Welcome to my blog, the purpose of which is to talk... about--stuff. And... yeah. Skeptics and freethinkers welcome. And Lovecraft fans. And Star Wars fans. And Bruce Lee fans. And martial artists. And any one who prays to the Old Ones.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


"As of last month, teachers in Tennessee classrooms are legally protected when they encourage critical thought and even criticism of such hot-button issues as evolution and global warming. Tennessee joined a growing number of states trying to safeguard academic freedom when House Bill 368, which enjoyed strong support in the legislature, became law without Gov. Bill Haslam's signature."

Your first major mistake (or deliberate lie?) is assuming that students are not already being taught critical thinking in science. Science is constantly finding new data and revising theories accordingly. Evolution has been subjected to rigorous peer-review since the 1850s, and is now accepted as fact by over 99.9% of the scientific community ( source).

"The new law says, “teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” Predictably, evolutionists are up in arms, begging this question: Just what are they afraid of — objectivity?"

That the next generation of students in Tenn. are going to be brainwashed into a mindless biblical literalist cult. That quoted paragraph of the law is what happened in my geology classes last semester on a daily basis. Why did they need to pass a law re-stating a pre-existing practice? The question is whether the law violates the Constitution or gives biased, religious teachers the lee-way to do so.

 "For too long the Darwinian camp has monopolized impressionable young minds, telling each new generation that evolution is settled scientific fact, when it is anything but."

Emphasis mine. Also, [citation needed]. Otherwise, it's crap. I don't see you offering any superior explanations of biological diversity or the fossil record. If evolution didn't happen, then the Geologic Time Scale either would not exist or would be dramatically different than what is it today.

"Feelings on the issue run high because we all have a stake in the game. What we believe on human origins is foundational to the worldview we adopt, which has lifelong implications. What we believe about human nature, right and wrong, the earth's future, and man's future are directly connected to what we believe about human origins. Did man mindlessly evolve by chance, or was he intelligently created on purpose?"

Who said that evolution via natural selection rules out god? And why. exactly, is our belief, or in science's case, knowledge, of human origins so central to morality?

"Staunch evolutionists are glad to undermine a theistic worldview at every turn, but quite adamant that nothing be allowed to undermine their own."

And now our biased author reveals his true colors with a false dichotomy. First off, theism (or Deism) is not synonymous with creationism. Francis Collins, the head of the human genome project, accepts evolution, but is also a christian. Secondly, your creationist cult is nonsensical rubbish that hasn't had any credibility amongst real scientists since the dawn of the twentieth century, if even that late. The fossil record, and the changes that we observe in all lifeforms preserved in it, point to adaptation over time. Simultaneous creation at one point would have rendered the entire geological column strikingly different from what it is. Likewise, biology wouldn't make any sense if evolution didn't occur. How do you explain flu strains adapting to antibiotics? Magic? Angels? Gremlins?

"They berate efforts to grant legitimacy to an opposing viewpoint."

A real scientific theory grants itself legitimacy by passing peer-review, resting upon hard evidence, and offering a logical explanation of  current data, not though endless whining and legal battles. Creationism does none of this (save the last). By it's very definition, it is anti-science. Real science is built upon the null hypothesis, with no unwarranted pre-suppositions of what the evidence will prove. Real science looks at the facts and draws a conclusion, while keeping an eye out for additional data. Creationism starts with a conclusion, and then looks for data that fits that conclusion. It is like firing an arrow into a wall and then painting a bulls-eye around the arrow.

"To evolution's true believers, there is no other side worth mentioning. They have much to lose if God were ever allowed a foot in the door."

Once again, no citations for any of the preposterous claims made, and yet another false analogy. Some scientists accept evolution, but think that god created life and allowed evolution to occur. The two are not mutually exclusive as you would have people believe. 

"Evidence notwithstanding, they would like nothing better than to rule every science class as a Darwinian dictatorship."

And now, the anti-intellectual hack fully discredits himself. Tell me, do geographers want to rule every science class as a Geographical dictatorship, by excluding flat-earth theories? Is the same true of chemists, for not teaching alchemy? Or doctors of medical school, for not teaching leeching and trephany? Science deals in proof, not idiotic conspiracy claims. When creation-tards have produced experiments lending evidence to their claims, then we'll have an actual debate on our hands. Remember, we've seen life evolve in the lab (Richard Lenski and the E. Coli experiment); we've yet to see your magical deity create life anywhere. In other words, the basic premise of evolution--that life adapts in order to survive more efficiently--has been proven thousands of times. The basic premise of creationism is unfalsifiable, and has never been proven, or even has any research/experimentation backing it up.

"So here's how the argument goes. They say any view that might suggest an intelligent design in nature implies a Creator, and that any talk of a Creator transforms the discussion from scientific into religious"

Without hard proof, yes, this is true.

"Evolutionists have defined the issue so that a criticism of evolution in science class is painted as a sneaky promotion of religion and, since we cannot be promoting religion as science, therefore we cannot be criticizing evolution in the classroom. Win-win for them."

Waaaaaah. Waaaaaah. Somebody call the Waaaaaaahhmbulance.

"In fact, the limitations of science are significant. The scientific method involves observing, theorizing about observed phenomena, experimenting, and refining the theory based on further observation and experimentation. No one alive today saw the beginning of the universe (or the first man)."

That's correct. Unlike religion, science is limited by reality.

"No one today can recreate the scenario or experiment on it. Unique events are outside the scope of science's methodology, and that includes the matter of origins. Asking science to tell us where we came from is like asking medicine to tell us whether it is wrong to lie, or asking mathematics to explain world history."

This isn't just a false analogy; this is the biggest pile of shit I've read in--well, days. You're assuming that events that are currently outside our capacities to test and verify will always remain that way, which is highly fallacious. Secondly, you're assuming that the question of origins hasn't been answered. It has. We evolved, adapted, and overcame. We weren't poofed into being as is a few thousand years ago by a tribal Bronze Age deity.

"The new Warren Christian Apologetics Center in Vienna, West Virginia is named after the late Thomas B. Warren, a first-rate philosopher and theologian who earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University, and defended the existence of God in numerous books and public debates with such skeptical luminaries as Antony Flew (who eventually abandoned atheism for theism)."

And this relates to evolutionary science because...?

"Years ago, in an essay on "Responses to Evolution," Dr. Warren sounded a warning about the proper role of science: "We must be very careful not to give natural scientists the status of authority in realms where they are not authorities. Scientists — strictly on the basis that they are scientists — are not authorities in the fields of philosophy and religion. And it should be noted that, as a matter of fact, the question of the origin of man is not basically a scientific question; it is rather a question of revelation (Bible teaching) or if one wishes — as some men do — to ignore the teaching of the Scriptures, philosophy.""

Then Dr. Warren was out of his depth in the field of science, and clearly did not know what he talked about. By what authority does someone who wasn't even a scientist claim that human origins is an exclusively religious field? Why? You aren't doing anything with it; you're just waving your hands like little kids and saying "Gahd done it" to explain everything you don't understand. Religion in a nutshell. Science--and the fields that deal with specific areas of reality, from mathematics to geology, applies to everything. The entire universe is the purview of science. Philosophy and religion can no more explain human origins than they can explain any other natural phenomenon. Did either of these fields ever explain what volcanoes were? Religion said that they were angry gods, and we should sacrifice virgins to them. Philosophy said that they weren't real, just the dreams of a god or some similar nonsense. Only science offered an explanation backed with evidence.

"In the same essay, Dr. Warren observed, "the question of the origin of man is basically a philosophical question (in that it utilizes the synthesis of information from a number of disciplines within the general realm of the natural sciences — and such synthesis is not, strictly speaking, a function of natural science; rather, it is a function of philosophy) and/or a question of revelation.""

Dr. Warren was not an authority on science and clearly, from this passage, doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. Which renders this section of  Weylan Deaver's article an "appeal to authority" fallacy, nothing more. By the way; when writing about science, you should really get the opinions of actual scientists, not opinionated philosophers. If you write about cars, you should talk to a mechanic, not a biologist. Duh. Aren't you supposed to be a journalist?

"The study of human origins is not proper science and, if we want to stick to what is, then evolution has no place in a science classroom."

Your lack of citations (i.e., baseless assertions), logical fallacies, and now, denial of the fossil record forces me to conclude that you sir, are an idiot. Go to college and take a few courses in geology, paleontology, and biology. Once you actually have some idea of what you're ranting about, come back and give this pathetic article a do-over.

"Evolution's current dominance there does not make it right."

No, that would be the mountains of evidence and experiments supporting it. A pity that it's opponents are inevitably arrogant, ignorant fools.

" God was in the classroom before Darwin and was booted out."

Can you prove that your god even exists? Nope. And the Constitution says that your god shouldn't even be there to begin with, any more than Kali and Zeus. But of course, religious conservatives love to ignore those inconvenient bits of the Constitution.

"Science was practically anointed a god, and allowed to far overreach any sensible boundaries of the discipline."

[citation needed].

"Today, we bow before science, not because it has all the answers, but because we have been taught to believe that the latest scientific theory is the best explanation, even if that theory is not supported by the actual scientific method."

[citation needed]. But as a scientifically illiterate buffoon, I'm guessing you don't know what that means. Funny how there's no peer-reviewed research for your side. I wonder why that is...?

"Evolutionary dogma has become so hallowed that criticism is off-limits, bringing harsh repercussions unless there is a law protecting the poor science teacher who dares admit a piece of evidence at odds with the dogma."

[citation needed]. And dumbass? I asked my geology professor a crap load of questions regarding evolution last semester and the semester before that, without any "harsh repercussions". In fact, he seems to enjoy talking to me and encouraging me to do my own research. Not of course, that I'm expecting any significant degree of honesty from bottom-feeding creationists. One wonders how open the "teachers" in creationist "colleges" are to students who bring up evolution...

"Can anyone imagine a new law being needed to protect a teacher who criticizes America's Founders in a public school? Can anyone fathom a new law being necessary before a teacher says anything critical about the Bible, Christianity or capitalism?"

No. And if America wasn't filled with ignorant hicks who clearly know less about science than the average high student, we wouldn't need legislation to protect scientific integrity from religious invasions.

"Academia has made a profession of undermining God and the Constitution under the guise of academic freedom. Just don't bring academic freedom into a science class."

[citation needed]. And idiot? Outdated, discredited theories have no place in the classroom, except as a footnote. That is what your anti-science dogma has become; a rather embarrassing milestone in the history of science that some poor, sad sacks still cling to out of ignorance and superstition. Academic freedom doesn't give creationist witch-doctors the right to tout their belligerent crap in a genuine science class. Now if you want, you can send your kids to a fundy diploma mill like Bob Jones University, where science is secondary to faith.

"Objections to Tennessee's new law (and similar laws in other states) are less a reflection of evolution having been proven (it hasn't)..."

Emphasis mine. [citation needed]. Do you really think you know more than thousands of scientists who've studied evolution their entire lives? What a pathetic little man you are. This kind of arrogance is cartoonish.

"than of the irrational intolerance that characterizes many in evolution's camp. The wonder is not that evolution should be criticized in the classroom, but rather that it requires a law to make criticism possible. "For every house is builded by some one; but he that built all things is God" (Hebrews 3:4)."

Because refusing to teach outdated, disproved myths from ancient goat-herders alongside proven, tested scientific fact is "intolerant". And the best part? Our friend Weylan doesn't have any scientific degrees; just a degree in the "study of nothing" as Thomas Paine called it. Oh, and look, he even quoted the Wholly Babble. Well, two can play that game.

If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him.  Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you.  You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.  And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst.  (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

What a great source of wisdom.


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