Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That Olde Time Arguement

This post is in honor of the 2012 GOP Presidential hopeful and "future Ronald Reagan" governor of Louisiana, and all he has done for science education in Louisiana state schools.

"There are days when I almost wish the fundamentalists could get their own way, just so that they would find out what would happen to them." - Christopher Hitchens

You'll have to go over to Newsweek to read all of what Hitchens had to say about religion in schools, but here's some of the goods:

Try asking an "intelligent design" advocate to stipulate upfront what would constitute refutation of his world view and you will easily see the difference between the scientific method and the pseudoscientific one.

But that is just my opinion. And I certainly do not want it said that my side denies a hearing to the opposing one. In the spirit of compromise, then, I propose the following. First, let the school debating societies restage the wonderful set-piece real-life dramas of Oxford and Dayton, Tenn. Let time also be set aside, in our increasingly multiethnic and multicultural school system, for children to be taught the huge variety of creation stories, from the Hindu to the Muslim to the Australian Aboriginal. This is always interesting (and it can't be, can it, that the Texas board holdouts think that only Genesis ought to be so honored?). Second, we can surely demand that the principle of "strengths and weaknesses" will be applied evenly. If any church in Texas receives a tax exemption, or if any religious institution is the beneficiary of any subvention from the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, we must be assured that it will devote a portion of its time to laying bare the "strengths and weaknesses" of the religious world view, and also to teaching the works of Voltaire, David Hume, Benedict de Spinoza, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. This is America. Let a hundred flowers bloom, and a thousand schools of thought contend.


This harkens back to two old debates we already had at Hurricane Radio, in June of 2005, and in November of 2005.


Dante said...

I'm confused. What does this have to do with Jindal? Isn't he the governor of that smaller, inferior state east of Texas? No, not Mississippi. That one in between... you know, with the terrible roads and crappy casinos. No, NOT Mississippi. Yeah, that other one.

I'm getting a little tired of this debate myself. The only reason scientists are so hard on the creationist crowd is because the scientists don't really know how life began either. They have some idea of how species can change over time and maybe potentially become new species. That doesn't mean that's how all life got here or even how humans got here.

Arguing evolution vs. a literal 7-day creationism is like arguing Coke vs. Planters Peanuts. The ideas aren't mutually exclusive. What's really being argued is abiogenesis vs. creationism. Since the scientific crowd doesn't have a whole lot of really real hard science to go on as far as abiogenesis is concerned, they slip in evolution instead and hope nobody notices. Fortunately for them, not many people do.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Google search "Bobby Jindal" and "science education." If God had meant for us to have good roads and awesome casinos, he would have built us that way.

As for the debate, I've never heard scientists try to explain how "life began" with evolution. Every school I've gone to, every class I've had and every text I've read uses evolution as an explanation for "how species can change over time and potentially become new species."

The creationists are hard on the scientific crowd not because they are arguing about how life began, but because evolution is seen by creationists as an attack on certain groups' unique and literal interpretation of a religious text.

Well, that and how creationist organizations get more money from their supporters by loudly arguing with scientists.

Dante said...

"As for the debate, I've never heard scientists try to explain how "life began" with evolution."

Sorry for not being clearer. I have a sentence in there that should've read:

"That doesn't mean that's how all current life got here or even how humans got here."

Nobody is arguing that evolution is a means to create life from lifelessness. But I've heard more than once in my science classes growing up that the life forms around us now are evolved from other species and that we humans are evolved from other species. That's a pretty direct attack on how creationists believe life began.