Freshwater: Misrepresenting the case

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One of the salient properties of anti-evolutionist coverage of the Freshwater affair has been a systematic misrepresentation of the case. On various anti-evolutionist blogs and Christian news outlets, the case has consistently been characterized as being concerned solely with Freshwater’s personal Bible on his desk, excluding any mention of the various religious items displayed in his classroom, his use of blatantly creationist materials in class, his insubordination, and his multiple mutually contradictory accounts of what he in fact taught and what he did with the Tesla coil. In a recent report of an interview with Freshwater all those themes are repeated. It’s of note that the interview is on a web site with the motto “Restoring Truth to History Class,” one of whose recent emphases appears to be on Islamic infiltration into public school curricula in the U.S.

Given the false statements in its Freshwater story, I wonder what “truth” means to that site. The first paragraph of the story has four sentences. Every sentence has an error of fact. Below the fold I’ll walk through parts of the story, pointing out some of the distortions, misrepresentations, and plain falsehoods it contains.

The first paragraph is a model of the creationist approach. As I noted, every sentence of that paragraph has an error of fact. The first sentence reads:

This morning, I spoke with John Freshwater, a teacher of 23 years who was fired from the Mt. Vernon, Ohio high school because he had a Bible on his desk.

Nope. The termination resolution adopted by the Mt. Vernon Board of Education contains exactly zero references to Freshwater’s personal Bible.

The second sentence contains just one fairly minor inaccuracy:

Freshwater, married for 32 years is a proud father of three; a son who graduated from the United States Military Academy, a daughter who graduated from the United States Naval Academy, and a daughter who is still in the Mt. Vernon High School.

Freshwater’s son did not graduate from the U.S. Military Academy. In fact he dropped out of West Point, attended Desales University, and completed his degree at Cedarville University, a fundamentalist Christian institution. He then joined the Army, completed officer training last year, and is a 2nd Lieutenant.

The third sentence has another falsehood:

In 2006, [Freshwater] won Outstanding Teacher of the Year, and has always earned excellent evaluations.

Freshwater’s evaluations were excellent, as best I know, but he never received an “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” award because the Mt. Vernon district has never had such an award in the 40 years I’ve lived here. He did receive a couple of “Distinguished Teacher” awards, the sole criterion for which consisted of being nominated for the award by an administrator. Those awards were made for anything from classroom performance to service on committees or other extra-curricular service, and a number of them were awarded every year. The year my wife received a Distinguished Teacher award at least four other teachers also received one. Freshwater’s nominator, former Assistant Principal Tim Keib, testified that he couldn’t even remember who else he nominated for the award.

The fourth sentence has another falsehood:

However, in 2008 a complaint was lodged about the Bible that had always sat on his desk in the classroom.

The original complaint was about Freshwater’s use of the Tesla coil on students in class. Later, teachers, parents, and students alleged that he used creationist materials, prayed at Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings, and so on. The issue with his personal Bible was whether it was part of a more extensive display of Christian materials in his classroom.

That paragraph is illustrative of the general anti-evolutionist approach.

There are still more errors in the story. Skipping ahead a bit, in the third paragraph we read

Mr. Freshwater believes that the genesis of the problem began in 2003 when he taught the theory of evolution to his 8th grade class. The teaching requirements stated that the theory of evolution was to be critically analyzed. This Mr. Freshwater sought to do, but learned that the school would brook no criticism of evolution. The school administration and some of the faculty objected to Mr. Freshwater’s critical discussion of evolution, and the data related to evolution, in spite of the requirement to analyze evolution critically. (italics in the original)

The “teaching requirements” for 8th grade biology contained no such language. In 2003 Freshwater proposed that the district adopt the Intelligent Design Network’s Objective Origins Science Policy. Later he claimed that what he wanted to do was import a 10th grade biology indicator–the “critical analysis of evolution” language adopted by the Ohio State Board of Education–into his 8th grade class. The Board of Education rejected his proposal. Nevertheless, testimony showed that he imported creationist materials into his teaching of science.

So the report of an interview with Freshwater is riddled with errors of fact. One wonders where those errors came from, given that the author of the report claims to have spoken to Freshwater.

47 Comments

Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. You dedication to this whole case has been a great boon to the community.

Never trust a website or a book or a publication having “Truth” in its name. It’s a dead giveaway.

Remember that the USSR’s “Pravda” meant “truth”.

Can someone with a thick white beard throw on a robe and tell Freshwater to knock it off? Otherwise, I don’t think he’s ever going to stop embarrassing himself like this.

Thanks RBH. It’s pretty incredible to how these churchies will spin their tails (sic) of woe as their martyr goes down to defeat.

@olorin618: There were two newspapers. One was “Izvestia” (news) and the other was “Pravda” (truth). The saying went, “There’s no izvestia in Pravda and no pravda in Izvestia.” Oh, those wacky commies! They always cracked me up!

I suppose there’s “truth” relative to what actually happened, and then there’s “truth” relative to the way the story is best positioned for the purposes it’s aimed at. The Pravda (Official Truth) here, is that Freshwater was a devout, dedicated, God-fearing, and skilled teacher who did nothing either wrong or objectionable, but who was brought down by evolution-believing atheists who feared Freshwater’s bible and the power it represented. This version, as opposed to the actual sequence of events, has the advantages of being simple, focused, and two-dimensional enough to be easy to understand. It also allows Freshwater to be lumped in with Guillermo Gonzalez as another gifted academic booted out for faith in Jesus.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (when he was released from the Gulag) said that the best way to read any newspaper worldwide, was to assume that everything said was true, and then to ask the question,’what have they not told me?’ That is, what is left out can very often be filled in by clever thinking; not fulproof sure, but very useful in our chritainized/reliogiothized world; remember, what have I not been told?

Good job,as always. Have you posted this, or emailed it to the “truth” lovers?

Gary_Hurd said:

Good job,as always. Have you posted this, or emailed it to the “truth” lovers?

I submitted a detailed comment yesterday - but it is still awaiting moderation.

Paul Burnett said:

Gary_Hurd said:

Good job,as always. Have you posted this, or emailed it to the “truth” lovers?

I submitted a detailed comment yesterday - but it is still awaiting moderation.

Hi Paul,

Your comment has still not been posted as of noon ET today. My guess is that it never will be. After reading the article and seeing some of the other stuff on the site I get the sense that they are not going to be interested in a rebuttal.

The story is “true” in the same way the Bible is “true”, i.e., it reinforces the beliefs and cohesion of the culture it was manufactured in.

Not the way the sane world uses the word “true”, but there you go.

Routine.

Lying is one of the fundies three main sacred sacraments.

The other two are hate and hypocrisy.

The creationists are preparing their totally one-sided narrative for elevating Freshwater to martyrdom. It’s the same with Coppedge.

Paul Burnett said:

Gary_Hurd said:

Good job,as always. Have you posted this, or emailed it to the “truth” lovers?

I submitted a detailed comment yesterday - but it is still awaiting moderation.

Some of your comments were posted 4/21.

fnxtr said:

The story is “true” in the same way the Bible is “true”, i.e., it reinforces the beliefs and cohesion of the culture it was manufactured in.

Not the way the sane world uses the word “true”, but there you go.

You’re being much too harsh on the Bible (I am not religious but this is the case).

The Bible is an eclectic collection of material from a part of the Ancient Middle East, mainly edited and compiled not in extremely ancient times, but in what we might eurocentrically refer to as “Classical” times, or shortly before (although some of it undoubtedly reflects folk traditions far more ancient than the presentation). At its worst, it is brutally authoritarian, sexist, pro-genocide and pro-slavery, and replete with stories of rather obnoxious characters screwing their own brothers and getting away with it due to arbitrary favoritism from God (although it is never pro-stealing, pro-murder, or pro-lying; at worst it suggests that some few people in very ancient times were allowed to behave in such ways because God arbitrarily favored them). At its best, it contains profound and subtle psychological insights. Many other traditionally preserved ancient religious or philosophical texts are similar.

Meanwhile, this “interview” is just rock bottom amoral lying propaganda. Its sole purpose is to emotionally agitate ignoramuses who are unfamiliar with the case. While the author’s direct or conscious goal may be to “defend Freshwater”, I subjectively perceive a secondary goal of manipulating whoever reads this crap for financial gain.

I read this “interview” yesterday and wondered who exactly is lying. Freshwater or the blogger? I check in with a few fundy blogs regularly and often find the same info passed from blog to blog. Often the source is WND (World Net Daily) known for its complete lack of editorial standards and use of plagiarism. http://conwebwatch.tripod.com/stori[…]giarism.html Fundies seem to naively believe everything they read on Christian websites and pass it on without question. Yet, they are also guilty of lying by omission, spinning, hyping, and emotionalizing their own content. “Accountability in the Media” blogger Sam Stickle is well on his way to this kind of doublethink.

DavidK said:

Paul Burnett said:

Gary_Hurd said:

Good job,as always. Have you posted this, or emailed it to the “truth” lovers?

I submitted a detailed comment yesterday - but it is still awaiting moderation.

Some of your comments were posted 4/21.

Much to my surprise, The Report Card DID publish Paul’s comments (and well done Paul!) as well as comments from 3 others. None are pro-Freshwater.

Egads! A correspondent informs me that I flat missed a second falsehood in the first sentence: Freshwater was a middle school science teacher, not at the high school.

Paul Burnett said: I submitted a detailed comment yesterday - but it is still awaiting moderation.

Kudos to Bill Korach - four opposing comments, including mine, were posted. But no response…yet.

harold said: The Bible.…..is never pro-stealing, pro-murder, or pro-lying…

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city (Jericho, right after the walls came tumbling down), both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. … And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. (Joshua 6:21 and 24)

Sure sounds like pro-stealing and pro-murder to me, if not outright pro-genocide and pro-ethnic cleansing.

The pro-lying bit’s best example is Martin Luther’s infamous “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.” - discussion at http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=40318

And here’s another story out just last week. There’s revisionist Constitutional interpretation:

The fact that this school district even cited Mr. Freshwater for having a Bible in his classroom is also chilling and disgusting. We must remember that our God-given rights do not end just because we become teachers in the public school system. There is no such thing as the fabled “separation of church and state” as the Left insists. The only constitutional mandates are against the federal government establishing an official national religion in America, which it has never done, and interfering with Americans’ freedom to practice their faith, which it is doing more and more each year.

And, of course, the obligatory bashing of opponents, ignoring the fact that Freshwater swore under oath that he didn’t teach creationism or intelligent design:

The godless School Board also found offense in the fact that some of Mr. Freshwater’s counterpoints to the hypothesis of evolution involved — GASP! — arguments for Creationism or Intelligent Design. Oh, the horror!

And the commies are coming!

Members of the anti-Christian, communist Left are obsessed with banishing the presence of Christian expression from all areas of the public square. They are probably the most fervent in this crusade in the government-run public school classrooms, where teachers are persecuted for displaying even a hint of Christianity.

Finally, there’s the solution:

We should all be praying that Mr. Freshwater is given a victory over this anti-Christian, public school district. Ultimately, we are all Mr. Freshwater, and if he loses, we all lose.

Good. You lose.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

And here’s another story out just last week.

Finally, there’s the solution:

We should all be praying that Mr. Freshwater is given a victory over this anti-Christian, public school district. Ultimately, we are all Mr. Freshwater, and if he loses, we all lose.

Good. You lose.

“Good. You lose.”

Heh heh, I love it…

Paul Burnett said:

harold said: The Bible.…..is never pro-stealing, pro-murder, or pro-lying…

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city (Jericho, right after the walls came tumbling down), both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. … And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. (Joshua 6:21 and 24)

Sure sounds like pro-stealing and pro-murder to me, if not outright pro-genocide and pro-ethnic cleansing.

The pro-lying bit’s best example is Martin Luther’s infamous “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.” - discussion at http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=40318

The point of my comment was to emphasize how obnoxious the dishonesty of the “interview” was.

To resolve our specific dispute here, I mentioned in my comment that the Bible promotes genocide in certain passages. The passage you quote seems to endorse looting but more frequently, stealing is condemned.

There is a slight difference between me and some other non-religious people.

I believe in pointing out the hypocrisy of post-modern self-proclaimed Christians.

Another view, which also has merit, is that given some of the harsh, brutal, amoral parts of the Bible, it justifies anything. I do agree that the Bible is something of a Rorschach Test; interpretations reflect personal biases. According to this, Christian hypocrisy is almost impossible.

I may be biased by the fact that the religion I grew up in (I have not been personally religious since an early age but participated in non-traumatizing religious ceremonies until I was old enough not to go without offending anyone), although known for promoting somewhat austere lifestyle, emphasized the Ten Commandments and four gospels, the “golden rule” and so on.

At any rate, I tend to perceive self-proclaimed Christians lying, murdering, and so on, as hypocrisy. After all, at best they’re being very selective. However, that is a subjective judgment on my part.

”…One wonders where those errors came from, given that the author of the report claims to have spoken to Freshwater.…”

I’m going to go with revelation, there, Richard. ;D

You have to admit, though, harold, it’s not what we today would call “unbiased reporting”. If indeed there is such a thing.

The fact that this @#$#ing case is still ongoing is strong evidence there’s no God, IMO.

Every single comment up until the most recent (by Bonnie) was critical :) That article is science bait.

There is now a Freshwater Interview Part 2 on The Report Card site. More lies (or “repackaging the truth”) The link in the article works or you can use this: http://education-curriculum-reform-[…]-freshwater/

cmb said:

There is now a Freshwater Interview Part 2 on The Report Card site. More lies (or “repackaging the truth”) The link in the article works or you can use this: http://education-curriculum-reform-[…]-freshwater/

Sorry-to clarify-the 2nd part of the article is an interview with Rita Dunaway of The Rutherford Institute concerning Freshwater. It is not a second part of an interview with Freshwater.

More Freshwater fun:

Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Even more Freshwater fun: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Legal/Def[…]x?id=1584564

(Fun for me to read the comments)

MSM said:

Even more Freshwater fun: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Legal/Def[…]x?id=1584564

(Fun for me to read the comments)

A weird line in that story is

“I think they will review it, and if this doesn’t go well, the Ohio Supreme Court will talk to John Freshwater to see if he wants to go to the U.S. Supreme Court,” the attorney predicts.

The Ohio Supreme Court will talk to Freshwater about taking it to SCOTUS? More likely, it was supposed to be something like ‘Rutherford’s attorneys will talk to Freshwater’ about that. R. Kelly Hamilton, of course, will jump at the chance.

The article says: “The third sentence has another falsehood:

In 2006, [Freshwater] won Outstanding Teacher of the Year, and has always earned excellent evaluations.

Freshwater’s evaluations were excellent, as best I know, but he never received an “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” award because the Mt. Vernon district has never had such an award in the 40 years I’ve lived here. He did receive a couple of “Distinguished Teacher” awards..”

Hoppe said in the introduction: “Every sentence has an error of fact.” However, his sentence also has an error of logic. from the above sentence, Hoppe concluded that Freshwater did not receive “outstanding teacher of the year” so other good evaluation cannot be reliable. That is his personal like or dislike issue, not persuasive speculation of the fact.

How is this attack on Freshwater for wanting to have critical evaluation in science any different than the attack on John Scopes for wanting to do the same? Are we supposed to brainwash kids with Darwinism by neglecting to teach the scientific methods supporting or discrediting it? If science classrooms are only allowed to teach Darwinism, how are children going to be able to develop the skills to evaluate it rationally?

Freshwater didn’t teach critical evaluation of science. and didn’t teach it. He taught his religious beliefs as if they were science.

As soon as you start using expressions like “brainwash kids with Darwinism”, you advertise that you aren’t interested in teaching science, either, and that you are irrational about evaluating it.

Dave Luckett said:

Freshwater didn’t teach critical evaluation of science. and didn’t teach it. He taught his religious beliefs as if they were science.

As soon as you start using expressions like “brainwash kids with Darwinism”, you advertise that you aren’t interested in teaching science, either, and that you are irrational about evaluating it.

If you only teach one scientific theory and refuse to teach any opposing views, you are brainwashing, or at least depriving students of critical thinking on the subject. By accusing teachers teaching biology with views outside of Darwinism to be religiously motivated while pretending teachers teaching Darwinism are not, even though Darwinism has religious implications and cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt scientifically but instead relies on circumstantial evidence interpreted through the religious beliefs of the scientist, is hypocritical, to say the least. This is not the way of critical thinkers.

There is only one scientific theory covering the origin of the species - the theory of evolution. There are no others. The “opposing views” you speak of are not scientific theories, they are religious doctrines, or (much more rarely) simply crackpot ideas held without or in spite of evidence - neo-lamarkianism, saltation, alien manipulation, others even more strange.

Being a scientific theory, the theory of evolution is entirely based on evidence from nature, and not religious doctrine. It has religious implications only if your religion insists on doctrines that are contradicted by evidence from nature. That reliance on evidence from nature is one reason why it’s a scientific theory, and “opposing views” are not.

As with all scientific theories, but unlike religious doctrine, there is no claim to absolute revealed truth in the theory of evolution - what you call “proven beyond a shadow of a doubt”. The only claim is that the theory of evolution follows the evidence. That disavowal of revealed and absolute truth is another reason why it is a scientific theory, but “opposing views” are not.

Since evolution is the only scientific theory that covers the origin of the species, it is the only one that should be taught in science classes. Otherwise, what is being taught is not science. It is most likely religious dogma, and teaching that has been repeatedly found by the courts, including the Supreme Court, to be in violation of the first amendment to the Constitution.

rc19 said:

If you only teach one scientific theory and refuse to teach any opposing views, you are brainwashing, or at least depriving students of critical thinking on the subject. By accusing teachers teaching biology with views outside of Darwinism to be religiously motivated while pretending teachers teaching Darwinism are not, even though Darwinism has religious implications and cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt scientifically but instead relies on circumstantial evidence interpreted through the religious beliefs of the scientist, is hypocritical, to say the least. This is not the way of critical thinkers.

However, you are NOT a critical thinker. If you really knew anything about critical thinking, you would dig into the history of the intelligent design/creationism political movement and how it continues to morph its tactics to get around the courts and the law.

The very language you are using to make your arguments about “brainwashing” and “critical thinking” has been prepared for you by the Discovery Institute. It’s part of the latest tactics ever since ID/creationism’s latest trouncing in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. You are revealing that you can’t even think for yourself.

Go to the website of the National Center for Science Education and start studying all the court cases there. Start with Kitzmiller v. Dover. Then look at Edwards v. Aguillard. Then McLean v. Arkansas.

Seriously; you are not original in your accusations. We all know the script here.

Jay said:

The article says: “The third sentence has another falsehood:

In 2006, [Freshwater] won Outstanding Teacher of the Year, and has always earned excellent evaluations.

Freshwater’s evaluations were excellent, as best I know, but he never received an “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” award because the Mt. Vernon district has never had such an award in the 40 years I’ve lived here. He did receive a couple of “Distinguished Teacher” awards..”

Hoppe said in the introduction: “Every sentence has an error of fact.” However, his sentence also has an error of logic. from the above sentence, Hoppe concluded that Freshwater did not receive “outstanding teacher of the year” so other good evaluation cannot be reliable. That is his personal like or dislike issue, not persuasive speculation of the fact.

In the OP I said “Freshwater’s evaluations were excellent, as best I know, …”. Freshwater really was an enthusiastic and effective teacher. The problem is what he taught. That’s the tragedy of the situation: an excellent teacher who went off the rails. Point out where I made the conclusion that the “other good evaluation cannot be reliable” or retract your claim. I am perfectly aware that Freshwater got good classroom evaluations–somewhere (I haven’t hunted it up), I posted on that during the hearing. It is also the case that there is a persistent falsehood in the creationist/fundamentalist camp regarding the award Freshwater received. My description of it in the OP is accurate.

rc19 said:

Dave Luckett said:

Freshwater didn’t teach critical evaluation of science. and didn’t teach it. He taught his religious beliefs as if they were science.

As soon as you start using expressions like “brainwash kids with Darwinism”, you advertise that you aren’t interested in teaching science, either, and that you are irrational about evaluating it.

If you only teach one scientific theory and refuse to teach any opposing views, you are brainwashing, or at least depriving students of critical thinking on the subject. By accusing teachers teaching biology with views outside of Darwinism to be religiously motivated while pretending teachers teaching Darwinism are not, even though Darwinism has religious implications and cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt scientifically but instead relies on circumstantial evidence interpreted through the religious beliefs of the scientist, is hypocritical, to say the least. This is not the way of critical thinkers.

Really? And exactly what would those “religious beliefs of the scientists” be? You must keep in mind that not all scientists are atheists. Not all are christians. Not all are any one religion. So do tell. Are you just making shit up? Or are you just parroting the party line in your favorite creationist circle? Exactly what is this religious belief that all scientists share? NOTE: methodological naturalism is not a religion. You really don’t want to got there do you?

Really? And exactly what would those “religious beliefs of the scientists” be? You must keep in mind that not all scientists are atheists. Not all are christians. Not all are any one religion. So do tell. Are you just making shit up? Or are you just parroting the party line in your favorite creationist circle? Exactly what is this religious belief that all scientists share? NOTE: methodological naturalism is not a religion. You really don’t want to got there do you?

Yes, perhaps I do. Religious faith includes ideas about origin and purpose. Methodological naturalism demands a particular outcome. No matter what the facts seem to be, no matter what history asserts, no matter what personal experience suggests, methodological naturalism demands there is no divine intervention in natural processes, past or present. This IS religious in its assertion, and it is unnecessarily restrictive in its possible outcomes. Even if sedimentary layers from mud and ash are formed quickly after the eruption of Mt St Helens, you don’t care. Even if trees began petrifying within a year, you don’t care. Even if radiology was proven inaccurate, you don’t care. Even if more evidence exists for intelligent design and microevolution/adaptation than macroevolution, you don’t care. You don’t even like these terms because, although they distinguish between significantly different concepts of evolution, they do not support your preferred outcome. Your methodological naturalism demands that all observations are forced into natural causes. You do not allow for divine creation, even if things reproducing “after their own kind” is evidenced millions of times in front of your face daily. You are stubborn, blind, stupid sheep following the status quo, not caring that your theories are built on unproven theories treated as truth until they become cultural assumptions. You are ever so zealous, as any religious zealot should be, and you don’t care, because your mind was made up from the moment you gullibly looked up at your science teacher, robed in his/her confident presuppositions, with awe, as if he/she was some unbiased prophet of truth. Whether you believe in God/gods/nirvana/nothing-but-meaningless-star-dust, you are making demands on reality that it does not demand of itself and influencing your related religious beliefs accordingly. You are, therefore, absolutely subjective and religious in your presuppositions, and your claims otherwise are disingenuous. This is why you will continue to face ID and creationism (two separate views and approaches to evidence) in court; we are disgusted by your blatant hypocrisy and mind-numbing close-mindedness.

the moment you gullibly looked up at your science teacher, robed in his/her confident presuppositions, with awe, as if he/she was some unbiased prophet of truth

Newsflash churchy, this never happened. To any of us. We don’t look up at exalted leaders and accept their proclamations as unquestioned truth. That’s you and yours, and just because you have this mental defect doesn’t mean everyone else does.

I looked up at my science teacher, thought what he was saying was interesting, and wondered “how did they figure that out”. So I learned more about it. I never had a science teacher who I thought was anything more than some man or woman who was doing their job, I’ve never experienced thinking anyone was an unbiased prophet of anything, and the only thing that awes me is how dishonest and stupid creobots are when they try to project their cognitive and emotional deficits onto others, in their embarrassment at clinging to a worldview based on ghosts and fairy tales.

Every single thing you say is demonstrably wrong.

“Methodological naturalism” means only that natural causes are assumed in nature, because natural causes are the only causes that can be investigated by natural means. It does not mean that natural causes are necessarily the only causes, and even if it did, that need not mean that there is no God, for God can operate through natural causes.

Methodological naturalism says nothing about the existence of God, nothing about what he is or does or wants, nothing about about how he is to be worshipped, nothing about doctrine or dogma, nothing about right conduct, morality or ethics. It only says that nature is to be investigated with the assumption of natural means and natural causes. It is absolutely not religious in nature.

But it has been so extraordinarily fruitful over the last five or so centuries as to be unassailable. Rail against it as you will; the results mock you. The very world you live in gives you the lie.

Sedimentary layers, by definition, form under water, compacting slowly into rock over ages. They are not volcanic mudflows or pyroclastic flows or ash falls, and geologists easily distinguish between them. Under volcanic ash, trees can begin to mineralise quickly. Under sedimentary conditions, the process can be, and often is, very slow. Trees have been found unmineralised under 20000 years’ worth of varve sedimentation.

Dating methods from isotopic decay paths are perfectly accurate within the inherent uncertainties of all measurement systems, and they rely on nothing less than the fundamental properties of matter. Yes, the sample taken has to be uncontaminated; it must consist of material that was actually formed by the event that is being dated, without inclusions of other material; it must contain sufficient of the isotope involved to allow accurate measurement; and of course the isotope being measured must have a half-life significant to the age of the material. There have been various creationist attempts to discredit these dating techniques. Every single one of them, without exception, failed one or more of these requirements, usually in a knowingly fraudulent way.

There is no evidence whatsoever for fiat creation of any living thing, nor any feature of any living thing. If you think different, point it out. But you have not, and you can’t. The most you have managed is to assert that some features of the Earth are young. So they are. But many others are very old; and the Earth is as old as its oldest features.

You hate science and scientists, and your language is plain evidence for that. You have no reason to; science and scientists have done you no harm and much good. The fact that you return slander and insult for that gives the lie to any claim of yours to virtue, or even honest ignorance. You are simply malicious.

No doubt science will continue to face creationism and “intelligent design” in court. They are the same thing, as the court concluded in Kitzmiller vs the Dover School District Board, and your denial of that fact is as worthless as the rest of your denials. So far, science has won every court challenge. Bring it on then; but have the basic decency and guts to use your own money, not that of some hapless school district or individual teacher.

Basic decency and guts in a creationist. Good heavens, what am I saying?

rc19 said:

Really? And exactly what would those “religious beliefs of the scientists” be? You must keep in mind that not all scientists are atheists. Not all are christians. Not all are any one religion. So do tell. Are you just making shit up? Or are you just parroting the party line in your favorite creationist circle? Exactly what is this religious belief that all scientists share? NOTE: methodological naturalism is not a religion. You really don’t want to got there do you?

Yes, perhaps I do. Religious faith includes ideas about origin and purpose. Methodological naturalism demands a particular outcome. No matter what the facts seem to be, no matter what history asserts, no matter what personal experience suggests, methodological naturalism demands there is no divine intervention in natural processes, past or present. This IS religious in its assertion, and it is unnecessarily restrictive in its possible outcomes. Even if sedimentary layers from mud and ash are formed quickly after the eruption of Mt St Helens, you don’t care. Even if trees began petrifying within a year, you don’t care. Even if radiology was proven inaccurate, you don’t care. Even if more evidence exists for intelligent design and microevolution/adaptation than macroevolution, you don’t care. You don’t even like these terms because, although they distinguish between significantly different concepts of evolution, they do not support your preferred outcome. Your methodological naturalism demands that all observations are forced into natural causes. You do not allow for divine creation, even if things reproducing “after their own kind” is evidenced millions of times in front of your face daily. You are stubborn, blind, stupid sheep following the status quo, not caring that your theories are built on unproven theories treated as truth until they become cultural assumptions. You are ever so zealous, as any religious zealot should be, and you don’t care, because your mind was made up from the moment you gullibly looked up at your science teacher, robed in his/her confident presuppositions, with awe, as if he/she was some unbiased prophet of truth. Whether you believe in God/gods/nirvana/nothing-but-meaningless-star-dust, you are making demands on reality that it does not demand of itself and influencing your related religious beliefs accordingly. You are, therefore, absolutely subjective and religious in your presuppositions, and your claims otherwise are disingenuous. This is why you will continue to face ID and creationism (two separate views and approaches to evidence) in court; we are disgusted by your blatant hypocrisy and mind-numbing close-mindedness.

Bullshit. You haven’t got a clue. Obviously you have never done any science or even known anyone who has.

Methodological naturalism does not demand a certain outcome, any more than using a pressure gage on a tire demands a certain outcome. A method is a method. Every method has its limitations. Methodological naturalism is limited to natural phenomena. Of course, it has been wildly successful and no supernatural phenomena have ever been observed. That is why it is used. Period. You are the one demanding supernatural intervention. You are the one imposing religious presuppositions. No one is stopping you from investigating supernatural phenomena. Let us know when you have some evidence for any.

Your creationist talking points about scientific discoveries are warped and lack basic understanding. How dare you presume to tell me what I do and do not care about. I am a a real scientist. I have examined the evidence, you obviously have not. It is you who do not care, hypocrite. There is plenty of evidence for macroevolution. You are the one who is ignoring it. Go get educated then you can come back and lecture us about science.

You don’t know me, you have no idea what anything about my religious beliefs. You just assume that because I am aware of the scientific evidence for evolution that I must reject all religion. You have no idea what I think of my science teachers. No real scientist accepts the edicts of authority figures. That bullshit is for priests and prophets. Grow up, get a clue and get over yourself.

ID is creationism pure and simple. I have no problem facing it or any of it’s evil manifestations in court. Reality always wins in the long run and it doesn’t care what you think. Be gone evil one, I’m done trying to educate you.

If I choose to respond to the lying troll again, my responses will be on the bathroom wall. I suggest that others do the same until the moderators figure out that his off topic nonsense is designed to do nothing but disrupt.

DS said:

If I choose to respond to the lying troll again, my responses will be on the bathroom wall. I suggest that others do the same until the moderators figure out that his off topic nonsense is designed to do nothing but disrupt.

I am of two minds on this. Granted, rc19’s comment above is at best marginally related to the OP, but it is not completely off topic–it does illustrate another aspect of the misrepresentations that characterize creationists. And the excellent rebuttals to it by DS and Dave Luckett are useful for readers. We do get a non-trivial number of ‘middle of the road’ readers, and rebutting the creationists is not a waste of PT electrons.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on April 21, 2012 6:51 PM.

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