Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

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Location: South Jersey, United States

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Think of the children

Its gone too far now. There are movements in over 19 states currently to challenge, amend, replace or flat out not teach the theory of evolution in public schools. Thats right, PUBLIC schools, funded by your tax dollars. Why you ask? Because religious conservatives would like to 'open the debate' about evolution, intelligent design and creationism so that they can 'challenge' the controversy of evolution. I wasn't aware there was a controversy in this day and age, but apparently, emboldened by President Bush's win, there is. We'll get to their real motivation later, but first, lets examine the arguments.
I think everyone is familiar with the theory of evolution and natural selection. In fact, most of us have probably seen pictures, videos and possibly exhibits of ancient human relatives--Bog boy, Java man, homo erectus, Neanderthal man, John Ashcroft (I kid!) etc. Archeological finds have been able to establish these early human relatives and also carbon date and place them in their order in the theory of evolution. I think most scientists, while believing in evolution, also acknowlege that evolution is a theory. There are many holes and many extrapolations that need to be made in order to complete the chain of events up to and including modern man. However, I think the problem with creationism or intelligent design for scientists is that they have brought much to the table while creationists bring the Bible and think its enough.
I personally believe that everything in this world was created by God. I do not imagine that I will ever understand His plan or how he went about that creation. I certainly do not imagine that I will ever be able to prove that God created the earth and man. I believe because I have faith. I never went to private/Catholic/Christian school and spent all my educational years at public school.
Creationists don't belong in the debate because they don't have a debate. The Bible isn't proof of anything, that is why Christians all over the world must have faith. It is the central theme throughout all of Christianity (and most religions I suspect). Actual scientific, archeological specimens are available to see early human relatives and from this, Darwin was able to establish a theory, a widely accepted theory, that man evolved from primates. This theory will never be fact until specimens of each link in the chain have been found, dated, catalogued, and studied. Most likely, this will never happen, so evolution will always remain a theory. But to not teach our children evolution, or to muddy the educational waters with what creationists term 'debate' is ridiculous. It can only be debate if you have facts on your side as well. The Bible is not fact. In fact, in public school, the Bible might not even be the book of choice for a percentage of the students. I propose the real reason for the current debate. Creationists think that in the current political climate, they will be able to push through changes that will benefit their religious right agenda, their Christian agenda, without much opposition. Take Terry Fox for example, Southern Baptist minister, and his explanation in a Washington Post article (emphasis mine):

Fox -- pastor of the largest Southern Baptist church in the Midwest, drawing 6,000 worshipers a week to his Wichita church -- said the compromise is an important tactic. "The strategy this time is not to go for the whole enchilada. We're trying to be a little more subtle," he said.
To fundamentalist Christians, Fox said, the fight to teach God's role in creation is becoming the essential front in America's culture war. The issue is on the agenda at every meeting of pastors he attends. If evolution's boosters can be forced to back down, he said, the Christian right's agenda will advance.
"If you believe God created that baby, it makes it a whole lot harder to get rid of that baby," Fox said. "If you can cause enough doubt on evolution, liberalism will die."
Like Meyer, Fox is glad to make common cause with people who do not entirely agree.
"Creationism's going to be our big battle. We're hoping that Kansas will be the model, and we're in it for the long haul," Fox said. He added that it does not matter "who gets the credit, as long as we win."


Well, as long as we are thinking about the children right??!! Lets think about our children who are already at a disadvantage compared with other modern nations when it comes to science and technology education. America is the best country in the world and our students should be the best and brightest. Christians, if you want creationism or intelligent design to be taught in public schools, then establish a theory and bring some facts to the table, as evolution/Dawinism has. Holes in evolutionary chains are not proof of intelligent design and are not enough for you to base a theory on. Until then, you don't have the right to teach implicitly religious doctrine in public schools. Parents, if you want your children to believe that God created the earth and man, then teach your children this, send them to private school, home school them. Stop expecting the public school system to do your job. If you want your children to pray, sit down and pray with them, stop expecting the public school system to do your job. Religious education can not EVER come from public schools, so if your children are in public schools, for whatever reason, then it is your job to provide them religious education. It is not the public school system who has to account for their lack of religious education.

6 Comments:

Blogger gus steeves said...

These people really aren't interested in the children. If they were, they'd realize that most of their attitudes, especially their insistence on some form of Armageddon, are counterproductive. Caring for the future requires believing that life on Earth is valuable and that we will have a future, and they don't.

You're right that most scientists realize we may never find every possible "missing link" and that doing so is irrelevant to the validity of evolution anyway. The fact that science deems it a theory simply means that the preponderance of evidence gleaned from various sources (not just bones, for example) is strongly consistent & best explained (given our current level of scientific understanding) by one coherent method which is still subject to disproval. What the right wingers do is distort the term into meaning something it doesn't, namely, they use it as synonymous with "hypothesis," which doesn't have the same strength of evidentiary support. (In practice, they seem to use both terms as synonymous with "lie," but that's another issue.)

Of course, they are completely unwilling, even unable, to subject their explanations to the same scrutiny and threat of disproof, and that's what makes creationism non-scientific. I don't mind having schools address explanations of the world that are wrong provided they're debatable. Creationism is by definition not debatable, and therefore not worthy of being taught in public schools.

That said, personally I think of evolution as continuous creation -- If there is a god, it makes sense to me that god would use evolution as a mechanism by which creation functions without the need for direct intervention. With so many things going on in the universe, probably including numerous other life-bearing worlds, the concept that any divine creator would have time to spend tinkering with every detail on our planet is sheer hubris. Likewise, the creationist idea that god placed fossils to imply evolution when there isn't any is idiotic blasphemy -- it implies god would go to a lot of effort to deceive us, an idea obviously contrary to their belief that we're "favored."

1:05 PM  
Blogger gus steeves said...

These people really aren't interested in the children. If they were, they'd realize that most of their attitudes, especially their insistence on some form of Armageddon, are counterproductive. Caring for the future requires believing that life on Earth is valuable and that we will have a future, and they don't.

You're right that most scientists realize we may never find every possible "missing link" and that doing so is irrelevant to the validity of evolution anyway. The fact that science deems it a theory simply means that the preponderance of evidence gleaned from various sources (not just bones, for example) is strongly consistent & best explained (given our current level of scientific understanding) by one coherent method which is still subject to disproval. What the right wingers do is distort the term into meaning something it doesn't, namely, they use it as synonymous with "hypothesis," which doesn't have the same strength of evidentiary support. (In practice, they seem to use both terms as synonymous with "lie," but that's another issue.)

Of course, they are completely unwilling, even unable, to subject their explanations to the same scrutiny and threat of disproof, and that's what makes creationism non-scientific. I don't mind having schools address explanations of the world that are wrong provided they're debatable. Creationism is by definition not debatable, and therefore not worthy of being taught in public schools.

That said, personally I think of evolution as continuous creation -- If there is a god, it makes sense to me that god would use evolution as a mechanism by which creation functions without the need for direct intervention. With so many things going on in the universe, probably including numerous other life-bearing worlds, the concept that any divine creator would have time to spend tinkering with every detail on our planet is sheer hubris. Likewise, the creationist idea that god placed fossils to imply evolution when there isn't any is idiotic blasphemy -- it implies god would go to a lot of effort to deceive us, an idea obviously contrary to their belief that we're "favored."

1:05 PM  
Blogger gus steeves said...

These people really aren't interested in the children. If they were, they'd realize that most of their attitudes, especially their insistence on some form of Armageddon, are counterproductive. Caring for the future requires believing that life on Earth is valuable and that we will have a future, and they don't.

You're right that most scientists realize we may never find every possible "missing link" and that doing so is irrelevant to the validity of evolution anyway. The fact that science deems it a theory simply means that the preponderance of evidence gleaned from various sources (not just bones, for example) is strongly consistent & best explained (given our current level of scientific understanding) by one coherent method which is still subject to disproval. What the right wingers do is distort the term into meaning something it doesn't, namely, they use it as synonymous with "hypothesis," which doesn't have the same strength of evidentiary support. (In practice, they seem to use both terms as synonymous with "lie," but that's another issue.)

Of course, they are completely unwilling, even unable, to subject their explanations to the same scrutiny and threat of disproof, and that's what makes creationism non-scientific. I don't mind having schools address explanations of the world that are wrong provided they're debatable. Creationism is by definition not debatable, and therefore not worthy of being taught in public schools.

That said, personally I think of evolution as continuous creation -- If there is a god, it makes sense to me that god would use evolution as a mechanism by which creation functions without the need for direct intervention. With so many things going on in the universe, probably including numerous other life-bearing worlds, the concept that any divine creator would have time to spend tinkering with every detail on our planet is sheer hubris. Likewise, the creationist idea that god placed fossils to imply evolution when there isn't any is idiotic blasphemy -- it implies god would go to a lot of effort to deceive us, an idea obviously contrary to their belief that we're "favored."

1:05 PM  
Blogger gus steeves said...

Sorry about the multiple posts. I kept getting responses saying the website wasn't accessible/my modem had crashed, so I didn't think they went through.

1:11 PM  
Blogger gus steeves said...

Sorry about the multiple posts. I kept getting responses saying the website wasn't accessible/my modem had crashed, so I didn't think they went through.

1:11 PM  
Blogger z said...

Adolf Hitler - Good christian Dictator.
G. Bush - God worshipping war monger.
Certain Catholic Priests - God loving child molesters.
Certain Protestant Ministers - God fearing money grubbers.
Islamic Terrorists - God devoted murderers.

Should I go on?

I have a different theory.
Mine is that all religions are a tool of enslavement for governments to more easily control the population. From the first Shaman to the current Pope, they've been hand in glove with governments as well as corporations, since the beginning.
Their true God is profiting off the labor of the citizenry.

8:55 AM  

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