Thursday, August 27, 2015

What if people stopped believing in Darwin?

Ann Gauger, you know the lady with the non-existent lab over at the Biologic Institute, posted something totally ridiculous:  "What If People Stopped Believing in Darwin?"

First the obvious, people do not 'believe' in Darwin, any more than they 'believe' in gravity.  What people do is accept the explanations from real scientists when it comes to explaining phenomena like Evolution and Gravity.  There is a world of difference between belief and acceptance of an explanation.  I do understand why Ann, and her cohorts at the Discovery Institute, have trouble understanding the difference, they demand faith with no supporting evidence.  But that's the obvious critique.  Let's have some fun.

First off, let us remember who Ann works for, the Biologics Institute, which is the pet apologetic 'lab' of the Discovery Institute (DI).  When you factor that in, you know she's not talking about evolution being out of the picture, but her religious alternative being the only game in town.   That being said, it certainly changes the picture, because everyone knows how open-minded and accepting theists can be, right?

One of her comments was a real corker:

"Biology students might feel free to express their opinions on origins."
Since when does having a religious explanation for anything make people feel free to express their opinions?  Annie's point is that because of Darwin students don't feel free to offer their opinion.  Of course that's not the whole truth, because I have yet to be in a classroom where student's didn't raise their opinion.  One of my students read this blog and wanted to discuss in class -- and I teach Information Technology!  What I think Ann means is that theists do not feel free to raise their non-scientific objections to evolution in science class.  If Ann had said that I would heartily agree.  Raising a religious objection to actual science IN science class is a waste of time and deserves to be shut down.  I did shut down my student by explaining that Life's Origins aren't an appropriate topic during Java Programming.  When he persisted, I invited him to comment on the blog or discuss it after class.  He chickened out and did neither.  But that's the point, Creationism is not science and other than a brief historical perspective, doesn't belong in science class.

Let me give you a for-instance.  Suppose you are a member of a church-going family who for years went to the same church as many of your neighbors, you are involved in church activities, and lived in the area and raised your family there.  Then you get more than a little annoyed when a cross gets burned in your son's arm by his science teacher and you dare to question it.  Not only that, but you learn that the 'science' teacher in question isn't teaching science, but his very evangelical view of science.  You have the audacity to complain.  What happens?

Well according to Ann, you should have been welcomed, your opinions and questioning should be encouraged, and all Christians are nothing but polite and accepting people, right?

However the reality seems a bit different, as an article about the family who dared raise questions about John Freshwater in Mt Vernon Oh:
"We've gotten phone calls, things in the mail, anonymous letters. They send scriptures and how you should raise your children, implying we're not raising our children correctly. Everywhere we go I feel like people know it's us so they don't talk to us or they will say things. Even in church." Eventually it was too much for the Dennis family. They moved 35 miles away."
This isn't an isolated instance, do you recall the Dover Trial, or shall we call it by it's usual name:  "Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al".  What happened to Tammy Kitzmiller and her family?  More examples of welcoming, openness, and acceptance?  No, she and her daughters received hate mail, accusations of being atheists, her children confronted, confrontations in restaurants and in the street.

Sure, religion does nothing but open people's minds and hearts! Maybe other religions do, but apparently not Christianity. In a review of Lauri Lebo's excellent book "Devil in Dover" from the Aetiology blog:
" . . .that even most of the biology teachers at Dover were church-going Christians, yet they were ostracized and bad-mouthed by those supporting the school board’s anti-evolution stance–rejected and slandered by Christians who seemingly had no problem attacking fellow believers."
I have to repeat this phrase:  " . . .no problem attacking fellow believers".  Sure, Ann, dismissing Darwin makes everything sunny and bright.  Really?  As you can see I find it hard to believe that if somehow Darwin disappeared overnight, so much would change for the better.  Look at all the people living under repressive religious regimes.  Are you going to tell me Christianity would be different?  Was it in the past?  Tell me when?  Show me an example!

More from Ann:
"The world would see a new flush of academic freedom."
Since when does religion encourage academic freedom?  Seriously, I am asking.  How many professors and teachers have gotten in trouble for teaching evolution?  Too many to count, like John Scopes, Pamela Hensley, Tom Oord, Gary Scott, Stacy Mendrick . . ..  The impact was directly on them teaching evolution.  They did their job and got in trouble.  People forget that the textbook John Scopes was using included evolution or that Pamela Hensley and Stacy Mendrick were well regarded teachers who were teaching the required elements of their courses.  The list is quite long, and not always at a parochial school, but public schools as well usually due to parental pressure,  So this is how religion improves academic freedom?

Now aside from the marketing campaign by the DI, how many teachers got in trouble for teaching Creationism/ID?  While the DI likes to trot out people like Caroline Coker, John Freshwater, and Guillermo Gonzales, the real story is a little different.  These people were hired to perform a job, usually to teach science.  However they made a personal decision that their religious beliefs precluded them from performing their job.  And when they get held accountable, they whined about religious discrimination and the DI trots them out as victims.  I don't see them as victims.  They took the job under false pretenses -- I see them as liars.  Of course Freshwater did more than just fail in his job, but that's another story.

Now I would like to believe that I wouldn't accept a job that conflicted with my belief set so strongly I couldn't do it.  I would be honest about it rather than say one thing and then perform another.  But that's just me and how I was raised.  I guess that level of honesty isn't needed when you are lying in the cause of your religion.  You could ask kennie ham, but he does the same sort of stuff.

Of course she had to try and drag in 'Academic Freedom', which anyone with a functioning brain knows that's not what the Discovery Institute is interested in.  It's just another tactic to try and wedge their way into the classroom.  Their idea of academic freedom means to be able to teach their religion as if it were science and to remove real science from the classroom.  Don't blame me, it's their stated goal:  to replace science with a more theistic-ally friendly version.  It's again like little kennie ham who's idea of religious freedom is to be free to believe how he wants and force others to believe as he [kennie] wants as well.  Not very open-minded and accepting.

One last thing and then I will go back to ignoring most of annie's posts.  Here final comment:
 "That's why they say scientific revolutions happen one funeral at a time." 
Really, so scientific theories get replaced when the author or supporters die off?  Apparently that hasn't worked for Darwin and the Theory of Evolution at all, has it?  It didn't work for Alfred Wegener, whose theory of Continental Drift didn't get confirmed until 20 or 30 years after his death.  I wonder if she expecting the next generation of scientists to knock Darwin to the curb and instill her organization's pet ideas?  Maybe that does explain why they [the DI, annie, wild bill and the lot], don't bother doing science and only marketing and public relations in their efforts to damage science education.

I wonder where annie expects to next breakthroughs in vaccines, medical treatments, and new technologies to come from?  Divine intervention?  Yea, like that has worked real well so far.  Let's ask Ian, Neil, Matthew, Austin, Amy, Robyn, Andrew, Harrison, Nancy, Dennis, Arrian, Zachery, Troy, Shauntay, and Rhett.  Oh, wait you can't.  They all died because some people, often their theist parents, believed prayer beats out medical care.  Not a great track record.

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