Out among the stars: Defeating the legacy of religious indoctrination

Guest post by James Ridgers. It’s the nature of revelations, I suppose, to come at unexpected times and in unexpected places. Mine came about four years ago at a Planetary Society event hosted by Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. When Tyson spoke about his oft-quoted position on humankind being composed of stardust, something suddenly made sense to me that I’d been wrestling and grappling with for several years by that point.I should lend some context to this, so you can understand why m … [Read more...]

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Beware the Jelly Creationists

When I was little, my favourite bedtime book was The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure by Gerald Durrell. Mum enjoyed reading it too, but whenever the story mentioned how many millions of years ago the dinosaurs actually lived, she skipped over those words. When I asked her what she wasn't telling me, she said something like "We don't believe that."At the same time, Mum was quite keen on what creationists call "Gap Theory". Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the e … [Read more...]

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How to tell the difference between creationism and science

I finished my PhD thesis on Monday. No, don't start cheering yet. There's still a long journey between finishing a thesis and becoming a doctor, but at least at this point I'm unlikely to join the ranks of those who start a PhD and never finish.I'd love to tell you what's in it, but I'm going to wait until it's passed peer review and everything's official. I also found out tons of great stuff that I couldn't fit into the thesis. Annoyingly, I have to be careful what I tell you of that, too, … [Read more...]

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OK creationists: find me some new oil reserves

When I reviewed Ian Plimer's Telling Lies for God, I mentioned this argument: Dating of rocks by radioactive decay and fossils is fundamental to oil exploration. Every petroleum exploration program expends large amounts of risk capital dating rocks… Although such dating techniques seem to work because new oil fields are continually being found, it is clear that if creation ‘science’ is correct, then such discoveries are accidental. I was frustrated because Plimer doesn't explain why this should … [Read more...]

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Jerry Coyne says I am wrong about creationism, misogyny and homophobia

Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True (both blog and book) didn’t like my recent posts about the link between creationism, sexism, and homophobia. In a recent post, he argues that I have made a logical fallacy and risk miring the battle against creationism in the 'atheist wars' over feminism.Jerry introduced the post by saying some nice things about me, so I'll return the compliment: I owe Jerry a great deal. Until I read his book, despite having not been to church in eight years I sti … [Read more...]

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Christian Rock Thursdays: Jesus thrasher turns atheist

This week in Christian Rock Thursdays: Christian musician becomes an atheist. In the Christian music scene, a brief internal panic ensues. After Christian rock came Christian metal, and then, inevitably, Christian thrash. The first ever Christian thrash band was Vengeance, who hastily had to rename themselves Vengeance Rising when they discovered a secular band of the same name (this is becoming a recurring theme). Roger Martinez, the singer, sounded horrible to me when I was a kid, and sounds r … [Read more...]

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The battle for evolution in Scottish schools

Tomorrow, the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee will be hearing from members of the British Centre for Science Education (BCSE) and Scottish Secular Society (SSS). Earlier this year, the SSS started a petition urging the Scottish government issue guidance on the teaching of creationism in schools. In England and Wales, there is clear guidance that creationism and Intelligent Design are not valid scientific alternatives to the theory of evolution, and should not be taught as such. In … [Read more...]

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Win! Creation ‘science’ banned in UK state-funded nurseries

The headline of Friday's Daily Telegraph screamed "Toddlers at risk from extremists". The British Education Secretary has announced plans to ban teaching creationism is publicly-funded nurseries.What it didn't say is that, although the British Humanist Association (BHA) was the most prominent campaigner against creationism in nurseries, this was originally the subject of a letter-writing campaign by the readers of Leaving Fundamentalism. But I know you wrote the letters, so thank you.We w … [Read more...]

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Take a lesson from the kids

This is a guest post by Tyler Francke, owner of GodofEvolution.com. It’s not typical (though probably far more common in Accelerated Christian Education schools) that your principal is also your church pastor, but such was the case at the small private school in Oregon that my wife attended from preschool through twelfth grade.Based on her experience, I wouldn’t recommend it. Giving a single man (always a man at ACE schools, of course) such broad and absolute authority over impr … [Read more...]

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Creationist educators respond to criticism

CEE hits back! Earlier this month New Statesman published my article "Creationism and the 'conspiracy' of evolution: inside the UK's evangelical schools". Last week I received this email from Dr Greg Hibbins, general manager of Christian Education Europe (Accelerated Christian Education's UK distributor):Dear Mr ScaramangaPlease find attached my letter of response to your article in the New Statesman. I have sent it to the paper and also trust you will publish it in whole and unedited on y … [Read more...]

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