A well informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will

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Both Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Drum are wrong, but I think Drum is infuriatingly wrong.

They're arguing over a statistic, the observation that about 46% of Americans believe the earth is 6000 years old and that a god created human beings complete and perfect as they are ex nihilo. Andrew Sullivan sees this as a consequence of the divisiveness of American politics, that they're using it as a signifier for red vs. blue.

I'm not sure how many of the 46 percent actually believe the story of 10,000 years ago. Surely some of them know it's less empirically supported than Bigfoot. My fear is that some of that 46 percent are giving that answer not as an empirical response, but as a cultural signifier. That means that some are more prepared to cling to untruth than concede a thing to libruls or atheists or blue America, or whatever the "other" is at any given point in time. I simply do not know how you construct a civil discourse indispensable to a functioning democracy with this vast a gulf between citizens in their basic understanding of the world.

Drum is quite right to point out that this is a bogus correlation: the US has been about evenly split on the issue for as long as we've been polling our citizens on it. There's been a gradual drift to sharpen the distinction along political lines — a hundred years ago, the most likely proponents of creationism would have been liberal Democrats — but it's largely because the Republican party has stepped in to embrace the demographic of ignorance and anti-intellectualism, becoming a kind of general know-nothing party. These differences have been here all along and are not a product of partisan politics; it's just that one party had the brilliant idea of enthusiastically waving the flag of stupidity.

But Kevin Drum goes too far. He claims the fight over evolution isn't actually all that important, and that the science doesn't really matter.

The fact is that belief in evolution has virtually no real-life impact on anything. That's why 46% of the country can safely choose not to believe it: their lack of belief has precisely zero effect on their lives. Sure, it's a handy way of saying that they're God-fearing Christians -- a "cultural signifier," as Andrew puts it -- but our lives are jam-packed with cultural signifiers. This is just one of thousands, one whose importance probably barely cracks America's top 100 list.

And the reason it doesn't is that even creationists don't take their own views seriously. How do I know this? Well, creationists like to fight over whether we should teach evolution in high school, but they never go much beyond that. Nobody wants to remove it from university biology departments. Nobody wants to shut down actual medical research that depends on the workings of evolution. In short, almost nobody wants to fight evolution except at the purely symbolic level of high school curricula, the one place where it barely matters in the first place. The dirty truth is that a 10th grade knowledge of evolution adds only slightly to a 10th grade understanding of biology.

Oh, great. That's all we need — for both parties in our polarized political system to abandon science.

Drum is making a very stupid argument. Most Americans have trouble balancing a checkbook — ever witnessed a confused high school student try to make change at a fast-food restaurant — so what the heck do they need algebra for? Why even bother with basic arithmetic? Teach them how to use a calculator in first grade, bam-pow, math education is done.

How many Americans read a novel as adults? How many bother with magazines, even, short of looking at the pictures? You don't even need to read to be able to navigate our highways — knowing symbols and names are enough. Teach kids the alphabet, show 'em how to write their name and roughly recognize place names, and wham-bam-zowie, reading is done by second grade. Ship 'em out into the workforce by third grade.

We'll just let the eggheads take the advanced courses, like geometry and creative writing and literature.

Drum isn't arguing anything that extreme, of course, but it's a logical consequence of his reasoning: he doesn't use biology, and he doesn't think most Americans use much biology, therefore it's a frippery that can be set aside.

Now, I think evolution should remain in high school texts anyway. Why? Because it's true. Biology is a science, and evolution is one of the pillars of modern science. For me, that's a cultural signifier every bit as much as a literal reading of the Bible is for 46% of the country. But you know what? I could spend an entire day arguing politics and economics and culture with a conservative and never so much as mention evolution. It's just not that important, and it doesn't tell us much of anything about our widening political polarization. We should keep up the fight, but at the same time we shouldn't pretend it has an epic significance that it doesn't. I'm not optimistic about anyone or anything "bringing the country together," but not because lots of people choose to deny evolution. Frankly, that's one of the least of our problems.

You know what? I could spend all day arguing science with a conservative (and I have!) and never once mention politics or economics or culture. Therefore, politics and economics and culture are unimportant.

Funny how that works.

The evolution statistic does have epic significance. If kids were graduating from high school unable to read or do basic arithmetic, we'd see that as a serious indictment of our educational system…and we'd be right to worry about our future as a technological society. That 46% of our citizens graduate with a complete denial of a most basic, fundamental fact about our world — that all of the sciences, not just biology, but physics, geology, chemistry, and astronomy concur that the planet is billions of years old — represents a massive failure of our educational system. In itself, it's a small problem — it's knowledge of one small detail. But as a symptom, it indicates a nation-wide problem.

I don't just blame the schools, though: it's not that they can't teach a simple, fundamental fact. It's that there is immense cultural push-back that opposes a scientific truth. If it were just an omission in the school curricula, it would be trivial to fix — but no, it's a symptom of systemic rot in the whole body politic and a reflection of a crippling anti-intellectualism in this country. That's what has epic significance.

It directly affects us in two ways.

One is that it's nice to be able to American biology departments and medical research and say they're doing fine, and it's true that we have excellent opportunities for advanced research, but it's our public schools that fill the pipeline leading to those places. Look in our research labs, and what will you see? Swarms of Chinese students. I have no objection to that, but think long term: most of those students will go home to build careers there, not here. Students who do not get the basics of science are handicapped when it comes to progressing up the academic ladder, so sure, let's knee-cap our student base by telling them all that the most minimal, trivial understanding of an entire large discipline isn't actually all that important. Where are our future American biologists going to come from, then?

Second, this is going to be the century of dependence on the sciences. Climate change is going to hit us all; environmental crises are going to rise up all over the place; we're going to face shortages of energy and fresh water; emerging diseases will be a major concern; new biomedical technologies will cause cultural shocks; the whole world is going to change. Most people, I agree, will not be doing the research that leads to changes, and most of those problems will require political and social changes to correct, but how are you going to convince people to, for instance, change their fuel consumption habits when they're in complete denial of the basic facts? How can you expect people to appreciate the importance of ecology and global interactions when you tell them that evolution doesn't matter? How will you get them to make rational decisions to control pandemics when they can't comprehend probability, epidemiology, and viral/bacterial evolution on even the most basic level?

Most importantly, though, this utilitarian attitude that all that matters is what people can directly use in their day-to-day life is a denial of the Enlightenment and principles on which our country was founded. It's a rejection of the liberal ideal that human beings should be well-rounded and informed individuals — the informed citizenry that should be the foundation of a democracy. We can't expect everyone to be biologists or poets or political scientists, but we should expect that one outcome of a public education is an appreciation of the breadth of human endeavor, and at least a smattering of the fundamentals of a wide range of subjects, sufficient that, to make it practical again, students can make informed career decisions and understand a basic argument from evidence from an expert. We lack that now. And to wave away a simple but essential starting fact about our existence as unimportant is deeply offensive.

I'll leave you with the words of Thomas Jefferson, who understood deep down how important the principle is, even if he never heard a word about evolution.

I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness...Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.

Shorter Thomas Jefferson:

If a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be.

89 Comments

As I recall, a poll indicated that about 1/5 of Americans think that the Sun goes around the Earth. Let us recall from the Sherlock Holmes novel, “A Study in Scarlet”:

“What the deuce is it to me?” he [Holmes] interrupted impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”

What difference does it make for anybody other than a professional astronomer?

These two little gems were in the consecutive paragraphs:

“The fact is that belief in evolution has virtually no real-life impact on anything.”

“Nobody wants to shut down actual medical research that depends on the workings of evolution.”

So, evolution has not impact on real life, except the medical research that depends on it! The only way it would have no impact then would be if nobody ever got sick. This guy should really learn not to make stupid statements that can be taken out of context by science deniers, even to make a point. Why make it easier on the quote miners?

As for the question posed by Tom S, how about fishermen, or anybody else who depends on knowledge of the tides? See the thing is, reality doesn’t care what you think, you ignore it or deny it at your own risk. The fact that it is reality should be sufficient reason to study and understand it, never mind the practical implications. Whether you can use evolution as a a cultural indicator or a pawn in silly little political games is irrelevant. Get your head out of the sand and face up to reality, otherwise there will be a price to pay.

Drum doesn’t understand that knowledge of biological evolution isn’t only relevant to understanding the subject of biology in a high school science class. It includes understanding why we need to be vaccinated against diseases like flu and TB not just once, but especially, in the case of flu, annually, with the emergence of new strains via Natural Selection that are resistant to pre-existing vaccines. And that’s merely the start of a long list of reasons why understanding and appreciating biological evolution should be a view shared by most Americans, irrespective of their political and religious beliefs.

DS said: As for the question posed by Tom S, how about fishermen, or anybody else who depends on knowledge of the tides? See the thing is, reality doesn’t care what you think, you ignore it or deny it at your own risk. The fact that it is reality should be sufficient reason to study and understand it, never mind the practical implications. Whether you can use evolution as a a cultural indicator or a pawn in silly little political games is irrelevant. Get your head out of the sand and face up to reality, otherwise there will be a price to pay.

I didn’t feel that it was necessary to present an argument for learning (and teaching) that the Earth is a planet of the Sun, and that knowledge of the Solar System was an example of a necessary component of everyone’s education despite its “uselessness”. I assumed that all of the readers here would grant that.

But as long as you bring it up, I would point out that the tides do not give us an example of the practical consequences of the Earth orbiting the Sun. Recall that the major factor in the tides is the Earth-Moon interaction, and only secondary is the gravitation of the Sun; and that the Moon goes around the Earth; so this presents no clear refutation of the Sun going around the Earth. One has to go a little deeper to get evidence for the heliocentric model of the Solar System. (I hope that this does not distract from the original point.)

TomS said:

DS said: As for the question posed by Tom S, how about fishermen, or anybody else who depends on knowledge of the tides? See the thing is, reality doesn’t care what you think, you ignore it or deny it at your own risk. The fact that it is reality should be sufficient reason to study and understand it, never mind the practical implications. Whether you can use evolution as a a cultural indicator or a pawn in silly little political games is irrelevant. Get your head out of the sand and face up to reality, otherwise there will be a price to pay.

I didn’t feel that it was necessary to present an argument for learning (and teaching) that the Earth is a planet of the Sun, and that knowledge of the Solar System was an example of a necessary component of everyone’s education despite its “uselessness”. I assumed that all of the readers here would grant that.

But as long as you bring it up, I would point out that the tides do not give us an example of the practical consequences of the Earth orbiting the Sun. Recall that the major factor in the tides is the Earth-Moon interaction, and only secondary is the gravitation of the Sun; and that the Moon goes around the Earth; so this presents no clear refutation of the Sun going around the Earth. One has to go a little deeper to get evidence for the heliocentric model of the Solar System. (I hope that this does not distract from the original point.)

Right. But if the earth went around the moon, the tides might be quite a bit different. So might a lot of other things.

Soon-to-be GOP VP nominee, Gov. Jindal, is forcefully pushing forward his “education reform” here in Louisiana. Instead of spending any more state money to improve public education, we’re well on the way to complete privatization. By next year, all Louisiana students will get vouchers, and almost anyone can hang out the “educator” shingle. He’s already made public schools (what’s left of them) safe for Creationism by adding sufficient weasel-words to the standards. And once the voucher system kicks in completely, the state’s many current (and sprouting) madrassas will have free reign to teach whatever they like (and call it biology). I’m sure this won’t have any “real-life impact on anything.”

TomS - the practical consequences of the general population not understanding evolutionary science (or other science) is that they will not vote for, not fund, and not implement policies based on evolutionary science because they have no reason to think those policies will work.

And both the OP and commenters have given you examples. Current vaccination strategies are based on the assumption that common viruses evolve. Conservation, ecology, and land management strategies are based on an acceptance of species competition, and a rejection of the notion that ecologies are god-ordained or otherwise inherently stable.

Put another way, there is no reason to vote for vaccine funding if you think the 2013 flu virus or the 2020 chickenpox can be treated with today’s medicines. And there is no reason to vote for snakehead or kudzu extermination if you think God will keep the ecosystem cranking regardless of what happens. There’s no reason to ban CFCs if you don’t think human pollution could possibly affect the atmosphere. And so on.

YOU will have to live by the laws passed by your fellow citizens. If they pass stupid laws because they are uneducated, you get to live by them. If they fail to address environmental or biological problems because they don’t believe there is any problem to address, YOU must live in the world where those problems go unaddressed. Do you want to live in that world? If not, support science education.

This argument, incidentally, goes well beyond science. As another example, you should support financial/economic education of the general populace because if they make bad decisions, the people who make good decisions will end up paying for it. THEIR education improves YOUR world.

I apologize for my carelessness. I am not arguing that evolutionary biology is “useless”, and I am not arguing against the heliocentric model of the Solar System. I intended to point to the motion of the Earth, with the assumption that everybody who is reading this would surely be shocked to think that it would not be mentioned prominently in early science education. I thought that it would be amusing to remind you of the quotation about Sherlock Holmes.

I speculate that Sherlock Holmes, although he claimed that the mechanism of the Solar System did not make a pennyworth of difference to him or his work, would never say that about the mechanism of evolution (especially as it has developed since his retirement).

My apologies for wasting your time by not making my intentions clearer.

I think you’re still mostly wrong about geocentrism. Yes, technically, a geocentrist could hold exactly the same beliefs as a heliocentrist on every single thing except the factoid question of which body orbits which. I’d agree - that hypothetical geocentrist will be able to live his/her modern life normally, and you will likely not be affected by their crankery.

But IMO you are not going to encounter those people in real life (even if Holmes does in fiction). In real life, a geocentrist is a geocentrist because of a host of more foundational, background beliefs they hold. Those background beliefs will entail geocentrism plus a variety of other empirical and political beliefs, which will likely negatively affect you if they became popular.

Metaphorically, geocentrism is more like a single symptom than a disease. Saying that single symptom doesn’t impact your life is short-sighted in the extreme; other symptoms of that same disease might, and in fact the presence of the disease in the population might.

Tom,

No apology needed. I thought your intentions were pretty clear. My point however is that if one is ignorant of a scientific principle, then one is in no position to determine how it affects anything. And if one chooses to remain ignorant about how the universe works, then one shouldn’t be surprised if the universe displays a remarkable indifference to ones desires. Determining our place in the universe would seem to be of more than just a passing concern to everyone, even those not working in the field of astronomy. How humans got here would also seem to be a more important concern for every human, not just evolutionary biologists and anthropologists. Alas, not everyone shares the fundamental curiosity so characteristics of the scientific community.

A wise man once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. He was right. But if I be so bold as to suggest, the unexamined universe is not worth living in, nor does it tend to discriminate between ignorance and indifference. Another wise man once asked for the major cause of ignorance and apathy, the response: “don’t know, don’t care.”

I’m sure if you gave a young caveman a hammer, at the end of his life he could point at it and say “Me never need that, it useless”.

You have to understand something to know where and how to use it. Now if we could only get Kevin Drum, David Frum, and John Fund to debate the issue…

I don’t usually have much use for Andrew Sullivan, but he’s right here.

There may be some educationally deprived people who innocently think that the world is 6000 years old.

However, that type of answer is also often a dog whistle code for “I support the authoritarian, racist, homophobic, and/or misogynistic tendency in American politics”.

In post-modern America, people start with a set of biases and a tribalistic group association, and then they seek out some kind of frosting to justify the already baked cake.

If they’re against racism, sexism, homophobia, self-destructive greed, and the like, they can choose almost any traditional moderate religion, or no religion at all.

But if they’re in favor of racism, sexism, homophobia, self-destructive greed, and so on, whether because of insecurity with their own status, narcissistic self love, or sociopathy, they feel more cognitive dissonance. Those things, in the modern context, violate human instincts of empathy and fairness, and are frequently criticized, and as we all know, they are VERY sensitive to that criticism. They need a special system that strongly says “even though it seems better to treat everybody fairly, there is actually a good reason why this group of people should be treated like shit”.

Although no version of the Christian Bible, read as a whole, whatever its many flaws, can really be said to give that message unambiguously, cherry picking a few passages and calling them “literally true” can be used to that effect. Using the Christian Bible in this way is very important to them, because mainstream Christian churches were so active in the civil rights movement. That caused decades of cognitive dissonance.

Therefore, a “literal interpretation of the Bible” which contradicts science (associated with the “liberalism” and “progress” of the civil rights era), and which tells them that they can do whatever they want if they “repent” later, while condemning gays, uppity women, and perhaps implicitly, albeit silently, “the Sons of Ham”, what they turn to.

Maybe it’s true that “decades ago” in 1890 you would have gotten the same statistics for a different reason.

The reason you get it now, at least from a good number of the people who claim that belief system, is exactly what Sullivan says.

One is that it’s nice to be able to American biology departments and medical research and say they’re doing fine, and it’s true that we have excellent opportunities for advanced research, but it’s our public schools that fill the pipeline leading to those places. Look in our research labs, and what will you see? Swarms of Chinese students.

It’s slightly worse. Note that I am not criticizing hard-working graduate students and post-docs, Chinese or otherwise.

The international, and yes, largely Chinese, graduate students, post-docs, and technicians will largely stay as long as possible. A high percentage of them are actually medical doctors from China, who will eventually parlay years of research and publications into a first year position in one of the less competitive residency programs, and remain to practice medicine in the US. Many others will simply be more or less permanent post-docs, arguably actually specialized technicians, for decades. A husband-wife couple who are both post-docs may lack certain types of benefits that US workers used to take for granted, but it’s still better than life in much poorer countries.

The chances of actually getting a faculty position in the US are intensely low, either for these international graduates, or for American graduate students. I can remember learning about Linda Buck’s work on olfactory receptors in 1991 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_B._Buck. She was a post-doc for nine years. Of course, once she published a ground breaking paper that eventually led to Nobel prize, she got a faculty position. Lots of luck to everyone else.

Post-doc position advertisements often emphasize what specific laboratory techniques the applicant should have experience in. Those are implicit advertisements for techs.

I have no objection to that, but think long term: most of those students will go home to build careers there, not here.

Some of them will do that, too.

In the past, these post-doc type positions were not of interest to many Americans. American students aimed for medical school. American PhD’s had opportunities in industry. More to the point, a degree in Business usually led to a better living more quickly and easily than a science degree. For several decades, the “we do our own accounting and management, and let the Chinese and Indians do the science and engineering” model has been in place.

If Americans do decide that they want to go back to doing science again, they do face the reality that China and India alone have a combined seven times the population of the US. Highly qualified Chinese and Indian graduates can go to graduate school here, but Americans can’t go to graduate school there, so the American would-be scientist, unless he or she is raised by savvy parents who understand the science system and know how to deal with the academic system, is actually competing with one hand behind their back. This is true to a lesser extent for Japanese and Western European competitors. The barriers against an American graduate going to a graduate or post-doc position in Western Europe are far less, but it’s still a good deal easier for a European to come here. And often some barriers are laws that require a certain percentage of taxpayer funded positions to go to local citizens, not to mention that everyone else learns English but Americans aren’t given second language instruction. American would-be scientists compete with the world, but not for the world.

I don’t want to wax too cynical (that’s “too” cynical), but some established faculty members may be a bit biased against American graduate students and post-docs. Americans may be perceived as coming with high expectations and representing potential competitors. An international graduate, especially if his or her ultimate goal is entry into a residency program rather than pursuit of a faculty position, is less likely to quit suddenly (because they can’t), less likely to want to have their own ideas entertained, and generally more likely to be less trouble.

Students who do not get the basics of science are handicapped when it comes to progressing up the academic ladder, so sure, let’s knee-cap our student base by telling them all that the most minimal, trivial understanding of an entire large discipline isn’t actually all that important. Where are our future American biologists going to come from, then?

The United States built a strong economy on scientific innovation, strong public education, and accessible higher education.

Then Americans decided to flush that all down the toilet.

We spent several decades showing young Americans that they were fools to compete with international graduates for years of low paid science graduate work and post-doc work, when a Hotel Management degree from University of Nevada Las Vegas made so much more sense.

Now we’re telling them that the hotels in Vegas are going bust, and a degree from UNLV racks up far more real debt than a degree from whatever the most overpriced private “liberal arts” university did twenty years ago, anyway.

Meanwhile, the funding for the science graduate programs is being cut, and also, the international graduates are still in competition for those positions.

FOR FULL DISCLOSURE - I strongly support and appreciate the immense intellectual and cultural contributions of international science and medical graduates to the United States.

I am somewhat frankly discussing a serious situation. The US system has economically discouraged science careers for American graduates for decades, and now the “service economy” careers that we promoted instead are threatened.

Not one shred of this is the fault of hard working international science and medicine graduates.

Weird. I first discovered Panda’s Thumb as a result of this post by Drum when he blogged for Politcal Animal. In fact, I think he used to blog quite a bit on the evo/id controversy. Too bad.

Drum has always had an ugly feigned Saletan-style contrarian streak though, so maybe this issue is just the latest price he thinks he can pay for inclusion into the Kool Kids Village.

eric said:

I think you’re still mostly wrong about geocentrism. Yes, technically, a geocentrist could hold exactly the same beliefs as a heliocentrist on every single thing except the factoid question of which body orbits which. I’d agree - that hypothetical geocentrist will be able to live his/her modern life normally, and you will likely not be affected by their crankery.

At the very least, a geocentrist must have a massive distrust of the government: “NASA lies!” There has to be a vast conspiracy of government/science/academia/media to delude the public about astronomy (among many other things). We see examples of what kinds of citizens such universal paranoia creates. Even on PT.

Oops, sorry. Source is here.

Well, Drum is quite right if he’s arguing that most professions are insular, which means that nearly anyone can become truly excellent at any of them without necessarily having to understand or accept the foundations of anyone else’s profession. Biologists don’t have to understand how a well-built car can go 100,000 miles between tuneups and never break down, and those who build cars don’t really need to understand what paleontologists mean by a transitional fossil.

The argument that ignorance of the foundations of other peoples’ professions necessarily means voting against research support for all other professions isn’t supported by anything I’ve seen in practice. Instead, I think Sullivan is correct that political support has little or nothing to do with specific technical understandings and a great deal to do with identification with an in-group of like-minded people. If the Department of Defense were to decide to spend heavily on ecological or environmental or evolutionary research, Republicans would be all in favor - and STILL have no clue what they were or were not supporting. Anymore than I might in voting against such research because the DoD is too big and too secretive, and because this is the only way I can express opposition to expensive purposeless wars.

I do see an incestuous relationship between religious and political trends today. The Republican party has for some time now been schizophrenic, torn between the fiscal conservatives who want much smaller and cheaper government whatever it takes (including slashing defense), and the religious conservatives who want to enforce the social policies of their faith no matter how much it costs. And I know that today the religious right is winning, and they tend to oppose providing enough education about social matters to expose children to shades other than black and white. The workaround seems to be to teach evolution but not CALL it evolution. Opponents of teaching “evolution” react to the words, not their content. Label it some mouthful like “ramifications of cumulative allele distributions across generations” and nobody will complain.

The point of the thread is that the creation/evolution issue matters and the split through America is hurting America.

Yes it does matter. The truth matters. So why not let schools free to discuss the origin contention.? If evolution was not true would it not be America who figured it first(followed by Canada)?! Turning Americans into evolutionists is not going to make a better America! Turning them into creationists will!

More education on evolution should include creationist criticisms. This would possibly increase iterest in sciences and introduce people to it.

If these establishment people say it doesn’t matter to the liberal agenda then let them move aside the censorship. prove you don’t think it matters!

Mr Myers is saying creationism is the reason Chinese/indian/European students etc are flooding in america for these positions and careers in science instead of Americans relative to numbers. In Canada its the same without the high creationist percentage.

America created modern science and the high salaries to go with it. third nations like India/China know this and their kids know that their countries can not offer the great rewards America does. So Americans has the absurd case of competing with hugh third world nations for limited positions in America. Is it true Americans don’t show up on hiring day? Are americans really not interested or rather they are prevailed over by a few points on tests etc?!

Americans have a great interest in science and the rewards of it. its up to america to decide who inherits America and gains America! if foreigners are getting what Americans would rather have themselves then just say no more of that. Its a gift to a foreigner to be given another peoples nome and the good things in it.

People aim at professions held by people they live with. The more americans in science the more it breeds interest in relatives and friends. Its not origin issues that have any impact although discussing interesting points about origins might stir people otherwise aloof from it.

Evolution has not made its case to the american people who are less influenced by authority or have another authority. I say a wrong case can’t make a good case.

Because there is no contention, Byers, you dribbling moron. There is no argument. The issue was settled more than a century ago. Special creation of the species didn’t happen. Evolution of the species did. The riotously idiotic collection of mutually refuting tall tales you subscribe to are lies, and damnfool lies at that, and you are yourself a deluded simpleton, but one who is further afflicted by overweening hubris.

Creationist Americans are not better Americans. They are nearly always much worse - they are far more likely to be bigoted, intolerant, authoritarian, racist misogynists. They are very often Protestant theocrats like yourself, Byers, as ignorant of history as they are of science, and far more likely to become the willing pawns and useful idiots in the service of a tyranny.

You want more Americans in science, Byers? Then stop trashing science. Learn some. While you’re at it, learn some history. And a little humility would be good, too. But that would be asking too much, I think.

DS said:

TomS said:

DS said: As for the question posed by Tom S, how about fishermen, or anybody else who depends on knowledge of the tides? See the thing is, reality doesn’t care what you think, you ignore it or deny it at your own risk. The fact that it is reality should be sufficient reason to study and understand it, never mind the practical implications. Whether you can use evolution as a a cultural indicator or a pawn in silly little political games is irrelevant. Get your head out of the sand and face up to reality, otherwise there will be a price to pay.

I didn’t feel that it was necessary to present an argument for learning (and teaching) that the Earth is a planet of the Sun, and that knowledge of the Solar System was an example of a necessary component of everyone’s education despite its “uselessness”. I assumed that all of the readers here would grant that.

But as long as you bring it up, I would point out that the tides do not give us an example of the practical consequences of the Earth orbiting the Sun. Recall that the major factor in the tides is the Earth-Moon interaction, and only secondary is the gravitation of the Sun; and that the Moon goes around the Earth; so this presents no clear refutation of the Sun going around the Earth. One has to go a little deeper to get evidence for the heliocentric model of the Solar System. (I hope that this does not distract from the original point.)

Right. But if the earth went around the moon, the tides might be quite a bit different. So might a lot of other things.

Indeed, because science would have to find and explain a force that could make the Earth go around the Moon, and who knows how this force would affect the oceans.

In reality of course the Earth and Moon both actually orbit around their common centre of mass, but the large difference in mass means this point remains well inside the sphere of the Earth, (and similarly well inside the Sun for the Earth/Sun system). The consequent wobble of the larger body is one of the ways of detecting exoplanets around other stars

There is nothing special about evolution, it is just sciense like any other. What you want, Robert, amounts to settling scientific issues by popular vote.

Don’t bother with science, let public opinion determine whether the Sun orbits the Earth or vice versa.

Fair enough, or?

eric said: Metaphorically, geocentrism is more like a single symptom than a disease.

Good analogy.

If I read the history of heliocentrism correctly, it was not so much a matter of getting direct evidence of the motions of the Earth that convinced everybody of heliocentrism, but more a matter of collateral observations, for example that the heavenly bodies were not totally different from the Earth.

And I think that we agree (and I agree with DS, too).

Rolf said:

There is nothing special about evolution, it is just sciense like any other. What you want, Robert, amounts to settling scientific issues by popular vote.

Don’t bother with science, let public opinion determine whether the Sun orbits the Earth or vice versa.

Fair enough, or?

83% of Americans cannot find Afghanistan on a map. By Booby’s logic, American public schools should teach that science does not know for certain where Afghanistan is. And since most scientists have never actually observed Afghanistan (were you there?), I guess we should also teach that we cannot say for sure that Afghanistan even exists. All obviously idiotic, but that’s the kind of science he thinks should be promoted in the US, all because his religion-addled “mind” cannot bear the existence of any argument which does not conclude, “therefore Jesus”.

Bye bye drive by Byers.

My understanding is that a clincher for heliocentrism was Galileo’s observation that the Earth was NOT the center of all heavenly motion, when he observed the moons of Jupiter orbiting their primary–not Earth, and Venus having phases. That, on top of the Copernican system and Kepler’s proof that planets moved in ellipses put paid to the Ptolemaic model endorsed by the Church because it supported biblical “astronomy”.

Robert Byers said:

More education on evolution should include creationist criticisms.

Self-refutin’ Robert

Whilst that’s a perfectly reasonable suggestion on the face of it, there’s a rather awkward flaw in your cunning plan: there quite simply aren’t any scientifically-grounded creationist objections to either the fact of evolution, or our theories about it, currently in existence; there are just lies, misrepresentations, entry-level misunderstandings, sectarian apologetic assertions and fictions,

Creationism is a very good example of why a wrong case can’t make a good case - after all, in the 50 years of the creationist project, with somewhere well in excess of 500 million dollars in revenues spent, creationism has produced nothing apart from propaganda, PR and ever-more ludicrous pronouncements. Obviously, when the standard creationist position is that if the evidence that exists conflicts with doctrine, then the evidence is to be ignored, you’re handicapping yourself with more than a few flesh wounds. Do you think that public school science classes should be teaching kids to ignore the evidence?

The best example of a country that I can think of which still bans the teaching of the actual science in public schools insofar as it relates to the life sciences, in favour of dogmatic sectarian theological orthodoxy, is Saudi Arabia. Is it fair to conclude that the Saudi public education system is the model to which you aspire, self-refutin’ Robert?

Oh, but that’s micro-evolution which is A OK in the creationist world. It’s only that there macro-evolution that’s evil. End snark.

John said:

Drum doesn’t understand that knowledge of biological evolution isn’t only relevant to understanding the subject of biology in a high school science class. It includes understanding why we need to be vaccinated against diseases like flu and TB not just once, but especially, in the case of flu, annually, with the emergence of new strains via Natural Selection that are resistant to pre-existing vaccines. And that’s merely the start of a long list of reasons why understanding and appreciating biological evolution should be a view shared by most Americans, irrespective of their political and religious beliefs.

Just Bob said:

My understanding is that a clincher for heliocentrism was Galileo’s observation that the Earth was NOT the center of all heavenly motion, when he observed the moons of Jupiter orbiting their primary–not Earth, and Venus having phases. That, on top of the Copernican system and Kepler’s proof that planets moved in ellipses put paid to the Ptolemaic model endorsed by the Church because it supported biblical “astronomy”.

Just Bob describes Galilei’s case correctly. However, the church at Galilei’s time supported the Braheian system, with the earth in the center, with the moon, sun, and outer planets orbiting the earth, and with the inner planets Mercury and Venus orbiting the sun as well as the earth. It cannot be distinguished by observations from the heliocentric system. It differs just by a change of coordinate system. The advantage of the heliocentric system is that it makes the description so much simpler, first as shown by Brahe’s assistant Kepler then by Newton’s equations of motion which, of course, were unknown at Galilei’s time.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]R4rkKphzUAn0 said:

Robert Byers said:

More education on evolution should include creationist criticisms.

Self-refutin’ Robert

Whilst that’s a perfectly reasonable suggestion on the face of it, there’s a rather awkward flaw in your cunning plan: there quite simply aren’t any scientifically-grounded creationist objections to either the fact of evolution, or our theories about it, currently in existence; there are just lies, misrepresentations, entry-level misunderstandings, sectarian apologetic assertions and fictions,

Creationism is a very good example of why a wrong case can’t make a good case - after all, in the 50 years of the creationist project, with somewhere well in excess of 500 million dollars in revenues spent, creationism has produced nothing apart from propaganda, PR and ever-more ludicrous pronouncements. Obviously, when the standard creationist position is that if the evidence that exists conflicts with doctrine, then the evidence is to be ignored, you’re handicapping yourself with more than a few flesh wounds. Do you think that public school science classes should be teaching kids to ignore the evidence?

The best example of a country that I can think of which still bans the teaching of the actual science in public schools insofar as it relates to the life sciences, in favour of dogmatic sectarian theological orthodoxy, is Saudi Arabia. Is it fair to conclude that the Saudi public education system is the model to which you aspire, self-refutin’ Robert?

no well grounded criticisms? I do that myself here !

I understand Saudi arabia is rich and a smart citizenry relative to others. Anyways I don’t want censorship but to overthrow it. Controlling conclusions and investigation is just not going to be accepted once these issues become public discussion. its still off the radar and this thread reported establishment people mean to keep it off the radar and this provoked Mr Myers.

creationism can claim some credit to be the reason that half of america is skeptical of evolution or parts of it. Creationism makes a very case and indeed its only the problem of reaching audiences in a good way that stands in the way of bringing better numbers. Creationism wants caged matches. evolutionists are saying NO to a threat to their belt.

Anyways the attack of some subjects in science against half the country does not give fuzzy warm feelings about “science” to people who don’t grow up in circles that get employed by it. Science ism trying to be a enemy to religion is not a enticement to kids, and parents creating a climate of interest etc, to get involved. Perhaps this is few. I know lots of evangelical Christians in science related things and my minister went to MIT.

if Mr Myers is saying origin subjects show a problem with why American kids are not destined for American employment in science then creationists can say it too. Stop the silly talk of how Christians can’t do science and be bible believing christians and stop the censorship and build a climate of interst and progress to the concept of science in the peoples hearts. Then also hire them despite the possibility somewhere in the world, first or third world nations, someone can squeak out a few mork marks on some tests. The world is rising in abilities in these matters in schools but their nations are not rising which means vast competition . A unnatural thing but this is because Americans made America the best and richest nation. Christians pulling their weight fine also.

Robert Byers said:

Christians pulling their weight fine also.

Then start pulling your weight Robert Byers!

What makes you think gods exist?

TomS said:

Scott F said: All they have to do is choose the proper “original autograph”, and subject it to the proper “interpretation”, and presto: a heliocentric solar system isn’t in conflict with the Bible,

I realize that there are people today who claim that a proper interpretation of the Bible says that the Earth is a planet.

I am not going to dispute what a proper interpretation of the Bible is, but I am curious whether anyone makes the claim that they have arrived at this particular proper interpretation without the influence of modern science. Do they deny that naturalistic evidence and human reasoning can legitimately determine how one reads the Bible? First of all, as a matter of the history of interpreting the Bible, denying that everybody, for something like 2000 years, thought that the Bible says that the Sun goes around the Earth, but that that the Sun does not go around the Earth? Secondly, that today they think that the Bible does not say that the Sun goes around the Earth (whether that is because (1) the Bible is speaking only poetically in that regard (2) the Bible does not make determinative statements about natural phenomena (3) it’s all relative, anyway or any other interpretation) but that modern science has not been an overriding influence on their interpretation of the Bible?

BTW, I wonder how many of these heliocentric creationists can present plausible arguments for the heliocentric model of the Solar System, arguments which are significantly more convincing than the arguments for evolutionary biology. Significantly enough that they can justify their reinterpretation of the Bible in the one case but not the other.

I’m going to add this to my list of questions for creationists, which is currently…

1) Could any evidence convince you of the theory of evolution?

2) Who is the designer? How can we experimentally test your answer?

3) What precisely did the designer do? How can we experimentally test your answer?

4) How did the designer do it? How can we experimentally test your answer?

5) When did the designer do it? How can we experimentally test your answer?

6) What is an example of something that was not designed by the designer?

7) (New question) - The Bible states in some places that the sun rotates around the earth, that the earth is flat and has four corners, and that pi equals three. Do you agree that these statements are literally true, and if not, how do you account for the inconsistency that you don’t reject modern science in these cases, but do reject evolution?

The question that I’d have for them is simply why assume that the “Designer” would be unwilling or unable to use natural means to produce results that meet the criteria for whatever the primary goal was? (Oh, and which is it - unwilling, or unable?)

Of course, to answer that, one has to have some notion of what that primary goal was in the first place. (If it was primarily spiritual (whatever that really means), why would physical details matter to it?)

Henry

The question I would have is: Even if Creation, or Design, or whatever you choose to call it were true, of what practical value would it be?

Other that getting into Heaven (not what I’d call a ‘practical’ value), what can you use it for? How would science be advanced by recognizing ‘design’? What new discoveries, new products, or new processes would be likely to follow?

We know that ‘secular’ science is highly effective for producing those outcomes. Why and how would ‘design’ science be superior?

My contention is that even if ‘design’ were a TRUE bit of knowledge, it would be an entirely USELESS bit of knowledge. It would not advance our useable knowledge of nature in any way, nor add to its practical outcomes or applications. On the contrary, it would likely halt much scientific inquiry, since the answer to why many things are the way they are would be that the ‘designer’ made them that way, and his reasons are beyond our ken.

My contention is that even if ‘design’ were a TRUE bit of knowledge, it would be an entirely USELESS bit of knowledge.

Unless there were reasons to believe the designer would be the little green men or a relative of theirs. But it has been made abundantly clear by the sect of ID that the designer is the hypothetical Yahweh or a relative of his, and there it stands.

Scott F said:

Robert Byers said:

YOU might accept Docs Miller and Wood but it is TRUE that bible-believing christians and creationists who study the subjects in origin matters ARE told they can’t and don’t do science. Its more then a rejection of our methodology abilities. Its to the bone and entirely based on the fact of our rejection of evolution etc. Not just a few nasty or excitable critics!

If Bible believing Christians and creationists are graded just on competence and not identity then thats great. It has not and is not been that way. You speak for yourself for sure.

Dear Robert,

It is not Science that rejects Creationists. It is Creationists that reject science. Explicitly. Intentionally. Willingly. By their own definition.

From the Answers In Genesis Statement of Faith: [This is not a complete list. I left out the more irrelevant parts about sin, damnation, the sanctity of marriage, and the [Creationist] “fact” that animals and humans didn’t bleed until the Fall.]

The scientific aspects of creation are important but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.

Read that first one again. That is the very first one. Creationists (not all Christians, but “Creationists”) explicitly reject science by their own statement of faith; by definition.

The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.

The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself.

The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe.

The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind. Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since creation.

Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation, spanning approximately 4,000 years from creation to Christ.

The view, commonly used to evade the implications or the authority of biblical teaching, that knowledge and/or truth may be divided into secular and religious, is rejected.

By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

Read those last two again. Creationists (not all Christians, but “Creationists”) declare as a statement of faith that there is no distinction between religion and science. To them, everything is religion. Creationists assume that the Bible is literally true, and that the only measure of truth in any and all things is found in the Bible. Creationists literally believe “by definition” that any fact, any observed feature of the world must be rejected as false, if it conflicts with a strict interpretation of the Bible.

This is not “Science”. This is Theology. It’s not even “Christian” theology, at least not the theology of Christ. It’s not that Creationists can’t do science. It is that by their own statement of faith, by their own definition, they simply refuse to do science.

Science is a process of continually questioning and testing assumptions. *All* assumptions, even the most basic. Creationists declare up front that they assume lots of things, and that those assumptions are inerrantly true and not up for debate, they cannot ever be questioned, because God said so.

Even if he can count 10,000 layers in ice core samples, the Creationist must reject that number. Even if he count 10,000 layers in a single sedimentary deposit, the Creationist must reject that observation. Even if he can simply count 10,000 years of tree ring data, by his own statement of faith he must discard that data, throw it away, hide it. He must not even look at it. The only data he is allowed to collect, the only experimental results he is allowed to make are those that agree with the Bible.

If there is any censorship going on, it’s the Creationists censoring themselves, on pain of eternal damnation.

Is that what you call science?

Is that what we should be teaching our children in science class? Is this Statement of Faith what you want taught to our children as “science”?

In science class they teach conclusions on certain subjects dealing with origins and censor criticism from creationism(s). If conclusions are taught then both sides should be taught in these issues.

Yes the God/Genesis is assumed first before investigation into nature. Yet if the investigation is done right there will be no problem. Creationists attack evolutionism etc based on the evidence from nature. Though we have assumptions from revelation. never is our stuff about bible verses. I don’t do that and do use nature. When proving some evolutionist etc point is wrong we always attack their evidence. This because we assume its wrong and so if it is we find or almost find the error of its claim of evidence.

A better way to put it might be that our conclusions are founded on biblical boundaries but our criticisms of opponents are based on investigation of nature. This because if your side is wrong nature couldn’t provide evidence for your side.

One say further we apply, without revelation, the scientific method to our opponents. Yet for our assertions we include revelation and start from there. Two species here. So we feel public schools must allow us in. We would major in non revelation criticism and only minor in revelation. Seems fair to us.

Just Bob said:

And the Bible says pretty damn clearly, straightforward, and simply that pi = 3.0. (2 Chronicles 4)

Byers, does pi = 3.0? If you agree with the Bible that it does, then you can easily prove yourself (and the Bible) wrong by just measuring the diameter and circumference of something circular.

If you agree with even ancient math, that pi is more like 3.14159…, then that means you dispute the straightforward FACT given in 2 Chronicles.

So what was it, Byers, A) a very crude estimation (without any qualifier, like “approximately”; B) the measurements are not made to the same place (e.g., the widest edge of the rim), rendering them completely useless as a description of the size and shape of the sea; C) the writer of 2 Chronicles didn’t know enough math to know that something with a diameter of 10 CANNOT have a circumference of 30; or D) pi really did equal 3.0 in Solomon’s time, or miraculously only for his sea.

I don’t study or know about math stuff or claims the bible dealt with it. Sorry. I avoid those subjects. Another creationist is needed for this.

Henry J said: The question that I’d have for them is simply why assume that the “Designer” would be unwilling or unable to use natural means to produce results that meet the criteria for whatever the primary goal was? (Oh, and which is it - unwilling, or unable?

Which reminds me of this, from pages 38-40 of

William Paley, Natural Theology; or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearance of Nature (12th edition)

taken from the online “The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online”

http://darwin-online.org.uk/content[…]p;pageseq=45

One question may possibly have dwelt in the reader’s mind during the perusal of these observations, namely, Why should not the Deity have given to the animal the faculty of vision at once? Why this circuitous perception; the ministry of so many means; an element provided for the purpose; reflected from opaque substances, refracted through transparent ones; and both according to precise laws; then, a complex organ, an intricate and artificial apparatus, in order, by the operation of this element, and in conformity with the restrictions of these laws, to produce an image upon a membrane communicating with the brain? Wherefore all this? Why make the difficulty in order to surmount it? If to perceive objects by some other mode than that of touch, or objects which lay out of the reach of that sense, were the thing proposed; could not a simple volition of the Creator have communicated the capacity? Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnipotent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power. This question belongs to the other senses, as well as to sight; to the general functions of animal life, as nutrition, secretion, respiration; to the economy of vegetables; and indeed to almost all the operations of nature. The question, therefore, is of very wide extent; and amongst other answers which may be given to it; beside reasons of which probably we are ignorant, one answer is this: It is only by the display of contrivance, that the existence, the agency, the wisdom of the Deity, could be testified to his rational creatures.

Paley’s suggested solution does not seem adequate to me, for it is not obvious to me that the only way that the existence, the agency, the wisdom of the Deity could be testified to his rational creatures is by the display of contrivance. Why couldn’t God just make us with those already in our thoughts?

Just Bob said:

The question I would have is: Even if Creation, or Design, or whatever you choose to call it were true, of what practical value would it be?

Other that getting into Heaven (not what I’d call a ‘practical’ value), what can you use it for? How would science be advanced by recognizing ‘design’? What new discoveries, new products, or new processes would be likely to follow?

We know that ‘secular’ science is highly effective for producing those outcomes. Why and how would ‘design’ science be superior?

My contention is that even if ‘design’ were a TRUE bit of knowledge, it would be an entirely USELESS bit of knowledge. It would not advance our useable knowledge of nature in any way, nor add to its practical outcomes or applications. On the contrary, it would likely halt much scientific inquiry, since the answer to why many things are the way they are would be that the ‘designer’ made them that way, and his reasons are beyond our ken.

Bob, this is how you can tell that it’s really a social/political agenda. And this explains why I ask the questions I ask.

1) It started with Creation Science, Henry Morris, etc, defending a 6000 year old earth and literal Noah’s Ark. But why? Even FL mumbles that maybe you can go to heaven without believing that. Yes, but if you can “prove” that Noah’s Ark is a “literally true” story, then you’ve “proven” a harsh, concrete interpretation of Christianity. And if you’ve “proven” it, literally proven that it is supported by physical evidence, then people have to accept it. Throw away women’s rights, gay rights, freedom of religion, even condemnation of slavery. It doesn’t matter whether you like it or not, Leviticus is “literally true”. They fought for Creation Science right to the bitter end; they took it all the way to the Supreme Court, and Scalia and Renhquist said it could be taught as science in schools, but the others (none of whom are on the court any more) voted it down, 7-2.

2) So then, extremely rapidly, they invented ID. ID/creationism claims to disprove the theory of evolution, but does not openly use the language which got them in trouble in court. As we all know, it has no serious positive content, it’s just a bunch of logically incoherent and factually wrong arguments against evolution. What’s up with that? Simple. If evolution is wrong, something must be right. By “disproving” evolution, you discredit secular science, but more importantly, you also discredit “liberal” Martin Luther King style Christianity. Something must be true, and if secular scientists and liberal Christians have been proven wrong…But wait, it could still be Islam. Sure, hypothetically, it could. If ID/creationism actually did indicate that secular science was terribly, terribly wrong and life was instantaneously created in modern form, the “designer” could be Allah. Hey guess what, that’s equally true of essentially all creationism. It could always have been Allah. But that’s not a pragmatic consideration in the US. In the US, the “competition” for secular science and non-authoritarian beliefs is right wing Christianity. (And to really drive home this point, in Turkey, where the competition for secular science is right wing Islam, right wing Islam uses essentially the same creationist arguments in an effort to discredit secular science.)

3) This is why creationists always argue that science supporters “want” the theory of evolution. That seems to make no sense. I find the theory of evolution an extremely satisfying explanation for the relatedness and diversity of life on earth. And there’s nothing upsetting about it to rational mind. Female spiders were already eating their hapless mates after mating; the theory of evolution isn’t what makes some people anthropomorphize that type of thing and then uselessly upset themselves even though spiders, despite their relatively, that’s relatively, sophisticated nervous system and behavior, probably don’t care. That was already happening. The theory of evolution just gives you a really strong and satisfying explanation of how we got from early cellular life to humans building nuclear bombs, spiders eating their hapless mates, beautiful, fragrant flowers, etc. But why would I “want” it to be true? I don’t “want” it any more than I “want” acceleration due to gravity to be some particular value. It’s just a strong, unifying explanation supported by multiple converging lines of evidence.

But creationists perceive that someone like me doesn’t “like” the idea of imposing harsh Old Testament ideas on others in contemporary society. (This is not an anachronistic judgment of Old Testament era society.) They want to tell people like me that we have to, because of their interpretation of the Bible. They are authoritarians, and they perceive any critique as a contest of will, as “talking back” and “defying” them. That’s what they project onto others. I presume that, in addition to being fearful and angry, authoritarians are also somewhat immature. But that’s not the point here.

4) And so, the point of my questions is to make it 100% clear to any potentially neutral observer that I am open to evidence. Creationists may deny the evidence for evolution, but I am willing to look at the evidence for ID. So far, there hasn’t been any, but I welcome answers to my questions.

byers never took any science class so he dont know what goes on in them obviously he avoided math class as well his biblical boundaries are the only barrier he has demonstrated bye bye drive bye byers

TomS said:

Henry J said: The question that I’d have for them is simply why assume that the “Designer” would be unwilling or unable to use natural means to produce results that meet the criteria for whatever the primary goal was? (Oh, and which is it - unwilling, or unable?

Which reminds me of this, from pages 38-40 of

William Paley, Natural Theology; or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearance of Nature (12th edition)

taken from the online “The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online”

http://darwin-online.org.uk/content[…]p;pageseq=45

One question may possibly have dwelt in the reader’s mind during the perusal of these observations, namely, Why should not the Deity have given to the animal the faculty of vision at once? Why this circuitous perception; the ministry of so many means; an element provided for the purpose; reflected from opaque substances, refracted through transparent ones; and both according to precise laws; then, a complex organ, an intricate and artificial apparatus, in order, by the operation of this element, and in conformity with the restrictions of these laws, to produce an image upon a membrane communicating with the brain? Wherefore all this? Why make the difficulty in order to surmount it? If to perceive objects by some other mode than that of touch, or objects which lay out of the reach of that sense, were the thing proposed; could not a simple volition of the Creator have communicated the capacity? Why resort to contrivance, where power is omnipotent? Contrivance, by its very definition and nature, is the refuge of imperfection. To have recourse to expedients, implies difficulty, impediment, restraint, defect of power. This question belongs to the other senses, as well as to sight; to the general functions of animal life, as nutrition, secretion, respiration; to the economy of vegetables; and indeed to almost all the operations of nature. The question, therefore, is of very wide extent; and amongst other answers which may be given to it; beside reasons of which probably we are ignorant, one answer is this: It is only by the display of contrivance, that the existence, the agency, the wisdom of the Deity, could be testified to his rational creatures.

Paley’s suggested solution does not seem adequate to me, for it is not obvious to me that the only way that the existence, the agency, the wisdom of the Deity could be testified to his rational creatures is by the display of contrivance. Why couldn’t God just make us with those already in our thoughts?

But the direct point of ID/creationism is that vision couldn’t have evolved. (And the implied point is that therefore we must order society according to their wishes, because their interpretation of the Bible says so.)

We have strong evidence that it did evolve, and no convincing evidence whatsoever that it was miraculously generated by a Designer. In fact, they pointedly avoid answering even the most basic questions.

Why even bother to argue about the hypothetical psychology of gods? I think the best explanation for vision is evolution from very early light detecting systems, multiple times. Ken Miller agrees with me on every testable aspect of it, but he also thinks that an untestable God intended or gave meaning to the process, or some such thing. Irrelevant.

Creationist essentially deny that vision evolved. Let them provide evidence for their specific claims.

I am suggesting that “intelligent design” does not provide an explanation.

TomS said:

I am suggesting that “intelligent design” does not provide an explanation.

I completely agree with that and with your comment; I just like to make it very clear by asking them for their explanation.

I also used to ask them if they could give a fair description of the theory of evolution; they never can and never will. However, logically, I’ve decided it makes more sense to ask them what their positive claims are first.

Robert Byers said:

Just Bob said:

And the Bible says pretty damn clearly, straightforward, and simply that pi = 3.0. (2 Chronicles 4)

Byers, does pi = 3.0? If you agree with the Bible that it does, then you can easily prove yourself (and the Bible) wrong by just measuring the diameter and circumference of something circular.

If you agree with even ancient math, that pi is more like 3.14159…, then that means you dispute the straightforward FACT given in 2 Chronicles.

So what was it, Byers, A) a very crude estimation (without any qualifier, like “approximately”; B) the measurements are not made to the same place (e.g., the widest edge of the rim), rendering them completely useless as a description of the size and shape of the sea; C) the writer of 2 Chronicles didn’t know enough math to know that something with a diameter of 10 CANNOT have a circumference of 30; or D) pi really did equal 3.0 in Solomon’s time, or miraculously only for his sea.

I don’t study or know about math stuff or claims the bible dealt with it. Sorry. I avoid those subjects. Another creationist is needed for this.

Robert has avoided that higher level math stuff, like division.

Like Matthew Harrison Brady, Byers does not think about things he… does not think about.

Robert Byers said:

In science class they teach conclusions on certain subjects dealing with origins and censor criticism from creationism(s). If conclusions are taught then both sides should be taught in these issues.

Yes the God/Genesis is assumed first before investigation into nature. Yet if the investigation is done right there will be no problem. Creationists attack evolutionism etc based on the evidence from nature. Though we have assumptions from revelation. never is our stuff about bible verses. I don’t do that and do use nature. When proving some evolutionist etc point is wrong we always attack their evidence. This because we assume its wrong and so if it is we find or almost find the error of its claim of evidence.

A better way to put it might be that our conclusions are founded on biblical boundaries but our criticisms of opponents are based on investigation of nature. This because if your side is wrong nature couldn’t provide evidence for your side.

One say further we apply, without revelation, the scientific method to our opponents. Yet for our assertions we include revelation and start from there. Two species here. So we feel public schools must allow us in. We would major in non revelation criticism and only minor in revelation. Seems fair to us.

Dear Robert,

You completely ignored the point, again. You had most recently claimed that Creationists are being censored by Scientists. They are not. My point of quoting the AIG Statement of Faith was to show that it is Creationists themselves who censor themselves. It is *not* Scientists censoring them. If any evidence contradicts their beliefs, the Creationist Statement of Faith requires that they reject those facts, or cease to be Creationists. Instead of addressing my point about Creationists censoring themselves, you instead turned away to make more false claims about the ways Creationists criticize Science. Please stay on topic until you have answered the question.

A better way to put it might be that our conclusions are founded on biblical boundaries but our criticisms of opponents are based on investigation of nature.

This is a lie. Creationists criticize Science when Science makes claims outside “biblical boundaries”. That is their only criticism. The rest are lies, misunderstandings, and misrepresentations. Creationists simply don’t investigate Nature. Oh, they used to. But they either that gave up as a fruitless endeavor, or they ceased being Creationists.

But, more to my point, by being “founded on biblical boundaries” (your words), Creationists are putting limits and blinders on themselves. By definition, they are not doing Science. There are no such limits in Science. All boundaries and assumptions in Science are continually tested and questioned. Creationists, by their own Statement of Faith and by your stated agreement here, refuse to test their self-imposed boundaries and assumptions, on pain of eternal damnation and torment.

That is why Science is useful, and Creationism isn’t.

Again, I ask you to name any single useful piece of information that Creationism has added to Human Knowledge about Nature in any field of study in 2,000 years of recorded history. Anything. Any one single shred of information that Creationism was responsible for.

Yet for our assertions we include revelation and start from there. … So we feel public schools must allow us in. We would major in non revelation criticism and only minor in revelation. Seems fair to us.

So, you believe that public schools should be allowed to teach that “revelation” is a valid part of science? You believe that we should teach children that in Science, there should be some questions that they are not allowed to ask. They are never allowed to ask why the Bible is true. They are never allowed to question another person’s revelations.

Then you would agree with Behe that the definition of Science should be changed to allow the teaching of Astrology, Alchemy, and Phrenology.

It seems fair to you that the very foundations of Science must be questioned by uneducated children who know little or nothing about that science. Yet, by the very Creationist Statement of Faith, the very foundations of Creationism must never ever be questioned (especially by knowledgeable educated adults), on pain of eternal damnation and torment.

Is that what you believe to be “fair”?

Robert Byers said:

In science class they teach conclusions on certain subjects dealing with origins and censor criticism from creationism(s).

This ‘criticism’ has not earned a consensus from the scientific community, at least to date.

But anti-evolution views could be rather automatically included in science classrooms, if per chance anti-evolutionist ‘scientists’ come up with hard scientific evidence and this evidence earns some form of consensus from the scientific community.

If conclusions are taught then both sides should be taught in these issues.

You say “both” sides.

This seems to imply only one other view can ‘balance’ evolution.

For the sake of debate, let us say theology disguised at science is shoehorned through the backdoor of a public school science class to ‘balance’ evolution (of course, this violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution per multiple court decisions the last several decades).

Should the alternate view be old-earth Christian creationism? Young-earth Christian creationism? Day-Age Christian creationism? What about Hindu creationism? Cherokee Indian creationism? Muslim creationism? Maori (of New Zealand) creationism? Samoan creationism? Saisiyat creationism?

Why only one of these over all others?

So we feel public schools must allow us in.

Well, even many Christian schools teach only evolution (in other words, only science) in their science classes and leave theology for outside the science class.

For public schools, any form of creationism is best placed in a comparative religion course, not a science class.

Scott F said:

From the Answers In Genesis Statement of Faith:

The scientific aspects of creation are important but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.

This statement alienates most Jews and indeed nearly all non-Christians in the world…and they make up the majority of the world’s population. By contrast, scientific methods can be done by anyone, regardless of religious background.

The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.

I would never insult God by calling the Bible His Word. It is a profoundly flawed and outdated collection of writings from one ancient culture.

The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself.

That is simply a lie, one of the biggest lies ever told. MEN made the Bible, but men could not have created the universe we all live in. Only God could have done that, therefore, the findings of science should be the standard for truth, because science studies the universe.

The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe.

This is total nonsense, because the depictions of creation are not only contradicted by the theory of evolution, but by all modern astronomy.

The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind. Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since creation.

There is no evidence for any of this.

Scripture teaches a recent origin for man and the whole creation, spanning approximately 4,000 years from creation to Christ.

Scripture does not teach anything. MEN teach things based on how they read Scripture.

The view, commonly used to evade the implications or the authority of biblical teaching, that knowledge and/or truth may be divided into secular and religious, is rejected.

Right, because only secular sources can be trusted to tell the truth. Using religious biases is the work of scam artists.

By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

That is insanity. Fallible people who do not possess all information read and interpret the Bible, which is why there are about 30,000 sects of Christianity. But science uses empirical means to settle disputes among those who practice science. That is not the case with religion, so the divisions among religious people may never heal.

If conclusions are taught then both sides should be taught in these issues.

Democracy! teach ALL sides!

Rolf said:

If conclusions are taught then both sides should be taught in these issues.

Democracy! teach ALL sides!

No. American democracy where the people decide. They need to decide here because of the great contention in great numbers. They find worthy creationism and evolutionism. Not other obscure stuff.

Tenncrain said:

Robert Byers said:

In science class they teach conclusions on certain subjects dealing with origins and censor criticism from creationism(s).

This ‘criticism’ has not earned a consensus from the scientific community, at least to date.

But anti-evolution views could be rather automatically included in science classrooms, if per chance anti-evolutionist ‘scientists’ come up with hard scientific evidence and this evidence earns some form of consensus from the scientific community.

If conclusions are taught then both sides should be taught in these issues.

You say “both” sides.

This seems to imply only one other view can ‘balance’ evolution.

For the sake of debate, let us say theology disguised at science is shoehorned through the backdoor of a public school science class to ‘balance’ evolution (of course, this violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution per multiple court decisions the last several decades).

Should the alternate view be old-earth Christian creationism? Young-earth Christian creationism? Day-Age Christian creationism? What about Hindu creationism? Cherokee Indian creationism? Muslim creationism? Maori (of New Zealand) creationism? Samoan creationism? Saisiyat creationism?

Why only one of these over all others?

So we feel public schools must allow us in.

Well, even many Christian schools teach only evolution (in other words, only science) in their science classes and leave theology for outside the science class.

For public schools, any form of creationism is best placed in a comparative religion course, not a science class.

Its not to be up to any consensus of a few people dealing in these subjects. They are not the boss. It is up to the people to have both sides because the people are divided but both confident in the worthyness of their positions in subjects dealing with conclusions on oreigins.

Being up to the people they will only include worthy opinions and not obscure ones. Creationism is historic and popular and being censored is absurd.

Creationism is not to be in some religious course because its worthy to be in classes that deal with investigation of nature. Your just saying we don’t do that and only draw our conclusions from revelation. Revelation is a minor prompt but organized creationism is all about investigation of nature not a whit inferior to anything else and probably a wee bit better.

Scott F said:

Robert Byers said:

In science class they teach conclusions on certain subjects dealing with origins and censor criticism from creationism(s). If conclusions are taught then both sides should be taught in these issues.

Yes the God/Genesis is assumed first before investigation into nature. Yet if the investigation is done right there will be no problem. Creationists attack evolutionism etc based on the evidence from nature. Though we have assumptions from revelation. never is our stuff about bible verses. I don’t do that and do use nature. When proving some evolutionist etc point is wrong we always attack their evidence. This because we assume its wrong and so if it is we find or almost find the error of its claim of evidence.

A better way to put it might be that our conclusions are founded on biblical boundaries but our criticisms of opponents are based on investigation of nature. This because if your side is wrong nature couldn’t provide evidence for your side.

One say further we apply, without revelation, the scientific method to our opponents. Yet for our assertions we include revelation and start from there. Two species here. So we feel public schools must allow us in. We would major in non revelation criticism and only minor in revelation. Seems fair to us.

Dear Robert,

You completely ignored the point, again. You had most recently claimed that Creationists are being censored by Scientists. They are not. My point of quoting the AIG Statement of Faith was to show that it is Creationists themselves who censor themselves. It is *not* Scientists censoring them. If any evidence contradicts their beliefs, the Creationist Statement of Faith requires that they reject those facts, or cease to be Creationists. Instead of addressing my point about Creationists censoring themselves, you instead turned away to make more false claims about the ways Creationists criticize Science. Please stay on topic until you have answered the question.

A better way to put it might be that our conclusions are founded on biblical boundaries but our criticisms of opponents are based on investigation of nature.

This is a lie. Creationists criticize Science when Science makes claims outside “biblical boundaries”. That is their only criticism. The rest are lies, misunderstandings, and misrepresentations. Creationists simply don’t investigate Nature. Oh, they used to. But they either that gave up as a fruitless endeavor, or they ceased being Creationists.

But, more to my point, by being “founded on biblical boundaries” (your words), Creationists are putting limits and blinders on themselves. By definition, they are not doing Science. There are no such limits in Science. All boundaries and assumptions in Science are continually tested and questioned. Creationists, by their own Statement of Faith and by your stated agreement here, refuse to test their self-imposed boundaries and assumptions, on pain of eternal damnation and torment.

That is why Science is useful, and Creationism isn’t.

Again, I ask you to name any single useful piece of information that Creationism has added to Human Knowledge about Nature in any field of study in 2,000 years of recorded history. Anything. Any one single shred of information that Creationism was responsible for.

Yet for our assertions we include revelation and start from there. … So we feel public schools must allow us in. We would major in non revelation criticism and only minor in revelation. Seems fair to us.

So, you believe that public schools should be allowed to teach that “revelation” is a valid part of science? You believe that we should teach children that in Science, there should be some questions that they are not allowed to ask. They are never allowed to ask why the Bible is true. They are never allowed to question another person’s revelations.

Then you would agree with Behe that the definition of Science should be changed to allow the teaching of Astrology, Alchemy, and Phrenology.

It seems fair to you that the very foundations of Science must be questioned by uneducated children who know little or nothing about that science. Yet, by the very Creationist Statement of Faith, the very foundations of Creationism must never ever be questioned (especially by knowledgeable educated adults), on pain of eternal damnation and torment.

Is that what you believe to be “fair”?

The censorship issue is mostly about public institutions and some complaints in these science publications or a general spirit of censurship. Its not about private enterprise.

its true. Creationism does critize what rejects the bible and is claimed to be based on scientific investigation. Yet as I said its species. Our ideas have a foundation in revelation and special creation or miracles but even this is defended with the evidence from nature. The second species is entirely from natural investigation . This because we are just defeating or attacking wrong ideas that claim natural investigation as their evidence. JUst read AIG’s weekly news feed. We debunk the other side with natural evidence because thats all they present and they are wrong. YEC creationists always insist and think its obvious we base our criticisms on natures evidence. Our assertions however do have more help beyond natures teaching.

In either case we must be allowed into public institutions since we largely use just nature but have different conclusions. if we are banned then our conclusions are being said to be officialy wrong. Thats what the state can’t do really.

Well, he did provide a shining example of the title of the thread. An uninformed citizenry leads to bullshit like this. Let the people vote on science, what do the experts know? Science is a democracy after all, at least as long as my views are in the majority. It they aren’t then just shoot everybody who disagrees and teach only what i want anyway, otherwise i’ll scream censurship. So, in conclusion, no one can say i’m wrong, not the experts, not the state, not anyone. So you must teach exactly what i want and you must pay for it. And they compare darwin to hitler!

Another thread shot to hell by the drive by rantings of a lunatic.

Oh good grief, Robert, you simply don’t get it do you.

You say you want “creationism” taught in public schools as an “alternative” explanation to the standard, well-demonstrated scientific ones that currently prevail. But what you are conspicuously ingnoring is that there are a number of awkward issues that you have to deal with, before we even begin to address the current state of scientific bankruptcy in the “creationist” sphere. In the US context there’s the small problem of the constitutional question, but we’ll park that to one side for now.

You’ve ignored these questions before, but you’re damn well going to give an answer to them.

Which version of “creationism” are you going to teach? TE? YEC? OEC? ID? Mormon? Catholic? Orthodox? Islamic? 7DA? “Evangelical”? Anglican/Episcopalian? Methodist? Jewish? Scientologist? Hindu? Buddhist? First Nations? Which version, Robert?

Failure to give an answer is not an option. Because, in the real world you have to give an answer that can satisfy EVERY single group simultaneously - and given the glaringly obvious reality that the list of groups I’ve given often can’t even agree on the date of Easter or New Year, that’s going to be tough. You know what the consensus position amongst all these listed groups as regards science teaching is? It’s actually the status quo, as it’s the least contentious.

The thing is, Robert, there is no unitary “creationist” position that can be taught, which is one hell of an awkward hurdle for you to get over. In fact, what you’re proposing is a recipe for chaos; and you know who the first people who are going to explode in anger over your proposal are? A whole variety of church/religious hierarchies whose particular versions are, by definition, going to be excluded. The funniest thing is Robert, it’s not going to be the “secularists” who will be the most pissed off with your scheme - although they’re going to be highly miffed at a science curriculum that wastes their kid’s time when they should be getting educated - it’s probably going to be your fellow bible-believing Christians and other religious groups. If you don’t believe me, ask your minister how he would feel about the local high school teaching the Catholic doctrine of creation and its harmony with science, or Islamic creationism.

See, Robert, my sense of you is that you’ve never actually been to school - you’re a product of a homeschool environment, and you don’t get that the vast majority of schools have a student body that is actually quite diverse in terms of its religious/non-religious/denominational make-up. Maybe you’re an anarchist and sowing the seeds of social chaos across an education system is one of your missions in life.

So, Robert, tell us what your “creationist” science curriculum is actually going to consist of; and remember, you’ve got to present one that is going to cause minimal amounts of sectarian animosity and is going to satisfy the entirety of the parent body that wants their kids to get the best education possible. Show us what you’ve got.

A typical high school classroom that I taught in, in a magnet school (estimations, but pretty typical):

2 fairly strong, every-Sunday Catholics

6 Catholics-in-name, mass 2 or 3 times a year

4 mainline, moderate Protestants

2 fundamentalist evangelical creationists

5 apathetic to religion or agnostic

2 declared atheists

2 Hindus

1 Muslim

1 Mormon

1 Jew

And occasionally a Native American animist, Shintoist, Taoist, Wiccan, or even Satanist.

Byers, there’s no majority there, and the plurality is with the Catholics. Now, why on Earth should the creationist beliefs of a couple of kids determine what should be taught to the other 25 or so?

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]R4rkKphzUAn0 said:

Oh good grief, Robert, you simply don’t get it do you.

You say you want “creationism” taught in public schools as an “alternative” explanation to the standard, well-demonstrated scientific ones that currently prevail. But what you are conspicuously ingnoring is that there are a number of awkward issues that you have to deal with, before we even begin to address the current state of scientific bankruptcy in the “creationist” sphere. In the US context there’s the small problem of the constitutional question, but we’ll park that to one side for now.

You’ve ignored these questions before, but you’re damn well going to give an answer to them.

Which version of “creationism” are you going to teach? TE? YEC? OEC? ID? Mormon? Catholic? Orthodox? Islamic? 7DA? “Evangelical”? Anglican/Episcopalian? Methodist? Jewish? Scientologist? Hindu? Buddhist? First Nations? Which version, Robert?

Failure to give an answer is not an option. Because, in the real world you have to give an answer that can satisfy EVERY single group simultaneously - and given the glaringly obvious reality that the list of groups I’ve given often can’t even agree on the date of Easter or New Year, that’s going to be tough. You know what the consensus position amongst all these listed groups as regards science teaching is? It’s actually the status quo, as it’s the least contentious.

The thing is, Robert, there is no unitary “creationist” position that can be taught, which is one hell of an awkward hurdle for you to get over. In fact, what you’re proposing is a recipe for chaos; and you know who the first people who are going to explode in anger over your proposal are? A whole variety of church/religious hierarchies whose particular versions are, by definition, going to be excluded. The funniest thing is Robert, it’s not going to be the “secularists” who will be the most pissed off with your scheme - although they’re going to be highly miffed at a science curriculum that wastes their kid’s time when they should be getting educated - it’s probably going to be your fellow bible-believing Christians and other religious groups. If you don’t believe me, ask your minister how he would feel about the local high school teaching the Catholic doctrine of creation and its harmony with science, or Islamic creationism.

See, Robert, my sense of you is that you’ve never actually been to school - you’re a product of a homeschool environment, and you don’t get that the vast majority of schools have a student body that is actually quite diverse in terms of its religious/non-religious/denominational make-up. Maybe you’re an anarchist and sowing the seeds of social chaos across an education system is one of your missions in life.

So, Robert, tell us what your “creationist” science curriculum is actually going to consist of; and remember, you’ve got to present one that is going to cause minimal amounts of sectarian animosity and is going to satisfy the entirety of the parent body that wants their kids to get the best education possible. Show us what you’ve got.

The answer to who decides is that its the people. Only a few creationist options would have any support for the voting public. If a indian reservation wants to add a old myth of their tribe then they can vote it in. For America some fair idea of districts/states etc with voters deciding what creationist alternatives should included. iIn areas of no interest then they simply would not include creationism although it still would be illegal. However teaching the controversy is a issue that is not easily settled.

its simple and fair and smart. Censorsing creationism is absurd, immoral, and illegal and surely a dampening to millions of kids on their perception of “science’. its seen as a important enemy to their faith and their fathers faith and the exclusion of criticism confirms a propaganda agenda. All ruining the fun and interest of science for the people. surely this shows itself in those seeking professions in it or seeking acclaim in it. Americans should be number one in science at this point in history and not foreigners from or in third or second or other first world countries. Somebody is to blame. Fix the censorship and the top down control over these issues of education.

Self-refutin’ Robert. FAKE. FRAUD. LIAR.

I asked you to show us what you’ve got in terms of a curriculum, and all it involves is you standing up in front of the class and saying NOTHING. You continue to demonstrate your own intellectual bankruptcy.

In the US, the people decided the issue quite some time ago - it’s called the constitution.

As with alchemy, astrology, geocentrism or a whole host of pseudo-disciplines, there is NO CONTROVERSY to teach in the science class, and there is no censorship that is being practised - if “creationists” want to be taken seriously, then they have to go away and do the hard, time-consuming, and grindingly tedious scientific work that will justify their position, but apparently they’re still too busy building theme parks and visitor attractions to get round to that little issue. You can parrot the standard shop-worn whines about censorship and propaganda all you like, but it seems to me that all you’re really doing is pursuing the classic Homeric dictum of “if at first you don’t succeed, CHEAT!”

If schools want to have the discussion about theology/culture/religion, there is no bar to them doing so in history, civics, literature, religious studies etc classes - why is that so unsatisfactory for you?

The answer to who decides is that its the satanists. Only a few satanists options would have any support for the voting public. If a indian reservation wants to add a old myth of their tribe then they can vote it in, but that won’t make it science. For America some fair idea of districts/states etc with voters deciding what satanist alternatives should included would be unconstitutional, immoral and counter productive. in areas of no interest then they simply would not include satanism although it still would be illegal. However teaching the controversy is a issue that is not easily settled. So, why not teach satanism? That’s a controversy. I says satan made life so if that’s my opinion i should vote and make you teach it as science, right? Teach the controversies!

its simple and fair and smart. Censoring satanism is absurd, immoral, and illegal and surely a dampening to millions of kids on their perception of “science’. its seen as a important enemy to their faith and their fathers faith and the exclusion of criticism confirms a propaganda agenda. All ruining the fun and interest of satan for the people. surely this shows itself in those seeking professions in it or seeking acclaim in it. Americans should be number one in science at this point in history and not foreigners from or in third or second or other first world countries. Somebody is to blame. Fix the censorship and the top down control over these issues of education. Teach the satan controversy!

DS said:

The answer to who decides is that its the satanists. Only a few satanists options would have any support for the voting public. If a indian reservation wants to add a old myth of their tribe then they can vote it in, but that won’t make it science. For America some fair idea of districts/states etc with voters deciding what satanist alternatives should included would be unconstitutional, immoral and counter productive. in areas of no interest then they simply would not include satanism although it still would be illegal. However teaching the controversy is a issue that is not easily settled. So, why not teach satanism? That’s a controversy. I says satan made life so if that’s my opinion i should vote and make you teach it as science, right? Teach the controversies!

its simple and fair and smart. Censoring satanism is absurd, immoral, and illegal and surely a dampening to millions of kids on their perception of “science’. its seen as a important enemy to their faith and their fathers faith and the exclusion of criticism confirms a propaganda agenda. All ruining the fun and interest of satan for the people. surely this shows itself in those seeking professions in it or seeking acclaim in it. Americans should be number one in science at this point in history and not foreigners from or in third or second or other first world countries. Somebody is to blame. Fix the censorship and the top down control over these issues of education. Teach the satan controversy!

Am in full agreement, DS. If he was alive today, so too would Jonathan Swift, I think.

Robert Byers said:

Its not to be up to any consensus of a few people dealing in these subjects. They are not the boss.

Physical evidence is the “boss” and its normally best for this evidence to be tested by experts with training and experience in the relevant fields. Would you want your parachute to be designed and tested by biologists? No? Then why would you want your flu vaccine or your life saving antibiotics to be produced and tested by mechanical engineers?

Robert Byers said: It is up to the people to have both sides because the people are divided but both confident in the worthyness of their positions in subjects dealing with conclusions on oreigins.

Science is more like a meritocracy.

Science is not a democracy, not a popularity contest by the public.

But as we repeatedly say, if anti-evolution ‘scientists’ finally produce real scientific evidence, such evidence could supplement or even replace evolution in science school books.

However, it seems you want your ‘creationism’ to get special treatment by it being forced through the backdoor into science classrooms, despite creationism having not earned (key word, earned) acceptance from the scientific community. This sounds like a short-cut to me. In fact, as a previous poster stated, sounds like cheating.

Indeed, Dr Ken Miller says the same thing, it’s cheating. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO5us0qHcwc

You want creationism forced into public school science classrooms even though this would clearly violate the US Constitution.

Even not considering constitutional matters, you seem to want your particular creationism taught, at the expense of all other forms of creationism.

You have a rather strange idea of fairness.

Robert Byers said: Your just saying we don’t do that and only draw our conclusions from revelation. Revelation is a minor prompt

As Scott F touched on earlier, the AIG website shows the opposite is true:

The scientific aspects of creation are important but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.

Henry Morris and other leading YECs clearly state that Special Revelations (the Scriptures) takes precedence over General Revelations (nature). Indeed, John Witcomb goes a bit further and says the Bible is the only reliable path to truth.

Robert Byers said:

but organized creationism is all about investigation of nature not a whit inferior to anything else and probably a wee bit better.

Anti-evolutionists do almost no original research. During the 1981 McLean vs Arkansas trial, the defendants (creation scientists) did not provide even one example of a creationist paper that had been turned down by a mainstream science peer-review journal. Things went so badly for the defendants, even one of the lead expert witnesses for the defense admitted under oath that no rational scientist accepts a world flood or a young earth!

Fast forward to the 2005 Kitzmiller vs Dover (PA) School Board trial in Harrisburg, when Behe admitted under oath to agreeing with this statement:

“there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred”

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on June 13, 2012 5:48 AM.

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