Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The seasonal blooming of creationism, it’s school time!

tyson teachingThe school year is about to start in Pennsylvania and of course the creationists are in bloom.  How appropriate that our current wannabee theocrat is named Rep. Stephen Bloom, a state representative who wants his religion’s creation story taught as science (here’s his website, and it has an auto play ad on it thanks to a youtube embedding).   At the moment, there is no actual bill and the representative is looking for co-sponsors (aka people to give him moral support and some veneer of respectability for his theocratic attempts).

Unsurprisingly, Rep. Bloom makes the claim that he just only wants to preserve “academic freedom in Pennsylvania”.   But that of course is a lie since he has no desire at all to allow all religions to have the same “academic freedom”, only Christianity.

Rep. Bloom says that ““Efforts to squelch and stifle free critical inquiry in the classroom have too frequently arisen, often in the context of the teaching and debate of controversial scientific theories and paradigms.”  Unfortunately, the representative is trying to play pretend that creationism is a scientific theory which is it not.  Creationism is not like the competing theories of cosmology, which can be shown to be true or not depending on observation and experimentation.  Creationism is a claim that some god, in the good Rep’s case his personal version of the Christian god, created everything.  However, no one has any evidence that the supernatural exists, much less that a particular god did anything at all.   We have no more evidence that this version of one god was the ultimate creator than we have that Vishnu was the creator god or that the four creator gods (the reader may be familiar with two, Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl) of the Aztecs are the creator gods.   None can provide that their gods are the “true” ones, and thus the claims cannot be shown to be untrue like real scientific theories.

Rep. Bloom also says this “”This is not prescribing any religious teaching in the school,” he said. “There is no prescription that any religious-based theory be taught.”  Again, this may be technically true, but it is no more than another attempt at deception.  What other “teachings” are there to be taught that counter evolutionary theory?   Oh yes, there is that thing called “intelligent design”.    Which Judge Jones exposed as nothing more than Christian creationism in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case.   There are very few that posit aliens are the “intelligent designers”, and at best this pushes the ultimate designer only back steps.

Let’s look at a few quotes from the decision.  Rep. Bloom and his potential co-sponsors should actually read this document to see just what the arguments were and how they failed so miserably.

“Although proponents of the IDM occasionally suggest that the designer could be a space alien or a time-traveling cell biologist, no serious alternative to God as the designer has been proposed by members of the IDM, including Defendants’ expert witnesses. (20:102-03 (Behe)). In fact, an explicit concession that the intelligent designer works outside the laws of nature and science and a direct reference to religion is Pandas’ rhetorical statement, “what kind of intelligent agent was it [the designer]” and answer: “On its own science cannot answer this question. It must leave it to religion and philosophy.” (P-11 at 7; 9:13-14 (Haught)).”  – http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover_decision.html

“Although contrary to Fuller, defense experts Professors Behe and Minnich testified that ID is not creationism, their testimony was primarily by way of bare assertion and it failed to directly rebut the creationist history of Pandas or other evidence presented by Plaintiffs showing the commonality between creationism and ID. The sole argument Defendants made to distinguish creationism from ID was their assertion that the term “creationism” applies only to arguments based on the Book of Genesis, a young earth, and a catastrophic Noaich flood; however, substantial evidence established that this is only one form of creationism, including the chart that was distributed to the Board Curriculum Committee, as will be described below. (P-149 at 2; 10:129-32 (Forrest); P-555 at 22-24).” – see the link above

050-One-More-Proof-for-Pastafarianism-650x411One can understand why the term creationism is being left behind.  🙂   There is no one type of creationism, despite attempts by creationists to leave their more literal brethren in the dust as their beliefs become more ridiculous in light of evidence.  We have young earth creationists who are sure that the universe is less than 10,000 years old, with seven 24 hours days of creation with life forms showing up in their current forms. We have old-earth creationists who claim that the “days” are billions of years, and that there is some form of evolution, but no abiogenesis (life from non-life).  We have old-earth creationists who are sure that their god created just the physical laws, started everything with the Big Bang and life can indeed come from non-life, and evolutionary theory as currently described is true. We have Christians that are sure that the Noah flood is literally true (impossible per physics)  and we have Christians who are sure it is only metaphor.   Which Christian gets their version of the supposed “truth” taught?  And how long is this science class expected to take to honestly and equally give each myth exposure?

Rep. Bloom has claimed this: ““my thought was not to impose any requirement that any particular theories be taught but simply when theories are brought up, there can be intelligent discourse, discussion of strength and weaknesses and an atmosphere that would allow critical thinking which is so essential to the scientific process.”  Now, I propose a scenario that the Christian mythos is discussed and the strength and weaknesses of it are shown.  Would Mr. Bloom be willing for this to happen, to have the strengths *and* weaknesses of Christianity shown?  Would they be willing to have the weaknesses *and* strengths of other religions shown, say Islam?  What if my daughter was a Wicca, who was sure that the Goddess created the universe in a dance? May she also require it to be discussed long with the Scientology that little Johnny believes in and the Hinduism that the Patel child accepts as true?   There are a multitude of religions to be discussed, and Rep. Bloom’s blithe assumption that only his religion would be questioned is just that, an assumption that only good little American children would only ever think about Christianity.

Now, I can hazard an educated guess on what Rep. Bloom and the Republican caucus would have to say about these scenarios.  Steve Miskin, a spokesperson for the PA House Republican caucus, is quoted: “Steve Miskin, a spokesman for the House Republican caucus, said he was not aware of Bloom’s memo and noted that it was not yet in bill form. “It is only a concept,” Miskin said, adding that members of his caucus had not discussed the matter and did not yet have a position.”  But I’m guessing they certainly would have a bit of a problem with approving of  allowing Christianity to be shown as a imperfect faith (if they could decide which version to allow, see the Philadelphia Bible Riots over who gets to teach children what religion, wiki article and historical documents thanks to Villanova U. People were killed over such crap.) and of showing that other religions are just as viable as the Christianity they espouse.  If they would not have a problem, I’d love to see them state such a thing under oath.

There are two good questions: why do theists keep trying to get their religion forced on people by claiming “teach the controversy” and why they must find they must be deceitful about it? They do not “teach the controversy” in their own churches, with each sect sure that it is the only True Christianity, so there is no reason to think that they would do it in public schools.  They know that not everyone agrees with them but they want to negate any honest discussion by dressing their theocratic attempts in supposed tolerance and honesty, which again never happen in places where they have control. This attempt to yet again push creationism in public schools seems no more than a grab for power and minds; a desire for external validation based on attempting to hide under the skirts of tolerance and honest investigation.

Pennlive.com’s opinion editor, John Micek, said that Rep. Bloom is “a decent and hard-working guy that I’ve known for years”.  However, decent people don’t try to force their religion on others and do it as deceitfully as possible by claiming that creationism is a scientific theory, constantly wasting time and resources in selfish attempts to make their version of one religion the de facto law of the land.

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15 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The seasonal blooming of creationism, it’s school time!

  1. Questions ID’ers will never answer (found on the Sensuous Curmudgeon):

    What’s the “scientific theory of ID”?
    Who or what is the designer and how can we tell?
    What did it do and how can we tell?
    How did it do it and how can we tell?
    Where did it do it and how can we tell?
    When did it do it and how can we tell?

    Also, here’s something I found today. Yes, it’s a spoof, but its sadly not far from the truth.

    http://www.newslo.com/senator-challenges-theory-of-gravity-demands-schools-teach-both-sides/

    (Club, Ishaiya who you commented to on my post is not a theist, but at the same time she’s also not an a-theist. I think she falls into he metaphysical camp, whatever that actually means)

    • good set of questions.

      To me, this Ishaiya on your blog comments is one of those theists who doesn’t like any of the established religions and their accompanying baggage. They make up their own religion but would never admit to that. I do agree that she is in the metaphysical camp, also known as “woo-meisters” who can’t quite get over the need for a god that is their best friend. She sure does use the usual thoughtless theist attacks on atheism.

  2. Of interest to me on this creationist talk is how they intend to collect data about the moment of creation or how it was done. It would be great for all of us if they could show us this data.

  3. Yeah, this guy is playing the academic freedom, teach all sides, horse crap that the likes of AIG and the DI like to promote. It is an obvious scam to anyone with enough good sense to apply even a small amount of critical thinking skill. Too bad that skill is in shorter supply than it needs to be, as evidenced by the relentless attack on science by our lying liars for jeebus, and the proxies they manage to recruit.

    Good luck in Pa. Perhaps, with any luck, the Ball State outcome will influence the situation there. Just in case you or you readers are unaware of the Ball State scenario, here is a good link.

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/ball-state-university-president-rejects-intelligent-design-not-good-news-for-eric-hedin/

  4. Don’t get mad, get even.

    Why not call their bluff?

    If the Disco Institute maintains that ID is a scientific theory divorced from religious beliefs, then introduce it as such and put it to the test by devoting class time to the study of the design defects found in the human body.

    Once parents hear their kids saying that God the intelligent designer is a lousy craftsman, they’ll be begging to have ID removed from the curriculum of their own volition.

    Sure it wastes time and effort, but no more than is currently spent arguing these cases before the courts. Plus, students get to hone their critical thinking skills — and we all know how much fundies hate when that happens.

    On a more humorous note…

    Discovery Institute Discoveries: Detailed List by Year (DIDDLY)

    Teach the controversy: teach the “Stork Theory” of human reproduction.

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