Oklahoma: Doomed

By Phil Plait | January 7, 2009 10:02 pm

C’mon, Sooners! Can’t you at least let this new year get a little ripe before shooting yourselves in the foot?

One week into 2009, and Oklahoma lawmakers are already trying to pass antiscience legislation:

Senate Bill 320 (document), prefiled in the Oklahoma Senate and scheduled for a first reading on February 2, 2009, is apparently the first antievolution bill of 2009. Entitled the “Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act,” SB 320 would, if enacted, require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.” The only topics specifically mentioned as controversial are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

Wow, what a load! I love that last line; the only "controversies" in evolution, origins of life, and global warming are those manufactured by people driven by ideology. And human cloning isn’t a scientific controversy; it’s a medical ethics issue.

Note the name of this legislation: "The Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act". One thing these antiscience jokers know well, and that’s their Orwell.

But that’s the new tactic by the creationists who would have us set our clocks back a thousand years; call their methods academic freedom. Who would vote against that?

Of course, this kind of freedom would allow astronomers to teach astrology, historians to teach the Earth is 6000 years old, and geologists to teach the Earth is flat. Have no doubts, this is precisely what these religious zealots want.

Reality-based people of Oklahoma: make your voice heard. This act will be read on February 2. Call your local legislators, write them, make sure they understand that what they are doing is wrong.

Because, if you don’t:

Oklahoma: Doomed

It was a tossup between the above graphic and this one.


Comments (117)

  1. Nemo

    It’s the difference between “scientific controversies” and “controversies about science”.

    I wonder if the courts will appreciate that difference. So far, the record is pretty good.

  2. Wayne

    Unfortunately, these proposals sound perfectly rational and reasonable until you understand what they’re really trying to do. Notice what extreme linguistic measures they take to make it sound like their interest is purely scientific, “the SCIENTIFIC strengths and SCIENTIFIC weaknesses of existing SCIENTIFIC theories”. If only that were true.

  3. Kevin

    Yahll notice that the reading is scheduled for Groundhog’s Day. Do you think these jokers forecast the weather based upon diurnal habits of rodents? It would be consistent with this hokey legislation.

  4. kuhnigget

    If science teachers are teaching science, aren’t they already helping students to analyze a theory’s strengths and weaknesses? Isn’t that a good chunk of what science is all about?

    Why are these moonbats so obsessed with forcing their religion on everybody else? Wouldn’t there be more room in heaven for them if all the evil evolutionists and global warming nuts went to hell?

  5. Since it’s all about academic freedom, why can’t religious teachers be forced to teach about evolution in Sunday school class? The same principle applies.

  6. Autumn

    Oh, I thought this was about college football. Sorry, I’ll be back after the Gators chew up the Sooners and spit ’em out.

  7. elvis

    People are surprised by this? I’ve been saying for years that they just need to put a fence around that state, and forget it. Sorta like a little landlocked Australia, except the criminals are replaced by idiots.

  8. Paul M.

    Hey elvis – I resemble that remark.
    We’re long past the penal colony days and we now have idiots aplenty of our very own :)

  9. Jamie G.

    Sally Kern is back as well with her Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, after it had already been vetoed. She doesn’t take no for an answer.

    I’m afraid Oklahoma is doomed, since for the first time in history in our state the Republicans have the majority in both the Senate and House.

    So, Bad Astro, how is the real estate in Colorado? Better yet, if the Dems don’t get us back on track in the next 8 years, Canada is sure looking good.

  10. I think the alt pic summed it up best…

  11. We in Oz not only have plenty of our own idjits we export ’em… *cough*… Ken Ham.

  12. Adam S

    Not all of us Oklahomans are sooners……

    Anyway, I’ll contact my representatives again and Gov. Henry will veto this again. By the time he is out of office, I’ll have a job in a state that has my industry.

    PS: OK isn’t that bad. The people are nice and I’ve never personally experienced intolerance.

  13. HidariMak

    Its been years since I bothered taking religion seriously, but wasn’t there a strong emphasis in the bible on the value of honesty and truth? And IIRC, the “King of lies” is the bad guy in the story.

  14. IVAN3MAN

    “We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.” — Carl Sagan

  15. Harold McTestes

    Unfortunately, I’ve lived in Oklahoma for several years now. Living here is pretty easy as long as you meet certain criteria. In fact, I’ve created this handy checklist for those who might be interested in moving here:

    1. You want NO separation of church and state. No exceptions. What the wholly babble says, goes.

    2.You have three teeth and two in your back pocket.

    3. You like weak ass 3.2% beer instead of what the rest of the nation is allowed to purchase.

    4. You are very, very proud of your gunt or fupa and you aren’t afraid to unabashedly unleash that hog on unsuspecting masses at the annual state fair.

    5. You MUST cry your ass off (literally) on the local news and threaten OU offensive/defensive coordinators with their jobs anytime the Sooners lose a game.

    6. You have a fondness for corporate mega-churches (aka: Christmart) everywhere you look. Only in OK can you get saved, get a coffee, socialize, pay for some daycare, and buy a book and CD all under ONE roof. What a deal!!!

  16. Daniel J. Andrews

    “Of course, this kind of freedom would allow astronomers to teach astrology, historians to teach the Earth is 6000 years old, and geologists to teach the Earth is flat. Have no doubts, this is precisely what these religious zealots want.”

    Your above statement is hyperbole, Phil. No need to over-inflate Creationist claims or set up strawmen to attack. They have enough silly weaknesses to legitimately attack. All you’re doing is giving them ammunition– “See, those Evolutionists can’t defend their position so they have to resort to nonsensical attacks”, or “They haven’t even tried to understand our position, why should we deal with them”. The only semi-accurate statement above is the 6,000 years one and even there they’d get geologists to teach that, not historians. :-)

    I certainly can understand your frustration here though.

    Incidentally, many Creationists do not believe in a 6,000 year old earth either…20,000-100,000 years, maybe a million if they’re ‘liberal’. :-) I say we just sic the 6,000 ers on the 20,000+ ers and let ’em fight it out, and we’ll take over while they’re distracted with their battle. And all Creationists themselves are just a very small sect that most other Christians around the world find embarrassing….it is just unfortunate that the U.S. seems to have a vast majority of this very vocal and politically connected minority.

  17. davey1983

    I too live in Oklahoma– you can bet that I will be calling and writing my representatives to not pass this bill.

    Harold: I got a good laugh at your list (though, I live in Stillwater, and we actually like it when OU losses: Go GATORS!!). Our first mega-church just opened, so I particularly liked number 6.

    Actually, Oklahoma is a good place to live, the people are very nice, and besides the occasional bible thumper, I have actually found the people to be fairly tolerant of other ideas and mindsets.



    I hope that won’t affect the people there very much considering that we have the internet nowadays and we can still pass the proper knowledge to the masses.

    And welcome to our nightmare! Globally, there’s a decline in scientific interest! The 21st century should be a century of science considering that more than 40 years ago they’re were making films like 2001: a space odissey and that by now we would be reaching for the outer planets with people on spacecraft not probes!


    And it really makes me sick to think that in today’s they even dare to misinform the youth about the true origins of well, everything by denying them a proper sciientific education. We realy need more people like Richard Dawkins and Cristopher Hitchens to spread around books like The God Delusion and teach children astronomy and evolutionary biology or WE’LL END UP BACK INTO THE DARK AGES.

  20. Don’t forget Florida will be doomed @ 7:15 PM CST on Fox.

  21. Lars

    Religion is Lie Put Into System (TM). And the christians are completely oblivious to the fact that they’ve been dancing around the golden calf for 2000 years, and yet they have the impudence to point fingers. If there is a God, then atheists are probably the godliest people on this planet.

  22. David

    I fail to understand how this even gets to the Courts.

    If I beleive in a Flat Earth, or that the moon is made of green cheese, can I appeal to those same courts to suppress the presentation of copious amounts of evidence to the contrary?
    Of course not….so why is this any different?

    I have every respect for those who follow their beleifs and Faith, but this is so right-wing as to be repugnant…we may as well start calling such individuals “Spiritual Nazis”.

  23. Aleksandar

    –“biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”–

    Ahem… how come that fundamentalists who want those things so rarely seem to notice that modern physics and geology threaten their beliefs much more. If you support a 6,000 year old Earth, how can you possibly only attack evolution, and not notice astronomy and geology talking about Earth being 4.5 billion year old, and universe 13 billion year old? What? Are they afraid of a comprehensive anti-science campaign? Do they know they will have it much harder by arguing with physicists than with poor demonized biologists?

  24. kneemoose

    oklahoma is the worst state

  25. Your above statement is hyperbole, Phil.

    No, it’s not. It would allow those things to be taught. Just because they may in fact not be doesn’t change that, and there’s nothing wrong with figuring out in advance how such an overly broad law may be abused.

  26. OtherRob

    Autumn, my first thought was the exact same thing. :)

    (UF, class of ’89)

  27. Jon

    If we had a educational system capable of properly teaching science in the first place, tackling controversies and controversial theories would be good. However we are not.

    Noble idea, but it doesn’t work.

    Also, science has so many concepts that are considered controversial it would take 4 years to go over all of them.

  28. Mantiss

    All this crap is really hitting a sore spot with Me, all this “here be magic” crap about god and other such beliefs are left-overs of a dark age, it’s more than time to move ahead. You’d think that the way things have changed in the past 40 years would warrant at least some evolution but clearly there are some pockets of resistance. I’m glad I live in a country where no such nonsense would even get a two liner at the end of a local newspaper.

  29. Daffy


    Their answer to a 13 billion year old universe is that God created it with the light already in motion. Which means, of course, that God tricked us…the universe is a hoax. But they never mention that.

  30. David D

    Looks like UNDERCOVER (I love allcaps) lost some interest in grammar and spelling. :)

  31. Freelance Escapologist


    Creationists (on the whole) are not equipped to understand, and therefore challenge, modern physics or astronomy. Even if one takes astronomy out of the equation, physics alone essentially discounts YEC, and only allows the slimmest of “get-out” clauses for any form of “Creation” as described in the Bible (in that we don’t fully understnd the processes that might lead to the formation of the Universe, and that leave a God of the Gaps for them).

    In debates on message boards, I’ve pointed out that radiometric dating (which always lead to ancient Earth dates) is based on established physics, which, if they have a problem with it, essentially negates a lot of the technology we use every day. The same theories that allow us to predict radioactive decay also describe the motion of electrons, which power computers. Quantum descriptions of decay also pertain to all electronics application in use today. If the theory us untrustworthy enough that radiometric dating is wrong, then nothing would work – nothing.

    They ignore this argument, of course. They have nothing to offer, and simply stop their ears and say “Lalalalala – can’t hear you – lalalalala”.

    @Daffy – same goes for the “Trickster God” argument, which I’ve pointed out many, many times, all with the same result!

  32. Freelance Escapologist

    P.S. to the above…

    …we don’t fully understand the processes that might lead to the formation of the Universe, and that leave a God of the Gaps for them).

    Should read:

    we don’t fully understand the processes that might lead to the formation of the Universe, and that leave a God of the Gaps for them – for now)…

  33. Doc

    Oklahoma has an out built into the bill, assuming that it’s used properly:

    “F. This act only protects the teaching of scientific information, and this act shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion. On the contrary, the intent is to create an environment in which both the teacher and students can openly and objectively discuss the facts and observations of science, and the assumptions that underlie their interpretation.”

    Since the act only protects the teaching of scientific information, and since the Dover ruling clearly established that “Intelligent Design” isn’t a scientific theory (but is religion in disguise) then the teaching if ID (or YEC, or Flat-Earth-ism, or other flummery) would not be protected.

    Of course that would require that someone bring court challenges, and that the courts have a clue, etc.

  34. Cheyenne

    Freelance – I’ve tried to argue with a few YEC’s that I know using just Radiometric dating (well, and other things, like how in the Bible it says that people lived to be about 600 years old, etc) and they inevitably answer that life was different on the Earth before “The Flood”.

    So I respond that even if the flood happened to be true, it absolutely wouldn’t effect decay rates of isotopes, it wouldn’t somehow change humans from living from 600 years to about 75-80. And they also say that “The Flood” is how the Grand Canyon got carved out in less than 6000 years. Frustrating dialogue at times.

    And don’t get me started on some of the, um, impossibilities with some guy actually riding around inside of some fish for three days!

  35. Alan French

    Sad news indeed for so early in the year.

    Clear skies, Alan

  36. kuhnigget

    @ Freelance Escapologist:

    “The same theories that allow us to predict radioactive decay also describe the motion of electrons, which power computers.”

    You’ve obviously bought into the great lie. Computers and other electronic gear run on the power of angels.

    Although having to use my sister-in-law’s PC the other day instead of my beloved mac, I’m inclined to believe there is something satanic involved in the process.

  37. Alan French

    Since Phil mentioned Orwell, I’d like to recommend reading (or rereading) Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”

    It can be found here…

    Clear skies, Alan

  38. Did anyone else notice that the bill also declares a state of emergency?

    SECTION 3. It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.

    Seriously? Not discussing “controversies” over whether life evolved or was created by supernatural cause are a threat to public peace, health, and safety? Orwell, indeed.

  39. Greg in Austin

    kuhnigget said,

    “instead of my beloved mac,”

    Well, see, there’s your problem!


  40. kuhnigget

    Here’s another lovely excerpt:

    The Legislature further finds that the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects.

    “Some teachers” should not be teaching.

    Everyone knows the next step. When works of classic American literature such as Huckleberry Finn, Invisible Man or Catcher in the Rye “cause controversy” they are yanked from the shelves and the precious little snowflakes miss out on a huge swath of literary history.

    I suspect that is the real goal here. The creationist loons know they will never get their bunk actually taught in the schools, so they’ll shoot for the next best thing: removing the “controversial” subject of evolution.

    Why not just stop teaching Biology and be done with it?

  41. Gary Ansorge

    We’ve probably had this problem with simple minds seeking simple answers to complex questions ever since the evolution of big brains. I would like to note that Cro Magnon Man (from roughly 40,000 years ago)had a brain approximately 200 cm^3 LARGER than the average brain size of modern man. If that trend continues and our average brain size decreases another 200cc, we’ll be back to the brain size of Australopithecus,,,
    As my big brained Son has pointed out on numerous occasions, the evolution of intelligence is NOT the point of evolution: It is reproductive success that carries the day. So to all you big brained hominids out there, if you really desire big brained humans, get cracking producing more offspring, say, 10 or twelve children per couple,,,( I’m looking at you, Phil,,,).

    ,,,or perhaps, we’ll have to settle for the Marching Morons dichotomy,,,

    GAry 7

  42. kuhnigget

    @ Greg:

    Trust me, that’s the least of my aberrations!

  43. kuhnigget

    I love this snippet from the bill’s sponsor Senator Randy Brogden’s bio on his website:

    Senator Brogdon was born in Ardmore and raised in Tulsa. He attended Tulsa Public Schools and Oklahoma State University School of Technology, studying Air Conditioning at the Okmulgee campus in the early 1970’s. Randy Brogdon has been a successful business owner for over 30 years in the Air Conditioning industry. Currently he is the Regional Sales Manager for Hardin Geo-Technologies, a company specializing in Geo-Exchange heating and cooling.

    I guess that explains why global warming is on the bill. What climatologists claim is a disaster in the making, is actually a business opportunity to sell more air conditioners.

    Although to be fair, at least he works for a company that is a proponent of more efficient geo-exchange systems. I wonder if any scientists helped develop that technology?

  44. FriendlyPrimate

    Am I the only one here who thinks that ‘teaching the controversy’ is not necessarily a bad thing? Ignoring the existence of ID is not going to make the problem just disappear. The vast majority of Americans still believe in ID despite being taught evolution in school (myself included….I didn’t stop believing in creation until after high school). Wouldn’t it be better to talk about intelligent design in the class, and include the reasons why it’s not a valid scientific theory? How else are children going to be exposed to knowledge that will question their beliefs? Simply teaching evolution is not going to do that, since you’re ultimately not discussing the merits of ID at all, and not giving them a reason to dismiss it as an alternate (and in their minds p0ssibly superior) theory.

    Same goes for flat-Earth theories. Go ahead and spend 10 minutes on it, and tell the kids why it’s so ridiculously wrong.

    So yea…discuss various viewpoints, and lay out all the facts. And hopefully in the end, what you’re teaching is something more important than just evolution (which lets be honest is not critical knowledge for the vast majority of Americans who work in places like McDonalds or WalMart)….you’re teaching them how to think critically. And isn’t critical thinking much more useful in life than knowing specific details about a theory that you’re likely never going to put to practical use?

    Yes…there’s the danger that some teachers will turn their classes into bible-thumping sessions. But most teachers DO believe in evolution, and think about all the kids that can be reached in THEIR classrooms. On the net whole, you’re likely to end up MORE kids rejecting ID.

  45. Jesse

    Just FYI, the University of Oklahoma and Sam Noble Museum of Natural History are doing wonders in Oklahoma to counter anti-science. They are bringing in Richard Dawkins, have an entire month dedicated to Darwin with public lectures and programs, the museum does science outreach into public schools, science programs for kids and adults, science camps, and so on. Both institutions have excellent science programs, and should be recognized for it.

  46. I’m more fond of the “The stupid, it burns.”

  47. Cheyenne


    I’ve tried making an argument like that before. It doesn’t go over well….

    Very simply- I think schools should be required to teach (and grade on) Evolution in biology classrooms. Every student should have to show a comprehension of what Evolution is, even if they don’t believe in it.

    And yes, since a very clear majority of the population believe in ID/Creationism (whatever you want to call it) I see no problem with having a very brief discussion (ungraded) on its beliefs, why some of them think Evolution is wrong, and then use that to teach why Evolution is right (hopefully).

    I like debate and open engagement coupled with really good teaching. Burying our heads in the sand at school and then letting kids learn about ID/Creationism from their churches and parents is what is causing the majority of the population to reject the clear science of Evolution (Quite honestly, they are going to believe their parents before a teacher).

    Seems like we could cut a deal with ID’ers and Creationists and say – “OK, we’ll discuss your theories- briefly, as long as you agree that EVERY student needs to understand the science behind Evolution and be graded on it”.

    That’s going to go over like a lead balloon though.

  48. Greg in Austin


    Better yet, spend zero minutes on non-scientific ideas in science class. There’s no reason to spend any time on ideas that have no evidence, or have already been rejected based on current evidence.

    If you spend 10 minutes on flat earth ideas, 10 minutes on astrology, 10 minutes on alchemy, 10 minutes on creationism, and 10 minutes on geocentrism, how much time do you have left to teach real science?


  49. becky'sthoughts

    @Greg in Austin: Thank you, thank you. When I was in public school, decades ago, there was a class that studied religion and philosophy. It was called Comparative Religion and Philosophy. Don’t really recall seeing anything except chemistry in my chemistry class. Duh!

  50. Harold McTestes

    @ davey1983

    Yes, the people are nice here in OK. I agree with you on that. Congrats on getting your first mega-church!! I recommend that you go at least once to see what I’m talking about. You’ll love the Starbucks priced coffee and gift shop. The commercialization of the Christian faith is utterly ridiculous, and it’s hilarious that Christians seem oblivious to the fact. One of the head pastors here in OKC/Edmond does a virtual livecast to preach to several locations (franchises?) at once. So now you get to go to church and watch him on a big movie screen. How personal!! Too bad Jesus didn’t have that kind of technology.

    And yes, GO FLORIDA!!!

  51. Cheyenne

    “If you spend 10 minutes on flat earth ideas, 10 minutes on astrology, 10 minutes on alchemy, 10 minutes on creationism, and 10 minutes on geocentrism, how much time do you have left to teach real science?”

    Why would you spend 10 mins on astrology, alchemy, or geocentrism? Such a tiny percentage of the population believe those it’s a waste of time.

    Why would you spend 10 mins on creationism? Because, whether you like it or not, the simple fact is that a clear and solid majority of people in America believe in those ideas over Evolution (and by the way, this number is going up, not down).

    So the question is- what makes the most sense to get people to believe in Evolution? Since what we’re doing now is clearly failing (and by fail I mean, my goodness, this isn’t String Theory here, the basic concepts of Evolution are easy to understand and yet most people reject it), what makes the most sense moving forward?

    So debate and engage for the sole purpose of having better education, and let students experience the back and forth of scientific investigation (I think). We don’t need to be afraid of this stuff. It can be talked about in a responsible manner in the classroom. Because if it’s not, again, it’s all left on the plate of the teachers and the churches. That has led to our current situation.

  52. Cheyenne

    Ooopsey Daisy – I meant “parents and the Churches”…

  53. kuhnigget

    @ Friendly Primate:

    “Wouldn’t it be better to talk about intelligent design in the class, and include the reasons why it’s not a valid scientific theory? “

    Why not spend some time talking about why Norse Creation myths aren’t valid science, either? Or why the world isn’t supported on the back of an infinite stack of turtles?

    Do you realize the stink that would be raised if a science teacher did as you proposed? Picture it:

    Teacher: Okay, students, today we’re going to talk about why there is no evidence for an intelligent designer. Please turn to page…

    Jimmy: Hey! Did you just say there is no evidence for God?

    Teacher: No…we’re talking about biological evolu…

    Jimmy: I’m telling my dad! You’re trying to teach that my religion isn’t valid!

    Teacher: I’m trying to teach biology.

    Jimmy (dialing cell phone): Dad! Teacher just told me God doesn’t exist!

    Teacher: No I didn’t…

    Dad (on cell): She what?! I’m calling the school board right now! Let’s see…I think he’s at Bible study right now….(dialing)

    [intercom buzzes]

    Principal (over intercom): Miss Noodleswort, would you come to the office, please? And bring your belongings.

    (new teacher enters)

    New Teacher: Good morning class. Today we’re going to concentrate on non-controversial science. Open your new textbooks to the chapter on storks delivering babies….

    Fade Out.

  54. kuhnigget

    But seriously…

    If controversy is going to be taught, teach it in Social Studies. That’s the only place where the “controversy” of evolution belongs.

  55. Chris A.

    Another quote is very pertinent here:

    “The well-meaning contention that all ideas have equal merit seems to me little different from the disastrous contention that no ideas have any merit.”

    – Carl Sagan, in “Broca’s Brain”

  56. Greg in Austin

    Cheyenne said,

    “Why would you spend 10 mins on creationism? Because, whether you like it or not, the simple fact is that a clear and solid majority of people in America believe in those ideas over Evolution (and by the way, this number is going up, not down).”

    What scientific evidence do you have that supports creationism? What methods did you use to come to that conclusion, and how can it be tested? How do you know which religious version of creation is the right one?

    It took hundreds of years for people to accept the fact that the sun, not the earth, was at the center of the solar system. The idea that the earth was actually the center was based on observations. We don’t feel like we are moving, and the sun and moon are obviously moving across the sky. It wasn’t until mathematics advanced enough to explain and predict the motions of the planets that everyone accepted it.

    See, now I’ve spent 5 minutes discussing a long-rejected idea to prove my point. The next thing I’m going to have to argue is that just because millions of people believe in something doesn’t mean they are right.


  57. Cheyenne

    “What scientific evidence do you have that supports creationism?”

    Um, none. I don’t have any and don’t want any. I believe in Evolution (you read what I wrote right?). I believe in Evolution because I had a fantastic teacher who taught us it and prove that we understood it by passing tests. Then we took 2 days going over the controversy (he even talked about the Scopes trial, etc) and went over the points that Creationists bring up. Since he did that (and we as a class talked and debated it) I was prepared to take on Creationists better than if he didn’t.

    As I said before, me trying to make an argument like this ALWAYS goes over like a lead balloon. I can’t clearly state enough that my goal is to increase the understanding of Evolution to the public. I think you and I want the same ends, but differ on the means to get there (but yet I’m always called a Creationist for some bizarre reason).

    Well, whatever, let’s just keep doing what we’re doing. It’s obviously working out great.

  58. Cheyenne

    By the way, your middle paragraph. How do you know all of that? How do you know what Heliocentrism is, how people’s minds were changed, and how science brought that all about (and consequently gave us a better understanding of the universe?).

    Did you, um, you know, learn about it somewhere? Maybe an institution like a school?

  59. hale-bopp

    I have said it before, but academic freedom cuts both ways. I would use it to be much more blunt about what a load of unmentionable material creationism is. Oh, wait. I have done that when I was teaching!

  60. Molly

    Cheyenne & Friendly Primate I could not agree with you more. Critical thinking is absolutely essential in science, so what better place to teach it than in a science classroom? I personally don’t think that evolution is something that you do or don’t “believe” in. To me that would be like saying you believe in gravity.

    I think that the ID/creationists are really the side that has something to lose if it is brought into the classroom. Science has evidence and proof that what they are claiming is impossible. They have nothing. But what that means is that at some point science has to buck up and say that there are many things that we can make probable and logical assertions about, but that science does not have all the answers right now either.

    Humility is a gift that keeps on giving and it is a huge part of learning the truth, whether in science or any other field. There is still much mystery out there and we, as scientists, should embrace that and admit that we don’t have ALL the answers, but some (evolution) we can prove.

  61. ND

    to insert a bit of humor here, it’s possible to float a lead balloon as proven by mythbusters. You just have to be very careful with the lead foil that makes up the balloon :)

  62. Greg in Austin


    Actually, I never called you a creationist, even though that is what I thought from your previous post. You may have inferred that from my reply, so for that I apologize. But I stand by my request for evidence to anyone who suggests creationism should be taught in science class.

    To answer your other question, “How do you know what Heliocentrism is, how people’s minds were changed, and how science brought that all about (and consequently gave us a better understanding of the universe?).”

    I most likely learned Heliocentrism in science class in Jr. High, or maybe my Astronomy class in High School, although, to be honest, I cannot remember. I was not exactly a straight-A student. It could have been covered in History. or Math, or History of Math or History of Science.

    I was also brought up as a Lutheran, and I remember having a hard time in Confirmation classes when the subject of creation came up. What my pastor told me completely contradicted what what I learned in books and in school. I did not know enough about either point of view to fully understand or accept either concept, which was not at all helpful.


  63. Cheyenne

    Greg – I think part of the hang up we’re having is this notion of “taught” in the classroom.

    I hope I phrase this accurately – I think that ID/Creationism etc. is not “science” so it shouldn’t be “taught” (or graded on, or discussed any more than a minimal amount of time). Evolution is straight up science (and correct I think we all agree) so it should be taught and graded.

    But my simple beef (evolved to being quite good steak) is that keeping out the mere discussion and debate of Creationism (led by, critically, a teacher capable of doing it) is continuing to foster these confused beliefs in students. And subsequently leading to the huge problem that poll after poll show clear majorities of Americans dismissing Evolution over ID.

    I think we all probably want the same result but really differ on the way to get there.

    And aside from that, debate and discussing all sides of an issue (ugh, and no to anybody that says so, I don’t mean “any” issue, not Astrology or whatever else) I think is a healthy thing.

    And I think Molly is right- done correctly the ID side has a lot more to “lose” if it’s discussed appropriately. My 2 cents.

  64. Elmar_M

    If you ask me, religious (non science-) content belongs into fairy tale -class…, excuse me, religion class. That is a class that is called religion. That should make it clear to everyone that RELIGION is tought in it, not science.
    Anyway, thats the way they do it here in Europe. I have to admit though, that not even my religion teachers were stupid enough to think they would get away with teaching creationism in class. They would either dodge the subject, or at least say something allong the lines of “things are not always to be taken literally, or something like that”. Anyway, religion into religion class, science into science class. That way there are no mixups like teaching fairy tal.. pardon me, Intelligent Design in science class…

  65. Lawrence

    Absolutely correct – the problem is not that they want to “teach the controversy” as much as it is that they don’t want to lose. If you truly crafted a class to discuss both aspects of the issue, ID would lose every time, because there is no proof – and you can’t prove a negative.

    Saying that – well, Science can’t explain “so & so aspect of the natural world” so it must be God, is just stupid. For thousands of years, humanity has had supernatural beliefs to explain what they don’t understand, and had those same beliefs disproven by Science. What is lightning, what are volcanoes, earthquakes, meteors, etc? All of these natural wonders were once considered to be “acts of the Gods.” Until Science came along and was able to tell what was actually going on.

    This entire question is not just about Biology or Evolution, it is an attempt to turn back the clock and inject one groups’ religious beliefs into schools – rebuking the work of Science.

  66. So we have:

    a) Some people have a tendency to believe in a thing and reject contrary evidence, for whatever reason. There’s a bit of it in all of us.

    b) Science is the study of the nature and behaviour of the physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the knowledge obtained by these methods

    c) Evolution, amongst other things, is based on scientific enquiry; Creationism & ID is not

    If the scientific method is adequately taught – i.e. in the abstract, as a general approach to the unknown – then the bill’s intention to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught” should weed out the sloppy thinking soon enough.

    It’s a shame that things like Creationism are even there to be examined, but they are – probably because of previous inadequate teaching. If enough people start believing in bottomless Turtles, that’ll have to be examined too (since this is a democracy) – but if children are taught well enough, it shouldn’t arise.

  67. Speaking of Evolution… Fascinating to see how it effects us in other ways (other than our physical bodies).

    Shermer has a neat article in the LA Times of how it effects our financial decisions as well (click on my name if you want).

  68. Molly

    But Lawrence I would challenge that science didn’t ride in like a knight on a white horse. Science has progressed within, from and in many cases despite humanity’s “supernatural beliefs”. All we know is what we know in this moment. It is up to humanity (scientists included) to do our very best to progress and increase the knowledge we have about where we are and why we are here.

    The only way to progress science and humanity is to raise young scientists. If you can include the ID concepts and be able to address their point of view and follow it with the fact that what we have learned through science is even MORE interesting and here is how we can prove what actually happened, science will continue to intrigue and inspire young minds around the world.

    The fact that science is so opposed to ID even being brought up seems odd too. I think the attitude should be more along the lines of “sure bring it up andwe will prove why you’re wrong” whereas now it looks like science is afraid. I truly don’t think that should be the case. In the words of a scientist of a different sort, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

  69. kuhnigget

    @ Cheyenne:

    The trouble I see with the idea of introducing debate about creationism lies not with the arguments that can be presented against it (or for it, for that matter), but rather with the people who will end up having to present those arguments.

    There are tons of great teachers out there! But, unfortunately, there are even more not-so-great or at least average teachers.

    A good science teacher as a matter of course can see to it that her students “get” why ID – and any other nonsensical “science” – is bunk without even bringing it up, or at most mentioning it in passing as part of a larger discussion. She teaches the basics of the scientific method, which her students can apply to whatever theory they may encounter.

    A mediocre teacher on the other hand, or even just an average teacher, forced to bring up ID because it’s been made part of the official curriculum, will most likely, I hate to say it, make a muddle of it and end up communicating that muddle to his students. Or, worse case scenario, he’ll end up “offending” someone’s religion and then the whole thing goes out the door.

  70. Greg in Austin


    So what you’re saying is, because so many people are “taught” by their religion that God created the universe in 6 days, you think that we should discuss that topic in science class? Hmm… I’ll have to ponder that.

    My question would then be, WHICH science class do we discuss it? The wording of the proposed legislation says, “biological evolution.” That means Biology class. But what about Astronomy, Geology, Physics, and Chemistry? They too contradict that the universe (including all the plants and animals on Earth) were created in 6 days. Do we spend time in all of those courses discussing creation? What about PE or Health, when we discuss hygiene and spreading diseases? Do we really need to talk about Adam and Eve in any of those courses?


  71. kuhnigget

    @ Molly:

    “whereas now it looks like science is afraid.”

    I think they (teachers) have good reason to be afraid. Teachers don’t fair well when they confront the moral brigade. Look at the hubbub that results when English teachers try to include works that have been deemed “offensive.”

    Can you just imagine what would happen if a science teacher came right out and made the statement, “The evidence does not point to God?”

    I mean, honestly, can you imagine? In this country?

  72. Greg in Austin


    “Can you just imagine what would happen if a science teacher came right out and made the statement, “The evidence does not point to God?”

    I’ve thought the same thing. I think I would not make a very good science teacher, because I would indeed come right out and say that. Flat out. There is no evidence. If you come to me with evidence, I’ll gladly change my position. Until then, let’s talk about gravity.


  73. FriendlyPrimate

    @Greg and Elmar_M,

    I agree that ID is not science, and in a perfect world it should not be discussed in the science classroom.

    However, this is not a perfect world. The majority of Americans believe in some form of creationism. This is hindering their ability to learn about concepts such as evolution. That could be solved by supposedly ‘teaching the controversy’ and explaining the problems with ID. Teaching about a heliocentric universe or other obscure ideas isn’t necessary….those ideas simply aren’t a hindrance anymore. How it’s done in Europe is irrelevant, since ID is not widely accepted there, and therefore is not causing the same problems in science education as here in the U.S..

    I think there’s too much emphasis being placed on making sure the science classroom is only teaching ‘pure science’. I don’t necessarily agree with that. The science classroom is also a great place to learn about critical thinking in general. Much of the time spent in my physics classes were spent going over rudimentary calculus (apparently because our math classes weren’t very good). But my teacher didn’t say “I’m not teaching you calculus because this is physics”. Instead, he did what he had to in order for us to understand physics even though that meant he had to deviate from the curriculum. Same goes for evolution. Kids have been raised to believe in ID. Teachers need to adjust their curriculum to deal with that unfortunate fact of life.

    In the end, do you want a generation of children who understand evolution but don’t accept it….or do you want a generation of children who understand why evolution is science and ID is not, and who are able to apply that critical thinking to any other pseudo-science that happens to come along?

  74. Molly

    Yes I really can. “God” in those terms doesn’t even have to be brought up. The semantics of religion I always find interesting. I think that you can very easily approach the issue as to what has been written in the Bible, which was not written by God, and state very clearly that those passages do not accurately describe the evidence that has been found. That is what the creationists are basing their hypotheses on, the Bible, not God.

    Intelligent Design, which in my opinion is very different than creationism, can be confronted by stating that science does not make the same assertions or assumptions based on A., B. and C.

    I am, however, biased because I had very good teachers in public school and trust in their ability to do their jobs. I think that the issue of ensuring quality teachers is very important, but the fact that there are some not so great teachers out there should not dictate policy. Ever.

  75. Utakata

    @ kuhnigget

    They’d probably get sent to Gitmo in a orange jumpsuit.

  76. Molly

    Love it Friendly Primate!

  77. FriendlyPrimate

    @Greg –
    “My question would then be, WHICH science class do we discuss it? The wording of the proposed legislation says, “biological evolution.” That means Biology class. But what about Astronomy, Geology, Physics, and Chemistry?”

    You discuss it in the class(es) where it makes the most sense to discuss it. For creationism, you discuss the evidence against the earth being 6000 years old in Geology. For ID, you discuss the evidence against intelligent design in Biology. (Is Astronomy even taught in school? It wasn’t in my school.)

  78. kuhnigget

    @ Molly:

    “I think that you can very easily approach the issue as to what has been written in the Bible, which was not written by God”

    You want to say that in an American classroom?????

    Ha. Ha-ha! Buhwha-ha-ha-haaaa!

  79. Molly

    I would say it, later today if I could. All you are saying is that something written in a book 2000 years ago does not represent what science has discovered actually has happened. You know kind of like the heliocentrism brought up earlier. All you have to say is that those particular aspects do not match up with evidence without judgment as how people might feel about the Bible.

    It can be done respectfully, though a lot of people wouldn’t care to try.

  80. Kid Cool

    I like what Cheyenne had to say, and think it would be a good idea to have a neat back and forth on the “creationism issue.” The problem is we live in an imperfect world (arguement against creationism?). You would have teachers, school boards, and/or parents objecting to you showing how foolish their religious beliefs are, and how it has no basis in reality.

    Then if we are going to use the book of Genesis as a counter point to evolution, don’t we need to show other forms of Divine creation. Seriously, do we really have to compare and contrast evolution with the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  81. Molly

    Oooohhh Kid Cool you’re using the “if we allow gay people to get married then we will have to allow beastiality” argument. Nice. :)

  82. Cheyenne

    KidCool- This is a tough issue and there’s no perfect solution to it (but honestly, kind of why I like it, good thing to discuss and debate).

    I know this is going to get a little muddled on my part, but basically this is how I would do it if I was “Mr. Cheyenne – World’s Coolest Sixth Grade Biology Teacher” (that’s the mug that my precious students would have given me, along with a daily apple, if I was a teacher. Or else I would have failed all the little smug bastards. Hee-hee).

    But moving on- After requiring them all to know the basics of Evolution, how the theory was developed, how it’s been proven, etc. I would basically set aside one class, maybe two, to discuss ID.

    Here goes- “OK – So we know that this Theory has generated some controversy and is not believed by everybody based on religious teachings- particularly in the US. This is science class, so I don’t want to get into the particulars of any religion. But believing in ID/Creationism, etc. does directly confront Evolution so let’s talk about this for a little bit and maybe we could have a civil debate on some of these issues. ”

    And then I would go over the “greatest hits” of what the Creationists use to attack Evolution, and how Evolution can answer some of these charges. I’d even admit where there are a couple of cases that Creationists can bring up that Evolution can’t fully answer at this point, and then show how science is an ever evolving process seeking to find the truth about our world.

    As others have said, as much as I would want them to believe in Evolution I actually agree with the sentiment that I’d be more interested in having them develop critical thinking skills and an appreciation for the scientific method above anything else.

  83. kuhnigget

    @ Kid Cool:

    “The problem is we live in an imperfect world”
    Yes, unfortunately that is the problem.

    Molly, with all due respect, what country do you live in? If the U.S., which state?

    I dare say it doesn’t matter how “respectful” you try to be, if you start trying teach high school or grade school kids that the Bible isn’t the Word of God™ in this country, especially in places like Oklahoma (or central Washington, where I went to school) you will not be a teacher for very long.

    What many people don’t realize, is that the ID people do not want to teach that a generic “intelligence” created the universe. As was proven in Dover, they want to teach that God, specifically, the God of the Old Testament, created the universe. The ID label is nothing but a smokescreen for that. And that is why your “Bible wasn’t written by God” argument will not fly.

  84. Greg in Austin

    @FriendlyPrimate: “Is Astronomy even taught in school? It wasn’t in my school.”

    It was an elective course in my High School. It was taught by a biology teacher. ID/Creationism never came up in either of those classes. In those classes, they taught fact, not fantasy.


  85. Greg in Austin

    Cheyenne said,

    “I’d even admit where there are a couple of cases that Creationists can bring up that Evolution can’t fully answer at this point,”

    Please name them. From my understanding, the cases that Creationists have brought up have been solidly whacked by evidence for evolution. Maybe I missed some.


  86. Kid Cool


    Like I said, I like your idea, and think it would be cool and actually a great way to teach evolution. Especially the way you descirbed in the last post.I will tell you that in certain parts of the country any teacher, no matter how cool, would be slapped around by the principal, school board and parents.

    I can give you an example, I went to Humble High School in the aptly named Humble Texas. A new English teacher on the first day of class suggested we have an interesting discussion, because the first day of school is really boring. He asked is the story of the Garden of Adam and Eve allogorical or real. He was a little surprised that some people would say it is literal.

    The next day he had to tell the class that he did not say the Bible was false and apologize to the class.

    This did take place 30 years ago, but I suspect that any teacher suggesting the Bible is not meant to be taken literally in Humble, many parts of Texas, and many areas in this country would encounter the same reaction today.

    I hope I am wrong, but I fear I am not.

  87. Molly


    I respectfully disagree. Who teaches evolutionary biology in grade school? I think we are talking about middle school and high school student who would be taught the contrast between differing theories with a focus on the scientific method and why factual evidence provides such a strong arugument.

    I just don’t think that this “us against them” attitude is effective. I could only hope that the past eight years has taught us that.

    Being respectful of others’ views is important. You don’t have to agree with them. I think that scientists and teachers can meet the challenge in a respectful manner and state why we know we are right and the basis for that view. However, it does take acknowledging that some people just won’t buy it and while that is unfortunate, it’s also okay.

  88. Cheyenne

    Greg – Um, I don’t know – How life arose initially as just one small example? The detailed, specifics behind that? We’ll get there at some point but biologists readily admit we haven’t scientifically ascertained the origin of life at this point.

    Other examples I’m not that familiar with since I’m not The World’s Greatest Teacher just yet so I haven’t really bothered to look into it much.

    Molly- My class taught evolutionary biology (well, fairly intro level really) in grade school. Sixth grade. I remember it well.

    And a bit off the point but I agree with Leon Lederman that we teach science backwards (biology, chemistry, physics- it should go the other way).

  89. Todd W.


    I agree that a good number of science teachers would be able to approach the issue in a respectful manner, but the problem is that a good number of people who believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God tend to take any questioning of those beliefs as a personal affront, no matter how respectful the teacher might be. Not everyone of faith will react this way, but there will be pockets of such responses.

    When people get defensive about personal issues, they also have a tendency to read things into statements that aren’t even there. For example, if the teacher says simply that “The scientific evidence and the written accounts in the Bible don’t match up,” the die-hard believer may interpret that as “The Bible is wrong and, if you believe the Bible, you’re wrong too.” They may possibly even hear “idiot” or some other personal attack in there, as well.

  90. Todd W.


    How life arose initially as just one small example?

    Well, the easy answer to that question when creationists bring it up is, the Theory of Evolution deals with how life changes once it exists. It does not examine how life began; that’s a different branch of study.

  91. Cheyenne

    Todd W-

    Actually I didn’t know that. But how do you demarcate when life began? One cell? An amoeba? A virus? A bacterium? When does Evolution take over from the other branch of study?

    OK so that answer won’t work for Greg. Neither will this one – there is no way I’m going to go to the Discovery Institutes homepage to see whatever examples they are using today are (don’t they constantly change them as more are ruled out? If I was actually a teacher I would check on it). I remember they used to bring up things like Lobster eyes and there was something about fossils in 1 place being in the wrong strata. Last I heard Evolution can deal with most of these – but is it fair to say that they might be able to bring up a few examples that are worth at least talking about?

  92. Molly

    Todd W:

    I agree with you. I think it is really unfortunate and that stance has certainly contributed to the world that we live in today.

    The hardest part for me and the reason that I have participated so heavily in this conversation is that I think that science has taken similar offense to the creationists positions. Phil himself calls them “antiscience jokers”. I’m not saying he’s wrong, just that it’s not all that helpful for the dialogue.

    I’m not trying to be Susie Peacemaker here, but I don’t necessarily see the evil of the ID/creationists. I just think they are incorrect. I don’t like the influence that they have over children they encounter, but the only way to fix that is to discuss it. IMHO

  93. kuhnigget

    @ Molly:

    Who teaches evolutionary biology in grade school?

    Mr. Lytton, Summitview Elementary School, Yakima, Washington. And at the end of the lesson he appended, quote, “I personally think it’s a bunch of baloney.” Unquote.

    Being respectful of others’ views is important. You don’t have to agree with them. I think that scientists and teachers can meet the challenge in a respectful manner and state why we know we are right and the basis for that view. However, it does take acknowledging that some people just won’t buy it and while that is unfortunate, it’s also okay.

    I respectfully disagree on two counts:

    1) Not all views are worthy of respect. People who want their religious mythology accepted as science and taught as such belong in that class. That is what these people want. They try to couch their religion is sciency sounding language, but as the Dover decision showed, that is a sham. They want religion, their religion, taught in science class.

    2) Reality gets in the way. The people who wage these sorts of campaigns will not sit idly by while their God is denied by heathen science teachers. It doesn’t matter what your intentions are or how respectful you think you’re being. If you try and teach a class full of kids in the U.S. that the Bible is not the word of God, you will not be a teacher for long.

    I hate to say it, but there are going to be a whole lot of people out there growing up with some severe misconceptions about science. I just hope the rest of the population can make up for them.

  94. Doc

    “Who teaches evolutionary biology in grade school?”

    I was taught (basic) evolutionary biology in grade school, and so were my children. I have a BA in Anthropology, and my 11-year-old now knows more about the human evolutionary tree than I do (mind you, a lot has been discovered since I graduated).

    Knowing the quality of teachers in some school districts, and that a disturbing proportion of them are creationists, I don’t trust them to discuss the matter productively.

  95. Molly

    You are all right about the grade school thing and I’m sure I learned it originally there too, but 4 years of biology in middle/high school will make you forget that!


    It’s so hard to disagree with you because we are on the same team and believe the same things. I just find, in my own life with people I disagree with (and there are a lot of them), that it is far more productive and interesting to listen and have them listen to you and you each can leave that conversation with whatever you would like to think, and even better you each might have learned something.

    But you are talking to an IB student and critical thinking was a requirement of my education and fortunately that will forever be a part of who I am.

    I think I’ve made the points I wanted to so I won’t be responding any further. I just think that the evidence is clear and I’m not afraid of the discussion. Truth will out, afterall.

  96. Davidlpf

    Let us save th BA some time, America=doomed.

  97. kuhnigget

    @ Molly:

    Truth will out, afterall.

    Let’s hope! Peace on ya!

  98. Lawrence

    If it was only about the so-called “controversy” – but its not. Ultimately, the proponents of ID want to teach Religion in Science Class – that the literal interpretation of the Bible is 100% absolutely true.

    Sure, they sugarcoat it & hide their ultimate agenda behind smokescreens – but at the end of the day, they reject the entire science behind what we now understand as the underpinnings of evolutionary theory (now much different from what Darwin orginially proposed).

    In a perfect world, we certainly could have intelligent discussions about ID, but today, given the goals of its architects, there simply isn’t anything to discuss.

  99. Richard

    Does “academic freedom” extend into the internet?


    I think it points to where the IDists and creationist want the discussion to go. (I’ll give you a hing: no academic freedom for evolution.)

  100. OpEdNewsOriginal Content at

    December 27, 2008Kern’s Krew Collection of Peeping Toms By James Nimmo The Kern Krew is a sad collection of some very sick puppies who relish the pain of others in order to exorcise the demons that inhabit their own little bit of skull space.

    They’ve never matured to an adult level of acceptance of sexual or religious privacy. Kern’s Krew is a collection of Peeping Toms, looking for what arouses them, be it sacred or secular.

    (OKLAHOMA CITY) At the website of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE, http://www.oklascience.org ) there is a professional analysis of the latest resurrection of Rep. Sally Kern’s bill that would allow for the recitation of bible verses as “facts” and “evidence” in math and science classes in Oklahoma schools with the teachers forced to accept such balderdash as legitimate answers.

    Though this bill was vetoed by Governor Henry last year, the subject of religious IN-tolerance is dear to Rep. Sally Kern as she worries it like a dog with its favorite bone.

    According to the analysis, with other states that have passed these spawned bills the result has been expensive legal situations and confusion in the classrooms resulting in the lowering of educational standards.

    Introduced by religiously repellent people like the Kern Krew these divisive bills turn public schools into Sunday schools five days a week and restate already existing laws and court precedents. It would seem the purpose of the bills is to provide for the invention of another drum for the Kern Krew to beat.

  101. CLM

    Oklahoma proves once again why it is the reddest of red states.

  102. Guess I was wrong. Oklahoma really is doomed.

  103. Cheyenne said,

    “But how do you demarcate when life began? One cell? An amoeba? A virus? A bacterium? When does Evolution take over from the other branch of study?”

    I don’t know if the question of when life began is actually answerable to biology, any more than geophysicists can say when the first raindrop fell. We know life is here, and based on our observations, we can make predictions and take a guess as to HOW it started, but we cannot say with certain WHEN or WHERE. The Earth has changed a bit in 4 billion years.

    But the modern theory of evolution is the best answer to what we can see and touch and measure and predict and test and repeat. If someone has better evidence that says otherwise, I’d be willing to listen. “Because God did it,” is not valid evidence.


  104. Hax Or

    I prefer you write more books instead of evangelizing on your blog.

    Try to accept people how they are. Teach them what you know. But don’t judge them harshly if they don’t get it.

    In other words, don’t get upset when you fail to teach your science/religious points of view.

    Just my 2 cents.

  105. I know it has been a few days, but how about this?
    Not Doomed

  106. Jeffersonian

    @Harold McTestes :
    “3. You like weak ass 3.2% beer instead of what the rest of the nation is allowed to purchase.”

    The science behind this: 3.2 beer being much weaker is a myth. 3.2 beer is measured by weight. Under non-3.2 law, alcohol is measured by volume. 3.2 beer is anywhere from 4.0 to 5.5 when measured by volume and is some cases is identical to the beer sold in other states. For example, by weight, Samuel Adams is 3.2-3.8. Part of the confusion comes from the myth that other states have “6 point” beer (they don’t), and that this means 6% versus 3.2% (not how it works). 3.2 laws make a certain portion of the public happy because they don’t understand the math/science; but, in drinking the product, there’s virtually no difference. It’s like the myth that Guiness is stronger in Ireland. (It’s not, but the 3rd way of measuring, via specific gravity, is another topic.

  107. Ross

    This discussion reminds me of a science teacher I had who would always say things like, “this is why I love science- because it isn’t controlled by dogma and doctrine. If it makes a mistake, it throws that out and looks for the correct answer”. Even at the time I understood it as his subtle way of saying, “forget all that creationist BS, this is reality.”

    He was a good teacher.

  108. Richard

    Yeah, Phil, when are you gonna write a book that debunks creationism using astronomy. (Hint: We are stardust.)

    Oh, and if you wanna read evolution from a Christian’s point of view, might I suggest Kenneth Miller’s Only A Theory. He highlights the failings of the creationists arguments and the lack of science, or coherence, from Intelligent Design. Oh, but he tears Behe a new one.

    Just my 2 prutahs.

  109. Bryan

    G_d forbid that students talk about something in class that they talk about anyway. Any scientist who is threatened by answering questions about ID or creationism probably isn’t even qualified to teach evolution correctly in the first place. Students don’t learn in a vacuum. Just because you present evolution only in a classroom doesn’t mean they will accept it. Just because you present ID or creationism doesn’t mean they will believe that either. Why not discuss both have students hone their arguments and discuss. That is real learning. There is a difference between education and indoctrination. Besides why do you people even care? If we are nothing but stardust, there is no morality and you shouldn’t bother yourself with the lives of others. The only one that matters is YOU.

  110. Darth Robo

    Bryan, in my science class at school I recall a teacher addressing the possibility of (a) God, and he used it as an example of how to determine what is science and what isn’t. From there, it didn’t take very long for the students to grasp the concepts of falsifiability and the scientific method. So from that point of view, I have no objection to IDCreationism brought up in a science class. However, the creationists who are pushing for ID “arguments” in public school science classes do so because they want said “arguments” to be presented as if they have some kind of validity.

    They don’t. Given this, one must be careful as to how IDCreationism is presented in a science class, especially now as propaganda/pressure is being presented at/by certain school boards, students, parents to get their (non-scientific) “view” taught under the guise (read: outright LIE) of “academic freedom”.

    And um, just curious, but what does the fact that the elements of our bodies are shared with stars have to do with morality? Why shouldn’t we bother ourselves with the lives of others? Why shouldn’t we have families, friends and form communities? Why shouldn’t we care? That seems to be a rather sociopathic attitude to take.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar