All is not (yet) lost in Texas

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Occasionally one happens onto a person who raises one’s hopes for rationality and good science, even in Texas. One such person is Joel W. Walker, a candidate for the College Station, Texas, Schools Board of Trustees, the local school board. Walker is a theoretical physicist, a Republican self-described as being “both fiscally and socially conservative,” and a supporter of honest science education. On his campaign site Walker has posted a strong and informed essay as an open response to Texas State BOE chairman and creationist dentist Don McLeroy. I’ll quote just some bits of it – go read the whole thing.

Regarding the role of skepticism in science, Walker wrote

Certainly science embraces skepticism, but there is a deep flaw in the vision of science which is being advocated. Skepticism in the face of a preponderance of evidence is only unreasonable doubt.

And a later paragraph:

The stars (by the great expanses across which their shining light has patiently traveled and also by the measurable rate of their recession) and the Earth itself (within its tediously accumulated strata and by residual proportion of radio emitting isotopes) testify in unison to the great age of our planet and universe. The older and deeper places of the Earth hold the remains of primitive creatures which increase in variety and complexity as the hand of geological time winds forward. The DNA of our very bodies tells the history (within mutations of long silenced genes and the remnants of ancient viral intrusions) of our separation by degrees from other creatures of the Earth in a common descent. Imposing a false ambiguity on these facts makes mockery of the precious drops of knowledge which mankind has slowly wrung out of the natural world. It is pure scientific retreat, not progress.

How many other local school board candidates would refer to the pseudogene and endogenous retroviral evidence for evolution? Hey, Abbie! :)

And this sentence is right on target:

An entrenched mindset bordering on reflexive antipathy to the opinions of our most distinguished scholars has no place on our State Board of Education.

It’s of some interest that Walker links to Jeremy Mohn’s An Evolving Creation site for an analysis of McLeroy’s quotemining. Jeremy is a Christian, a public school biology teacher in Kansas, and a strong defender of honest science education. He has an exhaustive analysis of McLeroy’s quote mining on his site. With Cheryl Shepherd-Adams. Jeremy also has Stand up for REAL science.

So there are rays of hope, exemplified by Joel Walker, but only rays. One more time: those who support honest science education have got to get out there in the world and make your presence and position known, and participate in the political processes and educational institutions that determine of what children are taught in science classes. In a comment on an earlier post Flint likened the effects of creationist child rearing to the ancient custom of foot binding in China. Like the permanent deformation of women’s feet caused by binding them from an early age, rearing children inside the echo chamber of creationism permanently deforms their minds, warping and distorting their perceptions of science and reality. We cannot let that echo chamber take over the public schools unopposed.

And a closing note: Regardless of where one stands on the accommodationist-hardass continuum, it’s one helluva lot better for science education to have a Joel Walker on a school board than a Don McLeroy.

Hat tip to Darwin Central, which has a longer piece on Walker’s letter to which I commend your attention.

121 Comments

For those interested, here is a link to my “Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine” site, as it appears that the link on Dr. Walker’s campaign website is currently dead.

http://www.anevolvingcreation.net/collapse/

And yes, I have emailed Dr. Walker to let him know.

It is wonderfully written.

Now if only Rick Perry could read.

Dr. Walker, you have provided a clarity to this topic that I’ve always desired but have always found to be somewhat lacking. I’m a chemical engineer and may be woefully ignorant but please believe me when I say that I know brilliance when I see it. Thank you Dr. Walker. You’ve literally brought a tear to my eye.

Jeremy Mohn said:

For those interested, here is a link to my “Collapse of a Texas Quote Mine” site, as it appears that the link on Dr. Walker’s campaign website is currently dead.

http://www.anevolvingcreation.net/collapse/

And yes, I have emailed Dr. Walker to let him know.

Thanks, Jeremy. I’m passing this link on to some biology teachers I know.

Dr. Walker wrote:

“Imposing a false ambiguity on these facts makes mockery of the precious drops of knowledge which mankind has slowly wrung out of the natural world. It is pure scientific retreat, not progress.”

Good science may lose in the court of public opinion and no one can stop the insincerely pious from perpetrating their falsehoods on an unsuspecting public. But this is how the debate must be framed. It is good science versus academic fraud. It is centuries of hard work and intellectual honesty versus deliberate lies and willful ignorance. It is progress versus stagnation and retreat into ultimate oblivion. This is NOT religion versus atheism, that is another fight for another day perhaps best left to other soldiers. Besides, if the charlatans are right and acceptance of evolution inevitably leads to atheism, then that is a battle that might never need to be fought anyway. We can survive in a world of differing religious ideologies. We might not be able to survive in a world where knowledge is not valued and science is outlawed.

DS said:

Good science may lose in the court of public opinion and no one can stop the insincerely pious from perpetrating their falsehoods on an unsuspecting public. But this is how the debate must be framed. It is good science versus academic fraud. It is centuries of hard work and intellectual honesty versus deliberate lies and willful ignorance. It is progress versus stagnation and retreat into ultimate oblivion. This is NOT religion versus atheism, that is another fight for another day perhaps best left to other soldiers. Besides, if the charlatans are right and acceptance of evolution inevitably leads to atheism, then that is a battle that might never need to be fought anyway. We can survive in a world of differing religious ideologies. We might not be able to survive in a world where knowledge is not valued and science is outlawed.

Well said, and seconded. This is why we must pushed so very, very hard to frame the proper question, and thus win the arguement.

- K.

DS said:

We can survive in a world of differing religious ideologies. We might not be able to survive in a world where knowledge is not valued and science is outlawed.

Creationists are divided about this, in that they are divided up into two main mindsets: one group apparently doesn’t mind the idea of going back to a lifestyle where the 5 major causes of death were famine, disease, diarrhea, violence, speaking one’s mind and not being pious enough (given as how God apparently put humans on this horrible world to sin, be punished with death and quickly move on to the next world, and not live in this world), and the latter group thinks that one would still continue to have and produce modern amenities without having to use that horrible, godless science.

Ken,

Thanks. But do you have to spell “arguement” correctly in order to win one?

Oh, I almost forgot: 1111111 7!

And in an attempt to reconcile our differences: 777777 42!

Does anyone else think that this quote from Dr. Walker will become famous?:

A man who will not fairly discern the printed word cannot be trusted to do better by the record written in the stars above us, in the Earth beneath us, or on the code of life within us.

Sadly, Walker himself will undoubtedly be quote-mined, but that will only provide us with another example of how the anti-evolution activists operate. You might notice that I didn’t say “creationists”, even though they all are by some definition. Here’s why I avoid the C-word as much as possible:

A recent thread discussed YECs Kurt Wise and Todd Wood, who essentially admit that they cannot, and ought not, be trusted to read the record written in the stars, Earth and life, etc., because they admit that their “revelation” from the printed word overrules it. The contrast between them and activists like McLeroy is startling. As wrong and misguided as Wise and Wood are, it makes no sense whatever use same term for them as for the likes of McLeroy. Or for the rank-and-file followers of both who simply don’t know how science is done, and are unaware of the multiple lines of independent evidence that support evolution, and completely discredit YEC and all versions of OEC.

McLeroy and Michael Behe apparently disagree with each other on every “what, when and how” of life’s history other than “‘Darwinism’ didn’t do it.” But their prior commitment to discrediting “Darwinism” - which both seem to be aware is only a caricature of evolution - forces them to abandon any pretense that there is a better scientific explanation out there, and join forces under a political, pseudoscience “big tent”. Real scientists would never think of covering up their irreconcilable differences and demanding that students be taught only to unreasonable doubt some other explanation that they find emotionally unpalatable. Even “honest” creationists like Wise, Wood, Hugh Ross, etc. at least sometimes openly confront their disagreements and the difficulties in supporting their claims. McLeroy, Behe, William Dembski, etc. are another “kind” of “animal” altogether.

Walker’s piece was both intellectually and rhetorically brilliant. I’m sure voting for him – oh, wait, you have to live in Texas. Never mind.

But this being Panda’s Thumb, a little pedantry is never out of place. His time scale is slightly garbled. It’s not the Cambrian that began around 600 million years ago, but the (known) history of metazoan life. The Cambrian didn’t come along until 543 million years ago. And once he says “a hundred millennia” when he means “a few hundred million years”. Trivial, but I had to mention it.

Dr. Walker is yet another example pointing to the existence of some intellectual sanity amongst our fellow Republicans. I hope he wins election to his local school board.

I’m a former Republican who left the party when it became dominated by anti-science religious nuts and politicians who pander to them. It is refreshing to see that pro-science Republicans – perhaps cut from Goldwater’s cloth – are not yet extinct.

I mentioned in another thread that there was this little gem in the Austin-American Statesman Friday morning.

Legislators may strip education board of power Bipartisan criticism sidelines confirmation of chairman.

By Kate Alexander AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF Friday, May 01, 2009

The legislative session so far has not been kind to the State Board of Education.

Senate confirmation of Board Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, is dead in the water, the Nominations Committee chairman said Thursday…

Apparently, Don McLeroy has turned out to be too nutty even for the Republican controlled Texas state legislature.

My favorite quote from the confirmation hearing “You’ve created a hornet’s nest like I’ve never seen” (Rep Eliot Shapleigh, El Paso)

Maybe there is hope for us down here in Texas after all.

The rest of the article is here www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature /stories/05/01/0501stateboard.html

By the way, does anybody know the tag to prevent the site from adamantly trying to turn “1” + “st” into a superscript.

For example, in the address above, …/0501stateboard… “st” is rendered as a superscript.

Does anybody know the html code for “stop freakin’ try to help me, just print what I type”.

DS said:

But this is how the debate must be framed. It is good science versus academic fraud. It is centuries of hard work and intellectual honesty versus deliberate lies and willful ignorance. It is progress versus stagnation and retreat into ultimate oblivion. This is NOT religion versus atheism, that is another fight for another day perhaps best left to other soldiers.

The “Christian” wrong are already copycat-framing the next war they are starting.

Last evening I was just listening to Rachel Maddow’s report of the right-wingnut’s hand-wringing about Obama’s “appointment” for Souter’s replacement on the Supreme Court (Obama hasn’t even nominated anyone yet).

Then, by chance, I flipped past one of the religion channels and stumbled onto a high-angst discussion with a Liberty Law School lawyer about all the horrible things that are going to happen to this country when Souter is replaced.

It was the usual panic litany about homosexuals, Christians being persecuted, their rights taken away, new workplace rules that allow all sorts of deviant behavior, children being perverted, Satan taking over the country, blah, blah, blah….

What I found remarkable was the wording of these arguments. They are very similar to your comments and to those of Joel Walker.

One reads in fiction how “Evil” portrays itself as “Good” in their eternal metaphorical warfare within humans. There is no question that this framing will dominate the next round in the culture wars. These fundamentalists are now attempting to portray themselves as the “enlightenment”. Ironic.

A few weeks ago, while responding to comments claiming that the US public favors creationism, I predicted that McElroy would not hold power much longer.

I based my prediction on the straightforward observation that school board official advocating creationism have ALWAYS not only lost in court, but been democratically removed from office as well.

By the way, it is nice that a theoretical physicist who is also a Republican does not deny science. Undeniably, some distinguished scientists and well-informed lay people are Republican, and/or hold conservative views.

An alternate way of avoiding science-denying candidates is to vote for one of the candidates who is not Republican, whether they are theoretical physicists or not. Although not all Republicans deny science, of course, and not all creationist voters are Republican, of course, essentially all science-denying officials who currently hold office are Republican. That’s just another straightforward observation. Prove me wrong by drawing my attention to a Democrat or third party candidate who advocates science denial in public schools.

Wow. That essay is a treasure, and so is Dr. Walker. May his voice be heard far beyond College Station, Texas. Thanks for posting that.

Mike Elzinga said:

The “Christian” wrong are already copycat-framing the next war they are starting…

One reads in fiction how “Evil” portrays itself as “Good” in their eternal metaphorical warfare within humans. There is no question that this framing will dominate the next round in the culture wars. These fundamentalists are now attempting to portray themselves as the “enlightenment”. Ironic.

Correct. Fundies want to posture as ‘defenders of Faith against the Godless’, and frame evolution as merely one of the unsubstantiated tools of the Dreaded Athiest Agenda.

There are three mutually supporting steps to defeating this posturing:

1. On the issues, consistently frame the question as one of evidence vs. non-evidence - expose their lies and misconceptions.

2. Socially, deny them the posture of ‘defenders’ by pointing out how Fundies DO NOT represent the position of most reigions towards evolution - remove their attempt to garner (or pretend to represent) other ‘religious’ allies.

3. Legally, fight every attempt they make, tooth and nail, to weaken Science standards - build the case law as a deterrent to future take-over attempts.

DO NOT allow them to frame the question as “religion vs. science(aka atheism)”. That severely undercuts 2 of the 3 steps above.

- K.

harold,

It is rather presumptuous of you to state that this:

harold said:

A few weeks ago, while responding to comments claiming that the US public favors creationism, I predicted that McElroy would not hold power much longer.

I based my prediction on the straightforward observation that school board official advocating creationism have ALWAYS not only lost in court, but been democratically removed from office as well.

By the way, it is nice that a theoretical physicist who is also a Republican does not deny science. Undeniably, some distinguished scientists and well-informed lay people are Republican, and/or hold conservative views.

An alternate way of avoiding science-denying candidates is to vote for one of the candidates who is not Republican, whether they are theoretical physicists or not. Although not all Republicans deny science, of course, and not all creationist voters are Republican, of course, essentially all science-denying officials who currently hold office are Republican. That’s just another straightforward observation. Prove me wrong by drawing my attention to a Democrat or third party candidate who advocates science denial in public schools.

One of the best known examples of a Democrat who strongly believes in creationism is US Senator Mark Prior (Or is it Pryor?) from Arkansas. Moreover, since two-thirds of Americans either reject or have serious doubts about evolution, then that means that there are substantially more Democrats and Independents who are Evolution Denialists than there are Republicans (which recent polls indicate that only 20% of Americans now declare themselves as such).

Sincerely yours,

John

harold: Prove me wrong by drawing my attention to a Democrat or third party candidate who advocates science denial in public schools.

Consider the disturbing views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. I don’t know whether HIV conspiracy theorists tend to advocate for the teaching of their “theory” in public schools, but there’s no good reason to doubt it. I think it’s insane to believe that anti-science activity is vastly more common among Republicans. Anti-evolution activity? Probably. But anti-science? No way.

John Kwok -

although not all Republicans deny science, of course, and not all creationist voters are Republican, of course, essentially all science-denying officials who currently hold office are Republican. That’s just another straightforward observation. Prove me wrong by drawing my attention to a Democrat or third party candidate who advocates science denial in public schools.

One of the best known examples of a Democrat who strongly believes in creationism is US Senator Mark Prior (Or is it Pryor?) from Arkansas.

Thanks for the example; a quick Google search reveals that his views are unclear, that he “does not consider religious faith and evolution to be in conflict”, and that he does not appear to be an active promoter of creationism or science denial in schools, at least from his current position.

Furthermore, he is an obvious “conservative” Democrat from a state that went heavily for McCain; this is not as strong a counter-example as a more typical Democrat would be.

Nevertheless, I fully accept this as a counter-example - of the sort I ASKED FOR, as the quote above shows - and modify my assertion from “essentially all” to “the vast majority”.

Although not all Republicans deny science, of course, and not all creationist voters are Republican

Moreover, since two-thirds of Americans either reject or have serious doubts about evolution, then that means that there are substantially more Democrats and Independents who are Evolution Denialists than there are Republicans (which recent polls indicate that only 20% of Americans now declare themselves as such).

Well, first of all, if the majority of self-identified evolution deniers in the population are not Republican, that is an epiphenomenon of the small number of Republicans.

(Here’s a more obvious example of this statistical phenomenon…

Blondness is very characteristic of Sweden. Yet, because of the small population of Sweden, the overwhelming majority of blonds in the world are not Swedish.

However, it would be foolhardy to imply that this casts doubt up on the fact that Swedish people are disproportionately blond, relative to the population of the world.

And in fact, the world’s population of blonds is disproportionately Swedish, relative to the general population of the world, even though Swedes make up only a small fraction of the world’s actual blonds.)

It is rather presumptuous of you to state that this:

A primary focus of this blog is science education, especially efforts to violate rights by inserting creationist dogma into public schools, as “science”.

Public school curricula are set by political officials. School boards and other entities that regulate public school curricula are political entities.

It would be presumptuous to ignore or deny the strong relationship between creationist efforts and one particular political party.

It is an undeniable fact that almost every school board official who has ever been discussed in this blog, whether in Kansas, Ohio, Dover, or Texas, who has advocated creationism in public schools, is a Republican.

I know that you support the Republican party for other, non-science denying reasons, and that you are as strong and articulate an opponent of creationism in public schools as almost anyone. I share your hopes that the Republican party will cease to be associated with creationism.

But the relationship still exists.

Neither statistical points based on the small absolute number of registered Republicans, nor counter-examples or rare Democrats who are weak creationists or very rare conservative intellectuals and theoretical physicists, changes that relationship.

Many smokers don’t get lung cancer (most don’t); many non-smokers do get lung cancer. Nevertheless there is a strong relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

Kenneth Bagalley writes.…

There are three mutually supporting steps to defeating this posturing:…

I always try to add a 4th point.

I cut right to the chase, and ask them to assume Darwin never existed.

Now, how does their answer explain all the evidence?

Exactly how does their model explain fossils of dinosaurs?

Exactly how does their model explain the long dead half-ape half-man creatures that regularly get dug up all over Africa.

They always try to to steer me back to complaining about evolution, but I can usually re-rail them with “No, just assume Darwin and evolution never existed. What does your explanation say about Archeopteryx, a half-bird, half-reptile found nowhere on earth today?”

This usually works because creationists usually want to witness, and , really, this is a fair line of questioning - just give me your side of the story. But if you keep pressing for details (nobody in their flock ever does) the answers will never make sense.

Eventually, they’re explaining something totally absurd to me, like God allowed the Devil to bury the dinosaurs and cavemen, which never actually lived in the first place, specifically to decieve us.

Which, at some point, will start sounding stupid, even to them.

You can usually actually see the point where it starts to cross their mind that their explanation is starting to sound really dumb. At this point, they will invariably change the subject.

Charles Johnson of LGF says Walker is a Lizardoid:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/art[…]School_Board

Not a good sign, since LGF is a bigoted blog (though not as bigoted as many other so-called “anti-jihad” blogs). Still, I wish Dr. Walker luck.

Steve Matheson -

Your own example - HIV denial - works against you; it is more associated with the political right.

Human contribution to climate change denial, condom/STD relationship denial, smoking/health risk denial, impact of nuclear war denial, exaggerated claims about gay pedophilia, evolution denial, HIV denial - all MORE CONCENTRATED on the political right

In fact, I add “denial of the association of the US political right wing with science denial” to the list of science denials. It certainly denies observable reality.

The straw-man reply is always “You said that every single right winger denies all science, therefore one example of one right winger who does not deny one aspect of science disproves your point”.

Sorry, that is not what I said. Timothy Sandefur frequently links to right wing sources that “defend evolution”; invariably, the same sources deny some other major scientific finding, and invariably, the comments sections are filled with angry evolution-denying retorts from right wing readers (where comments are allowed).

I said there is an obvious ASSOCIATION of science denial with the US political right.

I understand that you, Timothy Sandefur, John Kwok, Mememic Bottleneck, and Frank J support the political right in one form or another, and don’t deny science, or at least, not evolution (in the case of John Kwok and Frank J, I acknowledge strong understanding and articulate defense of mainstream science overall).

Nevertheless, there is an ASSOCIATION.

Using specific examples to deny a statistical association is literally the same as using examples of non-smokers with lung cancer and smokers without lung cancer to deny that relationship.

One more link to local coverage of the McLeroy issue, from the current issue of the Austin Chronicle

McLeroy Gets a Dressing Down May 1, 2009 By Lee Nichols

“You’ve created a hornet’s nest like I’ve never seen here.”

That was El Paso Sen. Eliot Shapleigh’s none-too-subtle way of suggesting to State Board of Education Chair Don McLeroy that his renomination to the position may be in jeopardy. Shapleigh pointed out that there are at least 15 bills currently before the Legislature to strip the SBOE of some of its policy-making powers. And predictably, McLeroy – testifying before the Senate Nominations Committee last week – didn’t take the hint.

(the rest of the article is at http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyro[…]oid%3A774689 )

(the Chronicle is the local free weekly in Austin, and admittedly, a fairly liberal publication. They are, however, noted for their extensive and accurate coverage dedicated to workings of the Texas legislature when in session, much to the chagrin of Austin’s “real” newspaper, the Austin-American Statesman, which, when it comes to political coverage, knows how to really get in there and scratch the surface).

Harold, you seem to think that the way to convince me of the truth of your claim is to RETYPE IT IN ALL CAPS, attack strawmen in responses to what you claim are – this is really funny – strawmen, and assert that I “support the political right.” Amidst this avalanche of bovine excrement are some redirections of the original assertion but no evidence in its support. My friend, I don’t believe that there is a vast difference between Republicans and Democrats in the abuse and denial of science. (A difference, perhaps, but not the huge one you assert.) If you want to marshal evidence in favor of this claim, I’ll gladly consider it, but you are so cluelessly careless that I won’t hold my breath.

stevaroni said:

Kenneth Bagalley writes.…

There are three mutually supporting steps to defeating this posturing:…

I always try to add a 4th point.

I cut right to the chase, and ask them to assume Darwin never existed.

Now, how does their answer explain all the evidence?

Exactly how does their model explain fossils of dinosaurs?

I don’t know how effective I am at this, but I tend to agree with your approach. In fact, I think that it is preferable to the first three mentioned by Kenneth.

Except that I don’t put so much reliance on the fossils. Not that there is anything weak about their support for evolutionary biology. Just that I think that there are some points worth mentioning about the other lines of evidence.

One thing that I like to mention are the undeniable facts about the similarity between the typical human body and the bodies of chimps and other apes.

How does the anti-evolutionist account for that? It is surely a very complex web of similarities, something which can hardly be a matter of “pure chance”. (Far more complex than “the eye”.) So that, using the “explanatory filter”, either the similarities are due to natural processes (and the only such explanations that anybody has thought of have involved common descent); or the similarities are due to some common intent, some common purpose by “design”. Were the designer(s) somehow restricted in what they were willing or able to do in designing “mankind”?

Or, if one prefers, we can go through other typical examples of evidence for evolutionary biology, such as the “parallel nested hierarchies” of the “tree of life” (comparative anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, and so on). Or, for the YEC’s, there is the massive amount of evidence which gives the world the appearance of being billions of years old: What explanation is there for the Creator creating the world with that appearance?

I recognize that strict ID-advocates say that they have no responsibility to offer explanations for anything. But maybe others would at least wonder about this.

Steve Matheson -

What on earth are you talking about? And why didn’t you include some quotes?

Harold, you seem to think that the way to convince me of the truth of your claim is to RETYPE IT IN ALL CAPS,

I typed the word “association” in caps for emphasis that I am talking about an association.

attack strawmen in responses to what you claim are – this is really funny – strawmen,

No, I referred to a strawman that frequently comes up here and showed why it is a strawman.

and assert that I “support the political right.”

I did guess that, and I still think so. It’s not relevant, but don’t you?

Amidst this avalanche of bovine excrement are some redirections of the original assertion but no evidence in its support.

Actually, that’s exactly what YOU are doing - repeating your original, disproven assertion, with not evidence in its support.

My friend,

I’m not your friend and don’t want to be.

I don’t believe that there is a vast difference between Republicans and Democrats in the abuse and denial of science. (A difference, perhaps, but not the huge one you assert.)

Then you are factually wrong.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/108226/R[…]tionism.aspx

http://www.gallup.com/poll/107569/C[…]-Expand.aspx

Typical right wing blog advocating HIV denial (there are many)(apologies to the LAPD for drawing attention to this)…

http://exlibhollywood.blogspot.com/[…]numbers.html

Indirect evidence of differences in understanding of smoking risk (I concur that this has other potential explanations) - http://www.channel3000.com/sports/1[…]/detail.html

Also, please review Panda’s Thumb articles and note which party creationist school board members belong to.

If you want to marshal evidence in favor of this claim, I’ll gladly consider it,

A less lazy and dishonest reaction would have been to investigate for yourself.

but you are so cluelessly careless that I won’t hold my breath.

I think it’s clear who’s careless and clueless.

Mike Elzinga said:

Then, by chance, I flipped past one of the religion channels and stumbled onto a high-angst discussion with a Liberty Law School lawyer about all the horrible things that are going to happen to this country when Souter is replaced.

I’m really looking for only a few things from President Obama’s appointment. A brilliant, accomplished jurist who will preserve the current ideological makeup of the court, and someone who will make people like the aforementioned lawyer lose their collective s–t.

stevaroni said:

I always try to add a 4th point.

I cut right to the chase, and ask them to assume Darwin never existed.

Now, how does their answer explain all the evidence?

Exactly how does their model explain fossils of dinosaurs?

Exactly how does their model explain the long dead half-ape half-man creatures that regularly get dug up all over Africa.

They always try to to steer me back to complaining about evolution, but I can usually re-rail them with “No, just assume Darwin and evolution never existed. What does your explanation say about Archeopteryx, a half-bird, half-reptile found nowhere on earth today?”

This usually works because creationists usually want to witness, and , really, this is a fair line of questioning - just give me your side of the story. But if you keep pressing for details (nobody in their flock ever does) the answers will never make sense.

Eventually, they’re explaining something totally absurd to me, like God allowed the Devil to bury the dinosaurs and cavemen, which never actually lived in the first place, specifically to decieve us.

Which, at some point, will start sounding stupid, even to them.

You can usually actually see the point where it starts to cross their mind that their explanation is starting to sound really dumb. At this point, they will invariably change the subject.

Thanks for the advise. I’m always afraid that someone may throw some anti-evolution mumbo jumbo at me that I can’t immediately refute like, “Well Mr. Darwinist, how do you explain the fact that the flagella on a three toed hippo is indistinguishable from that of a platypus! There got you!”

I can easily handle just cleaning the slate and starting from the baseline. I just don’t have the expertise in the pertinent areas of science to be able to debate evolution in great detail.

Ah, a creationist conspiracy theorist with a load of worthless spam and blatant lies. Get back to us when you have the slightest speck of fucking EVIDENCE. Until then, shut the fuck up.

Troy said:

Creationism and intelligent design are not making much headway - nor will they. Belief systems have no place in science as science can not support belief system be it “I believe there is no God”, or its opposite.

The real problem today does not hinge upon the creationist and Bible thumper, but in fact in a different belief system. To see it, take the words posted above:

“An entrenched mindset bordering on reflexive antipathy to the opinions of our most distinguished scholars has no place on our State Board of Education.”

and apply them to the words of a very distinguished scholar in biology, Lynn Margulis

— ‘“‘Neo-Darwinism, which insists on (the slow accrual of mutations by gene-level natural selection), is a complete funk’”’ —

or

—– Neo-Darwinism is ‘“‘a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon Biology.’”’ —

Now pull out a high school biology text book and see if it teaches exactly what such a top level distinguished scholar in biology is stating about the theory, or if it is teaching against what the top scholar is claim by acting as though Darwin and his followers have a credible theory. Even look at replies to even pointing this out - do they reflect a “entrenched mindset bordering on reflexive antipathy to the opinions of our most distinguished scholars”?????

One can even take it a step farther and see what the distinguished scholars of sociology have to say about Darwinism (go to: http://www.google.com/gwt/n?u=http%[…]0darwin.html). Do we honor such scientific findings by pointing out in our high school biology text books just how infected biology has been by this religious belief system, or do we act as though all is solid when it comes to the Darwinst religion being supported by science???

The real enemy is not intllegant design, but instead is a very pointed belief system which clearly supports its religion with the incorrect elevation of an athiestic theory as though science supports it - and its doing so in the text books of our public school system.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on May 1, 2009 9:08 PM.

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