Another twist on the Dover story

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All I want to say is bravo to the high school faculty in Dover!

All but one teacher in the Dover Area School District's high school science department signed a letter Thursday requesting that they be allowed to "opt out" of reading the "Intelligent Design Theory" statement meant for students.

"We do not believe this is science," said high school science teacher Jen Miller.

While the teachers do not cite the Constitution, their written request does cite Pennsylvania's Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators.

"We believe that reading the ('intelligent design') statement violates our responsibility as educators as set forth in the code," Miller said. "Students are allowed to opt out from hearing the statement. We should be allowed to opt out from reading it."

Aren't science teachers wonderful people?

But wait…the letter wasn't signed unanimously.

The one teacher who did not sign the letter does not teach biology.

I am not surprised.

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Dover science teachers: "INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT SCIENCE. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT BIOLOGY. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT AN ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC THEORY." Read More

Dover science teachers: "INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT SCIENCE. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT BIOLOGY. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT AN ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC THEORY." Read More

11 Comments

Meanwhile, back in the Halls of Power:

Mark Souder-R-Ind. “Over 75 percent of the American people profess to be Christian, and an even higher percentage believe that they were created by God – not some randomly evolving blob of amoeba,” Souder stated. “So when a tragedy hits Asia, we don’t say ‘Tough luck. It’s social Darwinism. The fittest will survive.’”

At presstime, it was unclear what amoeba theory Souder was referring to. However, what other Christians had to say about the tsunami was less ambiguous.

But wait, it gets worse: According to Souder, almost all social change in the history of the United States has been driven by people whose deep commitment to moral views is based upon their personal religious beliefs. “To take religion out of the public arena would leave us with the mean-spirited, survival-of-the-fittest, social Darwinism of evolution,” he said.

Funny thing: anyone who’s read Darwin knows he repudiates “Social Darwinism.” Since I’ve always wondered why the creationism-prone right would embrace something they call social Darwinism while rejecting evolution generally, I have to conclude here that we’re listening to good, old-fashioned projection.

I am standing in front of my computer applauding the Dover Area School District’s high school science teachers. What a splendid affirmation of their ability to think. I also expect that it was quite brave of them to do this in light of the community’s apparent bias.

Yeah, but what do they know? They’re noly science teachers. We have genuine local politicians and the Discovery Institute, true advocates of proper science. They should fire all them mean atheistic satan-inspired science teachers and put a good evangelical pastor in each classroom, teaching children that evolution is the work of the devil.

I’m waiting for the Discovery Institute and their fans to accuse the Dover area teachers of censorship. Censorship against the teachers in Dover.

… almost all social change in the history of the United States has been driven by people whose deep commitment to moral views is based upon their personal religious beliefs.

Mr. Souder is apparently unaware that religious leaders in the antebellum South used the Bible to support slavery and validate their theory that Black people were destined (dare I say “designed”?) to be servants. Indeed, misusing the Bible to support slavery against northern Abolitionists arguably spawned Christian fundamentalism in the South. Both the Baptist and Methodist Churches split into northern and southern factions over the issue of slavery.

The Bible, incidentally, plainly supports enslaving people other than your own. Many of the Abolitionists were religious, but they fortunately did not read the Bible literally. Nevertheless, no religion, as far as I know, has condemned slavery until comparatively recently, and the opposition to slavery may well have originated in the secular values of the Enlightenment before it was adopted by religious Abolitionists.

At least in the West, religion has always been a mixed bag, a force for good or evil, in very roughly equal quantities. It is therefore no compliment to say that all social change has been driven by religious values.

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Look, if I’m a student in the Dover area High School, and I want to know about some real science, I won’t waste my time with some dumb high school science teachers, or all those Ph.D biologists in Pennsylvania, or every scientific organisation in the country, or those 72 Nobel Laureates who “claim” that creationism isn’t science.

I’ll stick with high-school educated evangelicals like Bill Buckingham, drug problem or no drug problem. And the engineer guy on here.

Thanks for the update Emma.

School administrators will come into the classrooms & read the disclaimer instead of the science teachers

I wonder if the teachers have agreed to not explain to the students why they refused to read the disclaimer.

In any event, if the extremity of the Dover School Board’s position wasn’t obvious before, it’s obvious now.

Why not follow the reading of the disclaimer with an optional prayer? Might as well just go for the touchdown since their butts are cooked either way.

“The Dover faculty have no right to opt out of a legal directive,” Thompson said. “Having said that, because there is pending litigation … we are going to accommodate their request.”

How could they not? What is the alternative – moving their lips and tongues for them, or firing them and hiring some fundamentalist Christian teachers to replace them within a week?

GWW - The alternative to offending the delicate sensibilities of the science staff by making them speak the vile words is to do what Georgia did and get others to slap a sticker containing the short message onto the the biology text where the students won’t miss it.

Dave Springer, always happy to switch gears as long as it doesn’t involve admitting that he’s a dishonest rube, writes

The alternative to offending the delicate sensibilities of the science staff by making them speak the vile words is to do what Georgia did and get others to slap a sticker containing the short message onto the the biology text where the students won’t miss it.

Oh really? Do you know something about the Selman v. Cobb County School District case that the rest of us do not?

Of course you don’t.

Do Sunday school teachers teach evolution? If not, then why would science teachers teach creationism?

Evolution is evidence looking for an explanation. Creationism is an explanation looking for evidence.

There was a time, when the Church determined that in each sperm cell there was a fully formed little man or little woman. That was until science explained differently. Just because the Church/creationists say so does not make it so.

Therefore, evolution is science which is why it is taught in science classes and creationism, which is a belief, is taught in Sunday school. When creationism becomes science, then put it in the text books. Until then, keep creationism in the Sunday school classrooms where they don’t teach evolution.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on January 7, 2005 11:06 AM.

More PA scientists speak out against ID was the previous entry in this blog.

Dover teachers want out is the next entry in this blog.

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