A Schoolteacher Speaks Out

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Kansas State Board of Education member Connie Morris was one of the anti-science gang of six who railroaded changes to the state standards past the normal processes of curriculum development. In “Reasoning Behind Evolution Vote” (full copy available on the flip side), she attempts to justify that decision. Her article was published in the Hays, KS newspaper, and we here at the Thumb were just cracking our knuckles to respond to it.

Alas, one of the stalwart science defenders in Kansas has beaten us to the punch, but we didn’t mope too long because the response was brilliant. Cheryl Shephard-Adams’s “ID Promoters’ Perpetual Folly” is highly recommended and you can find it at the Garden City Telegram Online.

Of note, Ms. Morris is up for re-election this year. She will be opposed by both a Republican, Sally Cauble of Liberal, and a Democrat, Tim Cruz of Garden City.

If you click through to the flip side, you’ll see the Google Cache version of Morris’ original screed and, in case the same fate befalls Shepard-Adams’ brilliant reply, a full copy of it as well.

BCH

Reasoning behind evolution vote Published Jul. 16, 2006

Most people avoid talk about evolution like the plague.

Why is it so sensitive? I think Cardinal Christopher Schonborn put his finger on it last year when he observed that “the question of the origin (Whence do we come?) is inseparable from that of life’s goal (Where do we go?).”

So, what we believe about where we come from likely will affect our beliefs about religion, ethics, morals and, yes, even politics.

If this subject is so explosive, why teach it to children? Shouldn’t we leave that to parents?

The problem is, all the biology textbooks open up the discussion, and the inherent curiosity of science seems to make it inevitable.

So if we must teach it, how do we do that? We were presented with two competing models.

The majority proposal is a vague model that describes evolution so ambiguously that it is hard to see how one could ever prove it wrong. This “standard model” suggests no weakness in the theory and offers no hint that it might be subject to any criticism. Whether it’s true or not is important, because chemical and biological evolution describe a materialistic account of origins — life just results from matter, energy, the forces and chance. Materialism supports many non-theistic religions and belief systems. Should the state use the standard model to indoctrinate young children in materialism?

The “minority” proposal, which I call the comprehensive model, was crafted by eight of the 25-member writing committee. The eight included three having doctoral degrees in the life sciences. They believe the standard model is insufficient because it omits relevant information. Students should be informed of the particulars of the theory so they can see if it’s wrong or not. They also believe we should describe significant scientific controversies over the origin of life and the origin of significant new body plans and bio-chemical systems. Random mutation and natural selection can explain finch beaks and peppered moths, but can they adequately explain the origin of the eye or the 40 different body plans that suddenly appear during the Cambrian explosion?

I’m not a scientist, so how did I decide between the two models?À Intuition and my own analysis tell me the comprehensive model wins. Most of its additions to the standard model simply reflect common sense. However, we heard that any criticism of evolution is almost sacrilegious — tantamount to scientific heresy.À Accepting common sense would be going against the grain.

We decided to resolve the problem by having extensive public hearings so scientists for and against the comprehensive model could explain in detail their competing views.

For three solid days, we listened to 23 experts: four PhD biochemists, five PhD microbiologists, three PhD chemists, two PhD philosophers of science, a PhD geneticist and inventor of the Gene Gun, a PhD quantum physicist, a PhD professor of education and religion, three biology teachers, a Muslim journalist and an attorney. An ACLU attorney cross-examined all their testimony. They made a strong case for the comprehensive model. It became apparent it was not only needed, but was actually necessary to achieve a scientifically objective discussion of origins that would be religiously neutral.

Those advocating the standard model didn’t show. They stood on the sidelines and waved banners and shouted slogans. Who were the scientists in the building? The real scientists were the ones who stood tall before the public, who testified and didn’t hide from a stiff cross-examination. They demonstrated not only courage, but they left no doubt that modern evolutionary theory is not the slam dunk that it’s made out to be.

After the hearings, I had no choice. Evolution is scientifically controversial and students need to be fully informed about it. Teaching only one side of the origins controversy is not really scientific or religiously neutral.

Connie Morris is a member of the Kansas State Board of Education.

ID promoters’ perpetual folly

Published 7/28/2006 By CHERYL SHEPHERD-ADAMS How on Earth did this happen? Honestly, I already have plenty to do with being married to a hard worker, raising four kids and working diligently - as I have for the past 20 years - to find innovative ways of teaching science to teenagers. Writing opinion letters was the farthest thing from my mind.

But then some members of our current state school board started accusing me and my colleagues of promoting dogma in our classrooms, of being “confused” if we accept Christ in our hearts and evolution in our minds, and of “indoctrinating young children into materialism.”

As they repeated these charges, I started reading everything I could find about science and faith, and realized that science and faith both have one important tenet: the primacy of truth.

Unfortunately, Connie Morris’ recently-published rationalization for the new science standards ignores that tenet. Her description of the May 2005 Topeka intelligent design (ID) hearings omitted several key facts.

According to the Kansas Department of Education’s established rules for adopting curriculum standards, four public hearings were held across the state in early 2005, where it became obvious that the public did not support the ID-friendly version of the proposed standards.

At that point, John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network of Kansas Inc., declared that these public hearings were counterproductive to his cause. As a result, the state school board changed the rules to legitimize the Topeka hearings described by Mrs. Morris.

Mrs. Morris was one of the three judges who presided over those hearings in which no oaths were administered and no rules of evidence were in place. Although Mrs. Morris admits that intuition guided her decision, intuition also maintains that since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the earth must be stationary with the sun orbiting around it. Intuition doesn’t replace scientific evidence, and she and her fellow judges, Kathy Martin and Steve Abrams, repeatedly brushed aside the copious evidence supporting evolution.

It is true that mainstream scientists boycotted the event, knowing that science proceeds by careful evaluation of published results and not by rhetoric. Considering Mrs. Morris’ opinion of evolution as “an age-old fairy tale,” Mrs. Martin’s statement before the hearings that her decision was already made, and Mr. Abrams’ complicity in the 1999 creationism debacle, it’s not surprising that scientists refused to submit to their whims.

The real boycott continues to be perpetrated by the ID proponents, who have refused to submit their work to the scientific scrutiny of peer-review. Instead, they demand special treatment - to have their ideas taught in classrooms without going through the standard vetting process endured by the rest of the concepts in the science curriculum. Contrary to claims of evolution as “unquestioned dogma,” Nobel Prizes are routinely won by those who uncover data challenging the scientific status quo. ID has no such data.

Mrs. Morris also neglected to point out that she and Mrs. Martin admitted they hadn’t read through the previous standards they were criticizing; neither had most of the pro-ID witnesses.

Scientists and “teach the controversy” proponents sparred last year in a Pennsylvania courtroom, where those testifying swore to tell the truth and strict rules of evidence were applied. A church-going, Bush-appointed Republican judge ruled in Kitzmiller vs. Dover that “ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny, which we have now determined that it cannot withstand, by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM (ID movement) is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.”

It’s obvious that scientists have shown up where it counts, in the laboratories, the scientific literature and in court. The Topeka hearings were an exercise in public relations, an attempt to portray ID and “teach the controversy” as legitimate science rather than a political/religious movement.

Recently, Cardinal Schonborn stated, “I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained.” Mrs. Morris supports a false definition of science, one which blurs those borders so that explanations originating outside the natural world can be taught as science. ID proponents have long maintained that this changed definition is crucial to the acceptance of ID as science. During the Dover trial testimony, ID leader Michael Behe admitted that using this definition would recognize astrological horoscopes as authentic science.

The truth remains that the current science standards have been rejected by the major science and science teaching organizations in Kansas and the U.S. Is it honest for the state board of education to presume to know more about science than those tens of thousands of experts?

Cheryl Shepherd-Adams teaches high school science in Hays. She was awarded the 2005 NSTA-Toyota Tapestry Large Grant, was named 2003 Outstanding Kansas High School Physics Teacher and is a member of Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honorary.

75 Comments

The real scientists were the ones who stood tall before the public, who testified and didn’t hide from a stiff cross-examination.

And who would that be? If I recall correctly, Pedro I. asked only 3 questions of witnesses: the age of the Earth, common descent, and specifically common descent of humans and other apes. Some witnesses refused even to answer some of these questions.

and realized that science and faith both have one important tenet: the primacy of truth.

I’m not even going to comment on this. Instead I’m going over to hang out on Pharyngula for a while.

*applause*

A minority group on the committee produced the “comprehensive model”. So, model size is inversely proportional to the size of the committee developing the model. Then the most broad based all inclusive model should be developed by the smallest complement of individuals, less than 1, perhaps something non corporal contacted using a Ouija board. Of course certain controls would be required to ensure the correct standards were being received and translated properly.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

What is she talking about, Christ in our “hearts” and evolution in our “minds”. Sounds an evasion to me. In other words, if you are a Christian check your brains at the door and fill your mind with mainstram evolutionary theory. Isn’t that kind of lile the “gospel of evolutionism”.

What is she talking about, Christ in our “hearts” and evolution in our “minds”. Sounds an evasion to me. In other words, if you are a Christian check your brains at the door and fill your mind with mainstram evolutionary theory. Isn’t that kind of lile the “gospel of evolutionism”.

Why should anyone care about whether Connie Morris’s statements omit facts? After all, I “have faith” that her position is true. And faith is all about “the primacy of truth”, so my selective obliviousness to documentary evidence shouldn’t be held against me. Faith is just a “different way of knowing”.

Well-written letter, Cheryl. Your students are very fortunate to have as their teacher someone as articulate and analytical as you. I wish that all teachers of Biology had as firm a grasp of the issues as you do.

What is she talking about, Christ in our “hearts” and evolution in our “minds”. Sounds an evasion to me. In other words, if you are a Christian check your brains at the door and fill your mind with mainstram evolutionary theory. Isn’t that kind of lile the “gospel of evolutionism”

It sounded like a derivative of Stephen J. Gould’s “non-overlapping magisteria” concept, whereby it is noted that science is consistently better than religion at determining the truth of materialistic statements, but is completely unable to comment on metaphysical ones.

I think most people would agree with the above statement, albeit with some considerable redrawing of the boundary between the two magisteria. For example, atheists generally feel that questions like “is there a God” fall in the materialistic category, whereas theistic evolutionists generally feel that these questions fall into the metaphysical category.

Checking one’s brain at the door and getting involved with mainstream science are mutually inconsistent ideas - scepticism is the fuel that drives the scientific machine. However, if you have an argument against something, it’s generally required that you express it in a way that can itself survive scepticism. So, for example, a mathematical disproof of evolution would have to be published in a reputable journal (or in some other way subjected to fierce peer review) before it would be widely accepted.

What is she talking about, Christ in our “hearts” and evolution in our “minds”. Sounds an evasion to me.

Hardly an evasion. It’s a head-on assault: We Christians who study nature, who bring you better crops, better insecticides that target more carefully, better pharmaceuticals to cure your ills, and knowledge of creation that strikes awe into the heart of anyone with half a brain, are sick and tired of being called “anti-Christian” simply because we study creation.

If you have data, bring it to the table. Honest people will let the data speak. But it is dishonest for creationists to claim they have the moral high road by denigrating the faith of others.

Knowledge is not anathema to faith. If some people keep attacking knowlege under a pretense of advancing faith, ignorance may triumph in some places, or in many places. Be very careful to think through what it is you advocate. Ignorance is not a tool of virtue.

Hey Christensen, I thought ID wasn’t about religion. No sireee Bob. Not at all.

Or are IDers like you, uh, just lying to us when they make that claim … ?

Mrs. Shepherd-Adams wrote an incisive and focused response to Connie Morris’ blathering about science standards. Connie Morris is a scientifically illiterate nutcase.

Even with clowns like Morris and her ilk on the KBOE, there is hope for Kansas as long as teachers like Mrs. Shepherd-Adams stand up, speak out, and teach science.

Creationist/ID propaganda is heavily dependent upon two Big Lies: 1) That there is a scientific controversy regarding the validity of evolution, and 2) Belief in evolution and belief in God are inconsistent.

Here is the truth: 1) Biologists almost unanimously regard creationism/ID as a joke, about on a level with the Flat Earth Society. 2) There are lots and lots of Christian biologists (along with many other religions) who find that if anything their knowledge of evolution enriches their religious belief. Ken Miller’s views are fairly typical: http://brownalumnimagazine.com/stor[…].cfm?Id=1838

Creationism/ID is 1) an assault on science. 2) an assault on teachers, who are forced to parrot the lies of the Discovery Institute. 3) an assault on Christians who don’t share the particular religious doctrine espoused by the propagandists of the Discovery Institute.

Hey “REV” Lenny, when ya gonna debate me at KCFS?

Have your friend Jack set it up.

Although considering the lousy job he did of questioning Calvert at Calverts meeting on the 26th I suppose that is unlikely now.

By the way, I sure would like t hear the audios of Jacks and his buddies questions of Calvert, Menuge, and Harris.

Wouldn’t you?

I mean, it could only help you all, right?

(yawn) Hey Christensen, quit waving your arms all around, and just answer my goddamn questions.

Morris reads as not knowing science and easily duped regards it. Shephard-Adams is indeed brilliant on argument and style.

“It sounded like a derivative of Stephen J. Gould’s “non-overlapping magisteria” concept, whereby it is noted that science is consistently better than religion at determining the truth of materialistic statements, but is completely unable to comment on metaphysical ones.”

It has made some direct statements and provided trust in others indirectly. Methodological naturalism is a direct metaphysical conclusion on a useful method, and vitalism, animism, souls and other dualisms has lost much or all credibility indirectly. NOMA is a failed concept, trivially so with this definition.

Cherly Sheperd Adams is billed as a science teacher.

What the article does not disclose is that she is a board member of the Kansas Citizens for Science .

Her, letter, and the rash of personal attacks launched on Calvert certainly SEEMS to be an attempt to influence the election.

Hey Lenny! I did mean to answer your question, I just got too excited, … ID is no more about religion than your promotion of evolution is about atheism! (hehehe)

Now, how about that debate at KCFS big guy!

Lets do it!

It will be quite a show!

Certainly I would not have a chance against a guy like you!

”… now it’s Christensen on the right wing, all alone one-on-one headed toward Flank in the net… Christensen takes the shot.. OH! That one was WAY wide.”

Dude: ID is about getting Christian fundamentalist doctrine into high-school science class. Real scientists say religion belongs in church, and science class is where they teach science.

Why do you have a problem with that?

Oh I think I see Christen-sins problems with that.

1. The courts have ruled out teaching his particular sect’s or cult’s version of biblical literalism in science classes. Since the enlightenment inspired constitution forbids giving one sect advantage over the other by separating church and state and guaranteeing freedom OF religion AND freedom FROM religion.

2. He is under the illusion that scientists consider those who scream out their religious convictions, disguised as pseudo-science, the loudest and longest will have their crack pot ideas accepted as ‘science’. (C’sin the patent office still accepts inventions for anti-gravity machines, you’re in the wrong place)

3. He considers that religious obscurantism in the form feel god postmodernist waffle gab written by half educated amateurs dabbling in education standards ACTUALLY IS an education standard.

4. He’s a loser.

Re. Christ in our hearts and evolution in our minds. Is this the same as theistic evolution ? maybe that’s what she means.

However, when she talks about teaching the controversy it might sound as if she is talking about alternative evolutionary theories.

For example, Gene Shoemakers ideas on impact creators were an alternative to what was believed by most astronomers at the time, but by the end of the 1960’s everyone had accepted his ideas as to the origins of lunar creators ( they were demonstrated to be true by laboratory experiments by the way )

Similarly, there were various theories to explain red-shifts in cosmology but the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation in 1965 left only one plausible explanation.

As we all know, what Ms Morris really means is that we should teach young earth creationism as an alternative. Possibly some of the parents who have no scientific background may not have realised what she was talking about.

Christensen wrote: Cherly Sheperd Adams is billed as a science teacher. What the article does not disclose is that she is a board member of the Kansas Citizens for Science. Her, letter, and the rash of personal attacks launched on Calvert certainly SEEMS to be an attempt to influence the election.

It strikes me as odd for an advocate of ID creationism, a collective that denounced evolutionists for not turning up to defend their views at Kalvert’s Kangaroo Kourt, to denounce Shepherd-Adams for defending her views in the forum of a newspaper. (Isn’t ID creationism always itching for a fight with evolution?)

Shepherd-Adams is indeed a board member of KCFS. Back when I was a member, we put forward a significant effort to develop contacts in Western Kansas. Whether by her own motivation or our campaigning, Shepherd-Adams is at least a part of that push. Because of people like Shepherd-Adams, KCFS represents pro-science activist citizens state-wide.

BCH

Well Burt, you are misrepresenting what I said just like you did wheh we were both on KCFS forums.

I did NOT say she should not defend her views.

What I did say was that she did not disclose in the article that she was a KCFS board member.

By the way Burt, you say that when you were on the board you put significant effort into developing cotacts in Western Kansas.

Were those political contacts?

Any verification that you did that?

How’s the anti-gravity machine going Christensin?

Oh sorry, I mean the perpetual motion folly machine.

Christensen,

I’m not familiar with the specifics of Kansas law, but in most states Shepherd-Adams would be under no legal requirement to state that she was a member of KCFS. You may notice she never mentioned what school or school district she happened to work for either. She is expressing her opinion, not as a member of an organization, but as an individual. It’s another part of that pesky 1st amendment you ID folks seem to really dislike. Her letter is perfectly legal and intellectually honest.

I personally have seen science teachers taken in by the ID movement’s bogus argument that there is a controversy and that teaching other “scientific” theories is simply good instruction. This effort ends up with classes full of kids who really don’t understand the concept of a scientific theory but do feel better about their own religious beliefs. Sorry, I’ll trade a few hours of discomfort, that they can cope with on Sunday in their respective churches, over a collection of nitwits who have no concept of biology, science, evolutionary theory, critical thinking, etc.

You want to teach the ‘controversy?’ Then do this, start teaching them on Sunday morning after your services, heck you can teach it during your services. But keep your religion out of the SCIENCE classroom.

Score one for dogment over Christenstain.

However, although Sherly Shepard Adams would not be required to mention that she was a BOard member of KCFS, it WOULD have been the HONEST thing to do wouldn’t it?

Score one for dogmeat over Christenstain.

But although Sheryl Sheperd Adams would not be required to disclose unders Kansas law that she was a board member of KCFS it WOULD have been the honest thing to do.

I’m sorry, how, exactly, was she being dishonest by not revealing that? What legal or ethical duty did she violate?

I find it more than a little ironic that someone would get their knickers in a twist about an imaginary issue of ‘honesty’, yet not bat an eye as the DI and their local henchmen in the form of Calvert et. al., are in the process of perpetrating a truly dishonest campaign in Kansas.

Demonstrably, practitioners of atheistically based philosophies (most famously dialectical materialim) were responsible for more deaths in the 20th century (100 MILLION) ALONE (its still going on) than in all the so called religious wars…

Demonstrably? Please demonstrate.

Oh, so the underlying economic causes justify the religious atrocities, but not those from atheist *spit* powers, despite originating from the same economic causes.

Man, you’ve gotta love creationist double-think. Religious people commit attrocities because their corrupted by money. Atheists *spit* commit crimes because THEY’RE RUDDY ATHEISTS ALREADY! Got it! *spit*

Actually, the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil, so the atheists *spit* must commit attrocities for that reason only. Just like rapists rape because they love money. Either that or rapists aren’t evil…

I love his claim that atheists *spit* are more vicious for being unrestrained by any moral system. He must think Hitler was kinder than Pol Pot because Hitler (being restrained by a Christian moral system) used gas chambers and Pol Pot (the unrestrained atheist *spit*) just shot people. Puts me in mind of those classic restrained Christians in the Catholic church who, long ago, decided that round bullets, being less painful, should be used against Christian foes while square (more painful) bullets should be used against heathens. Oh, such kindness is brought on by a restraining moral system! Atheists *spit* would use square bullets on everyone! Of course, what they didn’t know in those dark days of yor was that square bullets are about as accurate as a creationist argument.

Actually anonyomous one, advanced technology is not required for mass exterminations. Most of the one hundred million dead were the result of forced starvation and deliberate exposure to diseases with of course a fair use of bullets (swords, spears and clubs could accomplish the same thing.)

The exterminations were generally part of a deliberate attempt to elimiate religion and thus can be directly attributed to atheit motivations. (Solzhenitsyns Gulag Archipelago series described this established this back in the seventies.)

In more recent times, the Chinese, according to Amnesty International have used atheism as a means of destroying the cultural identity of the Tibetans.

Atheists have no room to talk about ANYBODY.

Michael Suttkus II said:

“That’s my hypothesis, anyway. Take it or leave it.”

I reckon you’re dead on. I just can’t get my head ‘round that mindset of fact without evidence.

Christensen said:

“Demonstrably, practitioners of atheistically based philosophies (most famously dialectical materialim) were responsible for more deaths in the 20th century (100 MILLION) ALONE (its still going on) than in all the so called religious wars (which always ignores their political and economic base) that in the past 2500 years.”

Bull. You’re so full of it. If you have a corrupt government, it’s not their philisophical or spiritual beliefs that make them nasty. You’re completely ignoring the fact that dictators have come from all sorts of backgrounds AND beliefs. If you’d have payed attention to any of these posts (and indeed, to history) you’d understand that.

Actually anonyomous one, advanced technology is not required for mass exterminations. Most of the one hundred million dead were the result of forced starvation and deliberate exposure to diseases with of course a fair use of bullets (swords, spears and clubs could accomplish the same thing.)

Actually, advanced technology is required to uphold the state’s power to the extent that the civilians are powerless to revolt.

The exterminations were generally part of a deliberate attempt to elimiate religion and thus can be directly attributed to atheit motivations. (Solzhenitsyns Gulag Archipelago series described this established this back in the seventies.)

Nice, expected non-sequitur.

You said that most of the deaths were caused by starvation.

Most of the starvation was due to bad management. Not because of some alleged war against religion by atheists.

In more recent times, the Chinese, according to Amnesty International have used atheism as a means of destroying the cultural identity of the Tibetans.

Sounds like a misrepresentation.

Amnesty International doesn’t seem to blame anything on atheism.

Sure, the Chinese are destroying the cultural identity of the Tibetans. But it’s certainly not in the aim of atheism.

China destroying the identity of Tibetans is not excusable.

But that fact does not negate the other fact that fundamentalist Christians destroyed more cultures than atheism. The only advantage you have is “it’s all in the past, so let’s forget about it”.

Atheists have no room to talk about ANYBODY.

And you IDiots say that scientists are trying to censor people with disagreeing views…

Standard quote mining from you, oh cowardly one. I said the deaths were caused by FORCED starvation, not just starvation. And YEP, it because of ATHEISM, the dialectical materialists are atheists, moron.

And Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao hated religion and would do ANYTHING to eliminate. Their atheism, in their minds, freed them from any higher reponsibility.

So what you are getting at JB is that ID is about relgion and politics?

Lenin: “Religion is a kind of spiritual gin in which the slaves of capital drown their human shape and their claims to any decent life.”

JB: “Unbelievers (in my religion) are a kind of spiritual gin in which the slaves of mamon drown their human shape and their claims to any decent life.”

And that has what to do with high quality science education unencumbered with a particular sects world view?

I said the deaths were caused by FORCED starvation, not just starvation.

Forced, was it?

So the millions of farmers who stopped farming to make steel were forced into starvation, was it?

Again, all it is is bad policy and bad management. Not an attack on religion.

And Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao hated religion and would do ANYTHING to eliminate. Their atheism, in their minds, freed them from any higher reponsibility.

Check their biographies.

They viewed many things more important that squashing religion. Such as capitalism. Mao was more concerned about the landlords. Eliminating religion played almost no part in the Cultural Revolution or the Great Leap forward.

The “higher responsibility” argument has been shown to be logically defective many times already.

Strange that Hitler thought a higher power required him to exterminate non-Aryans. Higher power certainly hasn’t stopped religious people from committing attrocities the technological suppression allowed for.

And YEP, it because of ATHEISM, the dialectical materialists are atheists, moron.

Atheists doing bad things does not mean “it is because of atheism”, genius.

Just as Christians doing bad things does not necessarily mean Christianity is bad.

Of course, I might just have to use that argument, since you don’t care for logic and thus won’t be able to see why it’s wrong.

Hey, sorry to tell you anonymous coward, but they weren’t doing much steel making in the GULAGS, as ably described by the Nobel Prize winner Solzhensitisyn in The Gulag Archipelago.

If you really believe that the actions against believers were not motivated by the desire to put into practice dialectical materialism, you have come under the sway of too much propaganda…or you are uninformed…or, you are lying.

As to the arguments you threaten to use…to late, that is what is argued all the time around here.

The problem…such behaviors are not consistent with the ideal.

But in the case of atheism, no perversion is inconsistent with it because it has no values.

Hey, sorry to tell you anonymous coward, but they weren’t doing much steel making in the GULAGS, as ably described by the Nobel Prize winner Solzhensitisyn in The Gulag Archipelago.

But they were doing a lot of steel making in rural China, genius.

But in the case of atheism, no perversion is inconsistent with it because it has no values.

Again, that has been proven wrong long before you were born, genius. Check the more popular atheist websites. They all have a code of conduct that they believe atheists should adhere to. Not because of fear of encurring God’s wrath: just because it is the right thing to do.

If you really believe that the actions against believers were not motivated by the desire to put into practice dialectical materialism, you have come under the sway of too much propaganda…or you are uninformed…or, you are lying.

Nice stock answer.

“If I’m an idiot, it is only because you are under the sway of propaganda blah blah”.

Lets see from what I can follow the argument seem to be: Atheism -> Stalinism / Maoism.

These things are never so simple. For starters the atheism under discussion is based in the U.S. not China. We are not talking dialectical materialists and Marxism, as its more of an atheist sub-set of Humanism. While both atheistic these two philosophies are far from the same thing.

Even when you look at Communism and Marxism in the broader sense things get complicated:

Communism itself has never actually been achieved, and may be nothing more then a pipe dream. Its important to note that communism opposes capitalism not democracy, liberty or religion.

What is probably being referred to is Stalinism which specifically refers to the socialist governments represented by the Soviet Union ~1924-1960 (under Joseph Stalin) and the Peoples Republic of China ~1949-Present (Maoism is equated to Stalinism). This particular form of government is not big on human rights.

Leninism for example is a more idealistic version of communism, but is more of a theory having been relatively short lived ~1917 to 1924. Leninism favors democratic election of a representative government, and is a far cry from the “communism” vilified in the age of McCarthyism (1950s) which these terms bring to mind.

Besides as I said earlier evolution and science are strictly agnostic not atheistic. They are also more in line with naturalism then true materialism. Perhaps the confusion is do to the fact that atheism does not oppose agnosticism or naturalism directly, while the literalist version of Christianity does.

Lets see from what I can follow the argument seem to be: Atheism -> Stalinism / Maoism.

Actually I think it went indirectly from Darwinism -> Atheism -> Dialectical Materialism -> Stalinism/Maoism (Or any other type of communist dictatorship).

The funny thing is that most of us who accept evolution as the best scientific explanation at present for the amazing biological diversity observed on earth would not consider ourselves “Darwinists”. And as has been pointed out by many posters not every scientifically minded person here is an atheist. Even fewer here would consider themselves dialectical materialists. And I seriously doubt you’ll find one person here that is a fan of Stalin or Mao.

To equate the many scientists who accept evolution to commies is just an ad hominem attack. I seriously doubt that Cheryl Sheperd-Adams is anything other that what she claims to be, a Christian science teacher who sees the beauty of evolution theory. And a person who does not want valid science replaced with pseudo-science.

So to you JB and Christiansen, I respect that you can believe what you want to believe, but you have to understand that your side will eventually lose and fall into obscurity, primarily because you don’t understand science. It isn’t about opinion polls, politics or court battles. It is about research and peer review in which all forms of creationism are lacking. It is about following the evidence where ever it leads rather than sticking to your guns and ignoring any pesky observation that conflicts with your perceived reality. It is basically about what is predictivly useful rather than what is scientifically vacuous.

You have all ready lost the battle in the scientific realm so you take it into the political realm and the courts. You will lose there as well unless you can get rid of the establishment clause of the constitution. You just won’t be able to win as long as Creationism is all about the God of the Bible. According to the Constitution it is illegal for the government to support any particular religion or religious sect. So you parade around with ID and “teach the controversy” as if your side could ever shut up about what your real motives are for even five minutes. And that is why your side loses every court battle.

Who knows what will happen with the public opinion polls. It seems to me that you guys are losing ground there too. I really don’t care to research that because public opinion isn’t going to sway me from being a supporter of valid science.

So good luck on your mission to lie for God. See where it gets you. The rest of us here already know.

Re “It isn’t about opinion polls, politics or court battles. “

Yup. It’s about understanding reality to the best of our ability, not as some group of preachers want us to.

Henry

science is consistently better than religion at determining the truth of materialistic statements, but is completely unable to comment on metaphysical ones.

Gotta love such a loaded asymmetric comparison.

Indeed, science is “consistently better than religion at determining the truth of materialistic statements” – what an understatement; religions (people, really) make empirical claims; when these claims go beyond straightforward (non religious) observation, they are invariably false, not just worse; religion has no method for determining the truth of empirical statements, it simply makes them.

OTOH, science does not make metaphysical statements, whereas religions (people, really) do. But are they any better than science at determining the truth of metaphysical statements? No, of course not – exactly the same situation holds, that the metaphysical claims of religions are just claims, and there’s no method for determining their truth. But at least they aren’t invariably false, because metaphysical statements are either meaningless or not in the category of statements that are true or false.

When it comes to making claims, science has validity and religion has none; the claims of science are consequences of a rational discovery process, whereas the claims of religion are the consequences of sociological and psychological processes that result in those claims.

It might be argued that religion has value as a cultural institution, for binding communities, providing behavioral standards, allaying people’s fear of death, and so on. But for making statements it’s worthless.

Thanks for your (mostly) kind words, y’all.

As usual, Christensen focuses on trivialities because he can’t argue the truth of what I wrote. I didn’t include my KCFS board membership because it has no bearing on being a science teacher. For the same reason, I didn’t list my other community/church activities either. Duh.

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This page contains a single entry by Burt Humburg published on July 29, 2006 10:23 AM.

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