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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Wednesday February 20, 2002
06:39 PM


[ #3000 ]
Preface: this isn't an attack on people who believe in God, nor an attack on people who believe in creationism. It's an attack on people who want creationism taught alongside evolution in schools.

Alternative viewpoints, my bunghole. Science isn't a hippie love-in. A scientific theory must be disprovable, and is judged on the basis of the evidence that supports it and the predictions it makes. Evolution meets those measures. Creationism fails on all counts.

If you want to teach kids theories about God, do it in Sunday School or private religious schools. Don't try and force your way into secular schools and attempt to debase science.

The latest attempt at an end-around by creationists: intelligent design.


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  • Agreed. I'll start listening to the people talking about "alternatives" as soon as at the very least Judaism, Islam, Buddhaism, Hinduism, and Confucianism get taught to everybody. Not to mention the bazillion variants of Christianism.
    • The Demon-Haunted World [] is good reading. It is mostly about pseudoscience scams like UFOs, astrology, new age, and so on, but its "baloney detection toolkit" is required reading for anybody that claims to be thinking "critically".
  • It isn't about teaching alternatives. It is about schools teaching that there are no alternatives, and teaching that there can't be intelligent design (which there's nothing really new about; it's probably been around for at least 30 years).

    This method of instruction is not based in fact, and is a form of religion itself. In my experience, public schools often teach that things just happened, that there was no design to how things came about. Fine, teach science, but that is not science! Teaching about
    • Science is about theories, and proving or disproving them. There are few "cold hard facts" in science, it's - by and large - filled with theories that nobody has disproven yet, and are considered to be "the way it is" until proven otherwise.

      In this respect "random chance" is the accepted scientific .. process, if you will. That is not, in itself, a religious belief of any kind. It's a "fact" that science considers that theory the most likely, and that there are no other scientifically-sound theories that

      • You are conflating two things: the facts of what happened -- evolution of species -- and why that thing happened. Evolution as a scientific theory does not, and cannot, say anything about why it happened. That is philosophy, not science.

        Fine, don't call it religion, although I'll disagree, but to call that science? What do you weigh or measure or compare or graph to say it happened by chance? There's nothing empirical about it in any sense. Sure, science can say that because this species didn't have i
        • If you think the school should answer (or even try to give an answer or a few) to the question "why", then we obviously disagree. The family and the culture in which we grow up should give the building blocks so that we ourselves can then decide what we choose to believe in and not to believe in. "Why" is a question of faith, and public schools should stick to things provable, that is, science. We don't teach alternative histories, like for example that Josef Stalin was a really nice guy, after all.
          • If you think the school should answer (or even try to give an answer or a few) to the question "why", then we obviously disagree.

            Then we don't disagree! I thought I was clear in my initial reply to gnat, but perhaps I wasn't: I don't want the schools to answer that question. I want them to stick to the facts. The problem is that many schools don't do that; they say that these things happened by chance, effectively telling many children that their religion is wrong.

            Well, really, I want local school boa
      • There is no need (and considerable distraction) in exploring the facets in which the scientific evidence is contradictory or incomplete for each area studied.

        Somehow that reminds me of second grade when I got all mad because they kept telling me you had to put the smaller number on the bottom in a subtraction problem and I knew they were wrong. My brother did the same thing, too, five years later. (We Blackstones liked our negative numbers as kids.)

        All the same, Pudge isn't saying to examine the pos

        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • and now your tax money that pays for the decaying public schools will be siphoned off by the school voucher [] plan so you can either have religion in the public schools or you can watch the public schools decay at an even faster rate while people who are rich enough to send their kids to parochial schools can get a break. I suppose the 17% of kids who don't finish high school are less important than religion. Move back to NZ and just keep hoping biotech will find the religion gene and remove it from the genep

    • Fact: schooling of children is a mandate by the government. If the public schools are too bad for the children attend, then schooling of children becomes an unfunded mandate by the government on the parents. It is an obligation of the government to provide parents the funds to fulfill their legal requirement of providing education for their students.
      • It is a mandate for "public" schooling. If they start cutting checks to people for sending their kids to parochial schools then us non-breeders should be able to opt-out of paying property taxes since I have no kids and don't wish to pay for religious education. The public schools will not benefit from this and the next step would be to abolish public education altogether and just make people pay for their own education like college/university. Your desire for religious education for your children is not my

        • The government decides everyone must be schooled, so it is obliged to pay for that, and to say that public school is the only way this should be achieved is nonsense, because public schools simply are not an option sometimes. This isn't about religious schools in many cases -- to frame it otherwise is dishonest -- and even when it is, it would be unconstitutional to not pay for it just because it is religious. That is specifically prohibited by the First Amendment in regard establishments of religion. To
          • In the pilot program over 80% of the beneficiaries were catholic schools. Why should I be obligated to pay for the middle class to siphon money away from the already hurting public schools so that they can buy an SUV on the money my tax dollars helped them save on their kids school tuition? The government provides for a public education and that is all the constitution provides for so if a public school isn't 'an option' for you then you'll just have to cough up the cash like my parents and others have done

            • In the pilot program over 80% of the beneficiaries were catholic schools

              So 20% weren't. I am just saying you cannot frame this as an issue only for religious instruction, because it is not.

              Why should I be obligated to pay for the middle class to siphon money away from the already hurting public schools

              Because you -- the American people -- have mandated that these children must be schooled, so you must provide the means for them to be schooled. And again, saying the public schools are the only means
              • You still haven't answered why I should help you pay for an alternate school without providing a reason why it should be federally mandated, why my money should fund religious schooling of any kind or what exactly it is about public education that is unsuitable and how abandoning it is a solution for all the people. One dollar of my tax dollars paying for religious schooling of any kind is too much. The libertarians seem to think that public schooling is too governmentally controlled yet want my federal and

                • I have already clearly addressed pretty much everything you ask; that you don't see it is evidence that to reiterate it would be unhelpful.

                  As to your final point: I do feel that a high school diploma is unnecessary for many people, of course. You don't need a high school diploma for most jobs. I never said you don't need an education to succeed, I said you don't need a high school diploma; those are two vastly different things.

                  On the other hand, the standards of high school are a lot lower than they use
                  • "high school diploma is unnecessary for many people because you don't need it for most jobs" and "getting a diploma doesn't mean much since many who graduate are functionally illiterate". Oookay. In other words, schooling is required only for jobs, not for your everyday life?

                    It's fine that most of the people can't read or write, or do basic maths properly? It's fine if most people don't know enough (even) their own language, math, sciences, history, geography, economics, so that the people in power (tak
                    • I perhaps unclearly am drawing a distinction between schooling and education. I probably would have skipped college altogether were it not for the need to have a college diploma to get most decent jobs. That's not to say I squandered the opportunity, because I made the most of it; but I didn't, and don't, see the need for it. I would have become more educated regardless.

                      As to it being OK that most people not being able to do basic math, language skills, etc.: heavens no! I am saying that a high school
                    • You still have not answered why my tax dollars should go to your own self-serving ideas of education instead of towards improving the system that already is in need of serious help that would help all children instead of just yours.

                      A good education is one of if not the pillar of a democracy and considering that it is no wonder this country is no longer a well informed democracy. We are the richest 3rd world nation on the planet.

                  • Most jobs? I encourage you to go look for a job and claim you have no HS diploma or GED. What you are encouraging is a class system of rewarding people with college educations to pay you to send your kid to college with their tax dollars while those who can't afford private schools even with the subsidy will be forced to go to public schools with even less money and even less hope of getting a better education. If this is what you think is constitutional and 'american' and 'democratic' I think it's far too

                  • On the other hand, the standards of high school are a lot lower than they used to be, and many people who graduate high school are functionally illiterate and can't do basic math, so getting a diploma doesn't mean much.

                    How do you know this exactly? You don't believe everything you hear, do you? :)

                    P.S. I'm on your side, I think, so don't take this too seriously.

                    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Death to the infidels, indeed?
    • Change since 2000 in the percentage of Latin Americans who say they prefer democracy to other forms of government : -12
    • Change since then in the percentage who feel "confident" in the Catholic Church : -5
    • Percentage of U.S. Jews who rank the separation of church and state among the top reasons for the country's success : 86
    • Percentage of the total U.S. population who believe this : 61
    • Percentage of Americans who believe that the theory of human evolution is "probably" or "definitely" not true : 47
    • Per