High School Teacher Brags About How His School Stopped an Atheist Group from Forming, but He’s in for a Surprise

You want to know how tough some high school atheists have it? Check out this story JT Eberhard recently dealt with as the Secular Student Alliance’s high school specialist:

He recently got an anonymous letter from a high school teacher who saw the SSA’s Educator’s Brochure (PDF) and felt the need to correct it and save children from eternal damnation.

This person said that an atheist group had tried to form at his school but they faced an obstacle:

It was from one of those students that I received this brochure. Not surprisingly, they could not get a teacher to sponsor the club. As educators we are dedicated to conveying the truth to students… They should not feel the need for a safe haven.

Educational staff has the responsibility of preparing students to be responsible adults. We expect all students to be treated with respect. We are not, however, obligated to protect those who choose to be deviants in society.

Not only did this teacher not want to create a safe haven for atheist students at his school, he admits that the club they wanted to start couldn’t get off the ground because they couldn’t find a sponsor.

That’s illegal. In short, if you can’t get a sponsor for an otherwise legal club, the school must assign you one. In other words, yes, he is “obligated to protect” them.

So what did JT do? A little bit of sleuthing, courtesy of Google. Followed by a letter to the “anonymous” man’s principal:

First, you should know why I’m emailing you, specifically, about a letter with no return address. While the letter itself contained no return address, the sender included his email address as well as proof that he is a teacher at a high school. The email address belongs to a man named XXXXX whose email is NAME12345@yahoo.com. There are presently three XXXXXs teaching at high schools in the United States. I’m sure you recognize 12345 as the zip code of [US CITY WHERE THE SCHOOL IS LOCATED]. Not only that, XYZ High School was the only school of the three to which the SSA had sent a group-starting packet in the last year and a half, which explains how Mr. XXXXX would’ve gotten a copy of our educators brochure. It seems irrefutably clear that the letter was sent by the XXXXX who teaches at XYZ High School.

You can read the rest of what JT wrote to the principal here. If the school doesn’t want to respond, we can alert our lawyer friends to take some legal action on them.

This is a case they will lose — and the SSA found out about it because one teacher wanted to brag about the fact that his employers wouldn’t allow an atheist group to form at his school.

I really love this part of JT’s response:

Your legal counsel will undoubtedly ask you if the students who attempted to start the club will still be students at XYZ in the fall. I have taken the liberty of answering that question before contacting you: yes, they will be.

Why is that important? Because the school may say, “This is a non-issue since those students graduated, so who cares what this teacher did?” JT’s response lets them know that the atheists are still attending the school this fall and they will have legal standing in a potential lawsuit.

It’s really sad that we have to keep fighting these battles, but that’s what young atheists are up against. Thankfully, the SSA can put a stop to it. Please donate so these types of incidents don’t go unchallenged.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tychabrahe Lauren Eve Pomerantz

    I read that letter this morning.  (I follow  @jteberhard:twitter , and if you’re interested in the up-and-coming young skeptics, you should, too.)  I’ve always kind of thought of the SSA as “wish I had that when I was a teen,” stuff rather than stuff that was important to me now.  After all, I’m quite a few decades out of high school and college.  That letter changed my opinion, and I made a donation to SSA this morning.

    I’m surprised, now that I think about it, that it took so long.  I’m a huge supporter of gay marriage despite being straight.  And, frankly, a group like the SSA might have kept me from three decades of really painful searching for something that meant something to me, years spent in the Human Potential Movement, studying Paganism, meeting with Discordians and Theosophists, and the sad feeling that something was wrong with me because none of this really felt satisfying.  Giving up the search for religious truth was so *freeing* for me, and that’s a gift I want other people to have an easier time finding.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jt.eberhard JT Eberhard

       This made my day, Lauren.  Thank you.

      • Cincinatheist

        I agree Lauren. I’m nearly two decades removed from high school myself, but I’m on the SSA’s mailing list and regularly contribute. I tell everyone who will listen, that as far as I’m concerned, the SSA is currently the most deserving of the portion of my budget that I have targeted for giving to secular activist organizations. 

        I met JT personally at the Reason Rally and follow the rest of the gang on Twitter. Good people all around. Keep fighting the good fight.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          The way I look at it, my son is < 10 years removed from HS.  With JT's work, by the time he gets there, hopefully there will be no need for letters like this should he want to start an SSA club (assuming one doesn't already exist by then)

  • http://www.facebook.com/RDSmokey RD Lanier

    BRAVO! Best of luck to those students. 

  • Mike Creamer

    Great work, JT! As a SSA sponsor whose group is about to start its third year in a public high school, we appreciate your every-present support and enthusiasm. Starting an SSA group has been one of the best things I have ever done in my 28 years as a teacher, and seeing more high school groups starting up all over the country proves to me that our time has come. Without your efforts, JT, that wouldn’t be happening. Thanks!

  • Bruce_wright

    Great letter, JT.  You really handed them the legal argument in an airtight way.  One thing I come away wishing, however… and maybe in your experience such an inclusion turns out to be counter-productive.  But I wish there was some inclusion of the human element in your letter.  What I wish could be said was some reason why secular students are human beings too, and just because we have different beliefs about religion than other people do, that doesn’t make us devils.

    I was reading that letter imagining what the teacher would be thinking while reading it, and all I could do was imagine adult Damien from the Omen movie as Satan’s lawyer using all the power of the law to fight Godliness.

    Of course, you aren’t responsible for the bigotry, fantasies or prejudices of others.  But people, I think, can be counted on to respond to the human touch of “hey, these kids are people too.  They just have different beliefs on these matters than you do.  That this teacher can talk about this and *literally* demonize people who just believe differently is really the best example we can state as to why our organization is needed by people for support and protection of their rights.”

    Anyway, JT.  Wow, Love the SSA!

    • Bruce_wright

       Oh, and this letter finally got me to get off my butt and donate to the SSA.  Thanks, Teacher XXXXX.  May this cause you to have a sad.

  • Dizzlegoat7

    I am not an atheist, but I agree they should be allowed to have their club. That’s stupid that anyone would think there is something “wrong ” for allowing them to have their club

    I did have a question about something you had mentioned though: I wasn’t aware they HAD to supply a supervisor if one couldn’t be found.

    It seems to me that all it takes is a few idiot teenagers to come up with a “club” idea that has to be taken seriously. I always thought that if you couldn’t find a sponsor your screwed, its happened to me in my highschool experience.

    What is the criteria for that in schools? It doesn’t seem likely that the school has to supply a sponsor for anything and everything

    • Daniel

      Yep a few “idiot” teenagers with a common interest is all you need.  Of course, they need to keep showing up for meetings, but if you have half a dozen kids who want to meet weekly to discuss what fashion says about psyche in one of their favorite non-dubbed animes (set in a near-future dystopia), they are good to go and the school needs to provide a sponsor.  

    • asonge

      Ironically, this is because the Republicans during the end of the Reagan era wanted to ensure Christian clubs being able to meet in schools. So they passed a law that said that any extra-curricular club must be allowed, and that is what JT is citing here. Ironically, it’s been something of the undoing of heavy-handed administrators who seek to squash gay straight alliances and now secular student alliances. What’s good for the goose and all.

    • http://twitter.com/sheepodoom SheepODoom

       And if there are no Atheists working for the school? should a non believer be FORCED to represent a club they do not believe in?

      • Glasofruix

        It’s their job, if you have your own agenda you’re not qualified to be a teacher.

      • Cyphern

        The school is welcome to exempt the club from having a sponsor.

      • Edmond

        I’m not so sure that SPONSORING a club is the same thing as REPRESENTING a club.  Even a non-believer should be able to show enough respect and support to fulfill their DUTIES to the students.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

          the problem is one of safety and insurance. when do clubs meet, and where? in the school, often after hours. these are children, legally speaking. they can’t be left alone unsupervised. an adult must be with them, or observing them, at all times. i suppose exemptions could be made in very limited circumstances, but i’m pretty sure an adult has to be at least in the building while the meeting takes place. and with them if they’re traveling to a club related event, etc. 

          • Edmond

            I’m not sure if you replied to the right person, this doesn’t seem to follow my post.  If it’s a legal requirement for a teacher/sponsor to be present at whatever time or place the club meets, there still isn’t any reason that a Christian couldn’t sponsor an atheist/secular club.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Yup. Just like the rest of us who live in this country are occasionally FORCED to do things we don’t believe in. You don’t get an exemption just because you think you’re special. Time to grow up!

      • Fundied

         Yes.  Don’t be naive.  You could have answered that with just a little bit of thought.   
        Just be careful; I know from experience that thought can be frowned upon in some crowds.  It leads to bad things, such as understanding, acceptance, peace, knowledge, growth, etc.  Eventually you may find yourself arguing against similar posts as yours–and then where will you be?  Lost in the depths of real humanity and forever unable to climb back up to the light in which you currently hide.

        It seems I got off track.
        Again, the answer is yes.  It isn’t just any “non-believer” that would be forced in this hypothetical situation of yours.  It would be a faculty member who gets paid to work at a school as an employee. 

    • Cyphern


      I wasn’t aware they HAD to supply a supervisor if one couldn’t be found.

      They do have other options. For example, they can exempt this specific club from the requirement of having a supervisor. All they’re really required to do is refrain from using “nope, no supervisor” as an excuse for forbidding the club.

  • Nathan

    I personally don’t think atheism had a place in highschool. If religion is being banned why shouldn’t atheism? Isn’t it not a belief as well. There is no proof of God existing or not existing. If one is not aloud neither should the other be. I’m sorry if you don’t like my comment but it’s the truth. You have to look at it from both perspectives. Teaching evolution is taking it far enough, but now you want schools supporting anti-religious groups too?! What is wrong with you people?

    • http://honesttogodless.blogspot.com Matt Foss

      Nathan,

      Please give an example of religion being “banned” in any public school in this country.

      • Nathan
        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

          That story doesn’t have many details, but I suspect if it is true, atheists (and groups like FFRF and the ACLU) would be fully on the side of the Christians.

        • Falconer33

          I would suggest you read the whole letter that was sent to the school Nathan. I’ll point out the paragraph that should answer your question:

          “Mr. XXXXX has also asserted that the students attempting to form a secular club at XYZ were prohibited from doing so due to the faculty denying them sponsorship.  However, this is illegal.  It violates the Equal Access Act to allow a monitor requirement to serve as a bar to a club’s formation or to impose restrictions on one group that are not imposed on other groups.  In Board of Education of Westside Community Schools v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990), the United States Supreme Court ruled that a high school violated the Equal Access Act when it denied a student permission to form a Christian club.  The Court was guided by its observation that the purpose of the Act is to forbid schools to “deny access to school facilities to any unfavored student club on the basis of its speech content.” 

          Also, is Glenn Beck the best you can come up with?

        • Brian Westley

          Thanks for supporting the SCA, since this case was settled on exactly the same grounds a few months later:
          http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/News/PRDetail/5247 

        • Edmond

          And they’re being SUED, too, aren’t they?  They aren’t going to be allowed to do this, because it’s illegal.

          I’m sure everyone is looking for an example of a school that was ALLOWED and ENCOURAGED to do this, even by the government.  Your argument is not supported by “examples” which only show that this effort is doomed to fail.

        • jw48335

          The best you can come up with is a “Fox Nation” story?  You don’t see the conflict of interest there?  And rather than reading the hype, did you bother to read the real documented reason it was initially denied, rather than the BS in the Faux story?

          Singh said her decision was based solely on costs. According to Singh,
          if she recognized the club, then she would also have to recognize clubs
          for every religion. The cost of providing an adviser for the religious
          clubs, she stated, would be “prohibitive at this economically stringent
          time.”

          There were no other religious clubs at the school- this was the first one.  That’s a whole lot different than singling out an atheist group and bragging about it.

      • Nathan

        If you would like another example please let me know I’m sure I can find several more.

        • http://honesttogodless.blogspot.com Matt Foss

          Please do.  I’d like to see evidence of religion being banned in public schools, not just one principal being an asshole.

      • http://twitter.com/sheepodoom SheepODoom

         Wow you have that short a memory? anytime two or more students dare pray in school there is an Atheist with a lawsuit Demanding only Atheism be allowed in schools.

        • Glasofruix

          Are you retarded? Kids are free to pray if they want to, it’s when a school specifically endorses a religion and forces EVERY student to attend some kind of religious stuff that is problematic.

        • http://honesttogodless.blogspot.com Matt Foss

          Never head of an atheist suing a school because classmates decided to pray.  I have heard of atheists suing a school because of faculty leading organized school prayer, which is different.  Christian clubs are also allowed in public schools.

        • Baby_Raptor

          Proof, please. There’s a Fucking national holiday for students meeting to pray. It’s called “See You At The Pole.” I took part in it for years when I was still religious. Further, kids are free to meet up and pray anywhere they want. They just aren’t allowed to force it on people who don’t want to. 

          No Atheist has ever demanded that only Atheism be allowed in schools. 

          Please, get your facts right before you start arguing. People are much more likely to take you seriously if you’re actually telling the truth. 

        • Coyotenose

           Sorry to tell you, you’re incredibly ignorant of the subject you want to claim knowledge of. You WILL NOT find an instance of students’ rights to their religion being taken from them. The ACLU defends them against those who try.

          Also, the wording of your comment indicates that you already know there is no evidence. That is why you’re reduced to demanding that it’s common sense. You’re lying, Liar.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I can think of two examples that could be twisted into ‘prohibiting prayer in school’.  One was kids wanting to Tebow in the middle of  the hallway, thus obstructing other kids’ access.  They were told thy could pray where they didn’t impede other kids and cause a safety hazard, but they insisted on bending their knees in the middle of the hallway.  And got suspended.  Not for praying, but for blocking the hallway.

          Muslim students wanted to be able to do their full face Mecca in the middle of class.  That was considered to disruptive.  Students didn’t push the issue.

          And, you need to learn the difference between ‘atheism’ and ‘secular’.

    • Mike

      The Fellowship of Christian Atheletes isn’t banned. That is a specifically Christian Club. Why should Atheists have less rights than Christians? Oh and evolution is a part of science. So why is it bad that it is taught in school?

      • http://twitter.com/sheepodoom SheepODoom

         Ok So then NAMBLA should Be allowed to have a School club, as should the White Priders. How about the local street Gang should the Crips & Bloods have a school club too? Also who is going to sponsor this group? You going to FORCE a non believer to sponsor this group? Would you mind FORCING an Atheist to lead a Religious group? Also as Atheism is Not a religion then what are these Rights you clam? Oh you want to claim it as a religion. well then as a Religion it is STILL BANNED.

        • Jiveturkey006

          SheepODoom,
          Seriously Nambla, Street Gangs, etc?? Of course nobody is suggesting allowing kids to take part in illegal activities. Why would you even use that as an example of a perfectly legal and worthwhile endeavor such as the SSA club? 

          The other thing you forget while ranting is that we wouldn’t have to force a non-believer to sponsor a Religious group because the Religious are the majority. However, most of the Atheists I know would do so if asked only because we actually care about following the law.

          No we don’t want to claim Atheism as a Religion and we are not asking for special rights. Just the same rights as others already are practicing.    

          Lastly stop crying wolf!!! Religion is not banned and not a single Atheist I have ever came in contact with would ever suggest such a thing. 

          • Nathan

            Religion isn’t completely banned yet as the majority of the population still believes in creation. In my opinion it’s all or nothing. You want to offer a subject to a student as an elective that is fine. Making something a requirment that is against someone’s beliefs is just wrong and unacceptable.

            • Jiveturkey006

              Nathan,

              Science and Religion are two very different things. Believing something does not make it true. Not believing something doesn’t make it untrue. There is an eternity between Believing and Knowing. Science deals with what we know and hope to find out while Religion deals with what a person Believes. I can positively say that I know water is wet or that the golf course grass is green. I wouldn’t say that I believe those things to be true because I KNOW they are. Religion offers only ignorant assertions while science offers observable facts. Just because you choose not to educate yourself doesn’t mean that you have the right to not educate my children in the public school system. Oh and don’t forget that Science is a Core class just like English or Math. Now if you want to offer comparative religion as an elective please feel free to do so. 

            • Glasofruix

              Yeah, so if your pharmacist is refusing to sell you medication because it’s against his religion, would you think of that as normal?

            • Edmond

              This article is not about mandatory classes, it’s about CLUBS.  Christian clubs ARE available in public schools, and so atheist clubs must also be allowed.  The only requirement is that the school provide a sponsor to the club.  This does not require the sponsor to adhere to the club’s beliefs.  A vegetarian club could have a meat-eating teacher as a sponsor.  A martial arts club could have a pacifist as a sponsor.  There is nothing about an atheist or secular student club that prohibits a Christian teacher from being a sponsor.

            • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel

              “the majority of the population still believes in creation”
              That’s precious.

              “Making something a requirment that is against someone’s beliefs is just wrong and unacceptable.”

              And he wants creationism taught in schools. Such a darling!

        • Nathan

          If one belief is taught all should be, or save it for higher education institutions.

          • Glasofruix

             You’re getting the point, christianity is being forcefully taught to kids in schools, let’s also teach’em muslim religion, judaism etc etc…

            • Nathan

              Who said force it on them? An elective means you have a choice.

              • Glasofruix

                 Yeah right “elective”. Prayer banners, teachers like this asshole endorsing xtian views, principals organasing mandatory religious stuff…

          • Jiveturkey006

            Nathan,

            We agree on that!!! Too bad you aren’t getting the point. Science is NOT A BELIEF and neither is Atheism. Careful what you wish for though brother or SATANISM may be coming to a school near you!!. ;)

            • Nathan

              Atheism is a belief. Let me ask you this, what do you believe?

              • Glasofruix

                It is not a belief, it’s an absence of belief. I do not believe in stuff, i know certain things and i do not know other things, i examine the evidence provided and act accordingly. No evidence of the existence of a god was ever provided, therefore i do not see a reason to “believe”.

              • Jiveturkey006

                Nathan,
                I believe that given time and enough hard work from People who actually care that most of society’s ills could be lessened if not abolished. I believe that you have the ability to respect your fellow man if you spend some time working at it. I believe that most people in this world could do the same if they had their basic human needs met. I believe that being happy is a choice and is achievable given we work at it. I believe that if I show others kindness and love that more often than not I will receive the same in return. I believe that if I set a good example to my children that they will follow my lead. I believe that most likely you and I want more of the same things out of this life than not. I believe that humanity will eventually figure out empathy if we don’t blow ourselves up first. I believe that ALL men and women were created equal and have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And not just the White, Straight, Christian one’s either. ;)

              • tec

                Change the activity to see the fallacy:  Not collecting stamps is a hobby.  Let me ask you this, what do you not collect?

              • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

                Nathan: Atheism is a belief in the same way that abstinence is a sex position.

              • Deven Kale

                 Atheism is a belief like watching a baseball game is a sport. (I like these analogy responses, they’re fun)

              • jw48335

                 Atheism is a belief like bald is a hairstyle.

              • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel

                I believe many things, and NONE of those things are a result of my atheism. Atheism is LACK of belief in gods, pure and simple. Nothing derives from it.

          • Parse

            Correct.  That’s why evolution is taught in science classes, and not creationism.  Simply because you think that evolution is a belief does not make evolution only a belief.  Or do you think that, because people believe the Earth revolves around the sun, that we should also teach geocentrism as a viable alternative?

        • Xeon2000

          I’m sure their are policies that allow school leaders discretionary power to keep hate groups from becoming school approved clubs. Please don’t try to argue that SSA is a hate group. You’ll just look dumb.

        • Donalbain
        • Ibis3

          On FORCING a non-believer to sponsor a religious group: Yes. If there were a school where some Hindus, Muslims, Christians or Wiccans wanted to have an extra-curricular club, and all the teachers were atheists, and none of them volunteered to sponsor, the administration should either waive the sponsorship rule, or FORCE one or a group of teachers/employees to fill that role. The administration can not discriminate against a religious minority (for example) , by using the sponsorship loophole.

          (Oh, and for the record and the edification of both you and Nathan: atheism is not a religion but since it is a belief about religion it is likewise protected by the same laws protecting freedom of religion and expression, atheism is not a proper noun, evolution is an observed fact, groups promoting illegal acts, hate crimes, and/or bullying may be denied access on non-discriminatory grounds, and praying is not legally banned in US public schools so quit lying.)

        • Doug

          No, the school has no obligation to allow groups that support illegal activities (pedophilia, gang violence) or that violate governmental policies against discrimination (white supremacists). I agree that a believer should not be forced to sponsor the group, if sponsor means participate in and support the group. However, if sponsor just means “sign your name on sheet, make sure group is not misusing their privileges,” then absolutely someone should be forced to do that (or they can just forego the name-signing requirement). The point is that the school cannot bar the group from forming, same as they cannot bar a religious group from forming (you knew that, right?). If no teacher is willing to do it, then I’d say the principle or some other administrator should be required to (again, only if the school is unwilling to ignore the sponsorship requirement).

          Nice try on attempting to compare atheism to criminal activity and hate-mongering though, bigot.

      • Nathan

        Evolution is a THEORY!!! Not fact!!

        • Jiveturkey006

          Nathan,

          You do not know the actual definition of Scientific Theory or you would not have made this comment. I think you are substituting the definition of Hypothesis in place of Theory. By your logic then Gravity is just a theory and has no basis in reality. You do realize that we have more scientific proof for the theory of evolution than we do for the theory of gravity right? 

          • Nathan

            Where is the scientific evidence disproving there is a God? I would bet money that if science was half as interested in trying to prove biblical theories as truth, they would have an equally adequate amount of evidence. Fortunately I do not need evidence to believe in something. I see maricles happen everyday. I feel his presence and he will answer if you listen. Everything God commands of us is for the good of humanity. Just as a parent telling his/her child what to do because it’s best for them. I dare you to challenge his commandments and ask yourself if it’s good for you or if he is just being a hateful and immoral God?

            • Jiveturkey006

              Nathan,
              Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Sorry but your personal/emotional experiences wouldn’t even stand up in a simple divorce court and they sure don’t approach the kind of evidence I mean when I say extraordinary.

            • matt

              This is bible god you’re talking about?  The guy (gal? it?) that birthed himself into mankind to sacrifice himself to HIMSELF to forgive the sins of a guy made from dust and a gal he created from the guys rib?  Please forgive me if I’m skeptical.

              • Bafletch69

                Well when you say it like that it sounds silly to believe that.

            • Glasofruix

              “or if he is just being a hateful and immoral God?”

              There is a shitload of things in the bible that just prove that, i suggest you read your little book of fairy tales.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

              Oh wow. You really got to us. None of us have any experience with religion whatsoever!

              *Eyeroll*
              A lot of us are former Christians. We know what it’s like to believe in things without any evidence. We know what it’s like to believe in something just because it *feels* true. But we also know what it’s like to believe in things because we know they are true and we have actual evidence that they are true. It feels way better.
              Christians look very stupid when they try to share the message of God with us because they always assume that we just haven’t experienced the love of God before. Sorry, but just because endorphins are sent to your brain doesn’t make a teddy bear alive and doesn’t make an invisible man real.

              • Brad Rissmiller

                I felt many “real” things when I used to go to church. I loved church. The people there respected me, treated me like an individual, and there was of course, music. 

                Many years later, I learned of the placebo effect and of synchronicity. I felt good when I was praying because I “knew” it would work. I saw miracles because I was told they were there. 

                I really saw nothing out of the ordinary. I saw the good things and ignored the bad. That ignorance sent me into a depressive spiral that I eventually emerged from only after I stopped believing in faerie tales and took responsibility for my life… not passing responsibility onto a construct of fiction.

            • Glasofruix

              Science have already disproven the vast majority of biblical myths. The flood? Never happened. Adam & eve? Yeah, right….

            • Bafletch69

              Science is the study of the natural, knowable world. God(s)/goddess(es) are beyoynd the scope of the natural world and CANNOT be testable with science.

              Remember that half of belief is “lie”. We don’t care what you believe. Just don’t pass it off as truth when you can’t support you’re cause without any real evidence. Believe what you want and STFU!

              If you say your god is true then, I will take it under advisement. However, I don’t believe in your god. I did at one point in my life, but I grew up. If your god is true then it is morally corrupt and my moral foundations are better than any I could learn from it.

            • Baby_Raptor

              I’m a woman. According to him, I should have married the man that raped me when I was 15, and proceeded to let him treat me as a baby making machine til I died. Instead, that man is now a Pastor of a church, and I got disowned by my family for taking Plan B and trying to press charges. 

              Your god does not love everyone. The only people he actually cares about are straight males. The rest of us are trash to him. 

              He does nothing when people use his name to hurt, trash or even kill others. He does nothing when people lie and break laws in his name. He doesn’t give a damn when people suffer because others are using his name to cause harm.

              Your god lets people, children even, get raped and abused. He lets people die from illnesses he could easily cure. He lets people starve. 

              I’ll look your god in the face and ask him where his Fucking morality is. He has none. 

              • Nathan

                I’m sorry that that happened to you but God wouldn’t have you marry a man simply because he raped you. My wife was raped when she was 17, she is a devoted Christian and she is very accepted in our church. I don’t know your circumstances but just because you are treated wrongly by one church doesn’t mean they are all that way. I’m not going to make excuses why God allows people to be mistreated, he has a plan for everyone even if you disagree with it. A Christian had to trust God. You didn’t trust him which is why you are without him. He still loves you regardless of how you feel for him. Yes god could easily cure the sick. He could also take away free will. He could make it impossible to question his word. It is called free will for a reason. Sometimes people’s free will affects others negatively but you have to trust God. No matter how bad it gets, you are forgiven through Christ. He will test you sure, and you may even be injured or die. Just remember he sent his only son to die for us as well. This life is short, what is to come is eternity.

                • Zach Trego

                  The bible says if a women is raped the man responsible has to pay the father and marry the women. 

                  Your religion is retarded and you are a moron. I wont get into the details why like some people here because I know you will continue to be stupid and blind. 

                  The only real path to truth is to find the path yourself and no amount of evidence and easy as 123 talking will show you how stupid you are. 

                • Bafletch69

                  I’m sure Nathan’s church, like all gloss over the horrible parts. Of course the current fashion is to disregard the OT almost all together. Well, except when it’s convenient. I am sure he has never read that verse.

                • Glasofruix

                  Yeah, gawd loves you, he has a plan that includes torture and rape, but you know that he loves you very very much. I’m tired of this “argument”…

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                  Lol. You thought her point was “God can’t exist because bad things happen” when her actual argument was that God very obviously lets these bad things happen and at times commands it. You would have understood her argument if you had read your Bible. If she had been alive in biblical times, God commanded that she should marry her rapist and that her rapist must pay her father. (Deuteronomy
                  22:28-29). If she was already married and was raped and didn’t scream, she and her rapist must both be killed (Deuteronomy
                  22:23-24). That’s not just God allowing bad things. That’s God commanding for some very twisted, immoral justice which completely ignores the suffering of the victim.

                • Coyotenose

                   “God has a plan”, aka, “God works in mysterious ways” is a remarkably dumb excuse. An omnipotent god could easily explain his actions and inaction.

                  The actual issue is that your god doesn’t know anything more than you yourself do. One guess why that is.

                  When people use free will to harm others, they take away free will from their victims. That means the “God gave us free will” excuse is saying that God sides with people who do evil over the victims of evil. Try again.

                • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel

                  God wouldn’t have you marry a man simply because he raped you.

                  Wow, Nathan. Seriously, read the Bible sometime. Actually read it; don’t just gloss over it.

                  Deuteronomy 20:28-29:

                  If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

                • Fundied

                  Good spaghetti monster…I don’t know where to begin.

                • http://gristleoflife.wordpress.com/ Analog Kid

                  —”God wouldn’t have you marry a man simply because he raped you”

                  Oh no?

                  “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives” (Deuteronomy 22:28–29)

            • Cincinatheist

              Yawn. I can’t even believe we are going to waste the time refuting this standard apologetic tripe for the 9 millionth time. However, it’s almost 5:30 here, and I’ve wrapped up work for the day, so why not:
              “Where is the scientific evidence disproving there is a God?” — Where is the scientific evidence disproving leprechauns?”Fortunately I do not need evidence to believe in something.” — I have one of those leprechauns under my bed.”I see miracles happen everyday.” — Please read up on ‘cognitive bias.’”I feel his presence and he will answer if you listen.” — The brain can be a powerful deceiver. Arguments from personal experience are not evidence. “I dare you to challenge his commandments and ask yourself if it’s good for you or if he is just being a hateful and immoral God?” — Based on the first four commandments, I’d say this god character is a jealous egomaniac that thinks very highly of himself. As for five through nine, they all show up in societal laws and norms which pre-date the Decalogue anyway, so nothing original from on high there. So we’re left with a single commandment telling me I’ll go to hell if I think my neighbor’s wife is hot or his car is nice? So be it.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

                I hope that conversations like this get him to think. I used to assume that I had all the answers and that I could totally wind a debate against an atheist or evolutionist. It’s a good thing for a Christian to go into a debate expecting to win and then having their ass handed to them. It’s not a pleasant experience and they won’t admit defeat, but if they’re smart, it will stick with them.
                I have a few unpleasant memories of debates like this which were quite humiliating…but it made me start thinking.

            • Deven Kale

               Christians have spent millenia trying to find some sort of proof for the existence of their god. Some of them are even accredited scientists. Some of those have even received Nobel prizes for their work. All of them have failed to provide that evidence. The closest thing I’ve ever heard to anything approaching evidence of anything supernatural is an argument made by the fantasy writer and philosopher C.S. Lewis regarding eternal life based on desire. Even that is quite easily disprovable upon the realization that it’s all just a play on words.

              So, you want to know the evidence for atheism? My favorite response to that is actually quite simple: The evidence for atheism is the utter lack of evidence for theism.

            • Anon

               If you can assert that your god exists without evidence, I can dismiss it without evidence.

            • A65snake

              Where is the scientific evidence disproving elves, unicorns, sea serpents, or do you believe in those as well?
              What about Allah, Buddha, Shiva, or FSM?  Do you consider them just as real, since there is no scientific evidence disproving them, either?

              The only miracle I’d like to see right now if for your computer to die.

              As for the commandments being for “our own good”, the entire book of leviticus is one big crazy hate train.
               

            • Brad Rissmiller

              Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.-Christopher Hitchens

            • Evans Lukas

              Your god is the most immoral fictional character ever created. Have you ever read that book you hold so dear?

            • Coyotenose

               Fortunately for you, enough other people who DO need evidence of things perform enough hard work in uncovering it to allow you the life you lead. The Bible says that disease is caused by “evil spirits”. Scientists who needed more evidence made discoveries leading to Germ Theory, without which you personally would probably be dead.

              Bet all you like. The Bible can’t compete in a market of free ideas and information sharing. Google and read for comprehension sometime.

              “God” commanded that people be stoned to death for working on Saturday. Ta Da! Hateful and immoral, QED.

            • Fundied

               It is difficult to disprove something which offers no grounds on which to begin investigation.

              You would bet money.  Thankfully, you’ve gambled it away at the penny slots. 

              Most people are able to distinguish a person on a train professing his “theories”(about a magic man that can’t be killed and has a fantastic party trick involving wine and water), from a person in a classroom professing his theories (about forces that draw small objects to a much larger objects and other silly things like carbon dating).

              The easiest part of believing is that evidence is not a prerequisite.  Hilariously (not really), the easiest route tends to be the most traveled and least rewarding.

              You must define “maricle”–even if you meant “miracle”–because I seriously doubt you’ve witnessed the “maricles” to which I think you are referring.

              Don’t forget to capitalize He and His.  Much like how many pastors and televangelists never forget to capitalize on Him.

              What does god command?  If you are referring to the 10 Commandments, then I hate to say it, but there is no group of people that obeys these.

              There are many ill-suited parents.  In fact, many parents indoctrinate their children from birth–and not even out of spite, but out of ignorance! 

              I doubt anyone is challenging the commandments…well not all of them.  Most people are challenging the thousands of other things the bible and religious organizations perpetuate around the world.  If it is god’s plan to to make religions appear to be full of backpedaling morons whose arguments and teachings many times more than not have negative affects on humanity, then what exactly is he achieving? 

              For that matter, what is the point of even offering an option to believe in this supernatural being?  What is the point of creating a world with humans?  Was he bored?  Not possible, for he is perfect, right?  So he wanted to show his love for us?  But we didn’t exist yet, so this can’t be true.  Oh, perhaps he always knew he would create the human species, so maybe that can be true.  Then why was there ever a time when we didn’t already exist?  No, this must not be true either.

              Well, all I can come up with is that humans are the primary species on Earth capable of thought, and while some humans try to work toward a better future, other humans would rather invent mechanisms aimed at postponing the feelings that come from fearing death. 

        • guest

          A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

          You are confusing the term theory with hypothesis.  Gravity is just a THEORY!  If you don’t believe in it, why don’t you just float the fuck away!

          • Stev84

            The theory of evolution is actually more comprehensive than gravity. Gravity and quantum mechanics can’t be explained together in a unified framework as of it.

        • Xeon2000

          Don’t bother with explanations. Homeschooling and private Christian schooling indoctrinate kids at an early age to the idea that “evolution is just a theory”. The brainwashing is hard wired in deep.

        • Glasofruix

          My retard-o-meter is OVER NINE THOUSAND! Please stop, you’re hurting yourself.

          • Parse

            Glasofruix, read the other responses; it’s possible to get your point across without using ableist insults (namely, calling Nathan ‘retard’).  

            I don’t take issue with your use of insults, but rather your choice of insults.  It’s roughly equivalent to, say, a stereotypical tea-partier calling a politician ‘atheist’ – it says far more about the ignorance of the insulter than it does about the insultee.  

            If nothing else, use insults as an opportunity to flex your creative muscles – I’m sure you can find more colorful ways of expressing yourself, without needing to slam an entire segment of society at the same time.

            • Glasofruix

              I’m sorry, but when someone says, i quote, that “Evolution is a THEORY!!! Not fact!!” he’s either retarded or a lying jerk. As anyone with a pair of working neurons can google the definition of a scientific theory.

        • Donalbain

           Well, he did use all caps and multiple exclamation marks. I guess he is right.

        • Jiveturkey006

          One last thing you are somewhat correct Evolution is not “A” fact. It is made up of millions upon millions of observable facts. Still counting… 

        • Baby_Raptor

          Gravity is still a theory, but I don’t see you jumping off buildings in an attempt to disprove it. 

        • Stev84

          You have finally shown yourself to be a fucking idiot

        • Evans Lukas

          Again you expose yourself to be uneducated.. You sir, are everything that is wrong with this country and I really hope your foolish resistance to progress dies with you. 

        • EricT

          Nathan, what you’re doing is called equivocation. It’s like if I say birth feathers are light, and you say “No they’re not! Crow feathers are dark!”  You’re confusing two different meanings of the same word.

          Please see:  http://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=theory

          Evolution *is* a theory(1):  ” A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.”

          You’re confusing it with theory(6): “An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.”

          Theory of gravity, atomic theory, germ theory, etc. these do not imply uncertainty, they represent our deepest understanding on a topic.

          Atoms are a fact. Atomic theory is our *understanding* of how they work. Evolution is a fact. The theory of Evolution is our understanding of how it works.

        • Absoluteg0

          You are simply plain wrong. Just because you refuse to educate yourself doesn’t make it any less true. You are suffering from “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.

    • Xeon2000

      Religion is “aloud” in schools; it’s simply not suppose to be imposed on students by the school in an official capacity. That means that students are perfectly within their right to pray to their god in front of the flag pole before school. Students are allowed to have voluntary bible study groups outside of class time (i.e. after school clubs). Students can talk about their religious views freely as long as they aren’t disrupting class or harassing another student.

      What they aren’t allowed to do is parade their religion around, disrupt others, bully others, harass others, or force others to partake in their personal rituals. If you think that qualifies as a ban, I’m sorry, you’re wrong.

    • Jiveturkey006

      Actually Nathan it is uninformed people like you that keep us up at night. No Atheism is not a belief, it is the lack of such. Oh and since when has Religion been kicked out of schools? Let’s not forget that it was never supposed to be allowed in to the extent that many overzealous Christians have perpetuated. But just to answer your question, religion, prayer, etc. have not been kicked out, as a student you are still allowed to pray if you want. Oh and there are many Christian based clubs and orgs in every high school. All these kids want is the same treatment given to others. As far as your comments about evolution I don’t know where to begin. How about, SCIENCE!!!!!! And yes I was YELLING!!! To use the only intelligent words in your whole post “What is wrong with you people???” Touche.. 

    • Michael

      I agree with Matt… and since when is teaching science taking something far enough? Are you suggesting we shouldn’t be teaching science in schools? 

    • Neil

      Don’t worry, Nathan…unfortunately, being a stupid, dishonest, lying sack of illiterate dog crap will always be allowed in high school.

    • Glasofruix

      Atheism is NOT a belief, as far as bald is a hair color, not collecting stamps is a hobby and abstinence a sexual position.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Evolution has nothing to do with religion.

      Religion is not banned from school. Teaching/forcing religion on children is. 

      Atheism is not a religion. It’s a lack of religious beliefs. 

      If the school has to support religious groups, and they do, why should they not support Atheist ones? Because you personally don’t like them?

      What’s wrong with YOU? You’re highly uninformed and you appear to not care if certain peoples’ rights get totally ignored simply because you disagree with them. 

    • Evans Lukas

      Enough with your ‘picked on’ attitude. Religious CLUBS are not “banned” in public schools. Your failure to understand the issues is what is plaguing this tiresome argument. 

    • mobathome

       Please don’t feed the troll!

    • EricT


      Teaching evolution is taking it far enough”

      Evolution has nothing to do with religion. Nor does anything else in science. Science is not in the business of trying to refute religious claims, it’s in the business of trying to find out what’s true about nature. Evolution is a fact, as well established as the fact that the Earth orbits the Sun. Understanding how evolution works (the theory part, where “theory” in science means our deepest understanding of how something works, not a hunch or guess) underpins most of modern biology.

      The fact that religions feel threatened by the fact of evolution doesn’t mean the teaching of evolution is religiously motivated. The church used to feel threatened by the fact that the Sun orbits the Earth (they arrested Galileo for daring to state this). That doesn’t mean when we teach children that the Earth orbits the Sun that it has anything to do with religion. It’s just science.

  • http://honesttogodless.blogspot.com Matt Foss

    Boom, roasted.  I’d have loved to have had an SSA affiliate when I was in high school, but at the time I would never have dreamed of the possibility of that happening.

    I can think of a handful of teachers just like XXXXX who would have stood in the way (for example, my math teacher who came to class wearing a shirt that said “It’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion!”).

    Keep giving them hell, JT.

    • Onamission5

      My math teacher gave us bible verses to memorize for extra credit on our exams. The verse would be posted on the board all week, right at the front of the class, usually something about obedience or morality. There was no other option for EC, students complained all the time, and somehow it was allowed to continue.

       

      • Deven Kale

         If all I had to do was memorize a couple lines of text in order to get EC, I would have done so quite happily. Just about everything else I’ve ever memorized I’d forgotten within a couple weeks anyway, so what’s the difference? ;)

        • Onamission5

          I was a fundamentalist christian at the time and even I knew it was wrong to deny EC to students unless they memorized religious material.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/OBWIMQHAFENW6VPMJKIC7SHPKY Malz S

        Oooh, someone should’ve taken down the verse at the beginning of the week and put up something just as inspirational, but from someone more secular. It would be interesting to see, assuming the teacher never noticed, what she would do when students copied down a different quote for EC.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Or, post a less inspirational bible quote.  You know, just about anything from Leviticus e.g.

  • jose

    It’s funny how oblivious this teacher is. There have been a few of these already, proud people merrily announcing the ways in which they’re breaking the law, thinking they’re being perfectly righteous.

  • LesterBallard

    Nail their asses, especially that asshole teacher.

  • Onamission5

    What’s that saying I constantly heard growing up? Oh yeah.

    Pride goeth before the fall.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Wow. That teacher was a Fucking idiot. 

  • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

    I would love to have a student come to me and ask me to sponsor an SSA chapter. I’d do it in a heartbeat, even despite the fact that I’m not out to my students. That would frankly be enough.

    P.S. JT, you are awesome. Keep up your amazing work with these great high school students.

  • grindstone

    Nathan, Sheep….you’ve just wandered into the nicest comment gallery on the atheist web, and these people are being lovely to you even as you trot out your 3rd year-homeschooled-denial tropes.  Do yourself a favor and do some basic research on things before you comment, and learn from people other than Beck, Ham and Comfort.  Here’s hint #1:  not all xtians believe in creationism.  Most liberal xtians know it’s a myth.  Hint #2:  the law applies to everyone, not just white male Christians.

    Then do yourself another favor and don’t go clod-hopping into some of the less pleasant dens of web-atheism, or your ass will be handed to you, in spades.

    • Fundied

      This.

      Nathan, Sheep, etc., please play devil’s advocate (a fun pun) and do some research.  Think about the arguments being presented before you, instead of immediately stating illogical, uninformed, and misunderstood “points.”

      To your relief and my chagrin, you may even come away from such an exercise believing exactly what you do now.  This is always a possibility.  The same possibility that causes so many unnecessary problems in our society.  To quote an annoying comedian: “You can’t fix stupid.”  Chances are you aren’t, so please don’t be the outlier.

      • Nathan

        I do plan to “do my research” as I do everyday. I appreciate the feed back from opposing viewpoints even if some of it is out of hate for people with my beliefs. I know most of you are probably very good people and not as hateful as some come across. I am far from educated as far as I will be in years to come. I am not as stubborn as most Christians and I intend to learn everything I possibly can before my time is up. Not to disprove to bible but to be able to have a more informed arguement. I do appoligize for not being older and wiser in my religion making it almost impossible to have a strong arguement for my lack of knowledge. I will consider many of your views, just know if you want people to consider your arguements, being hateful is not going to get your point across.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          I don’t think being blunt is the same as being hateful.
          I would highly recommend that you do some unbiased research. I used to go out looking for more information that would prove my side right. But it turns out that’s not at all an honest way to go about it. If you’re so confident that you are right, learning arguments from the other side wouldn’t hurt. In fact, it would help you because you would at least know what types of arguments we tend to make.

          • Nathan

            That is exactly why I find myself coming back to these forums even if I get nothing but ridicule and bluntness as you put it. I need to know these arguements in order to learn I agree. I am FAR from where I would like to be in my religion. You may think I have lived a life of Christianity and had it brainwashed into me but the truth is I’m fairly new to Christianity. As you might be able to tell from my lack of knowledge from scripture, as most I know is what I have had preached to me. I am learning everyday and I intend to continue to look at it from multiple perspectives.

            • Glasofruix

              He’s not saying “go and learn more about your religion”, but “go and learn something about the real world”, big difference.

              • Nathan

                As I stated, “I will continue to look at it from multiple perspectives”. If I were to look at it strictly from the perspective of the “real world” I would be no better informed then I am now except from the opposing view point. Do you understand? I need to learn as much about religion as I do about scientific theory in order to fully understand and be able to debate an argument effectively. If I were only knowledgable on one side what argument could I possibly make? I realize that I do not have the knowledge to effectively get my points across to many non believers and believers alike, which is why I have decided to further my education in both religion and science and the history involved in both. I suggest many of you to do the same if you haven’t already.

                • Glasofruix

                  So what you’re saying is that you need to “further your knowledge” in order to preach better? I’m sorry, but there’s no religious argument strong or realistic enough to make us to switch to the “believing” side.

                • Nathan

                  I’m not trying to convert anyone. If I happen to do so while I am here so be it, but that is not my intentions. I know most of you have probably come from religious backgrounds and you have already made up your mind, I’m just saying don’t close the door completely. I will always have a tiny bit of skepticism I’m afraid even if I won’t admit it all the time. I can’t lie to myself. I’m sure even some, not all but some have thoughts from time to time like, maybe I’m wrong and their is a God? Maybe, just maybe this world was perfectly designed to inhabit life. Perfectly placed just close enough to the sun that we don’t freeze to death, and far enough away we don’t burn. I don’t think it is coincidence that we live on the only planet in our solar system, possibly the galaxy and universe, that is inhabitable. I just can’t believe that by chance, life happened. Seems less likely to me then a creator. Which is largely why I need more education.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I don’t think it is coincidence that we live on the only planet in our solar system, possibly the galaxy and universe, that is inhabitable.

                  Well, no, of course not.  If some other planet is not inhabitable by this kind of life, it would not have evolved there.  And if there is a creator, and it had created this kind of life on one of those planets, it would be dead immediately.  So the fact that we live on a planet we can live on isn’t very surprising.  That we live at all is more the amazing part.

                • Nathan

                  Life is truly amazing I agree. Where did it come from? Do we have evidence of the origin of life itself? Other then a creator I just cannot begin to comprehend. Did life just form out of nowhere? If so, why would a creator of the universe be so difficult to believe as he is eternal, meaning no beginning or end. Both sound kind of far fetched but one must be true. I have my doubts about life just happening all by itself, as I find it hard to believe a supreme being has always existed, but one is true and one is not. Read this and let me know what you think. http://www.creationism.org/batman/index.htm

                • Glasofruix

                  I think it’s bullshit, high quality bullshit at that, i’d say military grade…

                • Glasofruix

                  You totally missed the part about preaching…
                  Now, imagine the size of our solar system, compared to the size of the universe it’s smaller than a water molecule in the ocean, which means that our planet is less than insignificant. So to think than an omnipotent being created that insignificant particle so that in his infinite love he would torture us so we, insignificantly small organisms, might one day live by his side is a tad arrogant. Your indoctrination limits your comprehension of the beauty of the universe.

                  Oh and by the way, we have evidence about how our planet was “created” and there’s no magic skyfairy in there.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Nathan, I applaud your quest for knowledge.  Like Glasofruix, I wish it were for knowledge’s sake, but it’s a start.

                  Keep in mind there are two ways to learn.  You can learn something you didn’t know, or you can correct something you thought you knew.

                  Discovering where one is wrong is a sure step on the path to wisdom.  Be distrustful of things that by their nature, cannot be tested to determine if they are right or wrong.

        • Heidi

           Wow, I wish you had started out like this. I feel like we all got off on the wrong foot with you. Nathan, nobody here hates you or people with your beliefs. You’re just getting responses born of frustration with the same basic arguments we hear all the time.

          For future reference, it would be helpful, and you would get a much better response if you asked questions, rather than stated classic arguments as facts. For example ask things like, “but if as you say, evolution is a fact, can someone explain why it is called a theory?” Someone (probably a bunch of someones) will be happy to explain it, and you won’t come across as combative.

          And on that subject, Jerry Coyne is a great go-to guy for information about evolution. You should read his book “Why Evolution Is True.” You can also go to his site and read the forums there. http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/

          Good luck, Nathan.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          (moving out since the thread is narrow)

          You asked “Read this and let me know what you think. http://www.creationism.org/batman/index.htm”

          If you want specific answers to his arguments, it can all be found at http://www.talkorigins.org

          Two general reactions I have:

          1) he’s mostly talking about abiogenesis, which anyone will concede we don’t have strong theories for.  He’s getting into evolution a bit with his argument that errors in copying DNA are almost always destructive.  What I would say is that the evidence that we are all related is overwhelming.   Chimps are more closely related to us than to gorillas.  And we are related very distantly to sea slugs.  One can see it clearly with molecular genetics, just as one can clearly see the moons of Jupiter and see that not everything in the universe revolves directly around the earth.  Whatever we don’t know, we do know that we descended from a common ancestor.  Maybe something intelligent made that common ancestor, but on the other hand we could be clones in a Matrix too.

          2) you are general arguing ‘God of the gaps’.  “I can’t imagine what it could be, so it must be God”.  And sure, maybe it is God.  But there’s a danger in presuming that it’s God, and that’s that we stop looking for answers.  And history is full of examples of things we thought were God, that we have since found natural explanations for.  My own take is that if God did something, and wants us to know, he’ll tell us in a clear enough fashion.  I know, people argue that would violate free will, and God can only give us hints.  Well, while God is giving us hints, I want to keep looking for other possibilities.

          If you’ve got 15 min, I highly recommend http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMXHKixqOM8

          or if you’ve got 35 min, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1te01rfEF0g is the same subject, but more examples.

  • Mandimple

    THANK YOU

  • Nerdvicious

    As an educator, I’m horrified by this school and its teacher’s reaction.  As long as a school club is for the support and education of its participants and is not a club intended to exclude or promote hate, there is no reason I can fathom that the student’s requesting the club’s formation should be denied.  This is an appalling case of religious discrimination (even though it could be argued that Atheism is more the absence of religion, it is still what could be considered as a preference).

    Hope that the school allows the SSA next year without the involvement of lawyers, but if it goes that far… well, it may make for a good precedent so this sort of mess can be avoided in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Jay/500845057 Jason Jay

    nm

  • Brad Rissmiller

    Well, Allah is the same deity as Yahweh, AKA the Christian “God.”

  • Brad Rissmiller

    A majority? You don’t understand what a majority is. 2.2 billion is not a majority of 7 billion, unless you are ignoring the rest of the world, as so many ignorant fools do. 

    Yes, a sizable chuck of humanity believes in some form of Christianity. Christianity isn’t banned in the USA because the constitution and its amendments unambiguously prohibit it. Many groups of early immigrants to the US were fleeing from religious persecution. Some, like the Quakers and Moravians, actually did good in their areas like actually believing ALL humans were equal, seen in Bethlehem, PA’s cemetery known as God’s Acre; the first fully integrated cemetery in the Colonies, burying Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans next to each other. Most other groups either kept the religious status quo or decided to start persecuting in the Colonies/States.  

    Also, even for the present US, only 4/10 of the population believe in strict creationism, AKA Adam and Eve happened literally, or close to literally as stated in the Bible. 
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/145286/four-americans-believe-strict-creationism.aspx

  • Brad Rissmiller

      ἀ (non, not having, absence of) + θεός (god/gods) =
    ἄθεος (god[s]less). A little bit of Greek goes a long way. You can read it as “without belief” if that simplifies it.

  • Blaze8904

    I’m extremely proud of this student. At my high school we were extremely lucky, and managed to actually find a willing sponsor for our SSA group there. We’ve still had some issues, but we managed to form a legitimate club despite faculty trying to stop us.  

  • Brad Rissmiller

    Oh boy, The Blaze. Such a reputable publication/blog/shithole.

    Btw, that case was dismissed after the principal conceded. The legal system worked, as there was already precedence set for this issue. There are far more atheism/skeptics clubs being denied existence than Christian clubs.

  • GoogGuyCraiggers

    When I was in elementary and high school, I just observed the “believers’” behavior, including my parents, etc, and I grew to despise the pettiness of all of it.  I was raised in a Catholic atmosphere, but I never once thought any of the dogma was reality.  I guess I was just lucky to see the light so early in life; or rather not see the light.  I went to a Catholic high school and didn’t really give a shit about the religion unless it interfered with me personally, which was mostly about sleeping on Sunday and  getting confirmed at the age of 15.  I have plenty of friends my age that are like fuck that shit, religion is for the mentally handicapped.  I think that there are a lot of intelligent, well-meaning people who use it for good and plenty of others who use it for their own gain and to society’s peril.  It’s just a shame that we all have to deal with this nonsense in politics.  I thought solving big problems was the domain of serious and learned adults, not the urine-soaked playpen of the children and child-like.

  • Nathan

    I would like to appoligize for “not doing my research” and “not being educated”. I stated my opinion that is all. I do want my children growing up to know God, but I also want them have the opprotunity to learn about evolution as well. Is it impossible to believe that creation and evolution could both be true? I am truly sorry if I have offended anyone that is never my intentions. Sometimes I let my emotions take over as I’m sure some of you have the same issue.

    • Piet

      I would like to appoligize for “not doing my research” and “not being educated”. I stated my opinion that is all..I am truly sorry if I have offended anyone that is never my intentions.

      I don’t think you’ve have offended anyone here much. I think some fierce reactions are because we are very tired of reading the same non-arguments over and over again, and that many things you said were stated as facts, not opinions.

      I do want my children growing up to know God, but I also want them have the opprotunity to learn about evolution as well.

      I hope your children will grow up with the freedom to choose their own religion or no religion at all. And I hope you will keep the courage to realy think about the reactions you got here.

      Is it impossible to believe that creation and evolution could both be true?

      Obviously you can believe that creationism and evolution could both be true. You can even believe that the earth is flat and round at the same time. I won’t thinkt it is very logical, but that is just my opinion.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/47IDX2QAR6VU6ZAILFU6I23ACQ Joseph

       Nathan,

      After reading your previous posts on this thread, I was ready to write you off as somebody who had been brainwashed beyond hope (your comments such “evolution is just a theory,” “atheism is a belief,” “where is your evidence disproving God?” are such trite retorts, which skeptics tire of hearing ad nauseum from believers).  However, this and your previous post are hopeful indications that you actually *do* wish to learn more. 

      I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of atheists on this website (probably more than 80%) were raised in some kind of religion, including me (Roman Catholic until I was in high school).  We have probably all, at one time or another, thought or expressed the same opinions as you have here in this forum.  I was fortunate not to have oppressively religious parents; so I did not have to experience the same serious social and psychological distress that many other non-believers do when they finally come out of the religious closet.  My experience was a gradual realization that all of the things I read in the Bible, was being taught in catechism, and hearing my religious friends talking about were no different (or more important to me) than the stories in The Illiad, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, or Mother Goose.  It was a relatively easy process to come to that awareness, but there was still residual guilt that was instilled in me for several years afterwards (the Catholic Church is particularly good at cultivating guilt).

      Please do not mistake an atheist’s interest in you questioning your faith as being equivalent to a Christian proselytizing for converts.  In the former instance, the goal is to abandon a narrow, limited worldview and open one’s mind up to the infinite possibilities that are out there for us to contemplate; in the latter, it’s about dismissing vast amounts of inconvenient knowledge in order to narrow one’s focus on that one particular, limited worldview.   We’re not a club or a church; there’s no doctrine or pledge you have to take.  Most of us have been where you are now at one time, and we realize how liberating it is to unburden oneself from all of religious dogma that one has been conditioned to believe for so many years.  It’s especially difficult when it’s all tied up with family and community relations — but it’s well worth living an evidence-based life, where contemplating the answer to an unknowable question is far more interesting and fulfilling than simply thinking “God did it”; and where dealing with life’s ups and downs and taking responsibility for your life are far more rewarding than attributing things to “miracles” or “God’s will.”

      I wish you luck in this journey.

    • Stev84

      What people were annoyed at were some of your cliched, predictable arguments. We’ve heard them a million times and they just come off as stupid. But no one was offended at them or you.

      As for creationism, it depends on how far you want to take it. The kind promoted by fundamentalists – that god created all species individually and in detail – is incompatible with evolution. But saying something like god created the universe and then let chance and evolution take course isn’t necessarily.

  • http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com/ Jonny Scaramanga

    This is just so awesome. I wish I could have seen the look on the principal’s and teacher’s faces when the received the letter from the SSA.

  • Kathleen Pearlman

    Unfortunately, the option the school might give would be to eliminate all after-school clubs and/or programs. Then backlash would be worse for the atheist group for “making them get rid of our favorite group”. Just saying…

  • Nathan

    Please keep an open mind when reading this article on evolution as I have, http://www.creationism.org/caesar/microevol1.htm

    And this one on how life “just happened”, http://www.creationism.org/batman/index.htm

    I do realize it is from a creationist website but they do provide you with validated references. Tell me what you think.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      “Darwinists argue that, given enough time, with the wasps constantly attacking them, the flies would eventually evolve into a new, superior species.”

      No, an evolutionary biologist would not argue that.  They would argue that the flies might (but not necessarily) evolve defense mechanisms.  And that mechanism might be a birth rate high enough to withstand the negative pressure of the parasite.

      And a parasite is simply one evolutionary pressure.  If a new species evolves, it will almost certainly not be due to a single pressure alone.  And nobody says a species must evolve.  Some have remained remarkably similar for hundreds of millions of years.  Dragonflies and horseshoe crabs for example.  If an organism is well suited to its environment, there’s no need for it to change.  Evolution doesn’t have a goal in mind other than adapting to a changing environment.

      Something you’ll notice in general about ID/Creationism is that it doesn’t present any actual theories of its own, other than “something intelligent” (unless they’re the Answers in Genesis type and propose a literal interpretation of Genesis 1:1)   If you watch the Nova episode on the Dover case, this comes out at the end quite clearly http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/intelligent-design-trial.html When pressed, the ID side didn’t have any explanations for how anything happened.  They only had reasons (all refuted) as to why it wasn’t evolution.  ID itself isn’t a theory, but rather an anti-theory.

      (edit to add: or the flies might go extinct. Some evolutionary branches are dead ends. Although in that case, the parasite would either evolve to attack something else, or it would go extinct as well)

      • Nathan

        While I will consider your take on it, it seems that it has a very valid point. Like I said I am very young in my religion and in order to fully understand I must look at it in multiple perspectives. I have to say though it seems as though evolutionist have has many questions themselves as young earth creationists.

        • Piet

          I have to say though it seems as though evolutionist have has many questions themselves as young earth creationists.

          If you keep looking in the right places, you’ll find that the answers supporting evolution are backed up by actual evidence.

        • Glasofruix

          The main difference is that evolutionnists find answers backed up by solid evidence and creationnists just keep going in circles.

          • Nathan

            Evolution seems plausible, however what I do not understand is if we evolved from apes, why do we still have them? Why have only some of us evolved into humans and some are still apes. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. I realize that according to evolutionists, species adapt to their environment to be better equipped for survival. I don’t understand why apes adapted, weren’t they already well equipped to survive as they have for thousands of years. If evolution is true shouldnt every living creature eventually evolve into humans? It seems so far fetched.

            • Glasofruix

              Oh come on, not the “why are there still monkeys” shite…. And you expect us to not treat your like a complete idiot after that? Please, go read some other sources than your usual biaised creationnist horsecrap.

              FYI, we did NOT evolve from apes, we share a common ancestor. At some point our species split, some of them became humans other became chimps and whatnot. Evolution does not have a goal, whatever small alterations give an advantage are kept, multiply that by billions of years and alterations and you get an entirely different species from the original. After all we are started as bacteria.

              • Nathan

                This is why I find it hard to reason with people like you. You think I’m fishing, but I’m actually speculating. I’m not trying to tell you you’re wrong, I’m just doubting your beliefs, as I sometime doubt many things in life. You do not have to get all defensive about it. You can assume if evolution is true that we must have evolved from a single celled organism. There is always that doubt because of organisms that still exist. Do you understand? Why have some organisms evolved into fully matured homosapiens while others have not evolved at all? It just puts up red flags all over the place, FOR ME. You understand, this is not an attack on evolutionist. This is an issue of my doubt for evolution. I intend to study more in the topic but don’t just assume I’m trying to hit a nerve to stir the pot. You are the wry reason many creationist refuse to even try to understand half of your “facts”.

                • Glasofruix

                  Many of your questions are the usual fishing questions creationnists use, you just seem like you’re reading directly from the book, and that raises many red flags around here.

                  “I’m not trying to tell you you’re wrong, I’m just doubting your beliefs”

                  Beliefs are things you assume without evidence. Evolution is based on solid evidence and therefore is NOT a belief. You’re just putting everything in a religious perspective, which is not the right ting to do.

                  “we must have evolved from a single celled organism.”

                  We did, there’s proof and evidence about that.

                  “There is always that doubt because of organisms that still exist. Do
                  you understand? Why have some organisms evolved into fully matured
                  homosapiens while others have not evolved at all?”

                  Evolution depends on many factors, many of which we don’t fully understand yet, but we’re advancing fast, i’m not an expert on the subject (many books exist, just try the one written by Darwin himself for starters), but i can say that if bacteria din’t exist you’d be dead, ecosystems balance themselves quite nicely, and before you say something, that’s not the proof of the divine.

                  “I intend to study more in the topic but don’t just assume I’m trying to hit a nerve to stir the pot”

                  Then try some sources that don’t have “cratinnism friendly” stamped all over them.

                  “You are the wry reason many creationist refuse to even try to understand half of your “facts”. ”

                  our facts are based on evidence, evidence that creationnists are blind to not because they get their ass handed to them every time they try to “debate” on the subject, but because they’re mostly ignorant people who refuse to see beyond what their religious leaders allow them to think. That or they have an agenda to spread ignorance, which is abject.

                • Nathan

                  This is obviously a futile conversation as you are completely biased in your views. I am open to discussion, you however only consider the “facts” you claim to have. I see a lot of factual evidence supporting evolution, but with the unknown factors or “gaps” in it all, how can you claim it as a fact? A fact is complete certainty, no questions unanswered. This is why you should be open to debate. I realize you are not an expert on the subject as I hear the same argument from evolutionists every time I even remotely question their “facts”.

                • Piet Puk

                  Please tell us what facts, you are questioning.

                • Nathan

                  For starters, where is the proof for the origin of life? I realize that the elements for life must have existed prior to exsistance of life. What I question is how? You can have all the materials you need to build something and the blueprint to do it but if you do not have someone or something to put it all together it will never be built. I read that from one of the posts I posted earlier and it makes sense to me, and anyone with common sense. When they recreate life essentially from nothing, let me know.

                • Piet

                  Moving up discussiopn.

                • Piet

                   

                  I intend to study more in the topic but don’t just assume I’m trying to hit a nerve to stir the pot.

                  Than do so, buy the book “Why Evolution is True”, by Jerry Coyne as suggested by others, and start to study this.
                  Reading your remarks I can only conclude that, uptill now, your only studying has been at creationist websites. I think you have allready made up your mind, but I hope you can cincerely keep it open, and learn to see the difference between facts and fiction.

                • Glasofruix

                  Going up because of lack of space.

                  “This is obviously a futile conversation as you are completely biased in your views.”

                  Just because i don’t blindly believe in the nonexistent and ask for proof does not mean i’m biaised. The creation story is nothing more than a myth perpetrated by ignorant people. Not to mention that YOUR story is not the only one there, which does not add credibilty to it.

                  “you however only consider the “facts” you claim to have.”

                  I consider verified and verifiable facts backed up by evidence, i don’t “claim” to have them they are freely available for you to examine. There’s is no evidence of the bearded magic guy in the sky, so excuse me if i don’t feel compelled to believe in his existence.

                  “but with the unknown factors or “gaps” in it all, how can you claim it as a fact?”

                  Those gaps are being closed while creationnists try to slither into them, just a little unknown does not disprove evolution as a whole. Again, go and read about what a scientific theory is and how it can be proven or disproven.

                  “This is why you should be open to debate.”

                  Not. On one side we have science and on the other we have magic, there’s no debate possible here.

                  “I realize you are not an expert on the subject as I hear the same
                  argument from evolutionists every time I even remotely question their
                  “facts”. ”

                  Welcome to the club, we have a shitload of creationnists who come here to claim that god did it with the same (lack of) arguments as you do, again, again and again. We’re not going to change our responses just for your eyes. If i see a cat and it meows it’s still a cat, whatever your skyfairy tells you to think it is.

              • Nathan

                FYI, everything I read on the topic will be biased in one way or the other. I have read my post and evolutionists post as well. Where are the neutral studies on the subject? Both sides have done extensive research but both have the unknown factors. Do you understand this?

                • Glasofruix

                  “Where are the neutral studies on the subject?”

                  Come again? One side have loads of proof that 2+2 = 4, the other side says that gawd told them that 2+2 = 5. Where’s the neutral study on that? It’s stupid and you know it.

                  “Both sides have done extensive research”

                  One side done research and got results, the other bases its claim on a 2k+ years old mythology without material evidence, big, big difference.

                  “both have the unknown factors.”

                  We can’t possibly know everything as of right now. The thing is, that scientists assume that, they’re not affraid of saying “we don’t know yet”, while creationnists claim to know everything.

                • Piet

                  Nathan,
                  All scientific recearch is neutral. Scientists set out ot proof their own theories wrong.

                  When you talk about ‘both’ sides you are not looking at the perspective of the creation stories of the Babylonians, the Navajos, the Norse, the Mayas, the Maoris etc. etc.

                  All creation myths, including the christian one, have nothing but unknown factors.

                  Evolution however is backed up with facts. Do you nderstand that?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  There is no middle ground between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.  You’re not going to find a ‘neutral study’ on geocentrism either.

                  Both sides have unknown factors?  On the contrary, I’d ask you to point out a single known factor of creationism/ID.

            • Piet

               If man came from dirt, why is there still dirt?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              *facepalm*

              I already answered that, which means you’re not paying attention.  ok, I’m going to fight fire with fire.

              If we are designed, then how come we have tail bones and an appendix.  Why do men have nipples?  How come the universe is so vast, and yet we live on an obscure very remote corner of a corner?  How come marsupials only exist in Australia (except for opossums).  How come there are marsupial fossils in south america?  How come remote volcanic islands only have small plants and coconuts?  How can we have ring species?  How come whales have hip bones?  How come apes carry many of the exact same endogenous  retrovirus markers that we do.  How come chimps and humans have more endogenous retrovirus markers in common than other apes?  How come our chromosome #2 has two telomeres in the center, and two sets of centromeres?  How come we don’t have wings, can’t breath under water, can’t see as well as an eagle, and can’t change color at will?

              • Stev84

                 Three words: recurrent laryngeal nerve

                Also the blind spot in the eye, caused by the optical nerve passing through the retina. Cephalopod eyes have that fixed by placing the nerves behind the retina

                • DragonBlood87

                   This is why I love reading debates with creationists: I always learn something new (though invariably from my fellow evolutionists). I’d never known about chromosome #2 being a likely merger of two separate chromosomes, or the odd pathway that the recurrent laryngeal nerve takes, before reading this discussion. :)

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  In case you haven’t found them:
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0TunodLjRs (he's talking about he Dover trial.  He also happens to be a theist, not that that’s important)

                  and

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh7OclPDN_s 

                • Stev84

                  Here is a video of Richard Dawkins demonstrating it with the dissection of a giraffe:

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1a1Ek-HD0

            • Deven Kale

               A similar question to this would be, “If Americans came from England, why is there still an England?” It may seem like an absurd question, but it truly is equivalent to the evolution one.

              In order to understand why, you have to look at it in the right perspective. There are plenty of reasons why a group of one creature would separate from a large group. Lack of food, lack of water, banishment (it does happen with some primates), natural disasters, etc. Where they end up may make them somewhat unfit for their environment, but still tolerably so. Over many generations their young will change to adapt to their new surroundings, and will no longer be able to mate with the original group. That’s all that makes them a new species.

              These types of things happen all the time, one group breaking away from another and evolving into something new in their new environment. There’s no reason to think that everything would evolve into humans because humans aren’t even the most successful species on the planet. There are more of any one species of ant than there are humans, so why didn’t we all evolve into ants? After all, they’re much more successful than we are.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson


      macroevolution from a lower species into a higher one is sheer speculation, and is disproven by Kraaijveld, who demonstrated conclusively that small adaptations are STRICTLY limited to less-than-complete improvements within a life-form.”

      There is no such thing as ‘micro’ or ‘macro’ evolution.  Those are terms that ID came up with since it couldn’t very well deny that evolution exists while we have selective breeding.  What they call ‘macro evolution’ is simply a bunch of ‘micro evolutions’ put together.  Any two subsequent generations are the same species.  But if you compare two from enough generations apart, which have evolved enough, taxonomists name them as different species.

    • Glasofruix

      “Please keep an open mind”

      It’s kind of difficult when the sole purpose of those articles is to close people’s minds to reality…. I’m sorry but if it looks like bullshit, smells like bullshit and sounds like bullshit it IS bullshit. The purpose of ID is not to explain life, it’s to disprove evolution with a basic premise is that if we don’t understand something god must’ve done it and we shall stop looking any further. Just because we have some gaps in our knowledge does not invalidate it.

  • Piet

    Nathan said:

    For starters, where is the proof for the origin of life? I realize that the elements for life must have existed prior to exsistance of life. What I question is how? You can have all the materials you need to build something and the blueprint to do it but if you do not have someone or something to put it all together it will never be built. I read that from one of the posts I posted earlier and it makes sense to me, and anyone with common sense. When they recreate life essentially from nothing, let me know.

    Ah, you are mistaking abiogenesis for evolution again. It has allready been explained to you how these are different.
    Let’s try again, what facts about evolution are you questioning?

    • Nathan

      I’m sorry explain it again. I am truly trying to understand. How is evolution not directly related to abiogenesis? Is it not the beginning of evolution? This is what I question. I could care less what they want to twist around to avoid the question, I want to know how it happened. If evolution is true, life evolved from nothing I don’t care what you want to call it. This is my observation and many skeptics of evolution I believe.

      • Nathan

        I will read the book that was suggested to me, and I will evaluate it to the best if my ability. I just doubt it will ever change my view on evolution. I will keep an open mind as I love to learn. I wish I had realized this as a young child.

        • Piet

          I just doubt it will ever change my view on evolution. I will keep an open mind as I love to learn.

          You will learn what evolution actually is.
          It is indeed ‘ the greatest show on earth’.

      • Piet

        So you do not question the theory of evolution, have I understood that correctly?
        Evolution is indeed related to abiogenesis. But the theory of evolution does not try to explain how life started.
        We do not know how life began. If you really want to know, go study biology.
        If you ‘want to look at all perspectives’, go study ancient and modern religions. They all have their creation myths, just like christianity.

        • Nathan

          I do believe that species adapt to their environment to better fit its surroundigs as it has been proven. However, I do not believe that entire new superior species can evolve from an inferior one. As we have never witnessed that miracle in evolution to my knowledge. Am I correct in that statement?

          • Piet Puk

            1. If you don’t believe anything you have not wittnessed yourself, than creationism is out of the question as well.
            2. What do you call ´superior species´. Are we superior to sharks? Are eagles superior to elephants?

          • Stev84

            If you define species by two groups that won’t interbreed anymore, you can crate new fruitfly species in the lab in just a few generations by feeding them different food.

            Also, evolution doesn’t make value judgments like “superior” and “inferior”. A species is only better adapted to its specific environment and biological niche. That doesn’t make it objectively better overall.

            • Nathan

              I ask you to read the article I posted earlier in this conversation. Here is the link again http://www.creationism.org/caesar/microevol1.htm
              It will explain why that statement is not true.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                No, it doesn’t.  You’re not paying attention to what Stev84 said.

                The accepted definition of ‘species’ is two groups that cannot interbreed.  From that perspective, we HAVE observed new species evolve repeatedly.

                What you want to do is create a new definition of ‘species’ to be ‘higher life form’.  And there’s no definition of higher life form, other than it seems to keep coming back to ‘human’.  Different kinds of life aren’t ‘superior’, they’re just different.  Are humans superior to bacteria?  Bacteria would seem to have a better chance at long term survival.  (ok, I played a trick, there are lots of different kinds of bacteria, some may not survive).

                That said, we do have proof of what you call macro evolution.  DNA mutates at a fairly regular rate.  By measuring the difference between any two forms of life, we can calculate by how many generations they diverge.  We can do this for two house cats, a house cat and a lion, or a lion and a wolf.  Or a mouse and a bat.  And when we map these all out, they all fit.  We can conceive of something not fitting into the puzzle, but it hasn’t happened.

                • Nathan

                  By higher life form I mean being able to think critically, intelligent life essentially. Yes we a far superior to any other life form in that respect. I do not know half of what I need to know in order to validate my argument but you still haven’t provided me with anything that makes me believe we actually evolved from the same ancestry as apes. I will continue to study and learn and I sincerely appreciate the feedback I have received. Most of which was very helpful, thank you all.

                • Piet Puk

                   You will understand after you’ve learned what evolusion is and how it works.
                  Good luck!

                • Ktowers59

                  “I do not know half of what I need to know in order to validate my argument . . .”

                  As someone else hinted, a seeker of truth does not seek only knowledge that validates what they already think.  You need to seek the truth, whatever it turns out to be; i.e., what is in evidence.

                  “. . . but you still haven’t provided me with anything that makes me believe we actually evolved from the same ancestry as apes.”

                  YES, they did!  You just didn’t understand it, failed to process it, or turned a blind eye to it.  Just one of them:

                  We CLEARLY have a chromosome #2 that is the product of the joining of two chromosomes from our common ancestor that remain separate in chimpanzees.

                  Think before you type.

                • Stev84

                  Also, technically we are apes. According to taxonomy we belong to the
                  Hominidae family (great apes), together with chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. It’s just that the further back in the taxonomy tree you go, the more divergent the different apes are. For example orangutans are less related to us than gorillas, which are in turn less related to us than chimpanzees.

              • Stev84

                Stop reading creationist websites. Everything written there is a lie

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Sure, you’re correct.  We haven’t directly seen something that takes 10s of millions of years.  Big surprise.  You know what else we haven’t seen?  Protons and neutrons and electrons.

            What we do see is clear evidence of all of those things.  You don’t need to actually see a murder in order to gather enough evidence to convict.  And that we evolve from a common ancestor is far beyond the standard set in a court of law.

            If I seem closed minded, keep in mind that a) I’ve heard all this before.  You haven’t presented a single thing that is new to me.  and b) I didn’t come here to debate creationism.  I’m happy to answer some misconceptions, but I’m as interested in creationism as I am in a flat earth, or geocentrism, or the moon hoax.  If anyone ever comes up with an explanation for something, even if it includes God, I’ll be interested.  But for all your questions about how life began, creationism doesn’t answer them either.  God did it?  What exactly did he create?  Did he create ‘cat’ or did he create ‘large cat’ and ‘small cat’?  Is my Ginger distantly related to a Lion, or did God create them separately?  Did God do it 6K years ago, and if so why all the evidence for a 14billion year old universe?  Or was it not God but aliens?  Or is God a giant turtle?

            The things that remain questions aren’t explained by creationism either.

          • Glasofruix

            Evolution happens over billions of years, that’s enough time for a paramecia to turn ito a creationnist.

      • Glasofruix

         Evolution DOES NOT explain the origins of life, it’s still a mystery as of right now. That does not mean that it’s some magical thingy made by a magical creature, it only means that we need a bit more time to get the answers right.

      • Joseph

        As for the argument that humans are a “superior” species, consider the following quote from the late Stephen Jay Gould:

        “Look in the mirror, and don’t be tempted to equate
        transient domination with either intrinsic superiority or prospects for
        extended survival.”

        A tough pill for religious folks to swallow (after all, being created “in God’s image” should make us the center of the universe, right?); but in the words of Vince Masuka:

        “That’s not opinion, that’s science. And science is one cold-hearted bitch with a 14-inch strap-on.”

      • Deven Kale

         I can’t believe I didn’t notice that this question was never actually answered, it’s such an easy one.

        Many things point to all species (plant and animal) descending from a single ancestor. Reversing evolution is one of them: multiple species combining over time until eventually only one remains. Another is DNA itself: the simple fact that every creature uses the same basic DNA system, if everything was specially created there’s no reason to think they’d all have DNA. Yet another is fetal development: the fact that nearly every creature starts development looking essentially like a fish, then amphibian, then reptile, then mammal, etc. (unless they are one of those groups, then they stop there). Those are only a few, you’ll find even more if you read “Why Evolution Is True” as has been recommended already.

        Notice none of these things predict how that single ancestor came to be. In fact, creation is still a viable option for that first creature until we can figure out how it truly did happen. Actually this is the only time, considering the evidence we have for common descent, that any sort of divine creation could ever be a reasonable explanation (if you ignore the evidence required to show there is even a divine/supernatural anything ).

        In other words, there is so much evidence for common descent that we can be highly confident that it’s true even though we don’t know how it happened yet. Abiogenesis is still largely hypothetical, but it’s the best explanation we’ve got until somebody finds proof for some other method. The burden of proof is very high, but it’s always possible that abiogenesis is wrong and divine creation of that ancestor is right.

  • Nathan

    One argument that I have ran into over the creation/evolution debate:
    If evolution is a scientific fact, which is what you are all claiming, that would mean there is absolutely nothing left to disprove correct? Which means that everything involved in evolution is a proven fact. What I don’t understand is if it is a proven fact, why dont’t we have proof of one animal giving birth to an entirely different animal? If a theory has yet to be proven is that not just an unproven hypothesis? I know you will have an argument for this, and I can’t wait to hear about it.

    • Onamission5

      Because that is not how evolution works. It’s not magic, like a giraffe giving birth to a horse. Evolution is a word used to describe incremental changes within a population over time. 

      Germ theory is also a fact, but that does not mean we know all there is to know about microbiology, or that we’re all done making progress in treatment of disease. Evolution deniers are like people who deny germ theory just because there’s some diseases we can’t cure yet. Study of evolution is a process. We know it does occur, so that really isn’t up for debate any more. Now the study of evolution is all about the intricate details.

      • Nathan

        You’re missing the point. The theory of evolution directly relies on the facts that humans and everything evolved from a single cell. Without proof of this how is it a fact? Lol you can twist it around however you wish. It doesn’t make it true. There is absolutely no “proof” of evolution just speculation. A scientific fact is like the theory of gravity. We know it is true because it answers three very important tests, possibility, probability, and certainty. Evolution does not pass this test. Is it possible, of course, is it probably, MAYBE, is it certain, NO. Understand?

        • Nathan

          Am I claiming that you’re hypothesis is incorrect? No, it may very well be true, but in no way shape or form is it a proven “fact”. I’m sorry.

          • Stev84

             And you’re an idiot. That’s a fact

            • Nathan

              I guess you will never understand. If something is not proven it is not a fact. You obviously do not know the meaning of “fact”. That’s not to say in ten, twenty, or even a hundred years it won’t be proven. Until then, it’s “speculation”.

              • Piet Puk

                Please stop making such a fool of yourself.
                Read the book by Jerry Coyne ´Why Evolution is True´, than come back.

        • Stev84

          I gave you too much credit. You’re still a fucking idiot. You fixate in one tiny detail and ignore the mountains of evidence in other areas that prove common descent beyond any doubt. Evidence from a huge number of sciences, some of which weren’t even around when Darwin came up with the idea.

          Mitochondrial DNA in an indication of cells combining very early on

        • Onamission5

          I got your point loud and clear, believe me, and decided to give you the benefit of the doubt that you actually do want to learn about evolution so that you can better understand it. Won’t be making that mistake again.  

          Do go and read the recommended books on the subject. Or don’t, but if you don’t, you will never learn.

        • Deven Kale

           You have this backwards. It’s not that evolutionary theory says that we must have evolved from a single cell, it’s that the theory of common descent supports the theory of evolution. There is evidence to support this theory (or it would be a hypothesis, ;)  ), but you have to be willing to find and understand it. Wikipedia has a pretty good article about the evidence for common descent, but if that’s not enough I’m sure you could find many other good sources elsewhere.

    • Stev84

      If you don’t want people to think that you’re brainless idiot, don’t act like one. Seriously, why are you surprised that people think you’re stupid if you make “arguments” like that?

      Evolution works with small incremental changes. Over many, many generations those add up. So you won’t see huge differences from one generation to the next.
      It’s also why evolution is very apparent in life forms with fast reproduction cycles. Like bacteria, which can produce new generations in less than half an hour.

      • Nathan

        Then my suggestion to you would be to take that bacteria and change the environment to a hostile environment and over a course of several years would be equivelant to billions of years. I could care less how you prove your hypothesis, but before it is ever going to be considered a fact it must first be proven. Until then you cannot teach children evolution as fact. If you want to teach an unproven fact, do it in private schools like Christians are forced to do. Not using tax dollars. Science is proven facts, if it’s not proven it is just as big a fairy tale as creation. Good day sir.

        • Stev84

          So we shouldn’t teach children gravity because we can’t combine the theory of relativity with quantum mechanics? It shouldn’t be taught because we have no comprehensive framework for gravity that fits with all other physical forces? There is a lot more evidence for evolution and common ancestry over a huge range of scientific fields. The evidence is staggering and won’t go away just because some mechanisms aren’t fully understood yet or because we still discover new things. Just because things get more fuzzy at the beginning doesn’t mean you can ignore the very well developed lines of descent further along the timeline.

          And there is a long term bacteria study that has been running for over 20 years and 50,000 generations:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

          In 2008, one of the populations evolved the ability to metabolize citrate (which is contained in the growth medium). Something that wild e.coli strains can’t do. They then showed that earlier strains without the necessary mutation could re-evolve that ability, indicating that this may be dependent on an earlier mutation leading up to it

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Nathan, you have exhausted my patience.  You are being willfully ignorant.  You’re not trying to learn, or else you’d be paying attention to what people are providing.  You are not.  You are stuck with a gross misconception of evolution, and are completely ignoring several of us trying to even correct what it is you’re arguing against.

          I can’t see any evidence that you’ve read or watched anything anyone has provided.  If you’re really curious as to why overwhelmingly biologists (even theistic) say evolution is a fact, the go read “Why Evolution is True” or “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Nathan, seriously, it’s kind of frustrating to keep answering the same things over and over again.  The reason you don’t accept evolution is that you completely don’t understand it.  You think you do, but you quite obviously don’t.

      And it’s no wonder given the creationist strawmen out there.

      Here, try this one http://i.imgur.com/xWpvw.jpg  when do the words change from red to purple, or purple to blue?  Evolution is the same, except that ‘red’ might have multiple descendants.  It’s not linear.  But you don’t have red letters turning into blue letters, or dogs giving birth to cats.  That “we should see crocoducks” is a a crock.

      Related: eyes don’t just ‘appear fully formed’ as a ‘genetic mutation’.  No human is going to be born with fully formed wings, or gills, or a 2nd set of arms.

      There are details of the mechanisms of evolution that are debated by evolutionary biologists.  The basic facts, such as we all descended from a common ancestor, as as solid as germ theory to explain disease, or atomic theory to explain the elements.

      In general, your arguments are against a fantasy version of evolution from X-Men or creationist web sites.

      • Nathan

        Oh but I do completely understand. My point is, you may very well be correct. Microevolution is a proven fact, it is undeniable. Macroevolution however is not proven. We have no idea if it is true or not, as it is just speculation. Much like creation, there is entirely too much uncertainty to be considered a fact. Macroevolution is next to impossible to prove unless we are given millions of years to do so.

        • Piet Puk

          Oh but I do completely understand.

          Your questions show that you do not understand evolution at all. And your comments show that you want to believe something else.
          That´s ok, but please come back after you´ve read the book about evolution you said you´d read.

          • Nathan

            I actually am planning to order a few books from amazon in the next couple of days and it is on the list. I don’t want to come across as someone who doesn’t want to learn in fear my beliefs are wrong, I just want to know for sure I’m right before I take a gamble. I am a Christian, as of right now I believe in the word of God and most likely will always believe in his word. However, I am not going to just let what other people tell is true and just say, okay and not question things. I will carefully read and analyze the information in the book and I will return and share my thoughts.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              You might find 
              http://rachelheldevans.com/ask-an-evolutionary-creationist-response useful.  Most (non-American) Christians don’t have any issue with evolution.   They think God had a hand in it some way, but do accept common descent as fact.

              Don’t let your faith in God get in the way of observable fact.  God does, as we’re told, work in mysterious ways.

            • Joseph

               “However, I am not going to just let what other people tell is true and just say, okay and not question things.”

              You mean “other people,” like the people in your church community?  I would defer to the authority of generations of scientists over people who have been indoctrinated in a particular belief system.

              I feel like you sincerely *believe* you are trying to learn something; but it seems that what you are really trying to do is reinforce your current belief system by desperately grasping at any possible hole in our knowledge (and scientists concur that there are a LOT of them still left to fill).  However, filling those knowledge gaps with “god” is simply not an answer, any more than attributing them to fairies or wizards.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          RTFM

    • Piet Puk

       PS: There is no debate, creation is part of myths, evolution is reality.

    • Deven Kale

       You seem to be talking about Kirk Cameron & Co’s. “Crocoduck” idea. Where one animal gives birth to something which is immediately, noticeably, and demonstrably of a different species from it’s parent. That’s just a fundamental misunderstanding of what evolutionary theory actually predicts. One of the predictions of evolutionary theory is that offspring will be different than the parent, but only slightly so. Look at human children for example. They’re not exactly like either one of their parents. They’re a random combination of traits from both parents, with a few bits of random mutation thrown in. Over enough generations, the differences become more and more obvious.

      You also seem to have a slight misunderstanding of scientific terminology in that a theory never becomes a fact. I’ll explain my understanding of things and hopefully this will help. As always, somebody correct me if I’m wrong here.

      A scientific law is a collection of observations concerning something that happens, sometimes including math, especially with laws of physics. A scientific theory is a collection of validated hypotheses which have been shown to explain why and how something happens. Facts* are easily observable phenomena which can generally only be interpreted in one way, and can be included in both laws and theories.

      Consider gravity: you drop a ball, it’s going to fall until it hit’s something below it, that’s a fact. The law of gravity states the same thing in a more general way, and has a nice bit of math which states what’s happening in a highly specific way. The theory of gravity goes way over my head and says something about gravitons and the fabric of space/time and a bunch of other stuff explaining why gravity happens.

      The same is true with evolution. Things evolve from one generation to the next, that’s the main fact we “evolutionists” (I hate that term) speak of. If there’s a law of evolution (Im sure there is, I’ve just never seen it so it’s more of a guess), it basically says the same thing. The theory of evolution is highly complex, and explains quite well how and why evolution happens. It includes selection methods like natural and sexual selection; genetic things such as genetic drift, insertion, deletion, duplication, and mutation. It’s one of our most widely supported theories, but it only makes sense if you understand what it’s really saying: small changes from one generation to the next leading to larger charges over time. In fact, the difference between what you call micro- and macro-evolution is only time. It’s the difference between one generation and one hundred.

      *BTW, where did you get your “possibility, probability, and certainty” test from? It’s a bit silly in that all three of those terms are just different degrees of probability. It reminds me a bit of ShockofGods “proof and evidence that atheism is accurate and correct” question, which has multiple redundancies as well.

      • Stev84

        “Fact” has two meanings in science. The most common one is as you said simply an observation. The other is a theory so widely accepted that it’s validity is a given. Something that no longer needs to be tested because there is so much evidence already. That doesn’t mean that there might not still be new evidence and new details to be discovered.

        And yeah, nothing in the natural science is absolutely certain. It’s all on a sliding scale of probability. Absolute proof is a mathematical concept made possible by its strict formalism. In the natural sciences, something is proven when an explanation is so good that nothing else could reasonably explain the facts at hand.

    • Glasofruix

       “why dont’t we have proof of one animal giving birth to an entirely different animal?”

      Really? Fucking really? This question is the exact copy of one of the fishing questions creationnists use. You don’t want to learn, you want to find something that goes with your indoctrinated preconceptions. You just went full retard…

  • Nathan

    I’m sure that you guys have heard of the “God partical” correct? Check this out and again keep an open mind.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/deepak-chopra/god-particle_b_1674717.html

    You guys are probably really going to give me hell for this but it is a very interesting thought.

    • Stev84

      Deepak Chopra *headdesk*

    • Deven Kale

       It’s an interesting hypothesis. If it ever gets any supporting evidence, then come back and we might take it seriously.

    • Glasofruix

       Oh come on, you can’t be serious, this guy is at best a clown. I’m an open minded person, but i know nonsense when i see it.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    way way way off the original topic, but here’s an interesting update on the history of human chromosome #2 (the fused one, which is why we have 23 and the other great apes have 24)

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/07/19/the-mystery-of-the-missing-chromosome-with-a-special-guest-appearance-from-facebook-creationists/ 

  • 1234554321

    Just would like to clarify before I get to my point I don’t hold any prejudice towards atheists or nontheists or any title you prefer. However, I believe it’s a good thing no club was formed. School is a government institution and any sort of club endorsing any beliefs doesn’t belong. I don’t care if it’s a christian, muslim, or atheist club. All of them don’t need to belong there. You can certainly have that club but it doesn’t need to be a school club. School clubs are for chess and art and what not. The teacher bragging certainly isn’t acceptable. Yes, the club or any club like it shouldn’t be formed through the school but he shouldn’t go off on it. Reading the brochure myself I think it has a good aim as it is trying to eliminate prejudice and have educators help fill that role. Great point! But they really don’t need to get into all of the details for one specific group. All the need to do is focus on is eliminating ignorance in general and teaching acceptance of everyone not just acceptance of one particular group. And for the most part that was what I saw in my high school experience and I think it worked well.

    • http://slrman.wordpress.com James Smith

      FYi, atheism is not a “belief”.  Beliefs and faith are both “accepting as true that for which there is no verifiable proof and even substantial proof against it.”

      So it is not a “religion”.  Then there are religious clubs in many schools where atheists are kept from forming  similar group for social reasons and mutual support.  

  • B_R_Deadite99

    Christians are dildo lizards. Maybe not every one of them, but at least 90%. This is how they treat everyone they consider to be a “deviant”. 


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