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Education Government Science

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

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 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 ... )
  • 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 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 LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:42PM (#40583365)

    Why couldn't God create evolution? If I'm God, why would I want to create a universe that needs to be micromanaged? A real God would just snap his fingers and create a universe that does everything it needs to do, including creating humans to worship him, automatically.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2012 @01:57PM (#40583497)

    Yeah, I encountered some of thes bozos in the middle of the Great Rift Valley last year. The community they were assigned to convert was already deeply religious. They (the crew cut Americans) assumed that the 'heathens' were godless. Big mistake.
    There was one thing that the British Missionaries of the 18th Century realised pretty early on. That was that you had to blend the local beliefs with christianity to get anywhere. Thus they were successful in converting the locals. I was there on a VSO assignment. It was interesting to watch as they tried and failed to convert the locals to their version of christianity. This was the 'evolution is bunkum' brand.
    The missionaries forgot that just down the road some of the oldest human remains ever discovered had been found.
    When their mission failed they turned their attention to those of us there helping with water conservation. They got equally short shift from us. I'm a lapsed catholic but two of the others were muslims of Pakistani origin. Still they tried. You have to applaud them for that but despite the promised that we'd all rot in hell they failed to make any converts.
    When they'd gone, the whole community had a party to celebrate. It lasted three days.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:03PM (#40583547) Homepage

    It *IS* religion versus science. Science can exist with or without religion. Science does not exist because of in spite of or in any relation to religion. Religion, however, exists and is most powerful in the absence of science. The more knowledge is accumulated, the less religion works or makes sense at all. Just as children learn not to be afraid of the dark, people learn not to be afraid of their futures and understand the causes and effects of things that go on all around them.

  • 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.

  • by Mindcontrolled ( 1388007 ) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @02:46PM (#40583883)
    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.
  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <> on Sunday July 08, 2012 @03:29PM (#40584323)

    There are a very large number of Buddhists who would deny the link between atheism and materialism. (Admittedly, lots of Buddhists are also theistic. I've never been able to understand why, or how they reconcile it. And I say this as a materialist pagan...which also confuses a lot of people.)

    IIUC, in traditional Buddhist thought the "gods" and "spirits" are delusional creations of the observing mind, and thus, while you should acknowledge them, you shouldn't believe in them. This makes sense to me. It's a spiritualism I can accept without a qualm, even if it isn't what I believe (which is actually about the same thing seen from a different perspective). Personally, I consider the mind to be a delusion, and the "gods" and "spirits" to be the underlying bricks out of which it is built, as a program is built using frameworks and libraries. And the whole thing is based on a material substrate (the brain, for people, or the computer for programs).

    Note that neither of us, neither the traditional Buddhists not myself, consider gods and spirits as real. But while they consider the world to be illusion, I consider the mind to be illusion. In some sense its the same thing, as in both cases what we perceive isn't what's really there. I consider my belief better, because it has experimental evidence. They Buddhists, however, consider that evidence a part of the illusion of matter. Thus Bayesian reasoning cannot resolve initial bias, and doesn't always even converge. Still, the viewpoints agree over much of the range of evidence.

    Do you need to believe that a god is real to be spiritual? I believe that a god is real in the sense that a subroutine is real. Do the avowed theists, who go to church on Sunday and ignore the rules of their god during the rest of the week have more actual belief? I've only rarely met an avowed theist who actually lived by the rules prescribed by their god. The claim of belief is not the actuality of belief, not even if they convince themselves.

    Certainly I don't understand the connection between evolution and any formally described religion. The mosaic laws, e.g., say that you should honor your god before all others, but they don't say anything about believing in evolution (admittedly, if they'd thought about it they probably would have, but they literally couldn't think about it). Evolution isn't a god anymore than a light switch is. It's a description of an observed regularity (well, several observed regularities) in the physical universe. Nowhere in the bible, not even the new testament, does it say that one should ignore observed regularities in the physical universe. It does claim that god can set aside those regularities at a whim, but that's a very different claim. (One that *I* don't believe, but that's a separate matter.)

    So. I see a clear link between materialism and my belief in gods, spirits, etc. And I don't consider myself an atheist, even though I do consider myself a materialist. I believe the gods to be more real than my perception of the keys that I am currently striking to write this message. This isn't to say that they are more real than the keys at some un-knowable level of reality. They aren't. The material level is the basis out of which ALL is created. But they are more real than my conscious mind.

  • 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.)

  • by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Monday July 09, 2012 @01:28AM (#40588577) Homepage

    I consider atheism (and false religion) to be foolish

    And believing in some magical being that can revive his son three days later instead of not letting him die in the first place doesn't look like bad science fantasy literature? Especially since nothing he's ever done can be accounted for by more than a 2k years old book?

    Come on. A little common sense people.

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