Scopes II, Here We Come?

| 137 Comments

The Los Angeles Times reported on April 11th that

Discussion of creationism in public school classrooms in Tennessee will now be permitted under a bill that passed the Republican-controlled state Legislature despite opposition from the state’s Republican governor.

The measure will allow classroom debates over evolution, permitting discussions of creationism alongside evolutionary teachings about the origins of life. Critics say the law, disparagingly called “The Monkey Bill,” will plunge Tennessee back to the divisive days of the notorious Scopes “Monkey Trial” in Dayton, Tenn., in 1925.

Gov. Bill Haslam refused Tuesday to sign the bill, saying it would create confusion over schools’ science curriculum. But the bill became law anyway. Haslam said he decided not to use his veto power, because the Legislature had the votes to override a veto. The measure passed by a 3-to-1 margin.

“Good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion,” Haslam said, according to Reuters. “My concern is that this bill has not met this objective.”

The governor added: “I don’t believe that it accomplishes anything that isn’t already acceptable in our schools.”

The state’s teachers are not allowed to raise alternatives to evolution but, under the new law, would be required to permit discussion of creationism and other beliefs if they are raised in class. The law would also permit discussion of challenges to such scientific conclusions as the man-made effects of climate change.

Any guesses as to how long before this gets litigious?

I wrote Gov. Haslam last week, noting that comedians like Jay Leno and David Letterman would soon be mocking Tennessee if the bill wasn’t vetoed. If anyone knows of mentions of the bill on comedy shows, post them here!

137 Comments

No guess - LSEA’s been non-litigious far longer than I would’ve ever expected. It seems Louisiana’s local/parish elected officials are a bit smarter than their state-level equivalents. Maybe the same is true in TN, or maybe not…but I’m not putting any bets on it one way or the other. :)

I am somewhat more interested in how long it might take a for a teacher to get in trouble/in the news far answering creationist student questions…by raking creationism over the coals. No doubt all these Legislators will complain that that was not the intent of the bill.

My thoughts too Eric. What happens when some kid brings up creationism and some other kids say it’s stupid or false? Who’s going to complain then?

Like a true politician, Gov. Haslam took the cowardly way out. From what he said, he apparently considers the bill useless at best. But was that from listening to scientists or to Todd Wood (see the recent PT thread)?

I hope (but fear otherwise) that any ridicule of Gov. Haslam does not refer to “monkeys” or “sneaking in God”, but rather how, by not enthusiastically vetoing it, he’s thumbing his nose at the scientists who do the actual work to determine what gets taught, and offering an unearned handout to snake-oil peddlers. Though if Eric’s observation turns out to be a long term, nation-wide trend, teachers who have been fooled by the snake-oil peddlers (or in on the scam), mostly know better than to risk another Dover.

I call your attention to John Pieret’s blog Thoughts in a Haystack, where he quotes the governor of Tennessee on the passage of the act which precipitated the Scopes trial, and the current governor:

Austin Peay After a careful examination, I can find nothing of consequence in the books now being taught in our schools with which this bill will interfere in the slightest manner. Therefore, it will not put our teachers in jeopardy. Probably the law will never be applied. It may not be sufficiently definite to permit of any specific application . …

Bill Haslam I have reviewed the final language of HB 368/SB 893 and assessed the legislation’s impact. I have also evaluated the concerns that have been raised by the bill. I do not believe that this legislation changes the scientific standards that are taught in our schools or the curriculum that is used by our teachers. However, I also don’t believe that it accomplishes anything that isn’t already acceptable in our schools.

Frank J said:

Like a true politician, Gov. Haslam took the cowardly way out. From what he said, he apparently considers the bill useless at best. But was that from listening to scientists or to Todd Wood (see the recent PT thread)?

Depends on how much political capital you think he should’ve spent making a symbolic protest. Make no mistake: a veto would’ve been purely symbolic. In the TN state system, only a simple majority is required to override a governor’s veto, and 3/4 of the legislature voted for this bill.

So, if you think he should’ve spent a lot of political capital on making a symbolic protest, then you can call him a coward. But if you think he should’ve saved his mojo for battles he can win, this should be seen as a very regrettable but strategically understandable position.

Well it’s already been mentioned by the comedians at the DI blog evolutionnews.

I suppose you meant advertent comics, though…

Glen Davidson

“The measure will allow classroom debates over evolution, permitting discussions of creationism alongside evolutionary teachings about the origins of life.”

Actually, the bill as written specifically forbids this (wink, wink). It is only if the bill is blatantly misinterpreted and misapplied that this will be a problem, just as it already was.

“The state’s teachers are not allowed to raise alternatives to evolution but, under the new law, would be required to permit discussion of creationism and other beliefs if they are raised in class.”

Once again, this is completely wrong. There is absolutely nothing whatsoever that prevents teachers from discussing scientific hypothesis in science class. Teachers are allowed to raise any scientific alternatives they want. There aren’t any, so it isn’t an issue, never was, probably never will be. The bill does not permit discussion of creationism, that has been expressly forbidden by the Supreme Court. The bill isn’t going to do anything to change that. Now if you try to use the bill that way you will be taken to court and you will lose, just like you would have before.

“I don’t believe that it accomplishes anything that isn’t already acceptable in our schools.”

Now that’s the point. If you take the bill at face value, it’s worthless. If you assume nefarious intent, then it’s a giant step backwards. Why not veto it, even if you get overturned? At least you stood up for the truth. That’s what politicians do right?

eric said:

LSEA’s been non-litigious far longer than I would’ve ever expected. It seems Louisiana’s local/parish elected officials are a bit smarter than their state-level equivalents.

I’ve been unable to find any evidence of LSEA being formally used since LSEA became law four years ago. Two Louisiana parishes did make attempts; they blatantly used the word creationism - so not too surprising that both efforts were muzzled!

Indeed, an online letter last fall to the Shreveport Times expressed frustration that LSEA has not been taken advantage of.

Perhaps they are finding it a bit more difficult than expected to find anti-evolution material not grounded in religion, that doesn’t have cdesign proponentsists-like clues.

Maybe the same is true in TN, or maybe not…but I’m not putting any bets on it one way or the other. :)

I wrote one TN lawmaker (from Chattanooga, near where I spent my teen years) opposing the ‘monkey’ bills, even explaining I’m an ex-YEC. He replied back politely but very openly and proudly that he has no doubts about the book of Genesis and that he very much wants to have students see “Truth” and put Tennessee and the USA ‘back on the right track’ by supporting the bills.

If his mentality wins out in Tennessee, there may be a constitutional legal challenge sooner than later.

It’s okay to discuss creationism…just explain why it doesn’t belong in the science classroom, and then quickly move on to real science.

Karen S. said:

It’s okay to discuss creationism…just explain why it doesn’t belong in the science classroom, and then quickly move on to real science.

Yeah. It doesn’t explain why nested hierarchies are so prevalent among species. It doesn’t explain geographic or time-line clustering of close relatives. It doesn’t explain the fuzzy “boundary” between close relatives. It doesn’t explain fossil series. It doesn’t explain correlation between dates derived from fossils and genetic comparisons. It doesn’t explain why it’s routine to find designs that would get an engineer fired.

Okay, that discussion is done.

Next question? :)

This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/[…]enda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

The shtoopid, it burnssss.….

eric said: In the TN state system, only a simple majority is required to override a governor’s veto, and 3/4 of the legislature voted for this bill.

In that case, why even have a veto provision since *every* bill will have had a majority voting for it, making 8every* bill “veto proof” (at least in theory)?

–W. H. Heydt

Old Used Programmer

It’s something to scare misbehaving children with: “If you don’t learn to tell the difference between what’s true, and what you wish were true, you will grow up to be a young earth creationist!”

Any guesses as to how long before this gets litigious?

That isn’t as simple as it looks.

1. IIRC, there was a similar bill in Louisiana and so far there have been no lawsuits.

2. Most likely, a lot of schools in Tennessee just don’t teach evolution period or outright teach creationism. Unless someone complains, there won’t be any lawsuits

In my entire pre-college school, I never got much evolution in science classes. The only teacher who really taught it was ironically, a former Mormon missionary who taught straight evolutionary biology and also injected a lot of completely unrelated religion into his classes.

Unless someone wants to be a martyr, either to science or fundie religion, there might not be any lawsuits for a long time. Few people want to do a Jessica Alquist or Dennis family and get death threats for years and have to move or do a John Freshwater and lose their house and job.

W. H. Heydt said: In that case, why even have a veto provision since *every* bill will have had a majority voting for it, making 8every* bill “veto proof” (at least in theory)?

You’ll have to ask Tennessee poli sci folk that, I’m only telling you what I know about the system.

Obviously the governor might veto a bill if he/she thinks they can flip sufficient votes. But in this case, nobody can really think that’s realistic.

Wow. That is some wonderful news, well worth popping in one more time. The opening battle for TN has been won. The train is rolling. Slow train coming, somebody once said.

One of the reasons why I stay with PandasThumb over the years, is simply to keep up on the breaking news in the evolution/creation/ID world. You guys actually do a commendable and noteworthy job of that, and you deserve sincere compliments for it.

That’s all I really wanted to say at this time. Just wanted to thank you for helping busy people to keep up with current news.

As I depart, please permit me to leave my new PandasThumb calling card with you, until next time we meet:

http://www.piratemerch.com/images/j[…]bq_sauce.jpg

FL

FL said:

Wow. That is some wonderful news, well worth popping in one more time. The opening battle for TN has been won. The train is rolling. Slow train coming, somebody once said.

FL

Really? How so? Are you saying that the bill will actually permit creationism to be taught in science classes? You better read the bill again.

And of course, if the bill is used that way, it isn’t going to end well for creationism. Can you say Dover trap? How did that work out for you?

raven said:

1. IIRC, there was a similar bill in Louisiana and so far there have been no lawsuits.

That’s the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), as mentioned earlier in this thread.

Since LSEA was signed into law by Governor Jindal, Louisiana anti-evolutionists have treated LSEA like a hot potato.

2. Most likely, a lot of schools in Tennessee just don’t teach evolution period or outright teach creationism. Unless someone complains, there won’t be any lawsuits

In my entire pre-college school, I never got much evolution in science classes. The only teacher who really taught it was ironically, a former Mormon missionary who taught straight evolutionary biology and also injected a lot of completely unrelated religion into his classes.

I attended both public schools and fundamentalist parochial schools in Tennessee. You can guess correctly that my fundamentalist teachers mentioned evolution a lot, but in not-so-flattering ways.

In public schools, I don’t think I heard the word ‘evolution’ once despite having very good to at least decent biology teachers.

I didn’t learn real mainstream science until I took both biology and geology in college.

Unless someone wants to be a martyr, either to science or fundie religion, there might not be any lawsuits for a long time. Few people want to do a Jessica Alquist or Dennis family and get death threats for years and have to move or do a John Freshwater and lose their house and job.

Kitzmiller (the lead plaintiff in the 2005 Dover trial) got death threats against her and her children.

Heck, even Judge John Jones got death threats after he rendered his decision in the Kitzmiller trial. He and his family needed 24/7 protection for a while.

eric Wrote:

Make no mistake: a veto would’ve been purely symbolic.

But it’s a huge “symbolic” to make a statement acknowledging that those who have earned the right to determine what is taught be given that right. And it would not be just a defense of scientists (mere humans, many of whom would gladly sell out to pseudoscience if they found it more profitable) but of the system that works, with results that must be independently verifiable. The system that concluded evolution based on a “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated” that was compelling enough to make Pope John Paul II use those words to describe it.

FL said:

The opening battle for TN has been won. The train is rolling. Slow train coming, somebody once said.

Well FL, will this Tennessee ‘victory’ be any better than the 2008 ‘victory’ in Louisiana?

So far, Louisiana is looking more like a hollow victory if not a Pyrrhic victory. Even after four long years, anti-evolutionists have seemingly been reluctant to use the LSEA law in Louisiana. What’s your explanation for this, FL?

FL said:

Wow. That is some wonderful news, well worth popping in one more time. The opening battle for TN has been won. The train is rolling. Slow train coming, somebody once said.

One of the reasons why I stay with PandasThumb over the years, is simply to keep up on the breaking news in the evolution/creation/ID world. You guys actually do a commendable and noteworthy job of that, and you deserve sincere compliments for it.

That’s all I really wanted to say at this time. Just wanted to thank you for helping busy people to keep up with current news.

As I depart, please permit me to leave my new PandasThumb calling card with you, until next time we meet:

http://www.piratemerch.com/images/j[…]bq_sauce.jpg

FL

Because when Formerly Confederate states try to do things that violate federal law, it always works out well for them.

Tenncrain said:

I wrote one TN lawmaker (from Chattanooga, near where I spent my teen years) opposing the ‘monkey’ bills, even explaining I’m an ex-YEC. He replied back politely but very openly and proudly that he has no doubts about the book of Genesis and that he very much wants to have students see “Truth” and put Tennessee and the USA ‘back on the right track’ by supporting the bills.

Keep that letter in a safe place. It might be important someday.

In our church’s youth group, I make sure that my daughter learns that Jesus is risen from the dead. In our public high school, I make sure that my daughter learns about biological evolution (from Ken Miller and Joe Levine’s textbook!). That’s what parent-teacher conferences are for.

Whai is Letterman, leno, and Kermit the frog agree with this law? Will you guys cease and desist to oppose it!?

This is a solid progressive victory for freedom and truth in public institutions. I’m quite pleased at its potential to lead other states to aggressively overthrow anti-creationist laws. It was never moral or legal anyways. This Governor did show lack of moral integrity since he clearly didn’t want this new law to pass. He’s trying to preserve his position.

this law shows the efforts of the public to determine what is teachable to their kids. A great lesson in civics.

Now for these schools its up to the kids to introduce creationism or anything and make science class matter relative to origin issues. This is good publicity for the good guys.

The train is rolling. Slow train coming, somebody once said.

Train wreck ahead, we’re saying.

Robert Byers the Moron For Jesus said:

this law shows the efforts of the public to determine what is teachable to their kids. A great lesson in civics.

Now for these schools its up to the kids to introduce creationism or anything and make science class matter relative to origin issues.

Tell us again why Creationism belongs in a science classroom, and not science?

Karen S. said:

The train is rolling. Slow train coming, somebody once said.

Train wreck ahead, we’re saying.

You know that, and I know that, but the Creationists want to make it out to be a Sunday Picnic, instead of the legal/educational disaster it really is.

Carl Drews said:

Tenncrain said:

I wrote one TN lawmaker (from Chattanooga, near where I spent my teen years) opposing the ‘monkey’ bills, even explaining I’m an ex-YEC. He replied back politely but very openly and proudly that he has no doubts about the book of Genesis and that he very much wants to have students see “Truth” and put Tennessee and the USA ‘back on the right track’ by supporting the bills.

Keep that letter in a safe place. It might be important someday.

Yea, kind of like the Dover PA teachers that kept that brochure that came with the “Of Pandas And People” books, the brochure that had ‘creation science’ on it.

I still have the email from the TN lawmaker. As it is, this particular lawmaker IIRC has made rather public statements somewhat similar to his email to me. May be of little effort to search the media, like during the Dover trial when a Harrisburg tv station video was shown that caught Bill Buckingham’s real creationist views here on tape.

Interestingly, I got no further emails from this TN lawmaker despite several more enquiries.

In our church’s youth group, I make sure that my daughter learns that Jesus is risen from the dead. In our public high school, I make sure that my daughter learns about biological evolution (from Ken Miller and Joe Levine’s textbook!). That’s what parent-teacher conferences are for.

That’s how I would plan it for any future kids of mine.

Robert Byers said:

This is a solid progressive victory for freedom and truth in public institutions. I’m quite pleased at its potential to lead other states to aggressively overthrow anti-creationist laws. It was never moral or legal anyways. This Governor did show lack of moral integrity since he clearly didn’t want this new law to pass. He’s trying to preserve his position.

this law shows the efforts of the public to determine what is teachable to their kids. A great lesson in civics.

Now for these schools its up to the kids to introduce creationism or anything and make science class matter relative to origin issues. This is good publicity for the good guys.

As we have explained countless times to you, the scientific process is not a democracy. It’s more like a meritocracy. Science paradigms only tend to get promoted when these paradigms have withstood the rigors of testing by scientists with training and experience in their fields. With this in mind, it’s of little surprise that most of the scientists on the Discovery Institute ‘Dissent from Darwin’ page are not even biologists or paleontologists/geologists.

But science is always considered to be tentative. Thus Byers, if ‘scientists’ at AIG, ICR, the Discovery Institute, perhaps the Big Valley Creation Science Museum in Alberta can produce real evidence and sway the scientific consensus, your views could rather automatically supplement or even replace evolution in public school science classrooms. No need to fall back on the political process in legislatures and school boards to inject ‘stealth creationism’ via the backdoor. No need to use politics to bypass the science peer-review process.

But unless your ‘scientists’ and their paradigms someday earn acceptance from the scientific consensus, forget it.

In our church’s youth group, I make sure that my daughter learns that Jesus is risen from the dead. In our public high school, I make sure that my daughter learns about biological evolution (from Ken Miller and Joe Levine’s textbook!). That’s what parent-teacher conferences are for.

Your daughter is getting a good education, IMO.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

Meyer makes essentially anti-common descent “arguments” in various places, from Darwin’s Dilemma to his infamous “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories.” That at least the Cambrian “Explosion” was a creation event (not the drip drip of endless intervention a la Behe) is something that he regularly presents.

That is what actually matters.

Glen Davidson

For the record I think that IDers, including Behe, are more skilled than “classic” YECs and OECs at promoting doubt of common descent, and at least as determined to make their audience doubt it, even if they don’t. Behe may have not cared about that at first, and must have been pleasantly surprised at how his more vocal fans “tune out” his admission, and act like he validated their childhood fairy tale (an ironic slap in the face of Morris and Gish). The other IDers are more politically correct than Behe, and found it much more advantageous to play dumb while vaguely promoting doubt. On that note, did Meyer ever specifically claim that the Cambrian “creation event” required new origin-of-life events (which would still make humans related to all other chordates)”? Or did he just reject the “macroevolution” (cumulative “RM + NS”) that Behe has also rejected all along?

Frank J said:

@ Dave:

Feel free to move this to the BW if you think it’s getting OT, but I have another comment to John:

But remember here Frank J, that the “intelligently designed common descent” that Ken Miller accepts is one due to natural processes such as Natural Selection and genetic drift, not one due to the acts of an omniscient, omnipotent Intelligent Designer.

Which only means that Miller refuses to conflate proximate and ultimate causes like Behe does. Miller even speculates at length at how what we observe as natural causes could be ultimately the workings of an intelligent designer (his “quantum indeterminacy” discussion in “Finding Darwin’s God). I should also add that, to my knowledge, Behe never insisted that the designer be omniscient or omnipotent. IIRC Behe even admitted somewhere, that what he claims that “RM + NS” can’t do could still be the result of some yet-unknown natural law. But like any pseudoscience peddler he tries to have it both ways.

It’s the least satisfactory part of “Finding Darwin’s God” IMHO. Nor do I like his embrace of a weak version of the “Anthropic Principle” in “Only A Theory”, which regrettably, weakens the impact of the message he’s trying to send out, insofar as we Americans need to accept scientific truth like the fact of Biological Evolution since it is based on natural law; that is that evolution occurs not via Divine Fiat but rather, instead, by natural processes such as Natural Selection and genetic drift. Both Massimo Pigliucci and I have criticized him about this. However, he has also said that those who embrace faiths hostile to science should reject them (which, on the face of it, is what you’d expect from an Agnostic or Atheist, not a devout Roman Catholic Christian). Make no mistake, I have the utmost admiration for Ken’s work in fighting creationism and am glad that I was there when it started at Brown years ago, assisting him during the question and answer period of his very first debate against Henry Morris. But I understand why some militant Atheists might dare compare him favorably with the likes of Behe because of these religiously-inspired philosophical views, even if I also reject the validity of such comparisons.

As for me being “picky”, I am merely noting that Coyne and Musgrave have been as tenacious in their criticism of Behe as Keh has (with Musgrave going so far as assisting science blogger Abbie Smith in one memorable online encounter she had with Behe several years ago).

Scott F said:

Robert Byers said:

garystar1 said:

Here’s the problem for SteveP, Robert Byers, FL, and the like. You guys need to get your story straight. What was the purpose of this law to begin with? The DI has flat out stated that this law has nothing to do with “creationism” or “ID”. Now, anyone who follows these things knows thats a load of… you know… but apparently you guys can’t keep that in mind. Byers has already come out and said he hopes this will “lead other states to aggressively overthrow anti-creationist laws”. FL said he likes to keep abreast of developments in the “evolution/creation/ID” world. Except this isn’t supposed to be about creationism or ID. Or is it? Tell you what. You guys go away, talk and discuss amongst yourselves (Heck, get Luskin and whomever else at the DI involved, since they wrote the law to begin with), get your stories straight, and come back when you have a solid position on… well, anything. (goes back to lurking)

The ID commentators are wrong. The law is understood, received, and criticized entirely based on its allowing creationist criticisms in origin issues. thats what the spirit of this is all about. Panda Thumb rightly saw it as a threat to the usual censorship of creationism. Laws to allow school discussions are never business as usual. ID folk simply want criticisms to be allowed and not creationist doctrines taught. This is fine with their agenda. They will win in this freedom they believe. Yet all creationisms are affected by this. Its all about state censorship being attacked. These steps are leading to a natural relationship in a free society to be free in discussing and arguing about common contentions in same society. This is not the 1940’s under the radar laws taking over traditional Anglo-American freedoms. it just takes a while to drum up interest in these matters most people are not interested in. Cases like this move things along nicely. Publicity is the objective at this stage.

Really Mr. Byers? You want discussion of Creationism in high school science class? You want it to be legal to discuss religious topics in science class? You want to discuss the pros and cons of both sides?

How about in California? How about in Boston? How would you feel about it if a publicly funded teacher stood in front of the classroom and told students that the Biblical story was a myth, a fantasy, a lie? (BTW, they are not allowed to do that today, by law, thanks to the Constitution which you want to over turn.) That there is no evidence outside the Bible (and precious little inside the Bible) for Creationism? Should it be legal for a teacher to tell a student that their personal beliefs are wrong?

How would you feel about that?

How would you feel if a teacher told her students that the Koran was the literal word of Allah? That the students would burn in Hell if they didn’t believe in Allah? How would you feel if a teacher told her students that the Hindu scriptures were the literal truth?

Shall we discuss all 2,000(+) of the “literal true” origins stories available in the world? Shall we allow every teacher the “academic freedom” to prosthelytize any religion that they want to their children?

Do you really want that?

The reason we have “Freedom of Religion” in this country is because the Catholics could not agree with the Quakers about what to teach in school. The Baptists couldn’t agree with the Lutherans, who couldn’t agree with the Episcopalians, who couldn’t agree with any other sect. The reason “Freedom of Religion” works, is because *no* religion can use the power of the State to tell the other religions what the “right” religion is; what the “truth” is.

But no. You want to eliminate that “Freedom”. Instead you want “Academic Freedom”. You want the “Freedom” to use the State to tell other people what to believe.

You want people to be able to vote on what religion the state will require everyone to believe. Don’t you realize that that very thing is what our Founding Fathers came to this continent to get away from?

Yes Americans (and Canadians ) by majority’s want both sides taught. in fact in any contention of interest they accept full discussion in public schools. They do attack the truth of the bible in many classes. Certainly teaching evolution is saying the bible is false. Denying Genesis equal time is a further statement its false since the class is about teaching the truth on origin matters. Wiggle all you want but trying to enforce censorship is very difficult once the people are aware of it.

By the way the Puritans came to America to establish a religious society and not a neutral one. Only at the revolution in order to get along was a hands off agreement made. Of coarse teaching God or genesis is not true or banning it as a option for truth is not hands off but fingerprintsamindo.

mandrellian said:

Teach both sides? Let the kids “decide”?

Sure.

In history class, in civics, in philosophy - let’s do just that.

Let’s teach kids how creationists operate and let them “decide” what to do with that information. We can teach:

- how they portray evolution not as a description of observed reality and the bedrock of biological science which informs everything from genetics to medicine to epidemiology to pharmacology, etc (a place it has earned through repeated confirmation, not by authoritative declaration or popular vote) but as a crucial part of some “godless” lefty philosophy out to harm the country or lead their kids away from Jesus

- how they routinely lie and conceal their true motives in order to circumvent the law and have creationism inserted into science (the very label “Intelligent Design” itself, the entirety of the DI’s public actions, Dover)

- how they purposely misquote, quote out of context or partially quote scientists up to and including Darwin himself (and anyone, really, as long as they’re perceived to have some kind of authority) in order to cast doubt on evolutionary theory

- how they manufacture a controversy about evolutionary theory’s validity by magnifying small differences in scientific opinion over currently uncertain, highly specific evolutionary mechanisms while ignoring the overwhelming consensus among scientists that evolutionary theory is true

- how they jump on any misleading or just poorly-written science article in the mainstream media in order to claim that evolution is a “theory in crisis” or “on its last legs”

- how they inevitably misread and misrepresent actual scientific research in any way they can in order to cast what they see as doubt on evolution

- how they constantly conflate Darwinian evolution with “social Darwinism”, a eugenicist philosophy that would have appalled Darwin and which is, in any event, the antithesis of Darwinian natural selection

- how they portray acceptance of evolution as “dogmatic” and admiration of Darwin as “worship”; more than likely projecting their own authoritarian and irrational methods of thought onto others

- how they constantly claim “conspiracy” or “oppression” or “inhibition of free speech” every time a creationist or creationist group is called on their unconstitutional or inappropriate behaviour or their lack of judgement (Coppedge, Freshwater, Ahlquist)

- how they constantly refuse (both ID’ers and YES creationists) to perform a whit of actual scientific work in order to produce a single datum in support of their theory; how they seem to think that saying “that’s too complex to have evolved” counts as a legitimate critique

- how they say things like “microevolution doesn’t lead to macroevolution”, perhaps not realising that that’s equivalent to saying a lit match can light a cigarette but not start a bushfire

- how they bray and crow and squawk about either the “imminent demise” of Darwinism or the “slow train” of creationist progress, even though the only progress that matters in this debate - scientific - is being made by only one side of the argument

- how they concentrate on PR and legal and legislative “victories” without performing - or even attempting to perform - any actual science to back up their claims (which suggests that they may know, at some level, that science does not and will not provide that backup)

- how they almost universally perform the false equation of evolution with atheism - “atheism” of course being a creationist/Far Right dog-whistle that can mean anything up to and including (and any combination of): Hitler, Stalin, Nazism, fascism, socialism, communism, promiscuity, amorality, moral nihilism, pacifism, hedonism, masturbation, paganism, pre-marital or non-procreative sex, homosexuality, video games and probably electric guitars, carbonated drinks and open sandwiches

And that’s just what I’ve noticed on PT in the short amount of time I’ve been visiting.

There are more than enough examples of all the behaviour listed above (and more I haven’t thought of) to make a very interesting Creationism: History and Tactics syllabus.

So let’s do it: let’s teach both sides. Let’s teach science, then we can balance that and teach creationism - with all the detail we can muster.

Yes they do teach different sides in history or civics etc classes. There is no or very little censorship in these classes. Origin subjects are more important as they touch on historical truths of Christianity which is the origin for modern civilization. The long intellectual and cultural history of believing God and genesis is the truth of the universe is today censorsed because it was so important. Its dangerous even. They censor things that matter. Truths touching on religion are serious truths and so in origin subjects it can’t be helped but there is crossover.

Byers: Of coarse teaching God or genesis is not true or banning it as a option for truth is not hands off but fingerprintsamindo.

Bartender, I’d like some of what Robert’s drinking.

Just a small one, though. I might have to think next week

Robert Byers said: They do attack the truth of the bible in many classes. Certainly teaching evolution is saying the bible is false.

Teaching that pi = 3.14159… is saying the bible is false - see I Kings 7:23.

Teaching that donkeys can’t talk is saying the bible is false - see Numbers 22:28-30.

Teaching that snakes can’t talk is saying the bible is false - see Genesis 3:1-5.

Teaching that the rotation of the earth can’t be stopped and started again is saying the bible is false - see Joshua 10:12-13.

Teaching that the earth moves through space is saying the bible is false - see 1 Chronicles 16:30 and Psalm 93:1.

And the list of blatantly obvious myths goes on…

Robert Byers said:

Yes they do teach different sides in history or civics etc classes. There is no or very little censorship in these classes. Origin subjects are more important as they touch on historical truths of Christianity which is the origin for modern civilization. The long intellectual and cultural history of believing God and genesis is the truth of the universe is today censorsed because it was so important. Its dangerous even. They censor things that matter. Truths touching on religion are serious truths and so in origin subjects it can’t be helped but there is crossover.

Wrong again maestro of wrongness. There is plenty of “censorship” in history class. They never ever discuss auto mechanics or how to bake cookies. They never teach tennis lessons in civics class. They never play poker in art classes. So why on earth would you want to teach religion in science class?

For the last time, if your religion conflicts with reality, you need a new religion. You ain’t gonna get a new reality. Deal with it.

There is plenty of “censorship” in history class. They never ever discuss auto mechanics or how to bake cookies.

And they teach that the Holocaust occurred, rather than teaching “both sides.”

Glen Davidson

When you think of it, Expelled totally censored David Irving and other advocates of critical analysis of the Holocaust in their own demonization of the dissenters.

It’s almost as if they think that facts should be taught in history, rather than facts poisoned by intransigent denial of said facts. To do so in science, however, is unconscionable.

Glen Davidson

The long intellectual and cultural history of believing God and genesis is the truth of the universe is today censorsed because it was so important. Its dangerous even. They censor things that matter.

Who are they ?

Robert Byers said:

Yes they do teach different sides in history or civics etc classes. There is no or very little censorship in these classes. Origin subjects are more important as they touch on historical truths of Christianity which is the origin for modern civilization. The long intellectual and cultural history of believing God and genesis is the truth of the universe is today censorsed [sic] because it was so important. Its dangerous even. They censor things that matter. Truths touching on religion are serious truths and so in origin subjects it can’t be helped but there is crossover.

Is Erich von Däniken’s “ancient astronauts” model included in history and archeology classes, Byers? We hardly think so. If you are truly about fairness and freedom, you need to object to this ‘censorship’ in schools.

It’s fine if your “believing God and genesis is the truth” mindset is taught in a public school comparative religion class. But then again, you probably only want your particular religious ‘truth’ taught at the expense of all other religious ‘truths’ and you also want your ‘truth’ rammed into non-religious classes.

Even some Christian parochial schools teach real mainstream science, including evolution; my gf and several friends went to such private schools. According to them, there are at most a few peripheral mentions of theology in science classes, otherwise they concentrate only on science. It is explained that science is limited to addressing only proximate (scientific) causes; science is incapable of addressing ‘ultimate’ causes. Biblical/religious matters are generally for other classes outside the science classroom.

In contrast, more conservative Christian schools ram ‘ultimate’ causes in place of mainstream proximate/scientific answers that cause theological discomfort. Unfortunately, such pseudoscience is impotent in the real scientific world. Just ask Glenn Morton (click here) about the spiritual pain he experienced upon discovering firsthand that Flood geology was useless in the oil industry.

Oh Byers, still working on in-depth criticism of the Gordon Glover (click here) and Glenn Morton material? You have remained silent on this for about two months, yet you have so much time to post your diatribes on other matters. You may hope otherwise, but we remember when you said, “Not the place and I don’t want to get into a million points about these things.” (link here).

BTW, in the remote chance Byers replies on this particular matter, it’s fine if the moderators transfer any relevant posts to the BW.

Paul Burnett said:

apokryltaros said: According to fundamentalists, you can commit whatever goddamned sin you like, be it lying, cheating, murder, stealing, oppressing other people, setting your ego, or your bank account up on a high pedestal and forcing other people to worship it as God, so long as you claim you’re committing sin for Jesus, it’s okay.

To quote Martin Luther: “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.” (contained in a letter to Philip of Hesse in 1540)

And that, assuming Luther really said that, is reason enough to reject any claims he might have made.

Did you know Luther was a rabid anti-Semite too? You could argue that he was a forerunner of the Nazis, being German as well.

Support all your statements in bold or retract them, @$$hole!

Robert Byers said:

Yes Americans (and Canadians ) by majority’s want both sides taught. in fact in any contention of interest they accept full discussion in public schools. They do attack the truth of the bible in many classes. Certainly teaching evolution is saying the bible is false. Denying Genesis equal time is a further statement its false since the class is about teaching the truth on origin matters. Wiggle all you want but trying to enforce censorship is very difficult once the people are aware of it.

By the way the Puritans came to America to establish a religious society and not a neutral one. Only at the revolution in order to get along was a hands off agreement made. Of coarse teaching God or genesis is not true or banning it as a option for truth is not hands off but fingerprintsamindo.

Yes they do teach different sides in history or civics etc classes. There is no or very little censorship in these classes. Origin subjects are more important as they touch on historical truths of Christianity which is the origin for modern civilization. The long intellectual and cultural history of believing God and genesis is the truth of the universe is today censorsed because it was so important. Its dangerous even. They censor things that matter. Truths touching on religion are serious truths and so in origin subjects it can’t be helped but there is crossover.

None of those things I bolded make any sense to me. How does excluding myths from a classroom make any statement on their truth or falsehood, for example?

dalehusband said:

Paul Burnett said:

apokryltaros said: According to fundamentalists, you can commit whatever goddamned sin you like, be it lying, cheating, murder, stealing, oppressing other people, setting your ego, or your bank account up on a high pedestal and forcing other people to worship it as God, so long as you claim you’re committing sin for Jesus, it’s okay.

To quote Martin Luther: “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.” (contained in a letter to Philip of Hesse in 1540)

And that, assuming Luther really said that, is reason enough to reject any claims he might have made.

Did you know Luther was a rabid anti-Semite too? You could argue that he was a forerunner of the Nazis, being German as well.

To be fair, in his earlier years, Luther advocated fair treatment of the German Jews. Most of his Anti-Semitism stems from anger over the Jews’ rejection of his offers to convert them to Protestantism/Lutheranism.

On the other hand, there is great irony in the modern Protestant/Lutheran Church repudiation of Luther’s Anti-Semitism.

dalehusband said:

Support all your statements in bold or retract them

Robert Byers will do neither. He lacks the necessary combination of brainpower, backbone and honesty to support even a single one of his moronic falsehoods for Jesus. He once even made the half-assed excuse that it was “off topic” to support his incredibly stupid claim. (yet, wasting everyone’s time, space and bandwidth making his stupid claims is somehow on-topic)

dalehusband said:

Paul Burnett said:

To quote Martin Luther: “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.” (contained in a letter to Philip of Hesse in 1540)

And that, assuming Luther really said that, is reason enough to reject any claims he might have made.

Well, he wrote it - see the discussion at http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=40318

Did you know Luther was a rabid anti-Semite too? You could argue that he was a forerunner of the Nazis, being German as well.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the[…]d_Their_Lies for a discussion of this. Luther was an important precursor to the Holocaust.

Certainly, German anti-semitism didn’t start with Hitler and didn’t spring out of a vacuum. Luther was a vital component of Hitler’s anti-Semitism, but he himself was building on extant hatred that stemmed back to the origination of the faith. It wasn’t as though millions of Germans suddenly realised they didn’t like Jews thanks to Hitler’s inspiring hate-filled orations; anti-Semitism in Europe had existed for centuries, overtly or covertly, and it grew from both Catholicism and Protestantism - possibly the one thing the Vatican shared with Protestants was their mutual loathing of the Jew. Even if Hitler had been an atheist, as if often falsely charged, he wasn’t talking to a nation of atheists - he was talking to a nation of Christians and he awoke in them an evil noone knew was present. Granted, many saw the dark meaning of Hitler’s words early on; the majority, however, did not.

What Hitler did was make it okay to be overtly anti-Semitic - he even made it a virtue, then a necessity. Say what you will about liberal, Bohemian Weimar culture - in the depressed and chaotic economic and political environment of 1930s Germany, still smarting from the restrictions on economy and industry imposed by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, people were more than happy to blame a long-mistrusted and despised ethnic group for their woes. Add to that the nationalistic fervour whipped up by Hitler (again, there was an all-too ready market for re-instilling German people with their national pride) and his popularity is no longer some dark mystery.

As an aside, even if Hitler was a “7” on the Dawkins Belief Scale, his own beliefs in his vision, in the greatness of Germany, in the untermenschen status of Jews and in his deserved place as a German Caesar were as dogmatic, absolute, fundamentalist, extreme and unevidenced as anything exhibited by any religious extremist in history. It’s not necessary to be a religious fanatic to be unreasonable, irrational, disconnected from reality or morality and unable or unwilling to allow even the possibility of a mistake or fault in your guiding wisdom. Indeed, as we know, Hitler stuck to his own vision of his own infallibility until the very end, when he took his own life rather than face the justice of the World - or of an overzealous Russian soldier.

Atheist or not, what Hitler showed the world was the danger of irrational beliefs and the danger of absolute faith in dogma - even, or especially, if you just make your own up and cast yourself as Saviour.

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This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on April 12, 2012 8:14 AM.

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