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the soap box

A theory is not a wild ass guess....

Just when I start to think there's hope for this country, some idiots in my state start doing this:

Returning creationism to classes is debated

Shockingly for once I'm not just annoyed at the random morons that get interviewed by the news media, I'm also kind of pissed off at the media since they keep leaving out a key fact in this whole "debate." A scientific theory is a WELL substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world. It's is NOT an opinion or a hunch. (see what The American Academy of Sciences has to say about it).

You can't compare creationism or intelligent design to the scientific theory of evolution because there is no genuine scientific evidence to support them. That's not to say that God didn't (or did) have a hand in getting us from point A to point B, just that without any meaningful evidence you can't include it in SCIENCE class.

That would be like bringing God into history class and saying that he was testing George Washington and the American Troops during their winter at Valley Forge and that once they proved that their faith was true he helped them go on to win the American Revolution. That may or may not be the case but we don't and we can't know that so all we can do is discuss actual facts. If people really wanted to honor their God or their creator they'd do their best to understand the world as it exists, not the world as they would like to think it does.

Hell, I'd even go so far as to point out that real scientists are a lot more humble than your average "true believer" because they're willing to admit that they could be wrong. The very act of calling it a theory and not a law or a fact alludes to that. That's the funny thing. We all know that most creationists or ID people will cling to their "theory" regardless of what scientific experiments show or try to prove. Even if we could somehow "prove" that God didn't exist scientifically, they're probably insist that it was just a theory and that they preferred their theory better.

That's not a theory, that's faith and a heavy dose of obstinance and you're welcome to it just keep it out of science class (and public school in general).

I'm getting fed-up with random people insisting that we bring THEIR religion into classrooms. How many of those people like Ms. Lee would want teachers to talk to their kids about ALL the different creationist theories out there? Better yet, why not bring in everyone's theories on everything? Do they want teachers teaching Islamic theories? Buddhist theories? How about teaching atheist theories? How would they like it if teachers went out of their way to explain why some people DON'T believe in God?

Religion should be left out of the classrooms entirely and people should teach THEIR children about their religion of choice and leave everyone else's kids alone to learn whatever their parents choose to teach (or not teach) them about faith/God/religion.


Your analogy has one major flaw: The religious nutjobs would probably love for that "God testing" to be taught in history class. A better analogy would be to claim it was, say, Mother Earth and the spirits of the trees, the skies, the rocks, the creatures punishing Washington and his troops for the harm they were causing to the environment. Just make sure it's actually a relevant statement from the point of view of the native tribes that were in the area at the time. It should be something the angry Christians strongly disagree with because of their faith, but something that should be treated with just as much respect as someone else's faith.

I think religion-as-fact should be left entirely out of classrooms. Any teachings on, about, or surrounding religions should refer to them in the same way we refer to the Greek and Roman gods. If those are to be taught as myths in the classroom, so should Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. If the ancient religions are deemed "religion" and studied from a "learn about others' beliefs" point of view, then such a study of Christianity is fine, too. It should be fair and equal. A segment or course about mythos/religions would be very insightful for our children, I think.
Well, I like the analogy because I think it does a good job of bridging science (which is a little inaccessible to 'average' people) and another subject that people have an easier time understanding.

I really don't think most/all Christians really want religion taught heavily in school, I think that the ID and creationist people have just done a good job of appropriating and twisting terms like "theory" so that people don't really see the "big deal" about it. That's why I like the analogy as it was worded, in my experience, more moderate folks can quickly see the problem with teaching any religion in schools and if not it's easy enough to then go "Oh so it would be ok to teach Islam? Orthodox judaism? etc..."

I agree with you about "religion-as-a-fact" I'd even go so far as to say that any religion that is commonly seen as "real" shouldn't be touched upon at all in any school environment. Even teaching it as a "myth" goes against my general feelings because it does basically say "it's not real" and IMO that also goes against the separation of church and state. I wonder if that isn't why there hasn't been so much of a backlash against secularism in the recent years/decades. It seems like, to a lot of faithful, secularism=atheism and I could see why it would upset some people.

Perhaps if we could find a happy medium of just leave it alone enitrely and make secular education simply "these are the facts and things we know, we leave it as an exercise for parents to discuss with their children what this means in the greater scheme of things" then we'd have less of these issues popping up in schools and they could focus on actually trying to teach kids physics and math and reading etc... instead of worrying about whose fairy tale we need to include in the curriculum.
I don't think the non-nutjobs are a problem here, at all. Those who want ID taught in schools are a highly vocal minority, I think, not a majority. There's the vocal minority that wants it not taught (in science class), and the general population that can't be bothered to listen. The general population won't listen to your analogy at all (unless you're talking to them one-on-one), but such an analogy would look great to the nutjobs. The analogy would be fine for a one-on-one discussion with someone who's not "on a side" in this, or someone who doesn't see why it's a big deal. But it would not help in a debate with an ID supporter, I don't think. We're looking at the analogy with different purposes in mind.

The problem with not touching on religion at all, in schools, is you end up with a lot of ignorance. I'm of the opinion that a lot of the hatred aimed at all Muslims would be lower if the general population was better educated about Islam and the differences between Islam and Muslim terrorism. A course that covered what religions believe and how this effects societies (even on a very shallow scale) could help with such bigotry. Then again, most American children don't pay attention in school, anyway, and probably wouldn't come out of the class with anything of value.
I was lucky enough to have my childhood interest in science encouraged despite my religious upbringing. Science fixes itself when it is wrong, and religion denies flaws. Faith is believe in the absence of evidence, and science depends on evidence to exist.

At a time when getting America back into science is BEYOND critical, this is an absolute horror.
I was in much the same boat growing up. I always found it odd that my experience with religion as a child transformed into a general appreciation for how amazing science (as it pertains to our understanding of the world/universe) is.

IMO there's no greater sign of respect to any theoretical creator than to try and understand the world as it exists, not as I'd like to think it does (or as someone who wrote a book 2,000 years ago says it does). One of the reasons I invariably come into conflict with most mainstream religious people is that I look at the world and I'm astonished at it's seemingly infinite variety and complexity and I can't grasp how they have an omniscient, omnipotent God who acts like a spoiled 5 year old. If I had an omniscient, omnipotent creator he/she/it would have created a universe a lot like this one and it would (and should) take thousands of years for us to maybe mostly understand how. It sure as hell wouldn't be even remotely close to instructions on how to make mac cheese from a box.

So, I don't know which way I really fall, I'm probably agnostic with a heavy does of reverence for the world/existence as a whole and a willingness to believe that there might be something out there (with a scientist/engineer's desire to see some hard data on the matter) and I look at this whole literalism movement and creationism and ID with more than just a little horror.
Very well said!
Religion should be left out of the classrooms entirely and people should teach THEIR children about their religion of choice and leave everyone else's kids alone to learn whatever their parents choose to teach (or not teach) them about faith/God

So true. Alternatively, religion can be in the classroom but must be classified as such (to minimise confusion between science and religious beliefs) and should include all aspects of religion (not just certain brands of Christianity).
In principle, I think that's a great idea. Unfortunately far too many people in the US have an amazing obsession with 'proving' that everything (that they want to prove) in the Bible is 100% accurate and real. It's amazing and more than a little scary really.

That's why I think 'real' religions should be kept out of schools entirely. Something that is generally seen as a myth (e.g. greek/roman/norse/etc...) is ok, but I'd really worry about trying to teach any religion because of how fragmented many of them are. It seems like a recipe for disaster (then again the current system is pretty bad too).
the earth is carried around on a turtle's back, no? that's the only creation theory i really feel like remembering.
Personally that's my favorite pet theory ;)