I can’t learn Evolution in Science class!!

Sep 8, 2013


Discussion by: iAtheism

So I started my senior Biology class the other day and I was really excited to start learning Evolution because that's what I want to get my PhD in. Well at the beginning of class my teacher comes in and says "I will be teaching everything but Chapter 14 (Evolution) because I don't wanna start a riot here in class." Well I can understand that, and I told her I need to take Evolution and she said "Well if I did teach it, I could easily just bring up the Bible on creation." That shocked me she would even say something so stupid like that. Well in the car I was telling my mom (by the way my sister is in the same class as me) and I told my mom, she is a theist by the way, that I was highly upset, so my sister said "She just doesn't want to bother anybodies beliefs" and so my mom spoke up and said "I know Evolution is true, but I also believe there is truth in the Bible." And they were on the teachers side the whole car ride home untill I spoke up and said "Well I believe 2+2=5, just because I believe in something doesn't mean it's true and that all of math should shape around to what I believe in." Well that kinda ended the arguement in the car. Well, I was wonder if there is anything I could do to get her to teach Evolution in class or should I simply just buy a couple books on it and learn it myself? 

*Books I'm looking at buying: The Selfish Gene, Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, and Evolution: The Orgin of Life (or something like that.) 

90 comments on “I can’t learn Evolution in Science class!!

  • You’ll probably learn more doing the research yourself, than getting a half-arsed lecture.

    However, that’s not on. It’s part of the curriculum, it is a fundamental theory in biology, it should be taught. The teacher refusing to teach it under the pretext of ‘controversy’ isn’t doing anyone a service. There is no controversy here. There are maybe administrative powers you could complain to, I don’t know how that works. School principal, school board?

    “I could easily just bring up the Bible on creation.”

    No, you can’t. Ask him / her if she would have an similar dilemma teaching alchemy versus chemistry.

    Books I’m looking at buying: The Selfish Gene, Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, and Evolution: The Orgin of Life…

    Also read Jerry Coyne : Why Evolution Is True.



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  • You live in the Bible belt, so getting any decent education on Evolution may be a problem.
    I would read books. I just finished The blind watchmaker. It argues Evolution vs design. It is probably not the first book you should read but after learning the basics it is a good read.



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  • 3
    the_mad_humanist says:

    I reckon if you’re still at school, and you’ve realized the need to stand up or yourself this way, then you’ve already passed an exam in the school of life.



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  • 4
    Alan4discussion says:

    @OP – *Books I’m looking at buying: The Selfish Gene, Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, and Evolution:

    Buy or get this one from a library for a start: – http://store.www.richarddawkins.net/products/the-magic-of-reality-hardcover The hard-cover version has more/better illustrations.

    The Orgin of Life (or something like that.)

    Have a look at these on-line videos about the origins of life for free. (That is abiogenesis not evolution – Darwinian evolution is the follow-on development process after life had formed)

    The Origin of Life – Abiogenesis – Dr. Jack Szostak – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg

    It’s been 55 years since the Miller-Urey Experiment, and science has made enormous progress on solving the origin of life. This video summarizes one of the best leading models. Yes there are others. Science may never know exactly how life DID start, but we will know many ways how life COULD start. Don’t be fooled by creationist arguments as even a minimal understanding of biology and chemistry is enough to realize they have no clue what they are talking about.

    Be careful what you find on the internet. There is a whole load of creationist incredulous nonsense from scientific illiterates , which comes up if you type in a search for these topic names.

    The Origin of Life – Abiogenesis – Interview with Jack Szostak – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OwSARYTK7w

    In it he describes one of the best leading models put forth by Jack W. Szostak et al. This is an interview of Jack W. Szostak discussing his latest paper: “Template-directed synthesis of a genetic polymer in a
    model protocell”. It was published online by Nature, 4 June 2008.

    This was the early experiment which started to make progress with these questions.

    Miller–Urey experiment – Wikipedia



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  • 5
    steve_hopker says:

    It’s outrageous but my impression is far from rare. I do wonder what will become of future economies, indeed rational political and decision making if there a significant proportion of its young people grow up with strong suspicions, ignorance or disbelief of science and logic in general and major gaps or misundertandings of biology and geology (genetics and evolution being central to most biology).



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  • 6
    Alan4discussion says:

    @OP – Well, I was wonder if there is anything I could do to get her to teach Evolution in class or should I simply just buy a couple books on it and learn it myself?

    I would just read information for yourself and then discuss it with class-mates who want to learn. There is good information on-line, IF you know how to find it and avoid creationist rubbish!

    Once you look at details of evolution you get into complex classification of family trees of organisms with Latin names:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animalia

    The whole evolution of life is a diverse and very complex topic, so I would suggest you keep it simple and start with research into one group.

    Here is some well illustrated readable information from The National Geographic on whale fossils:

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/08/egyptian-whale/whale-animation

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/08/whale-evolution/mueller-text

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/08/whale-evolution/barnes-photography



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  • i am a fan of the Selfish Gene, but I do think that this is not the book to start with. I would suggest starting with the other books.



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  • 9
    Zhap135 says:

    I agree with ArnoDJ. TSG is great, but sticking to this may miss parts that are required for exams etc. I’m from the UK, so am unfamiliar with how the system works in the US, but I’d find out what should be on the curriculum (your teacher should be at least able to supply you with this, in spite of being unwilling to honour the rest of their professional and moral obligations) and what other supporting books there are and use these as core reading – If you are eating them up, or they’re already below your level, move up a gear to the next level. Use Dawkins et al as further or bedtime reading – good practice for reading around a subject at uni.

    Also, if you can safely identify others who are interested do so. you’ll find the discussion and combined research will accelerate and firm up your understanding. You’lll also always find sympathetic folk on this site and ones like it to run ideas/confusion by.

    It may be worth speaking to you teacher and finding if they are reluctant to actually teach evolution in principle or just are genuinely afraid of classroom backlash and are taking the path of least resistance – would they be willing to cover this material outside class?

    Good luck, keep fighting



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  • 10
    Zap135 says:

    I agree with ArnoDJ. TSG is great, but sticking to this may miss parts that are required for exams etc. I’m from the UK, so am unfamiliar with how the system works in the US, but I’d find out what should be on the curriculum (your teacher should be at least able to supply you with this, in spite of being unwilling to honour the rest of their professional and moral obligations) and what other supporting books there are and use these as core reading – If you are eating them up, or they’re already below your level, move up a gear to the next level. Use Dawkins et al as further or bedtime reading – good practice for reading around a subject at uni.

    Also, if you can safely identify others who are interested do so. you’ll find the discussion and combined research will accelerate and firm up your understanding. You’lll also always find sympathetic folk on this site and ones like it to run ideas/confusion by.

    It may be worth speaking to you teacher and finding if they are reluctant to actually teach evolution in principle or just are genuinely afraid of classroom backlash and are taking the path of least resistance – would they be willing to cover this material outside class?

    Good luck, keep fighting



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  • I would recommend ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’. I think it should be recommended more often as it is excellent.
    As for your teacher. You are definintely better to read on your own than get taught Evolution from a theist. They’ll probably only lie about it, assuming that they even undersatand it. Most people who understand evolution accept it, so they either don’t or they are scared of the truth.



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  • 13
    shortpolock says:

    Hey there. That does sound pretty ridiculous. I can only guess that she would want to present both sides effectively, but with teaching curricula in the US being so test driven (I am assuming this is in the US), teachers only being allowed to teach to the test, and evolution not being required to pass high school exit exams, she is giving your subject interest short shrift. I am a fundamentalist Christian (Calvary Chapel-ite, of all things) but if the truth of the bible is true, then it will stand up to the rationale of men. If you are interested in it that much get a library card. No lawyer in the US is going to be able to bring this ejookashun sistim back under control. No politician gives a crap. Hopefully, with honesty and reason, you will discover the truth.

    [Bible reference removed by moderator]



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  • 14
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    Hey there. That does sound pretty ridiculous. I can only guess that she would want to present both sides effectively,

    There aren’t “two sides” to teaching evolutionary biology! There is only biology to teach effectively. The bible does not contain biology, so has no place in the teaching of that science. (Jonah does not feature in my links @6.)



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  • 15
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    …but if the truth of the bible is true, then it will stand up to the rationale of men.

    Which it hasn’t.



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  • 16
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    Hey there. That does sound pretty ridiculous. I can only guess that she would want to present both sides effectively, but with teaching curricula in the US being so test driven (I am assuming this is in the US), teachers only being allowed to teach to the test, and evolution not being required to pass high school exit exams, she is giving your subject interest short shrift.

    No: that is a misrepresentation of the tension as an expediency. The OP states the teacher said, “… I don’t wanna start a riot here in class”. This is to do with Creationist agitators.

    I am genuinely afraid of the breakdown of reason and a balanced approach to evidence in the US which – for all the supposedly unstoppable rise of the emerging economies – remains the most powerful nation on Earth by a long way. The thought of all that economic power, all those weapons spread across the globe slipping more and more into the hands of people ruled by fearful superstition, who wilfully distort common sense and the evidence of their own eyes in favour of ancient books and patriarchal bronze age hate-myths is terrifying.

    Assuming the theistic fundamentalists and control freaks continue their ascendancy, eventually the US will fail as an economic and political power. Living in la-la land may make folk feel good, and may be understood as a retreat into magical thinking while America’s star slowly fades – but it won’t pay the bills, keep agriculture up with demand, drive new discoveries – etc.

    If the fate of the rest of the world wasn’t so tied to the US, we could maybe just let that vast and once mighty nation slide into its self-made dark age. But, if it’s true that when the US sneezes the rest of the world catches cold, the prospects for the planet if the US really does swallow all the religious hokum and act on it is too terrible to contemplate (eg if religions fight over Arnmageddon vs Allah’s will, etc). Though it should be said that lesser nations threaten us all with their share of religiously inspired mayhem.

    This might seem OTT – but I strongly believe that teaching the young how to not question, to not think honestly, how to fudge the truth and ignore plain evidence risks a harvest of horrors. It may or may not matter that much if people learn about evolution at school. I think it’s important, but so are lots of things. But cripple the young in successive generations with enfeebled reason and the inability to think anything other than what they are told to think by cynical or deluded leaders, then later give them huge power, and you have every potential for disaster in the long run.

    Maybe we should just cross our fingers, throw salt over our right shoulder, throw a penny in the well and hope for the best…



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  • 17
    PeterTH says:

    As a former science teacher my response to someone who objected to learning about evolution was “Evolution is an important part of a science education. You don’t have to believe it but you should know about it.”
    An analogy is comparative religion. You are not expected to believe all the belief systems you learn about.



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  • 18
    therbert03 says:

    iAtheism, my heart aches for you and other curious youngsters who are held hostage by small, fearful minds. Some suggestions for online research: Talk Origins (http://www.talkorigins.org/) and OneZoom Tree of Life (http://www.onezoom.org/). Also, you mention an interest in a degree in Evolutionary Biology – I wonder if there is a university nearby where you can bend the sympathetic ear of a professor or graduate student. My husband touches on evolution in his History of Earth and Life class at the university here and each semester is a battle to try to undo 18 years of damage. I’m sure many professors contacted by a young student eager to learn would be more than happy to help. As much as your situation saddens me, it does present a glimmer of hope that not only are there young people brave enough to think and question, but also to stand up for themselves. As others have mentioned – look around – you may not be alone. Good luck!



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  • 19
    shortpolock says:

    Eager to argue? This is simply support for a kid. Why don’t you let him/her make up his/her own mind? Simple deduction says if, then. In reply to #13 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    Hey there. That does sound pretty ridiculous. I can only guess that she would want to present both sides effectively,

    There aren’t “two sides” to teaching evolutionary biology! There is only biology to teach effectively. The bible does not contain biology, so has…



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  • 20
    shortpolock says:

    Oh, were you there? In reply to #15 by steve_hopker:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    Hey there. That does sound pretty ridiculous. I can only guess that she would want to present both sides effectively, but with teaching curricula in the US being so test driven (I am assuming this is in the US), teachers only being allowed to teach to the test, and e…



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  • 21
    shortpolock says:

    Eager to argue? .. This is simply support for a kid. Why don’t you let him/her make up his/her own mind? Simple deduction says if, then.*

    In reply to #14 by Ignorant Amos:*

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    …but if the truth of the bible is true, then it will stand up to the rationale of men.

    Which it hasn’t.



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  • 22
    shortpolock says:

    I’ll admit that the Bible is not a science book, but if you would point out some inaccuracies where biology (or any other field of science) is implied, I’d be happy to check it out.

    Again, just supporting a kid. Just using if then logic, not saying one is right or wrong.

    In reply to #13 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    Hey there. That does sound pretty ridiculous. I can only guess that she would want to present both sides effectively,

    There aren’t “two sides” to teaching evolutionary biology! There is only biology to teach effectively. The bible does not contain biology, so has…



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  • 23
    Graham1 says:

    Don’t depend on other people to teach you anything – that includes “teachers”. The best teacher you’ll ever meet in your life is you yourself. If you can not teach yourself then you are lost.



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  • 25
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #19 by shortpolock:

    Oh, were you there? In reply to #15 by steve_hopker:

    No. Were you?

    iAtheism was – and it was from iAtheist’s OP that I quoted iAtheist’s account of the teacher. I am sorry to say that you seem to have problems seeing the evidence (that, is, iAtheists account of her teacher) but substitute your own speculation, “I can only guess that she would want to present both sides effectively”.

    Is this a small example of how those driven by the need to reach pre-determined conclusions will filter out contrary evidence and substitute their own?



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  • 26
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #21 by shortpolock:

    I’ll admit that the Bible is not a science book, but if you would point out some inaccuracies where biology (or any other field of science) is implied, I’d be happy to check it out.

    This could be a very long post – the books mentioned on this thread would do a far better job than I can now.

    But here’s a few problems with Genesis:

    1). The Bible contradicts itself and therefore cannot as a whole give a coherent account. In Genesis 1:11-26 Man is (said to have been) created last, after the vegetation and living creatures: whereas according to Genesis 2:4-7, Man is created before other life. Both chronologies taken together cannot be literally right.

    2). There is massive evidence for long periods of time between the beginnings of the earth and the arrival of life, and then the emergence of differing forms of life. ‘Massive’ is quite literal – the Grand Canyon, as but one example, is a huge and real book of life (the entire earth’s crust can be read by those willing to open their eyes). Claims that such depth of rock in which differing fossils lie could have built up in a week requires the supposition of processes in geology (rock formation) and physics (radioisotope decay) that are not only absent now but entirely contradicted by observed processes, not to mention analysis of the very rocks themselves.

    3) Both Genesis 1 and 2 give sequences that contradict the fossil record ie one has to favour faith in an ancient book over the evidence before one’s eyes to believe Genesis (1 or 2) literally. Genesis 1 has plants created before the sun and stars: yet there is huge amounts of evidence that the sun and stars are immensely older than the Earth, let alone life. Having green plants before light is surely ridiculous (unless, I suppose, one maintains there really was just 24 hours of darkness after plants were created). Genesis 2 has Man appearing before all life – literally requiring the overturning of the entire fossil record – as well as making anatomical, developmental and DNA evidence of relatedness extremely bizarre. For why would a powerful and trustworthy God, one worthy of admiration, be so tricksy as to want to make it look like humans were related to the rest of life and are much more recent than other life forms, when that was not true?

    4). Innumerable geographical and orbital observations have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the earth is neither fixed (1 Chronicles 16:30), nor possessed of four corners (Isaiah 11:12), nor flat, such that it can be entirely and instantaneously be seen from one place (Luke 4:5).

    As I said, any of the recommended books should make is clear that Genesis and other bible passages give allegorical not literal accounts of biology, geology and cosmology. Away from books, there is a lot on YouTube and DVDs, also many good Natural History museums.

    Interestingly, there are non-Creationist (non-literalist) believers who accept Genesis as allegory but can still find it of value – while also valuing the wonders of the fossil and other records. As an atheist now, I no longer share that view, but I would tentatively suggest that Genesis, along with many other passages, might contain some non-scientific insights. I might venture here that perhaps Genesis is poetically saying that Man is part of the world and that (Genesis 3) human failure can be linked deeply to discord between individuals and between humans and nature – i.e., we are responsible for our actions and that mistakes cannot be shrugged off and have consequences. Thus, in a roundabout way, Genesis could be telling folk to get real about facing up to dealing with human conflict and harm to the environment- both problems of course being ages old.

    But while Genesis would surely feature in comparative religious classes, it has no place in science (or geography) lessons as a reliable and serious source of information.



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  • 27
    QuestioningKat says:

    Are you a senior in high school or middle school? If high school, I find it shocking that your district would wait so long to teach Evolution. This is something that was taught in ninth grade (14) for basically the entire year. Everything related to Evolution.

    What state do you live in? Here is the thing. Depending on how willing you want to complain and start a fuss, you have lots of options. One is to first see the principal and then the school board if no resolution happens. Then you can always find an attorney – maybe through the Freedom from Religion foundation. If starting an issue is not your thing. I would suggest asking your teacher for some outside materials and information relating to the SCIENCE of Evolution. Put the burden back on your teacher to provide information. If you get religious material or no answer (more illegal activity) then contact your local community college and see if they will offer a course or text book for you to learn what you need to know. If financial issues are a problem, tell them your dilemma and ask if you can take the course for free. Sure, why not ask!! You will learn to be bold. Avoid feeling bad that you got this raw deal and are now stuck. You can play the victim or the victor. You simply have a big roadblock in your way and now you need to find a way around the problem by asking lots of people for help. Even if you’re not sociable or a little shy, give it a try. I guarantee something will come along. Keep us posted and let us know your progress so we can offer any advice.

    My guess is that others here are correct. Your teacher is probably a theist and will not teach you anything anyway. Your local library can also order books from other libraries or local colleges. If this is a challenge, contact the library at the local college. If you would like to buy a book and do not have any money, contact the local secular group in your area or outright ask the college if they could loan you one. Yep, just keep asking and ask for one free. Another option is to ask the school district to pay for any learning materials. There may be certain laws that require them to meet the need of various students, usually learning disabled, but they should be required to meet your needs also.



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  • 28
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #21 by shortpolock:

    I’ll admit that the Bible is not a science book, but if you would point out some inaccuracies where biology (or any other field of science) is implied, I’d be happy to check it out.

    You could start with Genesis which has the astronomical order of formation of the Solar System and planets wrong, followed by the wrong sequence of plant and animal evolution.

    Again, just supporting a kid. Just using if then logic, not saying one is right or wrong.

    I am – but that is because I have studied the subjects.

    While I and not very familiar with the US education system, the Chapter 14 course material would appear to be this! (If I am mistaken perhaps some of our US educators can clarify.)

    Human Molecular Genetics. 2nd edition. Chapter 14 Our place in the tree of life- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7565/

    Perhaps you could explain where the Bible has anything to add to this course-work, where it has a comparable explanation of genetics, or how you are in a position to judge the content of a science course!



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  • 29
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #19 by shortpolock:

    Oh, were you there?

    Ah! The non-thinking Hamster’s answer, which scores 0% for historical research techniques!

    See:- http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/9/4/debunking-christianity-questions-in-genesis-ken-ham-s-creationist-shtick#comment-box-1

    Eager to argue? This is simply support for a kid. Why don’t you let him/her make up his/her own mind? Simple deduction says if, then.

    We do not leave it to children to decide if their teachers are teaching honest information. Educators are required to have integrity and teach properly checked information – That way we don’t have uneducated kids deciding if the Earth is flat or global!



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  • 30
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #20 by shortpolock:

    Eager to argue?

    No, just pointing out the folly in your comment.

    This is simply support for a kid.

    I’m all for supporting our youth, but it has to be the correct support. I’m sure you wouldn’t be advocating the truthfulness of the Qu’ran, the Book of Mormon, Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Manusmriti, Bhagavad Gita and Agamas….or even the Egyptian Book of the Dead? No? If not, why not?

    What about storkism, AKA intelligent delivery…”teach the controversy”.

    “”If the theory of sexual reproduction is taught in schools, it must only be taught as a theory and not as the truth. Alternative theories, such as the theory of the stork, must also be taught.”

    Why don’t you let him/her make up his/her own mind?

    Spooooiiiinnnngggg!!!! I don’t see too much of that philosophy being employed when it comes to religious beliefs.

    There is a very good reason why we don’t allow kids to make up there own minds when it comes to their education, they will end up ignorant. As a society we ought to be allowing people to make up their own minds when they are mature enough to do so…that’s why there are laws that restrict all manner of things for minors…driving, drinking, sex, voting, etc.,…the concept isn’t too hard to grasp.

    Simple deduction says if, then.*

    You’d think so wouldn’t you….the problem with deductive reasoning being that if either premise is WRONG, then the conclusion will be wrong. To put it simple, GIGO.



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  • 31
    Huntclx011 says:

    Hi,

    here is one of the best resources I have ever found AND IT IS FREE from iTunes U

    Evolution, Ecology and Behavior – Audio
    Stephen C. Stearns
    Ecology

    Great content, amazing scope, stunning detail – if you do not have a solid grasp of evolution after sitting through these wonderful lectures, listen again – it’s all there!

    As an aside, if you want to better understand Darwin the person, listen to “The Voyage of the Beagle” from Librivox.org

    All the best!



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  • 32
    This Is Not A Meme says:

    The Selfish Gene is a rare stroke of brilliance, yet to be fully appreciated by society. I first read it as a teenager, and it gave me a tremendous advantage. I often understand evolution and genetics much better than even most smart people, to a degree that I am very proud, all because of that book. It actually gave me a lot of insight into life in general, informing a lot of what I was experiencing as a young adult (dating, social experiences, etc). It’s also given me advantages with understanding topics like design and logic. It’s a book that successfully transmits a sense of intuition about the Universe; makes sense of things.

    You might notice your textbook teaches evolution all the way through, as that is the only intuitive model explaining everything from biochemistry to morphology. For instance, I bet it goes in chronological order discussing prokaryotes, the symbiotic scenario with mitochondria, and then the same thing with chloroplasts. Then there might be a chapter on animal life, starting with sponges, then moving up in complexity. If the book is comprehensive and at all written well, it will teach evolution in every chapter.

    This guy, Stated Clearly, makes educational videos and drops by this site for feedback. He has a few on evolution which are a bit slow paced, but real good delivery of certain key concepts.



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  • 33
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #21 by shortpolock:

    I’ll admit that the Bible is not a science book, but if you would point out some inaccuracies where biology (or any other field of science) is implied, I’d be happy to check it out.

    Young earth, first humans, evolution of life, the Great Flood, the Exodus, Joshua at Jericho, Aboding in great fish, talking snakes, talking donkeys, talking bushes, talking clouds, parting seas on command, the list is endless…you pick a science and we’ll have a look at how biblical literalism contravenes what we know through the methods of scientific inquiry.

    Cosmology, geology, chemistry, geography, history, archaeology, meteorology, plate tectonics, see more here. Take your pick.

    Again, just supporting a kid.

    No you’re not, you are advocating “brain rot” through your own ignorance. It isn’t helpful to the OP.

    Just using if then logic,

    Your use of logic is fallacious.

    …not saying one is right or wrong.

    The problem is, we ARE saying one is right and the other is wrong, and so should any one with a capacity for rational critical thinking.

    Here, let me help you out….

    “Evolution, of course, does not support any creation myths devised by any of the major religions. While these stories may have value as allegories or moral lessons, they cannot be taken as literal truth – the weight of scientific evidence stands with evolution.”

    There are all sorts of tools at that link to assist you in the removal of those religious cataracts that are obviously blinding you to reason…even a book list for further research.



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  • 34
    Ignorant Amos says:

    @ iAtheism

    By the sound of things you would be better off doing the work yourself. Whatever your teacher is liable to impart to you on the subject of evolution likely to be corrupt, that’s if she has even the slightest clue on the subject at all. Lying for Jesus is always going to be the problem you might face.

    Have a look at this link…Replicators: Evolutionary Powerhouses…it was set up by students with someone just like you in mind.

    They have links to lots of explanations and good reading lists.

    From their Home Page…

    “Replicators: Evolutionary Powerhouses is a website specifically designed to explore Dawkins’ concept of replicators in an interesting and interactive format, providing readable discussions and interactive demonstrations that entertain as well as inform.”

    “When the team was deciding on a topic for our ThinkQuest entry, we noticed a gap in resources available on the internet: there are very few websites in existence that provide a coherent, well-integrated presentation of replicator theory in evolution to students and interested laypeople. Replicators: Evolutionary Powerhouses is our attempt to fill this gap with an interesting and interactive presentation of replicator theory aimed at students and casual visitors alike.”

    Happy learning…I’m envious.



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  • 35
    Ignorant Amos says:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    I am a fundamentalist Christian (Calvary Chapel-ite, of all things)…

    Says it all really…a cult largely built on the hippies for Jesus types of the late 60’s and early 70’s and that is tied to Sola scriptura and other ignorant religious hocus pocus.such as the Rapture.

    Founder Chuck Smith claimed…

    “I believe that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981”

    How did that work out for your prophet then?

    Not only are you a pretribulationist, kooky enough, but also the Calvary Chapel espouse premillennialist views in their eschatology.

    “The doctrine is called premillennialism because it holds that Jesus’ physical return to earth will occur prior to the inauguration of the millennium.”

    Barking mad. Yet when these prophecies failed, did the sheeple walk away? Not on your nelly, the Kool-Aid addiction is strong in this one.

    But at least I know why you are trying to defend the indefensible.



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  • 36
    TNiermann says:

    I would recommend having an after club to learn evolution. You can teach it with online material and you will learn more by teaching than you will by listening. You can arrange local Biologists or Doctors to be guest speakers, I would guess most would say yes. I wouldn’t mention anything about god or religion, let others make the connection that exploring science is a threat to religion. If I was a university admissions officer I would look at this as a sign of leadership, initiative and scientific curiosity.



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  • 37
    Marktony says:

    You describe yourself as a fundamentalist Christian. Does that mean you reject the theory of evolution in favour of young earth creationism?

    Also, what type of schooling did you receive? Home, public, private? Were you taught what you refer to as both sides?
    Would be interested to know how you came to your Christian beliefs and it would be instructive for iAtheism.

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    Hey there. That does sound pretty ridiculous. I can only guess that she would want to present both sides effectively, but with teaching curricula in the US being so test driven (I am assuming this is in the US), teachers only being allowed to teach to the test, and evolution not being required to pa…



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  • 38
    Huntclx011 says:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    No lawyer in the US is going to be able to bring this ejookashun sistim back under control.

    I was confused by much of your reply but others have addressed my general concerns. What were you trying to say in your sentence about lawyers? I assume that you are suggesting that the education system has failed, if so, what do you think should be done to reverse the failure related to teaching ethe science of evolution?

    Hey there. That does sound pretty ridiculous…



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  • 40
    downshifter says:

    While I think there are lots of good book/self-education options given, I think the real issue is the failure to teach evolution without creationism. I am not aware of any State in the Union that is permitted to teach creationism in the classroom. I also find it surprising and doubtful that the teacher has that level of veto power over the curriculum. I think you have several options:

    1. Notify the school administration that the teacher doesn’t want to teach evolution, and will only do so if creationism can also be included.
    2. Write to a local or nearby major newspaper as an op-ed piece. They like this sort of thing and might pick it up.
    3. Write to your government representatives: City Council, State House and Senate, Federal House and Senate. It’s very easy to go online and find out who your representatives are, and they always provide ways of contacting your reps. Someone on staff will reply. Given the topic, they might even pick up on it and provide something more than just a form letter. Include “Please help” in your message, and if it asks if you want a reply, then request a reply. If they do give you a form letter response, then that’s something else you can include in any op-ed submission. (“I wrote to my representatives for help, but all they gave me were form letter responses.”) 🙂
    4. Write to a local lawyer, or maybe something like the ACLU. They might pick it up for free to the extent that they could send a threatening letter to the school.

    It’s good you’ve made an attempt here to say something. But you’re preaching to the choir here. No one here has the ability to actually do anything.



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  • 41
    Nash33 says:

    In reply to #39 by downshifter:

    While I think there are lots of good book/self-education options given, I think the real issue is the failure to teach evolution without creationism. I am not aware of any State in the Union that is permitted to teach creationism in the classroom. I also find it surprising and doubtful that the te…

    According to your profile you are from North Carolina. I would like to add to Downshifters list: the North Carolina atheists and Humanists.
    I know nothing about them. I just looked them up on the Internet. But I bet they would love something like this



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  • 42
    crookedshoes says:

    Are you a senior in high school or college? I am assuming High school. Tell this asshole teacher to do their job. Leave the bullshit at the door and teach the goddamn subject you were hired and trained to teach. This is a farce and an absolute disgrace. Ask this fool how they could study this subject and deliver effective instruction if the cannot come to the logical (and simple) conclusion that evolution is what has occurred?



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  • 43
    crookedshoes says:

    Also, read the books that you have lined up and ask question after question after question referring to evolution in every other chapter of the book. Biology should actually be called “evolution”, so you can start needling this idiot from day one and through effective questioning, show that the teacher is actually ignorant of their own subject.

    I’ll start you off. You will probably begin the school year with a treatment of atoms and biochemistry. Ask the dope “why was carbon “selected” to be the central element in organic molecules?” Follow it up by asking how carbon came about in the early universe. Ask whether organic molecules can be generated from inorganic precursers. Ask why there are 100’s of amino acids present on our planet, but only 20 of them are “used” by life (selected for)? Ask why all these amino acids are left handed (levatorotatory)….

    Ask the teacher why it is so simple to join monomers together with dehydration synthesis reactions ( aka. condensation reactions). And so easy to break apart with hydrolysis… “Is it really just a matter of adding and subtracting water?” Ask if living things are related. Say, “Are lions and tigers more closely related than lions and jellyfish?” If the teacher says “yes” ask how that could be possible if they were independently created?

    Then, when you have your own questions to add to the list, zip them in… And, most importantly come back here and let us/me know what topics you are covering and I’ll load you up with more questions. BTW, i am a high school teacher of AP Biology and want teachers like this to be a thing of the past. Read. learn, communicate, and . remember, you are learning about evolution hen you learn about biology, even if the buffoon standing in front of you is awful at their job.

    PS. Go get that PhD and do not let anything or (especially) any person get in the way. I am rooting for you.



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  • The thing that I find most interesting about evolution is how the DNA works, how it mutates, how new species arise etc.
    The book that tickled that interest best was
    Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters by Dr. Daniel J. Fairbanks

    You might find it fun after you have the basics down to read Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin to see him working it out from observations.

    When I was a child I read books on the care and breeding of tropical fish. I learned about the techniques for creating a new trait. When it came time to study evolution, it was the same thing, only natural selection playing the role of artificial selection. They are really the same thing. Artificial selection is just an subtype of natural selection. However, this view is not widely accepted.



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  • 46
    shortpolock says:

    There is nothing we can do to reverse it, save greater regulation in the classroom, which means more poor teaching as we’ve seen with NCLB. But the heart of the problem lies at the heart of the teacher. Many cannot teach evolution without bias, or they cannot present both arguments well enough for a child to understand, or many teachers may be afraid of their own weak faith in God or Evolution.

    About lawyers, I assumed that someone would imply going to an outside party for legal counsel. I think I read that on at least one post.
    Each state is responsible for their own science standards, and since this teacher refuses to teach it I assume that she has district support for her decision, the district having probably risk-assessed the possibility of lawsuits from such teacher actions.
    The problem with lawyers and unions (sounds like a title for a discussion board) is that they are so cozy with state ed. boards they even sit in on and inject opinions into committee meetings in some states! With power like that, which lawyer is going to decide and fight for a theory such as evolution (that said, in California, the teaching of evolution was just reaffirmed (or instated) as a science standard.

    In reply to #37 by Huntclx011:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    No lawyer in the US is going to be able to bring this ejookashun sistim back under control.

    I was confused by much of your reply but others have addressed my general concerns. What were you trying to say in your sentence about lawyers? I assume that you are suggesti…



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  • 47
    shortpolock says:

    Ah, so evidence is hearsay in your opinion.

    No, I wasn’t either. When in doubt give both parties the benefit of the doubt. One sided accounts are not evidence. I think I hear a religion remark approaching…

    In reply to #24 by steve_hopker:

    In reply to #19 by shortpolock:

    Oh, were you there? In reply to #15 by steve_hopker:

    No. Were you?

    iAtheism was – and it was from iAtheist’s OP that I quoted iAtheist’s account of the teacher. I am sorry to say that you seem to have problems seeing the evidence (that, is, iAtheists account of he…



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  • 48
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #46 by shortpolock:

    Ah, so evidence is hearsay in your opinion.

    No, I wasn’t either. When in doubt give both parties the benefit of the doubt. One sided accounts are not evidence. I think I hear a religion remark approaching…

    I had assumed the context you had referred to was iAtheists encounter with that teacher. If I was wroig on that I stand corrected.

    However, if you were referring to the development of life on Earth, then no one was there – including the writer of Genesis. But there is ample ‘testimony’ from the remnants of that period ie rocks and fossils. Furthermore, on a routine basis past events can be inferred from other current situations – eg family resemblance and – much better – DNA analysis in respect of family relatedness: and the DNA and anatomy of current life strongly points to relatedness across long periods of time.

    As I suggested before, there are literally many tons of data in museums etc or in lab records that very strongly suggest the evolution of species over long periods of time. Without knowing your detailed stance on this topic, can you say what material evidence, ie excluding the hearsay evidence from Genesis, is there from rocks, current life etc that life was generated over 7 days? (and which sequence – Genesis 1 or Genesis 2, plants and animals before humans, or after?)

    In reply to #24 by steve_hopker:

    In reply to #19 by shortpolock:

    Oh, were you there? In…



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  • 49
    Lonevoice says:

    In reply to #14 by Ignorant Amos:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:…but if the truth of the bible is true, then it will stand up to the rationale of men.Which it hasn’t.

    The assertion in that the Bible has not stood up to the rationale of men appears to presume that man’s rationale is impartial, which it isn’t. Each person has an agenda – whether they recognise it or not. The Bible does stand up to scrutiny, except in the eyes of those who, perhaps, work on the presupposition that human logic determines everything, which it can’t because . . . each person has an agenda! Also, each person’s logic is slightly (or very) different from someone’s else’s, and therefore it is not a sufficiently secure foundation on which to determine the big questions of life, which maybe, just maybe, beyond anyone’s ability to determine using just the logic of flawed human beings.

    Having said that, I don’t think the lecturer was right to avoid teaching evolution in class for the reasons given. If it’s part of the curriculum and is going to be tested, then it should be taught (durrr!). If individual students want to investigate further whether the conflicting claims of either evolution or biblical creation hold water, he/she can do this through personal study. There’s plenty of material for both sides (of varying quality, admittedly – partly because no-one knows everything there is to know before they publish a book on the subject).



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  • 50
    shortpolock says:

    You describe yourself as a fundamentalist Christian. Does that mean you reject the theory of evolution in favour of young earth creationism?

    Moderators, I’m only answering a question…!

    I’m a fundamentalist because I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and He said the whole world should hear about Him, so I do my best.

    I don’t watch FOX News – it should have a laugh track. I do appreciate atheist candor. I’ve heard all kinds of arguments from educated layman on the subject, and some from drips-under-pressure, but my opinion, and it is not what my Calvary teaches, is that the subject is a red herring. God is God is God. Eternal power and Divine Nature. He does whatever He freakin’ wants.

    http://biblehub.com/esv/isaiah/45-7.htm

    Chuck Smith has gone on record in favor of the Gap Theory, the Banana Man Ray Comfort is a YEC, so is my pastor, others favor micro over macro, but I can’t see how any compromise with either Creation or Evolution is intellectually honest. Besides this, I have not been convinced that having faith in the gospel is dependent on casting evolution aside.

    The only major problem I see is that Evolution conflicts with Genesis 3:19. God instituted death with the first reasoning man, not humanoid. However, this portion of the Bible does not speak of anything else in creation dying or not dying. Like I said, I don’t find the core issue of the atheist’s rejection of Christ in Genesis. It’s clearly stated elsewhere.

    So, this issue with iAtheism comes down to being able to decide for oneself from the information given. If a teacher can’t do the job right, he/she shouldn’t do it. Sucks for the kids, but if they use their local library, it builds character, as they say. I wonder what this teacher’s alleged answer was supposed to encourage. Respect for the class? From my perspective, to be threatening teaching truth (truth IMO) is self-defeating.

    These next ?’s make me feel like I’m stepping into a tar pit to be speared with insults, but I’ll oblige.

    Also, what type of schooling did you receive? Home, public, private?

    I was publicklee edumakadid.

    Were you taught what you refer to as both sides? No. Just evolution. Although I’m sure they could have taught both if they wanted to. Most teachers I talk with now, especially in Spec. Ed., are atheist, agnostic, or spiritual but not specifically religious. I wonder if my teachers were in those categories.

    Would be interested to know how you came to your Christian beliefs and it would be instructive for iAtheism.

    I was brought up in a nominally Christian home. Mine was 1/2 Christian. My Ma believes in Christ 100%, though that did not deter some problematic behaviors. My Pop was gone most of the time working and active in Scientology. Sexually abused by Pop, physically/mentally abused and neglected by both Ma and Pop. Neighbors (Christians) did a heavy load of daycare for us. I was going through church motions for a while, even after my baptism. Tried to walk in both sets of shoes for a very long time, which just became a ridiculously hypocritical mess. Realized I was everything Christ was actually teaching against.
    Kicked the last junkie out of my house 10 yrs. ago. I’m not going back “there”. I’m changed.

    In reply to #36 by Marktony



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  • 51
    shortpolock says:

    I am sure Chuck has done a great many things which prove he is human.

    Your High Priest, Mr. Dawkins, also put his human foot in his human mouth recently.

    http://www.religionnews.com/2013/09/09/richard-dawkins-under-fire-for-mild-pedophilia-remarks/

    PZ Meyers says:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/09/09/i-beseech-you-in-the-bowels-of-christ-please-stop

    I’m sure, at some level, Mr. Meyers has done or said pretty stupid things as well.

    Have you been an influence on millions of people? Are your ideas placed under the microscope, your words broadcast to everyone who already hates what you stand before before they’ve heard you? Statistically, I feel I can safely doubt it. Where do you get off judging others when you so easily forgive yourself?

    BTW, you are a very eager beaver. I haven’t read 90% of your post.

    In reply to #34 by Ignorant Amos:

    In reply to #12 by shortpolock:

    I am a fundamentalist Christian (Calvary Chapel-ite, of all things)…

    Says it all really…a cult largely built on the hippies for Jesus types of the late 60’s and early 70’s and that is tied to Sola scriptura and other ignorant religious hocus pocus.such as the Ra…



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  • 52
    shortpolock says:

    In case I made you think I was a drug addict, no. I would use emotionally damaged people for sex. This included a few addicts.

    In reply to #49 by shortpolock:

    You describe yourself as a fundamentalist Christian. Does that mean you reject the theory of evolution in favour of young earth creationism?

    Moderators, I’m only answering a question…!

    I’m a fundamentalist because I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and He said the whole world shoul…



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  • 54
    Seraphor says:

    Standing up for valid science being taught in science class would be commendable, but I’m not sure how effective it would be. If you have the confidence then please do so.

    However, you’re far more likely to learn more about Evolution in your own time than in any high school biology class, even if they did teach it. Evolution is a very wide ranging subject, albeit elegant in it’s simplicity, and you simply cannot fit everything you’d need to know into a high school module.
    Buy some of your own books, Richard Dawkins ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ is a good introduction, and then just take it from there.

    So keep fighting if you feel you can, but don’t get too upset about it, you haven’t really been set back that much anyway. It’s your fellow classmates who may not have embraced the science yet that you need to worry about.



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  • 55
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #42 by crookedshoes:

    Hi Crooks!

    You are the US science professional educator. Have I got the right book and chapter linked @27?



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  • 56
    Moderator says:

    Mods’ message

    To all: In the interests of keeping this discussion on the topic of the OP, as required by our Terms and Conditions, please take the question of shortpolock’s beliefs and his reasons for them to a more appropriate thread.

    To shortpolock: You are welcome to argue (on a more appropriate thread) that what you believe is true, provided you are also willing to engage with arguments against your position, but please take care to avoid preaching, which is against our Terms and Conditions. We appreciate that the border between preaching and arguing can sometimes be a little blurred, but the approach we take is that if you are merely making religious claims without attempting to show why anyone else should consider them to be true, that is preaching rather than an attempt at thoughtful, rational discussion. This is also why Bible quotes are not considered acceptable as support for your arguments on this site. We hope that helps you decide what to post and not post here.

    The mods



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  • I would recommend ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’. I think it should be recommended more often as it is excellent. As for your teacher. You are definintely better to read on your own than get taught Evolution from a theist. They’ll probably only lie about it, assuming that they even undersatand it. Most people who understand evolution accept it, so they either don’t or they are scared of the truth.

    The Ancestors Tale is my favourite book, not only did I learn from it but I loved the language and feel of it. I learnt without effort and without realising I was learning and that is the mark of a great book. It is the first Dawkins book I’d read and the one that first brought him to my attention. Dawkins’ use of language makes you love the subject so I too would recommend it.

    However that does alter what is happening in your school or make it right by any stretch of the imagination! If you’re taking biology you need to be taught evolution not have to find out about it yourself. It underpins the whole subject. I feel for those of you in the States because here every single science teacher is expected to teach real science not nutty opinions! Evolution is a fact not an opinion. People are free to have an emotional opinion about evolution and not like it but they are not free to deny it. Do you have any legal recourse to force her to teach you biology properly.



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  • PeterTH comment 16

    As a former science teacher my response to someone who objected to learning about evolution was “Evolution is an important part of a science education. You don’t have to believe it but you should know about it.”

    Shouldn’t that have been “you don’t have to like it” rather than “you don’t have to believe it”. Wouldn’t that be like a maths teacher saying 2+2=4 but you don’t have to believe it?



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  • 59
    steve_hopker says:

    The fear of teaching ones children to be atheist is a fear known by many atheist parents.

    I’ll take a sideways look at the OP and consider it as evidence for the situation for atheists in San Diego, Southern California: which seems to be pretty grim, if there is such fears are realistic for atheist parents and young people. Not being American, I’ll have to rely on others as to how general or how justified such fears are, but I have imagined San Diego to be more liberal than say, Kansas, and on that basis it seems the intolerant religious have the upper hand. If it can’t tolerate proper education, is the US on a slow walk to intellectual, maybe economic oblivion?

    Or, perhaps this fear stems from the religious reaction to the rise of atheism, ie, counter-intuitively, the OP is evidence for atheism’s growing success?



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  • 61
    Mr DArcy says:

    Too bad this science teacher won’t teach a basic part of biology, because it might “start a riot”. And just who is going to start the riot ?

    Only the Christian fascists who can’t bear their kids being taught basic science.

    Only, yes ONLY, the religios of this world object to the fact of evolution as a natural process. Everyone else, including the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, more or less accept the facts.

    The universe is 13.82 billion years old at the last measurement. Get over it !



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  • 62
    shortpolock says:

    No problem. I tend to jump to conclusions sometimessssokay… a lot.
    I was referring to the teacher/student discussion.

    Without knowing your detailed stance on this topic, can you say what material evidence, ie excluding the hearsay evidence from Genesis, is there from rocks, current life etc that life was generated over 7 days? (and which sequence – Genesis 1 or Genesis 2, plants and animals before humans, or after?)

    No. The only arguments I have heard is that carbon dating is not reliable (the famous boot test) but I understand argon is also used, and I haven’t heard any contrary opinions on that. As you stated before, I couldn’t watch Creation happen. Nor can we test it. Neither can we observe evolution in progress, nor can we test it. Dr. Henry Morris explained the main problem with a Christian belief in evolution:

    “Take another myth widespread in our day, the myth of evolution. In the last century, by and large, this myth began to take over the scientific world, again without a shred of empirical evidence to support it. Any attempt to try to set forth anything to the contrary is met with ridicule and mockery, put down as though those who hold any other view are village idiots, incapable of reasoning with intelligent men. Yet I find that many Christians believe the myth of evolution. They do not seem to understand the theological implications which evolution teaches, without any support from science, that our race is descended from apes and other animals so that there never was or could be a fall. By denying the fall evolution teaches that there is no need for any redemptive act on the part of God. Why should we need to be redeemed if we have never fallen? That is the theology of the lie of evolution.” (Ray C. Stedman)

    While very problematic, I don’t believe that a Christian loses their salvation for believing evolution.

    Looking at Genesis right now. check back today.

    In reply to #47 by steve_hopker:

    In reply to #46 by shortpolock:

    Ah, so evidence is hearsay in your opinion.

    No, I wasn’t either. When in doubt give both parties the benefit of the doubt. One sided accounts are not evidence. I think I hear a religion remark approaching…

    I had assumed the context you had referred to was iAtheis…



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  • In reply to #61 by shortpolock:

    No. The only arguments I have heard is that carbon dating is not reliable (the famous boot test) but I understand argon is also used, and I haven’t heard any contrary opinions on that.

    Carbon dating is very reliable and especially accurate where adjusted by data from local tree rings. Of course, if you do the test improperly, you will not get proper results (watch this video explanation).

    Neither can we observe evolution in progress, nor can we test it.

    We can observe evolution in progress in organisms that have short enough life cycles to make that practical in terms of human career cycles. Remember, when folks talk about “evolution” they often don’t differentiate common descent from the theory of how that common descent came about. Common descent is directly testable by observation of both the fossil record in the geologic placement, and the DNA of organisms living today. The mechanism of change is observable (as I mentioned) in short lived plants and animals, and by computer simulation. I suggest you read the book written by a Christian who explored this subject for himself and wrote about his journey in Evolving Out of Eden.



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  • 64
    Marktony says:

    Radiocarbon dating can only be used up to about 60,000 years. For geologic time scales you need to use Potassium–argon or Uranium–lead dating.

    Regarding the observation of evolution I suggest you read through the Wiki entry “Evidence of common descent”.
    Sections 5 “observed natural selection” and section 6 “observed speciation”

    Also on Wiki look up the Lenski “Escherichia coli long-term evolution experiment”

    In reply to #61 by shortpolock:

    No problem. I tend to jump to conclusions sometimessssokay… a lot.
    I was referring to the teacher/student discussion.

    Without knowing your detailed stance on this topic, can you say what material evidence, ie excluding the hearsay evidence from Genesis, is there from rocks, current life etc that…



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  • 65
    Zhap135 says:

    In reply to #61 by shortpolock:

    No problem. I tend to jump to conclusions sometimessssokay… a lot.
    I was referring to the teacher/student discussion.

    Without knowing your detailed stance on this topic, can you say what material evidence, ie excluding the hearsay evidence from Genesis, is there from rocks, current life etc that…

    You mentioned that you didn’t, indeed couldn’t have seen creation happen. I would also put forward that neither did/ could the author/authors of genesis. Who were these authors? When did they write it? Who were their patrons? Who did their sense check? Where did they get their data from? Where are the original texts? If they survive what language were they written in? how many translation to the bible by your bedside – hebrew, aramaic, greek, latin german,, English? Were there any political drivers to translation- eg KJV? Where is the material hard evidence?

    Darwinian evolution shows none of the above ambiguities (or for that matter does any other scientific theory you care to name). This is why it is reliable, and as accurate a representation of natural history as is possible. Also unlike religious dogma it can be updated in light of new material evidence – Deuteronomy and Leviticus have some stuff in that would make a Fascist blush, yet they are never revised.

    You quoted Henry Morris as asserting that evolution was myth, yet he couldn’t get round the fact that evolution is merely the conclusion drawn in light of alll available evidence – so far there is nothing that contradicts it in the smallest way. Creationism cannot come close to competing.

    Understanding of Evolution also offers the world real solutions to serious problems, for example bacterial resistance to antibiotics will be solved by understanding how they mutate to form resistant strains, not by burying your nose in a bible and waiting for devine inspiration.

    You appear to be a sincere person, who has had a tough life – much tougher than mine and I dare say you feel that you find support and fellowship in your faith. However the young person who started the thread is looking for more than the comfort that religion brings to some, but the skills and knowledge to equip themselves to succeed in an increasingly scientific world. Shutting young people’s access to sound scientific education is shutting their access to limitless opportunities. This is a crime that I and my friends on this site get so angry about.



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  • In reply to #61 by shortpolock:

    No problem. I tend to jump to conclusions sometimessssokay… a lot.
    I was referring to the teacher/student discussion.

    Without knowing your detailed stance on this topic, can you say what material evidence, ie excluding the hearsay evidence from Genesis, is there from rocks, current life etc that…

    You mentioned that you didn’t, indeed couldn’t have seen creation happen. I would also put forward that neither did/ could the author/authors of genesis. Who were these authors? When did they write it? Who were their patrons? Who did their sense check? Where did they get their data from? Where are the original texts? If they survive what language were they written in? how many translation to the bible by your bedside – hebrew, aramaic, greek, latin german,, English? Were there any political drivers to translation- eg KJV? Where is the material hard evidence?

    Darwinian evolution shows none of the above ambiguities (or for that matter does any other scientific theory you care to name). This is why it is reliable, and as accurate a representation of natural history as is possible. Also unlike religious dogma it can be updated in light of new material evidence – Deuteronomy and Leviticus have some stuff in that would make a Fascist blush, yet they are never revised.

    You quoted Henry Morris as asserting that evolution was myth, yet he couldn’t get round the fact that evolution is merely the conclusion drawn in light of alll available evidence – so far there is nothing that contradicts it in the smallest way. Creationism cannot come close to competing.

    Understanding of Evolution also offers the world real solutions to serious problems, for example bacterial resistance to antibiotics will be solved by understanding how they mutate to form resistant strains, not by burying your nose in a bible and waiting for devine inspiration.

    You appear to be a sincere person, who has had a tough life – much tougher than mine and I dare say you feel that you find support and fellowship in your faith. However the young person who started the thread is looking for more than the comfort that religion brings to some, but the skills and knowledge to equip themselves to succeed in an increasingly scientific world. Shutting young people’s access to sound scientific education is shutting their access to limitless opportunities. This is a crime that I and my friends on this site get so angry about.



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  • 67
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #61 by shortpolock:

    Neither can we observe evolution in progress, nor can we test it. Dr. Henry Morris explained the main problem with a Christian belief in evolution:

    Geneticists are observing it and testing on a regular basis. That is why people who make up these sorts of claims are ridiculed as ignorant. It’s like claiming in the space-age that the Earth is flat and cannot be observed as a rotating ball!

    (Ray C. Stedman) “Take another myth widespread in our day, the myth of evolution. In the last century, by and large, this myth began to take over the scientific world, again without a shred of empirical evidence to support it. Any attempt to try to set forth anything to the contrary is met with ridicule and mockery, put down as though those who hold any other view are village idiots, incapable of reasoning with intelligent men.

    Apart from those genuinely lacking in education in biology, or the medically mentally retarded, this is indeed the case. They have a mental block and are incapable!
    Honest ignorance from lack of education is excusable if people are prepared to learn.
    Wilful ignorance and lying about proven science in the face of massive evidence is indeed the sign of the idiot who deserves to be mocked!
    (How do you regard adults who believe in fairies, or those who deny science to insist the Earth is flat?)

    Scientists of course debate many different ways in which different organisms evolve, improving knowledge with experimental work, published and checked.

    Yet I find that many Christians believe the myth of evolution.

    Indeed many Xtians do accept the scientific evidence of evolution. You would include the Church of England and the Roman Catholics in that (- more-or-less).

    The [RC]Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. Papal pronouncements, along with commentaries by cardinals, have accepted the findings of scientists on the gradual appearance of life. In fact, the International Theological Commission in a July 2004 statement endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger, then president of the Commission and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, includes this paragraph:

    According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the ‘Big Bang’ and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5–4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution.

    So while they still insist that “God-did-it”, they claim to accept the science.

    They do not seem to understand the theological implications which evolution teaches, without any support from science,

    This is the blinkered village idiot again posing as an authority – pretending that evolution is not massively supported by science,. (Thousands of highly competent studies during the last 150 years)

    that our race is descended from apes and other animals so that there never was or could be a fall.

    That is the key problem with a literal interpretation of Genesis. – It is thoroughly refuted by evolution and astronomy.
    We are indeed descended from apes, reptiles, amphibians, fish, marine worms, and ultimately single cells.

    By denying the fall evolution teaches that there is no need for any redemptive act on the part of God. Why should we need to be redeemed if we have never fallen?

    That is the Biblical literalists problem. Xtians who claim the bible is rhetorical or mythological don’t have this mental problem, although it still tangles up their Jesus mythology.
    Those stuck on Genesis, have a mental blockage which obstructs their learning of science and their understanding of the reality of the universe.

    That is the theology of the lie of evolution.” (Ray C. Stedman)

    Which he has backwards because he chooses to sit in denial, ignore the evidence, and indulge in fantasy about ancient myths! – That is the ancient theological fiction disproved by evolutionary evidence.

    While very problematic, I don’t believe that a Christian loses their salvation for believing evolution.

    Many Xtians don’t, hence showing a measure of the rationality, lacking in the YEC literalist fundamentalists.



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  • 68
    shortpolock says:

    I was researching Genesis, and remembered many here are ex-Christians. So I had a second thought, (out of a total of two you might argue) that there is no amount of explanation I can give which would satisfy the materialist, as it was said, even if the dead are raised.

    I do not mean this in any snide way. But there is no use to go delving into the ancient hebrew grammar of Genesis 1 and 2 to explain the “waw”, or the supernatural dimensionality of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness, or the appearance of age in actually young geological formations (the changing speed of light is not taken seriously here), when it will only serve to be derided. This is the age of Google, and one is very able to find out the arguments on one’s own, which I have been directed to do a lot.

    Thank you Marktony and Steve Hopker for the courteous replies.

    In reply to #61 by shortpolock:

    No problem. I tend to jump to conclusions sometimessssokay… a lot.
    I was referring to the teacher/student discussion.

    Without knowing your detailed stance on this topic, can you say what material evidence, ie excluding the hearsay evidence from Genesis, is there from rocks, current life etc that…



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  • In reply to #66 by shortpolock:

    I was researching Genesis, and remembered many here are ex-Christians. So I had a second thought, (out of a total of two you might argue) that there is no amount of explanation I can give which would satisfy the materialist, as it was said, even if the dead are raised.

    You would need to present evidence.

    Got evidence?



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  • 70
    OHooligan says:

    In reply to #61 by shortpolock:

    Neither can we observe evolution in progress, nor can we test it.

    I think Roedy will beg to differ on this one. He’s not only observing evolution, he’s hosting it. See his other posts on the evolution of HIV.

    Apart from that, I think it’s great shortpolock that you are here, and still here after the Mod’s rebuke. You seem more interesting than the stereotypical strawmen that commenters here tend to assume of any and all non-atheists (excuse the double negative).

    So I think you should be welcomed. You’re not going to convert anyone here, so I hope you don’t try, but it should be interesting to have your input into other discussions. Though please try to refrain from the usual refrain (“teach the controversy” and such). You may learn a bit more about the way science works while you’re here, and that would be no bad thing. We might learn a bit about your faith in return.

    Bear in mind though, that a book is just a book, however much one might wish otherwise, so quotes from your favourite don’t carry any more authority than quotes from my favourite. Which changes from day to day. Currently it’s Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.



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  • 71
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #66 by shortpolock:

    .. .. . or the appearance of age in actually young geological formations

    That is the problem with “faith-thinking”, – You can choose the ignorant rambling of posing geological and scientific illiterates, who present them selves as experts.

    (the changing speed of light is not taken seriously here), when it will only serve to be derided.

    If you have a look at some earlier discussions we were discussing the adjustments needed to be made to SAT-NAV calculations to allow for Eimstein’s adjustments to Newtonian calculations. The physicists here know the features of relativity and light. The scientifically illiterate YEC posers have no idea, so just make stuff up to appeal to your cognitive biases which require you to start your thinking from a position of Bronze-Age ignorance.

    This is the age of Google, and one is very able to find out the arguments on one’s own,

    The internet is full of argumentative ignoramuses. Anyone can find arguments!

    Unfortunately, you have yet to master the skills of finding competently checked scientific information and distinguishing this from nonsense concocted by ignoramuses whose scientific perceptions are still in the Bronze-Age!

    They make up this nonsense because they have no understanding of the science, and are laughably incompetent in their attempts to pose as experts. They are only superficially plausible to the ignorant and uneducated.

    It usually takes me less than 5 minutes to demolish their ludicrous claims, where as, it would take months to study the course I linked @27 and actually understand the biology of those features of evolution.

    @61 – The only arguments I have heard is that carbon dating is not reliable (the famous boot test) but I understand argon is also used, and I haven’t heard any contrary opinions on that.

    That is your problem! You have only looked at one cherry picked strawman example, which was carefully selected to mislead you. That is what you will find on rubbish websites.

    The use of radio-carbon dating is flawed – but only if you use it beyond its accurate time scale where any competent person would use other methods. – Look it up on a science site!

    They will pick one flawed or unsuitable method and “refute it” by applying it to the wrong subject. It is a mix of incompetence and dishonesty.
    Radio- carbon dating is only suitable for dating objects a few thousand years old. Other isotopes and other methods are used for dating older materials from millions of years ago. These people will chose methods which do not work or simply contradict proven science which they don’t want to understand. They know that their targeted readers will not understand the complicated scientific procedures involved in producing accurate answers.

    (It’s like pretending that scientists cannot measure, or that you can’t read a digital watch because you don’t understand the electronics – quoting an example with a dud battery adds a little credibility with those who have never seen the actual instrument.)

    which I have been directed to do a lot.

    You have been taking advice from ignoramuses and looking at sites (like AIG) run by ignoramuses. You need articles based on peer-reviewed scientific research to understand the science of the universe. I have provided you with quite a few opportunities to learn from some of these, but you have not commented on these factual reference materials.



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  • I’d recommend starting with River Out Of Eden. It lays such a clear and concise foundation for all of Richard’s other books. It’s such an easy read and will probably get you way past the needs of the curriculum in your level of understanding. Then go and read all the other recommendations.



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  • 73
    Alan4discussion says:

    @ iAtheism

    she said “Well if I did teach it, I could easily just bring up the Bible on creation.” That shocked me she would even say something so stupid like that.

    I think the quote @61 explains their dilemma! – I’ll take the second part first.

    Quote @61 –
    Yet I find that many Christians believe the myth of evolution. They do not seem to understand the theological implications which evolution teaches, without any support from science, that our race is descended from apes and other animals so that there never was or could be a fall. By denying the fall evolution teaches that there is no need for any redemptive act on the part of God. Why should we need to be redeemed if we have never fallen? That is the theology of the lie of evolution.” (Ray C. Stedman)

    Stedman has clearly explained why he is in denial over the age of the universe, the age of the Earth, physics, astronomy, geology, biology, and evolution.
    It is because it debunks the Xtian fundamentalist belief in the need for “redemption”, crucifiction etc. as a result of the fictitious “FALL” of Adam and Eve! The belief in “THE FALL” must be preserved in his mind, so science and all its evidence must be denied!

    The fundamentalists are in denial because they want to believe their myths. The fudgist compromising compartmentalists know that science gives accurate information, but also want to cling to their Xtian myths, so they find the whole conflict with science embarassing and to be avoided!

    Hence the like of Stedman close their minds to scientific evidence, and simply make up lies that there is “no evidence”, (that is they have refused to look at any evidence or have rejected it through bigotry or are simply too mentally lacking to understand it.)

    “Take another myth widespread in our day, the myth of evolution. In the last century, by and large, this myth began to take over the scientific world, again without a shred of empirical evidence to support it.

    This is just the statement of a scientifically illiterate utter ignoramus or liar!

    Any attempt to try to set forth anything to the contrary is met with ridicule and mockery, put down as though those who hold any other view are village idiots, incapable of reasoning with intelligent men.

    It is not really surprising that scientists mock and dismiss the ranting ignorant YEC claims that “scientists cannot measure” when it rapidly becomes obvious that those making such claims, have no idea how to measure or what to measure.
    (Competent scientists do criticise each other’s work in peer-reviews, and consequently make improvements. – incompetent criticism is worthless!)

    The YEC claims are usually as comical as a claim that “scientists cannot measure the distance from London to New York. because their tape-measures are not long enough”!

    When it writes like a village idiot, and talks life a village idiot, and poses as an expert, it is reasonable to take the message as the view of a village idiot – regardless of the protests from the village idiot!



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  • To deal with the creationism/evolution controversy, I suggest The Tower of Babel – Evidence Against the New Creationism by Robert Pennock. This book really opened my eyes about the true nature of the theory of evolution, the proper application of the scientific method, why supernatural explanations of natural phenomena are bad science, scientific philosophy, and what the creationists are so scared of. http://www.amazon.com/Tower-Babel-Evidence-against-Creationism/dp/0262661659
    If you are planning to specialize in the study of evolution, this would be a very good book to have in your personal library.
    One pearl of wisdom I discovered after reading this book is any teacher wanting to avoid disruption from militant creationists in class need only say, “You may believe whatever you want. All you need to do to pass the evolution topic in this class is to understand the theory of evolution by means of natural selection.”
    Another thing this book clarifies is that evolution does not have a goal. Evolution is not intended to create human beings, one species cannot be properly referred to as “more evolved” than another. Evolution is simply a natural process that occurs whenever you have systems of information that copy themselves, variation in the copying, and a selection process. Bacteria, sponges, plants, jellyfish, crustaceans, etc., have all been continually evolving as well as the chain of species that led to us, and they are as well adapted to surviving in their various niches as we are in ours. This fact is obscured by the way that people talk about evolution when they aren’t being careful about what they’re saying. This includes those that support and understand it.



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  • 75
    HolyDonutsBatman says:

    Hi, shortpolock, here. Closed one of my emails, so I figgered I’d change the old handle. I’ll consider my point made. You guys are great.



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  • 76
    WMcEnaney says:

    I’ve just been skimming some posts about supposed contradictions in the Bible. That’s why I think it would be a good idea for its critics to pay attention some important information. The Bible includes literary genres. Some books contain poetry, others are historical. Still others, the Book of Revelation, for example, is in the apocalyptic genera partly because it’s full of symbolic passages that you need to interpret figuratively. Genesis includes more than one genre, but I for get the name of the one for Genesis 1-3.

    I’ve heard many atheists ask how anyone could believe in a God who would condone slavery? That good question comes partly because too many readers read the Bible without the anthropological, cultural, historical and linguistic background they need. Sure, if you read thee Bible as though it’s a 21st-century book, you probably will read things into it. When it describes slavery, say, it’s describing voluntary indentured servitude, not the kind of slavery where cruel slave-owners whipped African Americans. In biblical days, an indentured servant went free if his master hurt him, and masters treated their servants as members of their families.

    What about war and the idea that God is genocidal? Well, that’s another misconception. Maybe you’ve heard sports fans say something like, The Jets killed the Giants at last night’s game.” That’s figurative hyperbole that means something like, “The Jets won by a huge margin.” It does not mean that the Jets murdered the other team’s players. Sometimes you’ll find the same kind of exaggeration in the Bible.

    Two-thousand years from now, when scientists read 21st-century science books, are the going to read their century’s scientific ideas into them? Of course not. So don’t do the same kind of thing to the Bible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C3q3Zr_R8E



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  • 77
    Len Walsh says:

    In reply to #74 by WMcEnaney:

    I’ve just been skimming some posts about supposed contradictions in the Bible….

    Bill, according to the bible all humans evolved from one incestuous family dynamic deliberately invented by Yahweh. No interpretation can escape that basic fact, which contravenes our knowledge about evolution.

    Within 30 seconds of your linked video Mr Paul Copan invokes mental illness to describe “apologetics.” Mirrored my thoughts concisely.

    “Thank you for that introduction were both suffering from bipolar disorder Copan begins.

    He then accuses Richard Dawkins of being a liar (speaking out of two sides of his mouth) and lacking in philosophical sophistication because he doesn’t appreciate evil properly. And, as with Alvin Plantinga, handouts adorned with bullet points are essential to follow this incoherent crap.

    I endured 10 minutes of Copan’s unrelenting attack on Richard, never once ventilating another thought, and gave up. In my considered opinion Copan already exhibits paranoid biblical psychoticism and I doubt listening to another hour of his apologetics would dissuade me.



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  • 78
    HolyDonutsBatman says:

    Its a joke. The guy introducing him is also named Paul. He plays on “bipolar” to say “bi-paul-ar”. Get it? there’s 2 Paul’s, so bi- meaning split or two… Paul… oh well.

    In reply to #75 by Len Walsh:

    In reply to #74 by WMcEnaney:

    I’ve just been skimming some posts about supposed contradictions in the Bible….

    Bill, according to the bible all humans evolved from one incestuous family dynamic deliberately invented by Yahweh. No interpretation can escape that basic fact, which contravenes our kn…



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  • 79
    Len Walsh says:

    In reply to #76 by HolyDonutsBatman:

    Its a joke.

    In reply to #75 by Len Walsh:

    HolyDonutsBatman, thanks.

    The video omitted that bit (I think, couldn’t stomach a review) but after enduring a few minutes of Copan’s tirade against Richard I reflected how deliciously ironic that remark seemed to me.

    Thanks again. Copan tried to soften his assault against RD with additional lame jokes but I wouldn’t recommend anyone waste their time with it.



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  • 80
    achromat666 says:

    Two-thousand years from now, when scientists read 21st-century science books, are the going to read their century’s scientific ideas into them? Of course not. So don’t do the same kind of thing to the Bible.

    I’m sorry, but no. Science is something that is built upon on the backs of other minds making discoveries about the universe itself. It is more likely than in 2 millennia whatever we’re using to discern the facts will be based on what we know from science. The bible is a collection of myths that have been misinterpreted and overemphasized that simply doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

    As for the differing interpretations, the problem is far worse than what to take literal and what to take figuratively. For example:

    I’ve heard many atheists ask how anyone could believe in a God who would condone slavery? That good question comes partly because too many readers read the Bible without the anthropological, cultural, historical and linguistic background they need. Sure, if you read thee Bible as though it’s a 21st-century book, you probably will read things into it. When it describes slavery, say, it’s describing voluntary indentured servitude, not the kind of slavery where cruel slave-owners whipped African Americans. In biblical days, an indentured servant went free if his master hurt him, and masters treated their servants as members of their families.

    Do you honestly mean to say that you condone indentured servitude, which is in fact the one of the forms of slavery blacks went through? And did all middle eastern cultures adhere to the idea of freeing indentured servants? Were all of them treated like members of the family? Evidence?

    Slavery is bad, regardless of the interpretation or the iteration. The bible does not get a pass for it.

    What about war and the idea that God is genocidal? Well, that’s another misconception. Maybe you’ve heard sports fans say something like, The Jets killed the Giants at last night’s game.” That’s figurative hyperbole that means something like, “The Jets won by a huge margin.” It does not mean that the Jets murdered the other team’s players. Sometimes you’ll find the same kind of exaggeration in the Bible.

    Where do you draw the line on what is literal and what is hyperbole where genocide is concerned exactly? How can it be the perfect word of god if it’s constantly having to be interpreted and explained away when the by product of an ancient middle eastern culture does not hold up in modern times?

    Does this explanation offer a reason why a perfectly loving god would choose sides in a conflict to begin with? Perhaps it could illuminate on how we reconcile the torture of Job, the testing of Abraham or the numerous other issues that don’t reconcile, genocide or not?

    Literal or not, hyperbole or not, nothing in this makes the bible either true or in the same field of influence as science. Your comparison makes no sense.



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  • 81
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #74 by WMcEnaney:

    I’ve just been skimming some posts about supposed contradictions in the Bible. That’s why I think it would be a good idea for its critics to pay attention some important information. The Bible includes literary genres. Some books contain poetry, others are historical.

    I certainly agree that the bible has many genres, and that it is not to be taken as a literally true account (though note my thoughts on Jericho below).

    What about war and the idea that God is genocidal? Well, that’s another misconception. Maybe you’ve heard sports fans say something like, The Jets killed the Giants at last night’s game.” That’s figurative hyperbole that means something like, “The Jets won by a huge margin.” It does not mean that the Jets murdered the other team’s players. Sometimes you’ll find the same kind of exaggeration in the Bible.

    You might agree that this does not cover the literalist interpretation ie how many do view the Bible. For a fuller reading of various passages would I think challenge your conclusion that the killing as described in the OT could be seen as metaphorical, ie like one sports team ‘killing’ another. The Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah etc are pretty graphic, but for a more ‘historical’ story there is the siege and capture of Jericho, and the punishment of a looter (and his family) that followed: and there are many more such genocides or smaller scale killings believed to be at the Lord’s command. Thus, while I would agree that the Biblical account of events linked to belief is not literally true, the beliefs they promote are about God wanting people X really punished, or for you to exterminate people Y.

    Yet episodes such as Jericho seem (to me) a bit less mythic (ok trumpets don’t knock walls down) and – hearing the news from Syria, horribly familiar. Beyond the specific details I find it quite plausible that a Semitic tribe did invade Palestine and did commit atrocities believing they did so under divine command. The same massacres – and arguably much worse – have been taking place in the same part of the world, and belief in God’s support is still very much a factor.

    So while claiming these stories as simply metaphorical might be a laudable attempt to detoxify them, I don’t think a fair reading allows that. One has to reject the truth of the Bible at a much deeper level, that these stories are false not because they are valid metaphors, or even that they are all unhistorical: but because they falsely claim the existence of a God who sanctions and at times directs such actions. Bible stories may often be myths, but others see them as real, and they are not benign.



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  • 82
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #79 by steve_hopker:

    In reply to #74 by WMcEnaney:

    Sorry – correction: last paragraph;

    “that these stories are false not because they are metaphors..”

    (delete ‘valid’)



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  • 83
    WMcEnaney says:

    Acro, of course I don’t condone indentured servitude. The point is that too many readers think the Bible is talking about the kind of slavery you hear African Americans and other people condemn rightly. The read today’s usual sense of the word “slavery” into Bible passages about another kind of servitude. I’m not condoning any immoral practice.

    I don’t draw the lines between biblical hyperbole and literal meanings in the Bible. The Bible’s writers, historians, theologians, and other scholars do that. Most important, the Catholic Church does it with the authority Christ gave her. I know you don’t believe that, and I don’t expect you to believe it. But Bible interpretation is partly why the pope and the Catholic Church can teach infallibly. Read the documents from the Council of Ephesus that met in 431 A.D. They’ll tell you that the Council Fathers thought their council taught infallibly and that Pope Celestine taught with St. Peter’s authority. You can find those documents at this Protestant site (http://www.ccel.org), at a website that belongs to Fordham University, and in the 38-volume set of Patristic writings published by Hendrickson Publishing Company.

    Yes, scientific knowledge increases over the centuries. That’s beyond doubt. But 2,000 years from now, our century will be ancient history. Some of our best scientists’ writings may get destroyed between now and then. Language may change enough that scholars may need to figure out what our jargon means. To them, our greatest scientific books may be as puzzling as the Bible is today. Some scholars, Thomas Kuhn, say, believe that after a scientific paradigm shifts, the old paradigm is so incompatible wi the new one that you can use the new one’s language to describe an older paradigm. Kuhn’s theory has major flaws, I think. Read his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” to see what I mean. One problem is that his book is full of current language he uses to describe old paradigms. So his own book undermines the theory he defends in it.
    In reply to #78 by achromat666:

    Two-thousand years from now, when scientists read 21st-century science books, are the going to read their century’s scientific ideas into them? Of course not. So don’t do the same kind of thing to the Bible.

    I’m sorry, but no. Science is something that is built upon on the backs of other minds maki…



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  • 84
    Pabmusic says:

    In reply to #81 by WMcEnaney:

    …I don’t draw the lines between biblical hyperbole and literal meanings in the Bible. The Bible’s writers, historians, theologians, and other scholars do that…

    This is just wrong. The bible distinguishes between two types of ‘slavery’ – what I suspect you mean by indentured slavery and out-and-out ‘one person owning another’ slavery. Indentured slavery applied only to other Jews and lasted for up to six years, unless – and here’s the rub – the ‘slave’ had married in the meantime and wished to keep his wife. In that case, the ‘slave’ became permanent property, which the owner signified by driving a spike through his ear. That’s your indentured servitude – clearly not slavery.

    If you weren’t a Jew, you simply became a slave, property of the master who could be passed from generation to generation. But there was some humanity. You weren’t allowed to beat them so badly that they died within a day or two – otherwise you were liable to pay compensation.

    If you really wish, I’ll post biblical references, but it’s all easy enough to find in the Bible. You might start with Exodus 21:20-27, which deals with the punishment for beating a slave to death (but only if death occurs within two days); and Leviticus 19: 20-22, which deals with the sacrifices that have to be made if you rape a slave; Leviticus 25: 44-46, permission to buy non-Jewish slaves and hand the down as property.



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  • 85
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #81 by WMcEnaney:

    But Bible interpretation is partly why the pope and the Catholic Church can teach infallibly. Read the documents from the Council of Ephesus that met in 431 A.D. They’ll tell you that the Council Fathers thought their council taught infallibly and that Pope Celestine taught with St. Peter’s authority.

    This passage in particular probably accounts for the deep divide between faith and science: not necessarily about how the world appears to be, but how we arrive at such conclusions. In science, limited truths are inferred from the authority of nature, the truths being limited by their recurring correction by that authority, such that, occasionally, entire world models are supplanted. In faith, absolute Truth obtains from deference to the authority of the Church (in its many forms) which, being held to have been given by an eternal and perfect God, cannot be changed. Attempted revisions of those Truths are therefore a heretical defiance of God – as Galileo discovered when he contradicted Aristotle.



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  • 86
    achromat666 says:

    Acro, of course I don’t condone indentured servitude. The point is that too many readers think the Bible is talking about the kind of slavery you hear African Americans and other people condemn rightly. The read today’s usual sense of the word “slavery” into Bible passages about another kind of servitude. I’m not condoning any immoral practice.

    Please, enough with the achro. Achromat is fine and since I mentioned my name to you in another thread Joe or Joseph is fine.

    There are way too many ways one can become enslaved to put into words here, and none of them really make the bible’s version of it however translated much better. It’s slavery, an idea of some form of ownership of one person to another. Not unlike the ownership of human ‘souls’ to a certain omni-creator which really doesn’t help this argument.

    I don’t draw the lines between biblical hyperbole and literal meanings in the Bible. The Bible’s writers, historians, theologians, and other scholars do that. Most important, the Catholic Church does it with the authority Christ gave her. I know you don’t believe that, and I don’t expect you to believe it. But Bible interpretation is partly why the pope and the Catholic Church can teach infallibly. Read the documents from the Council of Ephesus that met in 431 A.D. They’ll tell you that the Council Fathers thought their council taught infallibly and that Pope Celestine taught with St. Peter’s authority. You can find those documents at this Protestant site (http://www.ccel.org), at a website that belongs to Fordham University, and in the 38-volume set of Patristic writings published by Hendrickson Publishing Company.

    And my point was there are a multitude of translations, and were at the time the books that made the cut were agreed upon. This still by the by doesn’t cover what the Hebrews might have to say about the interpretation the RCC takes on the book, and they did write the Old Testament.

    And no translation makes sense of infallibility. None. How exactly can all men be equal under god if one can claim to translate his will (with no way of proving it) and take authority over other people? Is the path to god through Christ or the Pope according to the bible? How can anything be infallible if humans themselves are incapable of such a feat?

    The RCC can choose to teach whatever it wishes, it doesn’t by any stretch make it fact.

    Yes, scientific knowledge increases over the centuries. That’s beyond doubt. But 2,000 years from now, our century will be ancient history. Some of our best scientists’ writings may get destroyed between now and then. Language may change enough that scholars may need to figure out what our jargon means. To them, our greatest scientific books may be as puzzling as the Bible is today. Some scholars, Thomas Kuhn, say, believe that after a scientific paradigm shifts, the old paradigm is so incompatible wi the new one that you can use the new one’s language to describe an older paradigm. Kuhn’s theory has major flaws, I think. Read his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” to see what I mean. One problem is that his book is full of current language he uses to describe old paradigms. So his own book undermines the theory he defends in it.

    The difference between the passage of time between the writing of the bible and now and the current world and 2,000 years from now is the technology. It’s certainly possible that a lot of information will be lost digitally as there may be an entirely new way to pass on information by then. But It will still be far easier than it was 2,000 years before now, when a vast majority of the population couldn’t read and those that could held special place in most cultures as scribes that didn’t document anywhere near as much information then as we can now. So even if large portions of current world data is somehow lost, they will still know far more about this time than we do about 2,000 years ago, to say nothing of the advances in archaeology we will likely see between now and then.



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  • 89
    BenCarollo says:

    I would reccomend looking into coursera.org, they have alot of classes on biology, and alot of them have a heavy emphasis on evolution, i would encourage you to lookinto taking some of those classes, I have yet to run into a coursera class that i didnt like. And the professors are usually more than glad to get on the forums and answer questions



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  • 90
    Outspoken says:

    Do you really want someone who refutes evolution to teach it to you? You can probably learn more about it by yourself anyway!



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