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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 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 busyqth (2566075) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:11PM (#40583123)

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @06:28PM (#40585833)

    I am a Korean and I just looked up the Korean articles. It meant "not dualism" as you explained in your first paragraph. If I was to translate the word literally, I would have translated it as "theory of materials" or "theory of matter".

    This is what they said (translated as literally as I could):

    "The underlying concept of evolution is materialism. The theory of evolution considers people's minds as a consequence of materialistic behavior, and if this is taught pupils will form incorrect understanding of the world. Pupils will end up thinking that because materials are recycled, taking lives is not committing a sin. The same can be said for abortion and selfishness."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @10:09PM (#40587365)

    One problem with atheists is that they don't go to church.

    Bill, and I know I speak for a lot of athiests when I say this, I went to church for years. I also went to Catholic school half of my life. I also worked at a monastery across the state before college, and I'm well read and studied in the humanities. I've been an athiest since I was old enough to have an opinion, and it's never been anything inherent about any "church" or flavor of "Christianity" that I found repulsive, it's the people that I know who have not one ounce of skepticism, no taste for the critical, and are as small minded and gullible as they care to be that amass at these echo chambers of fallacy Sundays and Wednesdays across the nation. The ones that hide their shame personal misery behind a mask of a god that will always love them, who doesn't judge their lives but their hearts, and who will reward them with eternal life in paradise for that faith exactly, that believe because of this, their ignorance is better than any reason, knowledge, and rationality present anywhere in the world. Their self proclaimed superior morality elevates them to a near ethereal eschelon, a transcendant mental and spiritual perch so that their wisdom and inner peace can only soar wildly above my head. And they pity me for it. Is that not the silliest shit you've ever heard?

    Mainly athiests don't go to church because TED talks are a much better use of an hour, and if we did go, the instant we opened our accent free mounths and tried to reiterate a summation of their sermon's arguments, we'd get labeled "scientists" and it'd devolve from a "I bet you think we came from monkeys" to a "you think we're all just a bunch of ignorant hicks" fest. Then when we didn't ever come back, they'd celebrate their unity in faith being stronger than doubt. I know because I've been in church with my family (They're Southern Baptist. Oh, you guessed?) while things like that have happened. I personally despise religion-at-large and sincerely hope those people can bond over something real one day, but it's not my place to ask them to stop.

    Also, I hate potato salad.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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