Page 1 of 2 [ 24 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next


Should we give equal time to the flat earth theory in geography classrooms?
Poll ended at 27 Jun 2011, 2:03 am
absolutely! present both sides and let the students decide! 7%  7%  [ 2 ]
No, let the side that has actual evidence supporting it be taught. No need to confuse children with blatant lies proven false long ago.. 89%  89%  [ 24 ]
I don't know or don't care. 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 27

TheBicyclingGuitarist
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 May 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,342

22 Jun 2011, 2:03 am

Would it be prudent to take spiritual advice about the afterlife from a religion that is demonstrably out of touch with reality? For example, what if someone was telling you what you should do to get to heaven, but also insisted the earth is flat in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Wouldn't it damage that religion's credibility on spiritual matters if it can be so easily proven wrong about something that has so much physical evidence? Wouldn't you question that person's sanity or at the very least, their ability to reason clearly?

Take it further, what if that religion had a relatively large percentage of the population bamboozled into thinking the earth is really flat, and those well-meaning but misguided people heavily lobbied school boards and politicians to demand equal time for the flat earth theory, citing "academic fairness" and "teach the controversy" as their slogans?

What if that religion ignored tons of evidence of many different types that clearly falsified its views, and denied or distorted the evidence it didn't ignore to bamboozle its followers into thinking there actually was any substance to their argument. What if there had been a dozen major court cases the past forty years where that religion could have presented evidence to support their view, or evidence to falsify the idea the earth isn't flat, yet failed to do so. What if there was actually NO scientific evidence, none at all, to support that religion's view. Does it still seem right or fair to give it "equal time" in public school science classrooms?

That is EXACTLY the situation in America today with regard to the teaching of evolution. This is not a straw man argument. To deny the overwhelming evidence for evolution is just as ridiculous and just as wrong as to insist the earth is really flat. The situation is exactly as I describe it, no exaggeration, no distortion. It would be funny if the potential negative consequences for America, humanity and the planet were not so grave. How can so many people be so ignorant in the 21st century?

Note that I am not claiming that the evidence for evolution somehow disproves God. What I am saying is that the evidence does exist; it is not as most Creationists describe it, and many people are basing their opinion on faulty information. If God exists, God apparently used evolution as a tool of creation, and if it didn't happen that way, then God is apparently a trickster to plant so MUCH evidence suggesting that it did.


_________________
"When you ride over sharps, you get flats!"--The Bicycling Guitarist, May 13, 2008


MarketAndChurch
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 Apr 2011
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,022
Location: The Peoples Republic Of Portland

22 Jun 2011, 3:43 am

It is partially biology, and partially philosophy(or humanities) so a mixed course setting would be more appropriate. The Biology portion will be slightly reduced but chemistry and physics are kept intact as-is.

What is wrong with not being taught evolutionary biology? It tends to lead to atheism. Dawkins himself said that it is nonsensical for the theist to think that they can - while being intellectually honest with themselves - adopt both God and Darwin.

You can still make a great chemist at GlaxoSmithKline or Roche or a physicist at Lockheed Martin or NASA. You make great money, and you are less likely to be an atheist.


_________________
It is not up to you to finish the task, nor are you free to desist from trying.


TheBicyclingGuitarist
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 May 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,342

22 Jun 2011, 4:05 am

MarketAndChurch wrote:
What is wrong with not being taught evolutionary biology? It tends to lead to atheism. Dawkins himself said that it is nonsensical for the theist to think that they can - while being intellectually honest with themselves - adopt both God and Darwin.


Then Dawkins is full of it, in my opinion. He is making a rather arrogant assertion that is beyond the ability of science to back up. I do agree that a literal reading of Genesis is falsified by the facts of the natural world, which would tend to suggest that if the Bible is true then perhaps Genesis was not meant to be taken literally as a science or history textbook.

But I'm not sure if I understand your position. Are you saying that even (or especially) if evolution is true, it should not be taught? It seems to me our children deserve to learn the truth about what evidence exists for evolution, whether or not it conflicts with anyone's religion. I would say Biology is as important as Physics or Chemistry, but if the scientific method and reasoning clearly from evidence are not taught (due to religious meddling in the science classroom), they won't learn those either. In order to fight disease and world hunger, a solid understanding of evolutionary biology seems like it would at least help if not be essential.

MarketAndChurch wrote:
You can still make a great chemist at GlaxoSmithKline or Roche

GlaxoSmithKline and Roche are both healthcare chemistry companies, and understanding evolutionary relationships has led to many breakthroughs in medicine including the development of antibiotics. Gene therapy would never have happened without understanding evolution either, and that is one direction modern medicine is going. Genentech, the first biotechnology company, joined the Roche group in 2009.

Genetic evidence (such as human chromosome 2, endogenous retroviruses, and pseudogenes) is some of the strongest evidence that exists for evolution, but by no means the only evidence. Nested hierarchies of many different types of data all produce the same tree of life expected and explained by evolution, which is also backed up by the chronological order and geographical distribution of the fossil record, which has MANY transitional forms found exactly where they would be expected to be found based on analysis of other data.

MarketAndChurch wrote:
or a physicist at Lockheed Martin or NASA. You make great money, and you are less likely to be an atheist.

It took many years, but eventually mainstream Christianity bowed to the weight of evidence and admitted the earth goes around the sun. I am not aware of any denomination that still insists the sun goes around the earth. Evolution is in roughly the same position now with respect to Christianity as heliocentrism was a few centuries ago. Those denominations that continue to deny it will increasingly become a lunatic fringe cult. Already MOST Christians worldwide, whether they realize it or not, belong to denominations that either accept the fact evolution happens or say whether or not it happens is not relevant to their faith in God or the Bible. I suppose they aren't "true" Christians then, eh?


_________________
"When you ride over sharps, you get flats!"--The Bicycling Guitarist, May 13, 2008


Last edited by TheBicyclingGuitarist on 22 Jun 2011, 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MCalavera
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Dec 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,602

22 Jun 2011, 7:38 am

I find it absurd that anyone could believe in evolution while still believing the Bible to be true.

Yes, I agree with Dawkins here (as much as I find him to be very obnoxious but then again so am I).



aelf
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 23 Dec 2010
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Posts: 56

22 Jun 2011, 8:47 am

TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
Would it be prudent to take spiritual advice about the afterlife from a religion that is demonstrably out of touch with reality? For example, what if someone was telling you what you should do to get to heaven, but also insisted the earth is flat in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Wouldn't it damage that religion's credibility on spiritual matters if it can be so easily proven wrong about something that has so much physical evidence? Wouldn't you question that person's sanity or at the very least, their ability to reason clearly?


Yes and maybe not. While it's probably a good idea to try to be well intellectually rounded, I'm not sure it makes sense to expect all sources of advice to be without flaw in some area of intellectual thought that is not their specialty, or even the thing we look to them for. I like Orson Scott Card's fiction writing and would take advice from him on that, even though I do not like his religion or politics and would ignore him if he talked about those subjects. To make it more personal to most people here, it would be silly to discount an aspie's knowledge of their special interest field just because they weren't good at understanding social nuance.



Last edited by aelf on 22 Jun 2011, 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

Fnord
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 May 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 38,769
Location: Stendec

22 Jun 2011, 8:51 am

"No, let the side that has actual evidence supporting it be taught. No need to confuse children with blatant lies proven false long ago."

This also applies to religious principles, conspiracy theories, extraterrestrial intelligence, and other unprovable concepts.


_________________
"I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not."
-- Kurt Cobain (1967 – 1994)


ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 83
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,726
Location: New Jersey

22 Jun 2011, 8:59 am

absurd. Flat Earth is Flat Out Wrong. It has no place in our schools except as an example of a Flat Out Wrong hypothesis.

By the way: the Flat Earth hypothesis is not a -lie-, it is a mistake. If one lives far from the sea on a non-mountainous terrain it is very natural to assume flat earth. Just as it is very natural (but mistaken) to assume the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars circle about the earth. We have no immediate since of the earth rotation or revolution about the sun. This is something we have to infer from careful observation. That is why the heliocentric hypothesis took so long to be accepted. We got the technology to support it empirically only 402 years ago, when Galileo pointed a telescope up instead of looking in the neighboring buildings at naked women.

ruveyn



Philologos
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Age: 76
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,985

22 Jun 2011, 9:21 am

bicycling guitarist:

"Then Dawkins is full of it, in my opinion. He is making a rather arrogant assertion that is beyond the ability of science to back up. I do agree that a literal reading of Genesis is falsified by the facts of the natural world, which would tend to suggest that if the Bible is true then perhaps Genesis was not meant to be taken literally as a science or history textbook. " says you.

I quite agree. As is any scientist sensu lato who gets into rabble rousing. As is any scientist sensu lato who in theology or biology, linguistics or cosmology tweaks the data to support the hypothesis rather than adjust the hypothesis for better fit to the data. It happens - who has not ignored that one point on the graph that will not get even close to the curve? After all, observational error abounds, the texts linguists, literaticians, historians, theologians use get garbled in transmission. But the elegance of the theory derives from the choherence of the data, not vice versa.

I have said it again and again - those who fear Bible freaks will destroy science, and those who fear godless evolutionists will undo Christ's work - or Muhammad's, for that matter - are alike paranoiacs who have no faith in whazt they profess to believe. I spit me of any theory so unrobust it cannot bear to be faced with another opinion.

As for the schools - there too I have said again and again - it is not WHAT is taught, it is HOW it is thought. Give me a school system where school leavers are moved toward thinking to the best of their ability [alas, I know what the Organizers and the Powerpeople think of THAT goal] and I will not worry about the popular sciences or the liberal arts or linguistics.

If only - if thinkers took back linguistics I could die happy.



ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 83
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,726
Location: New Jersey

22 Jun 2011, 9:25 am

Philologos wrote:

If only - if thinkers took back linguistics I could die happy.


What is your problem with linguistics? By the way, Transformation Grammars work. Chomsky got one thing right.

ruveyn



Philologos
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Age: 76
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,985

22 Jun 2011, 10:00 am

ruveyn wrote:
Philologos wrote:

If only - if thinkers took back linguistics I could die happy.


What is your problem with linguistics? By the way, Transformation Grammars work. Chomsky got one thing right.

ruveyn


Transformational grammars can be made to work. I can put my socks and pants on backwards too.

But TG is not the only way to describe a language, not is it necessarily for any given purpose the best way. My problem is not with Linguistics - there I have very few problems - but with what was done to the linguistic community.

Spreading the Chomskyite dictum that TG was the ONLY way the TG people - who were not linguists though some of them became linguists - took over, edged everybody else out of the field, imposed uniformity [quote - "There is ONLY ONE GENIUS in this field"] and in fact did to Linguistics what my brother thinks theism will do to his field.

These days in Linguistics - and no end in sight - you want in, you toss your crityical faculties in the yellow bin by the front door.

THAT is my gripe. Forget what happened to me and several other good people of my linguistic generation. Count up the eager language lovers I have had to warn to stay out of Linguistics.



Orwell
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 8 Aug 2007
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Posts: 13,765
Location: Room 101

22 Jun 2011, 10:37 am

MarketAndChurch wrote:
It is partially biology, and partially philosophy(or humanities) so a mixed course setting would be more appropriate.

Nonsense. It is science.

Quote:
The Biology portion will be slightly reduced but chemistry and physics are kept intact as-is.

Actually, the YEC belief has to throw out chemistry and physics as well. Hell, they even have to arbitrarily change the speed of light to be able to maintain their timeline.

Quote:
What is wrong with not being taught evolutionary biology? It tends to lead to atheism. Dawkins himself said that it is nonsensical for the theist to think that they can - while being intellectually honest with themselves - adopt both God and Darwin.

So what? Dawkins doesn't speak for the rest of the world. A very large portion of scientists (at least in the US) are Christians who accept evolution.


_________________
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH


TheBicyclingGuitarist
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 May 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,342

22 Jun 2011, 11:24 am

ruveyn wrote:
absurd. Flat Earth is Flat Out Wrong. It has no place in our schools except as an example of a Flat Out Wrong hypothesis.

By the way: the Flat Earth hypothesis is not a -lie-, it is a mistake. If one lives far from the sea on a non-mountainous terrain it is very natural to assume flat earth. Just as it is very natural (but mistaken) to assume the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars circle about the earth. We have no immediate since of the earth rotation or revolution about the sun. This is something we have to infer from careful observation. That is why the heliocentric hypothesis took so long to be accepted. We got the technology to support it empirically only 402 years ago, when Galileo pointed a telescope up instead of looking in the neighboring buildings at naked women.

ruveyn


Yes, but those who push Special Creation (or its new disguise "intelligent design") do spread LIES. Perhaps most of those who spout the non-truths are ignorant of how much they are being lied to by sources they trust, but some of those sources may just be in it for the money. And yes about how the earth seems flat, and for practical purposes at the scale of laying out the foundations of a house it may be treated as if it were flat. Similarly, a great local flood could have been interpreted by those who were in it to have covered the whole world, because to them, it did.


_________________
"When you ride over sharps, you get flats!"--The Bicycling Guitarist, May 13, 2008


TheBicyclingGuitarist
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 May 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,342

22 Jun 2011, 11:51 am

@MCalavera: No offense meant, but saying someone "believes" in evolution is a poor way to phrase it and plays into the creationists' game. It is as silly as asking if someone "believes" in gravity or electricity. It makes more sense to ask someone whether or not they accept the fact evolution happens, and if not, why not? I agree it is difficult if not impossible to hold a YEC interpretation and accept evolution, but many people have found spiritual guidance through the Bible without having to deny reality. It's all in how well one can handle metaphors. Some people get so hung up on the details of a story used to communicate a message that they miss the whole point of the message the story was trying to convey.

@Philologos: yes, academic disciplines go through fads for all their talk of being free thinkers. For decades I thought I was going to spend my entire life in the academic world, but found I wasn't finding the answers I sought and I saw the petty limitations of that crowd.

I actually WOULD like to see both sides taught in science classrooms, with appropriate amounts of time given each side according to the amount of evidence supporting them. I figure when it's time to discuss the scientific evidence for creationism (by creationism here I mean the YEC interpretation of Genesis), the teacher could announce what he was going to discuss, then stand there in silence for thirty seconds until the students got the joke (a nod to someone who commented at the Sensuous Curmudgeon blog who said something like that sometime the past few days).

Alternatively, throughout the semester the teacher could use the scientific method to examine the competing claims, with the result that time after time the students could see that evolution has ALL the evidence yet found supporting it, and that same evidence falsifies the YEC interpretation with NO evidence yet found supporting that interpretation. You know, I would LOVE it if the fundies actually got their wish, IF it were actually to be taught honestly that is. They should be careful what they wish for. If it were done honestly (assuming the teachers were qualified to teach, which is another problem), their children would come crying home from school telling their parents that their religious beliefs are NOT supported by the evidence of the physical world.

Still, in science classrooms, don't teach the controversy; teach the science. The so-called controversy is NOT a scientific one, in spite of all the LIES to that effect told by desperate YEC'ers and ID'ers. It is a social or religious controversy. Among the scientists of the world, especially biologists but including most people worldwide who have actually studied the evidence, accepting the fact of evolution is just about as unanimous as it is possible for a scientific idea to be.


_________________
"When you ride over sharps, you get flats!"--The Bicycling Guitarist, May 13, 2008


Last edited by TheBicyclingGuitarist on 22 Jun 2011, 1:23 pm, edited 5 times in total.

DeaconBlues
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Apr 2007
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,960
Location: Earth, mostly

22 Jun 2011, 12:13 pm

Actually, ruveyn, the Flat Earth Hypothesis was pretty thoroughly disproved by the Greek philosopher Eratosthenes, around 250 BCE. Using the difference in angle in sunlight observed in wells in Syene and Alexandria (about seven degrees), he was able to calculate that Earth was round, and that its diameter was about 252,000 stadia, a pretty darn close approximation. (The popular story of Columbus not getting his voyages funded because "everyone thought the world was flat" is nonsense; he didn't get funding because it was pretty obvious by 1492 that sailing west to get to Cathay was the long way around. Columbus made an error in his calculations, thinking the planet's diameter was only 5000 miles, not 25,000. Fortunately for him, there was a previously-unknown continent in the way, else his entire expedition would have been lost at sea...)

And (directed now at the discussion in general) Dawkins' contention seems to have been based on the impression that the only way one can have a Christian or Judaic religious faith is by being a Biblical literalist, a false dichotomy propounded largely by Biblical literalists and strident atheists. Certainly, if one were to sincerely believe that the book of Genesis, as one example, were literally factual and "true" in the scientific sense, it would be impossible to simultaneously understand the basic concepts of evolution, chemistry, genetics, or cosmology (for instance, no matter which verse of the tale of Noah one chooses to believe for the numeration of the creatures aboard the Ark, there were clearly too few for a genetically sustainable population, and humans would be doomed by genetic flaws within a couple of generations). However, it is possible to believe that the point of those tales is to teach us something about how humans should behave, to contrast that with how they often do behave, and to hold that Something beyond the material universe is actually concerned with what kind of people we are, without necessarily believing that the universe was created in one seven-day-long crush of particulate assemblage about seven thousand years ago.

For myself, I have to believe that the Lord gave us these brains for a reason, and that a failure to use them to think with is a slap in His face, repudiating His gift of intellect. If all He wanted were organic robots incapable of deciding things for themselves, He most certainly would have made us exactly that way, yes?


_________________
Sodium is a metal that reacts explosively when exposed to water. Chlorine is a gas that'll kill you dead in moments. Together they make my fries taste good.


simon_says
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 20 Jan 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,200

22 Jun 2011, 12:22 pm

That's the beauty of creationism. They set people up to believe ridiculous things that don't match the evidence and when they finally educate themselves, they can lose their faith as well. Ive read accounts of that happening.

I'm not sure what the numbers on flat earthers are but the larger group that is almost as nuts are the geocentrics. They believe that the Earth doesn't move. The universe moves around it. Because the bible says the Earth is "fixed and unmoving".