Reinike Supports Teaching Creationism

In the second interesting moment in the City Council race since the nominations (the first being the revelations about Kenneth Jackson’s penchant for stabbing people) , Republican candidate Ann Reinike said at a Wednesday candidate forum that she supports teaching creationism in Charlottesville schools. Apparently by way of explanation, Reineke said that she does not believe that creationism is a religious topic. Bob Hodous, chairman of the Charlottesville Republicans, defended Reineke, saying that not everybody believes in evolution. It is noteworthy that city councilors have no role in the school system, other than selecting school board members. Liz Nelson had the story in yesterday’s Progress.

59 thoughts on “Reinike Supports Teaching Creationism”

  1. tsk tsk Reinike, you have now given the left enough ammunition to maybe discredit you big time.

    Reinike could have all the best solutions for everything but since she believes in creationism she is in trouble. Christians believe in creationism and christians are bad occuring to a lot of liberals.

    I am still curious on how CVille would look like since Jackson is a black gay male. Would have it been different if he was a (D)? If you don’t vote for him, you are a homophobe and a racist but since he is a Republican, it is okay.

  2. I don’t understand why the schools should teach creation or evolution. Neither approach is testable or can be known in any certain way.

  3. Evolution is indeed testable.

    Historical sciences are tested differently than labratory sciences. Basically it goes like this, they see some evidence, and say "well if thats true, this leads me to believe that this other thing is true too", and then they look for evidence for that other thing. If they find it, it validates their hypothesis. It has been "tested".

    You can also test evolution in a labratory. Even a schoolchild can watch bacteria evolve in a matter of days or weeks.

    You shouldn’t go around saying things are untestable if you know nothing about science. It makes you look like an idiot.

  4. Christians believe in creationism and christians are bad occuring to a lot of liberals.

    Now, that’s just silly, and you know it.

    Firstly, Christians are far, far from unified in support of creationism. I know many Christians, but I know very few who believe that god took up a handful of mud and turned into a man, into which he breathed to make Adam, from whom all of us are descended. For all kinds of data on this, see Religious Tolerance.org’s information.

    Secondly, to say that her statement is a problem because “christians are bad [according] to a lot of liberals” is equally ridiculous. Her statement is a problem because, if she supports teaching creationism in science class (which she has not said, since she’s refused to clarify), that would be teaching non-science in science class. Why not teach the beliefs of Raelians, or Buddhists, or Hindus? Gravity, like evolution, is a mere theory, but nobody suggests that we teach that things go down because God says they should.

  5. I have a solution.

    Jenneth Jackson, if you’re reading this, please stab Ann Reinike.

    Problem solved.

  6. that would be teaching non-science in science class. Why not teach the beliefs of Raelians, or Buddhists, or Hindus? Gravity, like evolution, is a mere theory, but nobody suggests that we teach that things go down because God says they should.

    Well put. Most people dont understand science. There is NO SUCH THING as proof in science. All scientific knowledge is just theory. The closest thing to proof in science is consensus among scientists. Proof is something exclusive to mathematics.

    As for teaching other religous creation myths in science class. I dont think thats a good analogy.

    A better analogy would be teaching astrology instead of astronomy, or witchcraft instead of medicine.

  7. What I am saying and what I have noticed is that Christians in today’s world gets the short end of everything. I am not christian however i did noticed that christians as a whole are not protray in the best of lights especially by those people on the left side of the fence. I always hear these words going around "the christian right" like if you are christian then you ONLY vote for (R).

    Now, I am pointing out the fact when Reinike decides to open a can of worms with the forbiding fruit of creationism within public schools that is isn’t a good idea.

  8. We teach false theories all the time. Newtonian mechanics is false, Einstein’s relativity being the more accurate theory.

    I don’t think Ann advocates giving equal time to creationism and evolution. She probably doesn’t want teachers to engender distrust in the students by pretending there is no other truth but theirs.

    If they taught only creation, the students would be angry when they discovered there were other theories. So should the voters be angry to learn that the corporate media are omitting weightier issues in order to influence the outcome of the election.

    Daily Progress continues black-out of urban renewal debate: One candidate aware of the issue

    Republicans give press conference the day before League of Women Voters’ candidates forum

    Public has look at Council candidates: Affordable housing theme

    Housing Authority archives closed to the public

  9. What I am saying and what I have noticed is that Christians in today’s world gets the short end of everything.

    There are a lot of Christians that would like to provide that impression. :) But Christians make up the majority of this country. They seem to be thriving. :)

    I always hear these words going around “the christian right” like if you are christian then you ONLY vote for (R).

    I wish I’d seen this post 20 minutes ago. :) I just spent an hour crunching data about ideology in a VT computer lab on SPSS, using the 1996 National Election Study data. I ran crosstabs to determine the correlation between ideology and specific issues, to determine if the combination serves as an predictor of party affiliation. The issues that I looked at included stance on abortion, support of prayer in schools, support of defense spending, support of welfare spending, and, yes, religious affiliation. I was looking for data that corresponded strongly (and thus permitted me to reject the null hypothesis), and I ended up discarding the religion/ideology/party affiliation connection, because religion was not a statistically significant predictor (using chi squared and gamma) of party affiliation or ideology.

    In a nutshell, you’d think that there might be a meaningful correlation between religion and ideology, but, based on my brief, amateur analysis, there’s not.

  10. Newtonian mechanics is false, Einstein’s relativity being the more accurate theory.

    That is a common misconception. Relativity and Newtonian physics cover completely seperate phenomena, and are both equally correct models of nature.

    Newtonian physics is completely correct. Some people say its innacurate. But its only as inaccurate as you want it to be. The more time you spend calculating, the more accurate your results become.

    Relativistic mechanics supersedes Newtonian physics for objects with very large velocities near the speed of light.

    Quantum physics supersedes Newtonian physics for objects at very small scales, near the plank scale.

    Relativistic Quantum Field Theory supersedes Newtonian physics for systems with both Relativistic and Quantum properties.

    None of these theories disproves the others. The way physics has worked for hundreds of years is that new theories build upon already tested and accepted theories. It doesnt replace them, it simply builds on top of them. If Supersymmetry and String Theory are ever completed and tested, they will build upon what we already know. Providing a mathematical framework to integrate the existing theories into one uber-theory.

    You could think of it as a toolbox. You use the theory that fits the task. They are all equally valid.

    That is not to say Newtonian Physics didnt have its flaws. At the end of the 19th century a few flaws were found. It was these very flaws that led to the development of relativity and quantum mechanics. Thats why we dont call it Newtonian mechanics anymore, we call the repaired version “Classical Mechanics” which is what is taught in schools all over the world today.

    Most new theories in physics result from someone saying “hmmm thats odd”. Newtonian physics certainly didnt have any more flaws in the 19th century than modern theories do today. We just don’t know what the flaws are yet.

  11. A better analogy would be teaching astrology instead of astronomy, or witchcraft instead of medicine

    Astronomy is more theory than most sciences because it is not empirically attainable (at least for the foreseeable future). Yet Astrology is entirely anecdotal. Medicine and witchcraft are sometimes quite similar in my experience, especially when it strays from relieving headaches. And at least witchcraft is cost-effective!

    That’s not to say I’m disagreeable with you.

  12. Yeah, that’s why every couple of years they reshuffle the theory chart: sometime, chimps’r us, other times, we’re amphibious descendants. Now is good’ole Rex a bird in disguise or really a big lizard?

    Theories are only as valid as the promoters behind them. Although I’ll give you the average scientific theory is more rigorous than the typical economic theory!!!

  13. 1) did anyone study Greek/Roman Mythology in school?

    yeah, i thought so, isn’t that religion?

    2) did anyone read about the salem witch trials in history?

    hmm, religion

    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH TEACHING RELIGION IN SCHOOL AS LONG AS IT IS TAUGHT AS A BASIS FOR CULTURES AND NO PREFERENCE IS GIVEN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER (btw if anyone bothered to ask her – and actually print what she said correctly – they would have realized that is what she was trying to get across)

    what Ann did is what most of these idiots that have run this city are afraid to do…

    SPEAK WHAT THEY FEEL AND THINK, probably because most politicians in this town have not HAD an ORIGINAL thought in decades.

    PEOPLE, WAKE UP, this town has been mismanaged for years because people are afraid to put a check in a box with an R next to it.

    WHO CARES what political affiliation these people are, some of them are going to sit down and work together, and some of them are just going to waste YOUR MONEY on senseless crap while they use the position to line the pockets of their business.

    PULL YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR %#$@! and think before you vote this year, dont cast your vote because some idiot on a newsboard and twenty other morons who have nothing better to do than rake muck blow a comment that has no bearing on how someone will perform the job completely out of proportion.

    DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP, break free, use your own mind, not the collective Demo/Repub mindless mindset.

    ok, i’m done, but seriously people do something smart in this town for a change.

    -web

  14. almost forgot, if anyone thinks that the local press is going to give them an unslanted, honest, unbiased, and complete account of anything that goes on around here then i have some nice bridges to sell you.

    remember these guys aren’t in the business of telling you and me everything, they are in the business of selling neswpapers, and to quote a local reporter, "controversy sells."

    don’t take the press’s word for what is going on, get out, go talk to these candidates.

    -web

  15. "DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP, break free, use your own mind, not the collective Demo/Repub mindless mindset. "

    my thoughts exactly, you know the moment an (I) like Nader comes up, everyone is backlashing him for running. What about the freedom of choice? We need more choices instead of 2. That is the problem and that is why everything is screw up.

    BTW, I hope to god Jessie "The Body" runs in 2008. I don’t think anyone would discredit his military background. He would have the balls to stand up and not be tugged by which party he is from.

  16. Theory doesnt mean the same thing in science that it means in common usage. Most people use theory to mean a hunch or a guess. In science Theory is as close to "truth" as you can get. Thats why they use the term hypothesis to mean hunch.

    I dont know what you mean about Astronomy being empirical. What do you mean? It is most certainly measurable.

    If you want something immesurable, look at particle physics. You cant see, touch, taste, feel a subatomic particle, but you know its there because you can observe its effects. You cant see wind either, but you know its there!

    Witchcraft and medicine similar? I’m not even going there :)

  17. They dont change the theory. You can test the DNA of any existing animal and determine its descent. It doesn’t change.

    It did change when DNA testing came about, because we used similarities in physiology to classify organisms. Which was not accurate. So thats one change, not lots of changes.

    You’re right that theories are only as valid as their promoters. However in the case of evolution, ALL scientists are in total agreement. And I’d say that all scientists on earth agreeing on something is pretty damn good!

  18. The issue isnt teaching religon in schools, the issue is teaching religon masquerading as science.

  19. Why can’t we get over this monkeys to man thing? This is the 21st century!!! I just dont get it. Don’t you think scientists should be in charge of deciding what is taught in SCIENCE class?

    Here is the position of the National Academy of Sciences:

    http://books.nap.edu/html/creationism/

    Creationism doesnt just contradict the theory of evolution. It completely destroys pretty much every scientific field. Geology, zoology, palentology, anthropology, biology, medicine, astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics, etc. It goes on and on.

    Creation "science" says that the earth is 4000 years old and that dinosaurs lived at the same time as man.

    This is not just an issue of teaching religon in school. They already force students in albemarle county to read the bible. The issue is teaching religous dogma as if it were science.

    The supreme court already ruled that it is unconstitutional to teach creationism in schools. So shouldn’t this be a non-issue?

    Lower courts have also ruled that it is illegal to omit evolution from science class. Thats why legislators in georgia couldnt omit evolution, and instead decided to teach it, but rename it to "biological changes over time". The federal courts will not allow them to remove it from the curriculum.

    So why would anyone even suggest teaching creationism in school? Other than to draw the ridicule of the entire nation?

  20. So why would anyone even suggest teaching creationism in school? Other than to draw the ridicule of the entire nation?

    It reminds me of people who petition their school board to ban “Catcher in the Rye.” What must it like to be a caricature of a cliche?

  21. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH TEACHING RELIGION IN SCHOOL AS LONG AS IT IS TAUGHT AS A BASIS FOR CULTURES AND NO PREFERENCE IS GIVEN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER (btw if anyone bothered to ask her – and actually print what she said correctly – they would have realized that is what she was trying to get across)

    It sure looks to me like the Progress tried real hard to get her to explain why she meant, but she refused. From the Progress:

    Reinicke responded yes, she would consider teaching in schools the theory that a higher power created the world. She elaborated in an e-mail Thursday but did not return repeated telephone calls to clarify whether she thought creationism belonged in civics class or science class.

    (My emphasis.) Although “civics class” doesn’t make much sense, I can’t imagine that anybody would care if, in history or social studies, students learned about the Christian mythology. At Western Albemarle High School, we had a “The Bible as Literature” portion of my 9th grade English class. Nobody had a problem with that, at least that I was aware of. If this is the sort of thing that Ms. Reineke is referring to, she’d be wise to give a call to the newspaper and let them know. (As she would have been wise to have put in an appearance at the Dogwood Parade yesterday to give people an opportunity to ask her.) Perhaps she has been living in a hole, and is unaware that suggestions of teaching creationism result in strong reactions.

    PULL YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR %#$@! and think before you vote this year, dont cast your vote because some idiot on a newsboard and twenty other morons who have nothing better to do than rake muck blow a comment that has no bearing on how someone will perform the job completely out of proportion.

    Gosh, you’re convincing. You called me an idiot and everybody else posting here a moron. Perhaps you could pull your head out of your own ass?

    Oh, did that make you bristle? See — insults are a particularly effective method of changing people’s minds, are they?

  22. I’ve known it for years and I know it now: That Heal Cvill guy is one crazy motherfuucker. Always has been, always will be. This = further proof.

  23. It doesnt matter if it is in civics class or science class or any other class. Creation "science" tries to pass itself off as fact. If you teach it as "christian mythology" then it ceases to be creationism.

    So it doesnt really matter if she clarifies herself or not, she’s screwed either way.

  24. In 1963 a group of parents of high school students in Columbus Ohio asked the school board to ban Catcher in the Rye, BRAVE NEW WORLD and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for being "anti-white" and "obscene".

    If I advocated banning the bible from schools on the basis that it is full of sex and violence, I would be labeled a godless communist.

  25. oh, again, the facts msrepresented by the media, and if you believe everything that you read in our local media then you truly do need to remove your head from your rectum. first of all, the question was a set up and not being a politician she fell for it (notice everyone else declined to answer it), second of all she was not quoted in entirety, and third of all she could not be reached for comment because she was teaching a class and did in fact make several attempts to contact Liz only to receive her voice mail.

    so again, I reiterate, if you want to make an informed decision then use your heads and find out the facts, seek the truth, if you blindly follow any of these guys without knowing what they are going to do to your city then may Allah/Buddha/Brahman/God/Yahweh/Jehova/etc help you all.

    besides, most of the people around here who are spouting this drivel will never change their minds anyway because they either enjoy living on the plantation of C’Ville or they are to blind to realize that the people that they keep electing are running this city intop the dirt.

  26. maybe someone could enlighten me as to what supreme court decision specifically bans the teaching of creationism or any other religion in schools. last i checked there were several publicly funded schools and institutes of higher learning that taught about religion and creationism as part of that.

    again, i simply have to say that this is a moot point anyway because the question was a set up to expose the rookie politician as a right wing fanatic and has no basis what so ever on anything because city coucil has nothing to do with the academic curricula in the schools.

  27. maybe someone could enlighten me as to what supreme court decision specifically bans the teaching of creationism or any other religion in schools. last i checked there were several publicly funded schools and institutes of higher learning that taught about religion and creationism as part of that.

    There’s a pair of problems here. Firstly, laws are not created solely through SCOTUS rulings. If the SCOTUS has failed to adjudicate on the matter, that does not indicate that a law or ruling has not happened at some other level (municipal, state, federal, local court, circuit court, federal court). Secondly, nobody but you appears to be asserting that anybody has a problem with teaching about creationism along with any number of other mythologies. It’s teaching it as if it’s true that’s the problem.

  28. Edwards v. Aguillard

    U.S. Supreme Court Decision

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/edwards-v-aguillard.html

    Epperson v. Arkansas

    United States Supreme Court

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/epperson-v-arkansas.html

    McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education

    Decision by U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mclean-v-arkansas.html

    Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District

    U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/peloza.html

    Daniel v. Waters

    U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/daniel-v-waters.html

    Wright v. Houston I.S.D.

    U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wright-v-hisd1.html

  29. A theory simply means there’s no certitude. A theory, scientific or not, is not the same as a theorem, even though their etymologies re the same. If you wish, a scientific theory is an analysis of constructs. A theorem is a generally or even universally accepted theory.

    I said astronomy is *not* empirically attainable for the forseeable future, because one cannot experience the existence of black holes billions of light years away.

    I like your comparsion between particle physics and the wind. Maybe that’s why I put witchdoctors on the same level as medical doctors.

  30. However in the case of evolution, ALL scientists are in total agreement

    I’m sure you meant to say virtually all scientists are in agreement over the basis of evolution. They are certainly not all unison on many of the specifics.

  31. Well, I’m kinda disappointed in the responses I’ve seen from some of you fellows here.

    The teaching of “creationism” most certainly belongs in science class. Any of you that think that keepin’ it out of schools is gonna to the least bit of good are stickin’ your heads in the sand. It is the perfect opportunity to present real-world problem of applying scientific thinking and a lesson in how science can apply to issues in our daily lives.

    The science class should have a frank discussion on the beliefs of creationism. Hopefully more in-depth that the oversimplified, derogatory pap I’ve seen spewed here (I mean you, Lars :) ), and explain exactly why it’s not science. If all you’re going to do is quote one group of people, whether they’re credible or crackpots, and dismiss the issue out of hand then you’re discrediting yourself, by using the same tactics you despise in “the other side.”

    There’s no reason a science teacher can’t explain the most current beliefs in creationism, which span the gulf from mystical to scientific, and that what the argument boils down to is that if God performed an act of creation, He did it so perfectly that we can’t tell the difference, and thus it is unfalsifiable and so does not lend itself to proof or disproof by science.

    This is an excellent science lesson. It points out exactly what science is, what the limitations of science are, and the futility of arguing about a non-scientific “belief” or “theory” using science. It also explains to the students why they (the school) continue down the road of teaching evolutionary theory even when the students may feel that it’s a matter of belief; that evolutionary theory is the only theory that does lend itself to the scientific method.

    In this way, you do not get people feeling that they’re being called idiots because they believe in creation, you teach them why science can’t “answer” the question, why evolution is being taught the way that it is, and the limitations of trying to apply science to philosophy in the first place. And everybody wins.

    Yay.

    Ok, I’ll hop off my soapbox now.

  32. Ann Reineke did make an appearance at the Dogwood Parade. She introduced herself to me and shook my hand, as I watched the parade on Market Street.

    We didn’t discuss creationism.

  33. According to that link, nearly half of the respondents believe God created man from the dirt. If you winnowed that number down even further to respondents who also describe themselves as Christian, the percentage would undoubtedly go up. So maybe there are many more Christians who believe in creation than you suggest, but you just don’t run in their circles. As a counter-example, I know many, many Christians who believe in creation, many of them with IQs over 100. ;)

  34. Just because some things in astronomy or medicine are still unknown, doesnt mean they’re unknowable. The secrets of black holes can be discovered with mathematics and high energy particle accelerators.

    And there is certainly a lot more evidence for medical science than for witchcraft or any other superstition. Even if it has its limitations.

    Thats what this whole debate comes down to… Superstition. They throw out an entire universe of empirical evidence for what is written in one little poorly translated book.

  35. The problem is, if you legally allow creation to be taught, it wont be taught like that, it will be taught as fact. That would disadvantage students once they get to a university where they’re expected to know the truth.

    The definition of faith is believing in something that can neither be proven nor disproven. This is the exact definition of what science is not. But the logic of teaching what something isnt doesnt make sense. Should we do algebra in english class so we know what english isnt?

    And yes, I only showed one side. But its the side of the National Acadamy of Sciences, The National Center For Science Education, The Supreme Court of the United States, all of the teachers organizations, and almost every university in the world. Who else should we listen to about science class? If it was religous zealot class, things would be different.

    I see this as religous nuts who are upset that their own religous devotees do not believe their own dogma. So they feel the need to legally force it upon them.

  36. Although I certainly agree teaching creationism at the same level as the sciences is certainly ludicrous, you need to reread your statements: they are sometimes as dogmatic as faith-based belief systems. I am not saying high-energy particle accelerators aren’t useful and exciting things, but you need to admit, too, that many theories are promotions of personal beliefs (especially the break-though type). I like to make fun of the medical field more often than the hard-core physicists because the meds often have an ulterior motive other than science. That is the corrupting thought in the scientific process, isnít it?

    Anyway, as long as spirituality has a place within the sciences, then coolio. Otherwise, science is just a machine just like every other bug-ridden machine.

  37. 1) did anyone study Greek/Roman Mythology in school?

    yeah, i thought so, isn’t that religion?

    2) did anyone read about the salem witch trials in history?

    hmm, religion

    You are talking about two different values for the expression “teaching religion.” Greek and Roman mythology is not taught as something for the students to accept, practice, or use for their personal understanding of the world or the nature of the universe; it is presented as a historical artifact for the student to study in an attempt to understand how the Greeks and Romans thought and how they approached the world. No one goes into science class, opens a textbook on astronomy, and reads Ptolemy or myths about Helios and Selene as explanations for the structure of the solar system.

    Where “teaching creationism” fits into this is a touchy subject. What Reinicke describes, teaching it as a way to understand world cultures and world religions, would seem to put it in the first category. But then she claims it can be divorced from religion, which is absurd – creationism is by definition a religious belief.

    And that is what makes people nervous when the subject of “teaching creationism” comes up. Because whenever you hear that term, it almost always means someone is trying to sneak the Bible into science classes by the back door, teaching religious dogma disguised as pseudoscience, not as a way of understanding a historical event or a cultural belief but as an indoctrination in religious precepts given to the students in direct contravention of the First Amendment.

    I agree that this was a shameless partisan trap and a bad reason to leave the Council in the hands of Democrats who have served the city very badly, but I think Hodous and Reinicke need to be called to account over this.

  38. You might be right, Lafe, if creationists were sane or rational opponents. But they aren’t. Creationism, or, to be more specific, “Creation Science” as a movement is so full of awful, awful science that the damage done by allowing it into the classroom is intolerable. And yes, refusing to grant it that mantle of respectability is the best approach.

    As to why creationism isn’t science and evolution is, that’s very simple. Creationists love to muddy the waters and distract from the essential difference by saying “Well, they’re both just theories, which means neither can be proved, right?”, or “Ultimately it’s just about belief – you believe in your theory, and I believe in mine.”

    All of that is beside the point. Science isn’t about theory or belief, it describes a method. Evolution and natural selection are theories which were developed by looking at observed phenomena, developing hypotheses to explain these observations, and testing these hypotheses against further observed facts; that is the essence of scientific method.

    By contrast, Creationism is the product of Revealed Truth. Its proponents do not and cannot claim to have first arrived at it by looking at the facts and only then formulating a hypothesis to explain them; the truth was revealed to them by God either directly or, in most cases, through scripture. Any confirmation through observation of fact is purely secondary to this revelation. In the end, the mark of a scientist is this: if the facts and his or her theory cannot be reconciled, the theory must be wrong and therefore must be modified or discarded. But for the creationist, the idea that the facts are in conflict with Revealed Truth simply is not a possibility – if it appears that way, your observation of facts must be incorrect, and the data must be fudged or discarded until the “right” results are obtained.

    And yes, that is the discussion I imagine you think would be a good idea to have in the classroom, but an honest discussion of it will never happen, because it would show that evolution is good science and creationism is not, and “Creation Scientists” will never allow that to happen: they insist on having their cake and eating it too, that is, that their belief is both revealed truth and valid science, and any discussion that shows the inherent contradiction in such a position will be unpalatable to them.

    The essential problem we’re facing here is an irreduceable one: fundamentalists realize that we have to have science classes in our schools to put more rockets in space and H-bombs in silos than the Russkiyes or the A-rabs, but they loathe the very existence of scientific thinking as a cultural phenomenon. They don’t understand it or what its limits are and have no desire for an honest debate or discussion about those things; all they seek is to undermine its influence in any way possible in favor of a worldview where one pledges allegiance to one of several competing arbitrary dogmas.

  39. The problem is, if you legally allow creation to be taught, it wont be taught like that, it will be taught as fact.

    I’m fairly sure that the curriculum can be set to teach what we wish it to teach. The above is simply hyperbole.

    That would disadvantage students once they get to a university where they’re expected to know the truth.

    This is also hyperbole. Einstein was real disadvantaged eh? So were/are the rest of the scientists who hold a belief in God? Please.

    Now, it seems to me that you also just set yourself and/or those universities up as the arbiters of “truth.” You believe that creation didn’t happen. Your belief is irrelevant. Whether or not God created the universe and/or earth and/or us is solely a matter of belief. Because it cannot be proven or disproven by science. You should know better than to think that science can answer the question at all.

    This is the exact definition of what science is not.

    And this discussion is a perfect illustration of why we should teach the limitations of science as well. Since some people ascribe much more to it than they should. You are making the exact same mistake in the opposite direction, thinking that science can disprove creationism. It cannot.

    You are correct that science cannot be used to teach creationism, nor should it be. Because science demands falsifiability, it is restricted to only those things which we can explain or test using (potentially) observation and experimentation. Obviously a matter of belief does not fall in this category.

    However, if you use this argument to say that this subject should be restricted from discussion in science class, then you’re advocating banning the opportunity for students to apply critical thinking in science class. This is also known as censorship.

    I see this as religous nuts who are upset that their own religous devotees do not believe their own dogma. So they feel the need to legally force it upon them.

    I think you’re also a bit confused between “legally allow” and “legally require.”

  40. You might be right, Lafe, if creationists were sane or rational opponents. But they aren’t.

    Bit of a broad brush there. But you and I essentially agree on this point. Some of what is advocated by so-called creation scientists is just a load of garbage. I do not advocate including garbage in science class. :)

    All of that is beside the point. Science isn’t about theory or belief, it describes a method.

    I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree. Which is what I’ve been trying to get across to Lars. The scientific method cannot be applied to a belief in creationism. It also cannot be applied to a belief that creation didn’t happen. That’s not what it’s for. It can be applied to the question of the origins of the earth/universe/us, and by the scientific method’s very nature this search cannot scientifically include God.

    This is the discussion in science class that I advocate. Even if it’s given in simple language, “It may be that God created the universe. It may be that He didn’t. There is no way for science to answer this question, and here’s why:”

    but an honest discussion of it will never happen,

    Pessimist. :)

    Personally, I hold a belief in God. Whether He guided evolution, created the universe (complete with history) in 6 days, created man out of mud, or “other” is really irrelevant to my faith. I have no problem with schools teaching evolution in class.

    But if a child says they believe that God created us, there’s a huge difference between the teacher telling that child they are wrong and telling them that the answer is unprovable using science. The former is just as wrong-headed as the fanatics that you mentioned in the first paragraph, and the latter is correct. :)

  41. Not everyone believes in evolution? True.

    Not everyone believes the world is round, either.

    Some people think we faked the Apollo moon landings.

    Some think the holocost never happened.

    I’m a conservative – but not a Republican. The DAY that the public schools start teaching creationism is his last day of public school. I’ll home school him before he is taught creationism in the public school system. ‘Nuff said.

  42. I agree. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of religions … each with varying theories on the creation of the universe.

    Also evolution has some variances througout the scientific community, few scientists are suggesting that the world is only 10,000 years old and dinosaurs never existed. That is – in the scientific community there is a little more consistancy in the "belief" of evolution that the religious community has with creationism.

    About the only thing the religions of the world agree on is that it’s all magic and if you believe, it must be true.

    Hell, anyone can make up a religion at any time. The only requirement for a religion to even be a religion is that it has followers (uh, "believers", sorry) – otherwise it’s nothing.

    No scientist has ever told me that I was going to burn for all eternity if I didn’t believe in dinosaurs. You gotta’ respect that. :)

  43. It’s a good article. So, I guess I’m not a citizen.

    I’m an example of a conservative without a home.

    I’m not a Republican – not while the party continues to affiliate itself with the "religious right."

    Call me the "agnostic right" if you will. I don’t want holy rollers dictating how I act in the privacy of my home. I firmly support your right to do as you damn well please if you’re not hurting anyone else. Libertarian, a bit, I guess.

    But for anyone to imply that somehow I am not a citizen – well, I wish I had known that before I fought in George The First’s War in the Desert back in 1991. I would have said "no."

    Religion is a total turn off to me. I think it’s the root of most of the evil in this world – more people have likely died in the name of God, Allah, Zeus, Odin or the Good Witch of the North than for any other "reason."

    I can think for myself – and certainly don’t need any guidelines to tell me how to think. If there is a God, then he gave us brains to use, not to mindlessly obey what some a-hole yells into a microphone on Sunday morning evangelical television.

    If I have offended any religious people – tough. I also firmly support my right to offend anyone I damn well please. I further support their right to tell me to f-off, if it makes them feel better. But, they won’t because some book told them that was a bad idea.

  44. Well, you’re certainly right on one count. Religion is not testable. And, if it was, you wouldn’t be allowed to, anyway.

    It’s not about certainty. It’s about probabbility. Evolution, based on REAL WORLD OBSERVATIONS is most likely at least partly true.

    What evidence do we have of God? None. Nada. Nil. Question creationaists and it always comes down, at the end of the day, to this simple statement:

    “Well, you have to have faith.”

    Nice.

    Sir? We have not received your mortgage payment yet. It’s three months late. Are you sending it?

    Yes. It’s on the way.

    You said that last month.

    Well, you have to have faith!

  45. But creationism is not a theory at all. A theory generally has SOMETHING supporting it. Creationists have nothing but an old book that was translated a bazillion times over the course of a couple of thousand years.

    It’s a book. Someone WROTE it. No one even claims that that someone was God, generally.

    The bible is a story. It’s a pretty good story. But I think it’s safe to say it’s fiction until someone proves otherwise.

    If not, then anyone can call anything a theory and demand that it be taught in school.

    Some people believe we were planted here by UFO’s. Some people think the world is flat. Some people think you should eat a cup of dirt every day.

    Show me a guy manifesting some fish or parting a major waterway and we’ll start teaching creationism in school.

  46. You make some good points … but I don’t think it would be presented that way. The "religious right" that turns me off so much wouldn’t allow it.

    God waved his hand and <poof> Adam and Eve were frolicking nekkid in the Garden.

  47. I don’t think ANYTHING should be restricted from discussion in class.

    If a topic comes up, it can be discussed. But we’re talking about establishing a curriculum for the presentation of creationaism in the public schools. There is a difference.

    If we want to have a class on religions of the world – so be it. As long as we include the number of people killed in the name of God as part of the lesson, I am all for it.

  48. I’m fairly sure that the curriculum can be set to teach what we wish it to teach. The above is simply hyperbole.

    This is a mistake you make time and time again. Unless of course you intend to *sell* a viewpoint yet know full well it’s bullshit. Anyone with half a critical brain will acknowledge that teaching creationism in any way other than a cultural curiosity or a spiritual metaphor is destined to be “used” by its promoters.

    This is also hyperbole. Einstein was real disadvantaged eh? So were/are the rest of the scientists who hold a belief in God? Please.

    I agree with you there. Youngens that can’t tell the difference between rigorous methodological thinking and metaphorical pedagogy really should not be in college in the first place.

    Youíre right: science and religion can only cohabitate so far before they start to contradict each other. And indeed, itís a matter of belief which one is more accurate.

    That said, anyone in their right mind knows that science is much closer to recounting what really happened in the beginning than religion. Itís just that science is so cold-hearted about it and I believe (yes, I said that!) many people wish to reject the lack of humanity and therefore mystery in the scientists projection. Ipso facto religious stonewalling.

    I think you’re also a bit confused between “legally allow” and “legally require.”

    Oh stop being so pompous!

  49. If a topic comes up, it can be discussed. But we’re talking about establishing a curriculum for the presentation of creationaism in the public schools. There is a difference.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “presentation,” I guess. I’m not advocating public schools teaching creationism as “the way it happened,” in school. Nor am I advocating teaching “a religious viewpoint” in school as an alternative to evolution. What I’m advocating is teaching why science can’t answer the question, either positively or negatively. I think a lot of folks don’t really understand this.

    On the one hand you’ve got misguided people who think that science can “vindicate” creationism. On the other hand, you’ve got misguided people who think that science can disprove creationism. And I’d like to see both hands worth of people smacked. ;)

  50. Wow, this is the first time I’ve replied to you in just ages. :)

    This is a mistake you make time and time again. Unless of course you intend to *sell* a viewpoint yet know full well it’s bullshit. Anyone with half a critical brain will acknowledge that teaching creationism in any way other than a cultural curiosity or a spiritual metaphor is destined to be “used” by its promoters.

    Nah, it’s really and truly hyperbole. If we’re talking about the way things should be, then I’m going to talk about how I think they should be. If you (or anyone else) wants to then turn around and say, “Well, realistically it won’t happen,” it’s completely beside my point.

    But to answer your point, I’ll repeat what I said to Bruce…

    Pessimist. :)

    Youíre right: science and religion can only cohabitate so far before they start to contradict each other. And indeed, itís a matter of belief which one is more accurate.

    I suppose that depends on what you mean by religion. I have seen many religious dogmas that are very threatened by the enlightened thinking that science has brought us. However, I see no reason whatsoever that a belief in God, or “other” spirituality, cannot peacefully co-exist with rigorous, scientific thinking. Many, many scientists have felt exactly the same way. And it should be understood by all that science won’t prove or disprove His existence.

    That said, anyone in their right mind knows that science is much closer to recounting what really happened in the beginning than religion.

    Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t make ad-hominem attacks on anyone else who doesn’t agree with them. Besides which, it really doesn’t help. Science has taught us that we really have no idea whatsoever about what happened in the beginning. We’ve got some really crude guesses, and that’s it. The idea that we’ve got any kind of “handle” on the truth is utterly laughable.

    Or did you mean “evolution” instead of “the beginning?”

    Oh stop being so pompous!

    Eat my shorts. :)

  51. Why is it a bad thing to teach two different points of view?

    Because then there’s a chance the kids might believe something different than you believe?

    Tragic, huh?

  52. “But if a child says they believe that God created us, there’s a huge difference between the teacher telling that child they are wrong and telling them that the answer is unprovable using science.”

    This seems a red herring, Lafe. Are there widespread instances of primary/secondary school teachers saying to little Jimmy “no, Jimmy, God did NOT create the heavens and earth, that’s silly talk.” Based on my own experience in primary/secondary school AND my experience as a (college) teacher, I find this hard to believe, if only because in our modern litigious society, any teacher who publicly shot down a student’s religious belief would bring a lawsuit on the school PDQ. I think most teachers in public schools try not to say anything, either way, about God and religion, unless it’s in a course ON religion.

    I think that what is more likely the case in science classes, based on what I’ve seen in the science textbooks designed for primary/secondary levels, is that evolution is presented as a scientific theory, i.e., “some scientists believe…” I really doubt that either the books OR the teachers are saying Religious Child, You Are Wrong.

    Should have said, at the outset, that if a teacher were doing that, of course, I would think it wrong. But I don’t think that’s what science teachers do.

  53. This seems a red herring, Lafe. Are there widespread instances of primary/secondary school teachers saying to little Jimmy “no, Jimmy, God did NOT create the heavens and earth, that’s silly talk.”

    It is hard to believe isn’t it? And yet, I’ve had this very problem with my own kids’ school. In a city elementary school, a science teacher did indeed tell the kids that people came from monkeys, and told a child they were wrong when they protested that God made people starting with Adam and Eve. I wasn’t there to know exactly what was said, but my kid thought enough of it to tell me about it when he got home. So I got to explain about science, and its limits, to my child instead. He was pretty young, and I’m fairly sure we’ll have to have that talk a couple more times.

    For a different look at it check out the story about Professor Dini at Texas Tech. This fellow started off by saying that he would not write a recommendation for any student who didn’t believe in Darwinian evolution. It didn’t matter if they could adequately explain it, or understand it, they had to hold the personal belief that it was true. This did lead to a lawsuit and to an investigation by the DoJ. Professor Dini has since softened his stance, claiming to only write recommendations for students who can adequately explain the science behind evolution instead of requiring them to hold the same beliefs as himself. No doubt because of threats to his job. Realistically, however, I’m sure he’s doing exactly the same as before, which is his right.

    All that this builds up to is that no, it’s not really a red herring. It’s plenty present in our current school systems, low and high, and it is utterly, utterly ridiculous.

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