Rio Rancho NM UPDATE - FSM, Profs Weigh In

| 8 Comments

Since last week’s report, there have been several developments in the Rio Rancho situation, wherein the local school board adopted a new science policy that, according to the Sept. 2nd Albuquerque Journal’s print edition

means teachers will lead discussions on alternative ideas to evolution.

For starters, on Thursday, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (info) has again reached his noodly appendage beyond the internet, into Mainstream Media, or at least to the twice-weekly pages of the Rio Rancho Observer:

And also yesterday (Sept. 1st), several science chairs from the University of New Mexico recommended that Rio Rancho’s Policy 401 should be abolished.

The professors’ statement is discussed in the Albuquerque Journal in this Sept. 2nd article by Elaine Briseno (subscription).

The entire August 25th New Mexico Academy of Science statement was printed in Thursday’s Rio Rancho Observer (albeit on a different page than the FSM’s appearance), putting these words on the ground in embattled Rio Rancho:

If scientists simply agreed to disagree about “the meaning and interpretation of data,” scientific progress would cease. Science is about testing ideas and claims, not pretending that all ‘interpretations’ are equally valid.

And finally, my op-ed in the Albuquerque Tribune also was published on Thursday, Sept. 1st.

Once Pandora’s box is opened, there won’t be enough time for real science. There isn’t time to really explain all this junk in class. Supporters of intelligent design count on that, knowing that the take-home message will be: “Evolution has holes, so a miracle must have occurred.” The Rio Rancho policy is already causing problems. The day after the policy was passed, Bibles and intelligent design were brandished in chemistry and anatomy/physiology classes at Rio Rancho High School, disrupting them. Additional incidents have been reported.

I’ve added a page to the NMSR website for easy reference to the ongoing saga.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is here in Rio Rancho! Now if only Professor Steve Steve would join him here.

8 Comments

Ok, when all the geniuses on here get together to thoroughly debunk whatever creationut claim that resurfaced or evolved this week, it is obvious that IDC is bunk.

One of the first things any “basic tract” creationist video/lecture does is inform people that evolution and the bible are contradictory from the point where God created and then right on down to your salvation.

So you have a room full of mostly God-fearin’ folk who have just been told that a belief in evolution both denies the existence of God and ultimately denies you salvation (since Kent Hovind, Ken Ham, and Duane Gish will be sitting next to St. Peter as the three left toes of God. There will also be a case with Polonium-218 where you match your fingerprint with God’s to see if you’re worthy of strolling through the pearly gates)

I was fortunate enough to be educated in the public school system.

Let me rephrase that, “I was fortunate enough to be educated in the Wisconsin public school system.

Those who belive in creationism see the public schools as indoctrinating their children with, “a belief.” They believe that anyone believing in evolution either doesn’t know or is willingly dismissing, “the truth.”

They see it as a struggle for equal time, we see it as a fight to keep science in the science classroom.

They see their God as existing within the margins of science, we see their margins as frighteningly wide.

One side sees evolution as a belief based on the truth of men while viewing theirs as a belief based on the truth of God. If you’re looking from that perspective, who do you want to believe?

I don’t care if you teach intelligent design in your home or private school, keep it out of the science classroom.

I digress, intelligent design creationism isn’t going anywhere but up. We are a christian nation. My acronym is PoG. You are all now dumber having read this.

Actually, I think that we should care when lies are taught, even in private.

Incidentally, the founders of the republic did not think that the United States was founded on Christian principles.

From the Treaty of Tripoli, signed November 4, 1796. Ratified by the Senate of the United States on June 10, 1797:

ARTICLE 11. As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

I didn’t say this was a nation founded on Christianity. I said, “this is a christian nation.” I see more christian churches than they have buildings to house them in. We might have more churches (still in use for religious ceremony) per square mile than any other nation on earth.

Are you circumsized? If you are, do you know why? Because this is a christian nation.

You are absolutely correct about the founders of our country, but by the time 1892 rolled around we were “One nation under God.”

With the majority of the citizens of America either practicing Christianity or having been raised Christian how can you beat IDC.

Knowledge prevailed when YEC and evolution met in a legal forum circa 1982, but that HIV YEC turned into ID AIDS and it appears to be like a whack-a-mole game, as soon as its damage has been mended (see Cobb county) more damage is already being done in places like Kansas and Arizona.

Evolution is the 800 lbs. gorilla.

Creationism is like maggots eating away at the theory of evolution, eventually gnawing a mortal wound.

When the news headlines are something along the lines of, “Darwin under seige” and “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis?” It sounds like evolution is losing the battle. You can’t sit complacently thinking there is no battle to lose.

Obviously, winning on the science end of the debate does nothing to their ranks. The PR battle is the one evolution is too ill-funded to pursue and in no way equipped to fight. What was the word count in refuting a paragraph by Behe last week? Like 3,700?

They are engaged in total war. They can project this as a battle of beliefs effectively to others. Just because you weren’t convinced and I wasn’t convinced doesn’t mean they aren’t convincing others. Someone always leaves a comment on here about how well funded some of these organizations are and I think they can win a war of attrition against ToE.

They might lose every court case, but they can covertly win school board elections, state BoE, they can be senators, even President of the United States of America.

The one thing those stupid evo v. cre polls always resoundingly show is that this nation is unquestionably greater than 50% creationist. A loose definition of creationist includes many of the Anti-YEC/ID posters here. I think I would have better said it, “This is a creationist nation.”

Are you circumsized? If you are, do you know why? Because this is a christian nation.

I thought it has something to do with my parents being Jewish and my being born in Cedars of Lebanon Hospital (now the international headquarters of the Church of Scientology, sigh).

You are absolutely correct about the founders of our country, but by the time 1892 rolled around we were “One nation under God.”

The pledge was written by Frances Bellamy without the words “under God”, which were added by Congress in 1954.

The cause isn’t helped by spreading ignorant falsehoods.

“ARTICLE 11. As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

Let me paraphrase…

“Sir, I would say that “president bush” has already invalidated that policy.”

General Buck Turgidson

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“What’s circumsized got to do with it? What’s smegma, but a second hand emotion?” Tina Turner

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When the levee breaks, prayin won’t help ya, crying won’t do you no good.

Led Zeplin (cover)

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“Christian nations don’t blame their poorest citizens for their own deaths”

Jay Boilswater

Aye matees, we be a parody christian nation, tis plain to thee and me. UP the FSM! What say Ye Polly? Polly? Arr, tis an ex-parrot, gone to Davey Jones.

PoG: the more your side “wins,” by the means, ever more obviously dishonest (to yourselves, that is: the fact of the complete dishonesty of your movement is now an assumed, if oft-retested, fact by all other parties), you have described (and re-read what you have written, noting the insane, lynch-mob glee that shines through your words) the faster and harder your fall will be. Your fanaticism, like that of religious fanatics everywhere, aims at forcing humsn beings to become inhuman, and it of course cannot be done. Your points, except for noting the “covert” (“lying” would be a far more accurate word!), are as absurb as any I have ever read: strictly for the dumbest of rubes. Some elements of your post DO make me suspect you of running a parody. However it has now become impossible to distinguish between the better parodies and the “true” Xian insane. Note that, when a movement and its parodies become indistinguishable, you can bet that movement is a dead man walking.

Finally, I do very much enjoy how you have compared your side’s actions with, first, (quite transparently, though you don’t use the word) terrorists and, then, maggots (although their habits you, typically, seemed to have mischaracterized.) (As an aside, these are the silliest points a Xian nutcase has made since some Xian “proved” the divinity of Jesus Christ by pointing out the complete lack of any physical relics of his Savior, in contrast to the Buddha or the Prophet. I pointed out that the Apostles simply hadn’t found it necessary to keep toenail clippings; that Mary M. wasn’t given a lock of her presumed lover’s hair; and that there seems to have been no cultural tradition for his mother to keep his baby teeth, umbilical cord, or dried excrement, as is or has been done in various other cultures).

Are you circumsized? If you are, do you know why? Because this is a christian nation.

Circumcision has never been based on Christianity (excepting Coptic Christians,) in the United States, and its necessity for Christians is debunked in Acts 15. The United States’ practice started as a pseudoscientific approach to preventing or limiting male masturbation, an approach which originated but quickly died out in upper class 19th Century Britain (see, eg, here.) As science progressed few legitimate medical reasons have been found to support circumcision, although several (such as cleanliness, reduced cancer rates, reduced urinary tract infection rates etc) have been proposed with ambiguous or debunked legitimacy. For these reasons, and due to studies which have suggested that circumcised males have reduced sensitivity, circumcision has been on a general, slow decline for the past four decades. It has precious little to do with Christianity and seems more a cultural practice.

America is a nation with a lot of Christians. Many of the basic tenets of Christianity, such as certain ten commandments which make theological demands, are not actively implemented by the government. It can not, I think, be called a Christian country, and does have specific safeguards in place to prevent it from becoming behoven to a particular religion, although obviously these safeguards aren’t perfect.

On that note, the IDCers will lose simply because they aren’t practising science, their ideas will never become scientifically useful, and scientists involved in the sciences which rely on, explain, and further prove evolution are overwhelmingly uniform in debunking IDC as sectarian and nonscientific. Many, many people believe many, many wrong or religious things, and very few of these are legally taught in state schools. IDCers have already lost against scientists because they’re not trying to engange in science, they will lose in the courts because they’re peddling a narrow sectarian agenda with no valid secular purpose.

-Schmitt.

I noticed some of these responses to POGs post have missed his point. If you carefully read his original post and not simply react to some of the statements emotionally, you will notice he’s not advocating a pro-ID position. He doesn’t appear to be a troll. On the contrary his post appears to be a somewhat hysterical counter-reaction to the political and PR success of the intelligent design movement, stated in a scathingly sarcastic way. I can understand this reaction, I feel that way myself sometimes, but it’s easier to keep one’s cool at times like this when you see someone else loosing his.

Note that POG has some very good points that we really need to (calmly) consider. First, about being a ‘Christian nation’: The reason the religious right has gotten so much traction from this phrase is because it is a complete weasle. There are many ways to interpret it and a PR savy propagandist can exploit the difference between how secularists will understand it and how there target political base will to undermine secular institutions without getting anybody too stirred up at first. Constitutionally, we are not an officially ‘Christian nation’ and even the hard religious conservatives will actually agree with this (although many undoubtedly wish it were otherwise). But that expression can also refer to the cultural dominance of Christianity, and its traditions and values, in our society. Often, they prefer the term ‘Judao-Christian tradition’ for this purpose, both to be politically correct and to maintain political solidarity with conservative Jews. We can simply acknowledge the fact that we are a culturally “Christian nation”, which seems fairly innocent, until we realize that this term also carries connotations that appeal to an unstated yearning for an ethnic Christian nationalism that seems to underlie much of the psychology of American religious conservatives today. We need to attend to this distinction, to point it out and be prepared and challenge religious conservatives to explicitly express their views on the scope and limitations of their interpreation of that phrase in term of concrete legal and policy examples (i.e., abortion, civil rights, the role of the state and the scope of state power, the role of science in society, etc.)

Secondly, POG points out that we are desparately out-gunned (that is, out-funded) in the PR war and that the true believers in the religous right have a well thought-out, well-funded political agenda with full-time professional hacks who are fully prepared to fight it out to the bitter end. And they currently are not on the margins but have the sympathies of at least a plurality of the population. POG is right. We need to face this fact. And we need to fight back accordingly. I dont want to restart the “warfare” of science and religion but it appears that the religious right has already restarted it. If we want science to survive in this country, we will have to fight back with every thing we have. If the ID community wants to use pseudo-science to cloak their religious beliefs with the respectability of science, we will have to take the gloves off and treat them the way we would any such claims, without no concessions to religious correctness. Many of you may be religious believers and I don’t mean to imply that science and religion cannot peacefully coexist, but rational and emerical methods (and peer-review and professional training) really do make a normative difference in evaluating truth claims about natural, emperically accessible phenomena, notwithstanding post-modernist claims to the contrary. So if the ID movement really wants to deny any epsitemological distinction between religious claims and empirical, scientific claims we should grant them their wish and publicy subject all such combined claims to the full force of scientific and empirical scrutiny, allowing absolutely no deferrence based upon some presumption of piety or well-intendedness or religious correctness.

This may be the politically wrong response, but if American science goes down in flames, it won’t be because the scientific community rolled over or because the IDer’s did not get a fair chance to understand what they were getting into. And if we stick to our principles, in the long run history may decide this debate otherwise.

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This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on September 2, 2005 4:48 PM.

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