I Am John's Stomach Pains.

On The Precipice of Mediocrity, Teetering

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Slouching Towards Bethlehem  

I've ranted and raved over the inclusion of Intelligent Design, aka Creation with a Diploma, numerous times, but just when I thought it was beginning to die down, His Excellency Global Potentate GW comes out and says it should be taught.

Worst. President. Ever. doesn't even begin to describe him anymore. The guy is certifiably nuts. For as fucking stupid as the guy is, he did go to Yale... one would think that would count for something. And even if he's just pandering to the morons on the far far far right (watch out people, you might just fall of the edge of the earth!), that makes it even scarier... it just goes to show this go will go to any length to obfuscate the truth.

Hey Bush, you know all that oil that your family has lived off of? Yeah, it was evolution that caused it. Motherfucker...

What exactly does he want added to the debate in science class? "Okay class, today we're going to talk about where humans comes from. Historically, creationism has been around for thousands of years, and it says God did it because he was bored. Now, let's spend the other 49 and a half minutes of class going over the facts of evolution."

I have no problem with creationism being taught in schools. Honest. Just be sure it's done in the proper place... History. Sandwich it in between "3000 years ago primitive people believed the Earth was laying flat on the back of a Turtle" and philosophical movie reviews of The Matrix trilogy.

posted by Holz | 10:23 AM | Rant & Rave, Bitches! (23)

23 Comments:

Without going into a debate on religion and origin of life, ID can be taught aside from attributing it to the God of the Bible or some other god... It doesn't link itself to Jehovah alone, is what I'm saying. So ID can and should represent a school of thought (namely that some higher power is involved) which has been held by nearly all of mankind in history (in some fashion) and many today. Teaching ID is not teaching "believe in Jesus".

ID is called a faith-based approach, which it is... but I see the belief in evolution in the same way... an anti-religion faith in ideas that simply are not rock-solid science, as many purport them to be.

By Blogger The K Man, at 8/02/2005 11:50 AM  


So ID can and should represent a school of thought...

That's just it, though. A "school of thought" is not a scientific principle. It's a philosophy. So teach it in history/religious studies/social studies... not science class.

By Blogger Kate, at 8/02/2005 1:18 PM  


You could teach ID in science class, but only if you had 100% faith in the science teachers ability to teach how BAD theories can be demolished by scientific evidence.

I mean, we covered the Steady State Theory in science, for example. But then, I learned real science.

By Blogger Manchild, at 8/02/2005 3:33 PM  


So - K-Man -surprise - we are on the same page. Manchild you jest - but I believe you are right - Science is exactly where this topic should be explored.

Sorry favorite son - but I do not believe there is a more important subject to be taught - in college - in elementary school - in church whereever and whenever you have the opportunity.

But, what everyone forgets is that it is said that "God made man in his own image" - It was some bozo 2000 years ago who decided God's image was a white male with a big 'ol beard.

If you break down all living creatures we boil down to one item - energy - which like life has no true beginning nor no true end.

Widen your vision of "THE Creator"

Mom

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/02/2005 8:11 PM  


Wow, who knew that the subject that would bring the Christian Right and the Tree Hugging Hippie crowd together would be creationism...

But, to be honest, I'm not so surprised. Suffice to say though, this is a position I doubt I'll ever stray from... students today suck enough, we don't need to bring philosophical debates into a classroom that deals in facts.

My biggest fault with the liberalization of this country is how we've begun treating students with a laissez faire attitude, a movement from "failing" to "subpar performance" to "subjectively unique".

Science is an ever-improving subject... we may find out one of our most basic beleifs has been wrong, and it can be updated. Falling back on the mentality that if we can't come up with a 100% answer, it must be because of an omnipotent being's direction, so why bother trying to answer?

I'm a mathematician, as well as a writer. I deal in facts, numbers, theory, and proofs... but I also incorporate imagination to dream of an even more fantastical explanation. That being said, I find it reprehensible and offensive to "cheat" and use my dreaming as crutch for answering a question that can't be solved completely.

I may be wrong, but I don't think I've ever put into words my complete belief on the subject.

To keep it short: it may come as a surprise, but I am a creationist. I believe that a higher power brought life to the universe, and did direct it's process for billions of years. I also believe in evolution. These are not conflicting positions. I find the premise of a Garden of Eden origin to be preposterous, as well as scoff as there must be something before the Big Bang that we will one day understand.

My issue, which encompasses all religious debate, especially when it comes to schools, is forcing these unsubstatiated beliefs as fact or explanation. As you can see, there are wild differences of belief within my own family. The only outcome that can come from allowing such beleifs as fact is confusion...

...and to come full circle... our kids are fucked in the head enough.

By Blogger Holz, at 8/03/2005 12:00 AM  


Manchild you jest - but I believe you are right - Science is exactly where this topic should be explored.

Oh, I do not jest. I think there are countless things wrong with Intelligent Design as a scientific theory, which could be properly deconstructed and criticised in the hands of a competant science teacher. However in fundamentalist America, I doubt such teachers are commonplace. The K Man still maintains that evolution is somehow "anti-religion" despite abundant evidence to the contrary.

The issue of whether or not this universe had an intelligent creator, or even a deity is not something that science can address yet. And it may forever be beyond the ability of science to inquire into it.

When people do not understand this; when they try to somehow "prove" the existance of a god through the laws of science, they do a disservice to both. Firstly, since scientific findings are never absolute and can always be overthrown by the discovery of new information, you are resting the "proof" of gods existance on a precarious pedastal at best. And secondly, the key thing (I think) for any personal relationship with the creator, is faith.

If faith is joined or even replaced by 'knowledge' and 'certainty', their rigidity can be snapped under the weight of counter-evidence. But faith manages.

It's the reason I have such disdain for fundamentalists of all stripes. My faith in a god is a private thing. I don't preach it from a classroom or an altar. But my faith is not shaken by my knowledge of things like science and evolution. My faith survives, because I am comfortable NOT knowing. I know that I am ignorant of the infinite. And I find any mortal mind who claims to understand the infinity of god, laughable in the extreme.

Matters of personal faith cannot and should not align themselves along rigourous paths of proven knowledge. Those paths may not be as proven as they appear.

students today suck enough, we don't need to bring philosophical debates into a classroom that deals in facts.

Maybe a topic for a different day, but is it that students suck? Or schools? Teachers? Classes?

My biggest fault with the liberalization of this country is how we've begun treating students with a laissez faire attitude, a movement from "failing" to "subpar performance" to "subjectively unique".

I disagree that this is a liberal fault. I think that's political correctness gone fucking nuts, from the over-protecting nanny-staters.

That being said, I find it reprehensible and offensive to "cheat" and use my dreaming as crutch for answering a question that can't be solved completely.

Interesting. I would have thought that dreaming and imagination of things that may not be, is a key part of hypothesising and theorising especially in modern physics.

To keep it short: it may come as a surprise, but I am a creationist. I believe that a higher power brought life to the universe, and did direct it's process for billions of years. I also believe in evolution. These are not conflicting positions.

In fact, it's the thinking of the current pope as well.

By Blogger Manchild, at 8/03/2005 1:59 AM  


I seem to be somewhere along the lines of Kate & MC on this one. Go ahead and teach it as a belief system, but put it ina setting where it belongs: social studies/history/philosophy class.

Take a look at this flawed analogy of mine. Mathematics is not governed by the laws of grammar, although the two subjects may cover some of the same grounds such as syllables, word problems, etc. It's the same with religion and science. Some common areas, sure, but not the same thing. The two subjects may conflict or compliment each other. It doesn't matter. If you teach them in the same class, the kids get confused.

I'm with Holz in that kids today are retarded. I see it as a problem with parenting, society, and the system. It's not any one of those, it's all of them.

By Blogger Stan, at 8/03/2005 4:45 AM  


The Battle of Bull Run should be taught as "...here is what happened. A, then B, then C."

Despite your personal level of conviction of evolution's truth, it is not a undeniable fact and therefore should not be taught as such.

I think the aim of ID is to suggest to kids that there is a different approach and understanding to the origins of life... one that has been there all along... way longer that Darwin's evolution.

ID should NOT be taught as "here's how it happened". Kids should NOT be taught that "God or some power created the world". It's a issue tied in with faith. The Battle of Bull Run is not tied in with faith. The Civil War happened X, Y, Z... The origins of life cannot be taught like that.

ID is a response to the theory of evolution being taught as rock-solid "the way it happened" truth. I would hope that level-headed supporters of ID would want ID and evolution taught as "here is an idea as to the origins of life... you decide where your faith lies." Kids ought to know and understand every single aspect of evolution... that's what education is all about... but they ought to know OTHER viewpoints as well (especially when it's not an X,Y,Z clear-cut issue). ID sort of wraps up the majority of other perspectives on the origins of life.

Like I said before, ID should never be taught as "here's the absolute truth that you should know" but neither should evolution. Done correctly, ID should not be perceived as a "challenge" to evolutionists... but rather a different viewpoint. As a teacher, I report, you decide. (Fox News! Fox News!)

By Blogger The K Man, at 8/03/2005 8:00 AM  


Hey MC -- it's good to be back in your aura!!

Let me ask you, based on this comment you made:

I am comfortable NOT knowing. I know that I am ignorant of the infinite.

If (1) you do accept the possibility of a supernatural "god" and (2) you do recognize our finite inability to understand an infinite being, then how are you so comfortable adhering so strictly to teaching an origins-of-life system that very well may be wrong?

I understand that evolution is the theory that is science-principles-accessible, but that doesn't mean that it's right.

If an infinite god exist, he could certainly have created the world... so why not, in your Science class, acknowledge that possibility and present it to students. (Again, not teach it as absolute truth, but as one idea.) Yes, use the principles of Science to understand the empiracle world as best we can, but don't limit the topic of origin of life to ONLY that which our finite minds can understand... especially as, like you said, science cannot disprove the existance of a "higher being" and we cannot understand it.

Teaching only a god-less evolution is turning your back on a possibility that you recognize could be true... only for the sake that evolution is more science-y because you can do the scientific method on it?? Doesn't anyone care that they might be wrong and teaching kids the wrong thing?

By Blogger The K Man, at 8/03/2005 8:33 AM  


Despite your personal level of conviction of evolution's truth, it is not a undeniable fact and therefore should not be taught as such.

We've danced this dance before KMan. Regardless of how it is taught in American schools, in the annals of science, the evolution of homo sapiens from more primitive forms of life through natural selection is not a proven fact. It is a theory. However in science "theory" has a different meaning than it does in everyday english usage. This theory is supported by vast VAST amounts of supporting evidence, it allows us to make testable predictions (the experimental results of such inquiries strengthening the support of the theory) and while it may conceiveably be wrong in some of the details, the evidence indicates that it is more or less correct as it now stands.

To suggest that ID is merely to indicate that there is a different approach or theory, is just not true. And I'll tell you why. For one, as I said, theory (in science terms) has a different meaning. At best, ID is an hypothesis. And last I checked, hypotheticals do not get much coverage in the science class. When ID has made the leap from tentative hypothesis to theory, let's bring it to science class where it can play with the other theories, like evolution, gravitation, relativity, and quantum electrodynamics. For another, kids already get that different approach either from their religious parents, sunday school, or whatever. I see absolutely no reason to pollute the science class with that, anymore than I would bring in the hypothesis that the world rests on the backs of 4 elephants who stand on a turtle.

Just because an idea has been around a long time, doesn't mean it has any merit.

ID is a response to the theory of evolution being taught as rock-solid "the way it happened" truth.
Again, I disagree. ID (creationism by any other name) has been pushing against evolution from day 0.
We've gone over that how you teach evolution must be simplified in the early stages of education. (In other words, you do gloss over the technical aspects, or the unknowns, and present it as a complete picture) but the same is true for many subjects. Look at how the Civil War is basically "The War to free to slaves" when it's first taught to kids. Only when they get older do they get a chance to understand the nature of the war in more detail, and if they go on to study history at college, well, by then they can see the war for it was. Does that mean kids should not be taught that the civil war freed the slaves?

Maybe. But the teaching of evolution is the same. Simplicity and concepts first. Complexity later. (Rather like evolution itself.)

I would hope that level-headed supporters of ID would want ID and evolution taught as "here is an idea as to the origins of life... you decide where your faith lies."
Except there, that's not science. Science isn't a case of we report and you decide. Science is not a democracy. It is the search for the immutable laws of the universe, with no regard for your personal political or religious viewpoints. There's no discussion in science class : "Okay, all the kids who think fire is hot, over here. All the ones who think fire is not hot, over there. Now, you're all free to believe what you want..."

That's not how it works.

Kids ought to know and understand every single aspect of evolution...
That's not realistic, and I can't believe you're serious when you suggest this. There are many grown adults who don't understand every aspect of evolution. There are plenty of biologists who don't understand every single aspect of evolution. And you want to ensure that KIDS learn it somehow? Are they going to drop every other subject and study it for 10 hours a day for 15 years?

ID sort of wraps up the majority of other perspectives on the origins of life.
Except ID has nothing scientific supporting it. How can you reconcile a standard creationist argument like their mishandling of the 2nd law of thermodynamics? Or their ability to invent one hypothesis to support another hypothesis, such as the idea that the speed of light slowed down or sped up, or that the flood water was held in great vats above the sky?

Noahs ark may have been (thanks to the miracles of God) dimensionally transcendental, but damn it, that sort of story has no place in a science class.

Science has rules. Every theory is up for grabs, and can be disproved if the evidence demands it.
The day you want to bring God into the science class, you have to accept that God could be disproved.
If the fundamentalists don't want to accept that, then get the hell out of the science class.

If (1) you do accept the possibility of a supernatural "god" and (2) you do recognize our finite inability to understand an infinite being, then how are you so comfortable adhering so strictly to teaching an origins-of-life system that very well may be wrong?
Because that's what the overwhelming volumes of evidence indicate.

I understand that evolution is the theory that is science-principles-accessible, but that doesn't mean that it's right.
Acknowledged.

If an infinite god exist, he could certainly have created the world... so why not, in your Science class, acknowledge that possibility and present it to students.
Because you can have "IF"s a plenty. If I'm asleep having a vivid dream right now, then maybe you don't exist at all. If I'm a brain in a jar undergoing some weird electronic probing, maybe this whole universe doesn't exist. If I'm a human in the 22nd century plugged into the matrix, then maybe Keanu Reeves doesn't exist! If I'm a political prisoner of concience being held by a fasicistic government in some psychic interregenum, then TALBOT GET ME OUT OF HERE!!

You see my point?

Some things (like improbable untestable if's) just don't belong in a science class.

don't limit the topic of origin of life to ONLY that which our finite minds can understand...
And once again, I point out that evolution has NOTHING to do with the origins of life.

especially as, like you said, science cannot disprove the existance of a "higher being" and we cannot understand it.
Science can't disprove the existance of aliens, dragons, invisible pink unicorns, or my evil twin.
Science has nothing to say on these subjects.
Correspondingly, these subjects do not belong in a science class.

Teaching only a god-less evolution is turning your back on a possibility that you recognize could be true... only for the sake that evolution is more science-y because you can do the scientific method on it??
Yes.
That is science. It's the stuff that you can do scientificy-methody stuff to.
When God falls into that category, bring him along and we'll find him a seat.

I don't know anyone complaining that Poetry isn't being taught in Science class. Why do people complain that religion isn't being taught in science class?


Doesn't anyone care that they might be wrong and teaching kids the wrong thing?
No. Cause that's science all over. We might be wrong, sure, but this is what we think today, and this is why we think it.
I've said it before : science reserves it's highest accolades for those who manage to overturn longstanding results or laws. Show me a religion that does that, or indeed, has any form of self-correcting mechanism in it.

By Blogger Manchild, at 8/03/2005 9:34 AM  


Hey MC... That was a mouthful! And I think I might have cheered aloud at the Keanu Reeves bit!

If I understand your main point correctly, it is that the issue of "god", right/wrong/true/false, is not subject to emperical analysis and thereby doesn't belong in Science class.

I can appreciate that line of thought.

I think many creationists are upset about is that there is (right or wrong) an association between evolution and godlessness -- and that the teaching of evolution precludes and denies the existance of god.

So it seems logical to me that these two issues could be blended by staging the teaching of evolution by saying:

"This study does not attempt to explain the origins of life or support/deny the existance of any supernatural being. It is, instead, an object analysis of data that seeks to understand how the world operates."

I would be fine with that... as (I hope) many creationists would be. I have no problem at all with evolution being taught in school.

What I fear happens (and will no doubt happen with ID, too) is that people use evolution (or ID) to further their own faith convictions in a school setting.... ie it's God, not evolution or it's evolution, not God.

I'm ok with the faith absent in the science classroom AS LONG AS the "science" isn't used to promote a certain god-less faith.

Does that happen? I dunno. I think many creationists think it does.

By Blogger The K Man, at 8/03/2005 10:08 AM  


I think many creationists are upset about is that there is (right or wrong) an association between evolution and godlessness -- and that the teaching of evolution precludes and denies the existance of god.

And this is where the confusion is. There isn't an association between evolution and godlessness. It's that there isn't an assocation with evolution and The Bible.

Your line of thinking is that Evolution is counter to Genesis, and it is, in regards to literally taking the story as is. The Bible says God created Adam and Eve spontaneuosly. Evolution says, no, it didn't happen exactly like that.

The way I see it, Evolution isn't in conflict in regards to faith, it's in conflict religion.

By Blogger Holz, at 8/03/2005 12:01 PM  


KMan, again, we've covered this before, but to reiterate: You can believe in God AND evolution. They're not mutually exclusive. At least under Pope John Paul II it was an accepted part of the Catholic faith. (The new guy looks like he's trying to change that.)

Holz, I don't agree that evolution is in conflict with religion. It's in conflict with Creationism.

Evolution is only a problem for the biblical literalists. The Creationists. The people who believe in a literal take on the Bible.

So, to put it another way, evolution is not being used as a tool to demolish peoples faith or belief in god. It can, however, cause people to realise that Genesis is unlikely to be literally true.

In my opinion, the main reason Creationists go nuts over this topic is because they have tied their faith to "knowledge", to knowing the Bible is 100% true. And therefore if they find out even the tiniest part is false, they fear they have to throw out the entire belief system.

Instead of realising that faith in God is not the same as believing the literal truth of some quintuply translated books selected almost at random 300 years after christ died.

Faith in God should not depend on the literal scientific or historical accuracy of a book. No matter how inspiring bits of that book may be.

By Blogger Manchild, at 8/03/2005 1:41 PM  


I suggested a history/social studies class because at the younger ages, there is no religion or philosophy class. They all get lumped under social studies. Nope, ID is not steadfast like history, but history is only one aspect of social studies.

I think that faith and science can coexist quite nicely. The problem is that religious folks typically see those who don't believe in the Bible as uncultured hethens who only beilive what's convenient to their lifestyle while those hethens see the other side as Bible-thumping whackos who go through life with reality-blinders on. And when I describe people who don't believe in the Bible, it encompasses those who don't take it as literally as others, to those who believe 1% or less of it. In reality, the vast majority of people probably live in that grey area and believe at least parts of both viewpoints, no matter the religion.

I believe in a god. Our gods are probably the same dude with different disguises, but because I don't quote a holy book, and go to religious gatherings, I'm an outcast. (I'm not singling yu out Kamin, I'm talking about all religions.) At the same time, believing in something bigger makes me an outcast to those who denounce all faith. In reality, i bet there's a whole lot more outcasts than there are people who fit into those two exclusive clubs.

By Blogger Stan, at 8/04/2005 5:58 AM  


Sheesh, I can't keep up with you people.

What I fear happens (and will no doubt happen with ID, too) is that people use evolution (or ID) to further their own faith convictions in a school setting.... ie it's God, not evolution or it's evolution, not God.
I'm ok with the faith absent in the science classroom AS LONG AS the "science" isn't used to promote a certain god-less faith


I can't see how you can rationally have that fear about evolution. When it is taught, God is not mentioned at all. He is neither affirmed nor denied. No science teacher tells students "either you believe in God or you believe in evolution." Many, MANY people believe in BOTH God AND evolution, so that view point would upset a lot more people than just the creationists.

Now on the other hand, ID has been pushed by people who think that evolution is godless. It has an agenda and don't you dare deny it. They can't get God in the front door, so they are trying to sneak "a higher power" in the back door.

There just isn't a "Godless" agenda with evolution. I don't know why that's so hard for creationists to see. Yes okay, I know, I know, literal interpretation of the bible, etc, etc.... But DO NOT make the argument that evolution is godless, because 1) it isn't true, and 2) statements like that are only meant to dupe the idiot masses, to give them a rallying cry. Tell the truth. Don't make shit up. The real problem is that it refutes the absolute literal truth of Genesis. And it's that "all or nothing" mentality that baffles and infuriates the non-bible thumping populace.

On a personal note, maybe I was some kind of child genius, but when presented with evolution I was never confused about God, not even once.

By Blogger Kate, at 8/04/2005 11:15 AM  


I can't see how you can rationally have that fear about evolution. When it is taught, God is not mentioned at all. He is neither affirmed nor denied. No science teacher tells students "either you believe in God or you believe in evolution." Many, MANY people believe in BOTH God AND evolution, so that view point would upset a lot more people than just the creationists.


This point has been made before. I just don't think it's going to be taken on board.

By Blogger Manchild, at 8/04/2005 3:19 PM  


Wow, I learned more about ID reading this Blog than during twelve years of Catholic school education. In school, ID was one 30 minute lecture in Theology class. It was never mentioned during Science courses.....
Why would it be?
SB

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/07/2005 1:24 PM  


Wow! This thread totally takes me back to those heady days on the buffybb. All we need now is for Shadoknight to weigh in and then we'll have a par-tay!

ID should not be taught in science classes because it would undercut the foundation of knowledge. The why and wherefore of accepted scientific theory and the process of academic inquiry. Why is the theory of evolution accepted in academic circles? Because that's where the evidence gained through objective investigation has led. The pioneers in the field had no agenda to disprove the existence of a higher power. They were only following a trail of evidence and positing ideas on where said trail led. As Kate pointed out, when evolution is taught responsibly it makes no statement on the existence of a higher power. Ideally it should illuminate what the theory of evolution is and how/why it became the predominant idea on the origins of life on this planet. ID seeks to interject the idea of a higher power into the dialouge. The reason ID should not be taught as an "alternative" to evolution is that there is no evidence to support such an idea. I think there are really two things that bother the fundies so much about the theory of evolution, 1)while evolution does not deny the existence of god it does not make the existence of god neccesary and 2)evolution cancels out the idea of mankind's supremacy and god's special creation. If evolution is true then humans are just a part of the ecosystem and not set above as is described in Genisis.

The whole subject is moot though, the truth of life's origins on earth can be found in the Necronomicon. ;-)

By Anonymous Newworldpuck, at 8/08/2005 3:57 AM  


Ideally it should illuminate what the theory of evolution is and how/why it became the predominant idea on the origins of life on this planet.

Yes, I think it's very important that when teaching people what evolution IS, you especially point out that it is NOT about the origins of life on this planet.

That said, how's it going Puck? How've you been keepin'?

By Blogger Manchild, at 8/08/2005 5:41 AM  


Hey it's Halloween but how the heck does anybody explain this one ? necronomicon download ???

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