Pharyngula

Just like Dover…

Well, well, well. Look what the Brunswick school board in North Carolina has been up to

“It’s really a disgrace for the state school board to impose evolution on our students without teaching creationism,” county school board member Jimmy Hobbs said at Tuesday’s meeting. “The law says we can’t have Bibles in schools, but we can have evolution, of the atheists.”

When asked by a reporter, his fellow board members all said they were in favor of creationism being taught in the classroom.

The topic came up after county resident Joel Fanti told the board he thought it was unfair for evolution to be taught as fact, saying it should be taught as a theory because there’s no tangible proof it’s true.

“I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

The board allowed Fanti to speak longer than he was allowed, and at the end of his speech he volunteered to teach creationism and received applause from the audience.

How many fallacies can you find there? Evolution is a secular theory; it’s not our fault if atheists are copacetic with the evidence, while crazy creationists can’t abide it. Fairness is also not an issue here, since the reason evolution is taught is because it is the best explanation of the evidence. What would be unfair is bringing unsupported fairy tales into the science classroom and giving them a privileged place over hard-earned, well-supported science.

The facts of evolution, such as that the earth is old, there was a pattern of faunal succession, genetic mechanisms can account for variation, etc., are facts. Of course they should be taught! The parts of evolution that are theoretical, the way common descent explains observations in molecular biology, for instance, are no less valid and valuable for being theories. This guy is making the common mistake of thinking that calling an idea a theory is a demotion.

We do see organisms evolving now, in both the lab and in nature. We can indirectly see the effects of evolution even over time-spans which we could not live long enough to witness: we can infer evolution by comparing human and chimpanzee genomes, for instance, and by knowing rates of accumulation of mutations in populations, we can make estimates of the time course of change. Someone doesn’t have to be there to be able to assemble a convincing argument for physical events that have left physical traces.

Uh-oh. He got applause. Now people are going to push for the inclusion of this nonsense in their curriculum. Yep, here it comes…

Board attorney Joseph Causey said it might be possible for the board to add creationism to the curriculum if it doesn’t replace the teaching of evolution.

What kind of attorney is this? No, that’s not an acceptable legal solution. That state science standards mandate certain content in the public schools does not mean that if you meet the standards, you can then spin off any random line of baloney that you feel like. This was the Dover argument, remember: that they would just mumble some lip service to Intelligent Design, and all would be well.

Also like the Dover case, the proponents of introducing ID had already scuttled their case with public discussion at school board meetings of using it to introduce the religious concept of creationism, so the sectarian purpose was obvious to the court. Look here: Brunswick has already admitted that they’re floating this idea because some gomer was ranting about bringing bibles into the science class room.

Schools’ Superintendent Katie McGee said her staff would do research.

Babson said the board must look at the law to see what it says about teaching creationism, but that “if we can do it, I think we ought to do it.”

Somebody from the ACLU or NCSE ought to inform these people fast that their attorney is all wet and they are about to screw over their school district badly…before they go down that familiar path to self-destruction. The law says that they can’t do it.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    Oh you KNOW he wanted to ask why there are still monkeys.

  2. #2 Curt Cameron
    September 17, 2008

    “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    How does that question make sense even to them?

    “They SAY the little hand on the clock is moving slowly, but if it’s moving so slow, why don’t I see it moving?”

  3. #3 Azdak
    September 17, 2008

    Do you think atheism hasn’t evolved.Satan,the author of deception,is alive and well.

    Anyone who sees nature and denies God is a fool.The theory of evolution is just as impossible to prove as is creationism,that’s why we still call it a theory.Fact is,you cannot prove anything to anyone.One accepts everything on faith or not at all.

    I found this pretty hilarious until it occurred to me that his vote counted for as much as the next guy.

    Edjumacation. You’re doing it wrong.

    Speaking of which, did anyone ever manage to post video of PZ’s Denver talk?

  4. #4 King of Ferrets
    September 17, 2008

    Wait, did I hear that right? They’re not even planning to teach the somewhat watered-down ID, but full-blown creationism?

    Maybe school boards should have a minimum IQ requirement to get elected…

  5. #5 Nick Kanellos
    September 17, 2008

    I hope Kenneth Miller still has his tie clip. He may need it again.

  6. #6 Alex Besogonov
    September 17, 2008

    A good question for Fanti: “Were you here 2000 years ago?”

  7. #7 Andrés Diplotti
    September 17, 2008

    How many times must you sit creos down
    and tell them what a theory is?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
    the answer is blowin’ in the wind.

  8. #8 Scott
    September 17, 2008

    No wonder the ACLU is vilified by the Right. The conservatives (excluding Goldwater-esque libertarians) are the ones trampling the Bill of Rights! If the ACLU gets involved and defends the First Amendment, I’ll gold plate my membership card. PZ, I might need your help!

    BTW, has everyone signed the constitution voter pledge on their website yet?

  9. #9 aarrgghh
    September 17, 2008

    if evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?

    because you’re … mm, how shall i put it … slow?

  10. #10 Rebecka
    September 17, 2008

    I’a undergrad biology student from Sweden. I can’t belive that these kind of people are taken serious in USA, or anywhere! It’s so shockingly stupid!

  11. #11 Noni Mausa
    September 17, 2008

    “…The law says we can’t have Bibles in schools, but we can have evolution, of the atheists…”

    And how about that godless cult, the Kemists? They’ve taken over from the traditional and respected Phlogistionists of the days when there were still saints and everything was much better except for the plague and no anaesthetics. Down with the Kemistrian Heresy!

    Noni

  12. #12 Glen Davidson
    September 17, 2008

    When asked by a reporter, his fellow board members all said they were in favor of creationism being taught in the classroom.

    The one thing I love about creationists/IDiots is that they can always be trusted to always give away their unconstitutional religious designs.

    Indeed, it’s just like Dover, except that we don’t have the lies about what they’re trying to do yet. Odds are that we’ll get those lies soon.

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

  13. #13 dinkum
    September 17, 2008

    Why do each of these tribes think that they’re the first ones to try this? Do they not read, I mean, fucken ANYTHING? Don’t their shamans at least mention the evils of Dover during the Weekly Chant?

    Seriously. Same Shit, Different District. Next comes the legal pwnage, and then the Victimized Weeping. Grinds a heathen down, man.

  14. #14 Alan Chapman
    September 17, 2008

    I especially liked this remark:

    “…we can have evolution, of the atheists.”

    I bet those atheists also believe in gravity. What fools!

    Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory

  15. #15 extatyzoma
    September 17, 2008

    theres one thing that fundies seem to not realise: the type of gobbledigook speak that is religious babbling does not work well when trying to show your scientific credentials.

    in a nut shell: if you talk religious or scientific nonsense the believers around you wont notice you are talking nonsense, the non believers will notice however, and on BOTH counts.

  16. #16 CJO
    September 17, 2008

    “It’s really a disgrace for the state school board to impose evolution on our students without teaching creationism,” county school board member Jimmy Hobbs said at Tuesday’s meeting.

    The prosecution rests.

  17. #17 Teh Merkin
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said.

    But I was, so why not just take my word for it? What’s that, you have no good reason to believe me? That’s fair.

    Now about that Bible of yours…

  18. #18 The Cheerful Nihilist
    September 17, 2008

    “”I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?””

    Geez. Talk about “slow.”

  19. #19 tsg
    September 17, 2008

    “It’s really a disgrace for the state school board to impose evolution on our students without teaching creationism,” county school board member Jimmy Hobbs said at Tuesday’s meeting. “The law says we can’t have Bibles in schools, but we can have evolution, of the atheists.”

    Two words: religiously motivated. Game, set and match, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.

    “Two thousand years ago someone died on the cross, isn’t someone going to stand up for him?” was the death knell for the defense at Dover.

  20. #20 extatyzoma
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    lsd? pot? dropped on head as baby?

  21. #21 I am so wise
    September 17, 2008

    Great, without doubt, we’ll get to see Steven Fuller make an ass out of himself again. He’s such a disgrace to good work postmodernists have done in fields like history. May he Foucault off and die.

  22. #22 Darth Wader
    September 17, 2008

    I’m sorry children, but due to the legal costs of trying to teach creationism, the school can no longer afford the following;
    books, chalk, arts, humanities, calculators, or competent teachers.

    What a way to screw kids over, teach them religious hogwash as science and cause the school to run out of funds. No child can be left behind if no child is allowed to exceed.

  23. #23 KH
    September 17, 2008

    Here are two email addresses for Shirley Babson, the chair of the Brunswick County Board of Education (the one who said “if we can [teach creationism], I think we ought to do it.”:
    sbabsonbdofed@hotmail.com and sbabson@bcswan.net . Addresses for the other board members can be found through links at http://www.co.brunswick.k12.nc.us/education/components/scdirectory/default.php?sectiondetailid=339 .

  24. #24 Longtime Lurker
    September 17, 2008

    The fundies are just holding out for McSame and Huckashe to win the election so they can nominate more troglodytes to the Supreme Court.

    As bad as we think Obama’s lip-service to faith can get, he’s really the only option we’ve got now.

    Anybody consider donated to Barr’s campaign?

  25. #25 James F
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    Sounds to me like he’s admitting that the Earth is at least 2 million years old! HERETIC!

  26. #26 Blake Stacey
    September 17, 2008

    Great, without doubt, we’ll get to see Steven Fuller make an ass out of himself again.

    Oh, what a spectacle that’ll be. It’s not like he’s stopped doing so since Dover. . . .

  27. #27 Lledowyn
    September 17, 2008

    It’s pretty obvious that these idiots have not heard about Dover at all. And their attorney needs to be fired from his position. How retarded do you have to be to look at the ample case law about teaching creationism, and still think that it’s ok to teach it under any circumstance? The mind boggles.

  28. #28 JonathanL
    September 17, 2008

    No place for creationism in science class, state says

    Hehe: “The Brunswick County school system offers a Bible as Literature course in high school, but it’s not being taught this year because no students signed up for it, according to administrators.”

  29. #29 Teh Merkin
    September 17, 2008

    […] why don’t we see anything evolving now?

    It might the that whole “eyes closed, fingers in the ears, I’m not listening!” thing you do when it comes to evidence.

    Just a thought.

  30. #30 Matt
    September 17, 2008

    Ignorant Limey here.. why the hell is it that Christian fundies keep getting elected to school boards across the United States?

  31. #31 Fred
    September 17, 2008

    And #6 shuts up the Brunswick School Board with the ultimate crusher!

    ‘Nuff said.

  32. #32 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 17, 2008

    Ignorant Limey here.. why the hell is it that Christian fundies keep getting elected to school boards across the United States?

    The hold of religion on smaller towns.

  33. #33 Desnes Diev
    September 17, 2008

    PZ: “The law says that they can’t do it”.

    Perhaps you should have remembered that if you – Americans – do not feel concerned now, the law may change… if Palin has something to say about it, by example.

    Please, vote! For education and intelligence, not bigotry and self-confident ignorance.

    Desnes

  34. #34 Marc Abain
    September 17, 2008

    “The law says we can’t have Bibles in schools, but we can have evolution”

    Yes. End of.

  35. #35 varlo
    September 17, 2008

    “Maybe school boards should have a minimum IQ requirement to get elected…” (#4)

    But then in some districts it would be impossible to get a quorum.

  36. #36 imflyboy
    September 17, 2008

    Wow. Why is it that the uneducated are able to influence education like this? It seems as the rest of the world moves forward, the United States is moving backwards at an ever increasing pace. And I can’t imagine what’ll happen if this nut job Palin gets in office. Too bad that the Republicans have probably already rigged the election anyway

  37. #37 Lana
    September 17, 2008

    Oh my. It appears no one in the room reads newspapers or news magazines so missed the Dover story. Perhaps the kindest thing to do would be to send the attorney a copy of that decision. Assuming he has someone who can read it to him.

  38. #38 CJO
    September 17, 2008

    Ignorant Limey here.. why the hell is it that Christian fundies keep getting elected to school boards across the United States?

    Because ignorant nutjobs are a majority here, and an overwhelming one in most rural and suburban areas.

  39. #39 jj
    September 17, 2008

    Way OT BUT..

    Looks like someone (actually a group) hack Shara Palin’s personal email account, and apparently using it for her covert governors business. Looks pretty legit, found it linked from a (fairly) legitimate tech site (gizmodo.com). Check it out

    http://gawker.com/5051193/sarah-palins-personal-emails

  40. #40 tsg
    September 17, 2008

    Perhaps the kindest thing to do would be to send the attorney a copy of that decision. Assuming he has someone who can read it to him.

    And explain what the hard words mean like, “constitution”, and “secular”. Oh, and “science”.

  41. #41 Nerd of Redhead
    September 17, 2008

    Since the lawyer probably can’t read too well, somebody should him of DVD of the Nova “Judgement Day” episode about the Dover case. It would probably scare the bejebus out of him.

  42. #42 pdiff
    September 17, 2008

    Rebecka@10

    “I’m a undergrad biology student from Sweden. I can’t belive that these kind of people are taken serious in USA, or anywhere! It’s so shockingly stupid! ”

    Stupidity (and it’s ugly cousin, violence) are always under the surface just waiting to pop out no matter where you look. It wasn’t so long ago that the people of Europe were gleefully butchering each other, repeatedly, over trivial perceived political, ethnic, and religious differences. While things have been quite there of recent, don’t be fooled into thinking they are gone (as the recent ugliness in the Baltics has shown). Still, I do have to admit that we Americans have a certain knack for holding the wrong end of the stick… :-(

    Pdiff

  43. #43 bfish
    September 17, 2008

    Hell, the newspaper reporter knows about Dover:

    “In 1997, proponents in the N.C. General Assembly tried to amend the law to say that evolution must be taught as a theory and not as a fact in public schools, but that did not pass. Then at the national level in 2005, a federal judge barred the school system in Dover, Pa., from teaching “intelligent design” – which claims organisms must have been created by a higher power and that it’s compatible with evolution – as a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.”

    Maybe the lawyer for the school board can ask her what the law says.

  44. #44 Nentuaby
    September 17, 2008

    #30

    Posted by: Matt | September 17, 2008 5:34 PM

    Ignorant Limey here.. why the hell is it that Christian fundies keep getting elected to school boards across the United States?

    Deep, deep voter apathy, extending into candidate apathy. The majority of elected school board positions are given essentially by default to the only person who bothered to run for it. Other times, in small towns, a candidate who’s technically opposed may win just by mobilizing her personal acquaintances to vote.

    It’s a pretty frequent denouement for these idiots to finally goad someone into opposing them for real and then lose by a landslide.

  45. #45 Alan Chapman
    September 17, 2008

    #30 It’s not just the school boards. I live in Orange county (in southern California) where there is a concerted effort by some self-serving individuals to place “In God We Trust” on the walls inside the various city council chambers. Many city governments have acquiesced.

  46. #46 Teh Merkin
    September 17, 2008

    Ignorant Limey here.. why the hell is it that Christian fundies keep getting elected to school boards across the United States?

    Maybe for the same reason that our juries are filled with retired folks and unemployed people – they have nothing else to do? That’s just a guess, but think about it… Xian fundies have no good purpose in their lives, otherwise they’d be out there, you know, doing good instead of screwing up education. They are motivated, because their twisted worldview tells them that education is evil, and must be replaced with their fairy tales. Oh, and they literally think they are on a Mission from God.

    Rational Americans (there still are a few) aren’t busy shoving shite down other people’s throats, and tend not to exhibit instinctive mistrust of the “intellectuals” who might normally populate a school board.

    Hmmm, this might make a good topic for my next paper…

  47. #47 Kel
    September 17, 2008

    C-R-E-A-T-ION Goooooo retards!

    God damn nutjobs and their nutjob beliefs. Science is not inherently atheistic, though the bible tries to be a natural science book and fails. It’s not our fault the infallible word of God got it wrong, no need to punish the students because an omniscient being didn’t lay out the theory of evolution or plate tectonics in genesis chapter 1.

  48. #48 Quiet_Desperation
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    Wait… what?

    Dammit, PZ! Reading that quote is going to require at least three Advils to counteract.

  49. #49 Another Primate
    September 17, 2008

    I’m all over this one!!! My son attends Virginia Williamson Elementary School in Brunswick County, NC. I am in the process of getting the proper and might I add accredited people involved! I hope we don’t have to get nasty but we will if we have too. I have already told my sons principal and several school board members that I will be moving if they bring a work of literature (and not a good or moral one) into his school and teach it as fact. Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in the country right now (beach county) and that’s actually going to work in our favor. The locals, as we call them, are fundi fuck tards but the people moving into Brunswick County in droves are primarily young to middle age progressive minded people with good educations. I think once this whole thing get out to the majority of the parents with children in this school system they will come out and put the brakes on these wackaloon’s. I will keep you all posted.
    Jason C.

  50. #50 tsg
    September 17, 2008

    Ignorant Limey here.. why the hell is it that Christian fundies keep getting elected to school boards across the United States?

    School boards tend to fill up with fundies for the same reason Zoning boards tend to fill up with people angry at their neighbors’ landscaping choices: the position attracts those who are power hungry, and have too much time on their hands and an agenda to push. Most small town school boards are part-time, volunteer positions that don’t attract people that don’t have ulterior motives.

  51. #51 EvilEvolutionist
    September 17, 2008

    This is so freaking awesome. The school board clearly likes to talk, so let them talk. And record every single word for future litigation.

    I have to say though, I disagree with PZ Meyers that someone from the ACLU or the NSCE needs to “inform” them. They wanted that attorney? Let them have him.

    The people of Brunswick are collectively responsible for this debacle. The board is solidly creationist. If they want such a board, let them have them. Once they see their real estate values crash through the floor and their property taxes go sky high to pay off the court costs, they’ll wisen up. Dover needs a few more examples and Brunswick has bravely stepped up to the plate.

    Brunswick, thank you for sacrificing your children and your property values so the rest of us can prosper.

    Evil(tm) Evolutionist

  52. #52 jj
    September 17, 2008

    @45 Alan
    Doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, I grew up in Orange County, and there are some crazy people down there. Ya’ know, that whole Saddleback Cult-church thing. Ya ever been in that place, it’s bigger than Saddleback college! I’d only been there for “undergrad night” which turned out a scam to try to get high schoolers to step into a church. Did I mention Rick Warren(shivers down the back)? Happy I got out of there after 19 years, but still go back to visit the fam.

  53. #53 EvilEvolutionist
    September 17, 2008

    Hey Another Primate, good luck over there. Make sure you get everything on the record. Everything. And just to warn you, these battles last for years. Do NOT give up. I speak from personal experience.

    Encourage all of the creationists to talk as much as they want.

    Evil(tm) Evolutionist

  54. #54 Patrick Quigley
    September 17, 2008

    The topic came up after county resident Joel Fanti told the board he thought it was unfair for evolution to be taught as fact, saying it should be taught as a theory because there’s no tangible proof it’s true.

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    So he doesn’t think that we should teach about anything that happened before he was born? So much for history classes – the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, and the American Revolution are just unproven theories apparently. The Bible would also qualify as a “theory” unless he is claiming to have been around when Yahweh was turning on the lights and splitting water.

  55. #55 charles stores
    September 17, 2008

    Forgive me, PZ, for this priggish reaction to your misuse of the word theory. You seem to conflate, as so many mistakenly do, the meanings of the words theory and hypothesis. In science, hypotheses are informed guesses. Theories aren’t guesses, informed or otherwise. They are explanations (see Oxford English Dictionary). Evolution is a fact, established by the eloquence of the data supporting it. The explanation of the fact of evolution is the mechanism of natural selection (and other mechanisms). That explanation is the theory of evolution. Likewise, in geology, continental drift is a fact explained by the theory of plate tectonics.

  56. #56 Kel
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    PYGMIES + DWARFS??

  57. #57 gryphn
    September 17, 2008

    You might suggest that the school board consider adding materials available here to the curriculum. Maybe some one could distribute some literature at a few board or PTA meetings.

    But then, rational thought might not be considered a virtue by those needing it.

  58. #58 Liam
    September 17, 2008

    Question: Would anyone actually oppose teaching creationism from a scientific point of view? It seems PZ is getting a little hotheaded about this…Surely there’s no harm in telling kids that these crackpot loons are so attached to their fairy tales that they won’t accept such a robust theory like evolution…but have no problem accepting aerodynamics each time they board an aeroplane. If I had my way kids would be taught philosophy of science before their first science class. Teach them what makes a good theory and they’ll realise themselves what a joke the evolution/creation debate really is.

  59. #59 Andrés Diplotti
    September 17, 2008

    Next from Joel Fanti:

    “Ok, atheists, if God, as you say, doesn’t exist, why isn’t there any evidence for Him? Gotcha!”

  60. #60 frog
    September 17, 2008

    pdiff: It wasn’t so long ago that the people of Europe were gleefully butchering each other, repeatedly, over trivial perceived political, ethnic, and religious differences. While things have been quite there of recent, don’t be fooled into thinking they are gone (as the recent ugliness in the Baltics has shown). Still, I do have to admit that we Americans have a certain knack for holding the wrong end of the stick… :-(

    Recently after a seminar with an Italian ex-pat, I asked him about funding for science back in Europe. The response? “Don’t think about going there – you look too Arab!”

    It’s right there — since it’s impolite to scapegoat the Jews, they just looked for some folks that kinda look like them!

  61. #61 Thrillhouse
    September 17, 2008

    If you made it three paragraphs into that news story without bashing your head against something, congratulations. You’re made of stronger stuff than I am.

  62. #62 Thrillhouse
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    Well I wasn’t here 200+ years ago, so I can’t really be sure the Revolutionary War happened. More to the point for him, was he around in Biblical times? If not, how can he possibly believe in anything in that book?

    Sorry for the double post, but I had to recover a bit before I could say anything of any substance.

  63. #63 tsg
    September 17, 2008

    Question: Would anyone actually oppose teaching creationism from a scientific point of view?

    I was taught (okay, taught about) creationism in the context of a list ideas that were supplanted by evolution. But that isn’t what we’re talking about here. These people want creationism taught as fact, as an equally valid alternative to evolution.

  64. #64 BobC
    September 17, 2008

    I left the following comment on starnewsonline.com:

    “It’s really a disgrace for the state school board to impose evolution on our students without teaching creationism,” county school board member Jimmy Hobbs said at Tuesday’s meeting. “The law says we can’t have Bibles in schools, but we can have evolution, of the atheists.”

    Jimmy Hobbs, it’s a disgrace that an uneducated hick like yourself is on a school board. You should be fired immediately because you’re just plain stupid. It’s not fair to students to have a moron like yourself making decisions about science curriculums. If you have a problem with science because of your childish medieval religious beliefs, then get out of my country. You belong in a theocracy like Iran.

  65. #65 Teh Merkin
    September 17, 2008

    So he doesn’t think that we should teach about anything that happened before he was born?

    Oh no, it is much, much better than that… If he wasn’t there, he has no basis for belief. How the fuck does he even know that Evilution is being taught in schools? Was he there? (Oh god, how I love that “Were you there?” line!)

    America is full of homosekshuls getting married? How does he know? Was he there?

    P-Zed killed a wafer? How does he know? Was he there? Photographic evidence? Planted by Satan!

    Are all the words in his Bible replaced with “Sorry for the inconvenience?” when he closes it? By his standards, he has NO WAY OF KNOWING!

    Teh stoopid, it fucking BURNS.

  66. #66 Mark Shields
    September 17, 2008

    I am a PhD biologist and live just 3 counties away. I have a resolution to this whole problem that will keep the schools out of it. If the school board really wants equal treatment of creationism and evolution, I’ll gladly come to their churches and teach evolution to their bible school students. Just let me know which Sundays (I’m free every Sunday), and I’ll be there!

  67. #67 Trish
    September 17, 2008

    Holy crap! Can those people even define Evolution??? Or contitutional rights for that matter! I guess I’m going to have to start taking church’s to court so I can the law enforce equal time for Evolution on Sunday mornings…

  68. #68 Tony Sidaway
    September 17, 2008

    I thought the “equal time” nonsense died over ten years ago.

  69. #69 tsg
    September 17, 2008

    I thought the “equal time” nonsense died over ten years ago.

    No, it just morphed into “teach the controversy”.

  70. #70 maxamillion
    September 17, 2008

    Looks like China is the new superpower.

    Sad really, I didn’t want to learn Mandarin but thems the breaks.

  71. #71 Skwee
    September 17, 2008

    Oh you KNOW he wanted to ask why there are still monkeys.
    If there are still monkeys, how do you explain PYGMIES+DWARFS?

  72. #72 Capital Dan
    September 17, 2008

    Yeah, because that whole notion that women are sprung from the ribs of man in a garden of talking snakes and trees with magic fruit on them makes so much more fucking sense.

    I think I need a bar of soap and a sweatsock. We need to pound the stupid out of these imbeciles before they give their children brain damage.

  73. #73 tsg
    September 17, 2008

    Can those people even define Evolution???

    The vast majority of those who don’t accept evolution don’t even understand what they are arguing against.

    I have this hypothesis that the more ignorant a person is, the more anxious they are to spread it around.

  74. #74 llewelly
    September 17, 2008

    Anybody consider donated to Barr’s campaign?

    Barr advocated a ‘defense of marriage’ amendment that would outlaw gay marriage on religious grounds.
    He’s advocated many other infractions against the constitution on religious grounds as well.
    Barr has learned to talk the libertarian talk recently, but his past behavior puts him somewhere between McCain and Palin.

  75. #75 Ryan F Stello
    September 17, 2008

    Babson said the board must look at the law to see what it says about teaching creationism, but that “if we can do it, I think we ought to do it.”

    This is what I love most about creationists:
    They’re not only blissfully unaware of complexities and advancements in biology, but they’re also unaware of recent history.

    It reminds me of one of those pro-ID commenters we had here during the ‘Expelled’ debacle claiming that the world’s mind would be blown.

    They just can’t help themselves from repeating their mistakes and thinking, “By golly, yes. This time we shall conquer you all!”

  76. #76 Metro
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    Well in some cases, mate, we don’t.

  77. #77 thalarctos
    September 17, 2008

    How many times must you sit creos down

    and tell them what a theory is?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin’pissin’ in the wind,

    the answer is blowin’pissin’ in the wind.

    Fixed that for ya, Andrés.

  78. #78 tonyJ
    September 17, 2008

    Firstly, I am from the UK. American people are responsible for some of the greatest achievements in human history, yet recently,and I may be wrong but it seems to me that America is becoming publicly, as a nation, even towards it’s own people, disturbingly stupid and agressive. I feel sorry for the many smart, decent americans that could be seen as a forgotten minority. In my lifetime the attitude towards the American people has changed very much for the worst, many fellow Brits I know fear your nation. Ten years ago I could not have said that. I saw a T shirt recently for sale with a map of America on the front. The name was not the United States Of America but ‘Dumbfuckistan.’ A good laugh, unless you are a rational American.
    I hope the UK isn’t heading in the same direction.
    Peace, good luck.

  79. #79 Capital Dan
    September 17, 2008

    tsg | September 17, 2008 6:29 PM

    I have this hypothesis that the more ignorant a person is, the more anxious they are to spread it around.

    Actually, that makes perfect sense. If they can not rise up to compete on an equal level intellectually with their peers in their community, the next course of action is to lower the intellect of that community until you can not only compete but be seen as one of the most learned.

  80. #80 Tony Sidaway
    September 17, 2008

    I was amazed by the blatant ignorance of the members of that board. Where do they get these people from?

  81. #81 JonathanL
    September 17, 2008

    The same paper that had that article just put up this follow up today. I think the school board members might want to give it a read.

    No place for creationism in science class, state says

  82. #82 CalGeorge
    September 17, 2008

    Educational attainment of school board chairwoman, SHIRLEY BABSON:

    Education:

    North Carolina School Boards Association

    National School Board Association Seminars

    Institute of Government, Chapel Hill, NC

    Continuing Education Courses, Brunswick Community College

    Continuing Education Courses, Cape Fear Community College

    Graduated from Shallotte High School – Honor Student

    She couldn’t manage to get through college? And she’s chairing the school board?

    Her other notable achievements:

    1992-95: Chairman of Brunswick County Republican Party

    2006: NC Republican Hall of Fame

    Charter Member: Holden Beach Ladies Club, Tidewater Junior Women’s Club, Boiling Spring Lakes Ladies Club, Brunswick Republican Women’s Club

    Way to go, Shirley!

  83. #83 RBH
    September 17, 2008

    Jason C wrote

    I’m all over this one!!! My son attends Virginia Williamson Elementary School in Brunswick County, NC. I am in the process of getting the proper and might I add accredited people involved!

    I trust the “proper” people includes NCSE, AU, and ACLU. They have considerable expertise in these kinds of affrays.

  84. #84 decrepitoldfool
    September 17, 2008

    Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    From the comments I can see others were struck by that prizewinner. It’s definitely going in the quote file.

  85. #85 tbnu
    September 17, 2008

    tsg wrote:

    The vast majority of those who don’t accept evolution don’t even understand what they are arguing against.

    —————-

    That’s because those who actually take the time to understand evolution end up accepting it.

  86. #86 Efogoto
    September 17, 2008

    Just yesterday I sent a couple of sentences from Judge Jones opinion memorandum to a friend:

    “The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.”

  87. #87 Ryan
    September 17, 2008

    The thread after the article in JonathanL’s post is pretty scary.

  88. #88 imflyboy
    September 17, 2008

    #78.

    Could you please tell me where to get that shirt?!

    There’s another one I’m going to order that has a pic of Jesus with cockblocker written under it. Funny and true!

  89. #89 Woody
    September 17, 2008

    “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    I can picture it now:

    *GASP!* I think…yep…I think I just evolved some lungs!…

  90. #90 MegaThieron
    September 17, 2008

    So Fanti volunteered to teach creationism for them, eh? I can see the class going something like this:
    “Good Morning, Class, I’m Mr. Fanti, and this is the class on Creationism. Look at the world around you. Creation requires a Creator. Now, with that out of the way, we will be having quiet time for the rest of the semester. I cannot advocate you praying or reading the bible, but if you so choose, now would be a good time.”

  91. #91 Bert Chadick
    September 17, 2008

    Tony J. Of the UK: We have 300 million people in this country, and a quarter of them are the ideological descendants of an old slave owning fundamentalist agrarian militarist culture that is suckled on the resentment of a lost war. That said, the rest of us are pretty much OK with a no greater percentage of asses and idiots than anywhere else in the world. Our real genius has been in accepting the refugee thinkers from the depths of European tribal wars and the frozen caste strata of the old country. Don’t be afraid of us, just keep sending us your geniuses who went to the wrong school and suspect Jewish scientists willing to work cheap.

  92. #92 Qwerty
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    This reminds me of a quote from my 9th grade English class:
    When your mouth is open you mind is on parade.

    Not much of a parade in Mr. Fanti’s mind.

  93. #93 Scott Hatfield, OM
    September 17, 2008

    I sent a letter to the Wilmington Star-News which reads as follows:

    “Dear Editor:

    “Brunswick school board to consider creationism teaching” (Sept 16th)? Have your elected leaders on the board, in their eagerness to pander to sectarian belief, taken hold of their senses? Any attempt to formally impose religion into the science curriculum in the public schools will be met with a lawsuit, and the creationists will lose. The case law is very clear: creationism, regardless of what it is called, violates the Establishment Clause by more than one test and will be judged unconstitutional in a public-school setting.

    The creationists on the board won’t be the ones paying the legal fees, though: it will be the school districts, and (by extension) the kids those districts serve, that will suffer. They’ll suffer because time and money will be wasted that should be going into their education, while a body of knowledge that the scientific community regards as uncontroversial (evolutionary biology) will once again be trotted out (falsely) as somehow inimical to religious faith. As a scientist, as an educator, as a Christian I urge the board to get better legal counsel than they have so far received and to find other channels for their private religious agenda.”

    It would be nice if that paper published this or similar sentiments. No matter how delicious it might be to imagine another public evisceration of creationists, we don’t need any more Dovers in this country.

    In the meantime, emails can be sent to the board president:

    sbabson@bcswan.net

  94. #94 dliz
    September 17, 2008

    is this even true?? is this really happening?? i just hope i am experiencing a bad dream..and i thought i was needlessly jittery after watching ‘idiocracy’
    so many things totally wrong about this:
    1. these people are obviously uneducated in the fields that they are trying to influence.
    2. total and complete disregard for any child who does not follow their judeo-islamo-christian beliefs.
    3. complete disregard for > a century of research by scientists.
    4. i am sure these will be people seeking medical treatments which have been greatly understood because of evolution.
    5. equating science with a way of life like atheism. i can call myself an atheist but i cannot say i am a scientist without earning the required degrees, research!

    what a disturbing bit of news.

  95. #95 TimJ
    September 17, 2008

    OT, but y’all may be amused about the latest story on everybody’s favorite creationist at http://timesonline.typepad.com/uselections/2008/09/palin-linked-el.html (hope that makes it). Apparently, we can ultimately blame McCain’s choice of VP on the prayers of a witch hunter. :) Within the story there is a sampling of Palin’s excellent critical thinking skills and the comments following the story will make you laugh, and they’ll make you cry.

  96. #96 melior
    September 17, 2008

    I found a hint of solace in the followup story linked by JonathonL @81:

    The Brunswick County school system offers a Bible as Literature course in high school, but it’s not being taught this year because no students signed up for it, according to administrators.

    How much do you want to bet the audience of troglodytes that “cheered” the school board members’ preaching had few or no actual students included? Looks like the current generation hungers a little less than their predecessors do for gooey religious brain sludge that’s not on the assessment test.

  97. #97 JoJo
    September 17, 2008

    That school board needs to get themselves a better lawyer. One familiar with the law would be helpful.

  98. #98 JSug
    September 17, 2008

    I looked up the email addresses for all of the school board members and sent them a message, urging them to look into the matter carefully before making any decisions. I provided some information about the Dover case and the controversy in general. Here’s hoping they make the right decision.

  99. #99 Fernando Magyar
    September 17, 2008

    Tony Sidaway @ #80

    I was amazed by the blatant ignorance of the members of that board. Where do they get these people from?

    That’s easy, from a bunch of really dumb fuckers!

    BTW, from they way things seem to be going, I’m beginning to believe that stupidity has a very distinct evolutionary advantage.

  100. #100 chaos_engineer
    September 17, 2008

    How many fallacies can you find there?

    I can’t believe everyone missed the obvious one:

    The board allowed Fanti to speak longer than he was allowed

    Which could only be true if Fanti spoke for an infinite amount of time.

  101. #101 woods
    September 17, 2008

    “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    Wow, I’m not even sure to begin with that statement… Yes, we do see things evolving now, as PZ pointed out. But the fact that evolution is often slow means that, by and large, you wouldn’t see it happening in your lifetime.

    I’m stunned that any school board would go down this path after Dover. Need we remind them that the Dover board was entirely ousted in the next election after that whole mess?

  102. #102 Another Primate
    September 17, 2008

    RBH – NCSE, AU, and ACLU are my short list…. Wish us luck!! We are going to need it…

  103. #103 frog
    September 17, 2008

    #91 Bert Chadick We have 300 million people in this country, and a quarter of them are the ideological descendants of an old slave owning fundamentalist agrarian militarist culture that is suckled on the resentment of a lost war.

    You forgot the 15% that are descendants of the dispossessed Scottish who were driven off the land during the enclosures after centuries of being hunted by the British for sport, shipped off to the mountains of Apalachia where they were then exploited for centuries as coal miners, where their only solace was in a primitive, emotional Christianity.

    They’re pretty pissed, and they have a bad habit of transference.

  104. #104 Nick Gotts
    September 17, 2008

    Which could only be true if Fanti spoke for an infinite amount of time. – chaos-engineer

    Have you ever heard a creationist in full blather? It can certainly feel like an infinite amount of time.

  105. #105 ompompanoosuc
    September 17, 2008

    I followed the link.
    I read the article.
    I read the comments.

    What do you do AFTER face-palm and smashing your head on a hard object?

  106. #106 Tom
    September 17, 2008

    I was in the class behind Joe Causey at Duke (he was ’88; I was ’89). He was, I think it’s fair to say, a kind of affirmative-action admit at Duke, which had been “encouraged” (by some major donor) to admit more students from North Carolina’s rural high schools. He was a know-nothing jackass then and apparently the intervening 20 years have not improved matters.

  107. #107 bunnycatch3r
    September 17, 2008

    @78 I’m just as worried about you folks in the U.K. Are you really that close to adopting Sharia Law? I haven’t seen any discussion on this yet and so I think it might be just another internet hoax.

  108. #108 LiveandLetDrive
    September 17, 2008

    Kansas raised (yeah, 9th grade Biology had nary a mention of evolution) and 3 years now stuck in NC (I even did my time working for a NASCAR team…) I am oh-so-happy to have just been accepted to UK graduate school.

    Stop the madness.

  109. #109 flame821
    September 17, 2008

    This is why we have to be ‘eternally vigilant’ because the creos never, NEVER, NEVEREVER learn from their mistakes and past defeats.

    The best we can hope for it to sue them, bankrupt them (I do have sympathy for the taxpayers of the district but then again they elected the buffoons) and let them gnash their teeth over how ‘persecuted’ they are.

    I simply have to hope that future generations wise up and stop this shit. It is little wonder that so many good jobs and advances in medicine and science are occurring in OTHER countries. I mean, debating evolution? That is third world crap that goes along with hanging witches and repressing women…..ohhhh, 2 outta 3, huh?

  110. #110 Steven Dunlap
    September 17, 2008

    #30
    Posted by: Matt | September 17, 2008 5:34 PM
    Ignorant Limey here.. why the hell is it that Christian fundies keep getting elected to school boards across the United States?

    Not only are the other comments in response to this true, but also the creationist/ dominionist/ right-wing nuts purposely infiltrate school boards and local government bodies that do not have much competition. At higher levels (i.e.: state legislatures) they have pioneered “stealth candidate” tactics in which they conceal their real intentions and follow poll research to speak to the issues that concerns a given district. The Supreme Court handed them a smackdown in the early 90s over Oliver North’s bid for the Senate and a supposedly “non-partisan” (read tax exempt) organization sharing its polling data with his campaign.

    On another topic, my favorite line in the news story: “Schools’ Superintendent Katie McGee said her staff would do research.” My response: there’s a first time for everything. Maybe someone might learn something?

  111. #111 tonyJ
    September 17, 2008

    #91 (Bert Chadick) He He, I am not afraid of Americans. neither do I hate you, resent you or harbour any negative notion about your people, I abhor such generalist views,I do come across them though in the UK, increasingly in recent years. That T shirt by the way is not my idea of funny. The one I own that is has a picture of Bill Hicks on the front, forgive me my despair. I simply despaired at the way things are going, rational thought it seems is in constant need of defence these days, increasingly so in the Uk also,(Try Pat Condell on U Tube for a little self righteous British indignation). You are right of course, Americans are no worse, or better, than the rest of humanity.
    An interesting defenition of my nation by the way, it is noted.
    ‘Don’t be afraid of us, just keep sending us your geniuses who went to the wrong school and suspect Jewish scientists willing to work cheap.’
    I have only one response to this….project paperclip.
    we stand on the shoulders of giants…..how many from the third reich?

  112. #112 Screechy Monkey
    September 17, 2008

    Just remember, guys: this is all our fault! If only we would just shut up and stop criticizing religion, the nice moderate friendly atheists would have these clowns under control.

  113. #113 Moses
    September 17, 2008

    From the article referenced in Post 81:

    The Brunswick County school system offers a Bible as Literature course in high school, but it’s not being taught this year because no students signed up for it, according to administrators.

    No shit. These are a bunch of horny teenagers and the whole “bible thing” really isn’t on their minds all that much. My experience with this, I think, is pretty typical: You get involved with this crap because even though you really don’t want that crap in you every day life, but thanks to a few zealots and typical teenage inability to avoid the peer pressure you often just go along.

    But when you can make honest choices without parental or peer pressure… So much for the bible thumping…

    And it wasn’t just me. It most every teenager I knew.

    Something else I observed, is that when the bible-thumping teacher in my school was fired, the whole “teen-age religion” thing hit the shitter immediately. Not even the bible thumpers were that interested without the support of Mr. Shear.

  114. #114 AlanWCan
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    So…I wasn’t here, so how do I know it’s true? But I can teach creationism even though I wasn’t there to see the whole “from the dust of the ground…and man became a living being.” bit, and that’s somehow not inconsistent and stupid? And why are there no more miracles besides the whole Boxcar Willie face on a taco thing?
    Your country is full of asshats. Sorry.

  115. #115 Nick Gotts
    September 17, 2008

    bunnycatch3r@107

    From the Times Online article
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4749183.ece:
    “Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.” (My emphasis)

    Orthodox Jewish courts have had the same status for years – so we’re as near to adopting sharia as to adopting Jewish law. I disapprove in both cases – I don’t think the state should validate religion in any way – but I’m not in any danger of being flogged for drinking alcohol!

  116. #116 James F
    September 17, 2008

    #93

    Scott,

    Well done, as always, and it would be great to see some editorials that raise the proper red flags. My only criticism is a grammatical one: I believe you meant “taken leave of their senses.”

  117. #117 BobC
    September 17, 2008

    #93: as a Christian

    A Christian accepts evolution, therefore evolution is true. That should impress the brain-dead creationist scum.

    As an atheist I would like to tell the Brunswick school board they belong in prison for treason, and the shit-for-brains god-soaked citizens who voted for those creationist retards are a disgrace to the human race.

  118. #118 Nat Misbett
    September 17, 2008

    BobC, we need to work on your framing….

  119. #119 raven
    September 17, 2008

    yet recently,and I may be wrong but it seems to me that America is becoming publicly, as a nation, even towards it’s own people, disturbingly stupid and agressive.

    Yes, we know. You aren’t wrong at all. You think it is painful to watch, try living here. This is the worst its been in my lifetime and that includes Nixon, Reagon, and Bush.

    I feel sorry for the many smart, decent americans that could be seen as a forgotten minority.

    The normal people might be a minority but not by much. I would say it is about even. But normals are slipping a bit lately. After 8 years of war, stagnation, chaos, and a failing economy, 45% of the population wants to reelect a wacko pair of idiots that will make Bush look smart.

    My latest theory is that there is a war going on between two parts of the US hindbrain. One part wants to mob up like lemmings and run off the cliff. The other part is the survival instinct that whispers that “no, this is not a good idea.” We may just go the lemming route.

  120. #120 George E Martin
    September 17, 2008

    If it is creationism they want to teach, it’s not the Dover decision the Brunswick board needs to be concerned about. (After all that’s just Pennsylvania district court decision.)

    What they need to be concerned about is the US Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Aguillard, 1987. If the board’s attorney doesn’t quickly find that decision, the board definitely needs a new attorney.

    George

  121. #121 Your mighty overload
    September 17, 2008

    Liam at 58

    Sadly, many adults cannot differentiate truth from fiction – to expect children to be able to do it is probably pushing it a bit. Sure, some will get it, but others just won’t.

  122. #122 Hitek
    September 17, 2008

    Man, I canNOT believe I did not see or hear anything about this sooner, given I live in North Carolina. Granted I’m in college at the time being, and am basically in a bubble, but still!

    I honestly used to believe North Carolina was smarter than this, but with each passing day I’m left just a little more disillusioned.

  123. #123 JimS
    September 17, 2008

    Just thought of an effective way to scuttle this. Tell the board all about Dover then say OK, you can do this but the school can’t field a football team next year. Gotta cover the legal costs but if you want creationism AND football gotta raise the taxes.

  124. #124 HidariMak
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    I wasn’t here 2000 years ago, so I’ve never seen any proof that Jesus was ever here. Nobody that I know of can claim to have seen direct proof of him either.

    And of course, the reference material supporting the existence of Jesus also includes mention of people living hundreds of years, miraculous events aplenty, people having direct communications with god, etc. And again, no proof of any of this has been seen by myself, or anyone that I know of. And if somebody claimed to be over 500 years old and having a two way conversation with an almighty deity, even many creationalists would insist that such a person be locked up. Even ignoring all of their factual errors against evolution, creationalists still have less.

  125. #125 Your mighty overload
    September 17, 2008

    tsg at 79 said;

    “I have this hypothesis that the more ignorant a person is, the more anxious they are to spread it around.”

    There is a saying, I think you’d like. It is that reading is the enemy of writing. In this case, I believe being educated is the enemy of propagandizing. For example, Republican candidates get away with saying whatever they like, because the more outlandish the message, the more their base of voters eats it up. Democrats do not have that luxury, since the Democrat base is probably better educated overall, and detest sweeping statements and empty rhetoric. The more “out there” a Democrats statement is, the less likely he / she is to get elected. The converse seems to be true for Republicans.

  126. #126 Andrew JS
    September 17, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    I don’t even understand the point creationists are trying to make with quotes that make evolution sound unreasonable. Do they really think they are pointing out a fundamental flaw that if a scientist would hear it and say “Oh shit, thats right! I’ve wasted my life!”. Honestly though, if these creationists really think they have proof that every other scientist in the world is wrong, and the world is 6000 years old and humans and dinosaurs walked together, etc. then why haven’t they won the Nobel Prize? That would be a major breakthrough. Seriously.

  127. #127 frog
    September 17, 2008

    NG: “Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.”

    This is just for civil cases, right? How is this different from a standard contractual agreement?

    In the US, I can hire someone to hear a dispute between me and a neighbor, and sign a contract making the resolution binding upon us. The “binding” part is a standard contract, and the “arbitration” is then pretty much anything we agree to in that contract. It could be a roll of the dice for all the law cares (or a TV show, as is common!)

    The courts just make that original contract binding. Is this just a streamlining of that system, so it’s using a kind of “pre-approved” contract which requires less legal wrangling if one of the parties decides to claim the agreement to the mediation is invalid?

  128. #128 Jimbo from Jersey
    September 17, 2008

    And I bet the whole room is voting for Sarah Palin.

  129. #129 Darwinator
    September 17, 2008

    my last name is Hobbs and i live 50 miles from Brunswick!
    do i have a crazy uncle Jimmy?!

  130. #130 TA
    September 17, 2008

    I love Mark Shields solution! (#66) You see, they want “equal” time, but not really. They truly want all the time. Their faith is so fragile they CAN’T let any hint of reality taint their belief system. But I digress from the point I wish to make.

    Where I come from a minimum school year was 180 school days. Science class was once a day for 50 minutes but lets call it an hour. Thus science was taught for 180 hours or so per year. However, if memory serves, only about 10 hours (being generous)was spent dealing directly with evolutionary theory.

    That being said can’t these fucking wackaloons find time to indoctrinate their precious little darlings in the tenets of their totaly messed up and whacked out fairy tales in the other approximately 8,750 hours left in the year?

  131. #131 Rey Fox
    September 17, 2008

    “And I bet the whole room is voting for Sarah Palin.”

    Actually, they’re voting for McCain. But I have to admit it’s kind of funny how thoroughly she has stolen the spotlight away from him.

  132. #132 Alligator
    September 17, 2008

    Teaching creationism seems to be an oxymoron. Is there anything to teach after “God created everything” has been covered?

  133. #133 Paul Lundgren
    September 17, 2008

    I just posted this to the next post, but I think it might be more appropriate here. (And yeah, I’m kinda prostituting my site for traffic).

    Sarah Palin credits her election to governor to an African preacher who got his start as a witch-hunter.

    Seriously.

    There’s video footage.

  134. #134 Trish
    September 17, 2008

    There is no real rational debate for this, so:

    If they want creationism they can go to fucking church. There are a billion fucking churches around. Go there! Shoo! Get the fuck out of our schools you fucking lunatics!! Damn!!!!

  135. #135 Clemens
    September 17, 2008

    @#132
    Well, after that you can spend much more time on even more bizarre theories explaining away all the flaws.

    There is a chick tract comic that explains that dinosaurs went extinct because after the great flood, many plants had been destroyed and so the air had less oxygen. Thus the huge dinosaurs, who need lots of oxygen, got slow and inert and were easier to catch and eat for us human fellas.

    Or other important questions, like: How did the kangaroos get to Australia after the landing of Noahs Ark? Well, some say the volcanoes in the Ararat region propelled them to their continent…

    You see, lot of stuff to teach and learn. ^^

  136. #136 Jason
    September 17, 2008

    Yes, creationism SHOULD be taught in the classroom. Just not biblical creationism: we need to go with the creationism of Greek Mythology! All hail Zues! All hail Kronos!

  137. #137 Nick Kanellos
    September 17, 2008

    Bert Chadick @91 said

    Our real genius has been in accepting the refugee thinkers from the depths of European tribal wars and the frozen caste strata of the old country.

    Sadly, the US is increasingly losing out on that as well. In some studies, the US ranks dead last in terms of intergenerational income mobility. The US is more stratifed than most of its European partners. The American Dream ain’t no more. Today’s US is not the same country that became the superpower, and I don’t know which is the cause and which is the effect.

  138. #138 Mike R.
    September 17, 2008

    Sad day for NC.

  139. #139 Stucco
    September 17, 2008

    Get that Miss South Carolina to teach it:
    “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our [children].”

  140. #140 MH
    September 18, 2008

    Board attorney Joseph Causey…

    Are we absolutely sure his name isn’t Lionel Hutz?

    Off topic, but I thought readers would be interested to learn that Microsoft’s new add campaign will feature… Deepak Chopra!

    NYT article

  141. #141 Rahne
    September 18, 2008

    How many fallacies can you find there?

    My Fallacy Meter broke.

  142. #142 Randy
    September 18, 2008

    So, this may be a stupid question, but is there a way of vetting school board candidates across the nation for the simple fact of whether or not they are a creationist?

    I live in a city with a large school district so I have ample resources to verify this sort of thing for my own elections, but what I’m thinking of is a giant database where I can put in the city where my friends live so I can check on their candidates and help them make good choices when they go to vote. I don’t mean to suggest that my friends are not involved, but that perhaps they don’t have kids and aren’t necessarily inclined to look into school board candidates, but would certainly vote against a creationist if they knew.

    The reason I feel a central repository is so handy is because of the impact knowledge can have in a school board election due to the extremely small turnout and typically low knowledge of the candidates by the local voters, especially in small towns.

    Anyhow, it’s an idea – I’d be happy to scour a source like that for towns where people I know live and that I can call them up and say, “hey, did you know so-and-so, running for your local school board, is a creationist?”

    It’s just too important to let these morons get elected, compounded by the fact that creationists often run clandestinely.

  143. #143 Mark
    September 18, 2008

    Just a thought on why no one signed up for the bible class at the school mentioned in the one article.

    Assuming (and it’s a mighty big assumption considering the unlikelihood of finding any teacher properly qualified in that neck of the woods) that the course was in conformity with the state’s standards for teaching a course on the bible, it probably had content not acceptable to the local fundies. It probably presented the literary and historical problems and issues with the bible, and pointed out that it had to be treated just like any other compilation of texts from pre-literate societies.

    That would certainly keep any gawd fearin’ chillun out of THAT classroom!

  144. #144 Robert Byers
    September 18, 2008

    The people have spoken again. Its off most peoples lives to be able to comment on teaching what in school about origins but as usual the good guys come ahead. I believe 70% of americans support equal time for creationism/evolution. This is the future.
    Censorship and state teachings against Genesis or god are going to fail. This is a good issue to bring up for the election. Could move margins.

    In fact it is the state that is using evolution to attack the religions , especially protestant Christianity, foundations and explicit claims.
    The prohibition against creationism in schools has been wrong ideas in law by incompetent small circles of lawyers. Just like small circles of incompetent biologists, if thats the word, who accept evolution.
    Its quite simple really.
    If you can’t teach that Genesis is right or a option on origins because the state and church can’t interfere with each other THEN you can’t teach Genesis is wrong or not a option. Otherwise the sate is interfering in the church teachings to the people.
    This equation will one day overthrow the present crazy b(or c)-movie present thought/word/truth control.
    I don’t see how I’m wrong in my thinking.
    cheers from Canada

  145. #145 Clemens
    September 18, 2008

    Just like small circles of incompetent biologists, if thats the word, who accept evolution.
    Its quite simple really.

    Yeah, right. I hope this is a Poe :-(

    Truth is not a popularity issue. And if 99% of Dumbfuckistan believe that the earth was flat it still doesn’t change the facts.

  146. #146 Kel
    September 18, 2008

    I believe 70% of americans support equal time for creationism/evolution.

    So 70% of Americans don’t know the difference between what is and isn’t science, and what does and doesn’t violate the constitution… sad day for that country.

  147. #147 Rey Fox
    September 18, 2008

    “I don’t see how I’m wrong in my thinking.”

    Well, maybe we should start with the talking snake and work our way up from there.

    “Otherwise the sate is interfering in the church teachings to the people.”

    Have you ever been to a church or a Sunday school? Has the Sate ever interfered with teaching there? And why isn’t that enough for you?

    “I hope this is a Poe :-(”

    Nope, Robert is the real deal. Manages to find himself here every now and then. Strings words together in a semi-coherent manner. Thinks that reality should be decided by majority vote.

  148. #148 bastion
    September 18, 2008

    Excuse me, excuse me, but I have a question for this School Board.

    If I may:

    Do you have a particular creation, um, “theory” in mind to be taught to our children? You do know there’s more than one creation “theory,” right?

    What? You were only planning on teaching one creation “theory”? I see. And how are you going to decide which creation theory, out of many, to teach?

  149. #149 Michael X
    September 18, 2008

    Slavery was also popular Robert. Get a grip.

  150. #150 melior
    September 18, 2008

    Here’s a bit of good news from the UK, via Way of the Woo:

    Homeopathy degree suspended after criticism

    The undergraduate degree in homeopathic medicine at the University of Central Lancashire has stopped recruiting new students after “relentless attacks from the anti-homeopathy league”.

    The course leaders, Kate Chatfield and Jean Duckworth, blamed low recruitment levels for the decision not to enrol new students on to the course this year or in 2009.

    But academics against the “pseudo-science” degrees, led by Prof David
    Colquhoun, a pharmacologist at University College London, are claiming the move as the “first major victory in the battle for the integrity of universities”.

  151. #151 my head hurts
    September 18, 2008

    If you’re in to that type of punishment, check out the comments from this story. The ignorance of some of the posters will leave you aghast.

  152. #152 Emmet Caulfield
    September 18, 2008

    Science is not inherently atheistic.

    Yes it is. Inherently, intrinsically, and indubitably.

  153. #153 Nanahuatzin
    September 18, 2008

    Robert Byers @ 144

    “The prohibition against creationism in schools has been wrong ideas in law by incompetent small circles of lawyers. Just like small circles of incompetent biologists, if thats the word, who accept evolution.”

    It is not just an idea from a small circle of layers:

    The oficial position of the catholic church is:

    Intelligent design isn’t science even though it pretends to be. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science.
    Fr. George Coyne, Vatican’s chief astronomer

  154. #154 SoMG
    September 18, 2008

    “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    Ummmmmmmmm…maybe because it’s so slow? (Doioioioioi!)

  155. #155 WhenDanSaysJump
    September 18, 2008

    What form do you reckon “equal time” in science classes is likely to take?

    Methinks exactly 50% of science teaching being about OMGZ TEH GLUORIOUS CRAETION~!, and the other 50% being “Evolution is wrong. Evolution is bad. Evolution made Hitler and Stalin get gay with each other. Etc.”

  156. #156 echidna
    September 18, 2008

    Robert@144 said:If you can’t teach that Genesis is right or a option on origins because the state and church can’t interfere with each other THEN you can’t teach Genesis is wrong or not a option. Otherwise the sate(sic) is interfering in the church teachings to the people.

    I don’t see how I’m wrong in my thinking.

    Robert, in science, there needs to be evidence for what you teach. The bible does not count as evidence.

    In other subjects, you are not to favor one religion over others. That means that the Bible does not take precedence over the Bhaghvad Gita. Teachers don’t teach that Genesis is wrong, although they may teach facts about the world that are in contradiction with holy writings.

    For example, schools may not teach that the Rainbow Serpent created mountains, although they may teach that this is one cultural creation story.

    Robert, I can see your beliefs are strong, but don’t confuse religion with reality. In particular, if your interpretation of a sacred text and reality conflict, you should be questioning your interpretation of the bible, not reality.

    If nothing you read on this blog will sway you, the previous Pope said exactly this: “Truth does not speak against truth”.

    If Catholics are not Christian enough for you, then ask yourself why the reality of God’s creation would contradict his words.

    If you think that scientists are lying to subvert religion, then you should realise that if the first scientist to prove evolution wrong would get a Nobel prize. Yes, this prize is open to Christians.

  157. #157 raresilk
    September 18, 2008

    the official position has been, for many years, that stupid people and smart people have equal rights in America. That was supposed to be the egalitarian ideal so that the cream would rise to the top. It was to replace a heriditary European system where positions were passed on by birth, often to meritless scions.

    But the American meritocracy has become perverted, so that stupid people have incredibly MORE rights than smart people in America. That has changed the American politics so that it in no way resembles what was contemplated by our founding fathers. Although it is true that some of them may have had certain religious leanings, NONE of them had STUPID and OUTRAGEOUS religious leanings like thinking Jesus was going to zap airplane pilots out of their cockpits. Or that Jesus was going to wipe out the world. I mean, let me be quite frank, Goddamn that.

    America has a place for religion. But not for rampant stupidity masquerading as religion. There is a time to call a halt to that.

    Further, seemingly we now have a leadership passed on by heredity – Bushes to Bushes, Clintons (we are to Clintons. Thus, the American dream of the American cream has gone sour.

  158. #158 Noam Zur
    September 18, 2008

    The board allowed Fanti to speak longer than he was allowed…

    Is it me or does this sentence seem to be lacking in logic?
    However, lacking in logic is befitting to the rest of the article, so I guess everything is adding up after all.

  159. #159 Ichthyic
    September 18, 2008

    I believe 70% of americans support equal time for creationism/evolution. This is the future.

    par for the course, creationists like Robert make failed predictions on a regular basis.

    Uh, you might take a history note of those stats (which, btw, are actually incorrect, but it hardly matters). What matters is that the proportion of people claiming to be creationists, or believe in some form of creationism, hasn’t really changed significantly in the US since Gallup started that poll over 25 years ago.

    so… if that’s the “future”, I’d say you’re already living in the past, boyo.

  160. #160 DrFrank
    September 18, 2008

    Of course, they wouldn’t be Creationists if they had any capacity for learning…

  161. #161 Jordan Lund
    September 18, 2008

    Thing is, we already have a place for kids to learn about creationism… They’re called “Churches”. Perhaps they’ve heard of them?

    Second, you want proof of evolution?

    Find a building that’s more than 100 years old. Do the stairwells and hallways feel cramped? That’s because human beings were SMALLER 100 years ago. I’m 6’2″, I would have been a circus freak in 1908.

    That doesn’t even take into account observable evolution in species with short lifespans like mayflies and bacteria. The reason we’re getting “super” bacteria is because of evolution.

  162. #162 Donovan
    September 18, 2008

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said. “If evolution is so slow, why don’t we see anything evolving now?”

    Wha? Huh? But, but, what?

    1) What in the hell happened 2 million years ago that you had to see in order to believe in evolution? Who told you it’s something that happened 2 million years ago?

    2) If evolution is so slow… What the hell are you asking? That IS why we don’t see it, and by we I mean you, me, and other non-biologists. Every living thing you see from the mold on your cheese, to the flies in your ointment, to the bats in your belfrey are evolving right now, this very second. Every single birth, seed, spore, and bud is a step in evolution. And before you confuse the two, you pulling your head out of your ass is development, not evolution.

  163. #163 Gavin McBride
    September 18, 2008

    Oh my, I mean if continental drift is so slow why do we not see continents drifting today!!!

    Hehehe.

    I have mailed Shirley Babson myself asking her if she will be distancing herself from the comments of Joel Fanti.

    I then mailed the Vice chairman Charles Miler and asked him if he is ready to step up and call for the resignation of this chairwoman if she appears to be intent on leading the school down a financially destructive legal battle which will end in failure and the damage of the schools reputation and education levels for all concerned.

    The students do not need to suffer for Fantis insane ramblings.

    Now…. does anyone know how to remotely get in contact with the students themselves? They should be talked to and informed of what is ahead of them. Do students have school email addresses? Websites? Other ways to contact them?

    How many students attend this school?

  164. #164 Gavin McBride
    September 18, 2008

    Must correct my own grammar. I realise its a group of schools under one board of management. Please make plural all the singulars I placed in the preceding comment :)

  165. #165 Claudia
    September 18, 2008

    Posted by: Teh Merkin | September 17, 2008 5:21 PM

    “I wasn’t here 2 million years ago,” Fanti said.

    But I was, so why not just take my word for it? What’s that,
    you have no good reason to believe me? That’s fair.

    Now about that Bible of yours…

    Excellent response!

  166. #166 Gavin McBride
    September 18, 2008

    I just sent a mail to ALL the science teachers listed on the websites of ALL the schools under this board.

    I have asked them ALL what their reaction to this farce is and will they be calling for the Chairwoman of the board to step down.

    I mailed 33 people in all. I had to guess their email addresses but only 9 of the 33 mails have bounced so I am confident most got through.

    If anyone want to mail these science teachers also then you can do the same or mail me at gavin.mcbride-aht-gmail.com and I will forward you the list of emails to save you time.

    As always I urge anyone mailing these people, even the contemptable chairwoman herself to be polite, articulate, terse and to the point at all times! Do not end up like one of those “I get mail” people that PZ is always talking about.

  167. #167 Emmet Caulfield
    September 18, 2008

    But not for rampant stupidity masquerading as religion.

    I fail to see the difference.

  168. #168 wrpd
    September 18, 2008

    “I don’t see how I’m wrong in my thinking.”

    I don’t see any evidence of your thinking.

  169. #169 Feynmaniac
    September 18, 2008

    Robert Byers #144,

    “The prohibition against creationism in schools has been wrong ideas in law by incompetent small circles of lawyers. Just like small circles of incompetent biologists, if thats the word, who accept evolution.”

    First of all…..nah, responding to this is beneath me.

  170. #170 raven
    September 18, 2008

    Robert Bryers is just a mentally ill Canadian kook. A troll. Feed him if he amuses you, but never expect anything that makes sense from him.

    I expect him to emigrate any day to some fundie hellhole in the midwest or the south. The rule is the Canadians send their wackos and extremists to the USA while the American intelligensia, educated scientists and other reality based community members flee northward.

    Someday Canada will be a world powerhouse of science and industry while the USA will resemble Cambodia.

  171. #171 Hank
    September 18, 2008

    School board member “Jimmy Hobbs?” WTF? Any adult male who still calls himself “Jimmy”–unless he’s a Mouseketeer–shouldn’t be allowed to hold an office higher than Middle School student council president, presuming he got as far as middle school.

  172. #172 Russell
    September 18, 2008

    I think this is great! C’mon guys, the more they do, the more free publicity they get, and the more people can see how crazy they are. Do you really think fundies are going to change their minds about anything. You could throw tangible evidence in their faces and they’d just think it was a trick by the devil, no, when this kind of thing happens I get excited to see the ensuing chaos knowing that it will only serve to discredit their bogus worldview in front of the whole world.

    When we hear about this, we should all blog it loud and clear to all our collective readership, and they should do the same.

  173. #173 Gra
    September 18, 2008

    As an aussie living in the USA, I think the problem is school boards. We don’t have them in Australia. I don’t see the point in them. They give a voice to people who have no professional expertise in education, people who have an axe to grind. As our lord and savior once said, “the cretinous dolts you will always have with you”. But why give them power over our children’s education?

  174. #174 tsg
    September 18, 2008

    I don’t see how I’m wrong in my thinking.

    You’re the only one.

  175. #175 george
    September 18, 2008

    NOOOOO! Damn, NC’s been pretty safe so far; I’m sad to see this. Very, very sad. At least it’s Brunswick Count, but that doesn’t make me feel better.

  176. #176 Michaela
    September 18, 2008

    Hey, PZ… not deserving of its own contact, but what say – on the topic of this post – you/we weigh in on this great guy?:

    http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/Story?id=5214063&page=1

  177. #177 Brian
    September 18, 2008
  178. #178 Steve
    September 18, 2008

    Bibles are illegal in school? When did this happen? I’ve never heard of such a thing. You can even pray, if it isn’t a requirement of the school and you don’t disturb others.

    You’re right though, there is no reason to put creationism and evolution in the same category.

  179. #179 penn
    September 18, 2008

    Hank at 171:

    What about Nobel Laureate and former president Jimmy Carter? Also, in the Southeastern US, Jimmy is often a given name that is not short for James.

    Anyways, Brunswick County School Board contact info.

  180. #180 Gilles
    September 18, 2008

    Sometimes I wonder if it would not be to our benefit to present creationism and evolution as scientific theories. Then, we could rip creationism to pieces in a few minutes (and show how it is absolutely not science and how there is lots of evidence pointing against it) and spend the rest of the time discussing and teaching evolution. It would be a fair way to “teach the (lack of) controversy”.

    Of course, then I’d have loads of parents trying to get me fired for infringing on their children’s religious beliefs.

    In addition, I’d have to trust all Biology teachers to do it in this fashion.

    I guess the best way is to do the right thing. Keep this BS out of science class all together.

    Cheers.

  181. #181 tsg
    September 18, 2008

    Sometimes I wonder if it would not be to our benefit to present creationism and evolution as scientific theories.

    Technically, creationism isn’t a theory. It isn’t even an hypothesis since hypotheses need to be testable.

    I think it would suffice to show why it isn’t science.

  182. #182 Gilles
    September 18, 2008

    @tsg #181

    Agreed.

  183. #183 Nerd of Redhead
    September 18, 2008

    Steve #178, a few code words being using here.
    Bible not allowed in school = can’t teach from it as the truth(students may bring and read from their bibles if they don’t disrupt the class, and bible as literature classes are allowed)
    Can’t pray in school = no teacher lead prayers (nothing can stop a student from saying a silent prayer at any time, or allow students to pray in groups during breaks or before/after classes)

  184. #184 FastLane
    September 18, 2008

    We have two (new) creationists running for the state school board here in Kansas again this time around, as well as Kathy Martin running, and probably winning, re-election.

    There is a good chance that the KSBOE will swing once again to a creationist majority in 2009. Steve Abrahms, the former chairman of the board that was behind much of the shenanigans in 2004, is running (and will probably win) a seat in the state senate. Look forward to an bill similar to the one in LA and FL in the weeks following. It’s probably already written.

  185. #185 tsg
    September 18, 2008

    People say “it’s one damned thing after another.”

    They’re wrong. It’s the same damned thing over and over again.

  186. #186 Hank
    September 18, 2008

    Penn @ 179

    What about “Jimmy” Carter, Nobel laureate and former president? What about the Iranian hostage crisis? What about gas lines around the block? What about double digit inflation? What about a botched rescue mission in the desert? What about asking your ten year old daughter about nuclear war policy? What about killer rabbits? What about Billy and the rest of the clan? What about a mid-east peace plan without any peace? What about lust in your heart? That “Jimmy” Carter?

  187. #187 tsg
    September 18, 2008

    I really shouldn’t, but…

    That “Jimmy” Carter?

    Are you really going to try to defend your gross generalization of people named “Jimmy” by turning it into a political argument about a single President? If so, you’ve already lost.

  188. #188 Roger
    September 18, 2008

    I say more power to the Brunswick School Board. Keep up the discussion at the board meetings, come up with a curriculum to teach creationism, and pass a mandate to do it.

    The resulting lawsuit, likely from some group of science teachers and parents supported by the legal expertise of the ACLU and others, will end as it did in Dover. It will cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars that they do not have, they will be obligated to pay it as part of the judgment against them, and all of the board members will be summarily voted off the board by the pissed off taxpayers of Brunswick County.

    Don’t discourage these people, encourage them and watch the fun.

  189. #189 penn
    September 18, 2008

    I know tsg already tore down the foundation of your argument, but I wanted to point out that your wrong either way.

    You mean he Iran Hostage Crisis where the Reaganites dealt secretly with terrorists to undermine the US government? I guess it’s hard to operate when your domestic political opposition is actively committing treason to undermine your efforts. Did Carter personally lead the failed rescue mission? I definitely missed that.

    Did Carter order the OPEC embargo that led to those gas lines? Didn’t he inherit Nixon’s recession? Remember Whip Inflation Now? It seems inflation was an issue before he was even elected. Does his family or the rabbit thing actually undermine his integrity or his ability to lead?

    I do remember him telling us to conserve energy and raise fuel standards about 3 decades before it was popular. I remember him pushing renewable energy, and actually installing a solar water heater in the White House (Reagan had it removed). I also remember him dedicating his life to housing the homeless, guaranteeing fair elections, and fighting waterborne illnesses in the most impoverished areas in the world.

    Yeah, that Jimmy Carter. The celebrated humanitarian, and the best person to ever serve in the office of the President of the United States.

  190. #190 Nova
    September 18, 2008

    PZ Myers:

    Somebody from the ACLU or NCSE ought to inform these people fast that their attorney is all wet and they are about to screw over their school district badly…before they go down that familiar path to self-destruction. The law says that they can’t do it.

    Why? Why not keep quiet and let them fall into the trap, another chance to flush the nuts out of a school board.

  191. #191 BobC
    September 18, 2008

    Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote about the creationists on the Brunswick school board today: Brunswick Stew: Creationism Crusade Bubbles Up At N.C. School Board

  192. #192 Metro
    September 18, 2008

    Re. #144, Robert Byers.

    I’m so sorry, and I apologize to the minions of Pharyngula. We try to keep them sedated up here, but occasionally one gets out.

    He “doesn’t see how [his] thinking is wrong.” I’m truly amazed.

    Could he, d’you think, submit a couple of examples of thoughts he has that are, in fact, wrong? Or shall we simply do it for him?

    Unfortunately they’re still allowed to vote, and our Prime Minister is (quietly) one of them.

  193. #193 Reinis
    September 18, 2008

    #42:

    [..] as the recent ugliness in the Baltics has shown [..]

    what in the world are you talking about? what recent ugliness?

  194. #194 Iain Walker
    September 19, 2008

    what in the world are you talking about? what recent ugliness?

    I think pdiff may have meant “Balkans”.

  195. #195 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 19, 2008

    Second, you want proof of evolution?

    Find a building that’s more than 100 years old. Do the stairwells and hallways feel cramped? That’s because human beings were SMALLER 100 years ago. I’m 6’2″, I would have been a circus freak in 1908.

    That’s not evolution. That’s better and more food.

    I think pdiff may have meant “Balkans”.

    In that case I still don’t get it. Georgia is across the Black Sea from Bulgaria — along the long axis of the Black Sea.

  196. #196 Mike
    September 19, 2008

    Help. I live next to this county in Wilmington. Please! Who can train me to fight this attack? Where is the playbook? Put me in coach. Teach me. Any advice would be great.

  197. #197 James F
    September 19, 2008

    Mike @ 196,

    Here are some great resources:

    National Center for Science Education: http://www.ncseweb.org/
    Talk Origins: http://www.talkorigins.org/

    There is not a North Carolina Citizens for Science group (although there ought to be!), so perhaps your neighbors to the south might give you pointers: http://www.sc-scied.org/EE/index.php

    I’m sure that local Pharyngulites will check in too!

  198. #198 R. Wheeler
    September 19, 2008

    Thank you tsg #181–
    The school board does not understand what scientific method is (I gather a lot of people don’t). Science is based on this method: observations, data, hypotheses, testing,and , with conistent results, a theory. Scientific method is “not prejudiced— the conclusions do not depend on the religious beliefs of the investigator.” Creationism, being faith-based,”does not rest on logical proof, reproducibility, or material evidence, therefore it cannot rule as to whether a scientific theory,” such as evolution, “is to be adopted or discarded.”
    Giving equal time to the teaching of creationism in public schools is illegal as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 ( someone mentioned the case: Edwards v. Aguillard).
    Case closed. I will certainly email the school board as suggested by another person on this site; if enough people did this, they might be a little intimidated!
    I am, by the way, a biology & chemistry teacher in California and, thankfully ,have not experienced the scientific illiteracy that exists in other parts of theU.S.

    For a little levity, consider this bumper sticker:
    FINE…I evolved,you didn’t.

  199. #199 Robert Byers
    September 20, 2008

    On behalf of creationists here.
    Ichthyic #159 The 70 % is not just creation believers of one type or another but includes reasonable people who accept evolution. Its a solid majority for equal time.

    Echidna post 156. You and others miss the point. If origins is being discussed in science class then Genesis or God can only be prohibited by a separation concept if equally Genesis or God is not taught against be teaching evolution etc.
    Creationism teaches Genesis or god is the truth on origins and attacks the evidence of evolution and company and further attacks that evolution even has a claim to be science.
    Creationism is on the same intellectual level as evolutionism in dealing with the same data about origins. Neither is science actually but both are researched studies on the subject of origins.
    Creationism has equal rights to question evolution on the merits to the gain of creationism.
    Let the people through their voting in of school boards decide about these subjects. its their schools, kids, country.
    Freedom will push the side thats right ahead but only the side that is wrong should fear.
    Anyways the constitution says there should be a separation of church and state.
    Right now the state is using the schools to attack the foundation of christianity for many by teaching evolution and related subjects. Then when creationism comes knocking for rebuttal they get the separation concept thrown at them. NO you can’t say Genesis is true. Its religious stuff. then they say Genesis is not true by teaching opposite ideas directly. Therefore they are directly teaching religious stuff is not true. So breaking the separation concept.
    As i said above I don’t see where my reasoning is wrong!!! Many posters commented on me but avoided the equation I put forth.
    I must conclude my equation is persuasive.
    The law is the law.
    Either nothing or equal time is the future in America. The rest of the world (except the true Canadians in Canada) have always been johnny come latelys on anything progressive and must be taught.

  200. #200 Hank
    September 20, 2008

    tsg and penn

    Hey, guys, I really think you missed the point of my original post re: “Jimmy” Hobbes. I will not try to explain it, but since I’m a nice guy, I’ll blame myself for your misunderstanding so as not to impugn the literalist mind-set with which you both read it.
    As far as the “best person ever, etc.” I’ll leave that up to the historians.
    P.S. I presume you’re both “guys” by the style of your writing and, guys, lighten up a little or you’re gonna break something important in your heads.

  201. #201 Nerd of Redhead
    September 20, 2008

    Robert Byers, quite a large load of bullshit. Evolution is about teaching SCIENCE. If there is science in the book of Genesis it is up to you, the claimant, to prove it in a scientific paper. The journals Science and Nature are where cutting edge science is often published. Proving evolution wrong would earn one a Nobel prize. But the Creationists are just smart enough not to try to publish in scientific journals because they know what they are pressing is not scientific, and will be rejected upon peer review.

    If you want to talk creation myths, then you need to include all the creation myths from all the cultures and religions in the world. But this should be in a comparative religion class.

  202. #202 Kel
    September 20, 2008

    Creationism teaches Genesis or god is the truth on origins

    No, no it doesn’t. There isn’t a single shred of evidence to suggest that Genesis is true. It’s mythology, and poorly-written inconsistent mythology at that. Hell, there are two different stories of creation in the first two chapters. Not to mention there’s no evidence of the filament, the sun created the earth through gravity, most stars came well before earth’s existence, and the idea of a talking snake is just batshit insane. It’s mythology, it doesn’t have ANY historical merit whatsoever. How do we know that? Because the evidence tells a very different story.

    That evidence is what is taught in science, quite simply if creation happened then the evidence would fit it. But given we’ve observed galaxies 13 billion light years away, we’ve dated the sun to 4.5 billion years, meteorites on early earth to around the same time, and rocks on earth to 4.404 billion years, we see unicellular life around 3.8 billion years ago and complex life around 600 million years ago, vertebrates around 500 million years ago, amphibians around 380 million years ago, reptiles around 300 million years ago, dinosaurs around 230 million years ago, mammals around 200 million years ago, birds around 100 million years ago, human ancestors around 2.5 years ago and humans only in the last 200,000 years including a last common ancestor around 140,000 years ago, how is creation right?

  203. #203 Sastra
    September 20, 2008

    Robert Byers #199 wrote:

    Anyways the constitution says there should be a separation of church and state.
    Right now the state is using the schools to attack the foundation of christianity for many by teaching evolution and related subjects. Then when creationism comes knocking for rebuttal they get the separation concept thrown at them. NO you can’t say Genesis is true. Its religious stuff. then they say Genesis is not true by teaching opposite ideas directly. Therefore they are directly teaching religious stuff is not true. So breaking the separation concept. As i said above I don’t see where my reasoning is wrong!!!

    Separation of church and state means that the government can’t take or teach a position on matters of faith. The reason you’re running into a problem here is that faith and fact are running into each other, and you’re not being creative in coming up with psychological ways to keep them separate.

    Once you start to say that the fact claims in a holy book are supposed to be taken literally, then you risk making a religion falsifiable. If the Sacred Book of Kush, for example, says that the earth is flat, then, on a literal reading of the Sacred Book of Kush, the Sacred Book of Kush is factually wrong. If the only way to be a Kushian is to be a literalist Kushian, then science has demonstrated that the religion of Kush is false.

    If, as you claim, evolution directly contradicts “the foundation of Christianity,” then you’ve lost. Christianity is false. To undermine evolution, you’re stuck with arguing against experienced scientists on technical matters beyond your expertise — and you will lose because you are wrong. Evolution is a falsifiable science theory which has been vetted through a rigorous process of critique for many years, and has passed its tests. It has done its work.

    You will not be able to get evolution out of the public schools by arguing that teaching it violates the separation of church and state, because see how it undermines faith in Christianity. As you have defined it, Christianity is not a faith. You have no faith. You have a bad science hypothesis.

    If you want to remain a Christian, and keep your “faith,” then I suggest you put your faith to work on spinning out ways that evolution happened, but it doesn’t change anything about Christianity except to make it even more wonderful and exciting and meaningful than ever. That’s how God would work! Yea!

    You can do it. That’s what people of faith do.

    The alternative is to think clearly, swallow hard, and become an atheist.

  204. #204 Iain Walker
    September 20, 2008

    Robert Byers (#199):

    Creationism is on the same intellectual level as evolutionism in dealing with the same data about origins.

    Frankly, Bobby, you’re just pissing in the wind here, since it is about as far removed from the truth as you can get.

    In order to be of equal intellectual merit, creationism would have to have some kind of explanatory value.

    It would have to be able to show that the observations we make of the natural world were expected consequences of the creationist “hypothesis”. But it doesn’t. Any observation O that we make can be rendered trivially consistent with divine creation, because the hypothesis has no constraints. It posits a deity that can do anything, and so both O and not-O are equally possible given the hypothesis.

    Furthermore, trivial consistency of an observation with a hypothesis falls way short of explanation. It is trivially consistent with creationism that human beings have four limbs, but that doesn’t mean that it explains why they do so. In order for a hypothesis H to explain an observation O, one must be able to demonstrate how O follows from H, i.e., one must be able to spell out why, if H is true, then one would would expect to observe O. And time after time, creationism spectacularly fails to show how the observations we make of the natural world follow, if creationism is true. Unlike evolution, creationism is severely lacking in expected observational consequences.

    In short, one of the main reasons that creationism has nowhere near the same intellectual merit as evolution, is that compared to evolution it has virtually nothing to say about the data about “origins”, one way or the other.

    The other main reason is that in those cases where it does have something to say, then what it says is demonstrably wrong (these are usually bible-specific subsidiary hypotheses, like that of a global flood within the past few thousand years, or that the world is only a few thousand years old).

    As i said above I don’t see where my reasoning is wrong!

    But you haven’t done any reasoning. Just lots and lots of empty sloganising.

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