Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin is a Creationist!

No wonder McCain bumped me on the noon news today. I was going to promote our evolution workshop. McCain's new running pal, Sarah Palin, is more right wing than he is. Get this, she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools!

The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor's race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state's public classrooms. Palin was answering a question from the moderator near the conclusion of Wednesday night's televised debate on KAKM Channel 7 when she said, 'Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.' (read more)


Alaska! What were you thinking? She is a disaster...

...for the Republicans.

22 comments:

  1. I'm being the Eeyore of the Intertubes, today, I'm afraid...

    People are very easily swayed by that "teach both" garbage. Most people couldn't tell you what a scientific theory (or a hypothesis) is to save their souls. "Teach both" sounds like a good compromise---and aren't Democrats always talking about the need to compromise? What's the problem?! (Not my view, of course, but I hear it a lot.)

    All those folks are going to see is an attractive youngish woman with 5 children--including a son who's headed for Iraq next month and another with Down's Syndrome. Her sympathy numbers are going to be sky-high with women, and her huntin', shootin', fishin' numbers with men are going to be equally high.

    Paired with McCain the War Hero, she's an EXCELLENT choice for a ticket that wants the American public to think they are about one thing when they're really about another.

    Whether she's enough to get him elected is debatable---but we underestimate her appeal at our peril...

    Doxy

    ReplyDelete
  2. As I wrote on Fran's blog, this election will appeal to the angels of our lower nature.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Guys,

    I could be wrong, but I honestly don't think most people in or outside the church are that highly concerned about this ID vs. theistic evolution controversy.

    I can't understand either why it would be a disaster to open the conversation. And, to my mind, there are tons of more important issues for us to focus on.

    My opinion, anyway. :)

    I'm not sure who I'm voting for at this point, but I can't see that either candidate is bound to put us in peril. They both seem like good men to me. Although, I can't fully agree with the views of either.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can't understand either why it would be a disaster to open the conversation. And, to my mind, there are tons of more important issues for us to focus on.

    Because, dear Grace, "intelligent design" is not science!!!!

    It's hugely important to me that my children not be taught theology in the science classroom. I am teaching them theology at home and at church---I want their science teacher to teach them science.

    There is ZERO scientific evidence for intelligent design---because it simply isn't testable or replicable. Evolution is a SCIENTIFIC theory, not a theological one. Science comes from observable evidence and replicable experiments. It comes from data and analysis and revising the latter when the former doesn't fit.

    ID is faith, not science. It has no business in a public school classroom. Period.

    See what I mean, folks? Grace is a lovely, intelligent person---and she doesn't get it. Doesn't see that ID is being touted as science when it isn't and never can be. Doesn't see why the issue is so important.

    This is why I cannot be complacent about this election. If Grace, who isn't stupid, doesn't "get it," you can bet there are MILLIONS more like her---all likely to pull the lever for McCain.

    Pax,
    Doxy

    ReplyDelete
  5. I echo Doxy's thoughts, Grace.

    This is hugely important - more so perhaps for those outside of church. They do not want their kids learning this.

    As a churched person, neither do I.

    It matters and it matters a lot, IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I understand Doxy, and Fran. It's not a huge issue for me, either way. Perhaps it's best to let the parents and teachers in each district decide in this.

    I would personally tell kids it's ok to question, and debate the issue. It might be presented that the vast majority of scientists do accept the prevailing theories of macro-evolution that are out there. But, there is some dissent, and here's why.

    I would not be in favor, though, of specifically teaching the book of Genesis in the public shools.

    I would not have any problem with Sarah Palin being a proponent of ID, as vice-president. That's her opinion. Why should it be a litmus test? I would be more concerned about her actual political experience, and position in other weightier issues.

    Guess we'll have to agree to disagree, ((Doxy.)) :)

    ReplyDelete

  7. See what I mean, folks? Grace is a lovely, intelligent person---and she doesn't get it. Doesn't see that ID is being touted as science when it isn't and never can be. Doesn't see why the issue is so important.


    Yup. Yet for Grace it is a big deal that we embrace the literal reality of a bronze age deity.

    When we have a moron in office, it does have affects on our real lives. Ask the National Academy of Sciences or NASA how well things have gone since the anti-science dunderhead, Bush, has been in office?

    If we get a 44 year old mother of five in a high office, who appears to epitomize the American dream for women, with awful ideas about science education, it will provide fuel for the creationist movements in our schools.

    I am going to have to do a bunch more Michael Dowd workshops.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Perhaps it's best to let the parents and teachers in each district decide in this.

    Maybe we should just let parents and teachers in each district decide whether math is necessary? How many times have you heard people say "What do I need algebra for?!"

    Or how about we let each district decide whether to teach children spelling and grammar? I mean, why bother with the basics? U kan problee unnerstan whut I meen, evun if I don spel it rite!

    School districts that allow science teachers to teach "intelligent design" or creationism are doing their students a grave disservice. You can bet that the Chinese aren't doing that!

    I would not have any problem with Sarah Palin being a proponent of ID, as vice-president. That's her opinion. Why should it be a litmus test?

    Because intelligent people don't confuse science with theology. If she can't tell the difference between them, she shouldn't be one heartbeat away from the presidency.

    She's probably just selling out to her base, though. And that makes it worse to me. I'm tired of politicians with no integrity. I want people, no matter what their party, who can stand up to ignorance and counter it.

    I would be more concerned about her actual political experience, and position in other weightier issues.

    It's all of a piece, Grace. I'm certainly concerned about those things. To me, embracing ignorance in one area doesn't bode well for other areas.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Doxy,

    To tell the truth, reading this article more closely, it doesn't seem to me that Palin is a huge proponent of ID.

    And, she's not even coming out, and saying that ID should be mandated teaching in the public schools. But, I think she's just saying that if kids come up with questions, and disagreement, then it's ok to talk about that, and teach the controversy.

    John, do you really believe in this way, that everyone who leans toward ID is just a moron?

    And, what do you mean it's a big deal for Grace that we embrace the literal reality of a "bronze age deity?"

    Explain. :)

    I think you like to "stir the pot," ((John Shuck.))

    ReplyDelete
  10. Grace wrote, "John, do you really believe in this way, that everyone who leans toward ID is just a moron?"

    I'll let John answer for himself. But my answer to that question would be, that yes, in fact, I do believe that everyone who believes in ID is a moron, on the level of people who think the moon landings were a hoax and that 9/11 was a government conspiracy, and that the Holy Spirit is, in fact, a magnetic field:

    http://www.scienceprovescreation.com/

    (BTW, I know it's hard to tell these days, but that site is NOT a spoof. It is, unfortunately, very serious.) What can one call people who believe such outlandish, ridiculous notions that contain not one single shred of evidence if not "morons?"

    Wait! We should teach those things in science classes too! Teach the controversy!!!

    Feh.

    What else can one say about people who refuse to look at the basic facts? Now if this weren't the information age, and these facts weren't literally at everyone's finger tips, then one might excuse people for simply being misinformed. However that isn't the case. It IS the information age, and Google can bring the facts about evolution to you in one click.

    There are certainly those who have not done enough reading, and they're not morons, just misinformed, and apparently not interested enough here in 2008 to inform themselves. That may not make them morons, but it certainly doesn't excuse them for their decision to remain uninformed. And those that have heard the facts and refuse to consider them? Well, yeah...Morons. Or, more appropriately, using Biblical language, "fools" -- people who have heard the truth and reject it.

    Now, if people want to hear this controversy in the schools, fine. Do so where it belongs, in a current events class, a world religions class, a history class. But I believe teaching theology in a science class only confuses kids, it ruins science, and it ruins theology.

    Do we have plenty of more important things to debate? Yeah, I don't really think we should be spending ANY time debating whether or not to debate that the moon landings were faked either. Unfortunately we're in a big country, and we need to spend time debating all these things. Frankly though, we liberals didn't bring ID up first, so if there are more important things to debate, then perhaps folks should ask the conservatives to focus on those issues instead.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Alan spoke eloquently what I meant when I said moron. There is no way that a person who can't tell the difference between theology and science should be in a position of influence, let alone vice president.

    If you don't know the difference between theology and science you are, to put it 'biblically' a fool. If you do know the difference but pretend you don't to get votes from other fools, you are evil.

    The McCain-Palin ticket is for the following:

    1) the rich and evil and
    2) the poor and stupid.

    That should stir the pot.

    As far as the other comment, Grace, I apologize. It was a reaction to your comments on my previous post on the Gospel of Mary.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "teach the controversy."

    Yikes.

    I thought Grace was more informed than that.

    But she is not running for high office.

    She is not running for vice president with a guy who is 72 years old, who has had cancer, and whose body has endured more abuse than just about anybody I know. There is a good chance he won't live through a full term, and if we end up with a ex beauty queen who doesn't understand why ID does not belong in the school system, THAT, my friends, is a scary thought.

    You thought Bush was a dumb push over for the right wing hard liners, this young friend of the oil cartel would be America's nail in the coffin.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Alan, you are a man of some strong opinions. But, I actually was taught at a secular school by men with graduate degrees from Harvard in the biological sciences who thought there were serious flaws, and questions relating to macro-evolution. Both were open to ID. Their concern was as much from a scientific perspective, as it was theological. (BTW, they didn't think that God hid fossils in the rocks to test our faith. :)) Sheesh!!

    Trust me, they definitely were not morons. On the other hand, I have alot of respect for scientists like Francis Collins who are committed Christians, and total proponents of theistic evolution.

    John, I'm almost afraid to ask you to explain your opinion about McCain. I don't know.

    What's wrong with just saying, "And, I disagree with someone's view. "Here's why," as opposed to saying: "So and so is a moron, evil, stupid, etc."

    It's little wonder we have such polarization in the church, and the culture in general.

    No need to apologize though, John. It's ok. It's just hard for me to know where you're coming from at times. Can you understand?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Grace,

    Such men with degrees from Harvard are committing no less than perjury if they claim ID has any scientific validity whatsoever.

    As to "macro-evolution", think of a car driving along the freeway at 60 miles an hour. Micro evolution is when you take two pictures of it half a second apart. Not much distance traveled. Macro evolution is when you take two pictures of it one hour apart.

    With the added twist that some cars travel faster than others, and in traffic, sometimes a car goes fast and sometimes it goes slow.

    No kidding, there are religious nuts out there who get degrees in science only to use their credentials to confuse the issue. They are as unethical as they are dishonest, but they feel that the end justifies the means. I've met a couple.

    But in a court of law they have been shown to be committing perjury. No kidding.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jodie,

    I'm not entirely certain where I come down in all this. But, here's what I think.

    I'm not feeling that any of these people are idiots on either side of the issue. I don't see that anyone is committing deliberate perjury.

    I think that there are different ways that people interpret the evidence that's out there. And, to my mind, so many of the few scientist that affirm ID, really think outside the box. They are willing to go against the grain, and thinking of the current scientific establishment.

    A couple of times, I have tried to pull together the different technical journels, and materials together that are out there, to wade through the arguments. (I'm not just talking about popular books written for the general layperson.)

    And, I found it quite confusing. I felt like I didn't have enough knowledge to truly evaluate all this in a deep way, to take a firm postition. Time and patience were also part of the equation at the time. (laughing)

    And, Jodie, I don't mean to be boastful in saying this at all, but I have a pretty high IQ, and a graduate degree. My undergraduate major was in anthro. from a secular school.

    I believe the whole issue is alot more complex than folks on both sides of this realize, or are willing to admit.

    Now, one thing I will say is that I don't feel the arguments for a "young earth," hold up. So, I feel strongly about that piece, but I have to be honest, and say that I am at least open to the possibility of ID.

    If that makes me an idiot, and a moron, so be it. There's an awful lot of us out here. (laughing)

    God bless you, Jodie. I just started a new position working with our local county Children and Youth. So right now, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. There's alot to learn. Prayers appreciated.

    But, maybe eventually when I have time, I might study all this over again. It all does seem to be this huge controversy right now.

    I also want to stress that as a Christian, I think my basis for spiritual unity with folks is around the gospel, and who we are in Christ. It's not centered at all in how folks interpet the book of Genesis.

    We need to love, and respect each other through these differences, IMO.

    Nuff said. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Grace, a couple of years ago, we invited a Ph.D. in physical/organic chemistry to come and speak for our Faith and Science series.

    He has an earned doctorate in the hard sciences from the University of Texas at Austin (maybe that's the issue?) and he's a chemist with Glaxo. He's not even a proponent of ID---he's a young earth creationist!

    So forgive me if I'm not impressed with degrees, per se. If you choose to disengage your brain so that you can preserve what I perceive to be a VERY weak faith, all the doctorates in the world don't make you right. (He actually told the group that his faith would be destroyed if he could be convinced that Genesis was not a factual account of creation...so, so sad.)

    I agree with you, however, about the name-calling. It's not productive---or very Christian, in my view.

    But it frightens me that someone as smart as you cannot see why this is a "big deal." You are a big proponent of Truth--and I would think you would be offended by people who are essentially lying about what ID is, in order to introduce God into the classroom in disguise.

    Again---this is about not confusing theology and science. After what has happened to this country in the last 8 years---when (bad) theology has been inserted into public policy at EVERY turn---I have no choice but to fight this tooth and nail. I see, in a very real way, what happens when science gets subordinated to religion---over 2 million people contracted HIV last year because we don't spend money on proven means of prevention. We don't do that, because doing so would mean we would have to talk frankly about sex and drug use, and promote harm-reduction strategies---not just abstinence.

    Scientific ignorance kills people, Grace. And we are complicit in that if we don't fight it when we find it.

    Pax,
    Doxy

    ReplyDelete
  17. And we cross-posted. Prayers for your new job!

    Pax,
    Doxy

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Alan, you are a man of some strong opinions. "

    No grace, I'm really not. I'm a man who looks at FACTS, not opinions. I like tomatoes, I don't like fish. Those are opinions. There is no evidence to support ID. That's a fact.

    But, I actually was taught at a secular school by men with graduate degrees from Harvard in the biological sciences who thought there were serious flaws, and questions relating to macro-evolution. Both were open to ID. Their concern was as much from a scientific perspective, as it was theological."

    And I Grace, actually was taught at one of the most conservative Christian schools in the country, by men with graduate degrees from Harvard in the biological and geological sciences who thought that ID was a load of crap.

    But frankly, Grace, as a Chemistry PhD candidate myself, with graduate degrees in Macromolecular Science, and in Education, living in a city where the Starbucks barrista probably has at least 2 advanced degrees, degrees don't really impress me much. What impresses me is clarity of thought, and reason.

    Questions relating to macro-evolution? Heck, we have questions about EVERY scientific theory. Questions do not equal refutation.

    Let's be clear. ID is not a scientific theory. Every scientific theory must be founded upon assumptions that can be tested. Go ahead, Grace, propose for me a *scientific* test for the existence of the "Great Designer." ID has been around for quite a while, and not only is there no reasonable proof for this "Designer's" existence, I don't know of any experiment ever having been designed to do so in the first place.

    Let's also be clear. ID is not, what some would call "theistic evolution." ID is quite simply a political ploy to get old-fashioned, young earth creationism into the schools. Do some reading on the recent Dover case (it's available on the web, surprise!), and you'll see the disingenuous ways in which ID supporters have tried to get their agenda into the schools. Are those really the sorts of people with whom you want to count yourself?

    In addition, ID is bad theology. Point to one, even one verse in which God reveals himself using the words "Intelligent Designer". You won't find one. Anywhere. Why? Because God is not just a watchmaker. God is imminent in our lives, and particularly through the Revelation of Jesus Christ on Earth.

    "If that makes me an idiot, and a moron, so be it. There's an awful lot of us out here. "

    That's hardly an argument in your favor. 20% of Americans believe the moon landings were a hoax. I, for one, would hardly feel comfortable being counted among their number either.

    Tell me, do you believe that the moon landings were a hoax? Do you believe the government was responsible for 9/11? Because there is MUCH more evidence for both of those crazy ideas than ID.

    ReplyDelete
  19. That is sad about the chemist, Doxy. Afterall, Scripture was not given to be a modern day, science textbook. Our whole faith is centered in the reality of the incarnation, not in the precise means of creation.

    But, I do think it is awesome that your church invited people with opposing viewpoints to speak, and debate the issue. I personally feel this is more inclusive, and a better way to approach the whole issue.

    This is off topic, I know. Forgive us, John.

    I'm feeling it's entirely possible to have abstinence based education, encourage young people to wait, and to present contraceptive information at the sametime.

    I am skeptical, though, that the main reason for HIV transmission in this country anyway, is primarily because of a lack of knowledge.

    I could be wrong, but my feeling is that the problem is as much value-based.

    But, what do you think, Doxy? I know that you are very much involved in HIV education, and I"m sure have alot more involvement in all this, than me.

    Peace, right back atcha!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Grace,

    I want to echo Alen's recommendation that you read up on the Dover case when you get back to the topic. Start with the decision itself.

    I think that what the ID controversy has taught me is that even in America we can not take the acceptance of a scientific cosmology for granted. There are social forces at play that literally cause people to reject science and intentionally choose non scientific cosmologies instead.

    I used to think that such rejections were a matter of obedience, not cosmologies. For example a person might reject a medical procedure in favor of a prayer meeting, not because they believed the medical procedure was ineffective, but because they wanted to make a tangible gesture of faith and acceptance that what God allowed to happen was implicitly God's will. That even makes sense to me, though I've never really gone down that path, nor am I likely to.

    But to say that the Bible requires one to reject the evidence that presents itself forces one to suspend basic logic, like saying that the snow on the ground in the morning was created in place and didn't fall out of the sky.

    If you majored in anthro then you know that the basic insight of science is to not blame that which we don't understand on magic. Blaming the mechanisms of nature that we don't fully understand on magic is exactly what ID requires.

    The religious proponents of ID are no different than the shamans of old (and of not so old) who fear the loss of their kind of power that comes with scientific reasoning. Democracy on the other hand is based on, and is the natural political consequence of scientific reasoning. So, at the end of the day, the mental exercise required to place ID on equal footing with science is a threat to democracy. And that is the reason we have to oppose it. Not because people don't have a right to their own beliefs, but because to confuse our children about the nature of scientific reasoning undermines their ability to sustain the democracy they will inherit, and the freedom that our own fathers paid so dearly to preserve for our own generation.

    ReplyDelete
  21. But, I do think it is awesome that your church invited people with opposing viewpoints to speak, and debate the issue.

    If you want to know more, check here. We had a 3-year grant from the Metanexus Foundation and it was a hugely successful initiative in our parish. (People were extraordinarily polite to the YEC, btw. We ARE Episcopalians, after all! ;-)

    I'm feeling it's entirely possible to have abstinence-based education, encourage young people to wait, and to present contraceptive information at the same time.

    Every reliable SCIENTIFIC study (i.e., testable hypothesis and replicable) says it is...

    But how many of our current policymakers have turned their back on science, and embraced (bad) theology instead? Answer: All of the ones at the top. Yet another reason that this election matters so much...

    I am skeptical, though, that the main reason for HIV transmission in this country anyway, is primarily because of a lack of knowledge.

    At the International AIDS Conference, I met a young woman who was infected with HIV in 2003. At that time, she had no idea what HIV was, and had no idea that she could get it from unprotected sex. In 2003!!!!!!

    Her story will be published this month by Amistad Press: The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive, by Marvelyn Brown (with Courtney E. Martin). I highly recommend it---it will shock you...both the level of ignorance she had, and the way she was (and continues to be) treated by those in her community when her diagnosis was known.

    It is probably no coincidence that she was from my home state of Tennessee, where abstinence-only sex education is about the only kind you are likely to find....

    I could be wrong, but my feeling is that the problem is as much value-based.

    There is clearly some of that as well---but you would be amazed at the level of ignorance about HIV, as we head for the 30th anniversary of the first identified cases.

    So, at the end of the day, the mental exercise required to place ID on equal footing with science is a threat to democracy. And that is the reason we have to oppose it. Not because people don't have a right to their own beliefs, but because to confuse our children about the nature of scientific reasoning undermines their ability to sustain the democracy they will inherit, and the freedom that our own fathers paid so dearly to preserve for our own generation.

    Jodie---that is, in a word, brilliant. Thanks.

    Doxy

    ReplyDelete