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South Korea Will Revisit Plan To Nix Evolution References in Textbooks 286

Posted by timothy
from the secular-humanism-eastern-division dept.
After reports that South Korean had "surrendered to creationists" by removing references to evolution in several textbooks, openfrog writes with this excerpt from Science Insider that indicates the fight is still in progress: "The South Korean government is poised to appoint a new committee that will revisit a controversial plan to drop two examples of evolutionary theory from high school textbooks. The committee, to be led by insect taxonomist Byoung-Hoon Lee, a member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, has been asked to re-evaluate requests from a Korean creationist group to drop references to bird and horse evolution that they argue promote 'atheist materialism.' At the same time, about 50 prominent Korean scientists are preparing to present government officials with a petition, organized by the Korean Association of Biological Sciences, which calls for rejecting the proposed changes. 'When these things are done, I think it will turn out that after all Korean science will not surrender to religion' says Jae Choe, an evolutionary biologist at Ewha Womans University in Seoul who helped organize the petition."
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South Korea Will Revisit Plan To Nix Evolution References in Textbooks

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:45PM (#40582925)

    Is it just me, or does anybody else get that the theocrats are seriously getting on a fetish where they attribute everything negative to non-believers?

    Not to mention how they try to get us to believe they are persecuted martyrs for their faith.

    • by Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:47PM (#40582959)
      When was the last time it had not been this way?
      • Well, on occasion you see people who at least have the decency to endure some sort of serious hardship and/or risk before the fulsome whining about martyrdom begins...

        That beats the hell out of the usual 'stand in your cushy position of power, influence, and not a little wealth, and whine about how persecuted you are' technique.
        • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:38PM (#40583323)
          This is actually rather new. A critical evangelical blogger I occasional read (me being atheist, but interested in the insights on american evangelical culture he delivers) calls it tht "persecuted hegemon". Whining about oh how oppressed they are while actually being privileged in every conceivable manner is the big thing with fundamentalist christianists these days.
          • by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:01PM (#40583531)

            I don't see any of that in local churches. That's more of a TV Evangelist thing. More of what I hear in my local church is how blessed we are. If you look at it critically the poor in America often live better than the Nobility did in the middle ages. It's all a case of perspective. I have a middle class life, between my wife and myself we make about 100K a year. It's not a tremendous amount but yet I own two vehicles, a 2000 square foot house that is comfortably heated and cooled. I have cable tv and internet for entertainment and have never missed a meal except by choice. It's a very comfortable lifestyle and yet so many who live as I do complain and whine about what they don't have. It's human nature I guess to always want more and more. I'd like more myself, I'm only human but I don't forget to be thankful for all I've been blessed with. Even more important is the freedom I enjoy to live my life as I please. The only limitations I have on my success is my own ability and initiative. I could no doubt have done better but maybe the fact that I am so comfortable limits my drive to strive for more.

            • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:40PM (#40583827)

              I don't see any of that in local churches. That's more of a TV Evangelist thing.

              One problem with atheists is that they don't go to church. So they judge Christians by the kooks they see on TV, and think that represents normal Christianity.

              For the record: I am atheist/agnostic (depending on your definition), buy I still attend Church somewhat regularly because my mother-in-law is a devout believer and invites us to go with her. In the interest of family harmony, I oblige. I actually enjoy the music, and the potato salad at the potluck lunch is great. I never get trapped in uncomfortable discussions, because there is one thing that church going Christians almost never talk about in casual conversation: Christ.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                This is not a problem with atheism, this is a problem with the decent congregations not making themselves heard. I have no doubt that your local church is made up by decent people, and I have no desire to see it razed from the face of the earth. However, the vocal churches, the ones that make themselves heard are largely infested by the above mentioned asshattery.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                One problem with atheists is that they don't go to church. So they judge Christians by the kooks they see on TV,

                You don't think that they perhaps judge Christians by those they know personally?

                By your standards perhaps Christians should attend Synagogues to understand Jews and Mosques to understand Moslems, auditing sessions to understand Scientogolists? How many of these have YOU done? What have you done to understand atheists and agnostics?

                • by amiga3D (567632)

                  Well, I'm Southern Baptist but I have been to a few Catholic services with friends. A little different to what I'm used to. I think I'd like to attend a Jewish service once just to see how they worship. I've seen tons of pictures of Muslims bowing towards Mecca but I think it'd be interesting to attend an actual service. The few Muslims I've known were nothing like the kooks you see on TV.

              • I'm an athiest and attended a friends church (I was giving them a ride as they don't have a car) and sat in on a little discussion they were having about increasing membership and a short discussion of a bible passage (something about Jesus letting an immoral woman bathe his feat against the wishes of the Pharisees).

                It was fairly interesting, but then I noticed on their website [google.com]: We believe that the lost and sinful man must be saved, and that man's only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesu
            • A couple of points (Score:4, Informative)

              by F69631 (2421974) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @03:35PM (#40584385)

              Three things are pretty well established (among both psychologists and economists):
              a) Perceived happiness equals actual happiness (If we look at the brain activity near pleasure centers, we notice that how happy people say they are has very strong correlation with active those areas are. So if Antti from Finland rates his happiness at 60 and Ted from USA rates his happiness at 70, it's likely that Ted is actually happier and it's not just that they would have different scale due to culture, language, social class, etc...)
              b) Absolute wealth increases perceived happiness only up to about 2000 dollars a month (If we look at countries below that threshold, average income correlates strongly with perceived happiness. Above that limit, very little)
              c) Relative wealth to your peers increases happiness constantly (Look at essentially any country and you can bet that the wealthiest quarter is happier that the poorest quarter, even if the poorest quarter about reaches the threshold mentioned in b)
              I don't have the time to write all evidence/arguments behind the above claims but if you're interested, I do recommend either the British economist Richard Layard's book Happiness: Lessons from a New Science [amazon.co.uk] (note: despite the name, it isn't any new age / self-help book) or getting up to date on the basics of modern psychology [youtube.com].

              That being the case, it's a bit silly to make comparisons to medieval times and look at absolute wealth. Sure, we can say "Most of the poor no longer need to worry about starving to death in western countries" and that is a huge, happiness-increasing thing over the middle ages. But comparing their absolute wealth to aristocrats is more or less useless, because they are likely to be a lot less happy than the aristocrats (due to having low wealth and status relative to others instead of being considered the privileged elite of the society).

              Also, you're pretty comfortably middle class so when people talk about the poor, they don't talk about people like you... but that's getting a bit offtopic.

            • The only limitations I have on my success is my own ability and initiative.

              *And privilege. Your most accurate prediction of success is the success of your parents. The most accurate prediction of your wealth is the wealth of your parents.

              It would be nice if we lived in a pure meritocracy but we're almost universally dependent on the success of our parents than we are on our own innate ability or drive.

              I see this in my own life. In college I had a car and could focus on my school instead of working. As a result I got all my work done and was able to network with my classmates.

          • by CptPicard (680154)

            I love the concept as I know exactly what he's talking about. This is not only limited to religion, but appears in many guises over other political causes as well. For example, I've been involved in debating Finnish language policy pretty much all my life, and our Swedish-speakers are a prime example of this -- they have probably the most well-protected position as a language minority in the world, but they essentially scream holocaust every single time everyone does not do EXACTLY as they say, and most imp

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Is it just me, or does anybody else get that the theocrats are seriously getting on a fetish where they attribute everything negative to non-believers?

      Not to mention how they try to get us to believe they are persecuted martyrs for their faith.

      Rating this to "zero" is a clear case of someone with mod points to burn and no ethics what-so-ever. It might be sharp, but there does seem to be empirical evidence that followers of an organized religion seem to want those who oppose them to disappear.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by busyqth (2566075)

        Is it just me, or does anybody else get that the theocrats are seriously getting on a fetish where they attribute everything negative to non-believers?

        Not to mention how they try to get us to believe they are persecuted martyrs for their faith.

        Rating this to "zero" is a clear case of someone with mod points to burn and no ethics what-so-ever. It might be sharp, but there does seem to be empirical evidence that followers of an organized religion seem to want those who oppose them to disappear.

        OP is an anonymous coward, rated zero by default.

      • Or a sign that someone recognizes melodrama and an ignorance of what a theocracy is, as well as some kind of a strawman.

        The phrase "atheistic materialism" doesnt have to mean "we're being persecuted at 2nd-century-Rome levels", you know. Its actually a pretty accurate description of any system which denies the possibility of a supernatural.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:29PM (#40583255)

      I'd like so see the theory that man created god taught in schools. Why is this controversy not discussed? Teach the controversy!

    • And you haven't noticed the same, where all wars, conflicts, ignorance, conservatism, or other maladies are the sole result of religion, at least here on Slashdot. This is the first article I've read where something negative was attributed to athiesm... but it is hard to find an article that doesnt have some comments religion bashing.

      Grow some thicker skin.
    • by kilodelta (843627)
      Well - when you couple these desperate grasps for control with the fact that here in the U.S. the Southern Baptists, Catholics and every sect and cult are losing membership. Religious crazy just doesn't fly in the age of connectivity.

      And the martyr thing is built into virtually every Abrahamic faith out there. They'll scream persecution when they are trying to strip our rights, change curriculum to a more religious view through pseudo-science (Intelligent Design is just rebadged Creationism).
    • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:57PM (#40583499)

      Non-believers are SINNERS. Religion means fighting non-believers and taking power FROM them in Allah's/Yahweh's/FSM's name.

      If you are not of a sect, it is your enemy (in a large or small way) like it or not and never forget that. If they had the power they would kill you or torture you into submission as they did before secular enlightment weakened the hold of superstition.

      In some places where they roll Old School, denouncing religion can still get you murdered.

      • > Non-believers are SINNERS.

        Everybody is. So what? According to the (unproven of course) NT the Christ says: "nobody gets saved except through me". But no human cannot tell Him whom to save or not, it's HIS prerogative. Mt. 19 -> Jesus looked at them and said, âoeWith man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.â

        > Religion means fighting non-believers and taking power FROM them in Allah's/Yahweh's/FSM's name.

        Luke 9:5 If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your f

    • by khipu (2511498) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:31PM (#40583767)

      Christian churches have been blaming the ills of the world on "pagans" and non-believers for almost as long as Christianity has existed. Usually, churches lump communism, materialist, and atheism together, but easily switch sides when that doesn't work out. For example, the Catholic church in Europe allied itself with Hitler and other fascist and military dictators against the "atheistic communists", but then after the war, when that turned out to be unpopular, blamed the fascists themselves for being atheists.

      It's pretty simple to see why: Christianity starts with the premise that morality and decency is identical with belief in, and submission to, God. Logically, all non-believers must be either evil or at the very least misguided. Furthermore, no matter how bad the crimes of the churches or Christians are, they are either excused or atoned for by belief in God, or the people in question are retroactively declared not to have been "true believers" in the first place.

      The only thing that changes over time is the group that the church is willing to extend the label "believer" to. Sometimes, it may include all Abrahamic religions, sometimes only Christians, and sometimes only specific denominations. It mostly seems to depend on political expediency.

      • by SurlyJest (1044344) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @03:58PM (#40584635)

        Not good history there. The Catholic church did execute concordats with fascist Italy and Germany, but these were definitely arm's-length agreements whose only purpose (from the church's side) was to secure some basic operational rights in hostile political environments.

        In Italy, the Lateran treaty with Mussolini established the Vatican city-state and closed the book on issues, such as reparation for the seizure of the papal states, going back to 1848.

        In Germany, the church was more or less officially in opposition to the state since the Kulturkampf of Bismark. In the face of the much more aggressive ideology of the Nazis, the Church did waffle a bit in signing the Reichskonkordat of 1933, but it can be argued that the terms were the best available. It should be noted that it was only the Catholic-majority areas of Germany that did not endorse Nazi rule in 1932.

        In neither case could it be reasonably argued that the church and fascist states were "allies".

        • by khipu (2511498) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @05:15PM (#40585265)

          Not good history there. The Catholic church did execute concordats with fascist Italy and Germany, but these were definitely arm's-length agreements whose only purpose (from the church's side) was to secure some basic operational rights in hostile political environments. ... The Church did waffle a bit in signing the Reichskonkordat of 1933, but it can be argued that the terms were the best available

          You need to read up on your history. The Catholic Center Party in Germany (headed prelate Kaas) didn't "waffle", it cast the deciding votes installing Hitler as a dictator of Germany and ending the Weimar Republic. Both the Nazis and the Catholics told you why in their speeches: they were allies in their fight against atheistic communists and for the promotion of traditional Christian values. In addition to dealing with Hitler and Mussolini, the Catholic church also supported Franco and other right-wing dictators, for the same reason.

          And they didn't just get some "basic rights", the Catholic church negotiated itself a sweet deal (permission to teach in public school, tithing through the Nazi tax collectors, salaries of church officials paid by the Nazi government), while the people the Catholic church had traditionally persecuted itself (socialists, communists, Freemasons, homosexuals, Jehova's witnesses) were already being carted off to concentration camps or just disappeared outright. All the church had to do in return is give political support and have its priests swear allegiance to the Nazis, and it did.

          If gaining money and power in return for acquiescing to the torture and murder of your fellow human beings isn't the essence of moral corruption and moral failing, I don't know what is. But to the Catholic church, the lives of the people carted off to the Nazi concentration camps were, despite all their speeches, worthless since they weren't Catholics.

          (The moral failings of the German protestants were different but no less serious.)

    • all religions need witches to burn and people still burn witches today, literally and figuratively.

  • I feel so dirty when I read reality and facts are discarded as some flimsy belief only to be replaced with delusions and superstitions.
  • by guises (2423402) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:53PM (#40583003)
    According to Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Korea [wikipedia.org]

    Only 53% percent of South Koreans claim any religious affiliation, and 55% of those are Buddhists. ... So my comment is: What? What's going on here?

    Need some Korean person to explain.
    • by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:01PM (#40583061) Homepage
      American Evangelical churches have money to burn, and are mostly the ones, who are behind this sort of nonsense. This sort of stuff is happening in many other countries too, including India, China (albeit in deep secracy), and many other Asian/African countries.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      You might want to read that sentence a bit further, especially the part about: "These numbers should be treated with some caution, however, as (with the exception of Christianity) there are few if any meaningful distinctions between believers and nonbelievers in Buddhism and Confucianism, which comprise more of a set of ethical values than a religion."

      This can reflect in being that in S.Korea, that the number of religious people are much higher than actually reported.

      • by guises (2423402)

        "These numbers should be treated with some caution, however, as (with the exception of Christianity) there are few if any meaningful distinctions between believers and nonbelievers in Buddhism and Confucianism, which comprise more of a set of ethical values than a religion."

        You're saying that there may be a larger number of people who follow a Buddhist or Confucian set of ethics than reported by these figures. A man following a Confucian ethical system would have a strong sense of duty to his parents and lord (or leadership) while a Buddhist man might feel a sense of duty to the world around him, of which he is a part. Neither has a strong stance on creationism. I don't see your point.

    • by busyqth (2566075)

      According to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Korea [wikipedia.org] Only 53% percent of South Koreans claim any religious affiliation, and 55% of those are Buddhists. ... So my comment is: What? What's going on here?
      Need some Korean person to explain.

      I'm not Korean but I know something about Korea: 1) Those numbers are probably out of date. There are large numbers of Koreans converting to Christianity every year. 2) Korean Christians are very active and organized. Korean Buddhists not so much 3) The "no religion" Koreans aren't usually atheists, they're agnostics who don't really care much about religion. Often they have Christian family members and are perfectly happy to go along with their family members in religious matters as long as it doesn't inco

    • by njen (859685) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:34PM (#40583297)
      From what I've seen, Korean Christians are a lot more full on than Christians I have encountered in other countries. Example:

      * First a disclaimer: I lived in Korea for 4 years, and I am married to a Korean.
      One of my wife's relatives passed away while we were living in Korea, so we went to attend the funeral. Approximately half of the family was devout Christian, and the other half were mild Buddhists / agnostics. Because the person who died was Buddhist, it was decided by the Buddhist side of the family to have the funeral in a Buddhist format, which might I add, has been practically the cultural standard for hundreds of years in Korea.

      But the Christian side would have absolutely none of it, not even to be respectful to the Buddhists, which was a source of contention at the funeral. They waited until the end of the ceremony, not taking part in any of the prayers, or even the the respectful bows that are common enough, then begun their loud prayers and other Christian themed actions.

      I am an atheist, but I knew better than to shove my (lack of) beliefs upon others, and just go with the flow at the funeral, why can not others do the same? To this day that funeral is still a source of discontentment between the two sides.
    • by strech (167037)

      The reporting on this was overblown. All that was issue was two examples -

      The controversy began in May, when Korea's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced that revised editions of high school textbooks would leave out discussion of two examples of evolution: the Archaeopteryx, an ancient ancestor to birds, and ancestors of the modern horse.

      Not removing the subject from the textbooks -

      The STR's Lim, meanwhile, says the group won't end its efforts to remove other evolution examples from Kor

      • That got me thinking... How can I get a religion to become against teaching of math without simultaneous teaching of its practical use in schools?

    • A Korean person explains:

      http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2012/07/no-evolution-in-korea.html#more [blogspot.com]

      Make your own decisions about his reliability, of course, but he does have the advantage of being able to read the Korean-language media.

    • by idji (984038)
      Lobbies! Small groups with too much political representation.
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:19PM (#40583185)

    Genesis For The Modern Age

    • 1. In the beginning there was only God and he alone created the void that was the Universe. Then into the void that was the Universe God placed a infinitesimal part of his being.
    • 2. And the void being with out substance was unable to contain this essence of God and so it expanded at a terrible speed releasing unimaginable energies.
    • 3. Where upon God created the four fundamental forces toe contain these energies. The Strong Nuclear Force, the Weak Nuclear Force, the Gravitational Force and the Electromagnetic Force.
    • 4. And with the establishment of these controlling forces expansion of the Universe slowed and the great energies cooled the first elementary partials were formed.
    • 5. And from these partials the first atoms were formed. The initial one having a single proton and electron and God looked down and said let this be called Hydrogen.
    • 6. Then when all the Universe was Hydrogen the Fundamental Force of Gravity caused groups of these atoms to come together in ever larger masses.
    • 7. Where upon when the masses became so large and the Force of Gravity so strong that they started to smash the atoms of Hydrogen together creating new atoms and releasing new energies that illuminated the Universe.
    • 8. And thus Stars were born and there was now light upon the void.
    • 9. Then as the forces within the stars created heavier and heavier atoms the energies generated within became great. Greater in fact than the Force of Gravity. Where upon the very Stars themselves exploded spewing the atoms out in great clouds into the void.
    • 10. Again the fundamental forces came into play creating new stars from the lighter atoms and Planets from the heavier ones. Starting the cycle of Star birth and death.
    • 11. Now it came to pass that the Planets once formed were much cooler than the Stars allowing the atoms of various types to join together according to the Fundamental forces into molecules.
    • 12. Some were simple such as the water that filled the seas some were complex such as the precursor proteins of life itself.
    • ... (and so on and so on ... )
    • Then as the forces within the stars created heavier and heavier atoms the energies generated within became great. Greater in fact than the Force of Gravity. Where upon the very Stars themselves exploded spewing the atoms out in great clouds into the void.

      The fusion of Iron-56 into larger elements is energetically unfavorable, and the star is unable to resist gravitational collapse. You've got it backwards.

  • The Real Story (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ben_R_R (1177533) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:30PM (#40583263)
    The real story is not nearly as sensational, all that was being discussed for removal from the textbook where a couple of incorrect diagrams. http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2012/07/no-evolution-in-korea.html [blogspot.com]

    What STR did manage to pull off with three textbook publishers was this: STR convinced those publishers that two diagrams in their books -- one about the evolution of horses, and the other about archeopteryx -- and the text accompanying them were scientifically incorrect. Notice the claim here: the claim was not that the diagrams were against creationism. The claim was that the diagrams were _scientifically_ incorrect. And you know what? Technically, they were right! The diagram above showing the evolution of horses is horribly outdated, and the pictures no longer comport with the current scientific consensus.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:53PM (#40583465) Homepage

    This kind of crap just gets on my nerves and under my skin. What knowledge needs to be supressed? Knowledge of explosives? Knowledge of sharp things? How much knowledge has to be removed before there is an end to this feeling that there must be a removal of knowledge?

    A God threatened by knowledge is no god at all.

  • In his autobiography, Charles Darwin reported that he was almost denied the chance to make his historic voyage on the Beagle on account of his looks, in particular, because of his nose, which was large and somewhat bulbous. Darwin himself later used his nose, facetiously, as an argument against intelligent design, writing, "Will you honestly tell me . . . whether you believe the shape of my nose was ordained and 'guided by an intelligent cause'?"

    Leonard Mlodinow, in Subliminal

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:03PM (#40583553)

    Hermeneutics [wikipedia.org] is the approach one takes to interpreting a document (such as the Bible, for example). Literalism is one approach to Biblical hermeneutics in which one assumes nothing in the Bible is meant to be read allegorically or poetically. I think young-earth Creationists hold this view, which in their mind places Christianity squarely at odds with any science that gives us life older than ~ 6000 years.
    I think one appealing reason for literalism is the assumption that as the Word of God, the Bible is meant to be easily understandable to every well-intentioned reader, and that's only possible if the plain reading of the text conveys the intended meaning. I.e., if you need to be a scholar of ancient Greek and Hebrew literary forms to understand it properly, something is amiss.

    However, literalism is not generally accepted as a valid hermeneutic by most Christian theologians, as far as I know. I don't know all of the reasons, but I think one of them is that when read in the original Greek, Hebrew, and/or Aramaic, some books of the Bible very clearly are written in idiomatic forms of the day that most certainly were poetic or allegorical.

    I think the truth is that just as a number of scientific might explain the data collected so far, so might a number of interpretations of certain parts of the Bible fit established theology, worldly observations, and hermeneutics. Those who see science (including carbon dating of fossils) as a threat to their religious beliefs may be more attached to a literalistic hermeneutic than is appropriate.

  • by ZankerH (1401751) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:48PM (#40583907)
    I mean, they see the evidence right in front of their own eyes. It is clear to every single sane south Korean that hydralisks evolve into lurkers and mutalisks evolve into guardians and devourers.
  • > I think it will turn out that after all Korean science will not surrender to religion

    Right. It will surrender to politics. Some improvement, that.

A continuing flow of paper is sufficient to continue the flow of paper. -- Dyer

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