An interesting exchange took place during the Q and A of a talk entitled “Georgia Public School Board Members’ Beliefs Concerning the Inclusion of Creationism in the Science Curriculum.” The speaker was Kathie Morgan of LIberty University.
The talk itself was unremarkable, even by the crushingly low standards of creationist scholarship. The premise was that there are ways of bringing creationism into the classroom, in the form of supplementary materials beyond what the state requirements mandate, that do not run afoul of any Supreme Court rulings. Morgan and her colleagues decided to investigate the relationship between the personal beliefs of school board members, and their receptivity to the idea of bringing creationism into the science classroom.
A look at their paper reveals that they used a random sample of 144 people out of one thousand thirty-four board members. These folks were then sent a survey, which was answered by 66, or forty-six percent of the people.
Pretty thin gruel for a serious statistical study, but since their conclusions were so thoroughly unremarkable (turns out that young-Earthers are more receptive than old-Earthers to including creationism in the classroom), I’m not inclined to quibble with them.
I had intended to remain quiet during the Q and A. The only part of the talk that provoked a raised eyebrow from me was when Morgan actually opened her talk with a prayer, and, besides, I didn’t feel it was my job to challenge every bit of nonsense to come down the road. But then an enthusiastic young woman identifying herself as affiliated with the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School got up and unleashed the following:
We were just denied the right to grant degrees in the state of Texas, because we were considered to be fraudulent by teaching creation science. I don’t think Christians understand the depth of the stronghold evolutionists have in our system. They have engineered things to stop anything that we say, to report anything that we say. I was just reading an article that said that people’s faith, their belief , and their commitment to their belief is what makes the difference in whether or not they will accept what teachers teach about evolution. So I think we need to look at our churches and start really building up our kids so that their faith is strong. And then I’m also thinking about the idea that these scientists that looked at our program said that we don’t use inquiry. Boy, I wish they would come to this conference because they would see that we do scientific inquiry. And I just think that we need to step forward so that we can stand up for what we know is right. I don’t know if you realize that the National Science Teachers Association even has a list of questions and answers for the teachers supposed to give to students if they bring up religion in the classroom. That it’s just a myth, that we’re not talking about our religious beliefs when we talk about creation and that we need to move on to what is true science. And they so indoctrinate kids that it’s also destroying their faith in the end because they are told that what they believe is not true.
And this to me is another thing we need to look into. It’s almost like Hitler’s time. It’s almost like we are being so indoctrinated, and our teachers are being taught, in our state schools, the answers to give when students ask questions. And furthermore it’s in our state objectives we are supposed to be able to teach both the weaknesses and strengths of evolution, but there’s hardly anyone who knows the weaknesses of evolution because nobody teaches it. And we need to get people together and have a plan in place for the education system, so we can move forward. ACLU can put out all these little fires all over the place just like in Georgia. They see something come up and they send a bunch of their Gestapo people there to thwart whatever is going on. And we need to have some sort of meeting of educators so we can start doing something about it. (Emphasis Added)
Oh bruh – ther. Couldn’t let that one slide. I don’t know what she was talking about regarding the NSTA, but those Hitler comparisons really bug me. So I got in line at the microphone and after waiting patiently for a few other questioners to finish (one of whom was eager to inform us that Darwinists know they have no data to refute all the evidence of a young Earth presented at the conference’s opening presentation, and rely on such repressive tactics to cover up this lack) I offered the following:
I don’t really have a question but I would like to make a comment to the speaker a few questioners ago. I would request that you not make such casual comparisons to Hitler. When you’re forced to wear yellow stars as a prelude to getting rounded up into train cars and the rest of it, then you can compare your situation to Hitler. And don’t liken the ACLU to the Gestapo. These are people who are filing lawsuits in a legal proceeding to protest what they believe are violations of civil rights, and these lawsuits then get adjudicated in a lawful process. That ain’t the Gestapo. So I would ask that you tone it down a little bit.
The woman looked somewhat abashed as I said this. Less impressed was Jerry Bergman, who got up to speak after me. True connoisseurs of creationism will recognize the name, since he is something of a celebrity among the young-Earthers. Here’s what he had to say:
Let me respond to that. I just finished a book called Slaughter of the Dissidents, with the subtitle The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters. It’s three volumes, fifteen hundred pages. I interviewed hundreds of people whose careers were ended, they ended up in divorce and suicide, quite a few suicides. There’s quite a bit of physical violence, people who have been beaten up. And it’s true, you’re point is well-taken …
At this point I called out from the audience:
You’re comparing that to six million people who lost their lives.
That’s true, we’re not being put into concentration camps. But I know people who have not worked in twenty years. I know a person with two doctoral degrees who has been unable to find work in fifteen years. It’s pressing, doing this. It’s very pressing, my wife won’t read it, she proofs most everything I do and she will not read this becuase she says it’s too depressing as to what’s going on. It really is, in many ways we’re faced with enormous opposition and I see it as getting worse. I hope not, I hope I’m wrong. But pick up my book it shoud be at the printer this week and if you want information about it I’ll be glad to give it to you.
But it’s really a major problem, and the Darwinists are really getting vicious, they really are. We are, I would say, following the history of Nazi Germany. They went through four periods of persecution against the Jews specifically, we’re in the second period in this country. And it’s true we have two more to go and I hope it doesn’t go there, but it’s edging up there especially when you realize what happens in the lives of these people. And it’s a huge waste of resources. What bothers me most is how vicious the Darwinists are. Really, really vicious people. I’d love to argue about this and I don’t like to talk so much with people who agree with me. I’d rather talk to people who disagree with me. It’s far more invigorating. And I’ve found you can’t dialogue with Darwinists by and large. You just can’t do it. It’s a barrage of name-calling. Up on the platform I have several times literally had people come up on the stage and try to pull me off the stage. I’ve had people threaten my work. The college is getting tired of people calling, the college where I teach at, of trying to get me fired. They’re tired of it, it happens so often. Fortunatly they defended me. But many schools, like Gonzales, one reason he lost his career was because the college got tired of people calling up and saying you’ve got to fire this guy because he’s an ID supporter. He’s a theistic evolutionist, by the way. They can’t even deal with theistic evolutionists they only can accept more and more atheists. So I’m glad we have Liberty University around, we’ve got a few schools, so read what’s going on and you won’t have such a benign opinion about what’s happening. It’s really frightening.
I think it would take three volumes and fifteen hundred pages just to catalog the crazy in that melodramatic soliloquy. A person defending Hitler and Gestapo comparisons complaining about vicious name-calling? A person who thinks Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure in any measure because his school was receiving hostile phone calls telling us about the state of affairs in academe? Please.
I was tempted to get up again to reply, but the moderator stepped in to inform us that time was fast running out, and that only the people already standing would have a chance to ask their questions. Probably for the best. I have a general policy at these gatherings of saying my piece and then shutting up, regardless of what provocation comes down the road. Better to look calm and undistrubed than to seem shrill and obnoxious.
Incidentally, his subtly titled book has its own web site, though it seems that most of the links are not active. I would also invite you to check out the Wikipedia article on Bergman for some interesting information about his background.
The original questioner got up and sort of apologized:
I just wanted to comment, because, you’re right, I made statements that were very strong. But you know what, I think we are going to have to wake up, and we’re asleep.
Then it was off to the races for several minutes of reiteration of what she said previously. The way she said “you’re right” suggested that she wished she hadn’t availed herself of such hyperbole, but otherwise she stood by everything she said.
After the talk several people thanked me for having raised the issue. Indeed, on several occasions people later stopped me in the hall to tell me they agreed with the point I had raised. One elderly gentleman commended my statement. Then he went on to tell me that it’s clear the Darwinists are not interested in promoting science, because they sued over the Cobb County sticker, and that sticker only called for students to think critically about evolution. It said nothing about creationism.
I replied that he had it backward. It was clear that the school board was not interested in promoting critical thinking, because they were offered a compromise sticker that would have told students to be critical and skeptical of all scientific theories, not just evolution. That sticker was rejected, proving that the board’s interest was in singling out evolution for special treatment, which could have only a religious and not a scientific motive.
The conversation quickly turned to other matters.
So that’s it for now. Let me close with a few photos. Looks like the creationists are coming for our Scandinavian friends:
and for the children:
Have a nice day!