About Rationally Speaking


Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Massimo's Picks

* Participate in online philosophical experiments (not an oxymoron).

* Liz Cheney shows herself to be as unprincipled as her father.

* Apparently, women who drink (moderately) gain less weight. Gotta remember to schedule that sex-change operation...

* Rationally Speaking podcast: Julia and I talk to Peter Turchin about doing history as science.


* Philosophy Talk covers the concept of infinity.

* Home schooling is a really, really bad idea across the board. Here's one reason why.

* Do atheists have a problem with Ken Miller? Well, I do.

* Alleged "holy man" kidnaps disciple who doesn't want to marry him.


* God is good for your health, if you ask for the generic brand.

* One in four parents believes vaccines cause autism. Thanks Ophra and Jenny.

* The Tea Party is scary, really scary.

* The Nation talks to philosopher Martha Nussbaum.

* The axis of the obsessed and deranged.

76 comments:

  1. Massimo,

    You claim that “home-schooling is a really, really bad idea.” However, not according to standardized testing! Is the status of public education so laudable that conformity to this model should be imposed? Must we all be subject to a State enforced group-think?

    Already, the public sphere has become so inhospitable to the Christian faith that many have resorted to home schooling. Would you put an end to our freedoms of speech and religion and a parents’ right to raise their children as they please? Is the State a better guardian?

    ReplyDelete
  2. First off, the very idea that this country's public sphere is inhospitable to Christians is absolutely laughable.

    Second, standardized scores are an educational scourge, so really nothing to pin one's argument on.

    Lastly, I object to home schooling on two grounds: a) They create children who are even more socially isolated than the already socially ultra-fractured national average. b) Education is *not* something anyone can do. It's a profession, that requires training. Would you perform dentistry on your children? (Unless you are a dentist, of course.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Massimo,

    While you rightly question standardized testing, you seem to embrace standardized and enforced education. Why the disparity?

    Your dentistry analogy falls short. While education involves values and worldviews, dentistry will present little threat to people’s faith, just their teeth. Furthermore, education is like counseling. Non-professionals prove just as competent as the licensed professional. However, I wouldn’t want a non-professional drilling my teeth.

    Especially given the abysmal state of public education, it would be foolish to enforce State conformity. Imposing uniformity can only be socially crippling.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Wason Selection Task should be given to those who proposed that Natural Selection works like a sieve that selects out the color blue from the size of the balls that will necessarily accompany it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thx for linking to Philosophy Experiments, Massimo!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Massimo,

    I was homeschooled by my mother (who has "some college" - three years but no degree) and I don't get your point about homeschooling at all.

    Lots of homeschooling parents indoctrinate their children. Does that mean homeschooling is a bad idea? No. Use your brain here. Even if 90% of homeschooling parents just so happened to indoctrinate their children, that would not make homeschooling wrong. But it just so happens that there are quite a few parents who homeschool their children who do not indoctrinate them in the manners you despise. Their are even quite a few networking tools for them to do so.

    You say that education is not something that everyone can do. But education is not even something that many of the supposed professionals that you would like me to have "learned" from can do. I was in public elementary schools before my mother pulled me out.
    The teachers were almost universally stupid. Most of them were aggressive towards me and quite immature. Homeschooling, my mother assigned me things that were at my level (above those of my peers) and that helped me grow as an intellectual.

    Your statement about homeschooling so obscure that I really have to say this is a major slip on your part. Your opposition to homeschooling is greatly underjustified. I don't get it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love it when someone assumes that their experience is universal. I once knew a mean teacher - so all teachers are mean and stupid. Or throws out a comment with no justification "Non-professionals prove just as competent as the licensed professional." Or like this "Especially given the abysmal state of public education, it would be foolish to enforce State conformity. Imposing uniformity can only be socially crippling."

    Teachers are professionals and it is not something everyone can do. You don't think bad doctors and lawyers and other professionals exist?

    The point of education is to question values and make students think critically about what they believe.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have been watching developments in the US for many years with ever greater trepidation. It is now clear that the country is going down the gurgler, with the Tea Party Movement looking very much like the early days of fascism in Depression-era Germany. I see the same mix of willful ignorance and resentment fueling an increasing desire to see others hurt. For a little while I was hoping that Obama might be a figure around which those who oppose this slide into decrepitude may coalesce. But it seems that not even his administration is capable of doing that and that things will get much, much worse in the US before they will get better. The worst thing about it is that the US has the biggest economy, the biggest army and the biggest nuclear stockpile in the world so that what happens to it affects the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Those Tea Partyists have gone too far - when they draw the works of George Orwell into their nasty shenanigans, they just drop off the map. What would the great man himself have said?!

    ReplyDelete
  10. K: "It is now clear that the country is going down the gurgler, with the Tea Party Movement looking very much like the early days of fascism in Depression-era Germany. I see the same mix of willful ignorance and resentment fueling an increasing desire to see others hurt."

    I do not think the right is for strong dictatorial control, against capitalism or against other races in as much as those who have immigrated do choose to live along side the rest of Americans as law abiding citizens. The left, however does not like capitalism seems to be collecting more power to the pres (it's common knowledge that there is a shadow gov in place in the US at the pres's command) and certainly does everything in it's power to ignite any possible reason for offense between classes and races in the US. Who's Fascist?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Homeschooling in NM is popular because the education quality is probably on one the worst in the nation. Secularists even home school. Entire HS groups are devoted to nonreligious people who want to network with other parents.

    And then there is the matter of family. Maybe I just kept my kids with me cuz I simply liked having them WITH ME. (As odd as that may seem.)

    Lucky for us, all three of our kids seem to be liked by their bosses. They are apparently hard workers. If any of the three have ever had to quit, several times they have been offered higher salaries to stay or offered their job back if they ever want it back. Our youngest works at probably one of the most popular, nice, well paying eating est in town. (while shes getting her nursing degree) Sounds terribly antisocial, huh.

    Manns Word is right. If anything, homeschooling can break kids out of the mentality that they are only capable (marginalized) of what the rest of the group is capable of. Like anything else in life there are good parents and there are some who not so good. Either can influence their children towards success or failure a good education or allow them to remain ignorant. Homeschooling IS NOT the problem. The lack of a priority towards what makes a good, supportive family and a good education is where the problem rests.

    ReplyDelete
  12. If anything, homeschooling can break kids out of the mentality that they are only capable (marginalized) of what the rest of the group is capable of.

    Thats just a joke. You're just substituting one group (public school) for another (family).

    Most people aren't experts in things like science, math, history, etc and they shouldn't pretend to be.

    One of the many problems with homeschooling is its limitations; you're limited to what your parents can provide in resources and breadth of knowledge.

    I would also argue that homeschooling is the ego-maniacs' ultimate activity. Hence its no wonder that its popular among the religiously bent.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The comparison between teachers and doctors/lawyers or other professionals just falls short. I'm sorry teachers, but your job is not as difficult or specialized as that of your typical MD or dentist. Your typical MD has had to get a B.S. in a scientific field with good grades and go through medical school + residency. What does an average high school teacher have to do to get a high school teaching job? What sort of technical, special skills does he or she have?

    michele, your statements about generalizing from personal experience fall short too, since it just so happens that if, for us personally, homeschooling has been a good idea, then homeschooling is not an all-around bad idea. My mother knew all of the teachers that taught me and my brother in public schools. Her decision to pull us out of public school was carefully considered. She weighed various options and considered multiple alternatives. In the end, she made the better choice. But Massimo would never believe it! He probably thinks that my untrained mother couldn't have given me the sort of education I needed.

    Your statement about the goal of education is also ideologically driven: contrary to what you may believe, education is not all about questioning or addressing people's core beliefs and values.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Derek: "Thats just a joke. You're just substituting one group (public school) for another (family)."

    Yes and so are you. Whats the merit of choosing the fake family over the real one? There's this odd notion that parents ought to get rid of their kids and just go to work. WHY? I liked having my kids with me and I still do. Nobody I'd rather spend time with but them actually. The rest of the world WILL go away...but ones kids are your "kids" forever.

    "Most people aren't experts in things like science, math, history, etc and they shouldn't pretend to be."

    Nor are most public school teachers. Many specialize in an area such as history or another subject but that does not mean that a teacher is proficient in every area. Do you know that many home schooled families depend on other families to help them in areas that they feel they don't manage as well?

    "One of the many problems with homeschooling is its limitations; you're limited to what your parents can provide in resources and breadth of knowledge."

    You seriously think that there are no limitations in public ed? I know many teachers and know that the teacher usually ends up teaching to the least able person in the class after they get the rest of the class to pay attention. Come on. The graduation rate in NM is less than 50 % in some places. Would you send your own kids to these schools?

    "I would also argue that homeschooling is the ego-maniacs' ultimate activity. Hence its no wonder that its popular among the religiously bent."

    Do you actually know a single person who does home school, Derek? If you did I do not think you would say such a thing. Makes great stuff to write about tho

    ReplyDelete
  15. Regarding the "God is good for your health" article:

    According to the Huffington Post, God “is getting accolades from mental health specialists who say they are finding that a belief in God plays a positive role in the treatment of anxiety and depression, The Washington Times, reports. University of Toronto psychologists reported last year that "believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress," their research showcasing "distinct brain differences" between believers and nonbelievers. A new study released Wednesday by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago took the idea a step further. In patients diagnosed with clinical depression, "belief in a concerned God can improve response to medical treatment," said the new research, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.”

    These findings do not reflect something new, but the author goes on to question why: “Why do people believe? Because it's true? Or because it's good for them?”

    Why not both? When I complete my jigsaw puzzle, I have placed the pieces where they truly belong. I guess that’s a form of correctness or “truth.” However, I also feel a certain sense of satisfaction with the congruent image looking back at me. As the pieces fit together in such a harmonious way, and as the final inserted piece brings unity – a connectedness – to the whole, so too does my Lord bring unity and harmony to my life!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Massimo,

    I draw a far more modest conclusion than you do from the article about home-school texts: Simply put, parents, do your homework before picking educational resources for your children (i.e. not unlike what we expect of you when you pick their schools, when & where you have a choice in the matter).

    On the other hand, anyone who is so ignorant as to miss the religious agenda behind a publishing company named "Apologia Educational Ministries" would seem to have bigger problems, and probably would be better off trusting their kids to the professionals (or not, depending on the local circumstances). Yet, given the article's claim that "the majority of home-schoolers self-identify as evangelical Christians", that kind of ignorance doesn't seem to be the main problem. Rather, the parents often know exactly what they're getting into, and they agree with it.

    As for the minority of home-schoolers who do not self-identify that way and who are savvy to the religious (or political) agenda behind a particular home-school text (regardless of its subject), it's not like they have no other options. (For example, google on "world book typical course of study.") But, even if that were the case, then a more sympathetic view (i.e. towards home-schoolers) would be to lament the lack of good resources available to them, and possibly to advocate for authoring better ones.

    But, clearly, Massimo, you hold a different view - one which is far more sympathetic with the teaching profession. You're welcome to that (if it does seem a bit black & white), but, IMO, this article lends it little (if any) support.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yes and so are you. Whats the merit of choosing the fake family over the real one? There's this odd notion that parents ought to get rid of their kids and just go to work. WHY?

    What a great question, caliana, what the heck are all these people doing going to work for? What was my mom thinking for not staying home and putting our family on my dad's factory salary alone? If only people like you were at the helm of this world, you'd show them the light, caliana.

    Nor are most public school teachers. Many specialize in an area such as history or another subject but that does not mean that a teacher is proficient in every area.

    Most math teachers specialize in math. Most science teachers specialize in science. Sure there are exceptions, the system isn't perfect, but certainly a parent, you, for example, did not specialize in all basic studies as a multi-disciplinarian, never mind a discipline like science, to which you've clearly shown a lacking education here on this blog in previous threads.

    You seriously think that there are no limitations in public ed?

    The range in experiences and education in comparison with public or private schools is ridiculous to even entertain nevermind debate. Sure, everyone who is homeschooled isn't some walking dolt, I'm sure there are success stories, but as a whole, I do not see the benefits out-weight that of public/private schools.

    Do you actually know a single person who does home school, Derek?

    I have known people who homeschool/were homeschooled. What I am getting at with that comment is a bit more nuanced than you probably are thinking of (given your reputation here on understanding certain concepts) but I think it says something about someone who wants to take total control over their kids to the point of dictating what they get exposed to socially and in information/education.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Caliana: (it's common knowledge that there is a shadow gov in place in the US at the pres's command)

    Translation: All of my conservative Christian friends believe it, so it must be true.

    Manns Word is right.

    Yeah, there's a shocker.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am so surprised by you atheists:

    1. You rail against religion, but you are just as religious – you espouse the religion or god of naturalism (design just happens) and indict everyone else for being religious, without admitting your own religious commitments.

    2. You protest against the Christian agenda, but you have your own methods of proselization for your naturalistic religion through the power structures of this society.

    3. You inveigh against intolerance, but you show little tolerance for anyone who wants to home-school. Home-schoolers aren’t trying to force everyone to home-school, but you refuse to tolerate anything but the State system.

    4. While you ostensibly demand democratic liberties and cry when others regard you with negativity, you squelch many attempts towards educational diversity.

    Perhaps we can learn to be transparent and to respect one another. After all, we all are in the same boat.

    ReplyDelete
  20. After all, we all are in the same boat.

    No, we aren't. You think you're going to heaven, while we're going to hell for all of eternity. You certainly do not believe that "we are all in the same boat".

    Everything else you said was equally ridiculous, but I'll let others pick it apart.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Cry me a river, MannsWord.

    We are not living in the 18th or 17th century. This is 2010. Sure, you can teach your children (as an example) that the world is six thousand years old. You can teach them anything you want. Which is precisely the problem - what good is teaching anyone anything if things like facts or acquired knowledge about the world either don't matter or can be ignored in favor of selected beliefs? You would call this 'democratic liberty? This ploy to compare things like tolerance to education is just that - a ploy - and a pretty poor one at that.

    What of the liberties of the person who is fed the world is 6,000 years old? They do not have a right to facts about the world because you are the adult or their parent? You don't care about other peoples' liberties, so don't try to pretend as if you do. We are not in the same boat. It may make you feel more content to try and frame others' views as parallel to your own, but this is just self-serving.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Cipher,

    Of course, our religions differ and so too our distinction beliefs, but we gain much by not demonizing one another and by showing a common respect that we are all humans contained in this same body of flesh, having the same needs.

    Darek W.

    So are you going to insist on conformity in education because you believe our beliefs are foolish? Should the theist take the same stance and ban naturalism? Do we have more to gain through diversity or through demanding micro-compliance?

    We all have to live together. I think we need to adjust to this reality! This country was based on freedom of speech and of religion. Do you think you can do better by changing this? Do you prefer your version of “Brave New World?”

    ReplyDelete
  23. Speaking as an atheist, a scientific skeptic, and as a parent whose children have yet to enroll in a formal school*, I find the debates forming in the comments section rather polarizing. I suppose that's hardly surprising, given the tone set by Massimo's introduction (i.e. "Home schooling is a really, really bad idea..."), but I've already expressed my disagreement with that above.

    Suffice it to say: I agree that many parents who home-school their children do so for religious reasons. But I certainly do not agree with the comments here that suggest that home-schooling should, therefore, be prohibited, or even generally maligned as some proxy for religious indoctrination.

    Call me a libertarian on this issue, if you like.** But I find it's simple-minded to suggest that sending one's children off to school (even a parochial one?) is some guarantee against religious and/or political*** propaganda. I suppose that's an attractive view to those who believe that one's view is dominant or ascendent within the mainstream curricula. But that's hardly a sufficient defense for bashing home-schoolers - including those of us who are critical enough to avoid the stealthy, religious text books in question.

    * They have, however, enrolled in many courses and lessons outside of the home (not to mention all of the educational field trips taken), but never at an accredited school or as full-time students.

    ** despite my otherwise typically left-liberal - some would say "socialist" - political positions, which include both moral & financial (albeit, tax-funded, but willing) support for public education.

    *** e.g. see how the conservatives in Texas just won a political victory re: their history curriculum in the Board of Education, which (according to the article) could affect national standards.

    ReplyDelete
  24. "Children deprived of the opportunity to learn from their peers grow up to deprive their children of the same opportunity."
    Martin Kallikak

    ReplyDelete
  25. jcm,

    I respect your concerns about polarization. I don't think that we appreciate how damaging this can be.

    Before the Civil War, there was such an intense polarization, that fistfights occurred on the floors of Congress. Eventually, this polarization and mutual contempt led to war.

    ReplyDelete
  26. MannsWord,

    Again, this notion of 'freedom', 'democracy' and 'liberty' with respect to education is a false equivalence. Facts, be they in biology, chemistry, history, or what have you, are not voted upon by a majority (maybe with the exception of public school boards, which is another issue entirely).

    Acknowledging facts about the world is to conform with reality. What you seem to want to do is use things like freedom of speech to sell snake-oil - which you are actually within your rights to do, but it has nothing to do with education.

    jcm,

    Yes, I do strongly oppose homeschooling (MannsWord and caliana are exhibits A and B), but I wouldn't (nor did I ever state) ban or prohibit it entirely. Public schools aren't perfect, as I said earlier. Especially depending on your location. Sometimes homeschooling is an unwanted but necessary step. As I said to caliana previously, I have known people who have homeschooled their children. They certainly didn't want to; they could have easily used the money they could have had if they both worked, but due to the public school being in the shape it was because of the area it was in and the private school was too far away and too expensive, they weren't left with much of a choice.

    I get that there are exceptions and grey areas - there tends to be, but they shouldn't be used to gain support for things like the topic of this thread.

    Still, I stand by my argument that if you are not skilled/specialized in something, you shouldn't be teaching it, be it homeschool or public.

    ReplyDelete
  27. "Children deprived of the opportunity to learn from their peers grow up to deprive their children of the same opportunity."

    Only from one's peers? How about learning from individuals from a variety of age groups? At least in my experience, that is something that many home-schooled kids enjoy—perhaps, in some cases, even to a greater extent than their institutionalized counterparts.

    But that is a different debate (re: methodology) than the one introduced here by Massimo (re: content, particularly w/respect to evolutionary biology), and both debates can apply just as easily to institutionalized learning (i.e. depending on the school's mission, philosophy, and curriculum) as it does to home-based learning.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Darek:

    Assuming the topic in question is creationism, I agree. Children should not be misled into believing that there is a fundamental controversy among biologists over Darwin's theory.

    But that rule applies across the board. The fact that many parents home-school their children in order to "teach the controversy" (along with other religious doctrines) is indeed unfortunate, but no less so than when, for similar reasons, parents enroll their children in parochial schools. IOW, the problem, as I see it, is not the educational setting (i.e. school vs. home) so much as the educational content (e.g. creationism vs. natural selection).

    BTW, I do not claim that my two daughters are better educated than their institutionalized peers (although, in some areas, I suspect that they are). We educate them at home (and at the local home-schooling co-op) because we believe that doing so (at least in our case) provides a better overall quality of life for them (and for us!), and (based on our research) seems an acceptable way to prepare them for college and career.

    But, that aside, I will add that, while my daughters are aware of creationism (and other Judeo-Christian myths, like the Flood), the only explanation for biological diversity that they take seriously is evolution via natural selection. More to the point, it did not require direct instruction from an expert to impart that knowledge (although I grant that, for them to advance much further in the subject, would require more expert guidance, or at least more advanced text books than those we've exposed them to so far).

    ReplyDelete
  29. Darek W,

    You assume that my worldview is snake oil while Darwin isn’t. The question is, “Who is to decide?” Do you want a single totalitarian regime to dictate our curriculum or are you willing to tolerate diversity? If you do want this monolithic power doing all the dictating, then you will lock us into an irresolvable power struggle that will polarize and create hostility.

    ReplyDelete
  30. MannsWord,

    I don't assume the distinction. The facts present themselves clearly enough.

    Totalitarian? Thats laughable, though, I understand that its only based upon political savviness where your ideas can survive, as on their own, as seen in cases like Kitzmiller vs Dover, your kind of ideas don't hold under scrutiny.

    Your rhetoric is tactical, not factual. But such is the way of the salesman.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Darek,

    You argue, “your kind of ideas don't hold under scrutiny.” Once again, you haven’t dealt with the issue of WHOSE scrutiny. When two parties fail to agree regarding either facts or worldview, how is the difference to be resolved?

    Your solution is might-makes-right, either the might of the court or some other ruling body, whether a selected cadre of scientists or another group of “experts.”

    Matters of crime and criminal law must be decided by the courts. We need this type of resolution in order to get along together. However, many “brights” seem to want to extend totalitarian control to what people say, think or even teach their children. You seem to want to make children the wards of the State, no less so than communist or fascist regimes. You think it “bright” to eliminate diversity in favor of your image of the ideal State.

    These utopian schemes have been tried many times and have universally failed. I hope that we have learned that States shouldn’t be granted monolithic powers of thought and speech control. Diversity, free speech and a free press have driven positive change and disarm hidden abuses.

    We humans are simply too corruptible for the centralized, monolithic power you are recommending.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Mann'sWord:


    You assume that my worldview is snake oil while Darwin isn’t.


    So, when was the last time your worldview actually led to unintuitive and actionable predictions about health, technology, energy, history, or any of a number of other topics? In evolution, such predictions are made and vindicated time and time again, and guide our current practice of disease prevention, cancer treatment, genetic disease detection and management, etc.

    And when some evolutionary prediction is wrong, who ferrets it out? Why another scientist of course.

    When was the last time your "worldview" admitted to being wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  33. MannsWord,

    I'm reminded by an episode of Seinfeld (The Statue) to which the response to a melodramatic, theatrical thespian was 'shouldn't you be out on a ledge somewhere?'.

    I borrow the question.

    I'm talking about education, not systems of government. You desperately try to mangle the two in an attempt to invoke a nefarious attitude toward things like Darwin and evolution (mentioning things like communism, totalitarianism and fascism in the same breath). This is just dirt-bag politics 101; the lecture would be entitled 'framing by associating' which would be after 'the irrelevance of historical accuracy'.

    This tactic may indeed work on a child who knows nothing about any of these things, but I'm sorry, anyone who does have a clue only has to think for two seconds to see past these ridiculous shenanigans.

    The issues regarding teaching creationism have been tackled long before Kitzmiller. I simply brought that up as an example - indeed a relevant example because it was only the most recent out of many previous attempts by people to use the political process to by-pass the scientific process which is responsible for giving us what is in our textbooks and what (usually) gets taught.

    See the usual way.

    Now see (presumably what you support by ignoring standard practices), your way: with 'freedom', 'free speech', 'diversity' and 'liberty'

    (slides from Ken Miller's presentations)

    Your 'team' lost this battle, so one alternative to continue teaching your unsupported and bankrupt material is to keep kids away from classrooms (where you can have even more control over them to boot).

    Your understanding of things like 'free speech' and 'diversity' is really quite something, I even have a hard time believing you really believe what you're saying.

    What I am supporting here isn't 'totalitarian governments' or 'fascist regimes', its the scientific process, which you try to avoid and undermine. It isn't democratic. It is indeed a place where 'might makes right' in terms of ideas - bad, unsupported ideas or hypotheses go away and better tested, stronger, well-supported ideas remain and go on.

    The kind of standards I'm supporting are the same in many other countries which aren't 'fascist' or 'totalitarian'. But of course, to think this way when it comes to schooling, one has to be desperate or ignorant. Or perhaps both.

    To try and argue otherwise with phony pleas of 'free speech' is, well, I'll refrain and leave it to others to judge for themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Mann's Word,

    To what the others are saying, I'll add this (expanding upon what I said earlier): as is the case with most Christians, you talk a good game about civility. You're concerned that we're "demonizing" one another - but, in the afterlife, or on the "Day of Judgment", you'll be only to happy to wave us off to an eternity of unspeakable torment. You'll understand, therefore, if I don't take your rhetoric about civility very seriously. Frankly, from my point of view, it's irrelevant.

    ReplyDelete
  35. RE SNAKE OIL

    J "So, when was the last time your worldview actually led to unintuitive and actionable predictions about health, technology, energy, history, or any of a number of other topics?"

    Evolution only states that 'environments MAY change and that MIGHT then change a given species'. Such provisional language is not a reasonable basis to decide if a unit of measurement is accurate gauge of whether it is truthful or not. OR better stated, based on that fact, natural section is not really any kind of a unit of measurement at all!

    The predictions you claim BELONG TO EVOLUTION actually are arrived at because units of measurement and methods are stable not because evolution can readjust any of its former statements at a moments notice! Evolution (via natural selection) represents a dishonest scale and most especially as you are representing it here. It (the concept of natural selection) may have a minor role in health, but has nothing whatsoever to do with the other topics that you mentioned. If so, please feel free to elaborate.

    "In evolution, such predictions are made and vindicated time and time again, and guide our current practice of disease prevention, cancer treatment, genetic disease detection and management, etc."

    Well...that humans are still humans and cancer cells remain cancer cells, genetic diseases completely fail to turn us into something other than HUMAN and BACTERIA and VIRUSES are still BACTERIA AND VIRUSES. One might not have any idea and be able to make the connection as to why EVOLUTION IS RESPONSIBLE for ADVANCES (?!) in these areas.

    There is no connection. Stronger bacteria being able to outlive other bacteria is not EVOLUTION FYI. That is called a-d-a-p-t-a-t-i-o-n and this is not the = of evolution! It does not even begin to PROVE EVOLUTION!!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. The predictions you claim BELONG TO EVOLUTION actually are arrived at because units of measurement and methods are stable not because evolution can readjust any of its former statements at a moments notice!

    What does that even mean? Do these statements really make sense to you as you type them?

    Biologists make predictions all the time based upon evolutionary theory. One of the best known in recent years was the discovery of Tiktaalik, a transitional form (which you people claim doesn't exist) that was found precisely where it was expected.

    There is no connection. Stronger bacteria being able to outlive other bacteria is not EVOLUTION FYI. That is called a-d-a-p-t-a-t-i-o-n and this is not the = of evolution! It does not even begin to PROVE EVOLUTION!!!

    This is just staggering. You and Mann's Word continue to make these asinine statements, despite the number of times you've been corrected. I don't know why Massimo puts up with it.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Ci, Yeah it is staggering.

    Adaptation (which has not AT ALL been proven to cause true and actual evolution EVER)
    is going to account for the sum total of evolution and everything else we observe inside of the planet outside of it, all branches of science, history, technology?

    I would consider that staggering for sure. Neat that you guys are so easily impressed with just about anything tho.


    The assumption is that Tiktaalik became two different types of animals. That cannot be proven on appearance alone. If that were true, all things that have an arbitrary appearance (and even some genetic markers)that relates it to some thing else must be related. So what? We probably have moon dust on our eye lashes too but that doesn't mean we came from the moon!

    Extinct species that look like 'this or that' do not necessarily prove that transitional forms existed, they just prove for certain however that more variation existed in the past then does now. Thinking that way would effectively disprove evolution tho. And nobody who is SCARED of being called IGNORANT wants to do THAT.

    Consider me in the "NOT CARING" category then.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Ci, Yeah it is staggering.

    Adaptation (which has not AT ALL been proven to cause true and actual evolution EVER)
    is going to account for the sum total of evolution and everything else we observe inside of the planet outside of it, all branches of science, history, technology?

    I would consider that staggering for sure. Neat that you guys are so easily impressed with just about anything tho.


    The assumption is that Tiktaalik became two different types of animals. That cannot be proven on appearance alone. If that were true, all things that have an arbitrary appearance (and even some genetic markers)that relates it to some thing else must be related. So what? We probably have moon dust on our eye lashes too but that doesn't mean we came from the moon!

    Extinct species that look like 'this or that' do not necessarily prove that transitional forms existed, they just prove for certain however that more variation existed in the past then does now. Thinking that way would effectively disprove evolution tho. And nobody who is SCARED of being called IGNORANT wants to do THAT.

    Consider me in the "NOT CARING" category then.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "I don't know why Massimo puts up with it."

    Because he's not certain of what he believes and neither are you.

    There are worse things in life then seeing an opinion that you don't agree with. I could name off a few. Extreme fatalism, which must be what you think you have to believe in, for one.

    What if I cannot EVER buy the idea of an impersonal, undirected, completely disorganized universe? Why does that have to make such a person wicked, untruthful and BAD? Is there implicit wrong doing in knowing something is true and being confident of it, expressing it?

    The world is S-I-N Positive. The manner in which many try to get themselves as far away from anything that gives God credit is irrefutable proof.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Cipher,

    Eternal judgment is not my idea. Instead, it’s a reality implanted within all of our hearts. That’s why it’s not laughable, but rather something to which you take great offense. (BTW, I do pray for you. I don’t relish the idea that anyone misses out on eternal life!)

    J.J.E and Derek,

    I can’t understand why you would insist that evolution and naturalism (everything came uncaused out of nothing) is more scientific that starting with an adequate cause (God)? However, insisting that you have truth on YOUR side, you are ready to squelch any diversity and free speech.

    I must observe that you haven’t attempted to defend your position – that some authoritative body should exercise monopolistic powers over how children are raised and what they are taught. Do you really want totalitarian control? Aren’t you afraid that it might work against your own freedoms and interests? Why are you so ready to deprive others of their rights to raise their children in the way that they see fit? Must our speech be subjected to thought control? Why will you not tolerate diversity?

    Cipher,

    You conclude, “I don't know why Massimo puts up with it.” In opposition to this sentiment, I’d like to think that there are some “brights” who are bright enough to respect the value of a free exchange of ideas. I think that we need this type of exchange for our own individual growth, even if nothing else.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Adaptation (which has not AT ALL been proven to cause true and actual evolution EVER)
    is going to account for the sum total of evolution and everything else we observe inside of the planet outside of it, all branches of science, history, technology?


    Doesn't claim to; doesn't need to.

    Neat that you guys are so easily impressed with just about anything tho.

    Well, at least we aren't falling for fables out of a 2,000 year-old book.

    Extinct species that look like 'this or that' do not necessarily prove that transitional forms existed, they just prove for certain however that more variation existed in the past then does now. Thinking that way would effectively disprove evolution tho. And nobody who is SCARED of being called IGNORANT wants to do THAT.

    It isn't anywhere near that simple. You just want it to be. As someone told you the other day, you have absolutely no idea as to what you're talking about.

    Consider me in the "NOT CARING" category then.

    Yeah, that's just it - you don't care. You have a book of Bronze Age myths that you believe without evidence (of course, you'll deny that), simply because you want to. It promises you an eternity of bliss, and anything that threatens that has to be dismissed, gotten out of the way as quickly as possible.

    Why does that have to make such a person wicked, untruthful and BAD? Is there implicit wrong doing in knowing something is true and being confident of it, expressing it?

    You don't know; you believe - but there's the problem. You have to convince yourself that you do know, because you can't stand the idea of uncertainty.

    It's bad, in my opinion, for two reasons:

    1. You people are, in attempting to impose your beliefs upon the rest of society, holding back the progress of civilization (which you think is irrelevant, because the only important thing in your world view is getting into heaven);

    2. You believe that billions of your fellow human beings will be tortured unimaginably for all of eternity, and you have no problem with it, as long as you, your husband and your children are taken care of. Millions of you believe that the ability to watch our unending suffering will constitute the large part of your heavenly reward. This is a belief so obscene that it ought to be considered beneath the dignity of a human being to indulge in it.

    The world is S-I-N Positive. The manner in which many try to get themselves as far away from anything that gives God credit is irrefutable proof.

    It's "irrefutable proof" of nothing apart from your state of denial. You're operating at a primitive, authoritarian, reward-and-punishment level of cognition; the tragedy is that you can't see it.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Caliana,

    You continue to make silly generalizations about evolution that show great ignorance of the science itself. I will ask you again: How much of the primary literature of evolution have you gone through? Really, how much of the hard work of tens of thousands of scientists over the last 150 years have you studied to allow you make such generalizations? Have you challenged your ignorance at all? What have you done to make sure that the insults you so brazenly cast at so many good, honest, and very hard working people are valid? I ask this as an evolutionary biologist who sees you as someone who in prideful ignorance is willing to slime me and people I know to not deserve such hatred cast their way.

    And if Massimo is not certain of what he believes, then I think that a good thing. Learning and understanding begins with realizing that one does not know, and being willing to question and find out. Certainty, on the other hand, is a block to learning and understanding. And, really, one of the great lessons of history is that those who are absolutely certain of what they believe at the most likely to inflict the greatest suffering upon the world for the simple reason that those who are certain are less likely to stop and question the rectitude of anything they do that is motivated by their beliefs. This is a lesson you would do well to learn.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hey, I just heard from a voice on high that without his help nature would have seen no point in evolving the loony tunes that are speaking for him on this forum.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Eternal judgment is not my idea. Instead, it’s a reality implanted within all of our hearts.

    This idea is a product of wishful thinking and fevered imaginations, without a shred of evidence to support it. It has far more to do with the egos and self-esteem of the millions who have subscribed to and propagated it, than with objective reality. It's the sort of statement that makes you sound ridiculous on a science (or science-oriented) blog.

    I’d like to think that there are some “brights” who are bright enough to respect the value of a free exchange of ideas. I think that we need this type of exchange for our own individual growth, even if nothing else.

    What's the point? You're going to heaven; we're going to hell. That's all that matters. End of story.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I have to say that everything that caliana and some others have written here only reaffirms my conviction concerning the downfall of American civilisation. I have not intention of getting into any discussion with such individuals as doing so is a mug's game as it makes the quite false assumption that one's interlocutor is open to rational argumentation and evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Konrad,

    You're absolutely right. I really should know better; I just get pissed off because I agree with you about the downfall of America - indeed, of civilization as a whole - and I'm utterly convinced that they are largely responsible.

    Plus, after 53 years of being told by abject morons that I'm going to hell, I have absolutely no tolerance left.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Cipher,

    You responded, “This idea [of eternal judgment] is a product of wishful thinking and fevered imaginations, without a shred of evidence to support it.”

    However, you seem to know that it’s a reality. I must confess that I read your bio describing your hatred for Christians as a result of hearing preaching about eternal judgment. If it’s just a bunch of “wishful thinking,” why hate us so much?

    I don’t relish the idea of anyone missing the grace of God for all eternity. One reason for this is that I know that I’m no more deserving that anyone else. Therefore, I certainly don’t look down on anyone who rejects God. Rather, it’s my greatest desire to share with them what I have received from a God who loves you more than you can imagine.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Konrad,

    Let me put your mind to rest about Christianity. Western Civilization – at least its flower – was the product of a Biblical faith.

    Let me reassure you about something else. We too esteem rational argumentation and evidence, although we find that it leads us to different conclusions. Nevertheless, I do think it possible to learn from one another, but that requires some degree of willingness.

    ReplyDelete
  49. MannsWord,

    Not sure if you're looking for a job given this economy, but don't hesitate to put down 'tautology' under skills on that resume. You take the cake, my friend.

    On the one hand, you defend the notion to teach your kids what you want - in this case either ignoring or misinforming them on a subject like evolution, which you in fact know nothing about yourself - while on the other argue for peoples' rights and free speech... wow.

    What you want, and as I've been arguing all along, is total control. *Thats* totalitarian. You don't just want to raise them to be good-standing adults, no, people do this all the time without feeling the need to homeschool their children and keep them away or misinformed on certain subjects they themselves may not agree with - it is *you* who feel the need to go one step further and control their intake. You want the 'freedom' to make sure children are given what *you* and only you deem is acceptable in action and in thought.

    You talk about things like liberty and diversity and freedom - but these are just catch phrases to you in the same way the politician uses them to acquire votes. You're allegations to me are projections of the kind of megalomania that is rampant in religious thought.

    Why are you so ready to deprive others of their rights to raise their children in the way that they see fit? (emphasis mine)

    dic-ta-tor - noun - a person who tells people what to do in an autocratic way or who determines behavior in a particular sphere.

    Stop treating children like pieces of property and start treating them like individuals. Then we can have a discussion on things like liberty. Until then the only fascist in the room is you.

    ReplyDelete
  50. On the one hand, you defend the notion to teach your kids what you want - in this case either ignoring or misinforming them on a subject like evolution, which you in fact know nothing about yourself - while on the other argue for peoples' rights and free speech... wow.

    Darek, you know that "free speech" means we have the freedom to tell Christians what they want to hear.

    ReplyDelete
  51. However, you seem to know that it’s a reality. I must confess that I read your bio describing your hatred for Christians as a result of hearing preaching about eternal judgment. If it’s just a bunch of “wishful thinking,” why hate us so much?

    Caliana, there ought to be a little black and white picture of you next to "projection" in the dictionary.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Darek,

    While I do have a high regard for free speech and democratic processes and protections, this in no way contradicts my desire to raise my children according to my values and what I regard as truth.

    Please be reasonable – none of us allow first-graders to choose their curriculum. We all agree that they are in no position to make those kinds of choices. Indeed, we all engage in thought-control regarding first-graders.

    Once again, the question is, in their regards, who is to exercise that thought-control. According to you, it should be an authoritarian State, while I believe that the ideal state should be willing to allow a certain degree of diversity and competition.

    While you call me a “fascist,” you haven’t been able to identify anything that I’ve said by which you can justify this charge. Consequently, your charge is no more than name-calling.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Sorry, that last comment should have been addressed to Mann's Word. Meh - six or one.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Western Civilization – at least its flower – was the product of a Biblical faith.

    So are you excluding the entire product of the ancient world? You really consider Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, and Euripides to not be the flower of the western world? Perhaps you mean after the fall of the western empire? In which case you have the problem of the fact that the civilization and culture that thereafter arose in Western Europe was the product of a synthesis of Christianity (itself very much the product of a synthesis of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and neo-Platonism, later Roman imperial culture with all its attendant strains from a myriad of ancient cultures, and pre-existing barbarian cultures. To insist Western Culture is entirely a product of Christianity requires either monumental ignorance of Western Culture or simple monumental self-deception (or, less charitably, monumental dishonesty). Which is it in your case?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Mel,

    You responded, “So are you excluding the entire product of the ancient world? You really consider Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, and Euripides to not be the flower of the western world?”

    I certainly don’t leave these gentlemen out of the equation, but you must note that the Islamic world was also heir to this tradition. However, there is little comparison between this world and the Christian West. How would you explain that?

    Instead, we can understand the West by recognizing its distinctive Christian inheritance. The 19th century Princeton theologian, B.B. Warfield, wrote,

    • “Hospitals and asylums and refuges for the sick, the miserable and the afflicted grow like heaven-bedewed blossoms in its path. Woman, whose equality with man Plato considered a sure mark of social disorganization, has been elevated; slavery has been driven from civilized ground; literacy has been given by Christian missionaries, under the influence of the Bible.” (The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield)

    This is partly because the Bible established our responsibility to all people. As Jesus taught:

    • "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? (Matthew 5:43-46)

    ReplyDelete
  56. "I have not intention of getting into any discussion with such individuals as doing so is a mug's game as it makes the quite false assumption that one's interlocutor is open to rational argumentation and evidence."
    But what if the goal were to see how far their arguments could be skewed in response to an effective use of ridicule? Take Caliana, for example. She doesn't even recognize ridicule for what it is - seeing it only as an invitation to move further into the deep end of the most perverse forms of rationalization.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hospitals and asylums and refuges for the sick

    Of course, because no one ever showed any compassion until Jesus was born. None of this would have happened had the dominant ideology in the West been Jewish, or Pagan, or Muslim: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bimaristan

    ReplyDelete
  58. Mann's Word,

    The Islamic world was heir to part of the same traditions that fed into the development of the Western world after the fall of the Western empire, true. However, it is really overly simplifying things to say that the fact that the two are in different places today because of the Christian influence in the West. If you were to look back a thousand years ago, you would have been able to make the opposite claim, as the Islamic world was home to a brilliantly thriving culture that was far more advanced, learned, literate, tolerant, and humane than Western Europe, or really anywhere else but the Byzantine and Chinese empires. The differences that have since accrued have been due to differences in subsequent history. The Islamic empire suffered recurrent barbarian invasions and reacted by entering a period of reflexive conservatism that placed hope for renewal in a downplaying of learning in favor of increased fundamentalism. Then they suffered the full force of the Mongol invasions of the fourteenth century. Europe didn't face that. It had the black death, which shook up social conventions, it had later fortuitous agricultural innovations, and it benefited greatly from the influx of scholars from Constantinople during the final years of the Eastern empire (this influx led to what we call the Renaissance). And there was a lot more after that.
    The fact of the matter is that there was a lot more to making the modern world than just the inheritance of the ancient world, and that cannot be ignored. I honestly don't understand why you are being so obtuse about this.
    I fully agree that Christianity has played a highly significant part in the development of the West since Rome. To argue otherwise would be foolish at best. And yes, as the quote you used indicates, that heritage includes a distinct strain of charity that was not found earlier. However, through most of Western history, that strain has not been particularly prominent. I would, however, point out that your quote also shows a distinct disregard for actual history. Through much of its history, Christianity has not really been associated with improved literacy in the West. Slavery was pretty well accepted in the Christian world for most of its history, as well. Christian missionaries also acted as agents of conquest and imperialism, as well as social and cultural destruction. Warfield seems blind to this, but he did write in the 19th century, when such blindness was common.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Moreover, the emphasis on the West as being the West purely due to the Christian tradition that has influenced it is really nonsensical. The West is more complex than that. If it were not, then Ethiopia would have to be considered the West, as it went Christian before anywhere else, and yet it lacked other parts of the key influences on Western evolution. Same with national formerly part of the Byzantine sphere of influence, which lack the distinctive barbarian aspects of western civilization. Same with Armenia. Same with Russia. They have all evolved as deeply influenced by Christianity, but they are not the West.

    I am left wondering where you are coming from. Are you really this ignorant of Western history, or of history at all? Is this intentional ignorance, or the product of ideological blindness? Because your position is not informed by the facts of history and culture, and that speaks very ill of you. Go and do some reading, because you have a goodly number of distinct deficits in your knowledge to see to. As it stands, you are doing neither yourself nor your faith any credit.

    ReplyDelete
  60. MannsWord,

    What kind of person are you? Are you really this vacant of anything remotely honest? This is the second time we've had a discussion where you've ignored my previous comments and just continue to repeat yourself. (for those interested, see here).

    First graders do not get taught biology. You must know this, so your request to be reasonable is once again trashed by your disingenuous nature. Teaching things like facts has been the topic of our entire discussion thus far, but you use all sorts of strawmen to weasel in and out of having to discuss anything substantially.

    You're just not a good person, my man, not by any stretch of the imagination. The experience has been exhausting and the impression poor. I'm sure we could grab a beer and share a few laughs about anything that doesn't relate to anything worthwhile, but even that would be all on the surface - below it, you're really the kind of person you fear others might become; beneath contempt.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I hope that some others will find the following cartoon as relevant to this 'discussion' as I do: http://www.salon.com/entertainment/comics/tom_the_dancing_bug/2010/03/17/tom_the_dancing_bug

    ReplyDelete
  62. Mel,

    While I appreciate some of the things that you related, you undermine it all by slipping into groundless, malicious, ad hominem attacks. Indeed, history is a problematic arena for argumentation about the viability of a philosophy or worldview. It becomes too easy to cherry-pick the facts – and there is almost an endless supply of them – in order to paint whatever biased portrait one so desires to construct. So let’s try to take in the wide panorama.

    You claim that today’s Muslim nations are backward because they have been subjected to invasion and warfare more than the Christian West. However, this doesn’t seem adequate to explain the phenomena that we encounter. There are NO Muslim nations that are technological/scientific leaders – whether we look towards Muslim nations in Europe (Albania and Bosnia are probably the most Muslim), Africa or Asia. In fact, the more that a Muslim nation has devoted itself to being Koranic, the more backward it has become (with the exception of oil-rich countries, which can buy whatever they so desire despite their dysfunctionality.)

    In contrast to this, whichever Western nation had devoted itself to the Bible has become more advanced. Eastern Orthodoxy especially and Catholicism have been embroiled with their own traditions. This has tended to efface the salutary effect of the Bible. Historian Rodney Stark reasserts how the Christian faith has elevated the world:

    • “Rather, the West is said to have surged ahead precisely as it overcame religious barriers…Nonsense, The success of the West, including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians.” (The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success, xi)

    I don’t think we have to wait long to be able to assess the impact of atheism. We have already seen the hideous fruit of the communist/atheist nations. In contrast, Psalmist’s words still ring true:

    • Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly... But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3).

    ReplyDelete
  63. Darek (and others),

    By accusing me of having a “disingenuous nature,” you are making a serious and unsupported charge. While I admitted that I would want my first grader raised with my values, this in no way makes my assertion about diversity and free speech hypocritical! And you have failed to demonstrate otherwise.

    While atheists strenuously want to convince the world that they can be good without God, my own experience has proved otherwise. Perhaps you can be good superficially, but when you are frustrated and the veneer is penetrated, all forms of abusive, malevolent language come forth.

    Democracy is only as viable as the character of its members. I think we are facing hard times.

    • Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

    ReplyDelete
  64. People,

    just a reminder that I invite vigorous debate on this forum, but not personal insult or abusive language, ok?

    ReplyDelete
  65. "...history is a problematic arena for argumentation about the viability of a philosophy or worldview."

    Which I wasn't doing, but you were.

    "You claim that today’s Muslim nations are backward because they have been subjected to invasion and warfare more than the Christian West."

    No, that wasn't what I claimed. It suffered severed disruption at different times in its development that altered that development. I stressed that they have had a different history over the last 1000 years - there are many events that make a history. You, however, are choosing to simplify and ignore in favor of an ideological view of history.

    The rest of your comment about Islam and the West simply makes no sense, and if you looked at history, you would see this.

    "In contrast to this, whichever Western nation had devoted itself to the Bible has become more advanced."

    And this makes no sense, either. If you were to go and read a book or two, you would see this. Your insults of Catholicism and Orthodoxy are similarly nonsensical. It seems what you are talking about isn't even Christianity, but your idea of Christianity as being formative to the West. That is a purely ideological position, and one that is largely ahistorical, as your form of Christianity hasn't existed all that long. Again, read a book or two.

    And I don't understand why you come around to attacking atheism. I haven't said anything about atheism, and I am no interested in doing so. I sought to correct you on a baldly incorrect statement about Western civilization that was completely at odds with the historical record, and with the facts of the matter that Christianity, while of major importance to the development of the West after Constantine, it was not, in and of itself, the whole of the the thing. It seems you are arguing from a purely ideological point of view, and have little interest in the world beyond it, as well as little capacity for seeing the world except through its lens. I have found that it is a fool's errand to attempt to discuss anything with such a person, and so I won't bother. If you are interested in honestly discussing history outside of a blinkered ideological viewpoint, then we can do that, but as you are showing yourself to be, no. Fruere bono diem.

    ReplyDelete
  66. MannsWord,

    Look. This discussion has centered around teaching facts. The topic of the thread deals with how homeschooling is a way for people to avoid teaching them.

    You are trying to argue that this is in fact free speech (when I am arguing it is controlling it). You call this freedom. I call it megalomania supported by religious dogma run amok.

    Now, in recent comments, you behave as if all along, what we're really talking about is first graders and raising kids. First graders don't even get taught things like biology, so its a complete avoidance of the topic at hand and people raise good children all the time while *not* keeping them away from facts like evolution - which is a better description of the kind of democracy you claim you support.

    You want your cake and shove it down your childrens throats. In your view any contradicting views is 'authoritarian'. Any facts about the world that is agreed upon by the scientific process is really the work of fascist regimes.

    You do in fact have the freedom to be as ignorant as you want to be on whichever subjects you find contentious to your beliefs, but your children shouldn't have to be subject to it just because they're your children.

    My frustrations have been more than evident but hey, all I feel I did was call a spade a spade.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Darek,

    I’ll just address your statement since Mel is dropping out of the conversation:

    “You do in fact have the freedom to be as ignorant as you want to be on whichever subjects you find contentious to your beliefs, but your children shouldn't have to be subject to it just because they're your children.”

    Well, who is to decide about our children? The monolithic State or the parents? When children reach the age where they can evaluate the evidence, I’m all in favor of presenting both sides of the discussion. However, you are very content with “Kitzmiller” which has granted the State a virtual monopoly on the teaching of evolution. It fined the school board $1,000,000 for simply requiring that biology teachers preface their teaching of evolution with a statement saying that there is another side to the story and that there is a book in the library that presents it.

    However, this represented too much competition for the evolution establishment, which wants to maintain absolute control on what is taught about their naturalistic worldview. They want to have the veto power to censor anything that enters into their classrooms and to proselytize without interference.

    This type of imperialistic thought control can only lead to stagnation and group-think.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Yeah, it granted a monopoly to teaching supported facts about the world... what a terrible thing. It would have been more 'democratic' if they allowed kids to be 'open-minded' about unsupported ideas and claims about the world...

    That last comment wasn't me re-engaging with you. It was setting the record straight and trying to account for my venting in frustration. I wish your kids good luck in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Wow, such a lot of heat.
    Way back up in the first comment Mann'sWord said: "the public sphere has become so inhospitable to the Christian faith".

    Massimo called that laughable and I have to agree. My wife and I seriously considered home schooling for our two girls precisely because the public schools were too supportive of Christian faith. In the end we chose public schooling anyway and were moderately satisfied. Still, I'm sorry to see MP so adamantly opposed to home schooling (and vouchers I suspect). It's a tool. Like a hammer and saw, it could be used to build a church or it could be used to build a science lab. Denigrating the tools because some fools use them to build churches is unreasonable.
    In our area (south Florida) something like 25 - 30% of students that start 9th grade drop out before they finish. < http://www.fldoe.org/eias/eiaspubs/word/gradrate0809.doc > And of the ones that complete 4 years, some still don't pass, and a good many end up as C and D students. The public schools don't have that great of a track record. So some parents fail at teaching... the school system fails at teaching too. And some parents will do a better job than the schools. Finally, MP's concern about socialization is a red herring. There are tons of non-school programs out there for art, music, sports, nature, agriculture, etc. Plenty of chances for kids to socialize when not hitting the books.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Darek W,

    Doesn't it seem ironic that those most likely to speak of the value of absolute truths are also those most likely to have highly postmodern, relativistic views of facts? One would think they wouldn't want to play as fast and loose as they do, wouldn't one?

    You deserve credit for giving it the good fight, no matter how frustrating and ultimately fruitless.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Ci,

    Don't know where you get this bit about people in heaven 'getting to' watch people (not in heaven) suffering for eternity, but that's just not anything I have ever heard of before.

    No one that I know of would find such a thing desirable or some kind of retribution at all. Get that out of your head. I would assume that people who share with you simply do so because if there is a judgment (which I believe there is) rightfully, I, or we, would NOT WANT to see you there.

    2000 yr old book of fables? With well over 25,000 manuscripts? I don't think so.

    ReplyDelete
  72. A: "Take Caliana, for example. She doesn't even recognize ridicule for what it is - seeing it only as an invitation to move further into the deep end of the most perverse forms of rationalization."

    How would you handle, deal with, take ridicule from a person who is dying? Based on that, I'll keep my hand out to you no matter what you say. I know it that looks irrational to you. It looks anything but irrational to me.

    I may seem a bit abrupt (black and white) sometimes but I have nothing but compassion for you.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Don't know where you get this bit about people in heaven 'getting to' watch people (not in heaven) suffering for eternity, but that's just not anything I have ever heard of before.

    No one that I know of would find such a thing desirable or some kind of retribution at all.


    You are quite wrong, and that's all there is to it. It is a ubiquitous belief within the evangelical subculture.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Ci "You are quite wrong, and that's all there is to it. It is a ubiquitous belief within the evangelical subculture."

    Well I'm just not familiar with it. If I believed it I certainly wouldn't be here talking you, would I. Do these people support this belief with scripture? Do you know what the scripture is?

    I do believe that every person is judged after they die - Christians included. "1 Peter 4:6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God."

    And the part about people being delighted when others end up in Hell? I think God wouldn't be pleased with that attitude. But tho the Bible says that 'God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked' it is true as well from the unbelieving persons point of view that: "So, because they shall have eternally what they desired (life apart from God), it shall be eternal punishment” (Matthew. Fowler p. 607). The point being made is that God respects the free-willed choice of every individual, and those who chose to live without God will get their wish, yet there are serious consequences of an existence apart from God, including an existence completely removed from God’s blessings, which include everything necessary for happiness (Revelation 21:4). http://www.ch-of-christ.beaverton.or.us/Why_Does_Hell_Exist.htm

    The most concise set of verses on this matter in the Bible says this:

    11 Say to them, As I live, declares YHWH the lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
    12 “And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. 13 Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die.
    14 Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.
    17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of YHWH is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. 19 And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. 20 Yet you say, ‘The way of YHWH is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”
    -Ezekiel 33:10-20

    ReplyDelete
  75. Oh, well now I'm convinced.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Ci,

    Good. :) Maybe less words would have been better..

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.