Sneaking God Into Science Classes: The Rise Of The ‘Academic Freedom’ Bill

Right-wing religious groups are fighting harder than ever to bring Christianity into the classroom, and in some states, they’re actually winning.

Since 2004, militant Christians in various states have pushed for legislators to pass “academic freedom” bills. According to the National Center for Science Education, these bills permit, but do not require, teachers to include Creationist material in science classes:

There are two main strains of “academic freedom” bills. The first mandates that teachers be able to discuss “the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution,” and offers students “protection for subscribing to a particular position on views regarding biological or chemical evolution.”

The second strain does not purport to be concerned with student rights, and cites the need to help students develop “critical thinking skills” on “controversial issues.” To this end, it permits teachers to discuss “the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.”

Writing in February for The Week, Dana Liebelson called the bill “Creationism in sheep’s clothing.” It’s trickier to navigate than your average Intelligent Design bill, she wrote, because it technically doesn’t mandate religious curriculum. Instead, it advocated for students to consider different “perspectives” when it came to science education.

A U.S. district court ruled in 2005 that teaching Intelligent Design in public schools is unconstitutional, but this type of bill might be a way for Christian zealots to sidestep that hurdle. And now that activists have discovered the loophole, academic freedom bills are showing up in more legislatures than ever before:

In the last few years, the number of these bills has skyrocketed, with 51 proposed since 2004, and twice as many proposed this year than in all of 2012. (Remember, it’s only February).

According to Liebelson, academic freedom bills specifically target science education, encouraging students to explore “alternative theories” to well-established scientific principles like climate change and evolution (apparently you can get away with anything if it’s in the name of creative exchange):

The secret weapon in these bills is the idea that pupils should understand the “strengths and weaknesses” of different scientific theories. Which theories? Well, as a bill proposed by four Republican state senators in Arizona makes clear, that would be “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning.” Coincidentally, these are the exact same theories that House Bill 1674 in Oklahoma, proposed by GOP state Rep. Gus Blackwell, considers controversial. His legislation even prevents teachers from flunking students who write papers debunking their textbook material. Seriously.

Thankfully, scientists don’t exactly agree with Blackwell’s proposal:

Teachers and scientists say they’re all for scientific questioning — when it’s actually about science. “Teaching about the existence of genuine scientific controversy is educationally valuable, but it must be genuine controversy, with serious scientists lining up on both sides,” says Richard Dawkins of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. “Intelligent design is not a scientific theory.”

Because an academic freedom bill can, in some ways, seem less threatening than a bill mandating religious curriculum, provisions for anything-goes science education can go virtually undetected:

The language in most of these bills is so obtuse that you might not even know if you live in one of the six states considering them (Montana, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arizona, Missouri, and Indiana).

In most states, academic freedom bills have failed — but they’re gaining momentum. In 2008 Louisiana became the first state to successfully pass one. In 2011, another passed in Tennessee. Colorado rejected an academic freedom bill in early February, while bills have been tabled in several other states.

But it’s a slippery slope from so-called academic freedom to outright evangelizing in schools, and that might be where we’re headed if the trend keeps up. As Liebelson writes of one politician:

Rick Brattin, a Republican state representative in Missouri, went so far as to propose a bill late last month that actually requires Missouri public school teachers to devote equal time and space to the teaching of intelligent design, “destiny,” and any other creation theory a teacher might want to rustle up. “I’ve had numerous college professors within biology, school science teachers… who say they are not allowed to teach any type of theory [like Intelligent Design]… They are banned from the science community,” he tells The Riverfront Times.

Ironically, the state rep’s frustration says it all. We’ve reached a point where elected officials are disgusted that science classes teach, well, science. Politicians may hold whatever beliefs they choose, but hijacking a student’s education in the name of religion is more offensive than anything.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • Tom_Nightingale

    I find that substituting “Freedom” with “Anarchy” for all these conservative’s bills, and it explains what they’re going for much better.

  • David Starner

    Numerous biology teachers at the college level? Now that would be interesting. Last time I checked there weren’t many biologists at that level who publically subscribed to ID. Maybe he’s talking about graduate students … or maybe he’s just making them up.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      ‘numerous ‘ as in ‘more than one’.

    • Susana

      a person that subscribes to ID is, at most, a naturalist. Never a biologist. :(

      • Mudz

        A person that denies ID is, at most, a frog. Never a human. :(

        • http://www.facebook.com/roger.bauman Roger Bauman

          Not a gecko or a newt? That is harsh! Oh, and entirely nonsensical.

          • Mudz

            Yes, I thought so.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Coincidentally, there are no native frogs, or any amphibians, on islands that were created from volcanoes or coral reefs. That is, we only have them on continents, and islands that were once part of a continent. And no land mammal either. And no trees other than coconuts. Lots of coconuts.

          Curious how God decided not to put anything that can’t swim or fly or float on any of those islands.

          • Mudz

            Coincidentally to what?

            Do you consider it a Christian position that God swoops in to recreate species for every isolated or new piece of land?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              The ‘Christian position’ ranges from “God created each ‘kind’ in its present form” to “God created a single life from which all other life on this planet has evolved, with God nudging things along the way, and at some point giving a pair of evolved apes ‘souls’” and just about everything in between.

              Having just moments ago finished a midterm in a for fun online course in Genetics and Evolution, I’m honestly amused at the attempts to argue the ‘wedge’ strategy. On an theist blog of all places. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but there is only one theory to explain the variety of life on this planet. Anything else is at best a collection of failed arguments against evolution.

              Nothing but evolution in anyway attempts to explain the diversity of life other than “God did it”. That 40% of Americans think there’s any kind of controversy is testament only to the outstanding propaganda skills of AiG and the Discovery Institute. Congratulations. I would welcome you to partake in the communications curriculum. You’re fantastic at it. Biology, not so much.

              Get back to us when you have your own theory. You know, one that makes testable predictions and actually explains things.

              • Mudz

                Is that by that joker that talks really fast? I signed up for it, but unfortunately lack the internet cap to view all the videos. There are a few rebuttals about it, that I’ve seen floating around on uncommon descent and elsewhere.

                One theory? No. You yourself just demonstrated that to be false.

                There is Gradualism, Punctuated Equilibrium, Creation, Intelligent Design, Harmony, Panspermia, just to name the most prominent I can think of.

                I’m also not American. I became YEC before I ever heard of either of those organisations.

                And when was the last time you asked a Christian a question, and they jsut shrugged and said: “God did it.” It’s hard to imagine how creationists have accumulated so much material on their sites using just those three words.

                I have no overarching theory of my own. But I have pointed out some that exist, one that I support completely, YEC, and one who’s methodology I support, ID.
                I have nothing against evolution. If people didn’t need it so much as to try and scale up insignificant bits of data to dominate the science, I’m sure it’d be a useful inquiry.

                Also, I didn’t realise I had put forward any significant argument of the ‘Wedge’ strategy, which I suppose refers to some conspiracy between teaching ID to lead to teaching Creation?

                • Mudz

                  I thank you for the compliment however. I’d like to be a writer. :)

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  “Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a real problem. Without a theory it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions, such as irreducible complexity, but as yet, no general theory of biological design”

                  – Paul Nelson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HZzGXnYL5I&t=1h29m

                  Gradualism and Punctuated Equilibrium are different ideas both within evolution. Neither of them is an ‘alternative’ to evolution.

                  Creation is a general term that doesn’t mean much of anything. Perhaps you’re speaking of Biblical creation in particular? Literal Genesis? Intelligent Design is simply a ‘God of the gaps’ argument. ID doesn’t think evolution can do it, so there must be some ‘intelligent agent’ but they have no clue what that is, or how it works, or anything. Therefore, it doesn’t count as a theory. I’ll have to look up ‘Harmony’. Panspermia is ‘an idea’ that has no evidence and is completely untestable. Again, not a (scientific) theory.

                  If you’re YEC, then you have even bigger problems, like the GPS measurements of continental drift that coincide with the calculated age of fossil records. Or measurement of the number of generations required to obtain the genetic diversity we have within species. Genetic change from generation to generation occurs at a relatively fixed rate, so we can measure approximately how many generations back any two individuals are related. And in most species it’s a lot more than 6K years.

                  It’s hard to imagine how creationists have accumulated so much material on their sites using just those three words.

                  No, they start with the assumption that God must have done it, and work from there. Anything that contradicts that assumption is tossed. Anything that they think can support that assumption is kept. And if you want to go by “how much material” people have, without actually investigating that material, you’re again on the ‘losing’ side. There’s a reason why 99+% of biologists in the world accept evolution- and it’s not a conspiracy. It’s because they’ve actually examined the evidence. aka, being able to produce bullshit doesn’t mean you’re doing anything other than shitting a lot.

                  I have no overarching theory of my own. But I have pointed out some that exist, one that I support completely, YEC, and one who’s methodology I support, ID.

                  No, you haven’t. None of those are theories in the scientific sense.

                  The ‘wedge’ strategy is a strategy of the Discovery Institute to act like there is some kind of alternate theory, and “in all fairness, we should teach both”. The thing is, there isn’t. The things you present as ‘theories’ really aren’t. There’s nothing to test, study or investigate. No way to potentially falsify them. They have zero value in explaining anything. If we teach them in science class, then we might as well have teachers teach whatever they make up. Hey, maybe we’re a computer simulation! It’s a theory! (No, it’s not. Can’t possibly prove it’s wrong, which is WHY it’s not a theory).

                  The course I’m taking is given by Duke University, via https://www.coursera.org/courses . Noor is the professor. And I know, there are rebuttals against evolution. They’ve been soundly re-rebutted. Do yourself a favor and read http://www.talkorigins.org/ along with your favorite ID source. Or better yet, get a copy of Jerry Coyne’s book “Why Evolution is True” and find out what the vast majority of experts in the field know. It’s not hard stuff, and it’s quite fascinating.

                • Mudz

                  “Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to
                  develop a full fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory
                  right now, and that’s a real problem. Without a theory it’s very hard to know
                  where to direct your research focus. Right now we’ve got a bag of powerful
                  intuitions, and a handful of notions, such as irreducible complexity, but as
                  yet, no general theory of biological design”

                  – Paul Nelson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

                  That was the intent I had when I said ‘methodology’ of ID,
                  because I’m aware it has not collated a conclusion of origins. Neither has
                  evolution technically, since abiogenesis is argued to be completely separate.
                  People seem reticent even to discuss abiogenesis in context.

                  Creation is a general term that doesn’t mean much
                  of anything. Perhaps you’re speaking of Biblical creation in particular?
                  Literal Genesis?

                  Yes. You’d probably have to asked a Creation scientist or
                  theologian about the definition of biblical creation, but to me it’s just a
                  description. God Made Stuff.

                  I can’t see how Intelligent Design can make a ‘God of the
                  gaps’ argument without a God. It is an empirical methodology for detecting
                  design, that’s all. No-one argues that a house could have evolved, or that cars
                  evolved (unless you are as foolish as Berra), these are all overt examples of
                  intelligent design.

                  The Intelligent Design advocates are created a system of
                  investigation to objectively determine the probabilistic
                  weight of design in nature or any given object.

                  Harmony, so far as I know, is a Chinese philosophy or mystical
                  concept used in conjunction or to explain what they think evolution can’t. Sort
                  of a Tao of the gaps, perhaps.

                  I have no problems with YEC. Not being a scientist, I have
                  no need to do more than to make a judgment call. I do not need to submit to
                  either scientific inquiry or popular opinion. I do so, only because the science
                  being discussed interests me, and I lurves science.

                  There are good reasons to consider an old earth. I used to
                  be )EC, I remain speculative about certain aspects of evolution as being useful
                  concepts.

                  And if you’re referring to mitochondrial eve, I remember
                  finding this interesting. It’s a quote from Science in
                  1998.

                  Regardless of the cause, evolutionists are most
                  concerned about the effect of a faster mutation rate. For example, researchers
                  have calculated that “mitochondrial Eve”–the woman whose mtDNA was
                  ancestral to that in all living people—lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago in
                  Africa. Using the new clock, she would be a mere 6000 years old. No one thinks
                  that’s the case, but at what point should models switch from one mtDNA time
                  zone to the other?1

                  And I’ll have to read up on continental drift you mention.
                  In the meantime I refer to this: http://www.halos.com

                  No, they start with the assumption that God must
                  have done it, and work from there. Anything that contradicts that assumption is
                  tossed.

                  Quite true, in the general sense. In the same way that I saw
                  an ancient castle in Scotland and reason, ‘now obviously this was built by men
                  in the past, but who, and why? Where did the stone come form? What construction
                  techniques did they use?’.

                  This is largely what distinguishes Creation science from
                  Intelligent Design. And why I believe in Creation because it is a historical account,
                  not because I understand how Goddiddit.

                  The ‘wedge’ strategy is a strategy of the
                  Discovery Institute to act like there is some kind of alternate theory, and
                  “in all fairness, we should teach both”. The thing is, there isn’t.

                  Haha, personally, I think the theory of evolution pales in
                  comparison to Intelligent Design. We empirically observe intelligent design
                  every day, whereas evolution draws what I believe are some specious inferences
                  about biological history presumably millions of years in the past. Considering
                  that they’ve apparently only just confirmed that the dinosaurs were wiped out
                  by a big asteroid, the level of certainty is interesting.

                  And I presented Gradualism and Punctated Equilibrium among
                  my theories. Do you dismiss them? Because many consider that to be a perfect
                  example of why evolution, a philosophy argued as science, is unfalsifiable. The
                  fossil record contradicted gradualism, so Stephen Jay Gould came up with a
                  bunny-hopping evolution.

                  If you want to dismiss Panspermia, be my guest. But I’ll
                  point out that scientists themselves generally consider it as scientifically
                  viable. Dawkins has left himself an exit to that effect, and many prominent
                  geneticists, evolutionists, even physicists, support it.

                  And a ‘computer simulation’ is exactly the kind of pseudo
                  nonsense that people actually are trying to argue as science. Along with
                  invisible universes and invisible dark matter.

                  And I thank you for the recommendation, but I actually tend
                  to go about that the other way. I’ve downloaded something like 50 books on
                  atheism, and then I research their arguments. (I’ve only read probably a
                  half-dozen so far, but life is young.)

                  I do have a feed to uncommon descent thought. I’m actually
                  concentrating to learning the history of Christianity mostly, at the moment.

                  And yes, that’s the one, ‘Coursera’.

                  You seem to me to be quite a decent fellow. I very much appreciate the detailed response. I do find evolution intellectually interesting.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  I can’t see how Intelligent Design can make a ‘God of the gaps’ argument without a God.

                  It doesn’t really matter what you call the thing in the gaps. Intelligent Agent, God, or whatever. Since we have no way to examine or test or investigate whatever it is in the gap, it’s not useful to us. Maybe there’s a space alien or a god there, but until it reveals itself, we’re left with a world that looks exactly like it evolved. (I know you don’t agree with that statement, but at least it’s something we can test and investigate).

                  I do not need to submit to either scientific inquiry or popular opinion.

                  No, of course not. But since I can’t be an expert in every field out there, I think it’s reasonable to accept the overwhelming majority expert opinion over the very small minority opinion. I’d love to be able to fully understand all the research in everything, but I can’t. So when my doctor gives me a diagnosis, I may get a second opinion, but I’m not going to keep shopping doctors until after 100 I finally find one that says something different, and then decide that that’s the doctor I’m going to trust.

                  Where it becomes an issue for me is when people advocate that schools teach the extreme minority position. Just because a very small handful of experts in a field think the vast majority is wrong doesn’t mean we should teach the handful. Simple as that.

                  And in evolution, because I had a YEC teacher, I didn’t learn it properly in high school. I didn’t reject it, but I had a lot of common misconceptions. Only recently I’ve jumped in and read and learned a lot, which is perhaps why I’m so evangelical about it. I genuinely feel sad that so many people don’t understand it, in the same way I suppose some Christians feel sad that I don’t have Jesus in my heart.

                  We empirically observe intelligent design every day

                  But you’re comparing non-living things to living things. And we empirically observe the historical evidence for evolution every day. Why do whales have tiny hind legs inside their bodies? Why do humans have an appendix? Why are some rare humans born with a tail? Is it intelligent design or lazy design that humans have the genetics to make tails? For some reason the designer gets very mysterious when such questions come up.

                  Gradualism and Punctated Equilibrium

                  I thought I covered that. Those are competing arguments within evolution. They both firmly fall under the theory of evolution. I was going to try to come up with an ID comparison, but since ID doesn’t make any proposals, there’s really nothing to compare to. Perhaps in Creation comparing Genesis to Giant Turtle makes man out of mud?

                  many prominent geneticists, evolutionists, even physicists, support [panspermia].

                  I don’t think ‘support it’ is quite the word. What Dawkins actually said, being generous, was “it’s an interesting idea”. And sure it’s ‘viable’. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not a theory in the ‘scientific theory’ sense. It’s not testable or observable and doesn’t have any evidence. What kind of aliens? From where? When? Exactly what did they seed earth with? And, it’s really a version of abiogenesis. Even people who talk about panspermia generally think even if life came from outer space, that it evolved from there.

                  If you want a short to the point argument for common descent, I’d suggest “endogenous retroviruses” (there are some youtube videos on it) . It’s actually a new enough discovery that it’s not well covered in Coyne’s book. The thing is, we have genetic markers on our DNA from our ancestors getting a virus. And we share the exact same markers with other animals, such as chimps. Which means either we share a common ancestor with chimps and that common ancestor got the virus, or both our ancestor and chimp’s ancestor got the virus. Ok, nothing extraordinary so far. We can still be separate from chimps. But we also share many of these markers with gorillas. We’re ok so far, we and chimps and gorillas can still all be separate.

                  But here’s the kicker. We share many of those same markers with chimps, but NOT with gorillas, and there are NONE that we’ve found that chimps and gorillas share that we don’t. So, if we’re separate, then some viruses affected only humans and chimps, but NOT gorillas, and some affected all of us. Or, we share a common ancestor with chimps, and further back with gorillas.

                  And that evidence carries over to other species as well, and allows us to map out a family try with all other animals.

                  If we don’t share a common ancestor, then I think God’s name is really Loki, because the illusion of common descent is quite a trick.

                  (p.s. do you have any Bart Ehrman in your history of Christianity collection?)

                  Edit: sorry, I skipped this at first, but:

                  That was the intent I had when I said ‘methodology’ of ID, because I’m aware it has not collated a conclusion of origins. Neither has evolution technically, since abiogenesis is argued to be completely separate.

                  Neither one has any proposals for how life started. But ID also does not have any proposals as for how we got the variety of life we have. Evolution does. All ID is is attacks against evolution. Attacks that I maintain are faulty, but that’s not my point. ID tires to explain how things don’t happen. It has NO explanation for how anything DOES happen.

                • Mudz

                  Intelligent Design is not concerned with the agent of design, only
                  the existence of design. There are no ‘gaps’ to speak of, because the study itself is finite, beginning and ending with material empirical evidence.

                  And certainly. I take it on general faith that there
                  are over 7 billion people occupying the earth at this moment, because I have been given no compelling reason not to.

                  I don’t believe in evolution, because I find it unconvincing, and I have a very strong reason to believe in an entirely different account of biological origins. I understand that it’s a position that an atheist by default, cannot share, but that is not my responsibility, except as far as giving witness about God is concerned.

                  I also don’t believe in astrology, luck, ghosts, karma, Buddhism, or naturalistic origins of thecosmos, although most people around me do.

                  Where it becomes an issue for me is when people advocate that schools teach the extreme minority position.

                  I am not against you in this matter. There is no need to teach creation, since that would matter only for a Christian (etc), and they’re perfectly able to learn it along with religious instruction. As long as a false ideology is not forced upon them in order to ‘immunise’ them against Christianity.

                  I don’t think Creation should actually be a minority position, (and I’ve read, and you’ve said, that roughly half of Americans are creationist), but if it is, then I don’t mind. I suppose you’re speaking of scientists conviction, not actual ad populum.

                  I figure, teach evolution honestly, teach Christianity well, and it all takes care of itself.

                • phantomreader42

                  “Intelligent Design” is nothing more than creationism without even the
                  tiny speck of honesty necessary to ADMIT that it’s creationism. ID is a
                  worthless pack of lies, and everyone who promotes it is either a fraud
                  or a fool. Usually both.

                • Mudz

                  That would not be honesty, that would be capitulation to dishonesty.

                  Intelligent Design and Creation are two different things. ID proceeds on an empirical, secular basis, Creation is reverse-engineering or investigating the scientific evidence to support a historical record.

                  The fact that both of them are not Darwinism, and they both furnish evidence from which you can infer a Creator God is irrelevant. Only Creation could be considered actually based in religion, whereas ID is an entirely self-contained empirical field of science.

                  You could only object to ‘people might think that God is the answer’ on a religious or anti-religious ground.

                • Mudz

                  But you’re comparing non-living things to living
                  things. And we empirically observe the historical evidence for evolution every day.

                  Why do whales have tiny hind legs inside their bodies? Why do humans have an appendix? Why are some rare humans born with a tail? Is it intelligent design or lazy design that humans have the genetics to make tails? For some reason the designer gets very mysterious when such questions come up.

                  They’re interesting questions. Although the non-living vs living is irrelevant. That’s in fact a metaphysical argument, and it has no bearing on the study itself anyway.

                  Humans are obviously subject to genetic damage and accidents, which can be tied to the original curse of Adam that his lineage would inherit. Remember, that Christianity teaches that men are by nature, imperfect. And that we no longer live hundreds of years.

                  And the appendix does have a use. One of the things that evolution tried to tell me differently, that I didn’t believe as a ten year old. And I was correct. My belief in God, lead me to predict that there would be a use found for the appendix (why else would it be there? Was my argument at the age of 10), as well as immediately scoffing at the notion of Junk DNA which is in the process of being debunked by ENCODE.

                  Gradualism and Punctated Equilibrium

                  You did cover this. I apologise that I left some things out.

                  Punctuated Equilibrium is fundamentally different from Gradualism. Inheritance, environmental, sexual, genetic pressures are all completely altered or inconsequential, because it’s no longer inherited trait upon inherited trait slowly developing species across the ages of time. It just becomes bizarre, weird, unaccountable, and complete changes in morphology and physiology.

                  And according to Darwin’s proposed standards of falsifiability, Gradualism should have been confirmed to have been falsified by now, because PE was invented to explain why the fossil record contradicted the G theory.

                  Evolution, in the broad sense, is not a theory, because this demonstrates one of the ways in which it is not falsifiable. It is a philosophy, not a science. G and PE were proposed theories to explain life. One is provably wrong.

                  And yes, I’m aware that Panspermia is a way of shifting the goal boundaries, aliens being a way of both explaining design in the biology here on earth, while simultaneously not falsifying evolution. Convenient that these aliens are also not reachable, are historical events, and have never been observed, nor are their attributes known.

                  Dawkins, and others, and trying to have his cake and eat it too. Covering his bases so that he can’t be disproved by Intelligent Design, or arguments related to things like the Anthropic Principle.

                  I think I’ve heard of those retroviruses. is it discussing ‘fusion’ points, by any chance?

                  As far as common ancestry goes, there are Intelligent Design advocates that support it. I don’t. I simply consider it as a matter of ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander’.

                  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and whatever other design related metaphors.

                • Mudz

                  Intelligent Design is not concerned with the agent of design, only the existence of design. There are no ‘gaps’ to speak of, because the study itself is finite, beginning and ending with material empirical evidence.

                  And certainly. I take it on general faith that there are over 7 billion people occupying the earth at this moment, because I have been given no compelling reason not to.

                  I don’t believe in evolution, because I find it unconvincing, and I have a very strong reason to believe in an entirely different account of biological origins. I understand that it’s a position that an atheist by default, cannot share, but that is not my responsibility, except as far as giving witness about God is concerned.

                  I also don’t believe in astrology, luck, ghosts, karma, Buddhism, or naturalistic origins of the cosmos, although many people around me do.

                  Where it becomes an issue for me is when people advocate that schools teach the extreme minority position.

                  I am not against you in this matter. There is no need to teach creation at school, since that would matter only for a Christian (etc), and they’re perfectly able to learn it along with religious instruction. As long as a false ideology is not forced upon them in order to ‘immunise’ them against Christianity.

                  You guys are apparently having trouble just with literacy and numeracy levels, so concentrate on that, perhaps.

                  I don’t think Creation should actually be a minority position, (and I’ve read, and you’ve said, that roughly half of Americans are creationist), but if it is, then I don’t mind. I suppose you’re speaking of scientists conviction, not actual ad populum.

                  I figure, teach evolution honestly, teach Christianity well, and it all takes care of itself.

                  But you’re comparing non-living things to living things. And we empirically observe the historical evidence for evolution every day.

                  Why do whales have tiny hind legs inside their bodies? Why do humans have an appendix? Why are some rare humans born with a tail? Is it intelligent design or lazy design that humans have the genetics to make tails? For some reason the designer gets very mysterious when such questions come up.

                  They’re interesting questions. Although the non-living vs living is irrelevant. That’s in fact a metaphysical argument, and it has no bearing on the study itself anyway.

                  Humans are obviously subject to genetic damage and accidents, which can be tied to the original curse of Adam that his lineage would inherit. Remember, that Christianity teaches that men are by nature, imperfect. And that we no longer live hundreds of years.

                  And the appendix does have a use. One of the things that evolution tried to tell me differently, that I didn’t believe as a ten year old. And I was correct. My belief in God, lead me to predict that there would be a use found for the appendix (why else would it be there? Was my argument at the age of 10), as well as immediately scoffing at the notion of Junk DNA which is in the process of being debunked by ENCODE.

                  Gradualism and Punctated Equilibrium

                  You did cover this. I apologise that I left some things out.

                  Punctuated Equilibrium is fundamentally different from Gradualism. Inheritance, environmental, sexual, genetic pressures are all completely altered or inconsequential, because it’s no longer inherited trait upon inherited trait slowly developing species across the ages of time. It just becomes bizarre, weird, unaccountable, and complete changes in morphology and physiology.

                  And according to Darwin’s proposed standards of falsifiability, Gradualism should have been confirmed to have been falsified by now, because PE was invented to explain why the fossil record contradicted the G theory.

                  Evolution, in the broad sense, is not a theory, because this demonstrates one of the ways in which it is not falsifiable. It is a philosophy, not a science. G and PE were proposed theories to explain life. One is provably wrong.

                  And yes, I’m aware that Panspermia is a way of shifting the goal boundaries, aliens being a way of both explaining design in the biology here on earth, while simultaneously not falsifying evolution. Convenient that these aliens are also not reachable, are historical events, and have never been observed, nor are their attributes known.

                  Dawkins, and others, are trying to have his cake and eat it too. Covering his bases so that he can’t be disproved by Intelligent Design, or arguments related to things like the Anthropic Principle.

                  I think I’ve heard of those retroviruses. is it discussing ‘fusion’ points, by any chance?

                  As far as common ancestry goes, there are Intelligent Design advocates that support it. I don’t. I simply consider it as a matter of ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander’.

                  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and whatever other design related metaphors.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Apologies off the top if I don’t address something you really want me to. I have limited time and we’re generating a lot of material. I’m just covering the highlights, but don’t mean to dodge anything important.

                  Intelligent Design is not concerned with the agent of design, only the existence of design.

                  If that’s the case, then it doesn’t have anything to teach. Any decent biology class already covers the structures we see in nature, and how well they work together. And should teach the odd bits as well, where ‘design’ go awry. The ‘gaps’ comes into it when people infer that what on the surface looks designed must have an intelligent designer. That ‘must’ is the filling of the gap.

                  At this point it still looks like we’d be better off without an appendix. And God gave us tail making genes to punish Adam? Did Adam have those genes? Or did God add them later? And are people who are actually born with a tail born with more sin that those not born with a tail? Again, God sure is mysterious.

                  Gradualism and Punctuated Equilibrium- I honestly don’t see the big deal. It’s a debate about the varying vs. steady rate of evolution. Not everybody agrees on all the details. They agree it happens. (Well, a very few don’t think it happens, at least not on a speciation scale)

                  (Panspermia) Dawkins, and others, are trying to have his cake and eat it too

                  I don’t agree. Panspermia isn’t a serious discussion in the biological community. I know Watson talked about it (Crick? One of them). It’s not something anyone is proposing as a solution, since it obviously would just push the start and you’d still have to answer how the alien life started. Panspermia is something anti-evolutionists like to bring up as a way to discredit evolutionists, and to do so they have to quote mine to get an evolutionist essentially saying “Sure, anything is possible

                  PE and G- I think you’re seriously discounting the fossil record, and evidence of common ancestry in molecular genetics. Whatever rates of change are in morphology are, I can only shake my head at denying common descent.

                  We always knew we were similiar to animals such as apes. That wasn’t a stunning revelation. We live on the same planet.

                  But more similar to chimps than chimps are to gorillas. That’s the part that bugs most people who want man to be God’s special creation. And not just similar, but having largely the exact same DNA. And getting diseases that chimps get, but gorillas don’t. God didn’t put chimps and gorillas off in their own corner, he put chimps in OUR corner, and gorillas off in the other corner.

                  Books about Jesus- I think you’re thinking of someone else. I don’t see “Why I read the bible with my eyes closed” among Ehrman’s works. And I can’t see him discussing the problem of evil. He’s an authority on the bible and its genealogy. He doesn’t get into theology- he’s concerned with the historical record of the scriptures.

                • Mudz

                  Oh, it’s okay. I’m quite happy just that we’re conversing. I can tell you’re an honest person.

                  Those classes do not teach it well, or accurately. They’re trying to deny telos, while at the same time being unable to describe biology without telos.

                  And Intelligent Design has plenty to teach, although it’s mostly about reteaching, and appropriate interpreation. You might say that the most important effect it would have is on the philosophy of science, and getting it back to the interpretive system that brought us modern science, and scientists like Isaac Newton, and, like, doesn’t hate God for arbitrary reasons and pretend it’s necessary. Because the Creator of the Universe could obviously never be relevant to inquiry about the universe! :P
                  I suppose it could potentially just lead people to believe in aliens instead, but it should have the same effect overall I should hope.

                  Our tail is just an extended spine. You might as well ask why some people are born shorter than others. There’s nothing amazing about the tail condition.

                  I would have no idea if the tail condition is a result of sin. For all I know the parents committed incest and messed up their lineage that way. Otherwise, it’s simply an accident because of our general condition of imperfect, the bible quite candidly states that time and circumstance befall us all.

                  No, we wouldn’t. The appendix is vital, it’s an emergency organ for special situations.

                  Here is a link I copied at random, but you can just google ‘appendix is useful after all’.

                  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/09/17/your-appendix-is-useful-after-all.aspx

                  It was Crick. One of the co-discoverers of DNA as you doubtless know.

                  The fact that you would have to ‘explain alien life’ is the attraction of the hypthosis. You get aliens, evolution and no God, all in one, while snapping up all the evidence that could be used to debunk evolution.

                  Panspermia is something that was invented to get around concluding God. And it posits that life on earth is designed. We are quite justified in bringing it up in these conversations.

                  And it’s funny how scientists are quite willing to consider Panspermia, but at the same time will devote entire books to refuting design. If Dawkins felt so strongly about the arguments of design, why did he not write a similiar book of Panspermia? They’re both equivalent explanations of design on earth.

                  The rates of change in morphology appears to be: instant.

                  PE assumes it isn’t quite instant, but has to posit an entirely different kind of evolution to account for it.

                  Think about it. Millions of years of no evolution, and then abrupt
                  complete reinventions? Does that sound like the evolution you were
                  brought up to believe in?

                  And I don’t actually requier you to disbeleive in common descent. I don’t expect you to do a complete 180 on the spot. You could simply investigate Intelligent Design, which considers common descent as viable, some of them even believe it is certain. So I’d recommend starting with their site in your spare time.

                  Here’s the FAQ, which, while long, is a good place to start, if you read at your own leisure: http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/

                  Books about Jesus- I think you’re thinking of someone else. I don’t see
                  “Why I read the bible with my eyes closed” among Ehrman’s works.

                  Hahaha, I was being facetious. The book is called ‘God’s Problem: How the bible fails to answer our most important question – why we suffer.’

                  I found my title a more accurate description initially, except that it actually appeared to be a dishonest facade.

                • LifeinTraffic

                  And, if I’d read farther, I’d have confirmed it. It’s fantastic, and kind of fun to run into another person who’s gone/going through it! Also, I have no idea why people think he talks fast–I actually thought it was perfect (then again, I am told I talk fast, so perhaps that explains it).

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  ya, talking fast, no idea. And you can replay the videos. I’m downloading them. (Hey Mutz, if you want I’ll mail them to you on an SD card, free)

                  I’m not taking part in the forums because I just don’t have time. I’m already involved in too many forums :-)

                  It’s making me want to take one on phylogeny mapping, but I’m not sure I have the molecular genetics background. (Since I don’t have any specific molecular genetics background). I’d link but the catalog is down right now. Coursera is kind of like a candy store to a kid- but I’ve found I have to limit myself to one course at a time or I get no sleep.

                • Mudz

                  Hey, really? But I live in New Zealand, so it would cost you a bit wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t actually mind paying you for it but my money is all in cash at the moment.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Postage to NZ is $1.30 USD. If you click on my profile you can get to my FB page. You can message your address to me there, or if you don’t do FB you can just email me 64spokes at gmail. Is a micro-SD ok? I’ll wait until all the lectures are available.

                • Mudz

                  It would be great! And I guess $1.30 isn’t so bad. I’ll still reimburse ya if you like, the next time I put something into my bank account.

                  I’ll give you an email, in any case.

                • Mudz

                  It was just a comment I saw someone made, and I couldn’t remember his name. I guess I could have said the ‘indian scientist’ but I don’t actually know if he is.

                  It does sound like a fun course though.

              • LifeinTraffic

                I think I took the first iteration of same course (hint: Prof. N is an amazing instructor!). Great, great course, and wish I could get more people to take it, if only so they’d listen to the lectures from the first week! I learned more from that class than I did from my actual university classes on the topic!

        • Mario Strada

          What are you, 5? The least you could do is to write like an adult.

          • Mudz

            The least I could do would be to write nothing. But I find that far less entertaining.

            • RobertoTheChi

              How christ-like of you…

              • Mudz

                ?? What was the relevance of that comment? Are Christians not supposed to be entertained, or something?

            • Dbestrealestateguy .

              which is what you do

        • Baby_Raptor

          Real mature. I think this statement says all we need to know about you. Susana changed someone’s job…You Fucking strip people of their humanity because they disagree with you.

          • Mudz

            Ah, I see now why people are getting upset, so I’ll explain it, although it’s kind of funnier now.

            It is a parody. She whipped out a ‘No True Scientist’ trope, where anyone that supports ID is automatically not a biologist, but only a ‘naturalist’.

            My reply was intended to highlight how ridiculous that was. I don’t know why anyone thought for a second that it was serious. It’s irony.

    • Yoav

      I’m sure he’s counting the person printing the fake diplomas in the “university” where Kent Hovind got his “doctorate” among these biology teachers at the college level.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Those professors came from the same place that the doctor who told the Republicans that womens’ bodies shut down during rape did. Or that one surgeon who tells preachers that womens’ uteruses are fill of tiny dead fetuses.

      • Bubba Tarandfeathered

        dead fetuses don’t make good workers

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1220871538 Alan Eckert

    I don’t like your use of the word “militant.” There are much better words out there, and it is a frequent adjective used with “atheist” too. The information presented is enough to rile up many readers of this site. Don’t be lazy. Expand your rhetoric!

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

      i disagree. it’s perfectly appropriate to describe some xtians, esp the ones who are seemingly at war with science and fact.

      and i’m a proudly “militant” atheist, thank you very much. not all of us are worried about being friendly, in our defense of freedom, the Constitution, science and the fact that there is only one reality.

      • Mudz

        I don’t think Christians believe in multiple realities. Just the one with God in it.

        Maybe you’re thinking of the ‘multiverse’ theory, which is popular with atheists.

        • Bubba Tarandfeathered

          or maybe the Underverse Theory which is popular with the Necromongers.

    • Cat’s Staff

      I was thinking the same thing too. Although most people toss militant around willy nilly, I tend to think of it as someone who is using violence to achieve their goals, so militant Christians would be the ones who shoot abortion doctors or blow up clinics. Radical Christians maybe, zealots certainly, extremist…

    • Bubba Tarandfeathered

      and some of us just plain despise xtians, some of us are so biased by our revulsion to xtians that we see them as enemy combatants, so describing them as “militant” aptly fits them. fortunately we live in a society that looks down upon violence as a solution to problems, but be certain that whence the xtians begin to push against us don’t be surprised if some of us (less sophisticated atheists) take it up a level.

      • Mudz

        Also, I think you’re outnumbered. :P

        • Bubba Tarandfeathered

          I agree the numbers of mindless god fearing and karma fearing drones do out number us. We should celebrate this, woohoo! Now lets get them to work.

        • John (not McCain)

          Don’t worry. A lot more of us have guns than nimrods like you imagine.

          • Mudz

            No doubt. You’ll forgive me if I don’t count that in your favour.

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

          That’s not unusual. Atheists have quality over quantity.

          • Mudz

            Of? Combat skills?

  • Susana

    this is such an enraging thing :( as a young biologist this shocks me to the core. even in portugal (my country) i find myself debunking a lot of myths from the young indoctrinated minds (still low profile, but still pseudoscience) and i fear that ID will spread into my beloved country. all i wish for you, fellow American friends, is that this crazy creationists will be put into their place soon. on the streets, with a cardboard and being treated as the lunatics that they are. Keep Strong, the truth will prevail over the myth.

  • corps_suk

    See i would take totally different tact on these bills if I taught.

    Show scientifically that these “competing ideas” are totaly devoid of evidence, and use critical thinking skills to thoroughly debunk creation stories at will WITH science…this should be seen as an opening to teaching the complete lack of evidence ever for these stories in a scientific and methodical way.

    Turn this around, accept it, and use it to finally destroy the bronze age myths these people still believe in and replace it with true critical thinking skills and an evidence based acceptance of reality.

    • Rain

      Don’t forget to “discuss”. Creationists apparently like to “discuss” a lot, since they say “discuss” all the damn time and never shut up. I wish I could have “discussed” that much when I was in school. Especially math class. I wish I could have “discussed” algebra. On second thought, no I would have turned out to be an idiot.

    • Mudz

      That’s the spirit!

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      A possible tactic… to slow the momentum of these bills, we could try a PR campaign to tell these religious legislators that these bills open the door for science teachers to explicitly compare evolution and creation, in a way that openly debunks creationism.

    • eric

      Many creationists would be happy with your approach, because every day spent on debunking creation stories is one day less you actually teach substantive material on the theory of evolution. If they make teachers waste their time discussing other topics so that they never get to the topic of what evolution actually is, they’ve won at least a partial victory.
      I’m ballparking it here, but 45 mins x 5 days/week x 40 weeks is about 150 total hours of biology in one year. What material about biology that we think is actually true do you propose biology teachers leave out, so that they can spend more time talking to students about old debunked ideas that we don’t think are true?

      • corps_suk

        It only takes about 2 minutes to show there is no evidence supporting creation myths. Where is there proof we are on the back of a giant turtle?

        Oh there is none, ok moving on class lets discuss things with actual evidence…

        • UtahAtheist

          The thing is, it’s an opportunity to teach the scientific method. I’ve heard it said that pre-college studies aren’t as much about learning facts as about how to learn and study a subject.

          So, faced with a paper (for example) that refutes actual science, the teacher could look for a logical/consistent argument and grade based on that argument. Then mark down for starting from a bad premise, and use it as an opportunity to teach how logic works – that you can reach an erroneous conclusion using impeccable logic by starting with a bad or false premise.

        • Dbestrealestateguy .

          damn this must be atheist anonymous. or at least should be. As the seeming lone voice of reason and real science, let me say that this blog is filled with idiots except one as I have yet to see any sense in any other comment. In 1925, John Scopes was convicted and fined $100 for teaching evolution in his Dayton, Tenn., classroom it would be another 30 or 40 years before God and Creation was rooted out of the classroom.that brings us to around 1955-65. More than 6000 years of history erased in 40 years. What sense does that make? Evolution is a theory as in the title THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION. A theory taught as fact is not science just as “on the back of a turtle” is not true creationism; it is from fables told as fables. The bible contains science and true science does not discredit creationism. I.E. the bible talks about “chariots of fire” foretelling the rocket propelled ships. In the book of Revelation it talks about the earth melting with a fervent heat foretelling the atom bomb and the Bible also talk about dinosaurs long before man knew they were here. The Bible has never been scientifically incorrect and only conflicts with science until science gets it corrected to true science. You cant prove anything in evolution except possible natural selection which is not really evolution. even in science and especially math the basis is axiomatic. Certain things are not provable but are taken a true. hmm how is that scientific. There is either Order or Chaos or some chaos in Order, but there cant be some order in chaos (otherwise it is not chaos. If order then who ordered it, if chaos then it is mathematically near impossible for chaos to achieve the number of things that have to come together to create the small unit there is to make it possible to make life. Multiply that billions of other things that need to come together to create life. The is design in nature that even a fool can see… if only he will open his eyes. I can cite many other things but you fools do not have the open mind that is required by science. It takes far more faith to believe in evolution than creationism. I find it hilarious that millions and yes probably billion of people espouse and will espouse – to the death- a theory that the author of recanted before this all came to this sorry state of wide acceptance. My prayer is that scales
          (like fish scales) fall from you eyes that you may see the real truth. God is wait for you. He still loves you in spite of what you have done to him and said about him. A fool hath said in his heart there is no God.

    • UtahAtheist

      I was thinking something similar last night about this as I read this post. Teach the controversy? Sure, why not?

      Here’s the controversy to teach: Some people who lack a solid scientific foundation think that some essentially settled scientific principles are unsettled. The controversy thus isn’t about “ID” or “Creationism”, but rather about the poor quality of science education that lets this type of thinking persist.

      Surely “academic freedom” bills would permit the creative science teacher to exercise some academic freedom to point up what a sham it is to call ID/Creationism/Young Earth beliefs (I wouldn’t even go so far as to call them “hypotheses”) a “competing theory” – and then to explain that the word “Theory” in a scientific context is not the same as a “hypothesis” or a “belief”, and that there’s a scale.

      Then talk about how maybe you start with a “belief” about how something works (not even a religious belief, but just an “I wonder if” thought), put together a testable hypothesis based on that, test it, retest it, validate it, and then determine whether it’s worthy of further study or complete BS.

      It becomes a platform to teach how real scientific inquiry is made. And in so doing, you debunk the idea that religious beliefs have anything to do with actual science.

      • corps_suk

        Bingo!

        • UtahAtheist

          The nice thing about this approach, I think, is it turns this into a “teachable moment”, so it’s not a complete loss or waste of time. Students whose teachers use the time to proselytize will ultimately interact with students who learned actual science, logic, and the ability to apply the scientific method in discussions with those students who were taught the BS – and help correct the erroneous teaching that was passed along by the teachers who felt it was better to teach junk science as actual science.

  • treedweller

    I once told a cousin on Facebook teaching our kids not to believe evolution was the equivalent to sending them to college believing 1+1=3. I was accused of “intellectual elitism” and blocked.

    • kaydenpat

      And how exactly is “intellectual elitism” a bad thing? This anti-intellectualism among certain Americans is surprising.

      • Dbestrealestateguy .

        it is the elitism that is the bad thing

  • Mudz

    I can’t express enough how intriguing it is that atheists are so vehemently opposed to, literally, an ‘Academic Freedom’ bill.

    The wrong kind of free-thinking is it?

    • Matt

      Because it isn’t about “academic freedom.” It’s a “replace science with Christian dogma” bill. Putting a name on something doesn’t change its nature. Read some Orwell.

      • Mudz

        Point out to me where the bill ‘replaces’ anything? Or where it even mentions a Christian doctrine?

        I would think that, considering the blanket indoctrination of evolutionary teaching, where even critical analysis or academic freedom is literally being voted down by those in authority, it does not serve your interests to bring up Orwell.

        • Mario Strada

          Give me a break. If you want to establish your creationist beliefs as science, start by looking for evidence and write papers in peer reviewed journals. Once you are able to convince the scientific community of the validity of your hypothesis based on the evidence you find then you’ll be allowed to teach it in our schools legally.
          The Discovery Institute has been trying for 20 years now. So far they got zilch.
          The reason for that is the evidence is non existent while the evidence for evolution is overwhelming.

          I know, it’s one big conspiracy. Sure.

          • Mudz

            I think you meant the Institute for Creation Reserach or something. Discovery Institute pursues the study of Intelligent Design.

            And I don’t care about ‘establishing my creationist beliefs’ as science. That’s not what I was talking about, neither do I believe it on a scientific basis, but rather a historical one. I am personally interested in the scientific research to support it though. ’400 million’ year old species such as the Coelacanth that hasn’t evolved. Soft tissue in T-Rex bones, with remnants of protein and blood cells.
            Gentry’s polonium radiohaloes. The c-decay.
            Etc, etc.

            But it’s tangential to the issue here, though I do understand why atheists try to magnetise everything to it. Makes it easier for a blanket dismissal.

            And puh-lease, you guys keep harping on and on about conspiracies about the ‘wedge strategy’ and establishing a theocracy, and the threat of religion to the world. Seriously.

            • Bubba Tarandfeathered

              So your saying there is no evidence pertaining to the Wedge Strategy? That no document aptly named The Wedge Document actually exists? And that the Discovery Institute’s co-founder Stephen Meyer never acknowledge the existence of said manifesto?

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                I think, not being an American, and

                Also, I didn’t realise I had put forward any significant argument of the ‘Wedge’ strategy, which I suppose refers to some conspiracy between teaching ID to lead to teaching Creation?

                He’s not aware of what the wedge strategy refers to. I could be wrong, but that’s my working hypothesis.

                • Bubba Tarandfeathered

                  I didn’t see that post and I was only responding to this thread. so your hypothesis might be correct. But I maintain my personal doubts that he is unaware of the theory.

                • Mudz

                  @ Rich & Bubba

                  Actually I do know of it, though it’s not a big deal to me, except I see atheists bring it up as proof of bad motives. The explanation seems to always run ID -> Creationism, and the Death of Science. Like it would bother me that ID would pave the way to revitalising a renewed appreciation for God the Creator.

                  Here’s something I found about it.

                  http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=349

                  And lol, was it really called the ‘Wedge Document’? Then I guess it wasn’t something they felt they had to hide.

        • TheG

          It “replaces” the word “science” with “theology”. It may not do it on paper, but that is what it amounts to. They aren’t looking for the freedom to present alternate tested and vetted scientific theories; they want teachers to have the freedom to teach wishful thinking and faulty pattern recognition instead of proven science in science classes.

          You are making the false assumption that alternative theories all have equal validity. They don’t.

          What about a teacher that teaches the alternate theory of a flat earth, Lemarkian evolution, or McGonnagal’s instant abiogenesis?

          How about a teacher that instructs their students that humans are evolving as evidenced by increased cranial size, except Christians are evolving backwards to something much less mentally advanced? Do you have a problem with this?

          Would you trust going to a doctor from a medical school that passes a student that insists that germ theory is crap? Because this is a key point. Just as nobody in the country would trust a doctor that learned incorrect and dangerous medicine, nobody in the world will want to hire a student that is taught that incorrect and dangerous science is equal to proven and reliable theories.

          • Mudz

            Imagination does not constitute evidence. You should know that.

            You’ve admitted that nothing was actually replaced. You’re trying to argue that people could implicitly try to. The objection is nonsensical since this bill would not legislate teaching of Creation, or anything else. it seems to be entirely focus on a discussion of the strengths and weakness of evolution.

            Then again, I just realised the article doesn’t seem to address any bill in particular, but meanders around about the bills in general.

            And I didn’t realise there was a movement to teach ‘flat earth’. And beleive Lamarackism has made a comeback in epigenetics. And I’ve heard of the last one, unless it’s a Harry Potter reference.

            That teacher would have to provide evidence, and a line of argument. Otherwise, I can’t see how it would make a difference in today’s culture.

            And the whole point is arguing the accuracies and inaccuracies of evolution. You seem to be trying to task me to task for introducing creation or ‘alternative’ theories when I actually don’t care about that. I just don’t want people to be indoctrinated with credulous evolutionary stories without the evidence to back it up. Students are fully capable of using their own judgment, given the opportunity.

          • Derrik Pates

            Just because it’s an idea, doesn’t mean it’s a theory. Part of the problem is people tossing around the word “theory” like it means “an idea that someone came up with in a dream”. A scientific theory has to make specific, testable claims, and have been thoroughly and repeatedly tested. “Intelligent design” is not a scientific theory, because as others have mentioned, it makes no testable statements. It’s a lot of “just-so” faulty reasoning about how life can’t have evolved, and silly statements about “irreducible complexity”, an idea that’s been demolished repeatedly.

            Maybe there needs to be another word for a scientific theory, so we can set it apart from the colloquial use of the term. They’re not the same thing, and the ID proponents, like Discovery Institute and the Institute for Creation Research, take advantage of this vagueness in terms to lend “intelligent design” an air of scientific legitimacy that it just doesn’t have.

            • Mudz

              Intelligent Design does. It predicted that use would be found for Junk DNA, it predicts that there are irreducile structures in biology, and it predicts that biological structures can not be explained with naturalism alone.

              All of these things can be falsified, but haven’t.

              And an ‘idea’ is a hypothesis, ‘irreducible complexity’ is a working theory. And even hypothesis’ are allowed in science. Or else, tell me how you falsify the existence of other universes that exist outside our own?

              And intelligent design was the only legitimate scientific position for centuries. It’s what brought us modern science. Darwinism is a competing theory, which many do not find a sufficiently powerful explanation, nor backed up by the evidence.

              And yes, Dawkins has already invented a new word ‘theorum’ if you want to look it up.

        • Baby_Raptor

          What world do you live in? Because it’s not reality.

          • Mudz

            Earth, isn’t it? Why, where are you?

    • Bubba Tarandfeathered

      I can’t express enough how intriguing it is that the religious are so blindly willing to wander into an Atheist Blog Forum and attempt to argue for religion with individuals who will never be reconverted.

      • Mudz

        I always hold out the hope that there’ll be atheists willing to consider arguments objectively, and arrive at rational conclusions, or rethink positions, maybe even consider that atheism could be wrong.

        I won’t be tossed into the sea with a millstone around my neck for lack of trying anyhow. I’m willing to make the effort for atheists. Ya’ll God’s chil’drn too.

        • Bubba Tarandfeathered

          Actually I’ve changed my position of religion just today, anything that creates more enslaved minds, dolts willing to be subjugated for false promises so that they are unaware of how miserable they really are in their mindless manufacturing jobs is “A Okay” by me. Sure there will be a minority populous of reasonably intelligent religious folk such as your self but let’s bring our society back to the much needed drones of days gone by. The world’s economy and the American economy needs more mindless unthinking dolts to work themselves to death for the betterment of society. The promise of the afterlife awaits the proletarians of the world.and christianity already teaches slavery is ok so you’ve got one up on me. More power to you man.

          So my friend I applaud your efforts to convert though I think you would be better served in a forum for Justin Timberlake.

          • Mudz

            I can’t say I entirely agree. Noble as the sentiment of communism was, it was disastrous for the dignity of man.

            It may interest you that in ‘days gone by’ the working week was initially going to be 30 hours. These days, we have arrived at a fair bit more than that on average, and still so much debt.

            Drones are on the increase, post Christianity.

            The bible doesn’t teach slavery is ‘ok’, but if a Christian is a slave, he should honour the arrangement in humility, unless his master frees him, as a witness. Back in Roman times, this was probably considered the one redeeming feature of the ‘anarchist’ Christianity, preaching equality for all. Can’t please everyone, I guess.

            It may be noted, that whener you sign a contract, you have actually just sold yourself into conditional slavery. Although it’s just called being a ‘employee’ and ‘professionalism’.

            Christianity teaches that men are noble creations and have free will, evolution teaches that we are predetermined by historical causes, nihilism teaches that meaning is meaningless, atheism teaches that we are a natural accident, with nothing to elevate us above the status of germs save our own opinion.

            Yes, the promise of the resurrection, and the love of God, gives Christians strength to endure wickedness. It’s encouraging.

            • Bubba Tarandfeathered

              Absurdism teaches us that it is pointless to try to find meaning, in god or anything else, maybe in our own lives but really when your purpose is only serve to the benefit of others what kind of life is that.

              • Mudz

                A pleasant one, for the person benefited. In a Christian world, that would be everyone. You remember the scripture ‘Happier is he who gives, than he who receives’? It’s actually true. I’ve verified this personally. :)

        • Glasofruix

          I always hold out the hope that there’ll be atheists willing to consider
          arguments objectively, and arrive at rational conclusions, or rethink
          positions

          That’s what some people did when they were religious and they arrived at the conclusion that religion is bullshit. Answer this question, why your god and not, let’s say, Buddha, Thor, Anubis, Zeus, Ares etc etc…?

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Muhammad, Joseph Smith…

            • Mudz

              Aren’t those real people? Do you guys not believe they existed?

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Assuming you’re a Christian, why are you a Christina and not Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, or Mormon? What specifically is ‘wrong’ with any of those teachings, and more importantly how do you know it’s wrong? How do you know which one to pick?

                • Mudz

                  I make a judgment. I find their claims less convincing than Christianity. Islam and Mormon were invented after Christ, after he warned about those being mislead, and that we were to wait until he returns. He was first so he gets dibs.

                  Judaism is the most likely other one I would consider and do consider, but I am not convinced of that either. I will also suggest that Christianity is the succession of Judaism, and so you’re basically asking what I don’t regress in my own faith.

                  All judgment is provisional. So far, Christianity is the one I’m convinced of, based on the information I have to work with, and the evidence points basically anywhere but atheism. I would probably believe in Hinduism before atheism, even though Hinduism doesn’t seem to either try or need to make consistent sense.

                  How do you know how to pick 300,000- km/s when someone asks you the speed of light?

                • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

                  I like the “dibs” rule. We should probably worship Ra or one of the other ancient Egyptian gods because they came way before Christ. Also, Aristotle came before Newton, so I think he gets dibs on physics. Two objects of different masses do fall at different speeds, I guess.

                • Mudz

                  I was being largely facetious, and the point was not just who was first, but that Jesus predicted and warned against false prophets of God, centuries beforehand. It was those religions specifically I was discussing. And even Islam recognises Jesus as a prophet. But in any case the fact is God came before all of those, and exists. Christianity belongs to a consistent timeline of faith. Egyptian religions and scientific theories are unrelated.

                  And two objects of different masses do fall at different speeds. That’s called ‘gravity’. The difference is simply negligible with everyday objects like baseballs verses the earth.

                • indorri

                  Unless you mean “with respect to each other” a la Newton’s Law of Gravitation, that’s incorrect. But we weren’t talking about that, we were talking about naive Aristotilean physics re: two different objects falling in a gravitational field.

                • Mudz

                  “Gravity”, yes I think I was referring to the one Newton talked about.
                  And the thing is, Aristotle was actually correct wasn’t he? If an object has greater mass than another, then it falls towards the earth faster. The moon would fall down quicker than a tennis ball, at the same distance. The difference with objects like tennsis balls or bowling balls here on earth is, because gravity is such a weak force, is simply too small to casually notice with everyday things at everyday distances.

                  He was wrong in one aspect, so far as I assume was his theory. Twice the mass, doesn’t make it fall twice as fast, but it still makes it fall faster.

                  Does that blow your mind, or what?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Nope.

                  Unless you keep open the possibility that the laws of physics suddenly change while you’re dropping the moon. It’s not a matter of the difference in acceleration being too small for us to measure. The acceleration really is the same. a = F/m, right? The force acting on the moon is greater than the force acting on the tennis ball. But the moon has more mass (and hence more inertia) than the tennis ball, so it takes more force to get it moving. It cancels out.

                  (ignoring friction of course)

                • indorri

                  In terms of Universal Gravitation, the force acting on a point mass is the sum of all forces arising from gravity between that particular mass and other masses, so in the case of two objects of different masses on e.g. the earth, the force arising from interaction between the heavier object and the earth is greater than the force arising between the lighter object and the earth.

                  That being said, mudz hasn’t shown he’s correct because if you want to be pedantic enough to discard a standard acceleration due to gravity under M >> m, you’re solving a 3-body problem. Good luck with that.

                • Mudz

                  And also technically no, Jesus was around before the earth or ‘Ra’ was. Although if you’re talking about when he appeared on earth, well, Ra still hasn’t.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  For the most part we’re going around in circles and repeating ourselves, but

                  How do you know how to pick 300,000- km/s when someone asks you the speed of light?

                  Is an excellent question that gave me lots of thought this weekend. It’s like an onion- layers!

                  The speed of light is actually exactly 299 792 458 m/s. In fact, the meter is defined based on the speed of light, not measured the other way around. So in the exceedingly unlikely event that we were to refine the speed of light, we’d have to change what we call a ‘meter’ (or re-define it).

                  But that’s just the skin of the onion.

                  What you were really asking is how do I know that that’s the true value of the speed of light. And I think what you were getting at is that it requires trust. But herin lies the difference between our two questions. Let’s compare what we’d each do to assure ourselves that we are in fact correct.

                  In your judgement Jesus is the son of God, risen from the dead, etc. But to keep it simple, let’s get specific. How many witnesses were there to the resurection? And more importanly how would you know? I suspect you’d have to learn ancent Greek, and Hebrew and Aramaic. And you’d have to go read all the various manuscript copies we have available. Not practical, but conceivably possible. You could ask the opinion of learned theologians, but that won’t help because they have no more access than you do. It’s just their judgement. In the end you’re stuck going with what feels best. i.e. faith.

                  Contrast that with what I would do if I really wanted to confirm the speed of light myself. Because we not only know what the speed of light is, but we know how we know. And perhaps not practical, but in principle I could reproduce any of the measurements we have and check for myself. To make it more concrete, I could certainly get a vacuum chamber and drop things and measure for myself that objects at the surface of the earth fall at 9.8m/s^2. Or if you want evolution, I could, in principle, sequence the DNA of a human, a chimp, and a gorilla, and see that the chimp and human are much more similar than the chimp and the gorilla.

                  But the onion has more layers still.

                  I got to thinking about the fact that there don’t seem to be any competing values for c. We have people claiming the Earth is really only 6K years old, or that the universe isn’t really 13.77 billion years old. But nobody, as far as I know, is proposing that light really travels at 131.295967 m/s. (having to use pre-1983 meters of course). And that’s interesting! And I think the reason is that by the time someone considered that light might have a velocity, no cleric has received diving inspiration as to what that velocity is. So instead of asking God, they set out to use naturalistic means to determine it. Since science go the first crack, it didn’t have to compete with God, and so we don’t fight over the speed of light.

                  But we’re still not at the core.

                  The core of the onion is that there are a lot of things where God got the first crack, and on each of them we’re having to fight tooth and nail to get them back. Some have been bigger struggles than others. But it seems to me that as soon as someone thinks God has an opinion on some fact, we’re stuck with slow progress on correcting God’s mistake.

                  And that is why legislation that tries to include God’s opinion in science is wrong. It’s slowing us down.

                  (And the only reason the ID people even started in the first place is that they think God is involved. Trying to warp science so that it includes God just gives you warped science.)

                • Mudz

                  I knew you were going to get away with it with a specific integer. Did you notice I was similiarly clever and wrote 300,000-?

                  Regardless of which, you still get my point. Some answers are not guessed at, they are known or deduced or inferred.

                  I suspect you’d have to learn ancent Greek, and Hebrew and Aramaic.

                  Alternatively, I could just read the English translation. The difficulties lie not in understanding the text, but in deciding the best inference we can make from superficially different accounts.

                  NO-one saw him go from death to life. They saw him die, and then they saw him alive again later.

                  I can’t be fussed reading the bible at the moment to provide all the numbers, but up to 500 people witness him alive again, according to my search engine.

                  Sure I wouldn’t ask theologicans. I like to read the bible for myself. I have nothing against reading theologian’s theories though.

                  In the end, if we’re going to be that reductive, we’re all stuck with ‘faith’. If you drop a ball off a tower, you have to trust that your senses are interpreting the data corerctly. You have to assume that the inside of the ball did not turn into helium at some point in its descent.

                  That doesn’t change the fact that you can still do experiments and get credible answers. I can read the bible and get credible interpretations of the text.

                  We are doing the same thing, though it’s liekly not immediately apparent to you. Like I said, I compare Christianity against the world, along with the competing hypothesis, and Christianity fits the facts best. It fits the facts so well, that it’s influence, and the world-view, has never let me down. Nothing has happened in this world to me that I have not been able to either endure or understand, and at the same time, have had a pretty rewarding existence. It really is the best. I recommend it, highly.

                  Or if you want evolution, I could, in principle, sequence the DNA of a human, a chimp, and a gorilla, and see that the chimp and human are much more similar than the chimp and the gorilla.

                  I presume you would be comparing only the coding regions? And not say, the 90+% of DNA considered non-coding and junk by evolutionists?

                  And actually the value of c seems to be decaying, as I’ve heard it.

                  And that is why legislation that tries to include God’s opinion in science is wrong. It’s slowing us down.

                  Are you trying to connect this with thte OP, because it’s unrelated. ID is not YEC, Christianity, Religion or Creationism. And Academic Freedom isn’t even proposing teaching ID so far that I can see.

                  And obtaining wrong answers quickly, is not an improvement on settling on the right ones.

                  Some have been bigger struggles than others. But it seems to me that as soon as someone thinks God has an opinion on some fact, we’re stuck with slow progress on correcting God’s mistake.

                  Considering that Galileo, Newton, Occam, and a whole list of important scientists were not only Christian, but motivated to do great science because of their love of God and His work, and that the Catholic Church built all the universities, trained an entire class of people in literacy and numeracy, providing education for the entire civilisation, it would seem that God has done more for Western science that anyone else. (And even the Arabs believe in God, don’t they?)

                  Also, I’d like to see you give some examples on God’s mistakes that we’re struggling to overcome. If you mean that people think that God teaches this or that, well people used to think that the universe existed eternally, and that rats were spontaneously generated by rags and debris, and that medicine was a question of the 4 humours.

                  (And the only reason the ID people even started in the first place is that they think God is involved. Trying to warp science so that it includes God just gives you warped science.)

                  Wrong. Trying to interpret a universe built by God, without God, gives you warped science, in many cases, no science at all. That’s why ID is limited to simple empirical inference of design.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Regardless of which, you still get my point. Some If answers are not guessed at, they are known or deduced or inferred.

                  I didn’t really get that that was your point, but if so, then I’d point out that I think ‘faith’ is as effective a way as ‘guess’. May be less so. Very often faith seems to be not just without evidence, but in spite of evidence.

                  In the end, if we’re going to be that reductive, we’re all stuck with ‘faith’. If you drop a ball off a tower, you have to trust that your senses are interpreting the data corerctly. You have to assume that the inside of the ball did not turn into helium at some point in its descent.

                  You’re confusing basal assumptions (e.g. assuming I can know I exist) with faith. We all have to assume we exist. But that’s not nearly the same thing as pretending to know that Jesus rose from the dead, but that Mohammed didn’t rise to heaven on a winged horse, and Jesus didn’t make a stop in North America on his way, and we aren’t infected by the remnants of an alien race stuffed into volcanoes and blown up with atom bombs. We can measure the speed of light. Unless God speaks to every single one of us, or performs some other similar miracle, all we’ve got is faith.

                  I presume you would be comparing only the coding regions? And not say, the 90+% of DNA considered non-coding and junk by evolutionists?

                  Whether it’s coding or not, the entire genome is mostly copied from our parents. So I see no reason to arbitrarily only compare the known genes. The entire things hows our common ancestry.

                  ID is not YEC, Christianity, Religion or Creationism. And Academic Freedom isn’t even proposing teaching ID so far that I can see.

                  Perhaps ID will eventually evolve to leave behind its Christian heritage. But it hasn’t yet. It’s still too close to cdesign proponentsists.

                  And Academic Freedom isn’t even proposing teaching ID so far that I can see.

                  I’ve read a lot of Academic Freedom bills, and the vast majority of them specifically list: biological evolution, human cloning and climate change as ‘controversial’.

                  God has done more for Western science that anyone else.

                  Belief in God was mostly tertiary. Since nearly everyone believed in God, it’s natural that scientists also believed in God. Many still do, although the number is dropping.

                  Also, I’d like to see you give some examples on God’s mistakes that we’re struggling to overcome. If you mean that people think that God teaches this or that

                  Well yes, since I don’t think God exists, when I say ‘God’ I generally mean “what people think God…” A majority of Americans think God is involved in the diversification of life.

                  Wrong. Trying to interpret a universe built by God, without God, gives you warped science, in many cases, no science at all. That’s why ID is limited to simple empirical inference of design.

                  Trying to force God as an explanation- hm, my point is best made by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I hope you have the bandwidth, I think it’s an enjoyable talk even if you believe in God.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMXHKixqOM8 (sorry for the buzzy audio- there are other versions out there, but longer. Or you can find the original essay as well)

                  p.s. did you mention somewhere that the speed of light was decaying? No. It’s not.

                • Mudz

                  “I didn’t really get that that was your point, but if so, then I’d point out that I think ‘faith’ is as effective a way as ‘guess’. May be less so. Very often faith seems to be not just without evidence, but in spite of evidence.”

                  No offense, but this is drivel. I’m not a cartoon character. If there’s evidence against something, then it doesn’t go poof in my mind. Why would I bother to learn anything, otherwise. This is just an excuse so that atheists, or a certain number among them, don’t feel obliged to engage intelligently, or concede that their questions have been credbily or logically answered. They don’t have to argue at all, because, why bother? Christians cannot be reasoned with, obviously? Anything suggestion to the contrary is just a horrible exercise in dishonesty. Somehow.

                  “You’re confusing basal assumptions (e.g. assuming I can know I exist) with faith. We all have to assume we exist. But that’s not nearly the same thing as pretending to know that Jesus rose from the dead, but that Mohammed didn’t rise to heaven on a winged horse, and Jesus didn’t make a stop in North America on his way, and we aren’t infected by the remnants of an alien race stuffed into volcanoes and blown up with atom bombs. We can measure the speed of light. Unless God speaks to every single one of us, or performs some other similar miracle, all we’ve got is faith.”

                  I haven’t verified the speed of light personally. But I’ve read how others did. And that’s good enough for me. And light is one of the most fundamental phenomenon in the universe. Why isn’t your criteria for me believing in such an important concept just as exacting as it is for God? After all I have a written compilation of history of interaction with prophets and Israelites. There’s people claiming contact and miracles even up to nowadays. There’s a number of very large religions claiming the existence of God, and a number of non-religious thinkers who nonetheless purport a supreme being.

                  You don’t have to be Christian to notice things like: The Universe seems fantastically well designed for our existence, and even our astronomical interest.

                  Biological life is amazingly complex, and the existence of our high sentience and consciousness is a miracle that should not be scorned. Intelligence is the most remarkable phenomenon in the universe. Without it, the universe would have no meaning.

                  “I’ve read a lot of Academic Freedom bills, and the vast majority of them specifically list: biological evolution, human cloning and climate change as ‘controversial’.”

                  Heck, I was reading sci-fi stories as a kid that were telling me why human cloning was a bad idea. And if people are arguing against, say a massive Christian population saying, ‘no’, then it’s controversial isn’t it? What is it with this reflex-nullfication of Christian opinion? Don’t be so dogmatic.

                  “Belief in God was mostly tertiary. Since nearly everyone believed in God, it’s natural that scientists also believed in God. Many still do, although the number is dropping.”

                  Could have been a quote straight from Dawkins. I don’t think anyone in the history of ever would have considered his belief in God ‘tertiary’. “Oh yeah, God exists, and there’s an afterlife and Jesus and stuff, but I’ve got bugs to study.” Don’t try to trvialise the role of fascination that the existence of God has, the fact that these scientists were motivated by trying to understand God’s creation, by KNOWING that there were reasons for things, purpose, that there was always something to find out, something higher to reach for.

                  “Trying to force God as an explanation- hm, my point is best made by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I hope you have the bandwidth, I think it’s an enjoyable talk even if you believe in God.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMXHKi… (sorry for the buzzy audio- there are other versions out there, but longer. Or you can find the original essay as well)

                  p.s. did you mention somewhere that the speed of light was decaying? No. It’s not.”

                  Bothers me not. That’s just what I heard. Quite a few times, from different sources.

                  And yes, the measurements on thet speed of light, that I can remember, were actually different.

                  Sorry, 14 minutes is just a tad too long for me. I did just see a vid by him recently though, bu curious coincidence, where he thoroughly admitted that scientists theorised on completely baseless concepts as dark matter, which is basically a scientific sounding ‘something-goes-here’.

                  Trying to force God as an explanation? What does that even mean? There’s only one explanation for anything. Evolution doesn’t cut it. Honestly, if you guys want a naturalistic explanation for a universe better explained by design, evolution as it stands won’t be it. It will fail, and you guys will come to a more ‘mature understanding’ of certain life-generating principles in the universe propelling the cosmos towards creating life. Some crap like that. Or aliens. There’s always aliens.

                  Sorry if I come off a bit blunt. I’m in a hurry.

                • Mudz

                  I just realised, that’s kind of funny. We’ve known humans and apes are similiar, without DNA scanning technology, for millenia. They look like us, don’t they? Didn’t I already say that in a previous post?

                  I guess that makes our eyes better tools of genetic science than gene-sequencing. :P

          • Mudz

            Because none of them are mentioned in the bible, at least not by those names, and certainly not as the Creator God. And I’m Christian, not a polytheistic ancient Greek.

            One would think, that if those entities as legend describes did exist, that the fact that no-one any longer has worships them for millenia is proof of itself of their non-existence or inefficacy. Any decent Greek god would have made a comeback by now. It makes no logical sense.

            Also, none of them were creators of the universe, and as such as incapble of explaining the design inherent in the universe.

            For all I know, those legends are based on actual entities, such as the fathers of the Nephilim before the flood, the angels that forsook their place in heaven. It would explain all the holdovers of gods and giants in world mythologies.

            And some people were atheists and became Christians.

            Tell me why Aristotle, who was neither Jewish nor Christian, but still philosophically arrived at a belief in an ultimate cause, an ultimate apprehension, an Unmoved Mover.

            Carl Sagan, was a Deist. Why doesn’t he believe in Zeus? Even Einstein had some sort of weird eastern mystic version of Deism, or perhaps Pantheism.

            All these things, pertain to the Ultimate, which of all historical records is best fit by Jehovah, and of all historical records, the bible has proved most reliable.

            That’s why I believe in Jehovah God as the Creator God, and not any other randomly posited pseudo-god or demigods that cropped up in legend.

            And you capitalise the ‘G’ when you’re talking about God, thank you. He’s not ‘a god’, but the God, the Ultimate.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Yes, actually. You know, what with the complete lack of facts and reality. If you want to study religious theory in your own time and free-think on it, fine. But we don’t need to be teaching our children this shit as if it’s fact. It’s not.

      • Mudz

        Intriguing argument. What’s it based on?

        • Glasofruix

          actual science.

          • Mudz

            Let I’ll let either of you provide the evidence to back up the claim.

    • Quintin van Zuijlen

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. “Acedemic Freedom” with extra scare-quotes. Because really, this isn’t about the freedom of academics to teach what they think is important in the way they think best, but about having students disrupt classes so that they don’t learn a thing.

      • Mudz

        ? This has nothing to do with students. Students will put up their hands and ask about this stuff anyway. The difference is whether teachers are allowed to answer.

        You just invented a completely preposterous objection. What, we should teach children because they might get noisy in the classroom? Their quiet behaviour is more important than their education?

        Scare-quotes? I have no such key on my keyboard. I used quotation marks, because that is the actual title of the bill. Perhaps I should have been less polite but equally accurate by saying that you all oppose academic freedom.

    • phantomreader42

      You and your cult have no interest in freedom. All you want is to hijack the government and steal tax money to promote your sick death cult to a captive audience of other people’s children. You don’t get to do that. You’ve been trying for decades, and you keep lying about your motives because every time you get caught you get your asses handed to you. You have never had the slightest speck of evidence to support creationism or its poorly-disguised clone ID. And you never will. And YOU KNOW IT! That’s why you have to keep lying. Because the truth is your mortal enemy.

      • Mudz

        Yes, that’s why we want to see these “Academic Freedom” bills pass, and you guys want to reject them.

        Your tirade is ridiculous and pointless. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re simply over-excited.

        But I’ll give you one link for direct evidence of creation, if you have nothing against reading about physics or geology.

        http://www.halos.com

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          That’s not ‘direct evidence of creation’. It’s proposed evidence of a young earth. Pando begs to differ on the quality of that evidence.

          tl;dr; for me, and my geology is limited In cases where the science it outside my current understanding, I fall back on the rule that if 99+% of the people who do understand the science are on one side, they’re probably right. The only alternative is a massive conspiracy, and no conspiracy can survive that many people maintaining a secret.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/po-halos/gentry.html for anyone who actually wants to play the “fair and balanced” game.

          • Mudz

            I know, it takes ages. And you can’t have ‘proposed evidence’, it’s either evidence or it isn’t. And this is so far, unrefuted evidence for instant creation of the earth’s foundation.

            If you aren’t going to read the evidence for creation, then how can you get informed on the subject? What are your beliefs based on, without knowing the right arguments?

            And I read talkorigins. but thanks for the ref.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Oh I’ve read plenty with regard to various forms of Creationism. At this point I have better things to do than to try to get my head around a bunch of science that I don’t know. I’m quite happy to let actual scientists do that. Yes, I let them do my thinking for me. At some point you have to trust someone who knows better than you, because as individual none of us can know it all. It comes down to, who do you trust? A couple of scientists who have a single bit of evidence (I’ll be generous here), or all the other scientists who not only refute that evidence, but have a mountain of evidence the other way.

              And this is so far, unrefuted evidence for instant creation of the earth’s foundation.

              Not only does the talkorigins refute it, but it points out the great amount of much stronger evidence that contradicts it.

              And I read talkorigins. but thanks for the ref.

              You’re welcome, but it wasn’t meant for you. It was meant for anyone else reading to save them the time of finding it.

              • Mudz

                I’m not going to mock you for trusting scientists. In many things, I do too. I just trust the bible more. I’m quite happy to let God do my thinking if possible.

                I’ve also read that particular talkorigins refutation, and also another guy that challenged him. I did not find them good arguments, but I’ll have to read it all again, and maybe write something about it. It was one of the very first things I read about when I got involved in this whole arena, so I need a memory refresher.

                Also, what does Pando have to do with it?

                And ahkay, no probs. That’s thoughtful.

            • Mudz

              I’m not going to mock you for trusting scientists. In many things, I do too. I just trust the bible more. I’m quite happy to let God do my thinking if possible.

              I’ve also read that particular talkorigins refutation, and also another guy that challenged him. I did not find them good arguments, but I’ll have to read it all again, and maybe write something about it. It was one of the very first things I read about when I got involved in this whole arena, so I need a memory refresher.

              Also, what does Pando have to do with it?

              And ahkay, no probs. That’s thoughtful.

        • indorri
          • Mudz

            Yes I know that many creationists disagree with Gentry’s theories. I wasn’t bringing up Gentry because I necessarily thought he was actually correct, I brought him up because he presented a solid case for Creation, with scientific evidence, decades ago. He’s presented criteria for falsification, and it has not been. I would quite like to believe he is correct, which I doubt you’d hold against me, but I’ll deal with it if he isn’t.

            “Since we post links without actually discussing them” How the heck could you know that when you only just posted?

            “one thing that was especially troubling to me” – I honestly doubt this is genuine. People say this so much and so often as a prelude to tell me why they’re not going to take such-and-such seriously that I no longer believe it.

            And there we go, ‘religious motivation’. What do you mean ‘designs’, I can’t actually see what that fits with that word. He what, planned to be YEC?

            Unless you tried to weirdly connect it to Intelligent Design, and thus, this bill, which come to think of it, seems to be the case; both of those are completely unconnected to Gentry and YEC. Creationism is forbidden to be taught, this bill would have 0 effect on that.

            “that this is not an academic freedom issue”

            You’re right. Like I said, Gentry, YEC, Radio-haloes, have nothing to do with any of this. This is an entirely different line of discussion about YEC and scientific evidence. And neither Gentry nor YEC is involved with any kind of ‘indoctrination’, unless you wish to complain that this might be taught in someone’s church.

            And you’re perfectly fine with all the public schools enforcing an evolutionary education, I presume?

            ‘Outright denial of geology’. I’m afraid I’d have to class that along with ‘troubling’ as appearing disingenuous. It seems like a transparent alternative to ‘you hate science’. He doesn’t ‘deny geology’ which as nonsensical as another joker who told me I ‘deny the concept of facts’ in a similiarly disconnected way.

            In that letter, there was actually one good objection, which I hadn’t heard before, which was the fossil-bearing rocks. That would mess with a) Genesis, and b) Granite -/> Pegmatite.

            It would not actually falsify his contention about Polonium Halos as far as I could see, but it would contradict it in connection with the bible.

            I am actually having a great deal of trouble verifiying the claim. I see it mentioned quite a bit on google, but I can’t find any articles or actual discussions of the evidence.

            I did however find this:

            http://www.halos.com/faq-replies/icr-open-lt-2003-1.pdf

            Where Gentry has apparently already taken to it, and aparently was refused the location of the evidence in order to verify the claim. He seems to also have had some of the same difficulties I am having. He finishes with the words:

            “Even after many years it has yet to admit this citation is without any factual basis.”

            So actually I’d be grateful if you could provide a source or evidence, even the article written by the two in question, because it’s possibly the best argument I’ve seen so far, affecting YEC based on Gentry’s work. And so I’d like to know what it is exactly before judging it.

            • indorri

              I dismiss you’re incredulity at the accusation I levied at Gentry as intellectual dishonesty. Yes, he denied basic geophysics in trying to set up a dichotomy between, e.g. the biotites in which he found these halos and the basalt in lava. His claim that large crystals of the granites were formed from instantaneous cooling while rapid cooling (in the case of extrusive rocks) leave glassy-textured rocks yet slower cooling being responsible for the finer grained specimens is self-contradictory. He denied geology again when he denied the existence of pegmatite cutting through the sedimentary rock, which would indicate the formation of pegmatite after melting and non-rapid cooling. He denied the existence of xenoliths within the pegmatite: evidence almost as strong as fossils indicating the large-grained granite having formed from molten rock cooled over long periods of time.

              • Mudz

                Oh, seriously. ‘He denied geology again! Look at all that denial, he hates geology, he hates rocks, he said science sucks, and his face is stoopid.’

                You can argue his case to the moon implodes for all I care, but do it like you have an independent human mind and not a sophisticated recording device inside your skull.

                Go email all that to Gentry, and you two can hash it out if you like. I feel no need to defend his claims for him at the moment.

                • indorri

                  Wow, over month to basically say “I don’t want to rebut your reasons so I’ll just accuse you of being a recording and calling people names”. Despite, y’know, actually elaborating and specifically stating what he denies. I don’t really feel like hashing it out because its been done and better by an actual geologist, which is where these objections are from in the first place.

                  So again, I dismiss you as intellectually dishonest.

  • Cat’s Staff

    They can pass a law written like this, but it’s not given a teacher any more cover to teach religion. That’s not a scientific argument. All we need to see is a teacher trying to use this as cover for teaching creationism, they can be taken to court and they will loose. And then they claim they are persecuted and they will get lots of donations to keep fighting the good fight and they will find a new way to get themselves in the news.

  • Renshia

    This is a perfect example of the need for a religious test. Lions and coliseums, baby, Lions and coliseums.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    The only thing that bugs me about this counter argument is we do need bills like this to pass. Why because we need more morons to work in the low paying manufacturing jobs that will, over the next 100 years, be the bread and butter of the New American Economy. The promise of a better “life after death” from working one’s self, 16 or more hours a day, to death, will be quite enticing to the religious dolts. People don’t be fools in believing that United States will some how miraculously thrust it’s self forward into the future as some economic super power consisting of elitist employees and where every citizen has a bachelor’s degree or better. We need more proletarians injecting the opiate of religion into their collective arms so that we can rebuild our nation’s manufacturing base. Free thinking and open skepticism is counter to massive productivity. A religious mind is wanton of obedience. It seeks only to serve its master and its master needs more slaves. Slaves who are willing to shed their blood and sweat for the promise of a better life after death or an iPod or a chance to sing on live TV. As much as I despise the insidious nature of religion it really does serve a purpose and I hate that truth.

  • Hailey

    This makes me sick to my stomach, thinking that students could be wasting precious learning time with nonsensical ideas like Intelligent Design. U.S. will become a third world nation if these Republicans have their way.

    • Hailey

      Ignore the “with” – thank you.

  • Maleekwa

    Maybe it’s time we started attending fundamentalist churches, using the same tactic. After all if the idea is to teach people to think critically, skeptics and atheists going to church and being outspoken could certainly introduce some *alternative theories* to creationist mumbo jumbo. Wow, think of the outrage, and how many churches would move or close their doors as a result of a consistent and persistent onslaught of reason.

    I’m certainly not equivocating evolution and creationism, but simply musing at the shitstorm that would ensue if rationalists invaded churches like irrationalists are trying to invade the public school system.

  • Maleekwa

    Maybe it’s time we started attending fundamentalist churches, using the same tactic. After all if the idea is to teach people to think critically, skeptics and atheists going to church and being outspoken could certainly introduce some *alternative theories* to creationist mumbo jumbo. Wow, think of the outrage, and how many churches would move or close their doors as a result of a consistent and persistent onslaught of reason.

    I’m certainly not equivocating evolution and creationism, but simply musing at the shitstorm that would ensue if rationalists invaded churches like irrationalists are trying to invade the public school system.

    • Dbestrealestateguy .

      this from an irrationlist. evolution is a totally irrational faith base religion.

  • kaydenpat

    “but hijacking a student’s education in the name of religion is more offensive than anything.”

    That’s the sad thing. It’s the students who will be harmed by this type of legislation. They’re the ones who will lack sufficient scientific knowledge to handle college/university courses because their high school education was Bible teaching disguised as science.

    Too bad that no one is challenging the laws passed in Louisiana and Tennessee.

  • phantomreader42

    “Intelligent Design” is nothing more than creationism without even the tiny speck of honesty necessary to ADMIT that it’s creationism. ID is a worthless pack of lies, and everyone who promotes it is either a fraud or a fool. Usually both.

    • Mudz

      That’s because the ‘admission’ would be a lie. They have more integrity that you would seem to allow them. ID and Creationism are two entirely different things.

      Your objection would stem in the fact that God would be the most obvious explanation of ID’s work. Well, if you don’t like logical conclusions that’s not my problem, or ID’s.

  • Dbestrealestateguy .

    this is a repost to get it to the forefront and I now notice that this appears to be a gay site. Now I understand why all of you are so adamant against creationism. You must debunk it how ever you can else your sin is exposed.

    damn this must be atheist anonymous. or at least should be. As the seeming lone voice of reason and real science, let me say that this blog is filled with idiots except one as I have yet to see any sense in any other comment. In 1925, John Scopes was convicted and fined $100 for teaching evolution in his Dayton, Tenn., classroom it would be another 30 or 40 years before God and Creation was rooted out of the classroom.that brings us to around 1955-65. More than 6000 years of history erased in 40 years. What sense does that make? Evolution is a theory as in the title THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION. A theory taught as fact is not science just as “on the back of a turtle” is not true creationism; it is from fables told as fables. The bible contains science and true science does not discredit creationism. I.E. the bible talks about “chariots of fire” foretelling the rocket propelled ships. In the book of Revelation it talks about the earth melting with a fervent heat foretelling the atom bomb and the Bible also talk about dinosaurs long before man knew they were here. The Bible has never been scientifically incorrect and only conflicts with science until science gets it corrected to true science. You cant prove anything in evolution except possible natural selection which is not really evolution. even in science and especially math the basis is axiomatic. Certain things are not provable but are taken a true. hmm how is that scientific. There is either Order or Chaos or some chaos in Order, but there cant be some order in chaos (otherwise it is not chaos. If order then who ordered it, if chaos then it is mathematically near impossible for chaos to achieve the number of things that have to come together to create the small unit there is to make it possible to make life. Multiply that billions of other things that need to come together to create life. The is design in nature that even a fool can see… if only he will open his eyes. I can cite many other things but you fools do not have the open mind that is required by science. It takes far more faith to believe in evolution than creationism. I find it hilarious that millions and yes probably billion of people espouse and will espouse – to the death- a theory that the author of recanted before this all came to this sorry state of wide acceptance. My prayer is that scales
    (like fish scales) fall from you eyes that you may see the real truth. God is wait for you. He still loves you in spite of what you have done to him and said about him. A fool hath said in his heart there is no God.

  • Dbestrealestateguy .

    damn this must be atheist anonymous. or at least should be. As the seeming lone voice of reason and real science, let me say that this blog is filled with idiots except one as I have yet to see any sense in any other comment. In 1925, John Scopes was convicted and fined $100 for teaching evolution in his Dayton, Tenn., classroom it would be another 30 or 40 years before God and Creation was rooted out of the classroom.that brings us to around 1955-65. More than 6000 years of history erased in 40 years. What sense does that make? Evolution is a theory as in the title THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION. A theory taught as fact is not science just as “on the back of a turtle” is not true creationism; it is from fables told as fables. The bible contains science and true science does not discredit creationism. I.E. the bible talks about “chariots of fire” foretelling the rocket propelled ships. In the book of Revelation it talks about the earth melting with a fervent heat foretelling the atom bomb and the Bible also talk about dinosaurs long before man knew they were here. The Bible has never been scientifically incorrect and only conflicts with science until science gets it corrected to true science. You cant prove anything in evolution except possible natural selection which is not really evolution. even in science and especially math the basis is axiomatic. Certain things are not provable but are taken a true. hmm how is that scientific. There is either Order or Chaos or some chaos in Order, but there cant be some order in chaos (otherwise it is not chaos. If order then who ordered it, if chaos then it is mathematically near impossible for chaos to achieve the number of things that have to come together to create the small unit there is to make it possible to make life. Multiply that billions of other things that need to come together to create life. The is design in nature that even a fool can see… if only he will open his eyes. I can cite many other things but you fools do not have the open mind that is required by science. It takes far more faith to believe in evolution than creationism. I find it hilarious that millions and yes probably billion of people espouse and will espouse – to the death- a theory that the author of recanted before this all came to this sorry state of wide acceptance. My prayer is that scales
    (like fish scales) fall from you eyes that you may see the real truth. God is wait for you. He still loves you in spite of what you have done to him and said about him. A fool hath said in his heart there is no God.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Some suggestions:

      a) format your text with some line breaks if you want someone to read it

      b) try posting something original instead of the same copy/paste over and over again if you don’t want to get flagged for spam. Not my call, but although Hemant welcomes opposing opinions and views, he doesn’t tend to tolerate spamming.

      c) Even Answers in Genesis doesn’t believe that “Darwin’s deathbed conversion” malarky. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/03/31/darwins-deathbed-conversion-legend

      I’m not sure who you’re going to cite for creation evidence if even AiG doesn’t agree with you.

  • Composer 99

    To be fair, if a student wrote a paper that actually debunked material in their textbooks – as in showing with good evidence & logic that it was incorrect – rather than simply arguing it was wrong because a deity they claim exist & worship said so, that would be kind of impressive.

    But I don’t really see that happening anytime soon.

    —-
    Edit: Oh, didn’t look at the date of this post. Sorry for the thread necro. Feel free to delete, mod(s).


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X