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Education Science

Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked To Find Evolution In Biology Tests 1218

Posted by Soulskill
from the other-states-shocked-that-kentucky-has-biology-tests dept.
bbianca127 writes "Kentucky mandated that schools include tests that are based on national standards, and contracted test maker ACT to handle them. Legislators were then shocked that evolution was so prominently featured, even though evolution is well-supported and a central tenet of modern biology. One KY Senator said he wanted creationism taught alongside evolution, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism in science classes is a violation of the establishment clause. Representative Ben Wade stated that evolution is just a theory, and that Darwin made it all up. Legislators want ACT to make a Kentucky-specific ACT test, though the test makers say that would be prohibitively expensive. This is just the latest in a round of states' fight against evolution — Louisiana and Tennessee have recently passed laws directed against teaching evolution."
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Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked To Find Evolution In Biology Tests

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  • Ummm....no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:15PM (#41024693)

    Legislators want ACT to make a Kentucky-specific ACT test

    Sorry, hillbillies. We're not making a separate test for you just because you're a bunch of bible-thumping idiots. We're also not making a separate test for Muslims which women are forbidden to take, or a separate Scientology test with science questions involving Thetan levels, or a separate test for North Koreans where the correct answer to every question is A. Our Supreme Leader, Praised Be His Name!

    Everyone gets the same test (well, okay, we can do braille and language translations, but THAT'S IT). And studying for it is going to involve reading more than the Bible, or Koran, or Talmud, or whatever the fuck holy text you happen to be thumping.

    Besides, you need real science in Kentucky. That meth isn't going to cook itself, you know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:15PM (#41024697)

    Can't we just cut the south free and stop talking about them? They are a money drain on this country, and I am sick of hearing about them. Hell, I have family in the south. All they ever talk about is how Obama is a muslim and how his birth certificate is a fake. The south is too resilient to progress. We would be better off without them slowing us down.

  • :facepalm: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reubenavery (1047008) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:18PM (#41024725)
    ugh.

    well, hey, cheer up everybody, we just landed the most awesomest rover evar on mars!

    and all the other sciency stuff we've been accomplishing...

    we're doing great.

    right?

    hello?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:20PM (#41024741)

    The ignorance infection is growing. We need to cut off the dead tissue as soon as possible.

  • by KingSkippus (799657) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:21PM (#41024767) Homepage Journal

    Please remember that when people talk about a "war" on religion, this is the kind of stuff they're referring to. Nobody credible is trying to prevent anyone from worshiping the god of your choice. However, there is a sizable contingent of religious people out there who think that religious "freedom" means the freedom for everyone to be Christian, and anything that interferes with that goal is (or should) violate the First Amendment.

    I never cease to be frustrated at people who wave the Constitution around and cry about how our freedom is being oppressed when it suits their ideological viewpoint, but then they pull stuff like this without seeing how much worse a violation of our liberty it is.

    Jefferson is still right. Separation of church and state, it's the only reasonable way to ensure our freedom. That includes keeping creationism in churches where it belongs and out of our schools.

  • by m1ndcrash (2158084) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:22PM (#41024783)
    Gravity is a theory too, nobody tries to walk out of the window, Ben Wade.
  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:25PM (#41024813) Homepage Journal

    Freedom of religion comes to this in their eyes: we're free to agree with them. That's it.

    The biggest point of ignorance about this is that the freedom to believe what we want benefits THEM the most. If Christianity becomes the "official" religion in the U.S., the question immediately becomes *what* form of Christianity. We seen it this year with all the Babtists crying about Mormonism. Freedom religion is there because that type of battle doesn't end until there are two people.

  • Grrr... grammo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus (799657) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:25PM (#41024815) Homepage Journal

    Nobody credible is trying to prevent anyone from worshiping the god of their choice. Plenty of people would love to prevent everyone from worshiping the god of your choice, depending on exactly which god that is.

    You know that sinking feeling you get when you realize that your keys are in the car as you're closing the car door, but it's too late to stop the momentum of your arm to catch it? It's the same as that feeling I get when I click Submit and as the little spinner is spinning and the text is uploading, I realize, "Noooo!!! That's not what I meant!"

  • Re:Isolate them. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WhitePanther5000 (766529) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:27PM (#41024863)
    Don't punish the students just because the adults are bumfuck retarded. They deserve a real education, and it's the only way to improve the idiocracy. Education is a way out for them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:29PM (#41024895)

    You want central planning, right? You want education to be controlled from the top down, by people you have never even met, right? You want the system to be enforced through the coercive power of government, right?

    Then you got exactly what you wanted. This is central planning, and it turned out exactly how central planning is supposed to.

    I agree! The national standard of No Child Left Behind -teach to a test - has failed; which was yet another standard created by a Bible thumping moron.

    So, we need to keep religion completely out of education standard.

    Science rules; Bible drools!

  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:34PM (#41024969)

    Freedom religion is there because that type of battle doesn't end until there are two people.

    You are way to optimistic about how many people would be left.

  • by cpghost (719344) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:35PM (#41024975) Homepage

    Jefferson is still right. Separation of church and state, it's the only reasonable way to ensure our freedom. That includes keeping creationism in churches where it belongs and out of our schools.

    Now, if only the US government stopped supporting the Islamist takeover of Syria, Egypt etc..., if only the Russian government stopped supporting the oppressive Orthodox Church of Russia against a couple of harmless girls... Separation of Church and State isn't very much en vogue nowadays; no matter where you look. That's really depressing, IMHO.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:35PM (#41024993) Homepage Journal
    religious "freedom" means the freedom for everyone to be Christian, and anything that interferes with that goal is (or should) violate the First Amendment.

    Or, as Asimov said:

    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.
  • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:37PM (#41025001)

    Doesn't mean it isn't true.

    Theories make all these electronics work, theories make radio/cellphones/broadcasting work. I took a weather class in college and found out there's three theories on why it rains.

    It still rains :).

  • by swschrad (312009) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:37PM (#41025007) Homepage Journal

    if you are so all-fired to exclude scientific thought, send your kids to church school. as for everybody else, they should be exposed to the real world and all its swirling contradictions through a broad-based education.

    following fruit fly genes is not going to damn you to hell everlasting, for God made that mechanism. pinheads.

  • by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:38PM (#41025011) Homepage

    Actually, once I spent a month in China, and when I got back home, eating with a fork and a knife felt so.. primitive and barbaric. You sit at the table and destroy the food by tearing and sawing.

    That feeling quickly passed, but still something to think about.

  • by snaildarter (1143695) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:38PM (#41025027)

    Specifically, the term "creationism" is inadequate. What we really mean here is "Christian creationism." That puts a finer point on it, and lets everyone in the conversation know exactly what we mean. I think it even exposes the proponents of it to some enlightenment on what they're really saying.

    I think an argument has more weight when you say, "Do you mean to tell me that you want Christian creationism taught instead of evolution? Do you think other religions' creationist ideologies should be taught as well?"

    From now on, every time I get caught up in this argument, I will use the term, "Christian creationism," and not just "creationism."

  • by Velex (120469) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:42PM (#41025083) Homepage Journal

    Dear Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Seth MacFarlane,

    How can we speed up the production of Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey? Is there somewhere we can throw more money at it?

    Won't somebody think of the children?

    Thanks,
    A Very Concerned Human Being

  • Re:Ummm....no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by residieu (577863) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:44PM (#41025103)

    These are tests to give to High School students as part of their lessons, right? Kentucky isn't actually suggesting that the ACT tests widely used for college admissions be rewritten for them, are they? If they're asking for Kentucky-specific tests for their classes, I wouldn't have a problem with ACT writing them for them. Kentucky WOULD have to expect a pretty hefty cost to finance writing of new tests with a limited audience (But it sounds like ACT isn't willing to do that work, or doesn't think Kentucky would be willing to pay the necessary price, fair enough).

    If they ARE talking about the college-admissions ACT tests.... well, I'd be willing to bet very few schools would be willing to accept those alternate test for admissions.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:44PM (#41025105)

    Creationism would only have a place in a class that also taught about zeus impregnating goats, cutting out peoples hearts on top of a stepped pyramid for a good harvest and the blue skinned transgendered 8 armed gods.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:45PM (#41025121)

    This is central planning, and it turned out exactly how central planning is supposed to.

    With sane and rational teaching standards for science? I guess that means I like central planning.

  • by residieu (577863) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:46PM (#41025143)
    And when they speak of "war on religion" they certainly don't mean people placing restrictions on where Islamic communities can build their Mosques or community centers. War on Religion specifically means getting in the way of Christians.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:48PM (#41025197)
    "Is becoming" implies irrationality is growing and spreading. Is there some reason to think that? I don't know of any; actually I think it's the opposite. Now when we hear about these backwaters it is surprising simply because it's no longer normal.

    In only the last 7 years the percent of Americans identifying as atheist increased from 1% to 5% [slate.com]. OK, so we've only finally reached parity with Saudi Arabia - but we were talking about trends.

  • by kurzweilfreak (829276) <kurzweilfreak AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:49PM (#41025207) Journal
    No one would have a problem with that. The problem is that creationists think that somehow their worldview is legitimate science, and they are trying to push this into science classes. Not humanities classes. Not comparative religion classes. They don't want people to look at their creationism as religion. They want people to see that their religious beliefs are backed by science.

    This all ties into the religious meme of "get them hooked while they're young and too dumb to understand". If these creationists were really concerned with science rather than child indoctrination, they would be trying to push their agenda upon science organizations and research groups. Obviously, they would be laughed out of the building if they tried that, so they take their batshit public and try to create a non-existent controversy. They cry "teach the controversy!" and appeal to "academic freedom", which appeals to the sense of freedom of Americans in general.

  • Re:Isolate them. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:52PM (#41025241)

    The students should know to hate anyone who promotes religion. THAT can only be taught by experience, and is no proper role for the State.

    Instead, let them know their PARENTS want them to be slaves to the superstitions of Flat Earthers.

    Youth love to rebel. It is the role of those who object to Superstition to fan such rebellion.

    Dear "students" who read this:

    TRUST NO ONE. Not Left or Right or Superstitious or otherwise.

    Anyone who tells you WHAT to think instead of suggesting you think for yourself is your enemy.

    Learn about the world, make up your own minds, and if you want to lick someone elses boots that's your right, but do it with your eyes wide open!

  • Apologies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by valros (1741778) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:52PM (#41025251)
    As someone from Kentucky, though I did not vote for them, I would like to apologize for allowing such imbeciles represent us. I wish them out of office as much as anyone else, perhaps moreso.
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:56PM (#41025307)

    Yes I want standards for teaching children about science to be set by scientists, not by religious cranks. If that requires top down control, then that's a strong argument for top down control

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:58PM (#41025327)

    "Now, if only the US government stopped supporting the Islamist takeover of Syria, Egypt etc."

    What are you talking about? A) these are other countries, not bound by the constitution of the US; B) if the people in those countries want democratically-elected leaders that happen to be Islamists or fanatic Orthodox Christians, so what? It might make it harder to work with such a government, because they've entangled religion into their government policy, but if that's the democratic will of the people, too bad; C) there's considerable irony in the fact that the US supports Islamic monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, etc., but you expect the US to balk at supporting a democratically elected government in a country such as Egypt.

    Should the US stand for democratic principles or not? I say any kind of democracy is better than no democracy.

    Yes, religion is inconvenient if governments have entangled it into their state policy, because it usually means irrational policies and poor acceptance of anyone not conforming to the state religion. However, if that's what the majority of people want through a legitimate democratic election, then it's hard to argue against it. Maybe in the area of human rights it would be justified (e.g., any country with a state religion should still have protections for minorities against the tyranny of the majority), but you are stuck dealing with a democratically-elected government even if their policy isn't enlightened with protections of minorities. You can say their policy sucks, but they are the legitimate government.

    Note: naturally you can still argue about the legitimacy of the election process itself that led to that situation.

  • by readin (838620) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:58PM (#41025333)

    Yes I want standards for teaching children about science to be set by scientists, not by religious cranks. If that requires top down control, then that's a strong argument for top down control

    Unless, of course, the "religious cranks" get on top. Then where will you be?

    Perhaps this should be left to more local control so parents, who care more about their children than you or any beauracrat does, get to decide.

  • by samkass (174571) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:02PM (#41025407) Homepage Journal

    You want central planning, right? You want education to be controlled from the top down, by people you have never even met, right? You want the system to be enforced through the coercive power of government, right?

    Then you got exactly what you wanted. This is central planning, and it turned out exactly how central planning is supposed to.

    I think you misunderstand the word "planning". This is centralized testing of the basic standards. The plan-- or the "how" things are done-- are completely decentralized. The better plans will win and the worse ones will fail, just as a good, decentralized market dictates. In fact I don't much like the No Child Left Behind's "Teach to the Test" approach, but to call this "central planning" is disingenuous and makes it harder to debate the actual issues.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:05PM (#41025453)

    The Civil War, if one takes the long view, was a horrible mistake rather than a righteous Crusade.

    The South would eventually have given up slavery, the North would have prospered through trade with the South, and fewer Southerners would pollute the American political landscape. We could have had a much improved North as a separate country too weak to chase dreams of Empire.

    The US is simply too large to make a good nation. Diversity of viewpoints is best catered by smaller nations which can self-segregate regionally, politically, ethnically, and religiously.

    Instead, the victory of the North begat the Globalist Corporate Republic we have today. It's a net loss for the world.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:09PM (#41025513)

    >>>If that requires top down control, then that's a strong argument for top down control

    Top-down control when taken to its logical conclusion also means having Congress order you to install thermostats in your home which they can turn-off at any point (like on a hot day when the power grid is overloading... goodbye A/C). Or ordering you to buy a Prius or similar hybrid. Or outlawing SUVs. Or ordering you to buy a Windows PC so you can do online voting/polling. And so on.

    Personally I'd rather have State-level control like they do it in the European Union. That way if I don't like the state's policies I can pick-up and move to a better state. (Vice-versa if I DO like the state's policies, like if I'm Mormon and love Utah, then I can stay.) Freedom of choice between 27 EU states or 50 US states is preferable to being stuck with just one choice..... whatever the central government mandates.

    Peace.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:09PM (#41025517)

    When has the call for local control not been about ignorant conservatives wanting to do something malicious to the people in their area?

    Historically, local control has been about religious lackwits wanting the local kids to be indoctrinated in the local superstitions, keeping bigotries in play, and even enslaving people.

    Now that we understand that religion is superstition, and that the scientific method works, it's time to discard religion as the backwards nonsense that it is.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:09PM (#41025519) Homepage Journal

    Somebody needs to ask this guy why God is creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:11PM (#41025555)

    I am a Catholic guy, but I wasn't raised in the U.S. view's of creationism vs evolution. I am Mexican, and here, they teach us evolution *with* creationism. At church.

    At school? They leave the God theories to the church. God has no business in the government schools, and teachers aren't nuns to be teaching kids about God anyway.

    The way the Saturday Church classes taught me was that God didn't just create Adam and Eve, but evolved species into Adam and Eve. A simple way to explain it is that God plays Spore on a very big supercomputer with high definition graphics.

    I don't get why Christians / Catholics get so pissy about Darwin being a theory and that a maker must've just spawned everything out of thin air. Both theories aren't mutually exclusive. The initial spores could've spawned out of thin air, then evolved into men and women.

    And don't get me started with the Big Bang / Genesis thing, as the idea of creating the universe in 7 days is just wrong, but if some dude was shown a fast-forwarded video of the big bang and saw (and wrote) about creation taking place in 7 days, well that'd be a misunderstanding, I think.

    I went to a Catholic school where evolution was taught (by priests) as fact and creationism as metaphor. It wasn't until college that I realized this was a peculiarity caused by my school being run by Jesuits in western America.

  • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:14PM (#41025613)
    But, in America "You have the right to remain stupid!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:15PM (#41025635)

    Evolution's baggage is a philosophy of fatalistic determinism, where no one has any personal responsibility for their actions, and therefore has no need for religion because the meaning of life is answered with "ultimately, nothing".

    The need for an answer is what brought about religion in the first place, so it's a bit unfair to criticize reality for not catering to your needs. Evolution has no position on philosophy, it is merely a mechanism like photosynthesis or plate tectonics. If you want your life to have meaning, go out and do something, don't whine that the universe doesn't think you're special.

  • by pluther (647209) <pluther.usa@net> on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:17PM (#41025679) Homepage

    Unless, of course, the "religious cranks" get on top. Then where will you be?

    Emigration or armed revolution, I suppose.

    Fortunately, even with the last president, the country resisted turning into the full-fledged theocracy so many of his supporters wanted. Sure, he gave away a few tens of billions of dollars of our tax money to specific churches, which was bad and wrong, but not nearly as bad as forcing teenage rape victims to marry their rapists and stoning gays to death like these people promote in other more theocratic countries.

    Perhaps this should be left to more local control so parents, who care more about their children than you or any beauracrat does, get to decide.

    "care more about" != "know how to educate properly".

  • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:18PM (#41025683)
    Wait, you're arguing against 'Central Planning' in favor of 'Organized Religion'?

    You do realize that Religion is by definition 'Top Down' right?
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:19PM (#41025713)

    Sorry, I'm skeptical of the view that having standards for science education set at the Federal level by actual sciences necessarily implies Federal control of my thermostat. We have had Federal standards for many things for hundreds of years, yet I still control my own thermostat. Some "slippery slopes" just aren't all that slippery

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:20PM (#41025743) Homepage
    Sounds to me like Kentucky is trying to enshrine that right in law for all of its citizens.
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:25PM (#41025815)

    So, we need to keep religion completely out of education standard.

    No, actually we don't. It depends on what the people want, since this is a democracy. If the people are a bunch of religious nuts, then the education standard needs to include religion (whichever flavor the majority wants) and omit evolution (of that's what a majority wants). This is the price of democracy: you have to share with all the other people you co-inhabit a region with.

    If tons of people in your country are a bunch of backwards religious nuts and you don't like that, the answer is simple: you need to break the country up into smaller units, so that you (and others like you) can live in a country with a small concentration of the backwards people, and the areas with a high concentration of them will be a separate country (or countries). That way, you can both live how you like; you can live in a country where religion has little influence on laws and standards, and they can live in a country where religion has lots of power over these things.

    If you want to live in a country where there's a majority of backwards religious nuts, and you don't want their opinions affecting national policy, the only way to do that is to have an authoritarian government.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:25PM (#41025821)

    What city was this?

    I know in Rochester and Buffalo the Catholic schools teach evolution in science class and only cover genesis in theology class.

    Unlike the baptist schools in the area, which are what you would expect from that bunch of crazies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:25PM (#41025837)

    Perhaps this should be left to more local control so parents, who care more about their children than you or any beauracrat does, get to decide.

    Parents, who care more about their children than any beauracrat, would object their child being drafted into a war. However since the nation needs them to fight, they are made to fight regardless.

    As a nation people need to be educated. A parent's prerogative to exclude certain things that the country NEEDS children to learn in order to compete in the world is trumped.

  • by pluther (647209) <pluther.usa@net> on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:28PM (#41025887) Homepage

    Top-down control when taken to its logical conclusion also means having Congress order you to install thermostats in your home which they can turn-off at any point (like on a hot day when the power grid is overloading... goodbye A/C). Or ordering you to buy a Prius or similar hybrid. Or outlawing SUVs. Or ordering you to buy a Windows PC so you can do online voting/polling. And so on.

    That's not the "logical conclusion". That's called "reductio ad absurdum".

  • by pla (258480) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:28PM (#41025895) Journal
    You want central planning, right? You want education to be controlled from the top down, by people you have never even met, right? You want the system to be enforced through the coercive power of government, right?

    Nope.

    I want standardized testing (not necessarily "central", and not this NCLB bullshit - More like the NY Regency exams). If you and your inbred neighbors want to teach nothing but apples-and-snakes, have it your way; but when you try to get into a college or get a job, we'll all have no ambiguity whatsoever what your A+ in "science" really means.

    I want licensed doctors to grasp the concept of evolved antibiotic resistance. I want historians capable of referring to dates prior to 4000BCE. I want psychiatrists who give out antidepressants rather than E-meters.

    If you want shamans and voodoo, I have nothing against you having those as an option; but you damned well won't call them "doctors" - At least not without the qualifier "witch".
  • by Canazza (1428553) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:34PM (#41026009)

    They seem to be mistaken on the basic principles of education.
    Education doesn't teach the truth. It teaches only what we know. It should be teaching kids that what they learn now isn't set in stone. It's not 100% proven, and is subject to change through discovery and hard work.
    The don't have to believe in a thing to learn about a thing, but if they believe strong enough in the contrary then rather than just have kids dismiss it out of hand, schools should be teaching them to question, probe and investigate.

    The only reason these people are SHOCKED that evolution is in the curriculum is because they believe everything taught in schools should be 100% true, always and forever, and actually believe such an idea exists.

  • by s.petry (762400) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:34PM (#41026019)

    I hate to break the news to you, but that is not the problem with the education system at all. You are looking at a very recent stupid idea that was added to a system that was already in such bad shape we are the laughing stock of the industrial world.

    Go back a bit further in time, and find out when we started teaching to "Standards Testing" and "Memorization" instead of teaching kids to think and explore. You'll have to go back to the 50s, but it's there. The collapse of the US Education system is so blatantly obvious when you look for the answer instead of repeating what other people tell you is the problem.

    We don't teach people to think any longer, we teach them to memorize data and repeat data. This stifles the creative process as well as limits the ability of people to think logically, rationally, and critically. If you want samples, just look at the incredible amount of fallacy used here on /. where it's a site for "nerds". It's not even good fallacy, it's extremely basic and obvious so it's not like people are trying to make good rhetorical arguments.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:35PM (#41026031)

    No, it's not. A majority of the population does not believe in the scientific method, and believes in creationism. So if you support democracy, then you have to support teaching creationism in schools (and not evolution), as that's what the majority wants.

    Local control divides things so that opinions which are more prevalent in local areas than nationwide are able to have more influence within those local areas. So if the country is mostly rational, but some pockets have a lot of backwards religious nuts, then within those pockets, the backwards religious nuts get to have their way when they have more local control. However, the flip side is that if the country is mostly backwards religious nuts, and rational people are dominant in some pockets, then within those small areas local control will allow the rational people to run things in a way different from the religious nuts who are running the country at large. Here in America, most of the population is religious nuts, so if you want non-religious standards in schools, you either need to advocate for more local control (and then make sure to move to one of the areas where religious nuts aren't dominant, generally the northeast and the west coast), or you need (assuming you're already in one of those areas) to advocate for secession.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:37PM (#41026053) Journal

    Top-down control when taken to its logical conclusion also means having Congress order you to install thermostats in your home which they can turn-off at any point (like on a hot day when the power grid is overloading... goodbye A/C). Or ordering you to buy a Prius or similar hybrid. Or outlawing SUVs. Or ordering you to buy a Windows PC so you can do online voting/polling. And so on.

    There are a lot of things in our society that, when taken to their logical conclusion, would result in a terrible infringement of our most basic rights.

    The Brady Campaign hasn't outlawed guns. MADD hasn't banned alcohol. The FDA hasn't banned fried food.
    Jack Thompson hasn't banned violent music or video games. The EPA hasn't banned gasoline powered cars. And so on.

    Luckily, we're not simpering idiots and are capable of balancing modest restrictions and modest social benefits with the modest infringements they require.

  • by The Moof (859402) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:37PM (#41026067)

    So, we need to keep religion completely out of education standard.

    Not entirely. You can religion as long as you classify it as a subject of philosophy, not science. But if you try to, say, rewrite a biology test because it's rooted in facts and not faith, then yes, religion needs to stay out of it.

  • by scot4875 (542869) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:39PM (#41026085) Homepage

    It is another to claim that the theory disproves Biblical teachings and to call those teachings "myths" as I've seen some books directed at children do.

    Then leave creationism out of school entirely. If you don't want your myths to be examined critically, keep them out of the public eye -- otherwise, yeah, we'll publicly call them BS just like we call every other creation myth BS.

    Also, re: war on Christians ... LOL. You realize that Christians make up a super majority in the US, right? Paraphrasing Jon Stewart, "You're confusing 'war' for 'not getting every single thing you want.'"

    --Jeremy

  • by dskoll (99328) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:39PM (#41026099)

    These aren't a coordinated effort, obviously, but it does seem that much of our culture has adopted two ideas very hostile to religion and Christiantiy. The first is that religion should only be practiced in private. The second is that religious acts are ok so long as you don't really believe it - that we'll respect your right to do purely symbolic rituals but we won't respect your right to believe..

    And what is wrong with those two ideas? Absolutely, religion should only be practiced in private. It has no place in the public sphere.

    And secondly, although I agree that religious people have the right to believe whatever silliness they wish, nothing on earth would compel me to respect those beliefs.

    Furthermore, where religious beliefs come into conflict with human rights, religious beliefs have to yield.

  • by sribe (304414) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:41PM (#41026153)

    I don't get why Christians / Catholics get so pissy about Darwin being a theory and that a maker must've just spawned everything out of thin air. Both theories aren't mutually exclusive.

    Catholics??? I thought this particular brand of nutbaggery was strictly a Protestant thing. After all the Pope has gone on record as saying there is no conflict between the theory of evolution and Catholic teachings.

  • by dsvick (987919) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:42PM (#41026167) Homepage

    Because, if you're not kidding, I need to pick my jaw up off the floor. You seem to be saying that people can do whatever the majority wants to do ...

    Your entire argument essentially says that we should only teach what the majority of the people want to be taught. So after we institute your plan we can go to any third grade class in the country and find such interesting subjects as the best Pokemon cards and what is the best show on Disney. When we get to high school we'll need completely separate curriculum for boys and girls since they will never agree on what to study.

    I'm sure it never crossed your mind that the purpose of education is to teach people things that they may not know, regardless of whether or not they want to learn them. You're saying that people should not be taught what it basically accepted as true simply because they don't want to hear it? Holy crap, you better not let any fifth graders hear that or they'll riot in math class and demand to be instructed on skateboarding and bike riding.

  • by DM9290 (797337) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:44PM (#41026209) Journal

    If you want to live in a country where there's a majority of backwards religious nuts, and you don't want their opinions affecting national policy, the only way to do that is to have an authoritarian government.

    Or a constitution which specifically disallows the government from supporting the establishment of religion.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:46PM (#41026273)

    If you want to live in a country where there's a majority of backwards religious nuts, and you don't want their opinions affecting national policy, the only way to do that is to have an authoritarian government.

    There's a difference between keeping people's religious opinions out of state policy, and forbidding the Establishment of a state religion. Teaching a religious doctrine with tax money constitutes establishment of a state religion.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday August 17, 2012 @02:02PM (#41026633)

    "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and render unto God the things that are God's"

    Which is actually a weasel statement when you look at it closely enough. By Christian theology, what *isn't* God's? Of course, Jesus was answering a "gotcha" question that was trying to trap him into advocating not paying Roman taxes, so a little weaseling might have been justified.

  • by S77IM (1371931) on Friday August 17, 2012 @02:03PM (#41026649)

    No, actually we don't. It depends on what the people want, since this is a democracy. If the people are a bunch of religious nuts, then the education standard needs to include religion (whichever flavor the majority wants) and omit evolution (of that's what a majority wants). This is the price of democracy: you have to share with all the other people you co-inhabit a region with.

    Before you respond further, please read up on Tyranny of the Majority, and why it's a bad thing, and how respecting the rights of the individual is essential to a functioning democracy. (Hint: Your logic eats itself.)

      -- 77IM

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Friday August 17, 2012 @02:10PM (#41026833)

    What we teach is completely arbitrary. We just happen to [mostly] agree on it.

    If you think we don't already teach kids all sorts of lies because they're part of our collective "truth" then you're pretty out of touch.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Friday August 17, 2012 @02:13PM (#41026909)

    Oh what a horrible abuse of power! If you don't have health insurance you have to pay a modest fee that goes a small way toward defraying the public cost of healthcare for the uninsured--like yourself. An idea that is so abusive of personal freedom that that it was invented by the Heritage Foundation

  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday August 17, 2012 @02:26PM (#41027163) Journal

    You're too generous. These people are shocked that evolution is in the curriculum because evolution conflicts with the bronze age mythology they've been raised to believe is 100% true, always and forever.

  • by Jappus (1177563) on Friday August 17, 2012 @02:30PM (#41027221)

    So, we need to keep religion completely out of education standard.

    No, actually we don't. It depends on what the people want, since this is a democracy. If the people are a bunch of religious nuts, then the education standard needs to include religion (whichever flavor the majority wants) and omit evolution (of that's what a majority wants). This is the price of democracy: you have to share with all the other people you co-inhabit a region with.

    Be careful where you're heading with that idea, as what you propose is exactly what ages of very intelligent political philosophers have correctly pointed out to be the most brutal and merciless part of democracy: The tyranny of the majority.

    If you take a democracy to mean that you put everything to a vote and then blindly enforce what the majority demands, you quickly end up in a nightmarish hellhole.

    After all, what if a populist puts up to vote that you must buy and memorize a particular book and you are told that 51% of the people agreed to that?
    What if it is then put up for the vote, that due to the way voting works, all parties should be merged, and 51% of the people agree?
    What if is then asked, what you should do with a certain 1% of the population, and 51% of the people agree to seize their property?

    With just three, small votes, you're in a wonderful cross between Mao's China, Stalins Soviet Union and -- and this is up to you to choose -- Hitler's Germany, Mussolinis Italy, Franco's Spain, Europe during the Inquisition, the USA during the Indian Displacement, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, etc. pp.

    After all, remember that no-one said that those 51% of the population were always the same 51%. As an old adage goes: When they came for the Communists, I didn't say a word. When they came for the Gypsies, I didn't say a word. When they came for the Jews, I didn't say a word. When they came to get me, there was no-one left to say a word to save me.

    No, the power of democracy does not lie in the tyranny of the majority; it lies within the civil discourse between all; majorities, minorities, loud or silent. It lies within the concept that everyone must be included to agree on a best course of action. All safe-guards in a democratic society must be laid out to guarantee this fundamental concept. That it must be impossible for any part, to take away the voice of any other part.

    And, not to put too fine point on it: Taking away the voice of reason, the process of rational and impassioned evaluation of how we think the world works -- even if that reason might arrive at a conclusion you deem erroneous -- in favour of the voice of dogma, is to deny one of those safeguard of democracy.

    TL;DR:
    The difference is that those teaching evolution do not deny you your right to teach your kid your point-of-view; they only deny you the option of saying that your view is the only way to look at it. In contrast, most creationists/intelligent designers want to force a single point-of-view, to the exclusion of all the others; especially if they come from an impassioned look at the world as it is.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r.gmail@com> on Friday August 17, 2012 @02:48PM (#41027559)

    If you like central planning, then you need to accept the opinions of other people in your country. That means you need to change the standards for science and eliminate things they don't like, and put in religious stuff they want.

    No, you don't. Their shit is not science, therefore it doesn't go in. End of story.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r.gmail@com> on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:25PM (#41028129)

    In recent months when people talk about a "war on religion" they're more likely to be talking about the HHS mandate that any Calholic who owns a business must violate the teachings of their religion if the want to be allowed to hire employees

    No, they don't. This is complete and utter bullshit. That business owner is still COMPLETELY FREE to not take birth control. They just don't have the "right" (which isn't a right, but rather a desire to oppress others) to force their views on others.

    That's the same mandate that says religious observance is ok when practiced inside a church amoung other people of the same religion, but if your religion wants to you to something good for the community like run a soup-kitchen or hospital, you have to violate your relgion.

    Again, nothing but horseshit. And tell me, why the fuck should your "religious freedom" trump anything else? If that business owner's "religious teachings" said that he should perform human sacrifice, or have sex with his employees, should that be allowed as well?

    Since the Charlie Brown Christmas special came out maybe 50 years ago, have you seen another Christmas special on network TV that made any mention of the reason for Christmas?

    Who the fuck cares? When was the last time you saw a holiday special on network TV that explained the reason for Chanukah, or Kwanza?

    The first is that religion should only be practiced in private.

    No. The idea is that practices of religion should not be forced onto others that don't want them. A business owner objecting to birth control for their employees is doing that exact thing, and they have no fucking right to do so.

  • World is Flat! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @03:44PM (#41028401)

    The also got mad when they found out that the Geography textbook claimed that the Earth was round, and that the planets and stars not revolve around the Earth.

    Frustrated, they took their revenge on the nearest technology that they could find:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze3hthGRbRo

  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:19PM (#41029015) Journal

    You'd like to think so, but generally fundies really believe that shit. It's not just an idea to them, but an identity.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Friday August 17, 2012 @04:36PM (#41029317)

    Whenever someone yells at me about "the Founding Fathers" and "non-separation of church and state", I like to point out that Jefferson was basically an agnostic, and Ben Franklin took part in satanic orgies. If the yelling moron is a hardline Protestant, I try to remember which of them were Catholic (for some reason many of them consider "papists" to be worse than atheists, which still baffles me); if the yelling moron is Catholic, I point out that the majority of the Founding Fathers were protestant and that if they had meant to establish a national religion, it would not have been theirs.

    I also like bringing up the Treaty of Tripoli (from 179something), which not only claims absolutely that the US is not a Christian nation, but specifically that the United States has no problem with Islam. I point out that the attempt at the treaty was started by Washington himself, although it was Adams who signed it.

  • by Boronx (228853) <evonreis@mohr-e[ ... m ['ngi' in gap]> on Friday August 17, 2012 @05:02PM (#41029739) Homepage Journal

    We've reached the point where the true believers are actually in power, not just pandered to by the cynical types. Luckily that hasn't happened at the presidential level yet, but it sure has in Congress and the state legislatures.

  • by tbannist (230135) on Monday August 20, 2012 @09:45AM (#41053983)

    Due to cognitivie dissonance, they may end up being the same thing. People don't like to think they're dishonest, so when they dishonestly pretend that they think that way, they tend to end up thinking that way. There has to be a clear and immediate reward to avoid that trap. Since politicians would spend years pretending to believe that stuff and would mostly assoiciate with other people who believe (or also pretend to believe), it's almost inevitable that they would end up believing it, regardless of their original beliefs.

    So either they believe it, or they are slowly convincing themselves to believe it.

  • by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @09:53AM (#41067467) Journal

    A person who honestly believes truth does not exist is criminally insane and should be restrained for life. Pushing an innocent old person in front of a bus or setting fire to house while the residents sleep is wrong , that will always be true. The reason that people like the idea that truth does not exist it they think it frees them from moral obligation.

    No, those points are not always true, and the term "true" is better defined before you use it this way. What if the old innocent person has a terminal and painful disease, and a loving friend or relative has this as the only way to end the suffering that has rendered their life useless misery? What if the residents of the house have a disease so dangerous that there can be no risk of allowing it to escape the building? There's far more nuance here, but what we can do is use reason to establish a common morality that most people would agree upon, even if there's no magical force in the universe to give it legitimacy.

    I recall a thought experiment in which the reader has to design the society in which they'll live, but they can't know which position in society they themselves will occupy, leading most people to devise a society in which life at all levels is as fair as it can be. I'd bet these societies, given some thought, would be far superior to anything mandated by the Bible. Funny you should mention slavery, as slavery would probably not figure highly in them. The reason why some people deny the existence of universal truth is because they lack the arrogance to make such unfounded assertions - particularly when universal truth is a fancy way of saying "here's how I think things should work".

    If you believe that socialism is a monolithic entity that strives for godless communism, well, you've just not read your Bible or studied the lives of the early Christians. The sharing of resources, which was not always voluntary, was a common feature of the groups. Acts 4:32?

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito

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