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Education Science

Texas School Board Searching For Alternatives To Evolutionary Theory 763

An anonymous reader writes "[Ars Technica] recently reviewed the documentary The Revisionaries, which chronicles the actions of the Texas state school board as it attempted to rewrite the science and history standards that had been prepared by experts in education and the relevant subjects. For biology, the board's revisions meant that textbook publishers were instructed to help teachers and students 'analyze all sides of scientific information' about evolution. Given that ideas only reach the status of theory if they have overwhelming evidence supporting them, it isn't at all clear what 'all sides' would involve."
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Texas School Board Searching For Alternatives To Evolutionary Theory

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  • FSM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HybridST ( 894157 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:08PM (#42837875) Homepage

    May we each be touched by his noodley appendage!

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:09PM (#42837895)

    Sigh. There's just no cure for stupid. Full disclosure. I live in Texas and yes, this embarrasses me.

  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:10PM (#42837909) Homepage Journal

    ...or maybe a theorem. Or a rumor.

    Maybe a wacky folk story.

    "Darwin's Wise Tale of Evolution"

  • by eagee ( 1308589 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:12PM (#42837935)
    Examining all sides of a scientific theory that are contrary to an established scientific theory means examining decidedly unscientific theories as if they were scientific... or, you could just say, "Teaching our students Not-Science"
  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:12PM (#42837937)

    Why would anyone live in Texas unless they had to?

    One might ask the same question about the USA as a whole.

  • by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:14PM (#42837963)

    If they don't want to teach evolution, and they're looking for another "theory", well... =^D

    Meanwhile, I'm always amused that people usually end up choosing the religion that they're born with. Of the thousands or millions of religions available in this world, you think the One-True-Religion is the one you happened to be born under? WHAT A COINCIDENCE!

    Never listen to a philosophical arguments from a person that follows the religion they were born under, because you know they came to it not through intellectual analysis, but through pure laziness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:16PM (#42837991)

    No there is a cure, this measure just actively fights it.

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:19PM (#42838019) Homepage Journal

    When I visited Texas I noticed that half the people were really cool guys and the other half were assholes. Of course most other places were like that but Texas took it to extremes.

  • What about God? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:21PM (#42838039) Homepage Journal

    OK, as long as history and science classes have to give arguments on both sides about the existence of God.

  • It's very clear... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by doug141 ( 863552 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:22PM (#42838047)
    Textbook publishers take note, you'll sell Texas a ton of books if you pander to our religious beliefs in your science books.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:23PM (#42838063)

    It is incorrect that ideas only reach the status of "theory" when there's overwhelming evidence. A theory is a theory because it makes a testable, falsifiable, hypothesis. We have theories that aren't well tested. We don't go teaching them in science class, but that doesn't mean they aren't theories. This idea that "theory" means "proven beyond any reasonable doubt" is silly. It doesn't.

    For that matter, some things get called theories that aren't. Like String Theory. Not only is there no proof, there's no testable predictions. As such right now it is a hypothesis. It is a neat bit of math, internally consistent, but so far there are no testable predictions, no way to falsify, so it isn't really a theory. We don't want to go teaching it in high school science class yet, but we do want to keep looking at it.

    The reason why all the god backed proposals aren't theories is they aren't testable, aren't falsifiable. They rely on an entity that by definition is outside of the observable universe. As such they can't be tested and thus are not scientific theories. They could be right, but they still aren't science. Science is concerned with the testable. A testable, falsifiable, hypothesis is a theory. Heck even after it is falsified it is still a theory, it is just wrong :).

  • The only thing NOT an opinion in science, IF you actually follow the scientific method, is the certainty that all evidence is biased by the ignorance of the individual putting it forth.

    NEVER confuse the model with reality.

  • Re:all sides (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:32PM (#42838147) Journal

    P.E. is now largely seen as a solution without a problem. And missing link? Come on, what is this, 1940?

    As to your claims about testability. Where the fuck did you learn about science? Prediction and test doesn't just mean "grow lots of generations and see what happens."

    You're a good example of how fucked up American education is.

  • by Reverand Dave ( 1959652 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:35PM (#42838187)
    So in light of this, if you think the USA is bad, Texas is all your USA stereotypes times 10. If the US is bad, texas is wholly unbearable.
  • The "two sides" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Empiric ( 675968 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:39PM (#42838231)

    As I see it, the "two sides" are this:

    1. The assertion "evolution occurs", which is testable and extensively tested, which science overwhelmingly supports and very few theists have any issue with. It allows inclusion of all of the specifics of evolutionary theory regarding plausible mechanisms for biological change, specifically and appropriately to the degree valid science calls for.

    2. The assertion "only evolution occurs", which is untestable and unscientific, and seems to have as its only apparent benefit that it's seen as a necessary premise for atheism. Need causal exclusivity to be true, therefore it is, need it to be scientific, therefore it is, though it factually fails on both counts.

    The only real questions are what one specifically means by "evolution" in a given presentation, and whether that usage bears scientific scrutiny--and managing to stick with that usage in the face of an opportunity to make a non-sequitur argument for atheism.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:41PM (#42838257)

    I was treating it as a boolean issue (i.e. gravity exists). Kinda like evolution.

  • by Sir or Madman ( 2818071 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:42PM (#42838269)

    Lots of homosexuals procreate, lots of people who have abortions have kids. Abortion and infanticide may actually preserve a generational line in times scarcity, in that resources can be concentrated on existing children. Homosexual people procreate in heterosexual relationships all the time, and use IVF or surrogacy to procreate in homosexual relationships. The world is a little more complicated than you think.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:48PM (#42838341)

    Well most of the god-tards have moved on from disputing that things evolve. Rather their new shit is intelligent design, which says that god works behind the scenes, controlling how things evolve and change. So they aren't disputing the fact that change happens, they are disputing the theory as to why.

    However their counter is not a theory, since there is no way to test it, and hence has no place in science class. Even if it is right, it is not science as it is not something one can test. Any time you mention god, by definition outside of the universe and untestable, you aren't talking science.

  • Re:FSM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:56PM (#42838489)
    On the contrary, compared to the fundamentalist nut-jobs who've infiltrated the TX state school board, the RCC is positively enlightened and evolution-friendly. The RCC's doesn't include the requirement that believers take every word of scripture as "the one true and unerring word of god". Which is good, because that allows them to look like they didn't really mean to burn all those heretics who had the temerity to suggest that the Earth was not the center of the universe and other Satan-spawned deceptions. Aaaaanyway..., it's just as well. We like to keep our kids stoopid here in the grate state of Texas, so all them liberal elitists can go hang out with their Papist buddies and stop filling our kids minds with all that truth nonsense.
  • by bunbuntheminilop ( 935594 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:58PM (#42838521)

    There is a scientific alternative to Darwinism. It's called Lamarckism. And it's something that *should* be taught alongside Darwinism in biology classrooms.

  • Re:all sides (Score:4, Insightful)

    by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:00PM (#42838547) Journal

    If it was a good theory then it would be *testable*. One could use it to make reliable predictions about generational change in short lived animals based on whatever the factors are that induce change.

    Can't we though? Let's employ some of that science-y method-y stuff.

    Question: Does selection pressure as described by the theory of evolution result in observable changes in the makeups of colonies of microorganisms?

    Hypothesis: It do.

    Method: We will use antibiotics on bacterial colonies, introducing a selection pressure against those strains most susceptible to the antibiotics. If that "natural selection via random mutation" thing works, individual bacterium that are resistant to antibiotics may exist. These individuals will be more likely to pass on their genetic information as the non-resistant bacteria will have been "selected against." We will look for emerging strains of antibiotic-reistant bacteria.

    Result: Yup, that happens.

    Conclusion: That whole "natural selection" thing exists.

    Ipso facto, QED, science, BA-DAMN where's my Nobel?

  • Re:The "two sides" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomeKDEUser ( 1243392 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:04PM (#42838589)

    Although the assertion "only evolution occurs" is dodgy science, there still is not a single fact about the shape and nature of life as we observe it which is not explanable by evolution.

    So you might say that the default position is to assume that only evolution occurs, because no other mechanism has been found to be necessary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:10PM (#42838651)

    Well most of the god-tards have moved on from disputing that things evolve. Rather their new shit is intelligent design, which says that god works behind the scenes, controlling how things evolve and change. So they aren't disputing the fact that change happens, they are disputing the theory as to why.

    However their counter is not a theory, since there is no way to test it, and hence has no place in science class. Even if it is right, it is not science as it is not something one can test. Any time you mention god, by definition outside of the universe and untestable, you aren't talking science.

    And you are just as bad as they are. Calling them "god-tards" just shows how bigoted and closed-minded you are.

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • Re:all sides (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:30PM (#42838855)

    Evolution can't tell me what conditions to subject rats to so that I end up with something that isn't a rat.

    Of course it can. You just have to understand that long term evolution is a macroscopic process resulting from changes in DNA. Increase the mutations, breed many generations, and expose those generations to selective pressure. It's really not that hard to understand. And "isn't a rat" is a fairly silly, non-scientific, though also easy to determine. The definition of a species is somewhat subjective, but generally is that members can interbreed and have fertile offspring. Change the rat's DNA so much that it can breed with other organisms with that change but not original rats and there you go.

    And it can't tell me how many generations it'll take

    That's an even sillier argument. Theories of statistics can't tell you how many tries it will take to get heads when flipping a quarter, but that doesn't mean statistics is not testable. If I told you I'd give you 1:10 odds (ie. you get $1 for a $10 bet) that the next coin flip is heads, would you take it? How about if I gave you those odds that over 1M coin clips the results are between 0.49 and 0.51? (Hint: you should take the bet. And that's a prediction).

    And anyway it basically can tell you how many generations it will take - it will take as many as necessary to cause exactly the mutations needed to achieve the change you are looking for. You might be able to speed that up via mutagens and increased selective pressure, or once (it's only a matter of time) humans can trivially map the entire gene sequence and function for an organism and have the technology to modify them, it could be one generation (as it is these thing are already being done, just not as efficiently as they could). But it's all the same to the DNA.

    Evolution can't tell me where to dig to find a creature whose bones are part way between a form believed to be a descendent of another.

    Yes, it can. That's how so many of the existing bones have been found in a relatively small region of the world. Archaeologists didn't just dig billions of random holes around the planet and cross their fingers.

    And it can't reliably tell me what those bones will look like when I do find them.

    Seriously, just give it up. You don't even need to be a biologist to prove this statement wrong, 5 minutes on Google would do it. Sigh. Will there be the occasional surprise? Absolutely, because due to its underlying mechanisms some aspects of evolution are RANDOM. But if you think that disproves anything or discredits the theory, back to that coin flipping experiment for you...

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:31PM (#42838873) Homepage

    Homosexual existence is mostly considered evolutionary good because the people without children will be more charitable towards others and will help a whole village to raise all of their children better. This of course does not work in the West any longer, but this way of life is still quite strong in India I believe (and where most of the studies are conducted). The homosexual gene is passed on in the villages and societies who do better on a whole. As long as the homosexual gene never creates a whole generation of pure homosexuals then its continues to be passed on from the carriers who do procreate (the non-homosexuals).

    You could also consider the case of a herd of herbivorous. If a homosexual bull was allowed to hang around the herd he would be a huge help in keeping off predators.

  • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:47PM (#42839027)

    And who really cares whether gravity IS an "open and shut case"? Students should be taught to think critically anyway.

    Einstein changed "open and shut case" Newtonian physics.

    Copernicus and Galileo changed the "open and shut case" of a flat earth.

    Even the "open and shut case" of what causes ulcers (stress) was later found to be bacterial.

    A large part of science is all about critical review of "open and shut cases".

  • In all fairness, within the standards of the /. community, "god-tard" is a term of art, rather than a sign of bigotry and narrow-mindedness. The frustration level when dealing with people who do not seem to be arguing in good faith on teaching evolution is high, and gets higher the longer it continues and morphs.

    I believe the core issue the Texas Board and their fellow travelers struggle with isn't with scientific evidence of a particular theory, but rather the conclusions that some choose to draw from that evidence. A child's perception of God and Nature is necessarily challenged as he matures. Some resolve that struggle by denying God, some by denying what is discovered during study of God's creation.

    The majority of the Texas board seem to be the latter.

  • honestly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday February 08, 2013 @07:53PM (#42839073) Homepage Journal

    do something about it

    it's only like this because not enough texans like you are agitating about this

    i would bet a majority of texans agree with you. the problem is a highly motivated, highly vocal minorty highjack the process and the majority is quiet and complacent about the whole nightmare

    you need to get involved. you get the texas you deserve. so put some effort into it, kick these militantly ignorant morons off your school board, and restore texas to the modern world

  • by The Wild Norseman ( 1404891 ) <> on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:06PM (#42839169)

    And atheists are different? Big bang was the atheist answer to God for nearly a century. Now it's the expanding vacuum. Those theories don't answer the question of "is there a creator?" any better than a theology.

    You're asking the wrong question. The correct question is not "is there a creator?" but, "where does the evidence lead?"

    So far, the evidence doesn't lead to a creator (i.e., a god).

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:33PM (#42839377) Homepage Journal

    And atheists are different?

    Yes, they certainly are. Atheists don't have or hold a belief in a god or gods. That's all. From there, they vary enormously.

    Big bang was the atheist answer to God for nearly a century.

    No. Big bang is a scientific theory, currently the best performing one there is (that could change, and that's fine), that has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism or "God", any more than big bang would be offered, or taken, as "the answer" to Santa Claus or any other made-up story character.

    Those theories don't answer the question of "is there a creator?" any better than a theology.

    First of all, those theories are not attempting to find such an answer. They are attempting to describe how the reality around us, as is, developed as far back as we have evidence for, albeit extremely indirect, diffuse evidence. Nowhere in actual cosmology, which is what we're talking about here, does the issue of god or gods arise. It's a physics question, not a question of superstition.

    Secondly, it's a pointless, valueless question. It's on exactly the same level as "is there a Santa Claus?" There's zero evidence for such a thing, despite thousands of yeas of looking for same, so, other than writing fiction or cult-building, there's no reason to assume there is one, and therefore no reason to worry about whether there is one (or several.) When you concern yourself with it, you're simply self-identifying as a cultist or an intellectual lightweight [].

    The day theists have evidence, they've changed the game, and everyone -- including atheists -- will be utterly fascinated to examine that evidence. Until then, theists are in a boat that isn't so much intellectually leaky, as sunken.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:35PM (#42839395)

    Evolution has no moral lessons, you idiot.

    Yes it does. All philosophies have moral lessons.

    (*double take*) You think evolution is a philosophy?

    That's pretty smurfed up.

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @08:44PM (#42839497) Homepage Journal

    Theology works on the theory of a creator

    No. It doesn't. It works on a story of a creator. There's no evidence for one; there's no way to test to see if there is one; there's no way to test to see if there isn't one (it's not falsifiable); there are no predictions re effects upon reality that arise from the idea; etc. Theism is in no way qualified as a theory. Theism is speculation, no more than that, in terms of its value in quantifying reality.

    A reasonable atheist will simply inform you of the complete lack of evidence to back up the speculation, and, if you fail to do so, as all other theists from day one have failed, will assign no value whatsoever to your speculation.

    Of course, not all atheists are reasonable. All atheism is, is a lack of belief in a god or gods. Just as theists vary from really nice people who you'd like to play cards with, to people who fly into buildings and set their wives on fire.

  • by zennyboy ( 1002544 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @09:02PM (#42839651)

    That is a fabulous and well thought out answer, and I mean no offence by anything I say beyond this.

    You proved evolution in your own answer (beaks changing etc.). Now we're just discussing the degree of change evolution offers, which is not quite the point.

    If things can evolve a little, then it follows that with time (and assuming the changes don't lead to a dead-end, or that changes in its environment do not change faster than the creature/plant can evolve to adapt), it MUST follow, that with enough time object X will eventually become very different from starting object Y.

    I hope I clarified my position

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:11PM (#42840163) Homepage Journal

    The questionchanges everything we do if there is a creator. Without one, morality is not an issue. With one, morality becomes important

    Utter nonsense. Morality is a social force within a society, it has zero to do with if there is a god, or not. Furthermore, if the only thing keeping someone in line morally is the idea that some "god" will punish them, they are a disgusting excuse for a socialized human being. The rest of us -- you know, the ones that actually think -- tailor our morals to the benefit of those we love, those we care about, and those who may have an effect upon us. And yes, to ourselves. But the idea that putting one's self forth first in case of morals is the endgame is ridiculous. Set your neighbor's kid on fire, and your career in moral experimentation is over, and check it: absolutely no god required.

    Lastly, if what you claimed about atheists not caring was true then we would not see them using rhetorical fallacies trying to discount people that believe in a creator.

    No, see, here's what you're missing. Atheists don't care what theists believe, though they may well indulge in sympathy or pity. However, all the laws that the religious cults have gotten onto the books, all the restrictive social policies based on theist superstitions... not to mention witch burnings, irrational prejudices against various lifestyles, see, those we care about, and since they're coming from theists, we've learned to be quite wary of them.

    Consequently, we've got self-interest to consider, as well as the interest of our kids, that theist superstition be stamped out. And we're happy folk today, because that's exactly what's happening. We'll keep up the pressure, and some day, no doubt well into the future, but some day, the normal public and legislative reaction to a declaration of religious belief will be nothing but laughter.

  • Re:FSM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:17PM (#42840583)

    Primarily it is a history book,


    its 100% fiction and you bloody well know it.

    its no more history than zeus and the roman/greek stories.

    NO MORE.

    who, today, would argue for ANY 'historical' basis on greek/roman mythology?

    and note, we ALL call it mythology.

    why can't you accept that yours is also at the SAME exact level?

    because you were raised on it? is that any reason at all? honestly?

  • Re:FSM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dido ( 9125 ) <> on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:38AM (#42841007)

    Catholics are definitely no Biblical literalists, and have chosen to interpret Scripture allegorically where it appears to contradict science. Most Catholics believe that the kind of truth that the Bible is supposed to have is of a different type than that sought by science. For instance, they generally interpret the story of Genesis about God breathing life into the dust of the earth and creating humans that way as not an explanation of how human beings came to be (as Biblical literalists like the Texas School Board that are the subject of the article would), but rather an explanation of what human beings are supposed to be in relation to God.

  • Re:FSM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @12:41AM (#42841025) Homepage Journal

    ..." insight into what is lacking in Atheism."

    Actually, the only thing lacking in atheism is a god.

  • Re:FSM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @02:51AM (#42841587) Homepage Journal

    Significant contributions to history.

    So ... what significant contributions has not collecting stamps made? And what contributions would you expect?

  • Re:FSM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfish ( 1653411 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @06:24AM (#42842185)

    The harder part is an understanding of the Bible as a book of history as well as the word.

    Before we even get that far you need to tell why I should even care? Just I feel no need to watch Desperate Housewives, Harry Potter, or study Barraiya, Maui, or Asmat, why would I even waste my time with these fairy tales?

    As for the "Skeptics Bible, it is an Atheist book by book refutation of the Bible

    Again who cares? Atheism isn't a religion (I know this is obvious but it seems to be a hard point to get through to some people). If one Atheist decides to publish some crap doesn't mean anyone else believes it or cares. In fact most literature I've come across on Atheism is a waste of space. Personally I find historical study to be a lot more fulfilling when you learn from an independent point of view, rather than any one particular fairy tale.

  • Re:FSM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfish ( 1653411 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @06:29AM (#42842207)

    Oh I see you haven't done any rigor either.. You would find some world history and literature classes beneficial.

    This is the problem with religious nut jobs. Because you have something missing in your life that your fairy tale resolves, you think everyone else is in the same boat too. I've got a fairly good grasp on history, and not just middle eastern history. And in the when you put all of human history over thousands of years into context, the bible is merely one text in thousands that all have the same old myths in them. Nothing special there, just a brief footnote that yet another primitive culture believed in magic invisible goblins at the bottom of the garden, just like all the rest of them.

  • The very idea of a creator doesn't make sense. Say God created the universe, then you have to ask what created God? If you are willing to believe that God is eternal then why not just believe that the universe itself is eternal?

  • Re:FSM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:28AM (#42842947) Journal

    pop culture atheism you got in the parking lot outside the Slayer concert

    Wouldn't that be more likely to be a hotbed of satanism?

    I could go on, but I'm not providing a longwinded education for you.

    You're not providing any education. You're merely regurgitating shit that's utterly fucking irrelevant. The first testament is a hotchpotch of myths, legends and stories that date back ten thousand years, none of which demonstrate the proof of any deity. The second testament is even less reliable and has been heavily post-edited by people intent on making it give some perceived legitimacy to their ability to exploit ignorance.

  • Re:FSM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @10:34AM (#42842971) Journal

    religion [ri-lij-uhn]
    1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
    3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
    4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
    5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.


    As atheism includes no beliefs, it falls under none of those definitions.

    Oddly enough Atheism is a religion, an irony that I love to pull out and poke into soft flesh.

    Yeah, we've heard about members of the catholic church and their child abuse. But no, atheism is not a religion.

    The ability not to speak of it without sounding like an idiot is understandable from someone idiotic enough to believe in some imaginary being.

  • Re:FSM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:34AM (#42843273) Journal

    I'll drop sports and such under def.1 for fun.

    Saying someone's sport is their religion is an indicator of their devotion to it and/or a satire on religion (depending on your perspective). Sport isn't a religion.

    Atheism includes the belief that there is no creator

    No. Simply, no. Why the fuck do people keep getting this wrong?

    Atheism is the lack of belief that there is a creator.

    However, comically I just checked and it actually agrees with you:
    1 .the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
    2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

    Clearly written by a religious nutjob :)

    Atheism (taken to its etymological roots) means 'no god'. That infers nothing about belief. I do not have to believe that there is no god, in the same way that I do not have to believe that there is no flying hippo, or that there are no ghosts.

    Note that although I also don't think there's any evidence of extra-terrestial life, I do accept its possibility and likelihood. I don't believe in it, but I wouldn't be surprised if we were able one day to provide evidence (at which point I still wouldn't believe in it, because I wouldn't have to).

    Such is the nature of belief, and the lack of belief. I do not believe in god. This makes me an atheist. It does not require me to believe in a negative.

  • Re:FSM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @11:55AM (#42843429) Journal

    Atheists "believe" there is no god, when we differentiate between what we know,think,feel and believe.

    I am an atheist. I do not believe there is a god. I do not need to believe there is no god.

  • Re:FSM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phoghat ( 1288088 ) <> on Saturday February 09, 2013 @02:28PM (#42844587)
    In the defense of the Texas State School board, it is a " theory ", just like the "Theory of Gravity ", which I hear they're going to put to the test by having a mass jump from the top of the tallest building in Houston. Wish 'em luck with that.
  • Re:FSM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tragedy ( 27079 ) on Saturday February 09, 2013 @04:19PM (#42845371)

    Sort of hard to make significant contributions to history as an atheist when revealing yourself as one gets you burned at the stake isn't it? The other choice is pretending to believe, in which case your achievements go down in history as some of the great achievements of _insert religion here_.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler