Hmm, this sounds familiar…

| 25 Comments

I just stumbled on an interesting old article in the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation (The ASA is the long-established organization of scientists who are evangelical Christians. The membership ranges from young-earth creationism to theistic evolution).

The article is creationist Nell Segraves’s contribution to a five-person response to the question, “Biblical Creation: Should It Be Taught in the Public Schools as a Mandated Subject Alongside Evolution?” Segraves replied:

Biblical Creation: Should It Be Taught in the Public Schools as a Mandated Subject Alongside Evolution?

From: JASA 33 (December 1981): 231-235

(A public discussion on May 14, 1980 sponsored by the Community Services Office, San Diego Community College, and the Biology Department of San Diego Mesa College.)

Nell Segraves

Nell Segraves is a co-founder and an administrative assistant at the Creation Science Research Center. She has been involved in the evaluation of science, social science and health textbooks for approximately eighteen years.

Those of us involved in the Creationist Movement are not attempting to legislate biblical creation into science classrooms. Biblical creation is a belief that we hold, but we are no more advocating our belief in the Scriptures as a science subject than is the humanist advocating atheism as a subject for classroom discussion in science. The Creation Science Research Center is not attempting to introduce to public schools Bible stories or Bible verses. Neither are the other established responsible Creationist organizations. What we are advocating, rather, is the introduction into the science classroom of scientific data which are currently being excluded…namely, scientific data which conflict with the evolutionary theories of origin, and which are needed for the critical evaluation of evolutionary theories as science.

Yep, all we want to do is just teach the “scientific data which are currently being excluded” and “conflict with the evolutionary theories of origin”, and do some “critical evaluation”! It seems like I’ve heard that before, somewhere.

The next sentence might also jog a few memories:

In conjunction with this, we are advocating the introduction into science textbooks of the scientific data which support the alternative explanation of origins, namely, intelligent, purposeful design and special creation. (Segraves 1981, bold added)

For those who haven’t learned the whole history of “creation science”, the Segraves family, located in southern California, spent decades mucking around with the teaching of evolution in the California Science Framework and state textbooks. This eventually ended up in court, in the 1981 case Segraves v. California.

The other day, I was reading an account of the Segraves case written by Thomas Jukes, [1] and came across the following quote from the Segraves’ complaint, filed in 1979. Among the 41 paragraphs in the complaint, Jukes quoted these two:

20. The evolutionary theory of the origin of man and of all plant and animal life is at odds with, is hostile to and contributes a repugnant coercion against the religious beliefs of plaintiffs.

21. Scientific creationism is compatible and coincides with the religious beliefs of plaintiffs, said beliefs, based upon scientific principles, being that there was a time in the past when all matter, energy and man and all plant and animal life, and their processes and relationships were created ex nihilo and fixed by creative and intelligent design. (Segraves complaint 1979, quoted in Jukes 1982, bold added)

I bring this up because the Segraves are closely tied to the origin of the rhetoric and political strategy of “scientific creationism” or “creation science,” via the Creation-Science Research Center. I just can’t resist quoting a key bit of Ronald Numbers’s definitive 1992 history of creationism, The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism:

[p. 242]

[…] By the mid-1970s the advocates of flood geology, such as Morris and Moore, had securely attached the synonymous tags “creation science” and “scientific creationism” to the Bible-based views of George McCready Price. This relabeling reflected more than euphemistic preference; it signified a major tactical shift among strict six-day creationists. Instead of denying evolution its scientific credentials, as biblical creationists had done for a century, the scientific creationists granted creation and evolution equal scientific standing. Instead of trying to bar evolution from the classroom, as their predecessors had done in the 1920s, they fought to bring creation into the schoolhouse and repudiated the epithet “antievolutionist.” Instead of appealing to the authority of the Bible, as John C. Whitcomb, Jr., and Morris had done in launching the creationist revival, they downplayed the Genesis story in favor of emphasizing the scientific aspects of creationism. […]

[p. 243]

But, as we shall see, the appeal to science arose primarily in response to specific educational and legal developments.

SELLING SCIENCE

In 1963, in a decision prompted in part by the protests of the atheist Madalyn Murray (b. 1919), the United States Supreme Court ruled that mandatory Bible reading and prayers in public schools breached the constitutional wall separating the government from religion. […]

Among the first to seize this opportunity was a Baptist mother from southern California, Nell J. Segraves (b. 1922), troubled by some of the things her children were learning in school. Murray’s success in shielding her son from unwelcome religious exposure suggested to Segraves that creationist parents such as herself could also use the law to shield their offspring. …Segraves petitioned the California State Board of Education to require that evolution be designated a theory in all state-approved biology texts. Their efforts elicited a positive response from the U. S. attorney general’s office and from the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Max L. Rafferty, (1917-1982), who in 1966 encouraged the two women to demand equal time for creation. His reading of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which included a provision allowing teachers to mention religion as long as they did not promote specific doctrines, prompted his suggestion. Besides, the creationists suspected that the Supreme Court would momentarily declare restrictions on the teaching of evolution to be unconstitutional. Late in 1965 Susan Epperson (b. 1941), a young biology teacher in Little Rock, had challenged the 1928 Arkansas law banning instruction in evolution. Given the judicial climate, creationists expected that the Supreme Court would strike down the old statute, which it did in 1968.

[p. 244]

Segraves and Sumrall failed in their first effort to persuade the Board of Education to incorporate creation into the curriculum, but a second opportunity arose in 1969. […] Though not a young-earth creationist, [a Pentacostal named Vernon L. Grose] offered substitute wording for the Framework that satisfied, though hardly pleased, Segraves and Sumrall as well as the board. “While the Bible and other philosophical treatises also mention creation, science has independently postulated the various theories of creation,” read the revised Framework, released in 1970. “Therefore, creation in scientific terms is not a religious or philosophical belief.” Such language inflamed evolutionists and kept the California textbook controversy raging throughout the early 1970s. The dispute eventually ended in a draw: Evolutionists kept creation out of public-school biology texts, but creationists succeeded in demoting evolution to the level of a mere speculative theory.

The transmogrification of creationism from religion to science took place in direct response to the events in California, which encouraged creationists to believe that they could squeeze into science classrooms simply by shedding superfluous biblical weight. “Creationism is on the way back,” announced Morris, “this time not primarily as a religious belief, but as an alternative scientific explanation of the world in which we live.” The new labels for this alternative science first appeared about 1969. In anticipation of a favorable ruling by the California State Board of Education, Segraves, Sumrall, and other associates of the Bible-Science Association in southern California set up Creation Science, Inc., to prepare creationist textbooks. In 1970 this organization merged with the planned creation studies center at Christian Heritage College in San Diego to form the Creation-Science Research Center. Morris, who had agreed to move to San Diego to become academic vice president of the college if he could also organize a creation center there, served as director. In the fall Morris offered a course at Christian Heritage titled “Scientific Creationism,” apparently his first public use of the term. In the September 1971 issue of the Creation Research Society Quarterly, he introduced the two-model approach to his colleagues in the CRS, arguing that evolution and creation were equally [p. 245] “scientific” and equally “religious.” Shortly thereafter he described evolution and creation as “competing scientific hypotheses.” At the spring 1972 meeting of the CRS board, members were instructed to begin using “scientific creationism,” a phrase creationists came to use interchangeably with “creation science.”

(Ronald Numbers, 1992, The Creationists Alfred A. Knopf, New York, pp. 242-245. Chapter 12, “Creation Science and Scientific Creationism.” Bolds added throughout.)

Let’s see: an organization is formed in 1970, in the midst of political battles aiming to get the “science” of creationism, not the Bible, into public schools. New buzz-phrases, “scientific creationism” and “creation science”, are clearly introduced in reaction to very specific legal and political developments. The practical purpose for the organization is to “prepare creationist textbooks.” The founders disavow any desire to get the Bible into schools, only the critical analysis and the alleged evidence against evolution, in support of “intelligent, purposeful design” and “creative and intelligent design.”

I won’t pretend that the parallels are exact, and I won’t draw any precise conclusions, but the similarities between the actions of the Creation-Science Research Center in the 1970’s, and the Foundation for Thought and Ethics and the Discovery Institute Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture in the 1980’s-1990’s, are quite eerie.

I’m sure, though, that the similarity in the abbreviations of two of the key organizations, the CSRC and CRSC, is just a coincidence.

References

1. Jukes, Thomas H. (1982). “Creationists in Court: Sacramento, 1981.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 25(2), pp. 207-219, Winter 1982.

2. Numbers, Ronald (1992). The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, pp. 1-458.

3. Segraves, Nell (1981). “Biblical Creation: Should It Be Taught in the Public Schools as a Mandated Subject Alongside Evolution? Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, 33, pp. 231-235, December 1981.

25 Comments

It’s so hard to keep from teasing them. … mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Ok, I cant help it, Hello, wake up, you’re drooling on your remote control.

God forgot to give Creationists their 11th commandment: Evolve.

What bothers me about this whole issue is not that people believe literal creationism or not, it’s the state of mind and the behaviour of many of these people that worries me most. They see themselves as paragons of virtue, yet they consistently demonstrate deceit, dishonesty, and destructive ways in their actions (in the Dover trial, for instance - at least regarding deceit and dishonesty). Like many fundamentalists anywhere in the world (my observation), they seem to have trapped themselves in some kind of mental state that has lead to psychiatric problems, including bloody-minded stubborness. The have problems in accepting reality despite overwhelming evidence that contradicts their beliefs. The overwhelming majority of fundamentalists don’t behave badly, but for the ones that do, what do you think might cause them to behave in such dishonest, deceitful, obsessive and destructive ways?

That is because they are god warriors.…

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2681739

That is because they are god warriors.…

God worriers more like. The big fella must be pulling his hair out at the state of his most vocal “supporters”.

‘God worriers more like. The big fella must be pulling his hair out at the state of his most vocal “supporters”.’

Which is not unlike what parents go through with their adolescent children.

”…but for the ones that do, what do you think might cause them to behave in such dishonest, deceitful, obsessive and destructive ways?”

1. Money

2. Power

3. Hubris

4. Sex (?) (Often goes with the above)

5. Control

6. Fear of loss of the above

7. being on FOX news

8. More Money

Kay. Thanks for the link. This is a good example of what I’m talking about. Disturbing indeed, and I have been on the receiving end of such insanity. Even for rationally thinking persons, this sort of gut-wrenching, emotionalism creates an environment of detachment from reality.

Thanks for your input maine yankee. We see proof of all your points on a daily basis from people from all walks of life, not just fundamentalists (and I agree, fear and control are definitely pronounced traits in the fundamentalist mind set). Might I suggest that the underlying basis of fundamentalist thought processes, in extreme cases, could be some kind of psychiatric disorder, possibly independent of the motivations/manifestations listed above in your comment? For example, people driven to the brink of insanity living in an environment of war and death on a daily basis. Is there a genetic predisposition to fundamentalism? Are fundamentalist thought processes the first step down the road to extremism and outward manifestation of the traits I mentioned above (dishonesty, deceit, obsession, destruction)?

“That is because they are god warriors.…

God worriers more like. The big fella must be pulling his hair out at the state of his most vocal “supporters”.”

I think the English term is “God botherers”.

Well, that scientific creationism and intelligent design are synonyms is obvious.

To sum up…

First they tried to outlaw evolution as anti-Bible and/or immoral.

Then they tried to get evolution struck down and/or removed as “religion.”

Then declared creation to be scientific and tried to mandate “equal” and then “balanced” treatement of explicate creationism without explicate Biblical references. That resulted in Edwards v. Aguillard striking down any forced teaching of creationism.

Then they tried to stop calling it creationism and dropped obvious young-earth creationism references and tried the the same thing as they just did under then name “intelligent design.”

Even this did not do so well and thus the Discovery Institute started to try saying that they are not trying to push ID but rather teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution and “teach the controversy.”

Of course some ID avocates are still on the second-to-last step. Many grass roots advocates are still in creationism. The switch-over between each step generally takes years.

To sum up…

First they tried to outlaw evolution as anti-Bible and/or immoral.

Then they tried to get evolution struck down and/or removed as “religion.”

Then declared creation to be scientific and tried to mandate “equal” and then “balanced” treatement of explicate creationism without explicate Biblical references. That resulted in Edwards v. Aguillard striking down any forced teaching of creationism.

Then they tried to stop calling it creationism and dropped obvious young-earth creationism references and tried the the same thing as they just did under then name “intelligent design.”

Even this did not do so well and thus the Discovery Institute started to try saying that they are not trying to push ID but rather teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution and “teach the controversy.”

Yep.

And they lost, every single time.

I think that must be some sort of record for a political movement.

As I’ve always said, the ID movement hasn’t come up with anything — anything AT ALL — that wasn’t just cribbed from arguments made 30 years ago by the creation “scientists”.

Lenny as I think you know this won’t be the last Hurrah for the Monsters from the ID. Looking in your Xtal ball what can we expect ? A separate branch of science reviewing each other ?

“I know you’re a Christian, but who are you a Christian against.” - Kenneth Burke

Althought it’s occasional difficult going, this is an interesting read on the psychology of fundamentalism.

http://www.counterpunch.org/davis01082005.html

Davis is an Ohio State lit prof, which proves nothing of course, but his bent from thesis till today has been a psychoanalytic look at everything from art crticism to religious fundamentalism. Can’t speak for his qualifications as psychoanalyst.

Article appears in a definetly out of the main stream website, but given what he says that’s not surprising.

Lenny as I think you know this won’t be the last Hurrah for the Monsters from the ID. Looking in your Xtal ball what can we expect ?

I think they’ll expand on the Michigan thingie:

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/ne[…]0_4_2005.asp

They already know that they will never get creationism, in any form, into schools. All they have left is the “scientific criticisms of evolution”, which have also already failed in Cobb County. The only thing LEFT that they can do is to try to get around the Cobb ruling jsut like they tried to get around the Arkansas ruling. And the only way they can do THAT is to include other “science” in their “criticisms”. Since global warming (and environmental protection in general) is another of the lunatic right’s boogie men, it’s not at all surprising that it would be named as a target along with evolution (I expect that “endangered species” will pop up sometime soon, too).

As I see it, such a legal effort is doomed to failure, for two reasons: (1) the fundies already have a paper trial of religious opposition to evolution a mile wide, and I don’t think they can convicne any judge anywhere that any new opposition to evolution isn’t just more of the same, and (2) there is nothing in law ALREADY that prevents teachers from examining or discussing scientific issues like evolution or global warming, and hence no legitimate need for THIS one. The kicker will come when the fundies are forced to PRODUCE all these “scientific criticisms of evolution and global warming”, only to show the world, once again, that it’s the same old crap we’ve been seeing from them for 50 years now.

The ONLY hope of success that the fundies can have, I think, is a bill requiring students to be able to apply the scientific method to examine ANY scientific question.

And I would support such a bill. I doubt the fundies would turn out to like it very much, though.

Freud_wore_a_slip

on your post

http://www.counterpunch.org/davis01082005.html

Yes this identifies the illness of a frozen ego trapped in concrete where ego death is posponed and unless we chip it free it will cause damgae outside the minds of the owners. A great way to build an army as we saw in 1933 !

CRUCIFIXION OF FALSE EGO

In ego people come and in ego they go. In ego they are born and in ego they die. In ego they give and in ego they take. In ego they earn and in ego they lose. In ego they become truthful or false. In ego they experience heavenly or hellish existence. In ego they laugh, and in ego they weep. In ego they become dirty, and in ego they are washed clean. In ego they lose social status and class. In ego they are ignorant, and in ego they are wise. They do not know the value of salvation and liberation. In ego they love Maya and in ego they are kept in darkness by it. Living in ego, mortal beings are created. When one understands ego, then God’s gate is known. Without Spiritual Wisdom, they babble and argue (sggs 466

Killing the Ego: Does It Hurt?

http://www.realization.org/page/doc0/doc0003.htm

Is this available in Islam Does it remove “begging the question” ? Its hard to find but its there. http://www.masjidtucson.org/submiss[…]its/ego.html

and Christianity?

look up “killing ego jesus zen”

Lenny “ The ONLY hope of success that the fundies can have, I think, is a bill requiring students to be able to apply the scientific method to examine ANY scientific question.”

Note: “scientific method”

They will try their hardest to change the Law from (Ancient) Rome to Jerusalem.

From: Render unto God what is God’s and render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s

To: Render unto God what is Caesar’s and render unto Caesar what is God’s

k.e. Wrote:

The ONLY hope of success that the fundies can have, I think, is a bill requiring students to be able to apply the scientific method to examine ANY scientific question.”

How about a bill that requires all students to learn informal logic? I mean things like:

What is an argument, a fallacy, a sophistry? How do you tell a good argument from a bad one? When is it useful to rely on an expert? How do you evaluate an expert’s value to an issue? Stuff like that.

How come no one seems to be fighting to get that included in classrooms? Who do I have to sleep with to get this taught in schools? Is it that God warrior woman? ‘Cause I will if that is what it takes.

could be some kind of psychiatric disorder

It might help to get some of the creationists (and politicians!) under a medical scanner and find out. http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychia[…]atry/tb/1852 I doubt they would agree to it though.

Hddl tht’s th snst thng ‘v sn y pst.(gggl)

How about a bill that requires all students to learn informal logic? I mean things like:

What is an argument, a fallacy, a sophistry? How do you tell a good argument from a bad one? When is it useful to rely on an expert? How do you evaluate an expert’s value to an issue? Stuff like that.

How come no one seems to be fighting to get that included in classrooms?

Because the LAST thing the powers that be want is a populatuion that knows how to detect BS and knows how to think for itself.

Most of our modern society is based upon BS – everything from political campaign ads to TV ads for soap flakes.

For all the “ID isn’t creationim” folks out there:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/in[…]6007431.html

Intelligent design a Trojan horse, says creationist

By Mark Coultan November 27, 2005

KEN Ham should be on the same side of the street as proponents of intelligent design. After all, he’s in opposition to the atheistic view of science as an explanation for the world we see. He, like many people in the intelligent design movement, is a Christian.

But intelligent design advocates probably won’t thank Australian-born Mr Ham for articulating what many of them try to avoid saying. That is: for some, the intelligent design movement is essentially a stalking horse for religion and, in the US, a way of getting around the separation of church and state to get into schools and influence children’s education.

He says some Christian intelligent design people believe that, if they “can get students to begin to question atheism”, that may be a way to get them to listen to the Bible.

Because of rulings of the US Supreme Court “their hands are tied”.

“If you mention the Bible, they are going to say that contravenes the separation of church and state.

“Therefore some people are trying to find a way around that.”

Mr Ham is one of the leading proponents of creationism in the US.

He arrived from Australia in 1976 and established the Answers in Genesis ministry in 1994. It is devoted to propagating the idea that the Bible, and in particular its first book Genesis, is literally true, right from the first line: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Answers in Genesis, which has been promoting Christian rallies in Canberra and Geelong this weekend, is building a $25 million museum in Cincinnati which tells history as it occurred in the Bible, adding dinosaurs and a few other things along the way. As the museum’s website says: “Adam and apes share the same birthday. The first man walked with dinosaurs and named them all.”

Mr Ham says much of the scientific evidence of evolution comes from the assumptions that scientists make, but if you come to the evidence with different assumptions, you get quite different answers.

He says many Christians are now grabbing on to the intelligent design argument “thinking that solves the issue of the separation of church and state to get things into schools”.

“If those people get themselves on school boards, fine.

“We don’t oppose them. Simply because, for me, and for us in the biblical creation movement, we say, well let them fight the evolutionists, the atheists, and keep fighting issues of naturalism and so on, that’s fine.”

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on November 18, 2005 7:26 PM.

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