…. Have you ever had this happen: You are minding your own business, teaching your life science course, it’s early in the term. A student, on the way out after class (never at the beginning of class, rarely during class) mentions something about “carbon dating.” This usually happens around the time of year you are doing an overview of the main points of the course, but before you’ve gotten to the “evolution module”…

image

Jeanne d’Arc was a very influential 10th grader. I understand she gave her Life Science teachers a very hard time. This is the only contemporary depiction of Joan of Arc. Some say the banner reads “IHS” but I’m pretty sure it says “AIG.”

The student is talking about C14 dating and how it “has problems.” But you are a life science teacher and can’t think of a single point in your class that you really touch on C14. Dating in the evolution section does not involve C14. This is for later time periods, more in the area of archaeology, and you know nothing about it. So you brush off the question but are left with an uneasy feeling.

Next class, probably just after class, the same student, again at a moment that gives you zero warning and usually no time to think of how to respond, mentions something about the Laws of Thermodynamics. This question you find more interesting and possibly even useful as the starting point of a “teachable moment…” The nature of life itself includes the fact that life works upstream against entropy. That one utterly mind-blowing aspect of life is really all you need to define life itself. If that was the only thing you used to define life, you would have very few non-life entities or events accidentally included. If you can truly understand … I mean really, really truly at a detailed level understand …. how the heck life works against the gradient of entropy, then you will understand a LOT (like, at the MA level, at least) of what is going on. To get a believable and reasonable level of understanding of this, you must get more than just basic cell function … it is not good enough to just say “The mitochondria are the tiny little powerhouses of the cell” because you have not explained how that works. You need to know about ATP and stuff. Really, you even need to know why cells use ATP as energy but none of the other obvious forms of energy that they could use … the phylogenetic effect at a very

a repost

Now, the creationist reading this will say, “Aha! The teacher is annoyed at the creationist, and the great Doctor of Evolutionary Biology is disturbed that such difficult questions come from the mouth’s of babes … these simple honest questions that are in fact impossible to answer! The Evilutionists would prefer if these questions were never even asked….”

BZZZZZZZZGGGGKKKKKZZZZZTTTG

That was the “oh please, cut out the crap” buzzer going off. The annoying creationist’s voices must now stop … after a week of feverish delirium I don’t need that crap.. This is my head, and your voices need to go somewhere else… … OK, that’s better.

Back to the issue at hand… This student is not an innocent child asking legitimate questions. Child? Yes. Innocent? That needs, in my opinion, to be demonstrated, but from a teacher’s perspective, OK, you can assume innocent until proven nefarious. But wait and see what happens. Yesterday it was C14, today it was Thermodynamics. Tomorrow it will be intelligent design at the cellular level, later on it will be missing transitional forms, and so on. The student might or might not tell you … perhaps as an admission, perhaps as a proud statement (“See, I researched this.”) that these questions are mostly coming from the Answers in Genesis web site.

Did this student find the web site through a private initiative, or perhaps by accident? Did a parent point this student to the web site? Did a Sunday school teacher or pastor tell the student about it? All of these things tend to happen, but the latter two are the most common. There is a pretty good chance that this student has been put up to this, but most likely willingly. Little 10th graders can be the strongest crusaders. Jeanne d’Arc was in tenth grade, if I remember correctly. So this is not going to end quietly.

The student will eventually start to bring these issues up during class, not just after class or before class. Most likely the other students in the class will get annoyed and protest to the student directly … they are, after all, there to learn the biology for their own reasons (like getting a high school diploma or passing a test or whatever) and regardless of their own religious views, they are not interested in this disruption. Even if they did want to get a creationist or religious perspective, they probably don’t want to hear it from this kid even outside of the class. Jeanne d’Arc might have been a tenth grader, but most tenth graders, regardless of the level of their zealotry, are not Jeanne d’Arc. Their discourse does not tend to capture the audience and they are unlikely to make a credible case that they have been visited by The Virgin.

Teacher, listen to this: There is a wide range of possible responses to the situation outlined above (or some other similar situation). Only some of them are legal. Only some of them are ethical. There are things you can do that may make perfect sense but that will significantly enhance the probability of your school or district being successfully sued.

Anyone who tells you there is an easy way to handle this is misinformed.

When Pastor Bob arms your student with creationist claims and sends him or her into your classroom, he is creating not just a disruption or an annoyance, but a professionally dangerous situation. Most likely he knows this and is doing this to generate trouble. He is, obviously, using this child as a pawn in a game that he feels he is prepared to play and maybe win. He knows he is getting points with god by doing this (as does the pawn-child) and he cares not one bit about you or your career. He sees disruption of your science class, and thus of the science education of the other students in your class, as a good thing. This may, indeed, be his primary objective other than his own salvation from sin.

While it is true that almost no teachers are prepared through formal training to handle this sort of situation without risking career or the school’s legal budget, or losing control of the class, or losing the pawn-child, most teachers can avoid trouble by keeping a few guidelines in mind.

You can’t talk about religion in your science classroom. This means you can’t have a conversation about creationism in your classroom. You may have to pull the student aside and indicate that this discussion will not happen. The student will object, indicating that “intelligent design” is not creationism. You must very firmly indicate to the student that according to the current, standing law, intelligent design IS creationism, and creationism IS religion, and religion cannot be discussed in any way whatsoever in a science classroom without risk of breaking the law. It may be necessary to indicate to the student that continued attempts to bring this conversation into the classroom have to be seen as a disciplinary problem.

Let’s talk about that angle for a moment. Have you ever had a student who will not stop talking about sex or related anatomy whenever an opportunity arises in class… blurting things out and disrupting class? Think about that scenario for a moment. The student is not special ed or special needs. The student blurts out a profanity and/or sexual or anatomical reference four or five times per class, giggles with his buddies, attempts to recruit those around him into this shenanigans even if you keep moving him, etc. This is a disciplinary issue, and you have ways of addressing it as a teacher.

A student who has been informed that there will be no discussion of creationist claims from AIG (Answers in Genesis) or anywhere else in the classroom, that ID is creationism, etc. but continues to do so is no different. As a teacher, and as a particular teacher in a particular classroom, you can’t be told by me or anyone else how to deal with this, but you must deal with it properly. A chat with a dean/assistant principal, councilors, etc. is probably in order.

And if anyone in the admin, your department head or any colleagues tell you to lighten up, that the students can express their religious views in class because of the first amendment, etc. etc., then you are on the next level of difficulties, beyond what we can do here in this one blog post. Seek outside help. Drop me a line. Contact NCSE. Get a lawyer.

I want to end with a very specific idea that I’ve seen suggested many times among teachers, and it is something that you CAN NOT do. You can’t do this. There are books out there, such as and especially Ken Miller’s “Finding Darwin’s God” that deal with the religion/science interface in the area of evolution. I have seen it suggested that teachers can recommend a book like “Finding Darwin’s God” to students or parents. You can not do this. Miller’s book is about reconciling religion … and a particular subset of religion, a particular area of Christianity … with science. As a science teacher, in the context of a science classroom, if you recommend this book, you would be promoting religion in general, and a specific religion in particular. It may sound like a good idea, and it may seem perfectly sensible and innocent. But you would be violating the Establishment Clause. To my knowledge, this exact scenario has not been tested in the courts, but I don’t think you want to be the teacher on the witness stand when it is.

(Personally, I think if you take this tact, you should lose your job.)

The truth is that the legal protections supporting the teaching of real evolutionary biology in the classroom do not arise because real evolutionary biology is … ah … real, and creationism is not. The importance and veracity of the science itself is only part of the argument, even though it should be, and I think could be, the only argument. We don’t have slack-jawed yokels sneaking onto the school board so that they can force Language Arts teachers to tell the students that “i aint got no George Strait tunes, you gotta brang soma his CD’s over, ye’hear?” or to insist that the shop teacher tell the students “you know, these safety devices … especially the ones on electric saws … really are a pain in the ass, so the first thing we do every semester is learn how to disable the safety devices” and so on. Those are arguments about quality, and you can make arguments about quality all you want regarding life sciences in the classroom and no one will care even a little. Creationism is not allowed in the classroom because it is religion, not because it is stoopid. Which is a great convenience for you as a life science teacher, but rather shameful, at the broader social and political level, when you think about it.

Thank you very much, that is all the thinking I will be doing today.

Comments

  1. #1 cromercrox
    August 12, 2009

    I’m reading HWMNBN’s latest book ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ for review. It discussescarbon dating, thermodynamics etc etc. Perhaps if confronted by such students a teacher could pass this book out. HWMNBN I’d stunningly articulate, so you don’t have to be.

  2. #2 Pierce R. Butler
    August 12, 2009

    Why does this post fail to mention a 100% effective technique, officially considered harmless and helpful for maintaining order and respect for authority?

    And are there any corrections you’d like to issue now regarding posts from the past “week of feverish delirium”?

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    August 12, 2009

    Pierce, I’m trying to be nice here, OK?

  4. #4 gb
    August 12, 2009

    I’ve read this before. Repost with editing?

  5. #5 Dan J
    August 12, 2009

    This is the point that I sense is the biggest problem, and the one that probably scares me the most:

    And if anyone in the admin, your department head or any colleagues tell you to lighten up, that the students can express their religious views in class because of the first amendment, etc. etc., then you are on the next level of difficulties, beyond what we can do here in this one blog post. Seek outside help. Drop me a line. Contact NCSE. Get a lawyer.

    How many teachers get too frightened to pursue the issue when their superiors tell them to “lighten up” after they point out such a student’s disruptive behavior? How many teachers get fired or “re-assigned” for their failure to “lighten up”.

    It’s a very sad and frightening situation when people must be afraid to stand up for science in the face of religion in our public schools.

    How long before there are stocks in the town square for people labeled “heretic” or “apostate”? Don’t laugh, people, because that is exactly what the evangelicals and fundamentalists want.

  6. #6 Rich Wilson
    August 12, 2009

    When I was a TA, the other TA and I often referred to the prof (who was also head of the dept) as ‘God’. As in, “have you submitted the grades for the last lab to god yet?”

    A student overheard us, and subjected us to a ten minute tearful tirade.

    We decided to drop the nickname.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    August 12, 2009

    Creationism is not allowed in the classroom because it is religion

    Better, in some ways:

    Creationism is not allowed in the classroom because it is not science. Positive teaching moment and all that, based on the definitions that are should be part of any science class.

    Aside from that, there’s the (very well supported in law) principle that the teacher must be able to maintain order in the classroom. Disruption is disruption, and as you point out it’s not the content of disruption but the “time, place, and manner.” And, yes, those are legal terms. Anyone interested can look up the context.

    Tools. Lots of them.

  8. #8 VolcanoMan
    August 12, 2009

    I dunno…it seems to me that you can talk about C14 dating (and other radiometric dating methods, some of which show that the original igneous rocks on Earth were 4+ billion years old), without even bringing up the question of religion. You can talk about how life is able to move from simplicity to complexity because of a sun/heat/chemical-based energy source that powers the root of the system with phytoplankton and land-based vegetation. You can take a stand that our best evidence shows these things without ever bringing up the question of which religions and denominations happen to agree and which happen not to agree. The very purpose of science education is to teach how science works, how evidence leads to theories that can be tested by observation. Even if you suspect a student is getting his answers “in Genesis” and approaching you with questions, the teachable moment is not to show how stupid those beliefs (which remain hypothetical until voiced) are, but how we know that the questions are satisfactorily answered by well-founded theories. Once it becomes a question of the student presenting not questions, but beliefs of his own (e.g. I believe the world is 6,000 years old vs. how do we know the world is not 6,000 years old?), you can order him to cease and desist, but until then, I say treat the questions assuming the student has a genuine desire to learn from evidence rather than from Authority.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    August 12, 2009

    Rich Wilson: How many years ago was that? If two or more I’d put money on that student being an atheist/agnostic by now. Just a gut feeling.

  10. #10 jb
    August 12, 2009

    One possibility would be to ask the student where he is getting his information, and if he acknowledges it’s from AIG or some such, belittle it as coming from some random Internet web site, and then use this as an opportunity to talk about the trustworthiness of the Internet in general.

    Don’t even mention ID or religion! Just point out to the class (at some length — this is a teachable moment!) how full the Internet is of misinformation, and firmly state that it is not your job to refute every claim made there. Tenth grade students are sensitive to ridicule, so if you do this often enough it might just shut the little bugger up!

  11. #11 Pierce R. Butler
    August 12, 2009

    # 3, more concisely: Bzzzzzappp!!!

  12. #12 Watt de Fawke
    August 12, 2009

    I would ask her, in front of the class, to come up with the science behind her claim of there being problems with carbon dating. Send her off to the physics journals abstracts and see what she comes back with. Point out that if physicists never heard of these problems then either her source is guaranteed a Nobel and world acclaim, or they’re selling snake oil.

  13. #13 qbsmd
    August 12, 2009

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to just redirect them to talkorigins? As far as I know, it has answers to every question AIG has produced, and deals strictly with science, rather than theology. If you offer to meet with them if they have further questions, it forces them to actually read the material before bringing anything up.

  14. #14 D. C. Sessions
    August 12, 2009

    WdF, you’re on your way to my (probably bad, but entertaining) solution of assigning a research paper. Given the examples Greg has presented (T2 and carbon dating) I’d go for a paper on the common statistical mathematics underlying them both.

    Then every time our student attempts to disrupt the class the teacher can put the question off at least until that paper is ready.

    Of course, to be really nasty, assign the student to write up an experimental protocol with sufficient power to disprove hir hypothesis.

  15. #15 RBH
    August 12, 2009

    Quoting a couple of the suggestions:

    One possibility would be to ask the student where he is getting his information, and if he acknowledges it’s from AIG or some such, belittle it as coming from some random Internet web site, and then use this as an opportunity to talk about the trustworthiness of the Internet in general.

    and

    I would ask her, in front of the class, to come up with the science behind her claim of there being problems with carbon dating. Send her off to the physics journals abstracts and see what she comes back with. Point out that if physicists never heard of these problems then either her source is guaranteed a Nobel and world acclaim, or they’re selling snake oil.

    Reading those, I know that neither writer has been in a middle school or high school classroom as a teacher. My wife, on the other hand, has done that for more than 40 years, and you do not attempt to teach 10th graders (when biology is usually taught) by using ridicule or sending a 15 year-old to the physics abstracts or denigrating a source that is almost certainly coming through a pastor or parent. Setting up that kind of authority clash is a guaranteed loss for the teacher.

    There are ways of handing those questions, but very very few middle school and high school science teachers have the background necessary. We (commenters on science blogs) tend to have the background because we’ve been embedded in the controversy for years (or in my case, decades). But a teacher facing 5 or 6 preparations and 150 or more students a day doesn’t have the leisure. We — those knowledgeable in the ways of AIG, ICR, and the Disco ‘Tute, have to get off our asses and help those teachers by talking with them, providing materials, and above all ensuring that they have supportive Boards of Education and administrators.

    Read my Freshwater posts on Panda’s Thumb to see what happens when the Board is unaware and the administration is composed of a few fundamentalists enabled by a larger community of evangelicals.

  16. #16 eigenvector
    August 12, 2009

    Thermodynamic reversal of entropy is simple. Application of electrical energy inside the fridge cools your can of beer; entropy reversed! Drink beer; entropy increases. Fall in a drunken stupor on the ski slope and freeze to death; entropy reversed. Summer comes, your corpse warms up; entropy increased. Coroner puts your remains in freezer; entropy reversed. Man, it’s so simple!

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    August 12, 2009

    RBH: Thanks. I’m sure the commenters all either meant well or were having fun, but yes, these ideas are mostly out of the range of what one can do in 10th grade, or perhaps HS generally. Certainly not middle school! I was reading some off these to my teacher-wife, and we were getting a laugh but only that kind of laugh that ends with a sly look and a comment like …. “right… can’t do that one either….”

  18. #18 Paul Merda
    August 12, 2009

    Evo denier,

    Why not just home school your kids if you are afraid of them understanding science and how it works? It is indeed an option, then you won’t have to worry about us nefarious high school teachers getting your child to develop an understanding of evolution. Sadly for you, science is based upon empirical evidence and until folks on your side come up with evidence that would disprove Evolution and/or support your hypothesis, your ideas will be nothing more than philosphy which is not a topic one should be teaching in a science class.

  19. #19 rsm
    August 12, 2009

    Do you disagree with creationism being discussed and studied in a religious history class?

    Yes, because it’s badly written and poorly thought out footnote in religious history and philosophy. It may seem very important to a bunch of people who don’t know much about religious history or philosophy, but in the grand scheme of things it’s certainly not an important idea historically beyond the political influence that its proponents have managed to accumulate.

  20. #20 Ken
    August 12, 2009

    Evo denier:

    Everything around you that you use every day, your computer, your car, your food, your clothes, your home was made possible by science.

    Religion created none of it.

    If you really feel science is so evil, you really should homeschool as you say.

    … in a cave, around a campfire, eating whatever you managed to forage or kill, reciting you class lessons from the imperfect memories of what your parents told you in their cave, hoping you dont forget some detail that will save your kid’s souls.

    For science class you could pray that a handful of sand would become a silicon chip so that you could email us to beg for medicine, tools, fertilizer and matches.

    Then maybe in your philosophy class after praying that the shadows stay away from your fire, you could discuss how the truth of god is in his makings … and realize that by studying reality with scientific methods, you’d actually be honouring your god by learning his truthes, earning respect from your god instead of living in fear of him in denial of the true wonders science reveals.

    Or you could just accept reality and the bleak limitations of your existence and admit there’s no god like everyone else here. … We’d probably let you move out of the cave.

  21. #21 Jim Lippard
    August 12, 2009

    #3 D.C. Sessions: Teaching non-science in a science classroom doesn’t violate the establishment clause, unless that non-science is religion.

    That’s why I suspect one of these days the creationist strategy–”teach the controversy” or “exploring evolution”–will succeed in meeting constitutional muster.

    #21 Reality man: That’s a misquotation of the single example of George Washington mentioning “Jesus Christ.” For the accurate quotation, in context, see:

    http://www.positiveliberty.com/2008/01/the-one-time-washington-mentioned-christ.html

  22. #22 Ted Gideonse
    August 12, 2009

    Ken, for the win.

  23. #23 Irene
    August 12, 2009

    I agree that many of the suggestions, while potentially entertaining, don’t work in a school setting. The best thing is to defuse and avoid while in the classroom, and look for other opportunities to discuss if necessary. And keep your supervising administrator informed, like it or not.

  24. #24 og
    August 12, 2009

    I resent the implication that there is something wrong with caves.

  25. #25 teach
    August 12, 2009

    You should write more posts like this, it is very useful.

  26. #26 Julie Stahlhut
    August 12, 2009

    Actually, there’s a good way to head off the old canard about C14 dating. Get hold of the Jack Chick tract that makes fun of C14 dating because some lab calibrating their equipment on a live bivalve estimated that said bivalve had been dead for 3000 years. Then follow the reference. I don’t remember the authors’ names, but the year is 1963.

    A major assumption of C14 dating is that any carbon taken into a living organism comes from something that is alive or only recently dead. (In other words, it comes from ingesting plants, animals, fungi, or microbes. If you could drink crude oil instead of eating meat and vegetables, and incorporate the carbon from the oil into your body tissues, your own C14 results would look a bit weird too.) When the researchers found this result interesting and took a closer look at what the bivalves were doing, they found out that these animals were ingesting carbon in the form of calcium carbonate, and incorporating it into their shells.

    The teaching moment is that C14 dating, like other methods used in science, isn’t meant to reveal dogmatic truths. It’s a tool meant to uncover evidence that can support or refute a hypothesis — or to generate a new one. You may or may not be a person who prays, but either way, you can still do science. But if you want something or someone to pray to, science isn’t it.

  27. #27 Reynold
    August 13, 2009

    Maybe make a reference to the talk origins site: Index of Creationist Claims, as well as the “29 Evidences for Macroevolution FAQ”.

    Now, to Angry Right Wing Mobster:
    5) Encourage kids to go to real universities where professors teach rather than indoctrinate and brainwash. College professors are notorious for brainwashing young minds, they will stand before a Judge one day and pay for it though. I hope they enjoy it while it lasts.
     
    Why don’t you list the “real universities” then? For that matter, why don’t you try proving what you said about how college professors are “notorious for brainwashing young minds”.

    How’s about some evidence instead of brainless accusations?

  28. #28 James
    August 13, 2009

    Thanks for the useful post. I do teach evolution to 8th graders and have to agree with Greg and Irene. Invariably questions about god or religion come up and the best you can do is downplay the religion and provide really strong examples for the science. At this level, most questions arise because the student notices a difference between the science they learn in school and what they hear at church.

    To redirect a student to any resource that goes beyond the science and argues against their belief system is a great way to lose your job. The website http://evolution.berkeley.edu/ is a wonderful resource for primary and secondary level teachers of evolution.

  29. #29 Stacy
    August 13, 2009

    @Evo – I must agree that home schooling is the best option for people that are afraid that their children will get an education in reality.

    What gives you the right to disturb a teacher who is mandated by law to teach the standards as written??

  30. #30 Nathan Myers
    August 13, 2009

    Ken: Actually most of the artifacts of modern life owe very little to science, but much to engineering. Science, too, owes much to engineering. It’s traditional to give science and scientists credit for everything, but dishonest.

  31. #31 D. C. Sessions
    August 13, 2009

    Jim Lippard:

    D.C. Sessions: Teaching non-science in a science classroom doesn’t violate the establishment clause, unless that non-science is religion.

    Regardless of whether it’s religion or literature, it’s out of place in a science classroom and should be shut down just as much as a discussion of the latest gossip. That’s why a redirect to “what is (and isn’t) science” is a useful segue.

  32. #32 catgirl
    August 13, 2009

    I think at the level of 10th grade, the student probably just doesn’t understand the science behind what they are talking about.

    For the thermodynamic nonsense, the best thing you can do is point out the window at that gigantic ball of an energy source.

    I think the best way to handle this is to ask the student to do research on carbon dating or thermodynamics or whatever, as an extra credit assignment, with the caveat that they must use peer-reviewed sources.

  33. #33 Stacy
    August 13, 2009

    @Evo – ” The lesson here is that your self declared scientists have not realized that all that you study was created for and created by God. Nothing exists that was not forst created by God. Sorry to dissapoint you, but your sand idea is invalid.” Prove it.

  34. #34 Stephanie Z
    August 13, 2009

    First the scientists had to find some driftwood?

  35. #35 Greg Laden
    August 13, 2009

    You have to make your own dirt!!!! That’s ….. not really very funny. I was hoping for something funny.

  36. #36 Anders Brink
    August 14, 2009

    To Evolution denier: Go ahead with you crazy loony Christian agenda to turn America into an intellectual backwater. As someone who earned his doctorate from this fantastic place, I can tell you that what makes America great is her science. And her movies, her science-fiction, her pop music and basketball. Not Christianity!

    As someone who has been to China, and very many parts of the world, I can say confidently to you that if you and your children do not want to take part in the future of science, there’s plenty of scientists from India, China and all over Asia, South America, Finland who do not care one whit about your crazy loony religion.

    You may win your political game in the US, but there’s no way you can win the rest of the world. So go ahead and suppress what’s good about America. Be the downfall of America. I will be there to chronicle every last sword you draw against my colleagues from that fantastic place.

  37. #37 Evolution denier
    August 14, 2009

    Your so called fantastic place will burn with the rest of the earth on judgement day. What makes America great is that it was founded on the principles of individual freedom given to humanity by his Creator. Did you not read this self evident truth in history? Perhaps you learned froma revised history class eh?

    I do not object to science at all. As a matter of fact I am a fan of science that works. Evolution is not science. it is a simple man made idea that promotes secularization into the world that God has made and declared for Himself, given unto us.

    Along with secularization comes all kinds of evils: socialism, marxism, communism, atheism, liberalism,etc.

    What you saw in China is NOT a result of a lack of science. it is a result in the lack of individual freedom to worship the creator. Once God is taken out of a society, that society becomes bitter, mean, evil, and more socialistic/communistic. Look at Britian and most of Europe. Europe turned her back on God and what did they end up with? Socialist dicatatorships and more government rule. It’s almost as if they are still in the days of Ceasar.

    Less God equals more secualr government control and less individual freedom for civilization.

    More God equals more indivual freedom, a more prosperous nation, and more prosperous society, and less governmental infringements into our liberty.

    We are less free than we were 20 years ago are we not?

    More government and secualrization means less freedom. Look around you. Secularism kills civilizations and individual freedoms. Only evil abounds in such a society.

    So my question to you is quite simple:

    Why defend a belief that you will have to stand before God and give account for in the end anyway?

    What will you say when an angels has his hands on you about to throw you int the fiery pit of hell and God asks you why you lied about His creation to young minds so many times and caused so many lives to be destroyed in hell for teaching that belief?

    You WILL give an account one day wether you beieve it now or not.

  38. #38 Annick
    August 14, 2009

    You’ve got quite the troll infestation, Greg !

    ED, you can claim that all you want, but in the end, Fenrir WILL eat the sun and moon. Now prove me wrong.

  39. #39 T. Bruce McNeely
    August 14, 2009

    What will you say when an angels has his hands on you about to throw you int the fiery pit of hell and God asks you why you lied about His creation to young minds so many times and caused so many lives to be destroyed in hell for teaching that belief?

    - Who the fuck slipped me that brown acid?

  40. #40 a lurker
    August 14, 2009

    Evolution denier, pretty much every advance in human society was opposed by your lot. And that includes the advancement of human freedom let alone the advancement of science.

  41. #41 Nurse Ratched
    August 14, 2009

    Evolution denier, what did the doctors tell you about that head injury? Change your bandage twice a day, take all your meds, and don’t trade your meds with the other patients.

  42. #42 Greg Laden
    August 14, 2009

    You WILL give an account one day wether you beieve it now or not.

    This is why people should not be allowed to own handguns.

  43. #43 Anders Brink
    August 15, 2009

    Thank you Evolution Denier, for responding in EXACTLY the why I knew a bible-thumper would respond. Like an whacked-out idiot, xenophobic, untravelled, never seeing the real world, ranting nonsensically about the rest of the world you’ve never met.

    I pressed your buttons, and I can press it again. Anytime.

    In another time, this would be called “demon-summoning”. I has mad skillz.

  44. #44 Anders Brink
    August 15, 2009

    ED: Are you an authority about China now? I am Chinese, *not* from China and I don’t think I am an authority on Chinese history, policy, motives or anything.

    But I can tell you one simple fact: The Chinese people are not Christian. They have not beeen Christian for a LONG LONG TIME. We have a history books that goes all the way back to 5000 years, BEFORE CHRIST. Saying Mao suppressed natural worship is true, but the natural worship was not Christian!

    The Chinese people have had commerce for thousands of years. They are also not communists, you silly idiot.

    This is the kind of stupid error makes you seem like an blathering, gibbering idiot to me.

  45. #45 DuWayne
    August 15, 2009

    Evolution denier -

    HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHA!!!!! You really are batshit insane…

  46. #46 Dan J
    August 15, 2009

    Yeah, DuWayne, I ws thinking exactly the same thing. Of course, Evolution Denier (Whom, I’m guessing, probably wears 10 denier silk stockings with his evening gowns) should be extremeley thankful to science. If we were still living in the 1940′s or 1950′s, ED would most definitely be trussed up in a mental institution doing an equivalent of the “thorazine shuffle”.

    Face it, ED. We don’t want your religion. We don’t need your religion. What we do want is for you to shut your mouth and go back to your church. We’d appreciate some peace for a change.

  47. #47 Stephanie Z
    August 16, 2009

    ED, given a choice, I would absolutely give you the freedom you think you want. Of course, I wouldn’t make you keep it for more than a couple of days. That would be cruel.

    Read: http://tuibguy.com/?p=1414

  48. #48 DuWayne
    August 16, 2009

    I do not want your countr either.

    You know, I am not for telling anyone to love it or leave it, but given you don’t want our country, you are welcome to fuck off.

  49. #49 DuWayne
    August 18, 2009

    ED -

    You are a parody unto yourself. Seriously, we have had a remarkable amount of redistribution for decades upon decades now and while we still have to constantly strive to keep the loons from stealing our civil liberties. Note, such loons are not relegated to one side or another of some socialist paradigm. Rather they are everywhere, in virtually every political/economic paradigm, including extreme libertarianism.

    So please, spare us your juvenile rantings (unless they include dick and fart jokes) that aren’t even worthy of a highschool student…

  50. #50 DuWayne
    August 20, 2009

    Who’s party? I don’t have one, nor have I voted more than two or three times for a republicrat in my entire life and then only in local elections.

    But again ED, you are nothing but a sick little parody – albeit one that would be funny, if it weren’t fairly clear you probably believe the crap you spew…

  51. #51 Dan J
    August 20, 2009

    Is it just me, or does ED seem to be more off his meds than usual lately? They do still make Thorazine, don’t they?

  52. #52 DuWayne
    August 21, 2009

    Oh PLEASE!!! Lecture us NOW about them natural remedies!!!

    While you’re at it, you could explain to us exactly how 5-HTP interacts with the brain, as apposed to, hmmm, the Welbutrin I am taking these days. And please explain how 5-HTP would help someone who is schizophrenic, or someone like me, who is bipolar.

    Inquiring minds that have probably spent exponentially more time learning about these natural remedies than you have, would love to hear what you have to say on the topic. Just be sure that you give us clear and concise explanations for how each of these remedies actually works with the human body and cite the evidence for their efficacy.

  53. #53 Scotlyn
    August 27, 2009

    Greg, I’ve just discovered your blog – very good post here, as are so many of your other ones. I hope this is somewhat on topic – not about teaching, but about Life and the Laws of Thermodynamics. I absolutely loved the way the authors of this article dealt with the issue in their advocacy of a “metabolism first” abiogenesis theory.

    In their view, life may have started with a process that very conveniently provided a “downhill” entropy ride for the highly energetic electrons that were so abundant just after the formation of the early solar system. This process may have produced, as a side-effect, the variability, heritability and differential fitness features that allowed natural selection to begin working, with life as an emergent resulting complexity. I’d be interested in your views.

    Re creationist students and trolls – do they not go away if you ignore them?

  54. #54 yogi-one
    August 1, 2010

    Greg doesn’t hose the trolls here because they prove his point so elegantly.

  55. #55 Greg Laden
    August 1, 2010

    Re creationist students and trolls – do they not go away if you ignore them?

    No. They eventually get elected to the school board if you ignore them!

  56. #56 Jim Brock
    Houston, Texas
    January 1, 2013

    It is a shame that so many young minds are closed to the mysteries of science. If only they would listen and THINK about it. Or even do some research on how the Bible came to be. What do they think of the Dead Sea scrolls? Nag Madi (?) Coptic writings? The Apocrypha? So many of these committed believers have no idea where their ideas come from. The Bible does present some useful lessons of personal behavior, but no useful insights for science.