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"50% do not cover evolution because they felt intimidated, saw no need to teach it, or might lose their jobs"
March 23, 2006 2:45 PM   Subscribe

"I am under censure for mentioning numbers...." "I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD... but I am NOT to say that these Ordovician rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old."

Essentially, they are not allowing Bob to teach a certain set of scientific data in order to protect their ability to provide students the good science curriculum they do teach. The directors... have heard from them more than enough times that teaching evolution would be "political suicide".
In Arkansas, even supporters of teaching evolution feel they must hide, obfuscate, and water-down evolution.
posted by orthogonality (111 comments total)

 
Technical managers and university faculty search committees: stop hiring Arkansans starting in 2016. Domestic geographic origin is not a protected classification.
posted by Vetinari at 2:53 PM on March 23, 2006


My God, the high quality of public education in Arkansas might suffer from this!
posted by mr_roboto at 2:54 PM on March 23, 2006


It's offensive to the spirit of education that this goes on in our country here in 2006...

At the same time I don't worry so much seeing as how of the two (creationism vs. evolution) it's this new finagled "Intelligent Design" that is the more tepid and water-downed.

Does anyone still stand by the 7-day creation model or Biblical geocentrism anymore? No? Didn't think so. ID is the last gasp for a dying world model.
posted by wfrgms at 2:58 PM on March 23, 2006


Does anyone still stand by the 7-day creation model or Biblical geocentrism anymore?

Would you like to summon him?
posted by brownpau at 3:01 PM on March 23, 2006


crap. i think you just did...
posted by Vetinari at 3:02 PM on March 23, 2006


Teachers at his facility are forbidden to use the “e-word” with the kids.

A name+surname of the principal ordering this would be interesting.

Their program depends upon public support and continued patronage of the region’s school districts, which they felt could be threatened by any political blowback from an unwanted evolutionary controversy.

Oh I see..you know it's like Afghanistan, if you tried to teach female kids you were in biiiiigg trouble..Arkansas, Afghanistan....what do they have in common other then Talibans affecting public education ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:03 PM on March 23, 2006


"It's offensive to the spirit of education that this goes on in our country here in 2006..."

Agreed. You take the teachers who care most about kids and force them to sacrifice good practice in order to keep their jobs.
But we have a history of screwing over our best people. MLK. etc.

I heard one guy got nailed to a tree a while back for saying some things the folks in power didn't like.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:04 PM on March 23, 2006


Does anyone still stand by the 7-day creation model or Biblical geocentrism anymore?

I can point you to a few hundred people - my family and all of their friends (from the same church) who believe in the 7-day creation model.

Please understand that these aren't Arkansas hicks, but overwhelmingly consist of college professors, doctors, lawyers, and other well-educated middle-class professionals in upstate NY.

I've never met anyone who believes in geocentrism, though.
posted by Ryvar at 3:09 PM on March 23, 2006


Student: Many schools in Arkansas are failing to teach students about evolution according to the educational standards of our state. Since it is against these standards to teach creationism, how would you go about helping our state educate students more sufficiently for this?
[Arkansas Governor] Huckabee: Are you saying some students are not getting exposure to the various theories of creation?
Student (stunned): No, of evol … well, of evolution specifically. It’s a biological study that should be educated [taught], but is generally not.
Moderator: Schools are dodging Darwinism? Is that what you … ?
Student: Yes.
Huckabee: I’m not familiar that they’re dodging it. Maybe they are. But I think schools also ought to be fair to all views. Because, frankly, Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. It is a theory of evolution, that’s why it’s called the theory of evolution. And I think that what I’d be concerned with is that it should be taught as one of the views that’s held by people. But it’s not the only view that’s held. And any time you teach one thing as that it’s the only thing, then I think that has a real problem to it.

How can someone be the governor of a state and not have any knowledge whatsoever of the evidence for evolution?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:10 PM on March 23, 2006


"Please understand that these aren't Arkansas hicks, but overwhelmingly consist of college professors, doctors, lawyers, and other well-educated middle-class professionals in upstate NY."

New York hicks.

Interesting.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:00 PM on March 23, 2006


How can someone be the governor of a state and not have any knowledge whatsoever of the evidence for evolution?

Governor is not a scientific role. It's a political one. It's about getting elected and garnering support for various programs. Knowing biology or geology or physics or chemistry is very rarely relevant.
posted by aubilenon at 4:14 PM on March 23, 2006



posted by RylandDotNet at 4:21 PM on March 23, 2006


RylandDotNet, I tremble in fear of such a dedicated, questioning and reasoned individual. I am but a bowl full of Jell-O in her august presence. Oh enlighten me, great and wise christian taliban sage. . .
posted by mk1gti at 4:25 PM on March 23, 2006


From the looks of her dress, all that is missing is the burka. . .
posted by mk1gti at 4:26 PM on March 23, 2006


Please understand that these aren't Arkansas hicks, but overwhelmingly consist of college professors, doctors, lawyers, and other well-educated middle-class professionals in upstate NY.

That's impossible, because if they were well-educated, they wouldn't believe stupid bullshit like the 7-day creation model.
posted by dopamine at 4:29 PM on March 23, 2006


I've decided that it's all okay.

You see, I heard an appropriate description of Dubai the other day: the pimps are strutting their stuff. Think of the Burj al-Arab as a the bling-bling.

Who be these pimps? Why, the mega-wealthy. The CEOs who, by virtue of paycheques some 400x greater than that of front-line workers, and stock manipulations that funnel money out of the pockets of investors. And who have successfully drained the US Government of bajillions of dollars in funding.

Thing about the USA is that for a good long time after WWII, there was one helluva technology, productivity, and resource boom. The population freakin' exploded, the standard of living went through the roof, and too much money went to too many people.

Now it appears the USA has lost most of the jobs that added value to raw resources, is going to lose its lead on technologic development, and is basically worth no more than its rapidly-depleting natural resources (more and more of which can be extracted with less and less labour.)

So the pirates are stealing all the money they can from the middle-class dupes, and to hell with the rest. The mega-wealthy are gonna retire off to the luxury of Dubai, and the rest of us can go get fucked: we're no longer wanted.

So Arkansas education? Perfectly suited to this dystopian future we're facing. Get the public all religious, and you can be sure they'll make their reality (poverty and suffering) all their own fault: life is sinful, God is ineffable, look forward to the afterlife.

I'm so glad I'm unlikely to live into the next century. I think things are gonna get real shitty.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:33 PM on March 23, 2006


this really is appalling. Carbon dating is not a theory.

Next it'll be that each ring in a tree's trunk marks when an angel got its wings.
posted by amberglow at 4:35 PM on March 23, 2006


That's impossible, because if they were well-educated, they wouldn't believe stupid bullshit like the 7-day creation model.

People go to college and go to church. When their teachings conflict, some people choose to believe that the school is correct, and some people choose to believe that the church is. I'm not saying it's a particularly rational decision, but it's hardly an impossible one.
posted by designbot at 4:38 PM on March 23, 2006


Does anyone still stand by the 7-day creation model or Biblical geocentrism anymore?

When was the last time you visited the south?
posted by SweetJesus at 4:52 PM on March 23, 2006


being a current Arkansas resident, I think you guys have some issues you need to work out with your pastors.
posted by thanatogenous at 5:06 PM on March 23, 2006


That's impossible, because if they were well-educated, they wouldn't believe stupid bullshit like the 7-day creation model.

I don't know what to tell you other than that I grew up surrounded by hundreds of mostly upper-middle-class WASPS who were Biblical literalists. That fact isn't really open for debate.
posted by Ryvar at 5:12 PM on March 23, 2006


wfrgms writes "Does anyone still stand by the 7-day creation model or Biblical geocentrism anymore?"

Yes. It's just not part of the P.R. anymore.
posted by brundlefly at 5:13 PM on March 23, 2006


Big derail: Ryvar, I come from the WASPs, and to me, being a Biblical literalist means your WASP status is automatically revoked. Mainly because you are then stuck embarassing yourself defending this ridiculous position in front of educated colleagues. A horror all around.

What's more, (speaking from WASP-held stereotypes) if you are a Bibilical literalist, you probably worship at a place where they do embarassing things like speak in tongues and wave their hands around.

My above theory works for the Bushes. George H. W. Bush is an Episcopalian. His son is a fundamentalist Christian. Who's the WASP?

WASPiness is about gin, golf, stained glass, old rumpled blazers, and not taking your religion very seriously.
posted by lackutrol at 5:24 PM on March 23, 2006


I trust that the next time one of these people need radiation therapy, they won't be turning to "science" for an answer. Atomic theory and all.

At least the Amish are consistent. These people are civilization's parasites.
posted by dreamsign at 5:24 PM on March 23, 2006


Y'know, I read a lot of stuff both on and off the blue that just tells me I really should start preparations to leave America for someplace where insane people are pointed out as being so and treated appropriately. (unfortunately I don't think that place exists anywhere on earth...)

This kind of thing is just people refusing to accept demonstrable reality, preferring instead to accept their own or someone else's imaginative but entirely inaccurate worldview.

When that happens in most situations, let's say, if a person walks nude through a crowded mall, saying that his blue pet cow (not visible to anyone else) who is walking beside him told him it was his mission in life to visually educate the people of the world on human anatomy, we rightly decide that this person has a serious mental problem (or is high out of his or her bloomin' mind), and we (hopefully gently) apprehend the person and take them to a hospital, or possibly jail. And quite rightly.

There's little difference between that and people who utterly reject basic tenets of science, since everything that humans have built, from roads and cars to homes and buildings to cell phones and televisions, is based on the basic tenets of science.

Someone who so loudly proclaims that they reject science should, in my opinion, then be deprived of all the benefits that science has gifted us. Including that crappy polyester thing she's wearing; surely she should be able to hand-weave her own dress from the wool she can shear from the sheep she tends outside her thatch-roofed hovel?

My opinion of course.

Then again I also believe that science and spirituality can exist side-by-side and complement each other in benefit to everyone, but a lot of really insane people disagree with me for some insane reason. I just think they're terrified that their lives might be meaningless, and also of having to actually use their minds to think about things.

"I don't know what to tell you other than that I grew up surrounded by hundreds of mostly upper-middle-class WASPS who were Biblical literalists."

If they went through primary, secondary and university education and still hold on to that belief, then my opinion is that those people are not sane and should be treated as such. But that's just me. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 5:25 PM on March 23, 2006


I think we can safely say the future does not belong to America.
posted by unSane at 5:26 PM on March 23, 2006


I should add that I was a fundamentalist born-again Christian from the age of 16-19, spoke in tongues, and believed a lot of this crap. Eventually the mental gymnastics required to reconcile what I was supposed to believe with the evidence of my lying eyes, ears and brain were beyond me. I woke up one morning and realized I didn't believe a word of it any more.

It was like being released from prison.
posted by unSane at 5:29 PM on March 23, 2006


I think we're ignoring the obvious fact...yes, FACT...that evolution never occurred in Arkansas.
posted by ColdChef at 5:34 PM on March 23, 2006


Can we lay off the Arkansas-bashing? There are dumb voters and craven politicians everywhere, and Arkansas has enough problems to contend with without a bunch of smug northerners pretending they know enough about the place to condemn it. (A lot of my family went to U of Arkansas in Fayetteville and got a damn good education.)
posted by languagehat at 5:34 PM on March 23, 2006


Please help me in welcoming unSane to the world of the living. Clap clap.
posted by filchyboy at 5:36 PM on March 23, 2006


"Because, frankly, Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. "
This is oligarchy rule. We have too few smart men as rulers, and those who are, are power mad. Send help.
posted by uni verse at 5:36 PM on March 23, 2006


What's more, (speaking from WASP-held stereotypes) if you are a Bibilical literalist, you probably worship at a place where they do embarassing things like speak in tongues and wave their hands around.

Er, no. Our family church was quite stolid until my mother launched an effort to modernize the worship system to include post-1950s hymns (mostly 80s stuff from Maranatha music). Definitely no tongues, calling out in worship, hand waving, or anything of that nature. The place is money. Old money. Golf yes, country clubs hell yes, gin no (God frowns on drinking of course), blazers no.

The other thing is, during a church split my family briefly flitted around between 6-7 other churches for a couple of months - this was pretty clearly not an isolated phenomenon, although two of the six did do the hand-waving bit.

Maybe it's just regionalism, but having grown up in that world until becoming an atheist at 18, I have to say that your perceptions of the reality of fundamentalist evangelicism are pretty skewed.
posted by Ryvar at 5:41 PM on March 23, 2006


Yes, there are plenty of people like this in every single state of the Union. I've lived in 3 states and visited at least couple dozen, and they are everywhere in America.

I really don't understand why. Backlash against a world that's changing too fast, driven by science? How did the excellent education that I got between 1970 and 1987 somehow miss such a huge portion of the rest of the nation?
posted by zoogleplex at 5:42 PM on March 23, 2006


"It was like being released from prison."

Or born again?
posted by ddf at 5:45 PM on March 23, 2006


I will NOT lay off Arkansas! If you were to read the things (which I dare not risk printing here in this forum) that Arkansas did to me, why by golly, you would UP AND DIE! That pervert had his hands all over me - and that's INCLUDING the bathing suit areas, I might add. You would do well to not TELL ME who I can and can't criticize when it comes to matters of morality and decency.

Arkansas, I think you're a big JERK!
posted by billysumday at 5:46 PM on March 23, 2006


unSane writes "I woke up one morning and realized I didn't believe a word of it any more. "

You just woke up one morning and that was it?
posted by orthogonality at 5:52 PM on March 23, 2006


Don't question such a miraculous occurrence.

(WINK)
posted by zoogleplex at 5:54 PM on March 23, 2006


Next it'll be that each ring in a tree's trunk marks when an angel got its wings.

You know what God does when you masturbate, right?
posted by Cyrano at 5:55 PM on March 23, 2006


languagehat writes "Can we lay off the Arkansas-bashing? "


Ah, hat, the article is specifically about Arkansas. Sorry, had I found a smilar case study of (say) Massachusetts, I'd have posted that.
posted by orthogonality at 5:58 PM on March 23, 2006


Someone who so loudly proclaims that they reject science should, in my opinion, then be deprived of all the benefits that science has gifted us.

Exactly. Time for more Dawkins.

Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I'll show you a hypocrite. Airplanes are built according to scientific principles and they work. They stay aloft and they get you to a chosen destination. Airplanes built to tribal or mythological specifications such as the dummy planes of the Cargo cults in jungle clearings or the bees-waxed wings of Icarus don't.
posted by dreamsign at 6:30 PM on March 23, 2006


I really feel that the culture wars won't remain strictly cultural for much longer. We are headed for a really, really bad time in America, and I'm not sure the good guys are going to win, at all.
posted by empath at 6:42 PM on March 23, 2006


Now it appears the USA has lost most of the jobs that added value to raw resources,

Are you kidding? I mean, do you really belive america has lost most of the jobs that were created after WWII? Do you have any statistics to back up that assertion? Your belief seems about as rational to me as those that deny evolution.
posted by delmoi at 7:03 PM on March 23, 2006


I grew up going to an Episcopalian church in St. Louis, not too far north of Arkansas, and I can swear on a Bible that never once in my 18 years did I meet a soul who believed the world was created in seven days. Catholics, Protestants, Jews...never. I did hear rumours about primitive Bible-thumpers (this was before they had cable television through which better to thump their Bibles -- and their followers), but never came close to one. I don't know about this strange place in New York, but, all the religious scientists and doctors I know -- and they are legion -- none of them believe in the fundamentalist view of Creation. It's loony, and they can believe Jesus died for their sins without throwing science out the window.
posted by kozad at 8:00 PM on March 23, 2006


Let's start an Atheist Homeland. I hear the middle east is nice this time of year...
posted by Sparx at 8:04 PM on March 23, 2006


That's seven "Days"

A Day is to a day as a Calorie is to a calorie.

Or something like that.
posted by hank at 8:05 PM on March 23, 2006


delmoi: it's called "hyperbole." But point remains that resource extraction requires less labour for the same output; resource refining is often shipped off to China (met any steelworkers lately?); and many manufacturing jobs (especially those that use the primary/crude output of the resource refining) are offshore.

The common US citizen is well and truly fucked.

The spoils go to Dubai.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:26 PM on March 23, 2006


You know what God does when you masturbate, right?

Yup...he smiles at the pleasure, but wishes i wasn't alone bec 2 people makes it more fun. : >
posted by amberglow at 9:09 PM on March 23, 2006


Does anyone still stand by the 7-day creation model or Biblical geocentrism anymore?

When was the last time you visited the south?
posted by SweetJesus


Or, you know, maybe Rhode Island.
posted by justgary at 9:36 PM on March 23, 2006


unSane writes "I woke up one morning and realized I didn't believe a word of it any more. "

You just woke up one morning and that was it?
Pretty much. I had been increasingly uncomfortable for some time (not least when me and a couple of buddies were thrown out of the Bible discussion group for questioning the literal truth of the Bible), but unwilling to face up to what that actually meant for my Jesus-is-your-copilot faith.

I literally woke up and realized I just didn't buy it. I walked around that day with an extraordinary sense of freedom. I hadn't realized to what extent I had been feeling *guilt* about everything I thought and did for the previous several years.

I've never regretted the time I spent as a convert since prior to that I had had no inkling of spirituality at all, and subsequent to it I've been much more open-minded and interested in the nature of spirituality. And turning my back on it torpedoed quite a few close friendships. But it wasn't like I had the choice to just keep my eyes closed.

Becoming an apostate (as some of my former friends called me) is rather frightening because in the frame of your prior existence it means committing the ultimate and unforgiveable sin -- blasphemy of the Holy Spirit -- which dooms you to eternal damnation.

In many respects my experience of becoming, and de-becoming, born again was exactly like being recruited into a cult. I've read and researched a lot about cults over the years and I never fail to be amazed by the degree to which the techniques described in anti-cult literature are practised by evangelical Christians on their recruits -- at least the ones I was around. That left me pretty angry.

On the other hand I have to say that for some people, becoming born again had the most amazing transformative effect, enabling them to completely reform from alcoholism, leave gangs, refrain from suicide etc etc. So I don't agree at all with what they believe but for some people the effects are almost entirely beneficial.
posted by unSane at 9:43 PM on March 23, 2006


unSane, I'm glad you escaped, and I'm glad you seem to be happy about it! And the God that I believe in would never damn you eternally for using the mind and free will He gifted you. :)

"Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I'll show you a hypocrite."

That's a good one. However, folks who disbelieve in science (whether religious or not) also apply the same system of disbelief to their own hypocrisy. They just don't believe they are capable of being hypocrites, and nobody can tell them otherwise.

That's why being insane is so comforting to them, I should think. Not acknowledging reality means you can be happy no matter what you do.

Sociopaths and psychopaths are generally (or at least appear to be) quite happy with themselves, because they believe they can do no wrong, and that any action they take is justified and perfectly right. I'm not accusing born-agains of being sociopaths and psychopaths, of course, but many of them exhibit the same sort of utter certainty that what they believe is infallibly correct.

Narcissism, that's what it is, this sort of disbelief. Pure narcissism. "I don't care what proof you show me that what you say is true, I'm not going to believe it, because I'm always right, because I'm better than you and in fact perfect just the way I am. So there!" I think adding God and the Bible to that just glosses over the narcissistic basis of the behavior.

Again, just my opinion.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:45 PM on March 23, 2006


You guys better play nice and stop picking on the Christians. Have you forgotten the New Rules® already? Remember: everyone's a persecuted minority, especially those who run the show.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:10 PM on March 23, 2006


<sigh>

I have family who are "technically" educated (as teachers, as psychologists, PhD geographers [snicker] and a business people). Hong Kongnese catholics.

Yep. The world made in 7 days. Everything was better before Eve took that apple from the snake. Good people are going to Heaven and I'm (me) going to hell Hell. Man and dinosaurs co-exited, &c&c.

It's fucking IMPOSSIBLE to have a meaningful conversation with these people if *anything* is not in accordance with their beliefs. It's mind boggling.

(the physics PhD relative - he's not so much - but he's so cowed to the rest of the family that it's SICK)
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:15 PM on March 23, 2006


I go to a summer program for high school students that's held at Duke. Everyone who goes has to score above a certain level on the SAT in 7th grade, so everyone there is fairly intelligent (I know the SAT is not the best measure of intelligence, but to score well on a high school level test in 7th grade is a pretty good indicator of it). Everyone there is also from the South- it draws students from Texas to Florida and as far north as Kentucky and North Carolina.

Last summer, I took a class about the Reformation, and naturally religion came up. We were all told one day to write up our own personal beliefs re: the beginning of the world, universe, etc. (inspired by a book we read). Most were mixes of science and religious belief (science + an interested God) and mine and another guy's were straight big bang, pure science. Several people, though, came out with "On the first day...". These were not dumb people. They were just as smart as everyone else; I know, I spent three weeks with them.

I think they just looked at the science they had been taught and the religion they had been taught and chose religion. I don't altogether blame them, because there isn't much comfort in science. I think (or believe) that science is the only logical choice. I can't ignore what makes sense. It's easier, though, to choose the comforting, familiar Bible story that makes things simple and nice over the larger than I can even begin to imagine scientific theory that people much smarter than me are still struggling to understand. To say that choosing the easier option is something only stupid people do is just wrong. It may be weak, but it's not an automatic sign of stupidity. Plenty of smart people take the path of least resistance every day and ignore things they don't want to believe.
posted by MadamM at 12:05 AM on March 24, 2006


When was the last time you visited the south?

Just last week actually - I had to bury my beloved uncle... on my time off from the family I hung around Main St. in downtown Greenville, SC and drank beer at the Blue Ridge Brewing Company while dissecting the Gannett owned Greenville News.

No kidding, people down there obsess over evolution - it drives them crazy. In a way I suppose its a good thing that the subject is talked about so much but unfortunately the “godly” types tend to shout down those who actually have an understanding of basic biology.

When I lived down there I would routinely get into protracted arguments with these folks about evolution… some people talk about it because they are genuinely curious, but most talk about it because they view it as a threat (which it is) to their basic model for the way to the world works.

I’m much more laid back/jaded now a days so when the subject comes up and the person is passionately attacking evolution I ask them about their education. Usually these folks don’t have a strong science background (I do) so I invite them to put their money and time where their mouth is a take a few intro level biology courses at their local community college…

Which brings me to my last point: the problem in talking about evolution with the average person from a place like Greenville, SC (pop: 60,000) is that it’s impossible to find common ground - the gulf between language is too deep (and I’m not talking about the southern draw.) I can spend all day talking about the fossil record and mitochondrial DNA but these folks aren’t familiar with those concepts - at the same time I’m not entirely clear on seven-day creation, geocentrism, etc… so what you’re seeing is a breakdown of communication. The fact that this person would even ask “how did water evolve” shows that there is a great disconnect between common perceptions and what we know through science.
posted by wfrgms at 12:35 AM on March 24, 2006


I come from a country where almost everyone in a WASP - and almost nobody really believes* in God. We do have a few pretty tasty Imans and Mullahs though.

(*= there's some debate over whether the Church of England actually counts)
posted by rhymer at 1:02 AM on March 24, 2006


rhymer writes "I come from a country where almost everyone in a WASP - and almost nobody really believes* in God."


Q: "What's the difference between the Catholics and the Episcopalians?"

A: "The Catholics believe in the Pope -- and God. The Episcopalians believe in golf."
posted by orthogonality at 1:06 AM on March 24, 2006


It's true. Evolution never gets into the political discourse here and people tend to get vaguely embarassed and uncomfortable when Blair invokes his faith in that preachy way he has.

Maybe what the US needs is an established church (i.e. state sanctioned religion). The UK has one and we're the most Godless country in the world, according to Secularism Today magazine.
posted by rhymer at 1:12 AM on March 24, 2006


In fact, so far have we fallen that the people we once converted with missionaries are now returning the favour.
posted by rhymer at 1:18 AM on March 24, 2006


Rhymer, us good lapsed Catholics refer to the CoE as Atheism Lite™ - for people who like all the refreshing taste of atheism, with none of risks.

Cake or Death! (Scroll down to Church of England Fundamentalism)
posted by Mr Bismarck at 2:14 AM on March 24, 2006


Interviewer: Are you comfortable with teaching creationism?

Archbishop of Canterbury: Ahh, not very. Not very. I think creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories. Whatever the biblical account of creation is, it's not a theory alongside theories. It's not as if the writer of Genesis or whatever sat down and said well, how am I going to explain all this.... I know 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth'. [...]

Interviewer: So it shouldn't be taught?

Archbishop of Canterbury: I don't think it should, actually. No, no. And that's different from saying - different from discussing, teaching about what creation means. For that matter, it's not even the same as saying that Darwinism is - is the only thing that ought to be taught. My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it.

--
I've been wondering if I should make a fpp about this, but I fear it would mean nothing to the USian majority.
posted by Olli at 2:45 AM on March 24, 2006


This article does a better job than I ever could describing the mindset at play here. Its an oldie but goodie, and deserves to resurface. Oh, and its not 'stupidity' its weakness and fear and confusion.
posted by sfts2 at 3:05 AM on March 24, 2006


Olli: Actually, that story did make it into my local daily here in the US (or at least onto its website).
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:42 AM on March 24, 2006


Ah, hat, the article is specifically about Arkansas. Sorry, had I found a smilar case study of (say) Massachusetts, I'd have posted that.

Wasn't talking about the post, which is fine (and appalling). I think if you'll read the first few comments you'll see where I was coming from.

I'm glad I said it, if only for this hilarious response. Well done, billysumday!
posted by languagehat at 4:45 AM on March 24, 2006


If these people are so petrified about their children ever encountering a single idea that doesn't jibe with their backwards ways of thinking why not just homeschool instead of inflicting their beliefs on everyone else? I know there are people for who this is not an entirely pleasant option, but if it means that much to them, I would imagine they would find a way.
posted by thekilgore at 6:39 AM on March 24, 2006


So...do they learn about large numbers in math? What happens when they get to physics? How large/old is observable space then? Very very VERY old?

I really am losing my tolerance for this junk. There needs to be more confrontation on this (I'm thinking in the Steven Biko sense .... yes, viscerally I want to bust heads, but that's always self-defeating....be fun tho...still...)
Where's the open ridicule?
posted by Smedleyman at 7:02 AM on March 24, 2006


I dont understand what the big deal is though. If a school doesnt subscribe to the teaching of evolution or whatever, send your kids to another school. Eventually, natural evolution (hehe) will weed these folks out.

Infact, as a muslim I have always been interested in what brings both these major theories together or in some one else's words, how can these theories coexist. The Quran talks about a 6-7 day creation period but does not define the length of a day. I think that is one major issue with understanding the matter. Infact The Muslim Response To Evolution goes in detail describing the three predominant views held by muslims in this matter.

One such person, Dr. Israr Ahmad (via wikipedia) theorizes that homosapiens for example came into existense through evolution, but what we know as the emergence of Adam n Eve is the transition of the older generation "model" of the human being into one with cognitive abilities. I for one, think that comes closest to a theory which brings together evolution with creationism.
posted by adnanbwp at 7:19 AM on March 24, 2006


Where's the open ridicule?

You're soaking in it. :)

And what unsane said, me too!
posted by tr33hggr at 7:21 AM on March 24, 2006


I dont understand what the big deal is though. If a school doesnt subscribe to the teaching of evolution or whatever, send your kids to another school.

I don't know how it works in Pakistan, but we have a Constitution that forbids state sponsorship of religion. Further, people of all religions and people of none pay taxes here, and it's fucking absurd that we're spending money to support the ridiculous tenets of Christianity in our public schools.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:24 AM on March 24, 2006


Optimus Chyme: Firstly, In Pakistan, all public schools teach Islamic Studies to muslim students, and non-muslims can take civics or another course if they like. Bring on the puns about the need for muslims students to be taking civics too. I know them already. Usually my non-muslims used to spend time playing cricket outside :S

Secondly, I agree that it seems rediculous to support the teaching of tenets of Chrsitianity alone in US public schools. And I know how you feel because I spent eight years of my higher education and professional life in the US South. But, if it is being taught in addition to evolution or the other way around then I think there shouldnt be any problems.

Thirdly, these are the people who are so intellectually corrupt, devoid of any logic, you can not in all honesty expect some sorta "constitution" to hinder their compassionate conservatism.
posted by adnanbwp at 7:55 AM on March 24, 2006


Everyone should read American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips. It will blow your mind.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:58 AM on March 24, 2006


"Can we lay off the Arkansas-bashing? There are dumb voters and craven politicians everywhere, and Arkansas has enough problems to contend with without a bunch of smug northerners pretending they know enough about the place to condemn it. (A lot of my family went to U of Arkansas in Fayetteville and got a damn good education.)"
posted by languagehat

It's difficult to know what to do with this statement under the hoity toity new rules.
Best just to stick it in italics and trust languagehat rereads it and blushes, I guess.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:16 AM on March 24, 2006


Um, why exactly am I supposed to blush? There's something wrong with asking people not to condemn an entire state on the basis of some idiot politicians who have gotten people scared? If you're complaining about my "bunch of smug northerners," please note that that refers to those northerners who make fun of Arkansas (and other Southern places and people), not all northerners. I have no problem with people saying those Arkansans who accept this kind of nonsense are fools; hell, some of my relatives are fools. I trust the difference between aiming at particular targets and blasting away at random is clear to you.
posted by languagehat at 9:16 AM on March 24, 2006


languagehat writes "There's something wrong with asking people not to condemn an entire state on the basis of some idiot politicians who have gotten people scared?"


I think the point of the article is that rather than being a few politicians, it's a pervasive climate of fear. The article points out none of the evolution educators profiled would allow their real names or the names of their institutions to be printed.
posted by orthogonality at 9:18 AM on March 24, 2006


Sure, that's why I said "who have gotten people scared." But people are easily scared, as you can tell by reading about any of the various Red Scares in America (not to mention life in any random totalitarian state). If you're going to condemn the people of Arkansas, you have to condemn all of humanity. (Which is, of course, a defensible position.)

Incidentally, here's another complaint about cheap anti-Southernism: "Some people in Alabama do stupid things and should be mocked (of course some people in California take millions from defense contractors and we don't mock California as a whole)..."
posted by languagehat at 9:25 AM on March 24, 2006


I dont understand what the big deal is though. If a school doesnt subscribe to the teaching of evolution or whatever, send your kids to another school. Eventually, natural evolution (hehe) will weed these folks out.

This is crazy talk. We have rules for school accreditation because there are minimum standards of education that are required for people to function in the world. It wouldn't be acceptable to teach English grammar by making students watch "Wheel of Fortune" reruns, and it's not acceptable to teach religion in a science class.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:07 AM on March 24, 2006


I'd pretty much guarantee you there are more fundies in California than in Arkansas. In fact, I'd be willing to be that there are more fundies in California than there are PEOPLE in Arkansas.

We have a lot of people here, it's a big state, and most of it is not Los Angeles and San Francisco. (I leave San Diego out because there's a helluva lot of semi- and full on fundies there.)

I'm sure plenty of ridicule can be heaped on the Golden State in this respect, and deservedly so.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:08 AM on March 24, 2006


I disagree, LH. The state, as a whole, elected the dummy that's running it. The state, as a whole, needs to be held accountable for that poor decision.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:09 AM on March 24, 2006


sorry, "willing to BET." I already exist, you see. ;)
posted by zoogleplex at 10:13 AM on March 24, 2006


The state, as a whole, needs to be held accountable for that poor decision.

Ah, a collectivist. I completely disagree with your philosophy, but I'll defend (though perhaps not to the death) your right to hold it. Me, I hold a person responsible for his or her own words and actions, period.
posted by languagehat at 10:22 AM on March 24, 2006


It can be noted, LH, that when you have a large group of people so credulous as to disbelieve in science when its gifts surround them everywhere they go, you have a group of people who can be rather easily manipulated by any sort of demagogue who catches their fancy, says what they want to hear, etc.

That's how people like this governor and the school boards and the folks who run the education departments get elected to their positions.

By that reasoning one can assign some portion of the blame to the "voter base" who, in their rejection of observable reality and acceptance of bullshit demagoguery, gleefully elect people who have absolutely no business holding any sort of power at all.

Of course they've been manipulated, but willful denial of observable facts is a choice that they made, which makes them vulnerable to manipulation. Sad, but unfortunately true.

And Arkansas isn't the only state full of 'em. We here in CA just barely defeated a "parental notification for abortion for minors" measure last election.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:36 AM on March 24, 2006


"Can we lay off the Arkansas-bashing?"

As a current resdent of Arkinsas I can vowch(sp) for tall the danged sterotahps being totally true. Every sangle joke an cleshe is verahfiable fact. This, course, is not just my humpel opinneon. This is walking, tawlking veracity. liek it or nawt.


Thanatagenous hads it rite when he sad,"I think you guys have some issues you need to work out with your pastors."
this may make yalls yankee hair stand up to heer, but the truth hurts sometims, you simbly cant argu faith. Jesus dont work that way.
posted by hatchetjack at 10:48 AM on March 24, 2006


Oh, you may go to college, and you may go to school, but if you ain't got Jesus you're an educated fool!
posted by languagehat at 11:10 AM on March 24, 2006


The Jesus I know told me not to listen to people who say they have all the answers, because they don't. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 11:15 AM on March 24, 2006


Jesus is the answer.

What was the question?
posted by ericb at 11:17 AM on March 24, 2006


ericb writes "Jesus is the answer.

"What was the question?"


Who do many American Christians worship but fail to emulate?
posted by orthogonality at 11:19 AM on March 24, 2006


Jesus is the answer.

What was the question?


How will I get my Spin certification?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:24 AM on March 24, 2006


*sigh* So right, ortho.

Well, so how can the science-rejecting populations of America be divested of the benefits of the science that they so steadfastly refuse to believe in? Any way that can happen?

Imagine how they'd live with... well, nothing, really. Not just no refrigerators, cars, televisions, cell phones or electricity, but not even things like steel hammers and nails and screws. No artificial materials whatsoever, no plastics or fabrics or modern rubber or paper or cardboard or asphalt shingles or kerosene?

People did without those for a long time, and some still do, but I think that sort of deprivation would be a shock to these folks.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:29 AM on March 24, 2006


zoogleplex writes "Well, so how can the science-rejecting populations of America be divested of the benefits of the science that they so steadfastly refuse to believe in? Any way that can happen?"


It's gonna happen cuz.

Refrigerators are made in China and paid for with US Treasury notes. Once China has more notes than we have land, no more refrigerators. Because then it'll be the Chinese people who get refrigerators.

Unfortunately, it ain't just gonna happen to the willfully ignorant hoping to be whisked Heaven-ward in the Rapture. We're all gonna be in the same boat.
posted by orthogonality at 11:32 AM on March 24, 2006


We don't have to go that far, zoogleplex. Lots of things were invented and developed before the scientific method was developed. I think forcing them to live as if it's 1906 would be more than enough.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:32 AM on March 24, 2006


Sheesh, languagehat - your original comment railed against codemning a state because - apparently - this contradicted something vaguely to do with the fine education received there by a small group of individuals to whom you happen to be related.

You can't deflate a critical generalization (without blushing) by simply shouting "yeah well, some folks I personally know are different!".

Especially when you've generalized about the "smugness" of the critical northerners who "pretend" to know anything about Arkansas in the first place!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:45 AM on March 24, 2006


Mm, well the scientific method was technically developed by the Greeks, and then rediscovered and re-implemented during the Renaissance. So really we could put them to the period of roughly 900-1600CE, or further back to some 1000 or more BC.

However, in the interest of expediency, I'd settle for more like 1850s era, but exclude them from using railroads and telegraphs.

Orthogonality, I do believe you're right. Oil crunch is going to knock us all back some, most likely. One of the unfortunate realities of science and physics, which we'll all learn within a few decades at most.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:45 AM on March 24, 2006


Sheesh, languagehat - your original comment railed against codemning a state because - apparently - this contradicted something vaguely to do with the fine education received there by a small group of individuals to whom you happen to be related.

No, my original comment railed against condemning a state because (pay attention now) it's moronic to condemn an entire state. The mention of my relatives was just to give people a hint that there are actual Arkansawyers who have actual individual experiences and get actual educations, not just a vague generalized Southern Dimwit Mass.

I guess the difference between aiming at particular targets and blasting away at random isn't clear to you.
posted by languagehat at 11:52 AM on March 24, 2006


I dont understand what the big deal is though. If a school doesnt subscribe to the teaching of evolution or whatever, send your kids to another school. Eventually, natural evolution (hehe) will weed these folks out.

This is crazy talk. We have rules for school accreditation because there are minimum standards of education that are required for people to function in the world. It wouldn't be acceptable to teach English grammar by making students watch "Wheel of Fortune" reruns, and it's not acceptable to teach religion in a science class.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:07 AM PST on March 24 [!]

I thought you were pro evolution. Let nature take its toll. Let them stay behind. Eventually your advanced evolutionary being and technology shall sweep upon them in a swift and merciless manner.
posted by adnanbwp at 11:54 AM on March 24, 2006


However, in the interest of expediency, I'd settle for more like 1850s era, but exclude them from using railroads and telegraphs.

I would say according to the Timeline of the history of scientific method ( via wikipedia), 1650 is a good year when experimental evidence was established as the arbiter of truth. In the context of this FPP, this provides a great cut off period.
posted by adnanbwp at 12:07 PM on March 24, 2006


I thought you were pro evolution. Let nature take its toll. Let them stay behind. Eventually your advanced evolutionary being and technology shall sweep upon them in a swift and merciless manner.
posted by adnanbwp at 11:54 AM PST on March 24


Yes, let's punish other people's children to prove a point.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:14 PM on March 24, 2006


Gov. Huckabee will be leaving office soon but even if a Dem. gets elected I wouldn't expect things to get much better.

It is rumored that Huckabee will make a run for the WH in 2006.
posted by Justin Case at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2006


2008 rather
posted by Justin Case at 12:30 PM on March 24, 2006


"Yes, let's punish other people's children to prove a point."

Pushing them back to 1850, or 1650 (thanks adnan) would sort of do the same thing, I guess. :(
posted by zoogleplex at 12:38 PM on March 24, 2006


Good point.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:44 PM on March 24, 2006


But then, that's kind of what they want, isn't it? To be unburdened of the cognitive difficulties they have because of science? Sure, they'd like to keep all the modern conveniences, but there's no free lunch. It would suck for their kids but children are always affected adversely by their parents's foolish choices.
posted by zoogleplex at 12:49 PM on March 24, 2006


Homeskool!
posted by hatchetjack at 12:56 PM on March 24, 2006


I think under the conditions I'm suggesting that "homeskooling" would consist almost entirely of trying to learn how to feed oneself and make some sort of clothing and shelter from materials found occurring naturally around one. The Bibles we'd let them keep aren't likely to last long in a thatched roof hovel. Those things usually leak pretty bad when it rains.
posted by zoogleplex at 1:06 PM on March 24, 2006


In todays news..... Skull found that may fill origins gap. Suck it.
posted by Mr_Zero at 1:49 PM on March 24, 2006


Mr_Zero writes "In todays news..... Skull found that may fill origins gap. Suck it."


Unless it was found next to a dinosaur (God created men and dinosaurs on the same day) it's just more ofd the Devil's tricks to catch the souls of EVILutionists and damn them to eternal hell-fire.
posted by orthogonality at 2:42 PM on March 24, 2006


I thought you were pro evolution. Let nature take its toll. Let them stay behind. Eventually your advanced evolutionary being and technology shall sweep upon them in a swift and merciless manner.

Uh, I believe that evolution is the best explanation for why life is the way it is. I'm not "pro evolution" in the sense that I think that all the world's social problems should be solved by "survival of the fittest."
posted by me & my monkey at 3:52 PM on March 24, 2006


So when are you blue States going to come to your senses, cede the union, and join Canada?

Honest to god, we have the government, social infrastructure, and culture you want.

Give "America" to the insane people in Arkansas and Florida. Let them run it into the ground. Meanwhile Canmerica — with most of the water, oil, timber, mining, fish, technology, pot, bears, and very sexy women will be the most prosperous, most supportive, most free nation on earth.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:30 PM on March 24, 2006


(We can name the new USA "D-ohmerica".)
posted by five fresh fish at 4:30 PM on March 24, 2006



posted by ericb at 4:33 PM on March 24, 2006


Jesusland.
posted by ericb at 4:34 PM on March 24, 2006


Jesus is the answer.

What was the question?

How will I get my Spin certification?


Hahahahaha! Beautiful. Thank you!
posted by homunculus at 7:41 PM on March 24, 2006


There is way too much psychological baggage in the "United States" name. You're not going to find much traction with "United States of Canada."

We could go with "United Provinces of Canada," though.

Let the asshats keep the "USA" brand name. They're the ones who mainly ruined it anyway.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:52 AM on March 25, 2006


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