Outflanked by Idiocy

During the last week, two religious groups filed separate lawsuits in an attempt to prevent the Kansas Board of Education’s new science standards – which include the teaching of evolution – from taking effect.

First up is the Pacific Justice Institute:

Families across Kansas became one step closer, today, to protecting their children from forced atheistic teaching in their public school system. Pacific Justice Institute filed a complaint in Federal District Court challenging the State Board of Education’s (BOE) adoption of certain science standards which would create a hostile learning environment for those of faith.

GOOD.

Look, if everything the human race has learned about natural world tells us that it works in a way that not only contradicts but completely disproves the mythological nonsense that was dumped into your head before you had the presence of mind to realize you were being lied to, then maybe an initially “hostile” learning environment will end up benefiting you greatly in the long run.

In addition to citing numerous areas of law that the standards violate, the complaint cites that the standards cause the state “to promote religious beliefs that are inconsistent with the theistic religious beliefs of plaintiffs, thereby depriving them of the right to be free from government that favors one religious view over another.”

It takes a staggering level of carefully-nurtured ignorance combined with bargain-basement stupid to still think – in the age of information – that both the phenomenon of biological evolution and the theory explaining it are nothing more than a religion.  It’s statements like this that only further underscore the desperate need for standards exactly like the ones Kansas has adopted.  Maybe within a generation or so, people still may not necessarily be able to explain evolution in detail, but they’ll know that it’s real and the scientific community knows what the hell it’s talking about.

Apparently this – which is consistent whether you consider anatomy, the fossil record, or phylogenetics – is nothing more than a matter of faith.

Next up is the complaint by a group called Citizens for “Objective” Public Education or COPE, for short:

This indoctrination is driven by the use of a concealed Orthodoxy (or doctrine) called methodological naturalism or scientific materialism. The Orthodoxy requires that explanations of the cause and nature of natural phenomena may only use natural, material or mechanistic causes, and must assume that teleological or design conceptions of nature are invalid.

It sounds as if COPE’s spokesperson might be confusing methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism.  The former is nothing more than a process, which isn’t “atheistic” because it doesn’t make any claims about the existence of supernatural one way or the other.  It simply makes the assumption that 1) natural phenomena can be explained through causes that are observable, measurable, and independently reproducible and 2) that the supernatural world, if it exists, doesn’t enter into the equation … at least in this particular context.

This is done for three reasons:

  1. It’s the only objective standard we have.  The minute we start treating every strongly held belief as a valid explanation for natural phenomena without bothering to ask for supporting evidence that can be verified by someone else, we might as well give up science altogether and start worshiping the Sun again.
  2. It works.  It’s worked for centuries with no indication thus far that anything can be more adequately explained by invoking God.
  3. There’s no way to test hypotheses that invoke the supernatural.  When divine intervention or interference is completely and thoroughly indistinguishable from random chance, there’s no reason to consider the possibility that it has any influence on natural events at all.

The only reason asking where we come from is lumped into the category of religion is because we haven’t found an answer for it yet.  Taking into consideration the fact that every other aspect related to the Considering it’s only our current lack of understanding of the chemical and biological mechanisms that brought about life from non-life that’s keeping us from answering it.

The Orthodoxy is not religiously neutral as it permits only materialistic/atheistic answers to ultimate religious questions [like “where do we come from?”]. The concealed use of the Orthodoxy in the F&S has the effect of promoting the core tenets of non – theistic religions like Atheism and Religious (secular) Humanism.

The only reason a question like that is considered “religious” is because some people can’t be bothered to search for the real answer, and instead settle for a story that makes them feel good.  We may not have the answer within our generation, but I suspect we will eventually.  At that point, I guess God will have to move into another shadow.

Thankfully, there’s not much hope for the lawsuits. First, they’re trying to sell evolution as a religion, and it sounds like they’re not even sure what evolution is by confusing it with abiogenesis.

Joshua Rosenau, programs and policy director for the Oakland, Calif.-based National Center for Science Education, said Calvert has been making such an argument for years and “no one in the legal community has put much stock in it.”

“They’re trying to say anything that’s not promoting their religion is promoting some other religion,” Rosenau said, dismissing the argument as “silly.”

With any luck, they’ll be dismissed and Kansas will finally have access to science education standards that no longer make them the laughing stock of the nation.  Never mind, I think Texas still holds that honor for its preoccupation with putting creationism into science textbooks … but that’s for another day.

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2 Responses to Outflanked by Idiocy

  1. This crap is so tiring. We all know fully well that if they were to actually give in and teach creationism, they would insist on only ONE form of creationism, thus effectively depriving another actual religion (unlike evolution) of having a say. If we’re gonna say God created people from dirt, then let’s talk about creationism in all faiths. I want to hear them teach the one where the earth essentially came from the menstrual blood of a goddess. Or the one where we were puked up by another god. That would be fascinating. Completely inappropriate for a school, of course, but no more so than teaching the usual Christianity theory.

    • Exactly. They don’t care about giving equal time to anyone or anything other than their own ideas. It’s clear they can’t stand the rigors of peer review and independent verification so they have to try and get it pushed through using politicians who have never taken a science class before in their lives.

      I want to hear them teach the one where the earth essentially came from the menstrual blood of a goddess. Or the one where we were puked up by another god.

      That would kinda make bio class a little more interesting …

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