to them. They change the laws and whatever, but teachers still teach the important stuff in school. I went to a semi-public religious school and yes we did have religious classes but we also were tought about evolution and the history of religions. I don’t mind if you bring our attention to this important matter but do not make judgements about the people or the consequences of these actions if you do not understand the issue from the inside. Ask Danezia look for some Romanian blogger or something. It’s not that hard to get well informed these days.

  32. Phil,

    First of all, this is old news. The previous Minister (M. Hardau) signed in December 2006 a revision of the high school curriculum by which the unit in the Biology curriculum explaining evolution (among others) was removed. The order became active starting AY 2007-8, and Remus Cernea and others started protesting as soon as september 2007 (for more details see here.) There have been open letters, protests, blog posts, all the ingredients, especially in Feb-Mar 2008. Some of us from the diaspora did some things as well. Adomnitei became Minister in Apr 2007, and handled the situation he inherited in his usual, incompetent way. But we’re getting a new Parliament & Government soon (we had elections on Nov 30, and Adomnitei has been revoked on Oct 7 anyway), so maybe this will change by next AY (at least, many of us hope so).

    Secondly, this is not as near as crazy as what I heard coming from Kansas &c. Nobody proposed to teach any brand of creationism in the Biology class. There’s no mention of ID or whatever in the textbooks. There’s no serious discussion about it, just some net palaver. Science education in Romania may be flawed in many respects (especially in the experimental part), but it still is science education.

    Best,
    Stefan

  33. Todd W.

    @dany

    Well, you’re right. Humans did not evolve from monkeys. Instead, humans evolved from a primate ancestor from which monkeys also evolved.

    As to “everything needs to be created by someone, not by pure chance or luck”, what about molecules? Is each and every molecule created by someone? Or is there some natural, uninterested force at work? Is the water molecule created by a creator? Or is it simply the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen? What about a pile of rocks at the bottom of a cliff? Did someone design the stack of rock upon rock, or did they land there in that particular, unique pile through the action of a variety of natural forces (gravity, friction, etc.)?

    Keep in mind, intelligence is not necessarily a determining factor in a species being successful. In our case, it helped us outcompete other primates within a particular niche environment. For some other species, intelligence (in the sense that humans are intelligent) may have been a hindrance to survival, and therefore it did not survive the selection process.

    Since it appears you feel that Intelligent Design has some merit, then I have a couple questions. First, what evidence is there for a designer? The mere existence of something is not evidence that an intelligent being created it. In order to definitively state that it was created by some being, one must rule out all other natural explanations, as well as have some other evidence of creation. Second, who or what is this “creator”? If there is evidence of a creator, then there ought to be some evidence that suggests its identity.

    A final note regarding “pure chance” or “luck”. Evolution does have some element of chance in it, but the outcomes of evolution are far from being some haphazard progression of chance events. Rather, each event has an impact on successive events, limiting possible outcomes, and are, in turn, dependent on what events came before. Let’s take the development of the eye, for example. The human eye would not be possible at all without a progression of refinements from simple, light-sensitive cells through increasing specialization of cells (light-sensing, color-sensing, motion identification, development of a lens to allow focusing, etc.). The cells that make up the eye could continue to evolve to be sensitive to a broader range of the light spectrum, but they will likely never become tails, for example, particularly not just out of the blue.

    Likewise, different species don’t just suddenly give birth to some new species. Rather, it is a series of gradual steps over very, very great expanses of time.

  34. TO ALL COMMENTERS:

    Please read my commenting policy. I have already deleted several comments from people being rude.

  35. Maybe it’s not too late for such a post to add to the necessary pressure for things to get back to their proper path. But as things stand this is (1) old news and (2) inadequately phrased. What happened was that the curriculum for the biology textbook for the final year of high school was reorganized. The chapter on evolution was taken out. This was of course stupid and perhaps premeditated. But don’t make us creationists yet. And don’t think high school biology teachers lost their minds in Romania. We’re not doomed, but in a difficult situation. Saying we’re doomed does little to help remedy the situation.

    After all, this is not without precedent in this part of the world. A Serbian minister of education had to resign in a similar situation. Poland has its share of problems.

    I am Romanian but study in Budapest, Hungary – and I’m glad to be here. I respect this city and this country. But to see that there is a connection between Trianon (1920) and flawed curriculum reforms in Romania (2006) is beyond my cognitive abilities. Nationalism in such quantities, friends, is itself religious madness.

  36. @IVAN3MAN:
    I see your point, Romania is like Kansas, and Slovenia is like… what? And Croatia? And Poland and Greece are just a bit better. Where do you stop? 80 % Christian is bearable? 50 % is not too bad?

    In Romania, there are no “What would Jesus do” banners on buildings, there are no street preachers, nobody tries to persuade you to accept Jebus when you go to the games. There is a recoil to religion since the fall of communism in all Central and Eastern Europe, sure, but I’d wait a bit before dooming everybody there.

  37. Cheyenne

    I’ll probably get held up in moderation but –

    http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/09/biologists-on-t.html

    Interesting – scientists are almost (maybe almost, I’m sure it’ll be argued about) on the verge of creating a new form of life in the lab. Seems like that might have some interesting implications.

  38. Elmar_M

    I was not being rude, I was simply stating the truth. Why is it such an issue nowadays so state facts, even though they first comply with the opinions of most of the people on this board, just because someone deems them to be not politically correct. I dont give a warm damn about political correctness, it is a cancer that is ruining our society because people are affraid of stating facts for they might be considered politically incorrect. “oh my god, it is politically incorrect, oh, oh, oh!
    Thats the same reason why the antivaxers and the intelligent designers can have their say without being told to shut up! It is not politically correct to tell them that, because someone said so. For the same reason is it not politially correct what I said? Well you will all see what you have from that WHEN THING WILL GET MUCH WORSE!!!

  39. Elmar_M

    Sorry, this is kinda out of context now. I was stating earlier my dislike about the growing religiousity in Europe that is mostly of islamic nature (and that comment got removed). In addition sciences like stem cell research are being discredited by the media and certain political entities as being “unethical”. Now unethical is the word an atheist uses for “sinful”. It is the same thing just coming from a different direction. How can we expect a country like Romania to be supportive of science, when even we here in central Europe (and the US) are not doing that.
    Personally I would not have let Romania and most of the other new members into the EU for this reason (as well as their lack of development in their social, justice- systems as well as their economies. They are holding us back right now, sorry to say that (politically incorrect, yes, I know). They are just one more issue we have here though. Things all over Europe are getting worse constantly. Religion is taking over, science becomes discredited and pseudoscience gets lots of time in the media (Homeopathy, e.g.). Yet when someone like me (ordinary person) comes along and says “sorry that is all a pile of […], you can stick your crystals, homeopathy, Mekka, holy mary and lurdes to where the sun does not shine”, I am told to shut up and better behave “politically correct”, because I am a nobody and if I dont shut up, I might be considered a lunatic, a troll, a bad talker, or -pssst dont say it out loud- a fascist (best way to shut someone up is to call him a fascist, no matter whether it has anything to do with the topic discussed, or the person in question or anything at all, it just always works, not me with though ;)).

  40. No way that map is accurate for Iceland. Very strong secular component to society there.

  41. JoeSmithCA

    I say thank you to all commenters who clarified that an entire country is going to go down the tubes because of some (now old) policies. Hasty generalizations are a bad thing.

    Oh, and the “Doomed” usage always makes me think of some PC game created in the 1990s “Doom” :)

  42. JoeSmithCA

    errr I meant to say “it NOT going to go down the tubes”

  43. JM

    “Romania may seem like some far-distant land that has nothing in common with us. ”

    Yeah, except Hollywood shoots productions there (like ‘Cold Mountain’) because it’s dirt cheap. We’ve seen Romania more than we probably realize. 😉

    And now we know some of that production movie cash goes to the government which is, apparently, anti-science.

  44. Darth Robo

    Engineers… why is it always engineers?

    :(

  45. Ubu

    This stuff is so retarded it’s not even funny anymore. That Macedonian site copied word for word an article filled with dusty old lies, half truths, and mistranslations that first appeared in December 2007 in TheDiplomat.ro (you can still read it in google’s cache – here’s a link). Around that time, BBC-Romanian was publishing an article (this is the Google translation of it), in which the same guy that started all this whining, was complaining that the theme “God” was dropped from the high-school Philosophy curriculum. Proof that he’s one of those individuals that keeps whining about everything, no matter what. Notice that in the autumn of 2007 they were making news about decisions made in the winter of 2006.

    So what really happened. For ONE school year only, between 2006-2007, along with Biology classes, high school students had as a separate discipline “Theory of Evolution”. At the end of 2006, someone in the Ministry of Education decided that teaching evolution as a separate discipline while students had lessons titled “Origin and evolution of the human genome” or “Organization of genetic material: Comparative Genomics – establishing the existing evolutionary relations between different groups of organisms” in Biology manuals was quite redundant. So the authorities dropped the teaching of “Theory of Evolution”, but only as a separate discipline. Claiming that suddenly in Romania students were taught Creationism or that the educators were serving them some sort of emasculated science in classroom is a blatant distortion of the truth.

    How about the Camus, Voltaire, Nietzsche thing. Well, the current Philosophy curriculum for high-school students, approved in 2006, states that professors and authors of manuals must include in their lessons at least one significant text from the following authors: Aristotle, Augustine, Lucian Blaga, René Descartes, Immanuel Kant, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, Karl R. Popper, John Rawls, Jean–Paul Sartre, Ludwig Wittgenstein. For the high school students specializing in philology and social sciences, the curriculum also demands texts authored by Thomas d’Aquino, Mircea Eliade, Friedrich Hayek, G. W. Leibniz, Constantin Noica, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Bertrand Russell. So Nietzsche is still there, Voltaire and Camus could be discussed but they no longer made the list of minimal requirements.

    To finish this already long post, here are links to the Google translated versions of the curriculums for Biology and Philosophy classes, all for last years of high-school.

    As expected, talking crap about Romania never goes out of fashion.

  46. @CLM, you should stick to the point here, not talking about giving back teritories and stuff. this is pure extremism and does not bring any value to the post here. the moderator should remove that crap.
    @Author: we take such things easily here in Romania, and state lost lots of influence over people. i have kids in school here in Bucharest, and they get good education. usually all politicians here are seen as stupid fat men that want to get rich fast, and what they do is not taken very seriously. usually they make a lot of mess [causing problems if they have economic effects] , but otherwise they will change and change laws [in education there were lots of changes from 1990 untill now] untill they copy-paste right from eu legislation and stop bothering about it.

  47. AJ

    @ Elmar_M:

    Um… who, exactly, tells you to shut up and not say these things? Individuals, or the whole of society?

  48. David D

    @Stefan–

    Words like “doom” and “evil” are casually thrown around on this blog. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  49. Ubu

    PS Could someone correct the original blogpost, you know, add an update, put there something to tell people that all this was started by a plagiarized article full of untruths?

  50. Cheyenne

    Ubu- If you happen to be right (judging by what’s flying around on Reddit and the other sites it sounds like a lot of other Romanians agree with you- but I don’t know what’s going on) then it is Discover magazine blog DOOM.

    Or, FAIL. Or whatever it is that those crazy kids are using out on the intertoobs these days (as long as they stay off my lawn I don’t care).

  51. Filip Tinca

    i am proud of my country for doing this. it might piss off all Hungarians (glad it does. Transilvania is been part of Romania/Dacia for 2k years) and all these anti religion scientists but i don’t think it will have too many negative effects on the world.

  52. David D

    A BA FAIL?

    Say it isn’t so!

  53. CLM

    @jgabious I forget people in other countries can be a overly sensitive about their borders: past and present. I was being snarky about returning portions of Romania to Hungary. I apologize for being insensitive and was not making a nationalist remark. Some of my ancestors were from an area called Banat, now mostly part of Romania. Someday I’d like to visit it, but I honestly don’t care who it belongs to. I would hope being a member of the EU would make them less sensitive about their borders.

    I know my fellow Americans might be upset if I were to suggest giving Texas back to Mexico (notwithstanding prior claims of the Indians from whom the lands were taken), but would I hope be more aware I was making a joke even if they didn’t think it was funny.

    If Romania is indeed making poor choices about educating it’s children, it should be criticized. With poorly educated citizens they cannot take full advantage of EU membership.

  54. IVAN3MAN

    Here are some interesting statistics: Belief in Evolution — % of Population in various countries.

  55. Brian Hodges

    Isn’t Romania the place where the anti-christ comes from in the “Left Behind” books?

  56. Otto GER

    Typathia, if you consider Romania a 3rd world country then you are clearly an uneducated Mexican… Oh what am I saying, all your people are uneducated. And like most your people, you are probably living in the USA with 20 other family members. Other then Mexico’s beaches, your country is a waste of space.

  57. Elmar_M

    AJ, it depends on who you talk to. Also society is a very stretchable word…
    Anyway it happens very often that skeptics get attacked and even attempts to discredit them are made.
    You can ask the members of CSI (the skeptics, not the crime scene investigators) about that. I am sure that a few of them can tell you some interesting stories.
    My personal experiences are that when you get into a discussion with people about certain topics, they will first start to throw all sorts of nonsensical arguments at you. If that goes nowhere they will try to “appeal to your political correctness”. E.g. by throwing a remark that “not accepting someones religion would be intollerance or even discrimination”. Well that might be, but after a few hundred times where I cared, I just stopped caring. It is that easy. I say it right out loud. I dont like religion. I dont like christian religion very much, I dont care about Budda, Shiva and Krishna. Dont even get me started on Islam, which I personally consider very dangerous. Now there it is again. I said it.
    I am sure someone will say: “But you cant say that Islam is dangerous! It is a dangerous generalization. You can only say “some missguided individuals that happen to be moslems are dangerous under some circumstances”.
    Then the whole thing will usually turn into an hour long discussion in which I cite many reasons why it is dangerous (based on the actual teachings) and when the opponent is out of arguments, the attacks start…
    Now I could replace Islam with Homeopathy, just as well, or “the soul”, or psychology (not to mistake for psychiatry, which is a natural science or a discipline of medecine depending on where in the world you are), or parapsychology, or whatever nonsense people are coming up with.
    Anyway you go on arguing with these people and when they are running out of arguments (usually because the one book they read on that matter and that makes them an expert on the topic had nothing else to say) they will start throwing phrases:
    Here are a few:
    “But you (also often replaced with “everyone”) need to believe in something”.
    “How can you be so intollerant to dispute someones believes” (Hey, you are the one who is making demands for certain religious rights to do all sorts of weird stuff, special treatment and all that. I am just questioning the reasoning behind these demands).
    “You lier!” (talk to the hand)
    “You poor man!” (yeah it is tough)
    and my favorites:
    “you fascist!” (not working anymore!).
    “you nazi” (not working anymore either)
    “I dont talk to you anymore!” (see if I care).
    “You ***hole!” (talk to the hand!).
    “dont you dare to come to my [enter social event, party, blog, etc here] again” (Outch that hurts, you dont know what you are missing out on. I mean, I am such an entertaining person, I am ;))

  58. @CLM: What the hell is this supposed to mean : “full advantage of EU membership”.
    Are there still in existence people so brainwashed that they still believe there is such a thing as ADVANTAGE of being a EU member ?
    Cause’ from here in RO, sure as hell doesn’t seem that way

  59. Cheyenne

    Ivan – Ouch ouch ouch when I see where the US is in that graph. 40%?! Ugh. Good quality science education seems like a pretty needed investment here.

    And I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – the ID thing needs to be brought up in class (briefly! and not be graded on it- graded solely on the Theory of Evolution) to stir discussion and hopefully a constructive debate about it. I’m sure we could move the number up from 40% with a teaching style like that as opposed to pretending ID doesn’t exist and only teaching evolution. Let’s not be afraid of ID and dismissive to it’s proponents (look- they apparently have the support of 60% of this country- self administer head slap now) let’s constructively engage it is what I feel like.

    Way to go Scandinavia by the way!

  60. Cheyenne

    “it’s” vs “it” doggone I keep messing that up. Subconscious tic I think.

  61. David D

    @IVAN–

    I have seen those kinds of studies before, but I’m not sure exactly what this sort of statistic means. For example, the “enlightened” Scandinavian societies score high on these graphs, yet there are widespread beliefs (no I don’t have the numbers right in front of me) in these same countries in things like fairies, spirits, gnomes, etc. I’m not sure whether that translates into a more “rational” country or not.

  62. OTTO Ger, what part of my commenting policy did you miss? It’s very clear: DON’T BE A JERK. In your comment, you were a jerk. It’s actually just that simple.

  63. Phoca

    I don’t think any of the post-communistic countries has problems with teaching evolution. But that’s about it, we (greets from Poland) are still, very intolerant in almost every manner.

  64. Mark Hansen

    Dany, what are the “many things” that don’t fit in with the theory?

  65. CLM

    @giambashu I suppose what I mean by “full advantage of EU membership” is something like what happened in Ireland. Romania is a much larger country of course and have different needs and problems, but I would hope there would be EU programs that would help Romania become more prosperous just as Ireland has become more prosperous thanks to EU funding. In large part Ireland placed a big emphasis on education.

    As an American, I don’t know as much about European politics or culture as I would like, but am somewhat better informed than most. So I’m not offering suggestions on how Romania could develop. I’m suggesting that other countries in Europe and the EU might offer better solutions for their neighbors.

  66. Romania doomed? Why is it that I have yet to see on this blog any mention of international test scores in which the United States is compared to foreign countries in terms of science education or mathematics education? Is it only creationism that dooms a country in terms of science?

    http://4brevard.com/choice/international-test-scores.htm

    Grade 12 mathematics – the USA trailed the following countries on test scores: Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, France, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Lithuania, and Czech Republic. The USA beat only Cyprus and South Africa.

    Grade 12 science – the USA got beat by the following countries: Sweden, Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, France, Czech Republic, and Russia. the USA beat Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Cyprus, and South Africa.

    Now, just taking the top students in grade 12 science and comparing them, the USA got beat by the following countries: Norway, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Slovenia, Germany, Australia, Cyprus, Latvia, Switzerland, Greece, Canada, France, Czech Republic, and Austria. The USA was AT THE BOTTOM on this measure.

    So, Romania wasn’t included in these tests but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Romanian high school students beat the pants off of American high school students on science and math. After all, students from Slovenia do and they have had to endure a Balkans War not too many years ago.

    So cross out Romania and put USA in that picture, Phil.

  67. Eudoxius

    I am so excited to hear that so many communists have gathered together on this blog to share their intelligence. I guess the real scientists are working… However, it hurts when you hear such a drastic pronouncement about your country. Who, are you to say it? You are doomed, or your country because teaches evolution. The USA is the greatest country in the world specifically because it was based on Christian principles, which, by the way, allow for the freedom of people to believe in their pseudo-scientific theories. How can one say that the big-bang is a scientific truth? Has anybody make any measurements at the time? In what scientific experiment you take NOTHING and you come up with something? Isn’t repetitive observation and measurement what makes science SCIENCE? Now, the atheists, who don’t have anything better to do, are going to try to silence anybody who disagrees with them by calling them all the names listed on this post. Ya’ll are awesome! However, God is good and He still accepts those who are wise to turn to Him.

  68. Tom Marking, you’ve been reading this blog too long to say anything as ridiculous as that. Search for the word “doomed” and you’ll see I have applied it to Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan…

    And Eudoxius, the US was not based on Christianity in any way. You might want to read some actual history of the US, because that is straightforward right-wing propaganda. Look up Jefferson’s Bible, for example.

  69. Eudoxius

    Phil, I could not wait to look up Jefferson’s Bible. It seems that he is really in love with Jesus’ morals. Here is what Jefferson says about it: “There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” It is Jesus, who, according to Jefferson offers the most potent code of morals ever.

    On the other hand, here’s what the Declaration of Independence says:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” Is this “straightforward right-wing propaganda” or is it your inability to accept the truth. Face it!

    The evolution may be an interesting theory if it weren’t supposed to explain an absurdity. Why is the Intelligent Design theory so repugnant for some? Because it involves a Creator, who might, for natural reasons transcend our ability to perceive him physically (read scientifically).

  70. Mark Hansen

    Eudoxious, are you saying that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory that doesn’t allow for scientific verification?

  71. Eudoxius

    It allows for as much verification as the theory of evolution allows for the big-bang.

  72. @Eudoxius

    Umm…the Theory of Evolution is about change over time of organisms. It has nothing to do with cosmological events such as the Big Bang.

  73. IVAN3MAN

    Eudoxius: “The USA is the greatest country in the world specifically because it was based on Christian principles…”

    “The fruits of Christianity were religious wars, butcheries, crusades,
    inquisitions, extermination of the natives of America, and the introduction
    of African slaves in their place.”
    — Arthur Schopenhauer.

  74. David D

    Given the reasoned and insightful posts from Ubu and Stefan, perhaps BA should have done a little more homework before posting. That “Tip o’ the pălărie to Michael Lonergan” may have been a tad too quick. Put your căciulă back on your head, Phil.

    :)

  75. Eudoxius

    Ivan, I would be horrified just to quote Schopenhauer. You could do better.
    Also Schopenhauer says that: “If you want Utopian plans, I would say: the only solution to the problem is the despotism of the wise and noble members of a genuine aristocracy, a genuine nobility, achieved by mating the most magnanimous men with the cleverest and most gifted women. This proposal constitutes my Utopia and my Platonic Republic.” Hitler was certainly proud of AS. He also said something very funny about the woman’s hair length. We can really trust this guy. By the way, Nietzsche is one of his buddies.

    Schopenhauer is misguided. Religious wars, butcheries, inquisitions, extermination of the natives in America, and the introduction of African slaves is only the fruit of some misguided, corrupted people, who used the name of Christ in their own interest. Could you tell me what does Jesus have to do with all these unfortunate events? I would even include here the crusades.

    Ivan, do you think Russia is awesome? It seems that you don’t like the US too much…

  76. Al Viro

    @Elmar_M: Incredible. Such a lovingly collected pile of things said about you – and yet somehow it manages to skip the most obvious one. Allow me to amend that glaring omission: first and foremost you appear to be mind-numbingly boring. Even after a few blog comments, let alone listening to you for an hour…

  77. scottb

    Eudoxius,

    Your statement that the Big Bang was “something from nothing” proves that you know nothing about it. Read a book before you embarrass yourself further.

  78. IVAN3MAN

    Eudoxius: “Ivan, do you think Russia is awesome? It seems that you don’t like the US too much…”

    On what evidence do you base those two assumptions?

  79. divinegracie

    Romania was the country that banned all abortion and contraception. Remember what a horrific nightmare that became? Romania is indeed the paradise of the christian right.

  80. IVAN3MAN

    Eudoxius: “Ivan, I would be horrified just to quote Schopenhauer. You could do better.”

    If you insist…

    “You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive
    stories, and [yet] you say that we are the ones that need help?”
    — Mark Twain

  81. IVAN3MAN, that Sam Clemens bloke was a dead set genius. Certainly the most quotable philosopher of 19thC. I picked up The Innocents Abroad last week and I am champing at the bit to read it.

    Eudoxius, what specifically is your problem with Nietzsche? I sense a little disdain in the way you refer to him as a buddy of AS.

  82. IVAN3MAN

    Shane: “… that Sam Clemens bloke was a dead set genius. Certainly the most quotable philosopher of 19thC.”

    Too right, mate!

  83. Mark Hansen

    Yes, Eudoxious, you can’t get any insight into the Big Bang through evolutionary theory. It also can’t mix a decent martini. But what about ID? What predictions does it make? How may it be tested?

  84. Elmar_M

    @Al Viro:
    Yeah, I kinda am boring. You know- we all know- facts are boring, right. Thats not a topic to entertain people with, right?
    How much more exciting are “the many things in the world that we do not know” and that “require you to believe”, right? These things are “extraordinary”, “paranormal” (god I love that word) and exciting. Facts is something you read in books and science publications (some internet pages too). The “interesting stuff”, you see on TV and in the movies, sometimes at the carnivale 😉
    This is so much more fun and not boring like me…

  85. Darth Robo

    And what the heck does Communism and atheism have to do with either the Big Bang or evolution?

    The first thing we think of when people start conflating Big Bang theory with the theory of evolution is: EPIC FAIL. This, Eudoxious, is why no-one takes you seriously. You said: “Why is the Intelligent Design theory so repugnant for some? Because it involves a Creator, who might, for natural reasons transcend our ability to perceive him physically (read scientifically).”

    How on earth then, can ID be considered a “scientific theory”? For that matter, can anyone tell me what the “scientific theory” of ID actually IS? I’ve been asking this one for a while and not had an answer yet…

    :(

  86. little vampire

    Adomnitei has been revoked after many mistakes, the one using the Police helicopter to go to his wedding marking his finally! Funny country, tough!

  87. @David D:
    I wasn’t offended by “DOOM”, I just thought it should’ve been more like a “FAIL” :(

    @divinegracie:
    the abortion & contraception policies you’re talking about had nothing to do with religion; it’s just that Ceausescu had this crazy demographic plans for the never-to-be Communist Republic of Romania, and one fairly obvious means of attaining them was banning abortion and limiting contraception. The law was revoked fairly soon after 1989, and since then I don’t know of any serious discussion about bringing it back. Again, there is some interwebs flurry, on religious blogs (mostly protestant), but these sites & NGOs are usually ignored by mainstream media and the politicians. So no FAIL on this point for us :)

  88. In most of countries where religion has a more power than it should be and the people are blinded by religious concepts and stuff like this – the science, culture and economy is down and close to crash. Of course, not in all cases happens like this, but it wold be SO much better if religion wouldn’t be mandatory in school and people would read more and show more tolerance to the non-believers, other religions or to things that make the economies and cultures grow and not tangante because some god said that “this bars are the mark of satan”, or “keep your children away from tv – it’s the hand of evil and teenagres should NOT talk about sex – it’s a SIN”. Religion always fu..d up the simple minds and makes them easy to rule… In fact… that the whole point of it, and priests have a great deal of power in Romania (i am a romanian), wich is more than bad, it brings this country down-down-down. Most of the priests run businesses, some monks have sex in their “holly” places and some teacher-priests are pedofile…

  89. Daffy

    Eudoxious: “Could you tell me what does Jesus have to do with all these unfortunate events? I would even include here the crusades.”

    The point is that Christians love to claim that if we all became Christians, all the terrible things in the world would go away. That notion is patently absurd when some of the most horrific atrocities in history have been committed by Christians…often in Jesus’s name.

    Christians may be no worse than any other religious group, but they are no better, either.

  90. Al Viro

    @Elmar_M: Don’t flatter yourself. Boredom has nothing to do with the subject, actually – peddlers of “paranormal” tend to be boring as hell and if you ever heard a door-to-door pest, er, preacher beating off on his topic of choice… Science _is_ interesting; The Glory Of You(tm), with all due respect, is not, especially when mixed with the charming habit of chalking up any lack of interest to invented on the spot ideological opposition.

    Seriously, if you try to play a shock jock – at least do it right. Unfortunately, having annoyed the listeners is not the sign of success; boring and inept shock jocks do annoy just fine, thank you very much.

  91. mapnut

    Phil Plait, don’t you think it’s about time you addressed the criticisms of that article you cited and either find some backup for it, or put some clarification or even an apology to Romanians in your blog? It sure sounds to me like there was never an actual ban on teaching evolution.

  92. Tom Marking :
    ” After all, students from Slovenia do and they have had to endure a Balkans War not too many years ago.”

    Actually, no. That would be students in Croatia and, by far more, students in Bosnia.

  93. This measure was taken quite a while ago, it’s nothing new that they took out Evolution from the curriculum, but there is a subject called “Religion” taught to most students, which is mandatory unless your parents sign a form stating you should not.
    It outrageous what happened but I hope the new minister from the new government will know better than that.

    Vlad

  94. Romanian evolutionist

    I am a Romanian scientist and evolutionist. Actually, I was very angry when I heard about this decision of the ministry. But believe me, it has nothing to do with creationism and other stupid theories. It is pure incompetence and corruption of the academic system. Romania isn’t in Africa, it is only a corrupt former communist European country. Anyway, Adomnitei was seen as a very incompetent minister. He didn’t find a more intelligent answer. If Bush represents the American way of thinking, Adomnitei represents the Romanian science and scientists.

  95. “very few people speak against evolution and once they do that… they are ridiculed”
    danezia, you must be talking about the Romania in a parallel universe (or in the imaginary world inside your head), ‘cos the real one is nothing like that. Think about it for a second. 90% Xtians thinking it ridiculous to deny evolution?! You must think we’re stupid or something, to come and peddle such nonsense around here. Have you even _been_ in Romania lately? Have you seen the halucinating masses trample eachother in their holy stampeeds to touch the remains of dead “saints”, with police forces necessary to control them? Shut up until you get a chance to check the news some more and get your facts straight.

  96. “This stuff is so retarded it’s not even funny anymore.”
    Ubu, I’m not going to tell you who’s actually retarded here, I’ll just say your posts are chock full of blatant lies and disinformation. You must be one of those nationalist extremists who hates everything about science and secularism, which is probably why you hate Remus Cernea so much and feel the need to defame him (sadly, your type is very active on the Internet, unlike more reasonable Romanians). Also, your curriculum translation links are (probably deliberatly) misleading, presenting an OUTDATED curriculum text, the one from BEFORE evolution was excised. Anyone can check for themselves the current highschool syllabi for 9th grade, 10th grade and 11&12th grade biology. Do a search for the pattern “evolu” and see what you find. The only relevant entry will be “evolution from simple to complex (eucaryotes and procaryotes)” – the “implicit” teaching mentioned by the former minister (anything else you find outside the tables is just talking about the pupils’ educational evolution). Compare that with the old explicit versions available at Ubu’s links and you’ll see what’s been taken out. (If you want to verify that my documents are currently applicable versions you can click here, which is where I got the first three links. Everywhere it says “[în vigoare]” it means the linked document is currently valid/applicable/in force. (You can further check this by looking at the translation of the word “vigoare“.)

  97. Romania is not the US of A. Please read this (or use google translate):
    http://www.scienceblogs.de/planeten/2008/12/romania-doomed.php

  98. “It sure sounds to me like there was never an actual ban on teaching evolution.”
    Don’t try to confuse the issue, no-one said anything about a “ban”, it was just the removal of a key scientific subject from the high-school biology syllabi (although other sources tell me it didn’t stop at that – the School of Biology at the University of Bucharest used to hold evolution classes for some biology programs but it got rid of them; also, they used to have in their organization a “Desk of Genetics and Evolutionism”, which has since been renamed into the “Desk of Genetics”; this is the same university that to this day has not removed from its public e-book server – despite repeated private appeals – an anti-scientific book about “scientific creationism” signed by a theologian prefixing his name with “dr.ing.” (the first stands for “doctor”, the second for “engineer”, and he’s neither – he doesn’t even have a doctorate in theology).).
    Don’t fall into Ubu’s web of lies, the information in the article is correct as it is. Check it with the links in my previous post.

  99. @BA “Tom Marking, you’ve been reading this blog too long to say anything as ridiculous as that. Search for the word “doomed” and you’ll see I have applied it to Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan…”

    Phil, just a couple questions to clarify your argument. Your argument seems to boil down to the following:

    1.) Consider the education system of political entity X
    2.) Said system is lacking topic Y in its curriculum
    3.) This lack causes political entity X to be doomed

    In a nutshell, that appears to be your argument. Now, granted you have given several examples of X which were in the United States and now you use Romania as an example. I’m more interested in your choice of topic Y. Is the Theory of Evolution the only item for Y which causes item 3 to be true? Or are there others? Why not Theory of Plate Tectonics, Copernican Theory, Theory of Relativity, etc., etc.? Or why not all of the above?

    The narrow focus on Theory of Evolution is misguided. Evolution is taught is the overwhelming majority of public school districts in the United States. That does not stop the USA from finishing near the bottom in almost all international surveys of science and math education, despite the fact that the USA spends more money per pupil than any other country in the world. So the presence of Evolution in the curriculum of American schools does not de-doomify them. If anything, the poor showing of American schools despite Evolution being present in the curriculum certainly does doom the country. I’m still waiting for you to admit to that fact.

  100. “Please read this (or use google translate)”

    I have, and I have to tell you our dear Ludmila is horribly mistaken in at least one point: her last link does _not_ show creationists deploring the recent curriculum modification, but _approving_ it (and backing their approval with ignorant anti-scientific claims and emotional appeals against “communist indoctrination”). See for yourself: http://74.125.43.113/translate_c?hl=en&sl=ro&tl=en&u=http://www.creationism.info.ro/blog107/Scrisoare-deschisa-privind-evolutionismul-si-creationismul-in-scolile-din-Rom%25C3%25A2nia.htm&usg=ALkJrhj2uzC9dhBl3_-ZQEOeC1t1-aPtNg

  101. @Gordan

    “Actually, no. That would be students in Croatia and, by far more, students in Bosnia.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten-Day_War

    “The Ten-Day War (Slovene: Desetdnevna vojna), sometimes called the Slovenian Independence War (Slovene: Slovenska osamosvojitvena vojna), was a brief military conflict between Slovenia and Yugoslavia in 1991 following Slovenia’s declaration of independence…”

  102. Elmar_M

    Glory Of You(tm), with all due respect, is not, especially when mixed with the charming habit of chalking up any lack of interest to invented on the spot ideological opposition.

    Hmm, I am very sorry, but I can not follow anything you said. That might be a language issue here, or it might just be that it does not make any sense whatsoever.

  103. Zar

    Tom:

    Phil’s reference to DOOM is a bit of light-hearted hyperbole. The kittycat picture would suggest he’s not being entirely serious.

    At the very least, you could use the whole ID issue as a sort of litmus test. If the teaching of evolution is suppressed in some way, it’s a pretty good indication that a region is willing to throw out scientific truth and academic integrity for ideology. Which is very, very bad, and is the mark of an oppressive society. It suggests that there are some major problems of ignorance and anti-education.

    People suggest that atheists or science fans are Stalinist somehow, but nothing could be further from the truth! The former Soviet Union was no fan of empirical research. Many of its greatest thinkers were sent to the gulag. Any sort of research or discovery had to be tweaked to fit the soviet fairy tale, quite like how “evolution” (I use the term in quotes, as a lot of ID fans are not only anti-evolution but anti-Big Bang, anti genetics, anti plate tectonics, anti radioactive dating, anti paleontology, etc.) is being squashed in the name of Biblical correctness.

  104. AnthonyK

    Hmmm, interesting. So who’s right – is Romania going creationist or not? Which of you really are experts on the situation there, and how can we tell? I would tend to disregard anyone who seems to be labouring a political or nationalistic agenda, and trust that the impostor(s) will fall apart in an orgy of name-calling.
    But at the end, can we please find out who won, and which is the one real truth?

  105. Mick

    Well, in the long slow hobbled road of history, the curve in the end often eventually leads to truth and justice.

    Then collapses again for a while, and sometimes a LONG while, and goes back there.

    Unless of course humanity is stupid and greedy enough (a very real possibility) to finally wreck the planet or themselves in some way and go extinct, or into an infinite stone age (leading to long term extinction as eventual natural climate shift or asteroid impact will make life for stone age level humans impossible to sustain.).

    If so, it turns out humans weren’t as great as they thought they where, huh?

    Anyway in all sincerity… Scientists are the SMART people. Why oh why can’t scientists devote some of that massive brainpower into figuring out how to take out religion already? You know they’re never going to stop trying to take YOU out.

    Religious people, especially fanatic ones, for the most part aren’t humanities brightest members. And scientists are, so outsmart them already! Don’t bother doing so with arguments either, these aren’t rationals, they are emotionals. Figure out a way to fight them and defeat them on THEIR level.

  106. Dan M

    Doomed here, doomed there. Everybody is so afraid of loss of self and identity. Wake up, ffsake

  107. @Tom Marking:

    Oh, believe me, I happen to know how long the conflict lasted in Slovenia and really don’t need Wikipedia references. If you believe less than 10 days of limited engagements can really inflict any effect on one’s educational system, I’d be more than interested to hear what you consider over *four years* would do to Bosnia and Croatia.

    “Enduring a Balkans War” is really a bit of a stretch for Slovenia, if you don’t mind me saying (as someone who was personally forced out of his home for 4 years in Croatia). I assure you the prolonged constant threat of shelling has “interesting” effects on children. If in Sarajevo, Bosnia just add snipers to the mix and you’re all set.

  108. Dear Donjoe,

    yes I have misread the last link. And I have corrected this and have given you due credit.

    But back to the point. I certainly won’t say the Romania has not its own bunch of scary irrationality. Romanian folklore is riddled with demons and ghost and superstition is firmly established especially in the rural parts. Romanians are also very pious indeed, so I can sympathize with you. It is a hard time being an atheist in Romania.

    You have every right to point this out and fight for more sanity there.

    But please!

    Does this at the same time mean that Romania is not teaching evolution at all? And that there is a large influential faction of the society which wants to introduce religious doctrine into the biology lessons?

    I don’t think so.

    First of all, yes the item seems to have been discussed in Romania. Over a year ago: http://www.bbc.co.uk/romanian/news/story/2007/10/071009_programa_darwin.shtml

    The former educational minister was removed from his posts in October this year albeit for different reasons:
    This one is in English: http://www.adevarul.ro/articole/the-reason-of-adomnitei-s-dismissal.html

    Are the romanian-orthodox and the catholic church the two most influential churches in Romania into a agenda to bring the literal interpretation into school? I can find no clue for this. None at all. Especially I can find no clue that the churches want to infiltrate the biology lessens. And other sects apart from these two main churches so far seem to be rather meaningless in this country and hold no political power whatsoever. At least as far as I can see it.

    The biology lessons were reformed and the biology lessons sure seem to be downgraded which is indeed a pity. It seemed also to concern a specialized section of the 12th class of school. A pity.

    BUT at the same time the romanian pupils are taught in biology and elsewhere about fossils, the true age of the Earth, genes, mutation, how natural selection work, bacteria etc. Thus this really reflects the teaching of a country which does not teach evolution at all? It would be nicer if evolution, how the ideas were formed, how the ideas can be testes would be covered ib more detail. But I can see no indication at all, that creationism is taught along-side or even as a substitute for proper biology lessons.

    Yes, there are compulsory religious classes. Guess what? So there are in Germany and this does not make us a religous counrty heading for doom. And even in our religion classes the teachers there taught us about the Christian mythology and at the same time told us that no person in his ore her right mind would take these stories literally. I have a strong suspicion that it is the same in Romania. So no big deal there.

    Yes, of course this is an outsider view from someone who is only half-Romanian has lived there only for one year 16 years ago and went to school there and from someone who visits the country only once every year. And justs talks almost every weekend with her grandparents.

    I might very well be very illinformed.

    But one last thing you should note. In 2007 Romania entered the EU. For us, German point of view, Romanian are neighbors. Do you really think that the european countries would not take note if the situation in school would really be that bad?

    From all I can see the assumption that Romania is not teaching evolution at all is grossly exaggerated.

    Romania sure has its own bunch of problems, but creationism does not seem to be one of them.

  109. Well, Romania may not be doomed after all — at least, not while this young woman numbers amongst their population:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=SaV_BLUkS5Y

  110. Actually to decide that matter we could try investigate it like oldschool journalism would. Why not phone or email the US-embassy in Bukarest and the Romanian embassy in Washington and ask for somebody who may have a better understanding of this matter.

    I will try to phone or email the Goethe-Institut in Bukarest in order to find out what they think of this matter. What about that?

  111. “Is the Theory of Evolution the only item for Y which causes item 3 to be true? Or are there others? Why not Theory of Plate Tectonics, Copernican Theory, Theory of Relativity, etc., etc.? Or why not all of the above?”

    *crickets*

    *crickets*

    *crickets*

    LOL

  112. Todd W.

    @Tom Marking

    And you didn’t even post any mathematical formulae!

  113. @Ludmila “Actually to decide that matter we could try investigate it like oldschool journalism would. Why not phone or email the US-embassy in Bukarest and the Romanian embassy in Washington and ask for somebody who may have a better understanding of this matter.”

    That would take real effort not to mention a long-distance charge on someone’s phone bill. Far better to pass along some random URL that fell into one’s lap rather than to actually investigate whether it’s true. Far better to declare an entire country to be doomed than to offer any constructive criticism that might improve the situation. After all, that’s what blogging is all about – shoot first, ask questions later.

  114. @Todd

    “And you didn’t even post any mathematical formulae!”

    It must be BO. LOL.

  115. “Does this at the same time mean that Romania is not teaching evolution at all?”
    Well, maybe the missing piece here is the understanding of a little complication specific to Romania’s educational system: virtually all curricula, at all levels of education, are overinflated – there’s too much to teach&learn per unit of time. Thus, every time something is taken out (or worse, _replaced_), you can be pretty sure it’s not going to be taught anymore – there won’t be any time. Teachers get these mandatory checklist things from the ministry and they have to go through everything that’s in there before the end of the semester. With so much stuff included, there’s hardly ever any time to talk about anything else, no matter how relevant it may seem to the teacher themselves (plus most teachers don’t even know/care enough to do it; hell, some of the ones calling themselves “biologists” actually think darwinism is a lie and the bible story is the actual truth – and this is what they tell the class; they know for sure no-one’s going to take any official action against them for it).

    “First of all, yes the item seems to have been discussed in Romania. Over a year ago”
    Non sequitur. This does not prove it’s not still a problem. The Romanian Humanist Association protested again this autumn, but the press didn’t give us much coverage (admittedly, the main subject of the protest was a different one, albeit still educational), with the elections coming up in November.

    “The former educational minister was removed from his posts in October”
    Irrelevant. He wasn’t the one who had caused the problem, but his predecessor Mihail Hărdău – in office until April 2007. As explained before, the controversial measure was adopted in 2006 (by him) and only came into effect in the 2007-2008 schoolyear. Cristian Adomniţei was just the next guy in line, who could’ve corrected things but didn’t.

    “I can find no clue that the churches want to infiltrate the biology lessens”
    They don’t have to. They already have their “religion” classes taught in every public school, from primary school to the end of highschool (where “religion” almost universally means “Christianity”, even for people from non-christian families), where kids are told the Genesis story as if it were objective truth. All that’s needed in conjunction is that they stop hearing the opposing view in biology class and that’s it, the churches will have had their way.

    “BUT at the same time the romanian pupils are taught […] how natural selection work”
    Show me ONE official normative text currently in force in the Romanian educational system, where it says pupils must be taught how natural selection works.

    “in our religion classes the teachers there taught us about the Christian mythology and at the same time told us that no person in his ore her right mind would take these stories literally. I have a strong suspicion that it is the same in Romania.”
    Your suspicion may have some limited confirmation in some of the schools in urban areas, but the opposite is more generally true. The government actually conducted a survey among 7th to 12th-graders (assessing the quality of pre-university education) and found that no more than 14% of these kids believe humans are descended from apes. (I don’t have a link to this, it doesn’t seem to be available online. It’s called “Calitatea educaţiei din învăţământul preuniversitar” and you’ll find it quoted in a few news articles.)

    “I might very well be very illinformed.”
    You’ve given some clear proof that you are indeed. :)

    “Do you really think that the european countries would not take note if the situation in school would really be that bad?”
    Would be, could be, should be. Their protest isn’t a necessary consequence of things really being so bad in Romania, there are many political forces at work in this context, so you can’t use modus tollens to prove anything like this.

    “Why not phone or email the US-embassy in Bukarest and the Romanian embassy in Washington”
    Yeah, why not ask the officials of two countries where it always pays to appear pro-religious in front of the electorate? :rolleyes: All you’ll find out from them is what they’d like to be publicly quoted as saying, not necessarily what the situation really is.

  116. “Why not phone or email the US-embassy in Bukarest and the Romanian embassy in Washington” Yeah, why not ask the officials of two countries where it always pays to appear pro-religious in front of the electorate?

    Donjoe, now you are starting to get paranoid. I’ve sent an email to the german goethe-institut in Bukarest asking their opinion. If this helps.

    The argument that you and Phil made was that no aspect of evolution would be taught in Romanian school. Anywhere. None at all. So the age of the earth, the existence of fossils, how bacteria spread? These are not taught? Are you really saying that? These are also part of the theory of evolution, you know.

    And furthermore it was also implied that creationism would be taught as a substitute.
    In the biology class.

    So, I want you, donjoe, to answer me these straight questions:
    Are in biology classes all over Romania teachers telling all pupils that god made the earth in 7 days? Is this even part of the official biology curriculum?

    Yes or no?

    Are in the religious classes the teachers there telling the pupils that the bible should be taken literally?

    Yes or no?

    Matters are maybe bad in Romania but can’t you see that it does not help at all, if you start to wildly exaggerate.

    Religious classes beside biology classes are a non-sequitor on your part. You also made elsewhere the troubling statement that every christian must by default not believe in evolution.

    And excuse me, that is a very serious nonsequitor. It is minority, a very loud and very rude and in the US a very powerful , but nevertheless a minority of christians worldwide who believe in a literal interpretation of the bible. Hell, even the catholic church, which still has a lot of christians under its banner does not condemn evolution.

    I’m more than willing to believe that the education in natural science in Romania is in a decline, which is of course very troubling and will backfire and of course in that event all kind of stupid notions will gain momentum in Romania. Including creationism. And I’m more than willing to believe that in the rural uneducated parts, people have to idea what evolution means. I know quite well that the people there are incredibly poor.

    I just think that the matter here was exaggerated and that it will alienate a lot of people who might be on your side if you would just calm down a little.

  117. BTW,

    I’ve just seen on PZs thread of the discussion (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/12/a_brilliant_new_strategy.php#comments) that Vlad Nistor from http://atheistblog.org/ agrees with my point of view.

    Strange, Donjoe, that even fellow romanian atheists do not share your point of view. Why do you think is that?

  118. Adrian

    1. It is pretty old news.

    2. Cristian Adomnitei is just a moron. He was following the European Union trend of including creationism in public schools. (that’s how I remember the things went). He is a moron nevertheless.

    3. Romanians do believe in god in a huge proportion. However most of them don’t really care about god in day by day life. You should hear my grandfather profanities involving religion and religious life.

    4. As you can see apart from being theist most of my fellow romanians are extremely patriotic (it’s a decreasing trend however). That’s the result of the 50 years of forced communist propaganda. Yes we are doomed if we teach creationism in schools and no, I don’t care about any national “pride”.

  119. He was following the European Union trend of including creationism in public schools

    Adrian, what the hell are you talking about? The notion that the European Union is promoting creationism is rubbish of the worst sort.

  120. “The argument that you and Phil made was that no aspect of evolution would be taught in Romanian school.”
    Straw Man. I never said “no aspect”, so your entire criticism crumbles. BTW, you’d have more success arguing against me if you didn’t resort to logical fallacies so often. 😉

    “it was also implied that creationism would be taught as a substitute. In the biology class”
    I don’t remember who implied this, but it sure wasn’t me. Pay attention to my exact words, not what you think I’m implying based on your reading of other people’s posts. Thanks.

    “Are in biology classes all over Romania teachers telling all pupils that god made the earth in 7 days? Is this even part of the official biology curriculum?”
    Nope and nope. The real problem is a different one and you’re still not addressing it.

    “can’t you see that it does not help at all, if you start to wildly exaggerate”
    Nor does it help if you start putting words in my mouth (like attributing to me exaggerations I never made). 😉

    “You also made elsewhere the troubling statement that every christian must by default not believe in evolution.”
    Nah, that’s just your parser acting up again. What I actually said was that it’s ridiculous to think the overhelming majority of a 90%-Christian population could be expected to be supportive of evolutionism. Taken in the absolute, yes, it’s a stretch – there are indeed large populations in today’s world that could be expected to think like that, probably most of them Catholic – but you have to remember the context of this discussion: backward Orthodox Romania. It’s an entirely different story. That creationist article you initially misinterpreted should’ve made that pretty clear by now. If not, I can give you some YouTube links to another Orthodox priest’s talk against evolution, so you can see what kind of idiocies these guys are spouting around here.

    “I’m more than willing to believe that the education in natural science in Romania is in a decline, which is of course very troubling and will backfire and of course in that event all kind of stupid notions will gain momentum in Romania. Including creationism.”
    There you have it. That’s the real alarm being sounded here. Anything else anyone might’ve added is their own concern.

    “fellow romanian atheists do not share your point of view”
    That’s just an argumentum ad verecundiam. (Still loving those illogical arguments, I see.) It doesn’t matter if he’s an atheist or not, it matters if he can argue for his position (like I can for mine). Incidentally, I think he’s making the same mistake as you: generalizing his very limited experience, which came mostly from urban Romania. You guys have to realize that living some part of your lives at the center of one of the largest Romanian cities and going to one of the best schools, then living the rest of your lives outside the country doesn’t qualify you to speak (from experience) about the situation in all of Romania, not by a longshot. I put much more trust in the government’s survey than in a couple of anecdotal reports from biased observers, and that survey shows only 14% of pre-university students believe evolution has really happened. I don’t know about you, but it’s got me worried.

  121. Ah donjoe,

    now we are getting at the heart of the matter.

    The real problem as we both seem to agree on is:
    Natural science education in Romania is in a decline, and the teaching of evolution is crippled. At the same time backward anti-scientific Romanian-orthodoxy is taking hold especially in the rural poor parts.

    That’s why only 14% pre-university students believe the evolution happend. (Do you have a link to that survey, BTW)

    In the urban parts you might not be able see this. That’s why some people are puzzled because it contradicts their experience.

    Well nice that we have sorted this out.

    BTW if you accuse the people of not seeing the context in which one has to see this, it would be really nice to actually give the people that context instead of focusing on the errors of that other person. Just saying.

  122. @Donjoe:

    Ah well, after we have sorted this out, let’s have a little look at my logical fallacies. Shall we?

    1. Strange, Donjoe, that even fellow romanian atheists do not share your point of view. Why do you think is that?

    You know, you obviously don’t believe me, but that was a serious question on my side. It was not a remark to degrade your opinion. Since most of the people here are outsiders, including me. It was just strange to have two people who do not seem prone to religious agenda to disagree so vastly on that topic.

    If you really want to see this as “argumentum ad verecundiam”. *shrug* So be it.

    2. So you first talk about 90% Christians and later clarify that you are really referring to backward Orthodox Romania Well, why don’t you say that from the beginning.

    3. As for the straw man.

    I should have clarified that I was referring to Phil’s post were it was stated: schools in Romania no longer teach evolution.

    So which part of no evolution was I misreading?

    No evolution means of course no aspect of evolution is taught. None at all. Because from my point of view when you start talking about one aspect of evolution the statement “no evolution is taught” seizes to make sense.

    4. May I point out that you did bring up creationism in that comment as an issue. You did not state that creationism would be taught in school, that is correct, but I am not sure at all, that all the the people here saw this fine difference.

    5. Yes I have phrased my questions very pointedly and I have specifically and deliberately included creationism because that is the cultural background in this blog and I wanted to make sure that people would not infer here the same things that they would infer for the US. Different countries, different context, different teaching system.

    6. You may have seen this as a personal argument against you but from my point of view, I really just wanted to get to the heart of things. If I have insulted you in this process then I apologize.

    7. Should the people from the goethe-institute answer I’ll post the answer.

  123. “you first talk about 90% Christians and later clarify that you are really referring to backward Orthodox Romania Well, why don’t you say that from the beginning.”
    It’s not my fault you’re too lazy to read the whole thread before you post comments. If you had read the previous post I was answering, you would’ve known exactly which 90% I was talking about.

    “Do you have a link to that survey”
    I didn’t before, but I do now: http://www.publicinfo.ro/library/sc/studiu_elevi.pdf
    Check out the following:
    – page 75: “What do you think best explains the origin of the universe and of man?”
    —– “religion” – 60%
    —– “science” – 27%
    – page 76: “What do you think…?”
    —– “man comes from monkey” – 14%
    —– “man was created by God” – 73%

    (I won’t answer any of your other points because it seems more and more like an off-topic waste of time.)

  124. non-religious romanian

    As a non-religious romanian all I can say that Romania is becoming extremely creepy in regards of religion.

    In the recent years ortodox – eastern christian saint images appeared in all public school rooms, all hospital rooms, all public administration rooms, there are thousands of ortodox chatedrals being built in a relatively small country, you can find one now on every corner, their ceremonies can be heard from a half mile due to the huge spears put outside the churches.

    Even before footbal games there is an army of ortodox preasts blessing the players and the playground.

    It is getting really really creepy.

  125. ana-maria luminare

    oh, puhleaseeeeeee!!!
    antiscientific!
    what is so scientific about a theory that has not been proven yet?

  126. Nigel Depledge

    Eudoxius said:

    Phil, I could not wait to look up Jefferson’s Bible. It seems that he is really in love with Jesus’ morals. Here is what Jefferson says about it: “There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” It is Jesus, who, according to Jefferson offers the most potent code of morals ever.

    This, Eudoxius, is a fine example of a quote mine. Well done. Perhaps you would care instead to summarise the entirety of what Jefferson was saying, rather than pick out one sentence and assume that the rest of what he wrote was irrelevant, hmm?

    The evolution may be an interesting theory if it weren’t supposed to explain an absurdity.
    Eh?

    What absurdity?

    Evolution (the theory, as opposed to the fact of biological change over time) explains the range of diversity and similarity in the biosphere.

    The similarities and differences we observe in living organisms are facts. Where is the absurdity?

    Why is the Intelligent Design theory so repugnant for some?

    Oh, boy, do you really want the list?

    1. It is logically superfluous and therefore violates the principle of parsimony.

    2. Its exponents (Jonathan Wells, Philip Johnson, Bill Dembski, Michael Behe et al.) have only ever published arguments based on misleading claims, obfuscation (yes, Billy D, I’m lookin’ at you!), straw-man attacks on evolution and outright lies (yes, Ben Stein, I’m lookin’ at you). There is thus neither logical support for it nor any convincing reasoning within it.

    3. The “theory of ID” does not actually exist as such (if you wade through the tripe published by the Disco ‘tute, al you can find about the substance of ID theory is that someone designed something somehow at some time).

    4. Its proponents pretend that it is science, yet all it really is is Christian creationism dressed up with some new words (this has been proven in a court of law, BTW).

    5. It does not generate any science.

    6. It is bad theology – it presupposes that we have the ability to catch The Designer leaving sticky fingerprints all over his creation.

    7. It is really bad theology, in that it presupposes that The Designer could not have worked through the mechanisms that science has discovered.

    8. It comprises nothing more than arguments from personal incredulity and arguments from ignorance.

    I’m sure there are more reasons, but I can’t be bothered to list any more just now.

    Because it involves a Creator, who might, for natural reasons transcend our ability to perceive him physically (read scientifically).

    No, see above.

    Besides, ID proponents seem to have such a hard time believing that the so-called Designer could have worked through the mechanisms that science has discovered (this viewpoint is often termed “theistic evolution” and is both better theology and more scientific than ID).

    Additionally, if you take the IDists’ arguments at face value, you arrive at the conclusion that there could well have been more than one Designer. In fact, multiple designer theory is actually more consistent with the evidence than single-designer ID (the duck-billed platypus was obviously designed by committee, for instance), yet IDists refuse to entertain the concept. This proves that they are trying to fit their arguments to a preconception and have no interest in doing any science.

  127. Nigel Depledge

    D’oh! Missed out the “blockquote” tags on one of Eudoxius’s lines in the above comment. Apologies if it is unclear, but I hope you can work out what’s what.

  128. Nigel Depledge

    Eudoxius said:

    It allows for as much verification as the theory of evolution allows for the big-bang.

    This is just full of wrong.

    First off, ID cannot be verified because it contains no logic. It makes no predictions, and any contrary observation can be dismissed with arm-waving (to wit: IDists have always dismissed the many, many examples of incompetent or malevolent “design” in nature).

    Second, Evolution has nothing to do with big bang theory (BBT). The first is a theory about how biological entities change over time, while the second is a theory of cosmology.

    Third, BBT has been verified. The microwave background radiation was predicted by BBT and was subsequently discovered.

    Fourth, evolutionary theory is so verified that it is accepted as fact by all biologists.

  129. Nigel Depledge

    Tom Marking said:

    In a nutshell, that appears to be your argument. Now, granted you have given several examples of X which were in the United States and now you use Romania as an example. I’m more interested in your choice of topic Y. Is the Theory of Evolution the only item for Y which causes item 3 to be true? Or are there others? Why not Theory of Plate Tectonics, Copernican Theory, Theory of Relativity, etc., etc.? Or why not all of the above?

    The narrow focus on Theory of Evolution is misguided. Evolution is taught is the overwhelming majority of public school districts in the United States. That does not stop the USA from finishing near the bottom in almost all international surveys of science and math education, despite the fact that the USA spends more money per pupil than any other country in the world. So the presence of Evolution in the curriculum of American schools does not de-doomify them. If anything, the poor showing of American schools despite Evolution being present in the curriculum certainly does doom the country. I’m still waiting for you to admit to that fact.

    Interesting points, Tom.

    First, I do not think that any scientific topic other than evolution has been specifically targeted for removal from American classrooms.

    Second, while it is in many curricula, its treatment is usually feeble. IIUC, it is often relegated to the tail end of a course, it is rarely highlighted as the core principle of modern biology, and it is often omitted despite being in the curriculum. This last point is because too many teachers are afraid to teach it. There are parts of the USA where religious fundies have way too much influence.

    The kind of reality-denial that causes well-meaning but heinously misguided parents to object to their kids learning about evolution is what will lead to doomificaton.

  130. StevoR

    Dan said December 8th, 2008 at 12:12 pm :

    “@dany : And we once again see the misunderstanding concerning the word Theory.

    Dany, ALL things is science are theories. GRAVITY is officially considered a theory. Science only deals in theories.”

    Except for Isaac Newtons LAWS of motion? And of course Johannes Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion? 😉

    I suggest we officially re-label things thus –

    the LAW of Evolution by Natural Selection / Drawin’s Law

    and the

    Law of Gravity / Newton’s Gravity law

    inthehope that’ll fianlly shut the IDiots up -or atleats take away the “theory” = wild guess misunderstanding (Yes, I know it doesn’t mena that, too many otehsr, itsadly sems don’t. Sigh.)

    Romania was indeed the “anti-christs” home nation in the rubbish rightwingreligiosu propagnda “left behind” series – Nicole Carpatrthia was the antichrists name there. I think it was called ‘left behind’ because that’s what happened to the author inprimary school – he was left behind year after year after year! 😉

    @ Nigel Depledge : What you couldn’t have completed a top ten for reasons –
    “Why is the Intelligent Design theory so repugnant for some?

    Oh, boy, do you really want the list?

    1. It is logically superfluous and therefore violates the principle of parsimony.

    2. Its exponents (Jonathan Wells, Philip Johnson, Bill Dembski, Michael Behe et al.) have only ever published arguments based on misleading claims, obfuscation (yes, Billy D, I’m lookin’ at you!), straw-man attacks on evolution and outright lies (yes, Ben Stein, I’m lookin’ at you). There is thus neither logical support for it nor any convincing reasoning within it.

    3. The “theory of ID” does not actually exist as such (if you wade through the tripe published by the Disco ‘tute, al you can find about the substance of ID theory is that someone designed something somehow at some time).

    4. Its proponents pretend that it is science, yet all it really is is Christian creationism dressed up with some new words (this has been proven in a court of law, BTW). [Presume you’r ereferring tothe Doverschoolboard acse here? -SR.]

    5. It does not generate any science.

    6. It is bad theology – it presupposes that we have the ability to catch The Designer leaving sticky fingerprints all over his creation.

    7. It is really bad theology, in that it presupposes that The Designer could not have worked through the mechanisms that science has discovered.

    8. It comprises nothing more than arguments from personal incredulity and arguments from ignorance.

    I’m sure there are more reasons, but I can’t be bothered to list any more just now.”

    Okay here’s two more to make it a top 10 :

    9. It is refuted by mountains upon mountains of contradictory evidence ranging from fossils, uranium-thorium dating and geological strata to DNA analysis and laboratory & theoretical experiments all of which favour the evolutionary alternative.

    10. It begs the question of Who designed the Designer?

    & oh well why not just one more reason :

    11) Its plain stupid! 😉

    —–
    PS. Am I the only one here putting quote sinitalics and posters names in bold?

  131. StevoR-Correcting

    PS. Am I the only one here putting quotes in “italics” and posters names in bold?

    I thought that was how you aresupposedtodo it -showingcourtesy & making clear whose saying what but notdure -is this right? Does it matter?

  132. StevoR

    Asfor Romania well therearenutters -&ID-iots all around the globe .. Unfortinatley. Romania ain’t unique in this regard.

    I’m noexpert inRomanian historyand theBalkans is afairly complex region so
    Ill stay out of thepolitics there ..

    Just noting that people are crazy everywhere – and the craziest congregate onthe web! 😉

    (Yes btw that is what I’m doing here .. 😉 )

  133. Nigel Depledge

    StevoR said:

    PS. Am I the only one here putting quotes in “italics” and posters names in bold?

    Well, I think you may be the only one putting quotes in italics, but I didn’t see no bolding. As you may be able to deduce, I have been using the “blockquote” tags to distinguish text I am quoting from my own words (at least, when I remember to put the bleedin’ tags in place!).

    I think it matters insofar as it makes it easier to distinguish one’s own words from words one is quoting.

    Oh, and I agree with your reasons 9 and 10, but I don’t find 11 very convincing :-)

  134. StevoR-Correctin'

    Typos. Sigh.

    CORRECTED VERSION of a corrected verison in one case :

    NB. Am I the only one here putting quotes in “italics and quotation marks” and posters names in bold?

    I thought that was how you are supposed to do that – showing courtesy by highlighting theamnnnems of peopel you’re respodning to & making clear whose saying what but not sure now – is this right? Does it matter?

    &

    As for Romania being especially * doomed * well there are nutters – & ID-iots all around the globe .. Unfortunately. Romania ain’t unique in this regard.

    If all the places Dr Phil Plait said were “doomed” really were doomed well we’d be in very big trouble indeed! I think his “doomed-s” are meant tongue-in-cheek ie. done for humerous effect. Not tahthe’s happyabout stupidity but a bit of comic exxagerration.

    Aside from that I’m no expert in Romanian history and the Balkans is a fairly complex region so I’ll stay out of the politics there ..

    Just noting that people are crazy everywhere – and the craziest congregate on the web! 😉

    (Yes btw. that is what I’m doing here .. 😉 )

  135. StevoR-Correctin'

    Argh! Sure can’t wait till I can correct my posts on the posts that need correctin’!

    CORECTED FORM :

    “I suggest we officially re-label things thus –

    the LAW of Evolution by Natural Selection / Darwin’s Law

    and the

    Law of Gravity / Newton’s Gravity law

    In the hope that’ll finally shut the ID-iots up – or at least remove the “theory” = wild guess misunderstanding. (Yes, I _know_ what theory is menat to mean in science too many others, it sadly seems don’t. Sigh.)

    Romania was indeed the “anti-christs” home nation in the rubbish loony-right-wing religious propagnda “Left Behind” series – Nicole (with a foreign lang. mark thingy over the last ‘e’ maybe?) Carpathia I think was the “antichrists” name there.

    Actually, I think it was called ‘left behind’ because that’s what happened to the author in primary school – he was left behind class year after year after year! 😉

  136. StevoR-Correctin'

    @ Nigel Depledge

    “<Well, I think you may be the only one putting quotes in italics, but I didn’t see no bolding."
    Oops. Something erlse I've stuffed up inmypost .. I usually do that anyway.


    “As you may be able to deduce, I have been using the “blockquote” tags to distinguish text I am quoting from my own words (at least, when I remember to put the bleedin’ tags in place!).”

    How do you do the blockquotes? I tried getting them once befroe but it didn’t seem towork? Is it blockquotes or quotes inside the gretaerthan /lesser than symbols or what?

    Is there a page here somewhere or on the BA blog(s!) generally, that explains how to do the html (or whatever it is?) codes here? If not it’d be great to add and have the BA display prominently for us all. I know how to do a few things .. mainly bold & italics and a couple of the emoticons (oh you noticed? 😉 ) but NOT a lot else. :-(

    “I think it matters insofar as it makes it easier to distinguish one’s own words from words one is quoting.”

    I try to make myself clear – and sadly I usually fail. Hence the constant correcting which I can only do by adding another post. Sigh. It gives me the absolute irrits but I really want to be understood and get things right and that is often surprisngly hard. Esp. when you end up with typos in names, running words together, ad nauseam .. I could swear havelf therrors are added by my computer after I click submit & not me! 😉

    Of course it may not help that its late at night over here in Oz and I’m pretty tired .. 😉

    Oh, and I agree with your reasons 9 and 10, but I don’t find 11 very convincing

  137. StevoR-Correctin'

    AAarrrgh!! Take umpteen .. Sigh.

    Don’t know why this isn’t working & why I’ve lost quoted text above?!

    @ Nigel Depledge

    “Well, I think you may be the only one putting quotes in italics, but I didn’t see no bolding.”

    Oops. That’s something else I’ve stuffed up in my post .. I usually do have names in bold anyway.

    “As you may be able to deduce, I have been using the “blockquote” tags to distinguish text I am quoting from my own words (at least, when I remember to put the bleedin’ tags in place!).”

    How do you do the blockquotes? I tried getting them once before but it didn’t seem to work? Is it ‘blockquotes’ or ‘quotes’ inside the greater than / lesser than symbols or what?

    Is there a page here somewhere or on the BA blog(s!) generally, that explains how to do the html (or whatever it is?) codes here?

    If not it’d be great to add and have the BA display prominently for us all.

    I know how to do a few things .. mainly bold & italics and a couple of the emoticons (oh you noticed? 😉 ) but NOT a lot else.

    “I think it matters insofar as it makes it easier to distinguish one’s own words from words one is quoting.”

    I try to make myself clear – and sadly I usually fail. Hence the constant correcting which I can only do by adding another post. Sigh. It gives me the absolute irrits but I really want to be understood and get things right and that is often surprisngly hard. Esp. when you end up with typos in names, running words together, ad nauseam .. I could swear havelf therrors are added by my computer after I click submit & not me!

    Of course it may not help that its late at night over here in Oz and I’m pretty tired ..

    …& here we go yet again. Sorry it’s frustrating me no end as well folks. :-(

    Will this actually work this time?

  138. IVAN3MAN

    StevoR:

    How do you do the blockquotes? I tried getting them once before but it didn’t seem to work? Is it ‘blockquotes’ or ‘quotes’ inside the greater than / lesser than symbols or what?

    Hey, cool it, man! Like this: <blockquote>somebody’s bloody quote here</blockquote>

  139. Radu

    I am a professional paleoanthropologist, born in Romania and educated in US and English universities, currently doing research in Germany. I have not lived in Romania for a while, but I maintain both professional and personal contacts there. Upon seeing this news, I contacted some friends at the Academy of Science in Bucharest, who told me the situation is “not so bad”, but couldn’t tell me more on the spot. In the meantime, I have checked several of the sources (including the http://www.edu.ro curricula for 2008, updated – the links provided by Ubu and others no longer work) and I can report the following:

    1) the words “evoluționism” and “Darwin” do not appear in the curricula for IX-XIIth grades. However, these curricula deal with subjects such as genomics and human ecology, which are fairly complex for high-school training (in the US genomics hardly makes into university curricula). It is correct that “evolutie” in these pdfs refers to the “evolution from simple to complex” life forms, which is not the best way to put it, but, again, there is nothing at all creationist about the curricula.

    2) the curricula for the V- VIIIth grades explicitly deal with evolution (see Section V.) reproduced below (original from http://www.curriculum2008.edu.ro/Ciclul_secundar_inferior/Matematica_si_stiinte/ – click on Biologie):
    Evoluţionism (trans: Evolution (in the darwinian sense))
    1. Unitatea şi diversitatea lumii vii. (trans.: the unity and diversity of Life)
    2. Evoluţie şi dovezi ale evoluţiei (definiţia evoluţiei, exemple de dovezi directe şi indirecte). (trans: proof of evolution (definition of evolution, with examples of indirect and direct evidence))
    3. Factori ai evoluţiei (ereditatea, variabilitatea, suprapopulaţia, lupta pentru existenţă, selecţia). (trans: Issues regarding evolution (heritability/heredity, variation, over-population, competition for resources, and selection) – presumably they cover at least natural and sexual selection
    4. Specia ca unitate a evoluţiei. (trans: The species as the unit of evolution)

    These 4 chapters seem to me to form a very good outline – however, this is for kids aged 10-11 to 14-15 or so, and I do think a recap during the high-school years would be beneficial.

    THAT BEING SAID, I am aware of the revival of Orthodox religious feeling, and of creationism in Romania. It is normal that, after 50 years of communism, when religion was suppressed, religion can appear as somehow ‘cool’. Ivan’s maps show that religious sentiment is strongest in the former Soviet Bloc and in Southern Europe, where there is a strong Catholic tradition. I suspect that really small countries like Slovenia, Estonia, the Scandinavian Countries, and Luxembourg should have very high rates of evolution education, simply because most people live in big cities with high per capita incomes and good schools. But even there, I do not necessarily think we are dealing with a real understanding of Darwinian evolution, but rather a cultural acceptance of it as a given, i.e. on faith. Most people I’ve met who say they ‘believe in evolution’ or who wear t-shirts with “I Heart Evolution” would not be able to give an evolutionary account of how something as complicated as the eye could have evolved from more primitive structures, or how the ear bones were developed. So, if you are from one of these countries that scores so high, I would not be so disdainful of the others.

    I have nothing to say to the commentators who discuss Trianon and other such things, except – please stay with the topic.

    Finally, I have to agree with the German poster and Ludmila and several others who disapprove of the article title. I came upon this doing my weekly Google News Search for “romania” and I must say that titles that are disparaging, dismissive, or otherwise deprecating of a whole country are found in abundance, with respect to Romania, it’s become a fashion – but they don’t help anyone. They contain no real information, and, to those who don’t know much about the country, they help to fix a negative image of it. Especially when the news source is linked to the Discover Magazine. My suggestion: next time, try to substitute mentally with “Romanians are backwards idiots” and put that as a title – if you find that acceptable, then go ahead and put “Romania: Doomed”.

  140. IVAN3MAN

    I will now attempt to fix the italics which StevoR duffed up…

    i {font-style: normal}

  141. IVAN3MAN
  142. Davidlpf

    Took ya long enough. :-)

  143. IVAN3MAN

    I wanted to make sure that StevoR had gone elsewhere! :-)

  144. Nigel Depledge

    Rado said:

    But even there, I do not necessarily think we are dealing with a real understanding of Darwinian evolution, but rather a cultural acceptance of it as a given, i.e. on faith.

    Hey, that’s fighting talk. The creos often claim that evolution relies on faith, not evidence. They are wrong, because the evidence is overwhelming.

    You seem to miss the distinction that people who are not experts can accept the consensus view of the experts without having to take anything on faith, because of what it takes to become an expert. The biology community ensures that if anything that is published is wrong, it is quickly challenged and repudiated. More frequently, of course, the peer-review process ensures that wrong conclusions almost never reach print. Thus, the scientific consensus is reliable, not because I am asking anyone to have faith in it, but because anyone can check it out for themsleves if they care to take the time to become sufficiently informed.

    Most people I’ve met who say they ‘believe in evolution’ or who wear t-shirts with “I Heart Evolution” would not be able to give an evolutionary account of how something as complicated as the eye could have evolved from more primitive structures, or how the ear bones were developed.

    This is a non-sequitur. To understand evolutionary theory and the vast mountain of evidence that supports it does not require that anyone be able to explain how specific structures evolved. As it happens, there is a very credible scenario that explains how the mammalian eye could have evolved – but we may never know exactly how it did evolve. The evidence required to deduce the exact sequence of events may simply no longer exist.

    For the mammalian inner ear, the evidence is slightly different: there is a great set of transitional fossils that indicate how bones from the reptilian jaw migrated into the skull to form the inner ear bones. However, any specific individual’s failure to be familiar with these fossils does not indicate any lack on their part, unless they claim expertise where they have none. Someone can believe that evolutionary theory gives us the correct conclusions about the origin of diversity in living things without knowing about that particular transitional series and simultaneously without requiring blind faith in anything.

  145. Radu

    To Nigel: I think this discussion is off the topic, but just a short note – these are not fighting words and I am no creationist. The creationists may argue this, but the fact is that a layman can no longer check the scientist. Actually, even scientists from different fields can’t check each other’s results most of the time. Yes, the process of peer-review is reassuring for those of us who know what it is. But what I argue against is the dismissive attitude that most scientists take toward creationists, that they simply should shut up and go with (our) party line. Creationists are not stupid, it is a mistake to think that. I think we are failing partly because we do not discuss enough with them – we advocate the path of Reason and then we tell them to believe that our system of peer-review and result-reproduction works, even though they have no way of testing that (unless of course they want to become scientists themselves).

    But what I was actually saying earlier was simply this: people in some Western secular countries feel superior to Romanians or Poles or Russians because in the East now there is a trend of religious revival – and I’m saying, this superiority is unjustified, because it’s based on the number of people willing to go along with the scientific community, not on the number of people who understand the theory. I.e.: these percentages don’t mean much to me, because they can change very fast – and that’s exactly how it has happened in Romania. During communism, religious education/interference was zero, and everyone had at least heard of evolution in school. I’m pretty sure that had those surveys been carried out in 1990, the numbers would have been different. But, well, some regime change, some socio-economic change, some America-envy, and see what you have. That doesn’t mean one ought not to be happy that in one’s country everyone agrees that Darwin’s theory is correct. But one ought not to sling mud or feel so smug about it.

  146. Nigel Depledge

    Radu said:

    To Nigel: I think this discussion is off the topic,

    You are right, but it looks like we have it to ourselves.

    but just a short note – these are not fighting words and I am no creationist.

    OK, I was exaggerating with the “fighting talk” comment. I also did not mean to imply that you were creationist. However, that argument (that scientists expect the public to take everything on faith) is often used by creationists. And it is wrong.

    The creationists may argue this, but the fact is that a layman can no longer check the scientist.

    While this may be true at the forefront of research, it is not true for some of the basics that are taught in high schools.

    Taking Darwin as an example, The Origin of Species was written for an educated lay audience. While it has, obviously, dated and some of its points are wrong (for instance, Darwin made an estimate of the age of the Earth based on a method that was wrong), the core points are still comprehensible, eloquent and persuasive today. All that is needed to understand it is a firm grasp of English (writers in the 19th century tended to the verbose) and some fairly basic high-school biology.

    A great deal of the more advanced high-school-level science is based on understanding the experiments that have led to our present understanding of the universe. For instance, Michelson and Morely’s experiment to detect the ether can be repeated in a high school, albeit one that is better equipped than average. Understanding special relativity can be assisted with Einstein’s thought experiments and confirmed by measuring the speed of light in different directions.

    Actually, even scientists from different fields can’t check each other’s results most of the time.

    I disagree.

    I am a biochemist by training and, although I cannot check the quality of a physicist’s science, I do have at least half a chance of being able to assess the quality of a paper in organic chemistry or cell biology.

    Yes, the process of peer-review is reassuring for those of us who know what it is. But what I argue against is the dismissive attitude that most scientists take toward creationists, that they simply should shut up and go with (our) party line.

    I conjecture that you have not ever engaged in a debate with a creationist.

    Creationists insist on repeating arguments that have been repeatedly torn to shreds as if they were somehow convincing or conclusive. They do not accept when they have been shown to be wrong. Consider Michael Behe in the Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District trial: when presented with a huge stack of scientitic literature that supports modern evolutionary theory, he dismissed it as “not enough”. He refused to accept that he was wrong, and he is the only example of a creationist who sometimes seems to be reasonable.

    After refuting the feeble and fallacious arguments of the creationists for the fourth or fifth time, any scientist would indeed simply dismiss them. The creationists have no wish to engage in a rational debate. They have no wish to learn how the universe actually works. All they seek is confirmation of their preconceptions. If they have no desire to learn and no wish to engage in a debate, why should any scientist not dismiss them?

    Creationists are not stupid, it is a mistake to think that.

    The majority of them certainly seem to be. They swallow any old garbage that fits their preconceptions, but refuse to consider even the possibility that these preconceptions are wrong. On the other hand, a minority of them are very clever, and deliberately lie and mislead the remainder to achieve their ends.

    I think we are failing partly because we do not discuss enough with them – we advocate the path of Reason and then we tell them to believe that our system of peer-review and result-reproduction works, even though they have no way of testing that (unless of course they want to become scientists themselves).

    There are many resources for a lay audience to learn about science. However, it must begin with a desire to learn, or at least open-minded consideration of the rational side of the argument. In the most vocal creationists, this desire is absolutely absent.

  147. TLP

    Adomnitei wasn’t replaced because he was incompetent. He was replaced because we had elections.

    Nothing has changed in the policy about education.

    The Ministry of Education has been constantly dodging any responsibility in teaching evolution.

  148. MPC

    I cannot believe this post generated so many comments. I just wanted to say that I was born in Romania and went to school there until 3 years ago and I had more science in school than probably many Americans will ever have in their lives!
    Of course we believe in God, we have mandatory religion classes beginning with kindergarten but that is not it, we also know the other side of the story. Why don’t we buy into it? Cause look at the American statistics regarding divorce or single-parent families… DOOOOMING! God or religion or faith or whatever it is keeps people from hurting and being disrespectful to each other while giving people the hope and courage to overcome adversities. Ever wonder why Romania never spoke Turkish or Russian when all other countries in the region do? Because our faith is strong enough to keep us together and helped (and will help) fight others’ domination and ideas..
    Ah…and to take a few lines from a minister who’s there just in for a little ride and apply them to all Romanians (especially without specifying what exactly do they study in schools) is ignorant at its best…
    Thanks

  149. Toni

    Look, I’m a Romanian. If you are so convinced that humans are ape descendants, just leave us alone, and live in your mentalities. I believe in evolution, I know that humans are animals, like all living beings in our planet, but there is no clear argument that humans are ape descendants, no missing link have been found, only speculations around some fossiles.
    Is there a problem that the Romanians don’t want to believe Darwin’s theory about humans? We believe in our old customs, in our religion (Orthodox Christianity the first true Christian Religion, not modified like the Catholic Church), not in invented sects such as you americans do.
    Our faith kept us together in our tough history, and that’s why we believe so much in God.
    We are not doomed, maybe you are, with your stupid mentalities and decadence. Sadly, many of your stupid ideas, and your stupid behaviour is copyied by the young Romanians.

  150. Toni

    CLM Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 12:27 pm
    Just for that, Romania, you have to give back that part of Hungary you were given as the spoils of WWI (see On The Great Unification).

    Oh, mister CLM, I’m sorry to dissappoint you, but “that part of Hungary” (Transylvania and Banat) are regions populated from the oldest times by daco-romans, which became Vlachs (Vlachs and Romanians are the same thing, but Vlachs was the first name given by the strangers who came into this area). Hungary conquerred those territories around 13th century because the people who lived there were not so well organised, and they were regularily invaded by migratory tribes. What happened on December the 1st, 1918 was a historical justice for Romania (until the First World War, Romania was divided into small territories controlled and governed by the neighbour empires, only a small part of today Romania was independent since 1877). So, mister CLM, I should say that you have to read and learn more history before expressing your opinions about any countries from the Central and Eastern European countries.

  151. Toni

    And, to be clear, I believe in science, all the educated Romanians believe in science, I’m not a Christian fanatic, I love my contry, like the Americans do, even if we are a poor nation governed by fat idiots who only care about their money (our territories were wealthy, but the neighbour countries stall our resources during the history, we were hated by all the neighbours because we were the only latin country in that “Slavic and Hungarian Sea”).
    Romanians are not so idiots, at school we learn even more than you americans learn in the High School or College.

  152. Remus Cernea

    Recent developments regarding this issue:

    Science is the slave of religion in curricula, textbooks, and complementary materials
    http://www.secularhumanism.ro/index.php/lang-en/press-releases/77-stiinta-este-sclava-teologiei

    The secret of the famous Lucy
    http://www.secularhumanism.ro/index.php/lang-ro/comunicate-de-presa/91-the-secret-of-the-famous-lucy

    My best wishes!

    Remus Cernea
    President
    The Romanian Humanist Association
    http://www.secularhumanism.ro

  153. Daniela

    Well maybe americans are just very ignorant. You don’t have any of the facts so it’s not very nice of you to pass judgment on us. I just finished high-school and believe me the theory is thought in schools,much more than the other one. We barely learn anything related in any way to God and Christianity beliefs. The evolution theory is something every child that goes to a romanian school knows. So please,don’t take a couple of idiotic statements for facts. If you really want to do a good job,talk to the children and to the teachers,not to the minister.

  154. florin

    only hints,in fact.this is a fact.what you know is you don’t know,you know?
    don’t follow the tabloids news man!only if you want to look ridiculous.
    or how can I put it : “JESUS CHRIST!”…but this is an american quote,not/never romanian.
    the thing is US is better only cause they print their own money.without any barrier.put burkina faso in their place and burkina will be the most powerfull country in a few decades.
    so people,if you look from out of space to where no borders are seen we all look as much as stupid,ignorant,god lovers,terrorists,criminals,rapists,haters etc. like you do.we all are very very similiar.the difference is given by the cadence of situations where we faced evil in.someone is lucky,other one is not so fortune…but seems to me all of us are very lucky to be here and very unlucky to be forced to live this place someday.
    sorry for my enlish I’m an romanian language speaker.

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