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Education Government Science

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 @11:45AM (#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 @11:47AM (#40582959)
    When was the last time it had not been this way?
  • by Stirling Newberry (848268) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:54AM (#40583013) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:58AM (#40583039) Homepage
    Atheist will twist theory to fit facts, and theist will rather twist facts to fit theories. Where does materialism come in to picture ?
  • by drdread (770953) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:02PM (#40583067)
    It's not about "creationism." it's about "young earth creationism," in which the proponents believe that every word of the bible is literally true, and every creature on earth was created in its present form directly by the hand of God less than 5000 years ago. If you allow for an evolutionary path that took (tens or hundreds of) millions of years to evolve a horse or a bird, your 5,000-year-old Earth theory has some major challenges ahead of it. In the end, this sort of effort is fundamentally about suppressing the challenge, not teaching science.
  • by xelah (176252) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:02PM (#40583075)

    There are two definitions of materialism. If you're a philosopher (or presumably a theologist) and take it to mean simply 'not dualism' then linking it to atheism is nonsense. Plenty of people who don't believe in gods have other superstitions which make them believe in spirits (such belief seems to be a bit of a default position for humans), and it wasn't so long ago that it wasn't obviously plausible that a human could drop out of the operation of a purely matter-based brain. And you don't need to be a dualist to be a theist. It's perfectly possible to believe that god will give you a new body and brain on judgement day. There's nothing remotely negative about materialism.

    But ordinary English speakers will often take the other definition. They'll take it to mean 'concentrating on the accumulation of ownership of stuff rather than on social relationships, personal achievements, intellectual matters, helping people, being a good member of society and so on'. Spoken about scientists especially this is plainly ridiculous. But it's hardly beyond some people to exploit the ambiguity.

    But the original was presumably in Korean. So who knows what it meant?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:29PM (#40583255)

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

  • by sferics (189924) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:55PM (#40583485)

    Not everything an atheist thinks about is about science. Atheists also think about the human experience, how we relate to each other and to our world and how we can make like bearable for ourselves and others. We just try not to involve our superstitious beliefs into that process, and manage hypothetical assertions with some degree of rigor. If that makes me a "materialist", so be it, even though I did to choose to be called that. On the other hand, if "materialist" is a code word for "a selfish jerk who is not like us saintly believers and who will be up against the wall when the theocratic revolution comes", then I beg to differ.

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @12:56PM (#40583493) Homepage Journal
    Balderdash! I have evidence that god evolved from a larger pool of predecessor gods through a process of natural selection! What institute issued your degree in applied psychotheology?!
  • by khipu (2511498) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:31PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:54PM (#40583959)

    Because even the fairest most honest criticism is treated as being disrespectful, even heresy.

    And yes, I do want freedom from religion, because it turns out religion IS used to take away a lot of freedoms. All in the name of our own good.

  • by Insanity Defense (1232008) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @05:14PM (#40585737)

    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 LordLimecat (1103839) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @09:32PM (#40587479)

    Please tell me you arent claiming to be Christian, or a follower of Christ. Calling someone "stupid" for not being christian when you yourself could only know salvation by the mercy of another is some kind of supreme hubris, and it would be a shame if you were offering this up as what it means to believe.

    I consider atheism (and false religion) to be foolish, but calling people of any faith "stupid" for what they believe leaves some kind of a foul taste in my mouth-- I am sure that of all the things Jesus was about, placing yourself on a pedestal in relation to others most certainly was NOT it.

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