Pharyngula

I try to stay away from Dinesh D’Souza’s ravings, but when you’ve got SIWOTI syndrome, the man is like a magnet of wrong. His one saving grace now is that his columns are so bad, I usually can’t get through the first paragraph without having to close the window. This one is no exception. One paragraph is all any normal person can take.

The real problem with Darwinism in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.

No, it is not. I’m about as ferocious an atheist as you’ll find in a classroom, and I’m at a university where I have more latitude than I would in a public school, and I don’t teach it “in an atheist way”. I teach it as a secular science. Secular ≠ atheist. Secular just means that you teach it in a way that a rational Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or atheist professor can all agree that it should be taught, and that a rational Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or atheist student should be able to learn it.

Textbooks by biologists like William Provine and Richard Dawkins routinely assert that evolution has done away with the need for God.

Provine and Dawkins have written public school biology textbooks? That’s news to all of us.

Last I looked, the most popular biology textbook in the public high schools was Miller and Levine — the Ken Miller who is a Catholic and preaches for theistic evolution. Let’s spell that out for D’Souza: The most popular biology textbook is not written by an atheist. He doesn’t even like atheism. He hasn’t even wandered accidentally in the direction of agnosticism. There isn’t so much as a hint of a wobble of doubt in his public discussions of faith. The man is annoyingly Catholic.

The textbooks are secular. They teach the widely agreed-upon material evidence and natural interpretations of the world. A Catholic or an atheist can use that book equally well.

In my introductory biology course, I use Life, by Sadava, Heller, Orians, Purves, and Hillis. I don’t know what the religious beliefs of any of the authors might be, and I don’t care. Is that what D’Souza thinks “atheism” means, that we can teach the evidence without recourse to whatever theological dogmas or metaphysical irrelevancies we might have? That sounds like a good thing to me.

The claim is that chance and natural selection have demonstrated that we can have design–or the appearance of design–without a designer.

Well, yes, we have. We don’t need a designer to explain biology; some people choose to stick one in there (which I personally find silly and pointless), but that’s not what we discuss in the biology classroom. We talk about biology there. The other stuff we do on blogs and in books and in public speaking events.

In this sense Darwinism becomes propaganda for atheism.

Nah, reality is propaganda for atheism. If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option.

What D’Souza is railing against isn’t atheism, since atheism isn’t being taught — it’s secularism. And his agenda is empty: he’s just complaining that he doesn’t like the secular consensus on science, but he doesn’t come right and admit what his only alternative to secularism is, which is to teach religion in the science lab.

Comments

  1. #1 J. D. Mack
    April 3, 2008

    SIWOTI Syndrome! That’s great! I love that XKCD comic, and now you’ve given us a good shorthand for referencing it.

    J. D.

  2. #2 Jim Royal
    April 3, 2008

    People like D’Souza and Jonah Goldberg are propagandists, nothing more. They have two goals:

    First, to push their claims to such ridiculous extremes that when ordinary people assume that the truth is somewhere in the middle, the middle will be so far from the truth that there will be no hope of re-educating people.

    Second, to throw tinfoil into the radar. They hope to generate outrage. It encourages people who actually have a clue to go ballistic, thus making the experts sound like lunatics.

    The rift between what is considered common sense in the USA versus the rest of the western world is now so large that it is impossible to have reasonable conversations about almost any subject, even the weather. I see it in my own family relations with my relatives who live in the USA.

  3. #3 JRQ
    April 3, 2008

    SIWOTI Syndrome.

    Instantly jumps in the lead for Best Neologism of 2008.

  4. #4 Glen Davidson
    April 3, 2008

    Recall, too, that the Dover matter involved a textbook co-written by Ken Miller (and some of the teachers were frankly Christian). I hardly think that atheism was to what the school board and Behe were objecting in that case–or in any other that I have heard about. Miller and Levine’s book also happens to be a common textbook at the lower levels.

    On the other hand, this is fairly minor pablum that D’Souza is spouting here. It does reinforce prejudices, but they weren’t going anywhere soon anyway.

    His point that ID is a complete failure matters more, so noxious as this tripe is, it doesn’t concern me overmuch.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  5. #5 Schmeer
    April 3, 2008

    If you think that Duh’Souza is bad, then try reading the comments. I was getting annoyed at DD while reading the article, but I could do nothing other than laugh when I looked at the comments. Teh stoopid, it burns!

  6. #6 Taz
    April 3, 2008

    Dear Dinesh, we appreciate your concern. It is noted and stupid.

  7. #7 me
    April 3, 2008

    It’s sorta funny, funny in the pathetic,sad funny way, how this DD fellow sounds like he’s championing some grand original idea, when in fact all he’s done is summarize precisely the efforts of an 80 year old christian fundamentalist anti-materialistic movement.

    It’s almost as if he finally gets it, but doesn’t seem to quite realize he finally gets it.

  8. #8 Sastra
    April 3, 2008

    D’Souza writes:
    I’d like to see Christian legal groups suing school districts for promoting atheism in the biology classroom. No need to produce creationist or ID critiques of Darwinism. All that is necessary is to parade the atheist claims that have made their way into the biology textbooks and biology lectures.

    And wait … and wait .. for someone to find atheist claims that have made their way into the biology textbooks and biology lectures in the public schools.

    He must be talking about public schools, because he refers to “school districts.” I’m surprised that he’s this clueless, frankly, and that he’s sticking his neck out like this. Sooner or later, his attentive audience is going to wonder where the quotes and horror stories are, these biology textbooks that say there is no God. Maybe D’Souza will even think “hey, that will make a great column — I’ll call someone up and see if they can tell me where to find those schoolbooks which tell children evolution means atheism.” And then — uh oh.

    He’s just going to feel so sheepish when he realizes he should have checked first.

  9. #9 danley
    April 3, 2008

    Thanks for ripping this a new a-hole PZ.

  10. #10 Randy
    April 3, 2008

    What a maroon! If science said something to the effect “there is no god therefor….” then he has a point. But where in any science textbook does it say that? He has to be the biggest Christian bigot on the ‘net today.

  11. #11 Cleland
    April 3, 2008

    D’Souza suggests suing the schools:

    I’d like to see Christian legal groups suing school districts for promoting atheism in the biology classroom. No need to produce creationist or ID critiques of Darwinism. All that is necessary is to parade the atheist claims that have made their way into the biology textbooks and biology lectures. The issue isn’t the scientific inadequacy of evolution but the way in which it is being used to undermine religious belief and promote unbelief. If the case can be made that atheism is being advocated in any way, then the textbooks would have to be rewritten and classroom presentations changed to remove the offending material. Schools would be on notice that they cannot use scientific facts to draw metaphysical conclusions in favor of atheism.

    I’d like to see this too. Free public forum for the rationality of science and the irrationality of its opponents. I really doubt D’Souza’s side would be able to make the case he wants it to make, especially to a federal judge–most of whom are intelligent and rational. I’m not even sure that D’Souza knows what he wants to argue. He’s an unmitigated idiot.

  12. #12 Lago
    April 3, 2008

    “‘d like to see Christian legal groups suing school districts for promoting atheism in the biology classroom. No need to produce creationist or ID critiques of Darwinism. All that is necessary is to parade the atheist claims that have made their way into the biology textbooks and biology lectures. ”

    I see I am not the first one to mention this, but I do believe it needs to be asked over and over again until we get answers. Where are these textbooks saying, “Darwinism shows there is no god?”

    I think we should not stop driving the author nuts until he answers us on this..

  13. #13 JRQ
    April 3, 2008

    Has Dinesh ever set foot in a public school?

  14. #14 Richard Harris
    April 3, 2008

    Duh’Souza said, “…Darwinism becomes propaganda for atheism.”

    What a fool! When I was about ten, I read Darwin. I was deeply impressed. By twelve years of age, I had realized that science trumps mythology, so I became an atheist.

    It amazes me that anyone can cling to absurd superstitions like Xianity, which are obviously made up, & derived from more ancient superstitions, if they understand Darwin.

  15. #15 annagranfors
    April 3, 2008

    I’m sure someone else must have said what I’m about to try to say far more eloquently, but has the charge ever been leveled at ID types that they, much as in a “Sun orbits Earth” belief-system, are simply not realizing that human notions about what makes for “good design” are based on what humans see around them in the natural world? the ideas of symmetry, efficacy, etc., have been given “divine” origin simply because they coincide with what humans think of as good design…in other words, God *must* think like us, because after all, He created us in His image, so our assessment of something as too-well-designed to be “natural” must be of divine, not natural, origin?

    I dunno. I’m a neophyte, and that didn’t come out anywhere near as well as I’d hoped, but as with many blog comments, it seemed important to say at the time. and I’m SO very tired of religion and religionists, especially when they’re as dangerous as they are these days…

  16. #16 Loki
    April 3, 2008

    #14 As we keep seeing, most people don’t understand evolution and also have no desire to learn about it.

    Also DD has some very strange people commenting on his blog.

  17. #17 Dan
    April 3, 2008

    D’Souza is such a little fraud and misguided hack that I can barely make it past the first sentence of his relentless, stream-of-unconsciousness blather. If there is one person whose thought processes could best be summed up by trying to cram a square peg into a round hole, it’s freakin’ Dinesh D’Souza.

    On the other hand, it is kind of fun watching the idiot collapse beneath the weight of his own worthless ego while his writing turns to utter shit.

  18. #18 Tosser
    April 3, 2008

    All that is necessary is to parade the atheist claims that have made their way into the biology textbooks and biology lectures.

    I’d be surprised to see any biology textbook that makes a claim for atheism. Also, did Dawkins ever write a high school text book? I can’t find a reference for one, but Dinesh says there’s one. He probably just wanted to use the boogeyman of Dawkins.

  19. #19 Reed Braden
    April 3, 2008

    Nah, reality is propaganda for atheism. If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option.

    Great quote! That’s a keeper!

  20. #20 True Bob
    April 3, 2008

    O.M.G. Teh stoopid on his site, mindboggling. As for me, I was atheist before I learned anything about natural selection. Descent with modification, and the interconnectedness of all life on terra is amazing and a thing of beauty. Why spoil it with man-made god-propaganda?

    OT – How the hel does a pinhead like DuhDuh get the respect he does?

  21. #21 notthedroids
    April 3, 2008

    “I’d like to see Christian legal groups suing school districts for promoting atheism in the biology classroom. No need to produce creationist or ID critiques of Darwinism. All that is necessary is to parade the atheist claims that have made their way into the biology textbooks and biology lectures.”

    By all means, bring it on.

    Is D’Souza even aware of the Dover case?

  22. #22 Brownian, OM
    April 3, 2008

    Snowclone fun!

    “The real problem with chemistry in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.”

    “The real problem with physics in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.”

    “The real problem with English in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.”

    “The real problem with phys. ed. in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.”

    “The real problem with math in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.”

    “The real problem with social studies in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.”

    “The real problem with drama in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.”

    “The real problem with detention in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.”

    So how do we right these godless liberal wrongs? Simple. One course, one concept: God created us with THC receptors, a susceptibility for alcohol, mentrual rather than estrus cycles and concealed ovulation so we’re continually horny, the ability to use language and the capacity for abstract thought, all so he’d have the flimsiest of excuses to send us to hell.

    Class dismissed! Now go forth and spread the good news!

  23. #23 JRQ
    April 3, 2008

    You know, we puzzle over the dishonesty of folks like Dinesh, but they really aren’t too difficult to understand.

    Their entire worldview is predicated on the idea that its a virtue to believe and assert things in the absence of evidence. Asserting the existence without evdidence is what they do…gods, textbooks, atheist conspiracies…all the fall under the same basic organizing principle: if it would be convenient for me to believe such a thing existed, I should be able to just “have faith” in it, and make whatever claims I want about it.

  24. #24 Michael
    April 3, 2008

    Former Gerald R. Ford does not have two “duh”s in his name, he went to an elite school called; Yale, and got a degree there. Opps, we are not talking about Saturday night live…lol

    My position has been when it comes to teaching various methods on the origins of life, it shouldn’t be taught in the government schools at all. The private schools do a better job at teaching in general. I make the basis for my position on the matter, on the fact that there are too many special interest groups trying to interfere with education. It could be easily possible for the government to start teaching a bit on intelligent design by teaching that their are alien beings who are millions of years advanced and lives on other planets. These intelligent life forms are responsible for creation…I believe PZ buddy kinda endorsed that idea in the movie “Expelled.” That’s all the government schools need right now is another angle of intelligent design…lol

    Having special interest groups sue the government to get what they want is not a solution, the only solution is, neither one should be taught in the government schools, let private schools handle the subject.

  25. #25 Uranus Hurtz
    April 3, 2008

    WOW. What a Pheno-minal ass. Postmodernists need to be stopped, and perhaps kicked a few times.

  26. #26 Luis
    April 3, 2008

    I envy you, PZ. I’m a theoretical linguist, which I’m proud to say is pretty much as heretical a profession as evolutionary biology. Why, the Bible itself tells us that languages differ because God decided so when those fellows at Babel got a bit too ambitious. Yet, even DD would find it ridiculous to say that we promote atheism because we ignore that explanation and instead talk about human brains, acquisition errors, and other similar stuff that can be empirically researched. It’s not fair. We deserve our fun too.

  27. #27 43alley
    April 3, 2008

    According to D’Souza, they could also try to boot astronomy and geology out the classroom because it would do the same thing that they says Darwinian evolution does to religion.

  28. #28 jeh
    April 3, 2008

    He also managed to draw the ire of Billy D over at UCD this week too. He’s not pure enough for the UCD crowd.

  29. #29 rob
    April 3, 2008

    I believe Scott Adams (Dilbert atuhor) coined the term

    in-Duh-vidual

    Seems appropriate here…

  30. #30 Phouka
    April 3, 2008

    The comment have surged beyond “funny” to “pathetic” and “scary”. I know people who will suck this up and trumpet it as truth…not the smartest tools in the shed, but they sure seem to have a lot of company.

  31. #31 MAJeff, OM
    April 3, 2008

    Posted by: Michael | April 3, 2008 2:43 PM

    That was, um, interesting. Wrong in several places as well, but interesting.

  32. #32 H.H.
    April 3, 2008

    I’d like to see Christian legal groups suing school districts for promoting atheism in the biology classroom. No need to produce creationist or ID critiques of Darwinism. All that is necessary is to parade the atheist claims that have made their way into the biology textbooks and biology lectures.

    Except that’s already been tried. Courts have consistently ruled that evolution is not a religion and that secular instruction is not the same as promoting atheism, and have tossed out such bogus lawsuits.

    Creationists: not just wrong, but wrong over and over again about the same things. They just don’t never learn.

  33. #33 Aaron
    April 3, 2008

    There are as many mentions of god(s) in biology books as there are in the user’s manual for my car. I guess Dinesh thinks Toyota manufactures atheist cars then?

  34. #34 Starbix
    April 3, 2008

    D’Souza will be having a debate with Michael Shermer in a couple of weeks near where I live. Any suggestions as to what to throw out during Q&A?

    “Don’t Panic.” -Douglas Adams

  35. #35 randy
    April 3, 2008

    I do like your designation… science education is secular, not atheist. In fact we hope ( and generally are able) to do science in way that allows it to transcend multiple cultures.

    which is my point in other threads. I can be a wonderfully a secular scientist and religious (even supernatural superstitious), but I can not expect to communicate my superstitions with other scientists unless they hold my same superstition. I can communicate contrary lab results and conclusions (do hox genes drive or follow evolution of body plans) because within science we have agreed upon standards.

  36. #36 Brownian, OM
    April 3, 2008

    It could be easily possible for the government to start teaching a bit on intelligent design by teaching that their are alien beings who are millions of years advanced and lives on other planets.

    Sorry Mike, but despite your fervent belief in the face of evidence, scientists would reject teaching such a concept since there is no support for it.

    I know it’s comforting for people like you to think we’ll be satisfied with any explanation as long as it doesn’t involve God, but that’s because you’re all stupid, paranoid twits. God didn’t design us so we could live with our heads up our asses, so why don’t you pull yours out?

  37. #37 Olorin
    April 3, 2008

    Dinesh D’Souza does have one saving grace, however. There are 459 comments on just that one post of his. Just think if all those nutcases had commented come here to comment instead!

  38. #38 Forrest Prince
    April 3, 2008

    #20: Because he can type and spell pretty good. Can’t write worth beans, but sure can type.

  39. #39 H.H.
    April 3, 2008

    Michael, Dawkins never “endorsed” the idea that aliens seeded life on Earth, he admitted that it is a possibility. Which it is, however a very unlikely one and something for which there is no evidence.

    And no, taking all instruction which some people find controversial out of public schools is hardly the correct course. That’s caving in to special interest groups. Teach proper science and let the religious hucksters get bent. That’s the solution.

  40. #40 Ollie
    April 3, 2008

    I got through the first sentence… then I had to stop.

  41. #41 Brownian, OM
    April 3, 2008

    Micheal is a concern troll with obvious creationist beliefs. So far, he’s another data point in Brownian’s Corollary to Poe’s Law, that creationists are incapable of producing a convincing parody of evolutionist claims. (Of course, the law could only be disproved by the existence of a convincing parody, but I’m not waiting with bated breath that one will surface anytime soon.)

  42. #42 Interrobang
    April 3, 2008

    When speaking of DuhDuh, I think we have to go with BartCop’s Principle here: When someone’s livelihood depends on their not learning something, they’ll never learn it. (Welfare reform I support: End welfare for wingnuts now!)

    My position has been when it comes to teaching various methods on the origins of life

    Yeah, good bloody damn thing for you nobody’s talking about the origins of life. Seems to me we’re talking about evolution over here, and not abiogenesis. That’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish, which may or may not involve biology. If you somehow have a problem with the idea that populations of living creatures change over time because no individual is identical to its parents, I really can’t help you, save to direct you to your local mental health provider. (Paid for on the taxpayer dime in my jurisdiction; you should be so lucky. Maybe that’s why my country doesn’t have as many raving cre(a)ti(o)nist loons as yours does — we make sure ours get treated before they really become a nuisance.)

    The private schools do a better job at teaching in general.

    Not that I don’t know better than to ask, but do you actually have any evidence of that? I went to a very excellent public secondary school and a world-class public university; I’m failing to see how I missed out, save that I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of student debt.

  43. #43 negentropyeater
    April 3, 2008

    With the usual righteous-right-noise-machines such as Fox News, it will suffice of just one audio recording of a biology classroom where some teacher gets a bit over board and draws conclusions which may be construed as being slightly in favour of atheism, that they will spin this completely out of proportion.
    That’s the kind of propaganda I think DdS is trying to generate.

  44. #44 Spaulding
    April 3, 2008

    The man is annoyingly Catholic.

    Nah, he’s confidently Catholic, but I get the sense that he’d happily keep that as a personal rather than pubilic issue. Except that he sees that Western culture is under seige by forces of fundamentalism and ignorance claiming the mantle of Christianity. And he’s fighting that.

    And that’s exactly what we need thoughtful, moderate theists to do.

  45. #45 phantomreader42
    April 3, 2008

    The Double Duh Man:

    The real problem with Darwinism in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.

    In what passes for the fundie mind, anything that doesn’t preach about their imaginary friend every five seconds is a tool of Teh Debil. It’s the same principle where they think they’re persecuted, because they’re not allowed to persecute anyone they want with impunity. The fact that they aren’t given absolute power to rule the entire world with an iron fist makes them an oppressed minority.

    They are masters of the art of projection. And their faith is pitifully weak.

  46. #46 Candy
    April 3, 2008

    I’m in a community college Gen Bio class, and the book our truly excellent instructor uses is Biology by Campbell, Reece, 8th Edition. It seems to be an excellent text.

    It’s been very instructive to see her try to teach science in spite of having a couple of very vocal cretinists in the class. She’s stated plainly that she won’t debate Creationism in the class, but one student, a Bosnian Muslim – not all cretinists are Xtian – constantly tries to derail the lectures by asking things like, “If we’re descended from monkeys, why are we so much smarter?” (This question was asked while we were discussing Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium, ffs.)Fortunately, there are several students (I’m one) who, not having to worry about being fired from a non-tenured community college position, are unafraid to slap him down. Our instructor is a model of – dare I say it – saintly patience. I really admire her.

  47. #47 Midnight Rambler
    April 3, 2008

    Actually, what’s interesting is that if you look at DD’s previous column it says that ID is a load of crap, and that this supposed “atheistic teaching” is the only problem with evolution. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard him say anything I’ve agreed with, or for that matter even semi-intelligent (I mean the part about ID being nonsense; the “atheistic teaching” fits with the typical pattern for D’Souza).

  48. #48 M. Robert Bond
    April 3, 2008

    Oh, God. Dinesh D’Souza. I saw him lose a debate with Daniel Dennett on YouTube once. Every time he talked, I just closed my eyes, and I thought I was listening to Stephen Colbert. Style, content, cadence, pitch, intensity. The only thing different about D’Souza was his ostensible sincerity which soured the whole experience for me substantially.

  49. #49 Hank Fox
    April 3, 2008

    Taz #6 got me laughing. I loved the video and now I’m gonna use that line too.

  50. #50 Jonathon
    April 3, 2008

    Thanks for the heads up on yet another screed from the insane Dinesh D’Souza.

    I went and read the whole thing. Once I stopped heaving and resisted the urge to throw my computer out of the window, I left the following as my comment:

    ================================================

    As usual, Dinesh is wrong. Darwinism does not equate to atheism; evolution is not an atheistic ideology. All that evolution says is that living organisms change over time, respond to their changing environment by mutating gradually over many generations, and occasionally spawning a new species that is distinct from the one that preceded it. The only folks who are confused about the evolution=atheism nonsense are those who insist upon a literal interpretation of scriptures, specifically the creation story from Genesis. The existence or non-existence of gods and deities is not part of evolutionary theory.

    And atheism is not religion. Sure… one’s freedom to believe or not believe in any religion is guaranteed and protected by the 1st Amendment, but atheism can hardly be called a “religion” in the same way that Christianity, Islam, Hindusim, etc. are religions. There is no organized group or universally-shared doctrinal ideologies among atheists. Atheism is not a religion; it is a philosophical position.

    Dinesh’s suggested approach of accusing science teachers of promoting “atheism” by teaching evolution is pure nonsense and will be treated as such by any responsible jurist. The alternatives to evolution, creationism and “intelligent design”, are simply ways for religious fundamentalists to inject their own religion into public schools. Creationism and ID cannot be separated from religion; they are based on a religious assumption and have zero scientific merit.

    What creationists and ID supporters must do, and what they have consistently failed to do, is to provide SCIENTIFIC and EMPIRICAL evidence to support their claims. Bring forth the “designer” and have him reveal himself. Find evidence that establishes that the Earth is only 6000 years old. Present fossil evidence that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. In truth, creationists’ claims come down to their own faith in their religion, and since faith in itself is not evidence it is unlikely that there will ever be acceptance by science of creationism’s theory.

    =================================================

    D’Souza is a neoconservative, reactionary moron. How I wish he would just go away…..

  51. #51 hans
    April 3, 2008

    PZ, before today I have never heard of this moron – what’s his name “D’Souza”, now I have and it is painful. Can you please balance your blog with introducing more people worth knowing? Thanks!
    One of your readers.

  52. #52 David vun Kannon, FCD
    April 3, 2008

    Nice hair, Dinesh!

    The best thing about his post is leaving Dembski out of a list ID luminaries.

  53. #53 SteveM
    April 3, 2008

    Words fail. What a moron. The convolutions of logic he goes through to prove that atheism is a religion are the verbal equivalent of an M.C.Escher print. He must truly believe that not collecting stamps is a real hobby.

  54. #54 negentropyeater
    April 3, 2008

    As long as D’Souza is against ID/YEC he will be a strategic ally.
    Mainstream Christians need a bone to bite, fine, let them have “Darwinism shouldn’t be tought in an Atheistic way”.

  55. #55 Steven Alleyn
    April 3, 2008

    I’ve got a couple of baptist friends (of the YEC variety); to them a Catholic – even a devout one – might aswell be an atheist.

  56. #56 SC
    April 3, 2008

    “Courts have routinely held that the free exercise clause protects not only religious beliefs but also the absence of religious beliefs. If you are fired from your government job because you are an atheist, your First Amendment rights have been violated. In other words, the term ‘religion’ means not only ‘religion’ but also ‘atheism’.

    Right – just like policies that prohibit discrimination based on marital status make make the term “married” mean not only “married” but “unmarried.” For the correct definition of atheism, see the last four words of your first sentence, pinhead.

  57. #57 Adam
    April 3, 2008

    Sarbix (#34), post a transcript after the debate. He’s coming to Biola at the end of the month to debate Peter Singer, and I want to know if his line changes.

  58. #58 Stanton
    April 3, 2008

    As long as D’Souza is against ID/YEC he will be a strategic ally.
    Mainstream Christians need a bone to bite, fine, let them have “Darwinism shouldn’t be tought in an Atheistic way”.

    A) How would you teach Evolutionary Biology in a non-secular non-atheistic manner that would appease D’Souza?

    B) With friends like D’Souza, who the hell needs enemies?

  59. #59 SC
    April 3, 2008

    Sorry – my post at #56 should have read:

    “Courts have routinely held that the free exercise clause protects not only religious beliefs but also the absence of religious beliefs. If you are fired from your government job because you are an atheist, your First Amendment rights have been violated. In other words, the term ‘religion’ means not only ‘religion’ but also ‘atheism’.”

    Right – just like policies that prohibit discrimination based on marital status make the term “married” mean not only “married” but also “unmarried.”

    [Acute SIWOTI attack.]

  60. #60 negentropyeater
    April 3, 2008

    A) D’Souza thinks it is tought in an atheistic way. PZ explained well his point of view. Fine. Let’s have a discussion. At least, that will change the spotlight from the nonsensical “Darwinism caused Nazism”, “the earth is 6000 yold”, and “ID is science”.
    B) I said strategic ally, not friend.

  61. #61 T. Bruce McNeely
    April 3, 2008

    He’s coming to Biola at the end of the month to debate Peter Singer, and I want to know if his line changes.

    Hoo boy…a debate between two people I have no use for. Good times – NOT!

  62. #62 Chuck S.
    April 3, 2008

    Yeah, Dinesh is a raving nutfudge. I lost the ability to take him seriously ages ago.

  63. #63 Bryson Brown
    April 3, 2008

    The real problem here is the creation of a group of people so confused and full of false beliefs that they can’t even respond to the evidence when and if they ever encounter it– they are immunized against learning anything about biology, and lots more besides. Once you can do it to biology, you can do it to the constitution too, as John Yoo shows us. (Odd that he’s a member of the same legal faculty as Philip Johnson– does anyone know if that’s anything more than a sad coincidence?)

  64. #64 artificialhabitat
    April 3, 2008

    Schools would be on notice that they cannot use scientific facts to draw metaphysical conclusions in favor of atheism.

    Oh, come now, DD, why not leave it at

    Schools would be on notice that they cannot use scientific facts.

    That’s better, no?

  65. #65 Nicki
    April 3, 2008

    “The Bible is a compilation of books written by pharoahs. Genesis- Pharoah Moses I. It was their ideas on how everything started, because writing hadn’t been invented yet when the events occurred.

    How the Universe started is a different debate from how did the human universe started.

    It is now used to educate people to abstract language. People who have a brain learn a new language from reading it. They coalesce from the different interpretations & create alliances to disadvantage others, those they consider Neandrathal.

    Anyone who believes their is a God, is used by those malicious enough to use them as slaves. Aka- Egypt, the first church on the planet. It started out as a prison. Greece, home of the original ape, was constantly at war. The prisoners were used as an army, and the first civilization fell.

    End of story. You bible thumpers should know this, if you ‘able’ to read the book you speak of. But of course Cain killed Able.

    Decaying atoms in the darkness of space formed into rock, then planetoid bodies, as they grew over billions of years, they developed molten cores under the pressure, after billions more years they developed into stars just like our Sun. It happened all over the Universe. No Big Bang.

    Earth was a swamp world, most dinosaur fossils are fish! Cartilage from aquatic animals fossilize into what we see today, bones decay from the elements. As the polar regions of our planet froze, the earths crust twisted and cracked, creating the land and the oceans. No island of Pangia.

    Joseph”

    WOW! i can’t breath for the stoopid, I know, at least I think he’s on our side but i really can’t tell.
    I really think its time to start a new pollicy euthanasia for stupidity. These kind of people just drag us down and really we all know that once god is back in the science classroom then its back to being owned for gals like me.

    And leashes outside the bedroom kinda suck :)

    Nicki

  66. #66 Kseniya
    April 3, 2008

    it shouldn’t be taught in the government gummint schools at all

    There. Fixed.

  67. #67 artificialhabitat
    April 3, 2008
    it shouldn’t be taught in the government gummint schools at all

    There. Fixed.

    Not ‘teached’?

  68. #68 artificialhabitat
    April 3, 2008

    I meant to include the rest of the formatting tags.

  69. #69 Kseniya
    April 3, 2008

    Ah. I see what you mean. Well, hey – why hold back?

    it shun’t be lernt inna gummint schools t’all

  70. #70 LeeLeeOne
    April 3, 2008

    #15, annagranfors

    Excellent post! Your insight (regardless if you think it to be unclear) is exactly what I have been trying to say for so long.

    The vast majority of Pharyngula readers, contributors, and Prof. PZ Myers himself appreciate those who, at the very least, make an attempt to interpret and discuss views from another angle. It demonstrates that the individual is actually THINKING and not spewing out rhetoric or quote-mining.

    Your words were most eloquent and concise, and got the idea across without the hifalutin verbiage.

    Thank you annagranfors! (#15)

    Now I will continue to peruse the rest of the topic at hand.

  71. #71 Rey Fox
    April 3, 2008

    Duh-luded, duh-mented, Duh-Souza.

    It’s true though: all classes in public schools teach atheism. The trouble is that they’re so darned sneaky about it. I absorbed all my school learning (sometimes more enthusiastically than other times, I admit), and by the time I was 13, I was an atheist. And yet I don’t recall the word “atheist” even being on any of my vocabulary lists. Funny, that.

  72. #72 Sue Laris
    April 3, 2008

    It is oddly encouraging to me that dark-skinned people can now acquire the appearance of an advanced education in order to shill for the Establishment, and to be allowed to uncletom us all somewhere other than from the church pulpit or the (traditional) entertainment industry.

    How can ANY material wealth or braying acclaim be worth the secret knowledge than you are someone like DD, or Condi Rice, or John Yoo? I mean, Dubya was raised into such a path – kind of like Kasper Hauser – and people like Tony Snow/Rummy, etc., also simply have never understood they had the ability and means to choose to live the life of a human being, having been sheltered from the knowledge that humanity exists outside of their fairy tales/prejudice, but these people HAD the knowledge and CHOOSE to shill!!!!
    It’s people like this that encourage me to believe there is, in some scientifically discoverable way, something like the devil in all of us.

  73. #73 Brownian, OM
    April 3, 2008

    It is oddly encouraging to me that dark-skinned people can now acquire the appearance of an advanced education in order to shill for the Establishment, and to be allowed to uncletom us all somewhere other than from the church pulpit or the (traditional) entertainment industry.

    Well, how else to you expect them to work off the Curse of Ham?

  74. #74 J Myers (no relation)
    April 3, 2008

    I think a monthly anti-Molly would be amusing–some means by which we could formally acknowledge a few of the less-enlightened commenters that stumble in here and hack out their stupid for all the world to scoff at. There certainly have been some terrific candidates this month–a “D’Order of D’Souza” would be a great way to recognize them.

  75. #75 revmonkeyboy
    April 3, 2008

    DuhDuh seems to think evolution and biology are taught in public schools. It was pretty much rushed over in my high school biology class. I think that in the small Indiana town I grew up in a teacher would be suicidal to teach much on the subject. The teacher seemed really nervous about the whole subject.

    I had to do the learning myself, much later in life. One of the reasons America is failing to keep it’s lead in science, research and practical applications is due to this public inability to deal with reality. My history classes were pretty light on facts as well. It is no surprise to me that public schools are controlled by the local population, most of whom are not concerned by truth or facts.

  76. #76 Glen
    April 3, 2008

    “…in an atheist way.”

    Would that be something like the Democrat [sic] Party? Just curious.

  77. #77 Ralph
    April 3, 2008

    Even though he doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously, I’ll give a refutation of Dinesh’s argument. There’s an important distinction that he’s failed to make. Asserting that a view is incorrect is not the same thing as forcing someone not to hold that view. So, even if evolution suggests that religion is wrong, teaching evolution in schools does NOT impinge upon the rights of students to freely exercise their religion.

  78. #78 Joe Blow
    April 3, 2008

    I think a monthly anti-Molly would be amusing–some means by which we could formally acknowledge a few of the less-enlightened commenters that stumble in here and hack out their stupid for all the world to scoff at. There certainly have been some terrific candidates this month–a “D’Order of D’Souza” would be a great way to recognize them.

    I nominate Jeffy from Taxachussets.

  79. #79 josefina welch
    April 3, 2008

    Fortunately, there are several students (I’m one) who, not having to worry about being fired from a non-tenured community college position, are unafraid to slap him down.

    Speaking as a former TA–Candy, thanks so much for your slappage.

  80. #80 Onkel Bob
    April 3, 2008

    Slightly OT
    It appears that the movie which should not be named will be part of the discussion tomorrow on American Public Media’s radio program Marketplace (marketplace.publicradio.org)

  81. #81 Longtime Lurker
    April 3, 2008

    The beauty of being a conservative is that you don’t have to do any homework, you can just arrive at a conclusion without a single fact. We do our best to peer through the murk, they see everything in Kristol clarity. It reminds me of the old Waterboys song “Whole of the Moon”.

    I spoke about wings
    you just flew
    I wondered I guessed and I tried
    you just knew

  82. #82 JRQ
    April 3, 2008

    What’s so bizarre about this is that conservatives hold up folks like Dinesh D’Souza as great thinkers and paragons of conservative scholarship, and wail loudly about the dearth of such people among tenured academics.

    Well, if Dinesh is a model for the kind of “conservative scholarship” that is missing from the professoriate, it’s rather easy to see why: They are neither thinkers nor scholars, in any meaningful sense…they are merely influential and public.

    But mere influence is not good enough, conservatives. Give us some people who actually have enough personal integrity and interest in not being wrong, that they have some shred of respect for evidence and reason, and are willing to inform themselves about the issues they wish to discuss.

  83. #83 Sue Laris
    April 3, 2008

    I somehow imagine DD as the Marlon Brando character Terry Malloy from “On the Waterfront” – a shrimpy, wimpy, pinched-faced Terry Malloy with a proven-by-documentation-only Ivy League education, mind you – someday soon talking to the equivalent of his older brother and offering up the same regret and admission:

    “I coulda been a contenduh, instead bein’ of a bum… which is what I am.”

    Should he ever make such an admission on his own and, like Terry, risk himself to expose and fight the crimes that he has been a (small) part of, I will entirely forgive DD.

    I ain’t holding me breath.

  84. #84 Steven
    April 3, 2008

    You hit it on the head PZ. D’Souza hates secularism and liberals.

  85. #85 negentropyeater
    April 3, 2008

    I really don’t think D’Souza deserves all the vitriol here.

    What, he’s no friend of Atheism, that’s clear, but seeing the huge population of much more demented loons of the likes of Ben Stein, Michael Behe, Ken Ham and the list goes on and on who are at war with science, I actually think he’s quite useful for our cause.

    If he can rally Christians behind “Evolution shouldn’t be taught in an atheistic way” (which it isn’t, it’s just a conclusion that many arrive at, so what ?) instead of “Evolution is just a theory together with ID and YEC”, then that will help to put back America on the same track as what has ultimately led Europe to become a much less religious region.

    PZ says it correctly, “his agenda is empty”, perfect, let Christians fight for an empty agenda. At least it will keep them busy on something else than fighting against science.

  86. #86 Julie Stahlhut
    April 3, 2008

    That column was one hunka hunka burning stupid.

    Has this guy ever actually read a science textbook?

  87. #87 Epikt
    April 3, 2008

    Starbix:

    D’Souza will be having a debate with Michael Shermer in a couple of weeks near where I live. Any suggestions as to what to throw out during Q&A?

    D’Souza.

  88. #88 Azkyroth
    April 3, 2008

    I really think its time to start a new pollicy euthanasia for stupidity. These kind of people just drag us down and really we all know that once god is back in the science classroom then its back to being owned for gals like me.

    Careful; the IDiots love to quote mine that sorta thing. x.x

    Also, it wouldn’t work; IDiocy is a memetic plague, not a genetic disorder.

    And leashes outside the bedroom kinda suck :)

    That’d be surprising; aren’t the wingnuts mostly too uptight to get into “oral sodomy?” ;/

  89. #89 Aquaria
    April 3, 2008

    I wonder if DuhSouza’s brain would explode if he knew Lutheran school religion class taught me how to be an atheist. I mean, they put the information right in my hands via their textbook, and then the pastors and teachers couldn’t explain it away. Not logically.

    Kinda scary that a 10-year-old girl had a better grasp on logic than adults, but so it goes.

  90. #90 J Myers
    April 3, 2008

    I really don’t think D’Souza deserves all the vitriol here…. seeing the huge population of much more demented loons of the likes of Ben Stein, Michael Behe, Ken Ham…
    So has the Overton window actually been shifted so far to the stupid end of the spectrum that some people see D’Souza as undeserving of rebuke? And here I’d been thinking that ID hadn’t produced any results…

    IDiocy is a memetic plague
    mnemonic plague?

  91. #91 Azkyroth
    April 3, 2008

    IDiocy is a memetic plague

    mnemonic plague?

    Memetic.

  92. #92 social democrat
    April 3, 2008

    Fascinating! The very act of failing to mention G-d in a biology textbook promotes atheism! In that case, my algebra, trig, geometry, and calculus textbooks also promoted atheism. So did my chemistry and physics books.

    Down with godless science and math!

    Oh. Wait. I think we’ve already accomplished that, judging from recent figures on worldwide rankings in math and science test scores. Just the other day, Nicholas Kristof reported that 20% of Americans think the Sun orbits the Earth.

  93. #93 wazza
    April 3, 2008

    “Just the other day, Nicholas Kristof reported that 20% of Americans think the Sun orbits the Earth.”

    Are they catholics?

    I mean, like, really traditionalist ones?

  94. #94 J Myers
    April 3, 2008

    @ Azkyroth: I know… I was proposing a formal name for this affliction (sounds like bubonic, similar etymology as meme’s precursor “mneme”)… suppose I should have capitalized it.

  95. #95 Kseniya
    April 3, 2008

    The very act of failing to mention G-d in a biology textbook promotes atheism!

    By the same standard, then, The United States Constitution also promotes atheism. I’d like to hear Mr. D’Souza’s take on that.

  96. #96 wazza
    April 3, 2008

    Really?

    You’d like to hear a widely-read call for the abolition of the constitution?

  97. #97 arensb
    April 4, 2008

    SteveM @ #53:

    The convolutions of logic he goes through to prove that atheism is a religion are the verbal equivalent of an M.C.Escher print. He must truly believe that not collecting stamps is a real hobby.

    Although I can’t provide any references, I think the US Supreme Court has ruled that for First Amendment purposes, atheism is a religion. Call it a legal fiction if you like, but this is as it should be, just as the right to free speech should include the right to shut up if you feel like it.

    At any rate, public school teachers, as representatives of the state, are bound by the First Amendment not to push neither atheism nor religion on their students. And I don’t think anyone here has a problem with that.

  98. #98 Michael
    April 4, 2008

    I agree, the government should be “neutral” rather than favoring one side or the other when it comes to religion, Christianity, or the godless clicks.

    Dinesh D’Souza does in fact makes a valid point, by teaching evolution in a government school does make “metaphysical conclusions in favor of atheism.” Certainly a church going student who believes in God as the Creator, comes to a government school which teaches evolution. A study that says there is no god as the creator. It’s an attack on the student’s beliefs. The government schools are not allowed to mention other viewpoints besides Darwinism. Perhaps the so-called alien theory of creation might pass…lol

    The problem can only be solved one way, government schools should not teach Darwinism nor intelligent design, leave it up to the more capable schools like the private schools.

    But as far as publishing in science journals, I believe the teachers should have more freedom and not be under the threat of being blacklisted or punished even though it may different with traditional Darwinism.

    As far as “PZ Myers himself appreciate those who, at the very least, make an attempt to interpret and discuss views from another angle.” He treats Dinesh D’Souza like Saturday Night Live used to treat former President Ford. So perhaps in a way PZ Myers at times appreciate those who discuss the issues from another angle, but in the end he kinda insults their intelligence rather than just disagreeing with them for coming up with another conclusion.

  99. #99 wazza
    April 4, 2008

    But darwinism doesn’t actually say anything about religion. The Catholic church has stated that darwinism is not incompatible with the bible.

    And yes, PZ treats idiots like idiots.

    And why would secondary school teachers publish in scientific journals? Most of them don’t even have degrees.

    And why should government schools not teach the scientifically accepted model, no matter what it means for religion? Science isn’t theology.

  100. #100 Rey Fox
    April 4, 2008

    “Dinesh D’Souza does in fact makes a valid point, by teaching evolution in a government school does make “metaphysical conclusions in favor of atheism.””

    No, he didn’t. And no, it doesn’t.

    “A study that says there is no god as the creator. It’s an attack on the student’s beliefs. ”

    Do you have even the slightest clue of what you’re talking about?

    “Perhaps the so-called alien theory of creation might pass…lol”

    LOL means Laughing Out Loud. Please don’t laugh at your own jokes, it’s unseemly. And does anyone else find it weird that Dawkins’ whole off-the-cuff panspermia thing is such a joke to some people, yet the God character from the bible is regarded as completely plausible?

    “He treats Dinesh D’Souza like Saturday Night Live used to treat former President Ford.”

    Again with the out-of-nowhere Gerald Ford reference. Have we found another cousin of Gerald Spezio, constantly giggling at his own private jokes?

  101. #101 Damian
    April 4, 2008

    Michael said:

    Dinesh D’Souza does in fact makes a valid point, by teaching evolution in a government school does make “metaphysical conclusions in favor of atheism.”

    Certainly a church going student who believes in God as the Creator, comes to a government school which teaches evolution. A study that says there is no god as the creator. It’s an attack on the student’s beliefs.

    Evolution says no such thing. It negates a 6000 year old earth and the idea that all life was placed here at the same time, but then, so does science as a discipline, as well as history, geography, etc, etc. That’s just tough luck, I guess. I would go as far as saying that it is detrimental to a child to teach them such obvious nonsense.

    Apart from that, Evolution says nothing about whether a creator was involved, and many religious people accept it as perfectly consistent with Christianity. It doesn’t say much about your religious belief if you have to deny reality, does it? As Sastra put it on another blog: God isn’t wrong, it is your interpretation of His methods that is wrong. How dare you be so arrogant! (said God, in an interview)

    The problem can only be solved one way, government schools should not teach Darwinism nor intelligent design, leave it up to the more capable schools like the private schools.

    No, as I have already said, you should stop being so arrogant and thinking that you can dictate to God which method that He used to create the diversity of species on earth. I repeat, you are the one that is wrong, not God. I’m an atheist and even I know this. I have more respect for God than you do, it seems!

  102. #102 negentropyeater
    April 4, 2008

    J Myers,
    “So has the Overton window actually been shifted so far to the stupid end of the spectrum that some people see D’Souza as undeserving of rebuke? And here I’d been thinking that ID hadn’t produced any results…”

    Well that’s exactly my point, the far edge of the window (Ben Stein, Idists, YEcs, etc…) deserves vitriol and ridicule. People like D’Souza deserve a rebuke. Let’s not confuse the two.

  103. #103 Michael
    April 4, 2008

    Calm down there, Damian…Take a deep breath, relax…When you read my material try and comprehend first…

    Addressing first mysterious rebuttal…

    I never said evolution taught the earth 6,000 years old…lol…Even in your quote of me, never said that…lol…I said, “A study that says there is no god as the creator” in context of Dinesh D’Souza making a valid point about evolution bringing in the “godless liberal” sort of speak belief into the government classroom.

    Second mysterious rebuttal…

    As far as private schools where parents have more influence than school boards, it has nothing to do with “arrogance” or calling people “duh” but rather a solution to the ever presence of special interest groups interfering with education. I disagree with Dinesh D’Souza on creating a special interest battle ground for the government schools as contained in his news article.

    Did you know the United States compared to the world is ranked towards the bottom? Did you know Finland which doesn’t spend the money the US does, but yet it’s students test number one in the world.

    There continues to be no “arrogance” nor ungodly conduct about placing education in the hands of the private sector which is basically free from special interest groups, it can govern themselves no matter what the belief is, costs less, produces better results.

  104. #104 wazza
    April 4, 2008

    Michael, you’re not making any sense. At all. You just told him he was wrong for addressing a precise and factual rebuttal to your point.

    As for the ridiculous idea of making all schooling private, or barring the teaching of evolution from public schools (virtually synonymous, as evolution is one of the basic tenets of science, and without science, schools devolve into essentially playgroups for teenagers)… education is too important to be left in the hands of McDonalds and Exxon, which is basically what would happen after 20 years of market forces.

    As A C Clarke put it (I paraphrase): Consenting adults may believe whatever they choose, but we must also consider the young and innocent.

    By teaching evolution in high school and creationism in sunday school, we let the children make their own choice. If our idea just happens to make more sense to them, so be it. We won’t mourn the loss to science of anyone who seriously believes in ID.

  105. #105 Damian
    April 4, 2008

    Calm down there, Damian…Take a deep breath, relax…When you read my material try and comprehend first…

    I am in a Zen-like state, thank you very much. Perfectly relaxed.

    I never said evolution taught the earth 6,000 years old…lol…Even in your quote of me, never said that…lol…I said, “A study that says there is no god as the creator” in context of Dinesh D’Souza making a valid point about evolution bringing in the “godless liberal” sort of speak belief into the government classroom.

    And if you would care to check my post again, I didn’t say that you had said that, either. I was simply pointing to the sort of thing that evolution, as well as all other aspects of science, emphatically reject. It is nonsensical to suggest that religious beliefs should be taken in to account when teaching children about reality. I have no idea what you believe, but it seems that it is you that is having trouble with comprehension, as well as understanding the methods that God used to create the universe and all life on earth. He will certainly not be pleased by the suggestion that children should not be taught about His methods, I’m sure.

    As far as private schools where parents have more influence than school boards, it has nothing to do with “arrogance” or calling people “duh” but rather a solution to the ever presence of special interest groups interfering with education.

    Did you know the United States compared to the world is ranked towards the bottom? Did you know Finland which doesn’t spend the money the US does, but yet it’s students test number one in the world.

    There continues to be no “arrogance” nor ungodly conduct about placing education in the hands of the private sector which is basically free from special interest groups, it can govern themselves no matter what the belief is, costs less, produces better results.

    As I am not an American, it is not something that I give a great deal of thought to, to be honest. If you were really arguing for private sector education all along, you certainly didn’t make yourself very clear. Personally, I believe that children deserve better than to be forced to accept the crazy notions of their parents. In that sense, public education provides a nice balance to the anti-reality indoctrination that is so prevalent in your country.

    Also, Finland, like most of western Europe, is unashamedly secular and pro-science. It doesn’t really help your original argument. That is not to say that anti-science is the only problem in the US education system, of course, although religious sensibilities certainly do contribute to poor educational standards. Of that I have no doubt.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “special interest groups”, but if you mean those who wish to teach nonsense, I would agree. I don’t quite understand how moving education to the private sector would help innocent children in that respect, though, as it is the parents that would be sending them in to the hands of the purveyors of nonsense due to their sensibilities, remember? I don’t think that you did mean that, though. ;-)

  106. #106 wazza
    April 4, 2008

    Damian: Personal jinx!

    As for the finland thing, they may spend less money, but they also have less population. And yes, they get that score from public schooling, just like all the other countries that top the US.

  107. #107 Damian
    April 4, 2008

    wazza said:

    Personal jinx!

    Oh, bollocks, the penalty for speaking while in the state of being “jinxed” is a firm punch in the arm.

    You’ll have to catch me first!

    *Shakes fist*

    By the way, this is where Michael is coming from:

    (1) “I believe using the term, “theory” to describe evolution does cast a little confusion. The reason why is because not all theories are considered unproven. Rather, some of the theories floating around out there, are considered as fact, but not proven enough to become scientific “law.””

    (2) “Darwin’s hypothesis was embraced by the world, and most of the Scientific community within 50 years after it was proposed. A remarkable feat considering Darwin had no degree in science, and wasn’t put under the microscope like other hypotheses normally are. The cause for this acceptance was simple. Under the belief the earth and universe was created by God, there was accountability. Under the belief of natural processes which claimed to have happen by accident, there was no accountability to God for man’s sin.”

    (3) “Unlike evolution, creationism says that all animals were made complete, no one species is turning into a completely different form of another species. Like birds turning into Lizards or dead chemicals into live matter. Same with the stars, planets, moons, in the Universe. Also the earth is young according to creationism, rather than billions of years old as evolutions try to claim. Although creationism does hold the belief that parts of the Universe was made in a more mature state of existence like Adam and Eve were first created as adults.

    This is going to rock the boat with evolutionists, but creationism is a science which clearly confirms the Genesis account contained in the Bible.”

    Erm, I think that I may have to lie down for a while. Doh!

  108. #108 wazza
    April 4, 2008

    Darwin had a degree (ironically in theology, though the course in those days involved extensive study of natural history), and had also performed some absolutely cutting-edge and diligent research. His lesser-known theory of coral reef formation still holds true.

    Eh, I can’t be bothered to provide a rebuttal to any more of that. I mean, it’s not like his theory was independently proposed by another researcher, or caused an enormous controversy leading to one of the most famous debates of all time within a few months of publication…

    is it?

    I guess it could have been accepted because it’s true…

  109. #109 Azkyroth
    April 4, 2008

    Did you know the United States compared to the world is ranked towards the bottom? Did you know Finland which doesn’t spend the money the US does, but yet it’s students test number one in the world.

    …uh, does Finland not use primarily public schooling?

    Otherwise that would seem to be a strike against your argument.

    There continues to be no “arrogance” nor ungodly conduct about placing education in the hands of the private sector which is basically free from special interest groups, it can govern themselves no matter what the belief is, costs less, produces better results.

    1) ….do you even know what the phrase “special interest group” actually refers to?
    2) evidence, plzthx.

  110. #110 Kseniya
    April 4, 2008

    Good lord – Michael’s still at this?

    Michael, the extension of your argument IS that public schools shouldn’t contradict the belief that the earth is 6,000 years old – or any other belief that may fall under the purview of religion. That’s why your argument fails in the first place. You’re obviously one of those ideologues who want to deep-six the public school system. Well, you’ll have to go through people like me first. Go it?

  111. #111 Arthur C. Clarke
    April 4, 2008

    “I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.”

  112. #112 wazza
    April 4, 2008

    Thank you, that’s the one I was looking for… hey, wait a minute. Aren’t you dead?

  113. #113 J. A. Baker
    April 4, 2008

    Nah, reality is propaganda for atheism.

    Or, to paraphrase Stephen Colbert, “Reality has an atheist bias.”

  114. #114 The Ghost of A. C. Clarke
    April 4, 2008

    There is one kind of “immortality,” and I have achieved it.

  115. #115 Summer Glau
    April 4, 2008

    Yes, I was guilty of SIWOTI Syndrome on this very blog earlier, and my husband demanded I see today’s XKCD: http://xkcd.com/406/

  116. #116 Kagehi
    April 4, 2008

    Either something javaish screwed up the ability of AO-helL’s news system sending me the email and password confirming my registration, or they are deep enough in the pocket of these idiots to let Double-dumb block names. Tried to post twice, once in response to the nitwit saying he would rather side with the 90% that believed in God, and therefor presumably disbelieve evolution. The other one.. Who cares, since its never going to show up on the site. Much like a prior place I tried to post, its quite apparent that no post that attempts to alleviate confusion, cannot be held as an example of the anger of atheism, or presents clear arguments against the position of people like DD, are “expelled” immediately.

  117. #117 Pun
    April 4, 2008

    I can’t believe that Christopher Hitchens and D’Souza are debating again…they’re coming to my school, Wash. U. in St. Louis. I can’t wait to call out D’Souza on all of this in the question and answer portion of the event.

  118. #118 Michael
    April 5, 2008

    DuhDuh seems to think evolution and biology are taught in public schools. It was pretty much rushed over in my high school biology class. I think that in the small Indiana town I grew up in a teacher would be suicidal to teach much on the subject.

    Government schools have failed in many aspects of studies. The stats for graduation in my area was a mere 46 percent. 8 grade students reading level in my area for public schools was the worst in the country. More than likely in the quoted person’s situation it was “rushed” in his particular high school that he attended was because a lot not all, but a lot of public education is terrible.

    Many years ago, when I was in high school, it wasn’t “rushed” at all. There was no internet, nobody knew what the term “creation science” was nor the term intelligent design, but we sure knew what evolution was. You got a good dose of Darwinism in biology class, and another dose in world history class. The biology teacher in my homeroom was an atheist and the biology teacher next door which was a good friend of his, would be considered today as a “Creationist” but he taught nothing more than evolution in the classroom.

  119. #119 Kseniya
    April 5, 2008

    Are you aware that calling public schools “government schools” is like wearing a badge that proclaims, “I am a reactionary wingnut”? You sound like a reasonable fellow. Why go there?

    Either you believe that education should be available to all, or you don’t. The public school system needs fixing, not dismantling.

    a lot of public education is terrible.

    Define “a lot”. Do you have any facts and figures?

  120. #120 Ichthyic
    April 5, 2008

    The stats for graduation in my area was a mere 46 percent.

    something tells me you were part of the 54%.

  121. #121 Stanton
    April 5, 2008

    The biology teacher in my homeroom was an atheist and the biology teacher next door which was a good friend of his, would be considered today as a “Creationist” but he taught nothing more than evolution in the classroom.

    “Creationists” today believe that the events described in the Book of Genesis literally happened as they were described, some 6,000 years ago, even though no specific date is given. Furthermore, “Creationists” today make it a point to physically reject all evidence that does not point to a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, to the point where those “Creationists” today who actually know that “Darwinism” is very different from “Theory of Evolution,” or that even be trusted to understand how Science works can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and have many, many, many fingers left over.

  122. #122 negentropyeater
    April 5, 2008

    Micahel,

    you say that private education costs less and produces better result ?

    The extent of private funding of education in the United States is higher than in any other OECD country, expect Korea, and it has increased since 1995. In 2004, 31.6% of funding for all levels of education in total was provided by private sources in the United States, significantly more than the OECD average of 13%.

    Moreover, spending on educational institutions in the United States as a percentage of GDP was at 7.4% in 2004, the second highest level among OECD countries

    Then how do you explain that witihn the OECD, the US has a below average score on the PISA results ?

    (data from “Education at a Glance 2007″ publ. by the OECD)

  123. #123 deang
    April 5, 2008

    Those of you who seem to be suggesting that the very idea of public schooling itself is problematic need to read Jonathan Kozol’s books to understand that it’s not the concept of education-for-all that is the problem, it’s the lack of dedication to that concept.

  124. #124 Michael
    April 5, 2008

    Michael, the extension of your argument IS that public schools shouldn’t contradict the belief that the earth is 6,000 years old – or any other belief that may fall under the purview of religion. That’s why your argument fails in the first place. You’re obviously one of those ideologues who want to deep-six the public school system. Well, you’ll have to go through people like me first. Go it?

    lol, Not a logical response. Tell me, Kseniya in what science dogma or law that you believe it says, it’s impossible for evolution to process it’s self at a faster rate? Not that I’m advocating this concept, but I’m just curious. If someone advocated the Universe was 100 billion years old, could some teacher advocate his theory of age to his students as long as it doesn’t agree with Creation? What’s the difference in your opinion from atheist evolution and secular evolution?

    I believe your advocating a different type of religion. One that responses on it’s own…

    Carl Sagan believe before the big bang, the matter and mass were eternal, and compressed in an organized manner then without any reason exploded into the big bang. Other evolutionists claim it popped out of no where by nothing and then exploded into the big bang.

    Either angle you look at it, defies laws of physics. For one the law of motion…“The property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.

    Secondly, making something out of nothing, is supernatural…Having random chance create something out of nothing defies the laws of science. Since it’s hypothesis appears supernatural rather than natural without an intelligent designer. It’s a religion as well.

    I’m having so much fun with this and feel it’s important to express, and I have like this through the years, and I don’t curse anyone out, nor call people, “duh” for the sake of beliefs or government money. Kseniya this is why I’m still at it…

  125. #125 Rey Fox
    April 5, 2008

    “Tell me, Kseniya in what science dogma or law that you believe it says, it’s impossible for evolution to process it’s self at a faster rate?”

    It’s constrained by a lot of things, among them: lifespans and reproductive rates of the organisms in question, various properties of biochemistry, selective pressures, etc.

    “If someone advocated the Universe was 100 billion years old, could some teacher advocate his theory of age to his students as long as it doesn’t agree with Creation?”

    Not unless that person had evidence behind it, and as long as we’re still talking about high school education, not unless that figure was agreed upon by a consensus of experts. These big numbers aren’t just drawn out of a hat, you know.

    “Either angle you look at it, defies laws of physics. For one the law of motion…”The property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.”

    The laws of physics have come a long way since Newton, you know. You basically seem to be arguing that these subjects should be taught down to your level of ignorance, and that’s exactly why we have science standards, so that other people will have a chance.

  126. #126 wazza
    April 5, 2008

    Indeed, it does violate the laws of physics, Michael. That’s because the big bang occurs at a point of singularity, where all laws of physics break down.

    Ya mug.

  127. #127 Kseniya
    April 5, 2008

    Geez. So not only does evolution violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the Big Bang violates Newton’s First Law of Motion? LOL

    The way I hear it, the Big Bang also violates noise pollution laws in Racine.

    Michael has crossed the comprehensibility threshold, heading the wrong way. What does this mean? “I believe your advocating a different type of religion. One that responses on it’s own…”

    My comment was “lol, Not a logical response”? How was it not logical? You argued that evolution should not be taught in “government” schools because it might contradict someone’s religious beliefs:

    Certainly a church going student who believes in God as the Creator, comes to a government school which teaches evolution. A study that says there is no god as the creator. It’s an attack on the student’s beliefs.

    Now substitute:

    Certainly a church going student who believes in a literal reading of Genesis and a 6,000 year old Earth, comes to a government school which teaches physics, astronomy, and geology. Studies that say how the Earth was created by natural processes and is far more than 6,000 years old. It’s an attack on the student’s beliefs.

    Perhaps you didn’t intend for your argument to suggest this. But it does.

  128. #128 Brian X
    April 6, 2008

    Michael:

    I can’t help but notice that the logical consequence of your argument is to render a public education so content-free that the whole thing would have to be shut down.

    If someone advocated the Universe was 100 billion years old, could some teacher advocate his theory of age to his students as long as it doesn’t agree with Creation? What’s the difference in your opinion from atheist evolution and secular evolution?

    The only way such a position could be accepted is if there was sufficient evidence to back it up. That would require some fairly drastic changes in the overall field of cosmology before it ever made it into a high school physics textbook. (And evolution, as many people have probably explained to you on many occasions, has nothing at all to do with cosmology.)

    I believe your advocating a different type of religion. One that responses on it’s own…

    How very postmodern of you. You do realize that such a statement only makes sense if there is no evidence to support the modern view of biology, physics, and cosmology, and that the overwhelming view of the scientific community is that the evidence is decisive and faith does not enter into it at all?

    Carl Sagan believe before the big bang, the matter and mass were eternal, and compressed in an organized manner then without any reason exploded into the big bang. Other evolutionistscosmologists claim it popped out of no where by nothing and then exploded into the big bang.

    So what? The best anyone can do with the Big Bang at the moment is extrapolating from existing evidence, and it’s entirely possible to derive different conclusions from the same evidence, at least until more evidence is found.

    Either angle you look at it, defies laws of physics.

    Only in a strictly Newtonian world. By deconstructing the holes in Euclid, Einstein showed that the laws of physics, such as they are, do not always apply in a manner that relates to everyday experience. Gravitational lensing makes no sense without Einstein, the transistor makes no sense without quantum mechanics. As for the Big Bang itself, the laws have not yet been written, so it’s pretty much impossible to say that it defies them.

    Secondly, making something out of nothing, is supernatural…Having random chance create something out of nothing defies the laws of science. Since it’s hypothesis appears supernatural rather than natural without an intelligent designer. It’s a religion as well.

    Tell that to Stephen Hawking, or anyone else who works in his branch of astrophysics. Things popping out of the vacuum are par for the course — it’s because there’s no possible way to reach zero energy. (Otherwise we’d have found a way to hit absolute zero by now. And we never will, if current thinking holds up.) If a black hole can release radiation, and a particle-antiparticle pair can appear along the event horizon, there’s absolutely no reason that an incident like that can’t burp out an entire universe. It’s extremely unlikely, but it does seem to have happened at least once.

    I’m having so much fun with this and feel it’s important to express, and I have like this through the years, and I don’t curse anyone out, nor call people, “duh” for the sake of beliefs or government money. Kseniya this is why I’m still at it…

    Well, I can’t speak for Kseniya, but everyone’s gotta have a hobby.

  129. #129 Kseniya
    April 6, 2008

    Brian:

    I can’t help but notice that the logical consequence of your argument is to render a public education so content-free that the whole thing would have to be shut down.

    Bingo, and that’s pretty much what I’m trying to say, too. And though he denies there is such a consequence, it perfectly serves his real agenda: to see the end of them thar gummint skools.

    (They’re so transparent, aren’t they?)

  130. #130 Michael X
    April 6, 2008

    A Brian X huh?

    *Sun leaps to high noon. Tumbleweeds appear across… the… er… screen?*

    Actually, I’d be amused if when any nutter sees a handle ending in X, they start to feel nervous.

  131. #131 Kseniya X
    April 6, 2008

    What a silly idea!

  132. #132 RamblinDude
    April 6, 2008

    I like it. Go, Go, Power Science Team!!

  133. #133 RamblinDude X
    April 6, 2008

    Oh, crap, I meant;

    I like it. Go, Go, Power Science Team!! : )

  134. #134 Kseniya
    April 6, 2008

    I see an “, OX” in someone’s future.

  135. #135 True Bob X
    April 6, 2008

    Just poppin’ in to upset…some nutter?

  136. #136 nick gotts
    April 6, 2008

    Michael,
    I’d advise you to see a clinical psychologist or neurologist without delay if you can afford to, particularly if you have recently noticed any changes in memory or perception. The strange grammatical errors and non sequiturs in your posts suggest to me that you have a cognitive/linguistic deficit (I’m not a clinical psychologist, but as someone with a training in cognitive sciences I have some relevant expertise). The underlying problem is probably just a mild form of dyslexia, in which case it’s nothing to worry about, but it could be a dangerous but treatable condition. I am entirely serious about this.

  137. #137 Joe Blow
    April 6, 2008

    Are you aware that calling public schools “government schools” is like wearing a badge that proclaims, “I am a reactionary wingnut”?

    Are you aware that calling government schools “public schools” is like wearing a badge that proclaims, “I am a MoveOn.org socialist wingnut”?

  138. #138 Kseniya
    April 6, 2008

    Hi, Joe!

    Your comment intrigues me. Maybe you have a point.

    Lessee now…

    A quick Google of http://www.ed.gov (a government website dontcha know) for the phrase “public school” returns 8,430 hits. I scanned the first 10 pages (100 links) and failed to find an instance of the phrase that did not pass a syntactic or semantic relevancy check.

    A search of http://www.ed.gov for the phrase “government school” returns eleven (11) hits. Only two (2) of these links point to pages that actually contain the phrase “government school”.

    Of the two that pass the syntactic check, neither one passes the relevance check. One contains the phrase “Johns Hopkins Government School”, which refers not to a public institution but to a school of government at a private university. The other – which is nothing more than a copy of an application to the NCLB Blue Ribbon School program submitted by a school in Westerville, Ohio – contains the phrase “We also work with a government school in Hong Kong,” a reference which we can also, I think, discount as a reference to a U.S. public school.

    That leaves… lessee… none. Zero. Zip. Nada. Rien. ????. ?????.

    I think we can only draw one conclusion from this:

    The U.S. Department of Education is staffed exclusively by MoveOn.org wingnuts.

    Really, now. Is this the best you can do? You’ve descended to this level, have you? Are you aware that making comments like that is like wearing a badge that proclaims, “I am a vindictive, vacuous little ditto-head?” Holy crumbling shortcake! And here I thought you actually had some self-respect.

    At this rate, your regression from “potential worthy opponent” to “useless troll” will be complete within another couple of weeks. It’s been wince-worthy to watch.

    Are you going to cite me for name-calling, now? That does seem to be your preferred response to having your observations balloons shot down in flames.

  139. #139 Stanton
    April 6, 2008

    At this rate, your regression from “potential worthy opponent” to “useless troll” will be complete within another couple of weeks. It’s been wince-worthy to watch.

    I thought he already reached “useless troll” when he first posted.

  140. #140 Kseniya
    April 7, 2008

    Are you going to cite me for name-calling, now? That does seem to be your preferred response to having your observation balloons shot down in flames.

    I’d like to retract that statement, as it is somewhat inaccurate and somewhat unfair to Joe Blow. Joe cites name-calling when name-calling has actually occurred. His preferred response to being shot down is to flee the thread and pretend it never happened.

  141. #141 mirc mirš m?rc
    December 31, 2008

    Thanks so much for this! This is exactly what I was looking for

  142. #142 mirc m?rc mirš
    December 31, 2008

    Thanks so much for this! This is exactly what I was looking for

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