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Education Science

Anti-Evolution "Academic Freedom" Bill Passed In Louisiana 898

Posted by Soulskill
from the facepalm dept.
Ars Technica is running a story about recently enacted legislation in Louisiana which will allow school board officials to "approve supplemental classroom materials specifically for the critique of scientific theories" such as evolution and global warming. The full text of the Act (PDF) is also available. Quoting: "The text of the [Louisiana Science Education Act] suggests that it's intended to foster critical thinking, calling on the state Board of Education to 'assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories.' Unfortunately, it's remarkably selective in its suggestion of topics that need critical thinking, as it cites scientific subjects 'including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.'"
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Anti-Evolution "Academic Freedom" Bill Passed In Louisiana

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  • by bruce_the_loon (856617) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:14AM (#23979041) Homepage

    No steps forward and two steps back.

    I suspect the paragraph about not being religious at all in the law will prove its downfall at SCOTUS.

    • by antirelic (1030688) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @07:09AM (#23979537) Journal

      I think its encouraging that the state of Lousiana is supporting role playing in their school environments. Being a fan of D&D for more than two decades, having a whole bunch of people discuss fiction on such a large scale can only benefit the FRP community as a whole. I am always amazed at the level of depth grown men can achieve talking about a fictious being and the possible actions such a fictious being can take against the people of the real world. Even better is the discussion of the fictious creatures that said fictious being can send to do its combat. Though I have yet to hear these people discuss statistics, I'm sure they will given this new input into the academic settings, where things are weighed and measured for accuracy.

      We are talking about role playing... oh... religion. Nevermind.

    • by Instine (963303) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @07:29AM (#23979639)

      Can I teach anything as fact based on any religion? Not just 'Christianity'.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @08:06AM (#23979799)

      The biggest problem with all these idiots is that they don't know what the world theory means.

      All theses right wing religious people try to play off that the word 'theory' means the same thing as a 'guess'. Thats simply not the case

      (n) theory; a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena.

      Gravity is a theory for fucks sakes, nobody questions why we stick to the surface of the planet! Evolution is under attack because it directly contradicts the Christian's creation myth, where as god was remarkably silent on topics like why we don't float off the planet.

      I'm continually stunned on how bullshit laws like this keep popping up in a society that spells out a specific separation of church and state. Don't get me wrong, teach your creation myth all you want, but do it in a religious studies class, not a science class.

      And for the record yes I'd stop calling it a myth if any evidence to the contrary was brought forward.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jafafa Hots (580169)

        The biggest problem with all these idiots is that they don't know what the world theory means.

        All theses right wing religious people try to play off that the word 'theory' means the same thing as a 'guess'. Thats simply not the case

        (n) theory; a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena.

        Gravity is a theory for fucks sakes, nobody questions why we stick to the surface of the planet! Evolution is under attack because it directly contradicts the Christian's creation myth, where as god was remarkably silent on topics like why we don't float off the planet.

        I'm continually stunned on how bullshit laws like this keep popping up in a society that spells out a specific separation of church and state. Don't get me wrong, teach your creation myth all you want, but do it in a religious studies class, not a science class.

        And for the record yes I'd stop calling it a myth if any evidence to the contrary was brought forward.

        Exactly... and to take it further, evolution is a theory, but creationism is not even a theory. At BEST it's a hypothesis.

        • by krunk7 (748055) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:44PM (#23982287)

          At BEST it's a hypothesis.

          Actually, it doesn't even qualify as a hypothesis in the scope of scientific inquiry. To be a hypothesis, there must be no assumption of truth (ha!) and it must be testable, more specifically there must be a criteria by which it can be proven wrong.

          The litmus for whether a proposition should be remotely considered by science is the answer to a very simple question: What evidence, what experimental results would it take for this idea to be rejected?

      • by innerweb (721995) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @10:34AM (#23980733)

        Actually, evolution does not contradict creationism. It only contradicts some people's interpretation of creationism. Creationism only states that God created everything. It does not in any way describe how God created anything. It does not rule out expected incremental and not so incremental changing. It does not rule out some things being created after others. It does not rule out species changing over time.

        These people who fight evolution are truly ignorant. They are actually insulting their own God. As they claim God must have created everything at one step, they are also inherently claiming God could not/would not have created a dynamic system that modified itself over time to present/overcome different challenges as time went on.

        If you believe in God, give God credit. Evolution sounds exactly like something God would have put in play. Read the Bible more closely. One of the consistent things in the Bible is God changing things to present new challenges to mankind. Beyond that, if God did not want evolution, then why the heck did God put genes in everyone as the basis for pro-creative continuation?? It is hard to believe that God based the transmission of life on genes unless God had the express concept of evolution in mind in the first place.

        Remember, God knows everything. He set this ball in motion, God knows how his work *works* and where it will go. Evolution might throw a wrench in a simpleton's concept of creation (we are all simpletons compared to an omniscient God), but that only goes to prove how little we understand the world we live in.

        InnerWeb

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:15AM (#23979043)

    I wonder if they'll allow teachers of history and government classes to use laws like this as exercises in critical thought? (Or lack thereof...)

  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:17AM (#23979051) Homepage
    At least where I went to school, we were tought a thing, then that it didn't apply to all cases, we were encouraged to find other ways to solve things.

    I even learned that common sense is often wrong.

    The key point is that schools should teach people how to filter out bullshit, and scientific critical thinking is the only way to go. And there is absolutely nothing scientific about the "intelligent design" theory.

    • by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:21AM (#23979073)

      "intelligent design" is not scientific,and definitely NOT a theory. Its a philosophical construct at best, and belongs in a philosophy class.

      • I don't think it is correct to call ID a philosophical construct or to teach it in a philosophy class. I think it would be more correct to call it a political machination and teach it in a class on modern US politics.

      • "intelligent design" is not scientific,and definitely NOT a theory. Its a philosophical construct at best, and belongs in a philosophy class.

        As a Creationist, I happen to agree with you 100%.

        Creation Science is built around the idea that if you start with the Bible as the source of your hypotheses, you should be able to find scientific evidence that is consistent with those hypotheses. If the evidence instead contradicts your hypothesis, then either your evidence is flawed, your interpretation of the evidence is flawed, or your interpretation of the Bible is flawed.

        Intelligent Design, in contrast, does not start from the premise that the Bible is a literal historical document, because that would mean religion is involved. Instead, ID simply says that life is too complex to have evolved spontaneously on its own, therefore God must have done it. On the surface this sounds similar to Creation Science (both say God did it), but ID doesn't bring anything falsifiable to the table.

        The question of whether or not God (or the FSM or space aliens) caused a particular event is not testable empirically, even if it is true. Creation Science doesn't try to test God's involvement, only the actual physical events described in the Bible (for example, that there was a global Flood around 2,000 BC or so that wiped out all humans and animals that couldn't fit in a really big boat). It doesn't look at whether the events described in Genesis were really caused by God, only whether or not they occurred as described (and the mechanics behind how they occurred).

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @06:02AM (#23979261)

          Creation Science doesn't try to test God's involvement, only the actual physical events described in the Bible (for example, that there was a global Flood around 2,000 BC or so that wiped out all humans and animals that couldn't fit in a really big boat). It doesn't look at whether the events described in Genesis were really caused by God, only whether or not they occurred as described (and the mechanics behind how they occurred).

          And this is precisely why it isn't science. Creationism says "God did it" without any way to test it. The conclusion is pre-determined. I know you realize that it isn't science, but I still shudder when I hear people call it "Creation Science? ID is creation science. They're not just similar, they're the same thing. Intelligent Design is just a different name.

          If you recall the book that stirred controversy and went to the supreme court Of Pandas and People was originally a creation "science" book, but when the 1987 ruling that banned the teaching of creation science, Pandas was edited, replacing all instances of "Creation" with "Intelligent Design." The concepts are exactly the same, the arguments are exactly the same. Even though Intelligent Design does replace the Judeo-Christian God with a "fill in the blanks with whatever you want to believe" entity, the people pushing it are the same people that pushed creationism.

        • by sqldr (838964) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @06:18AM (#23979341)
          Creation Science is built around the idea that if you start with the Bible as the source of your hypotheses, you should be able to find scientific evidence that is consistent with those hypotheses.

          Typical case of religion interfering with rational thought. Scientist: "here's the facts, what conclusion can we draw from them?". Christian: "here's the conclusions, what facts can we find to support them?"

          If the evidence instead contradicts your hypothesis, then either your evidence is flawed, your interpretation of the evidence is flawed, or your interpretation of the Bible is flawed.

          You missed one - or the Bible is flawed. It's amazing that if you tell someone that the world's biggest desert is Antarctica, they might be sceptical and look it up, but if you tell someone some guy was born of a virgin, resurrected someone who was dead long enough to stink, fed 5000 people with a bit of bread and a fish, and made 300 pigs jump off a cliff, backed up by dubious morality like Lot leaving his daughter out to be raped and murdered and having drunken incest just to protect the angel Gabriel (who you would've thought could look after himself), killing gay people (that thing that occurs naturally as a result of pre-natal hormone irregularity), and handing the same fate to people who eat shellfish (mmm, mussels in garlic sauce. yum) they take it in a snap. Of course it happened! I know this, because I was indoctrinated with this bullshit when I was young and I haven't become mature enough to be openminded and consider if it's wrong!

          "Creation Science" is a contradiction in terms, but if you are going to consider it, look up "creation myths" in wikipedia, because there's a few hundred other hypotheses which deserve equal attention before you go for the one that YOU were taught as a child. Hawaiians believe that the first animal on the planet was an octopus which is part of an alien race, and all life came from that. You need to put that on the same level as your Jesus hypothesis.

          How do you think that Noah managed to get 2 of every one of the 250000 species of beetles into his boat? Let alone the 40000 species of frog. Those two would take the lifetimes of thousands of people, and we haven't even worked out a way to stop the lions eating the gazelles.

          To put it bluntly, the "goddidit" meme is pure laziness. Rather than try to work out what happened, you leave it to scientists, then twist their words to try to fit their hard-found evidence into your convenient cop-out for performing actual rational thought.

          This is where humans came from: http://www.bio-pro.de/imperia/md/images/grafiken/wanderung_homo_sapiens.png [bio-pro.de]

          The time you talk of the great flood happening is roughly when humans first domesticated the dog and the sumarians learned to brew beer.

          If the whole Bible was translated into wikipedia, someone would break the "citation needed" machine.
          • by crimson30 (172250) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @07:31AM (#23979653) Homepage

            How do you think that Noah managed to get 2 of every one of the 250000 species of beetles into his boat? Let alone the 40000 species of frog.

            I'd heard that there are 350,000 species of beetle and wikipedia has the same number: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beetle [wikipedia.org]

            Could be a misrepeated number, but just thought I'd point it out.

            Also, there are just over 5000 species of identified frogs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Anuran_families [wikipedia.org]

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by notnAP (846325)
            If the whole Bible was translated into wikipedia, someone would break the "citation needed" machine.

            Hmmm... Have the folks at Wiki put in code that stops an article on the Bible from citing itself as the source?

        • This sums it up.. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AltEnergy_try_Sunrei (1121435) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @07:12AM (#23979545)
          Dear creationist, Your phrase:" if you start with the Bible as the source of your hypotheses, you should be able to find scientific evidence that is consistent with those hypotheses" proves you do not understand one iota of the scientific method and are therefore not qualified to participate. Science always tries to disprove a hypothesis, science is what is left of all hypothesis ever proposed that no one could disprove. Science is not soft on the facts, and nothing is a fact until people agree there is no point denying it. Picture yourself before heavens gate, Peter invites you to prove creationism to go to heaven, but if yo fail you go to hell. Would you take the challenge?
        • by grimwell (141031) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @07:12AM (#23979547)

          Instead, ID simply says that life is too complex to have evolved spontaneously on its own, therefore God must have done it.

          Your troll-fu isn't all bad. You used the babel fish as bait, got some bites and even got modded up to +4 interesting. Well done.

          The Babel fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy recieved not from its own carrier but from those around it, It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. the practical upshot of this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any language.

          Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anthing so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes like this : "I refuse to prove that I exist", says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

          "But", says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? it could not have evolved by chance. it proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

          "Oh dear", says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

      • by EXMSFT (935404) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:45AM (#23980349)
        Mmm... Spaghetti!
  • saying it is so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jacquesm (154384) <j@[ ]com ['ww.' in gap]> on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:19AM (#23979061) Homepage

    doesn't make it so...

    To all you anti-evolutionists and everybody else that would like to ignore the facts: Life is like game of cards, and if you want your children to play with only half a deck the rest of the world will eventually eat you for lunch, no matter what you've got in military power.

    Progress is based on facts, not on faith. If you don't believe that, then next time you go to hospital think where you'd be going *without* science but just your faith: the graveyard.

    • Re:saying it is so (Score:5, Interesting)

      by inKubus (199753) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:33AM (#23979117) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, but how are they going to generate the waves of stupid people we need to continue our way of life in this country? Guess what, education leads people to stop believing in this country. The more educated you become, the more you see the fundamental flaws. The more you see through the facade of the American Dream. Of course, then they pay you a lot and you stop worrying about all that :)

      All I'm saying is, if Louisiana wants to screw itself, let them. What difference does it make to a dirt farmer if he's decended from monkeys? It's just going to make him that much more depressed, and make it that much more difficult for him to get up in the morning to tend his crops. LET PEOPLE BELIEVE IN CREATIONISM. It's ok if someone doesn't want to know everything. Just because you do, and see the logic, does not mean other people do.

      If you want to be a doctor, guess what? Medical school is not going to take credits from a biology class with creationism on the syllabus. The guy who invented the styrofoam beer can insulator probably didn't believe in evolution. Yet miraculously, somehow, this great progress was made and our beer can be kept cold.

      When the framers said "church and state" et al, they weren't talking about facts. Politicians lie all fricking day. They talk like their policy hurts no one when we all know that someone is the loser in EVERY transaction, be it monetary, social or otherwise. There is no happy medium. So, maybe having a poor class with no education that believes in creationism is the way to go? And if they want to sacrifice their public education dollars in that way, let them. I won't be one of them, but if they want to, god help them.

      • Re:saying it is so (Score:5, Insightful)

        by epee1221 (873140) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:54AM (#23979231)
        I wouldn't have so much trouble with letting people keep their own beliefs if they didn't make public policy decisions based on those beliefs.
      • Re:saying it is so (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:55AM (#23979233)

        unfortunately religious bullshit is reaching far beyond dirt farmers and the pollution of science with faith is impacting other areas, such as pharmacists who are fighting for the right to withhold medicine from patients if they personally dislike it e.g. contraception.

        if it spreads much further we might see things like police officers being able to refuse to investigate crimes against people they consider sinners. (on the other hand if it gets much worse America will collapse so hard people will realise why the 1st amendment was such a good idea in the first place.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Skrynesaver (994435)

        What difference does it make to a dirt farmer if he's descended from monkeys? It's just going to make him that much more depressed, and make it that much more difficult for him to get up in the morning to tend his crops.

        Well a dirt poor arable farmer who doesn't believe in the malleability of species will stay a dirt poor farmer, however one who does believe in the malleability of species can selectively breed for better crops / livestock and become a dirt poor farmer with a rosette from the county show ;)

        More generally it is a waste the resources of a country not to educate the minds available to their greatest potential, every country fails at this but currently the US seems to be actively aiming for universal idiocy.

        Not

      • Re:saying it is so (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @06:13AM (#23979313) Journal

        All I'm saying is, if Louisiana wants to screw itself, let them. What difference does it make to a dirt farmer if he's decended from monkeys? It's just going to make him that much more depressed, and make it that much more difficult for him to get up in the morning to tend his crops. LET PEOPLE BELIEVE IN CREATIONISM. It's ok if someone doesn't want to know everything. Just because you do, and see the logic, does not mean other people do.

        You selfish bastard. Aren't you glad your parents and grandparents didn't feel like you do, now? Aren't you glad they didn't throw their hands up in the air when faced with utter idiocy, and instead decided that it was a cause worth fighting for?

        The main point is that Science isn't about what you believe, it's about what you can (or cannot) PROVE. Teaching students otherwise is to deny them a basic grasp of what science is all about, and since Science is the cornerstone of modern civilization, you are denying them a proper place within society. Might as well beat them with sticks and call that "mathematics". The end result is an erosion of society, since society is nothing more than the effect of its population.

        While poor folks tend to have poor parents, there are many, many, many exceptions to that rule. For example, Bill Clinton was born to a poor single mother, yet because of his high-quality education, he managed to become one of the top leaders in the world. His example is by no means unique, there are many, many others.

        Turn your back on any of them, and you turn your back on ALL of them, since the more idiots in this world, the more idiots the learned have to combat in order to get anything done. At a certain threshold, nothing gets done and society collapses.

        This is NOT ok, it is NOT acceptable, and it's NOT "them Louisianans". For example, even as a proud Californian, I still owe a significant amount of my life heritage to Alabama since I spent much of my childhood there. Louisiana and Alabama have many of the same problems being in the "bible belt" - point being, that PEOPLE MOVE.

        Apathy? Thank you, NO. This is a big deal, it should be struck down due to separation of Church and State, and even them Louisiana students should be given a chance at understanding REAL SCIENCE.

      • Re:saying it is so (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @06:23AM (#23979371) Journal

        All I'm saying is, if Louisiana wants to screw itself, let them. What difference does it make to a dirt farmer if he's decended from monkeys?


        Uneducated people are weapons for dictators and extremists. The best defence we have against the rise of Hitlers, the British National Party, and all the others, is a well-educated population that can think for itself. Mass ignorance opens a population up to easy manipulation and there always seems to be someone ready to make use of them for personal gain. Believe me, you don't want scientific, historical and political ignorance in the US to become any more widespread than it actually is.

      • by dreamchaser (49529) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @07:10AM (#23979539) Homepage Journal

        I'm considered by most to be highly educated, and I still believe in the American Dream as it were, largely because I have lived it. I went from homeless to middle/upper middle class by hard work, the way it's supposed to be done. Do not confuse the fact that our Government is horribly broken with the falsehood that America is broken. The spirit is still there, despite the best efforts of Government, Media, Academia, and Law to beat us down.

      • Re:saying it is so (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rbanffy (584143) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @08:28AM (#23979903) Homepage Journal

        "So, maybe having a poor class with no education that believes in creationism is the way to go? And if they want to sacrifice their public education dollars in that way, let them. I won't be one of them, but if they want to, god help them."

        The only problem with your reasoning is the possibility that they may outnumber you or outpower you or even outgun you. That is, most certainly, not a nice place to be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Keen Anthony (762006)
      Sadly there are people out there who, despite showing every indication that they are deep thinkers, arrive at the conclusion that science has never brought anything positive. Ben Stein for <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEKJPJQklzY">example</a>
  • by Keen Anthony (762006) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:30AM (#23979105)
    Maybe the middle school atmosphere has changed significantly in the fifteen years since I set foot in a high school classroom, but I don't recall high school ever being a place for developing critical thinking skills. We did that in college, or just plainly after high school. High school is where interests are sparked, but creativity in its chaotic adolescent form is stifled and controlled - tightly regulated if you will. In high school, we memorize and regurgitate what the teachers and the school board expects us too. Taking fundamental scientific knowledge and muddying it with manufactured politically motivated controversies is very dangerous. Critical thinking does not exist without a firm grasp of fundamental knowledge.
  • To the AGW deniers (Score:5, Informative)

    by statemachine (840641) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @05:39AM (#23979155)

    STOP!

    For the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) deniers, start here:
    Climate change: A guide for the perplexed [newscientist.com]
    It links to many articles and many peer-reviewed research sources.

    If you simply just say something like "no, it doesn't have evidence" or say something that the above link disproves, (and apologies to Jeff Foxworthy) you just MIGHT be a troll.

    If you read the articles and are damned sure, cite your sources. And they better link to peer-reviewed research that supports the premise. Or we will taunt you a second time...

    Carry on.

  • Why only science? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2008 @06:10AM (#23979297)

    Why not include legislation specifically allowing "critical thinking" about the holocaust, or "critical thinking" about democracy in history and social studies classes? Some good neo-Nazi and communist materials should be appropriate. And in health classes we can take time to teach about crystal healing.

    I'm surprised they didn't suggest other topics in science that need some "critical thinking", such as the spheroidal Earth theory, the theory of gravity, and atomic theory.

    This section of the proposed act is funny:

    "D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion."

    We don't have a religious motivation behind this, really!!

    I'm sorry, but the thought that certain subjects in science (with a set of enumerated examples) need special attention from legislators in order to receive what they deem to be an appropriate level of "critical thinking" is very obviously motivated by politics and religion. I mean, why else would they be doing this? I'd be willing to bet that the current science curriculum already emphasizes the importance of building critical thinking into the understanding of science.

    What this legislation is really about is providing a convenient legal pathway for pseudoscientific materials of any type to find their way into the classroom. And won't it be a nice surprise if, say, the Flat Earth Society is ready and willing to provide a glossy brochure, or textbooks for each and every student that they can take home if they like, in order to help out?

    This is the same nonsense as Dover, Pennsylvania [wikipedia.org] all over again, with legislation behind it and a more thorough attempt to launder the effort of its actual intentions.

    Here's a critical thought: maybe it isn't the best thing to allow a bunch of politicians to decide which subjects supposedly need a dose of "critical thinking" above and beyond what will already be in there as a matter of course.

  • by just_forget_it (947275) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @06:14AM (#23979317)
    "The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston Churchill

    Doesn't exactly apply here, but it's damn close enough.
  • by OpenSourced (323149) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @06:30AM (#23979397) Journal

    topics that need critical thinking, as it cites scientific subjects 'including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning'

    Right. And I'm glad we aren't limited to these, because I'd like to add my own little list:

    - Government policies
    - Existence of Jesus
    - Development Aid
    - Love to the flag
    - Selective Religion
    - Comparative Religion
    - Nationalism
    - Capitalism
    - Sports as spectacle
    - War on drugs
    - News spinning
    - Education system

    I'm sure many other topics can be added, much improving general education.

  • by WoollyMittens (1065278) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @07:06AM (#23979523)
    If the future of the US economy is to be based on intellectual property, then is doesn't bode well to teach the next generation to believe in fairy-tales. It's easy to sell science to the rest of the world, because it is of practical use. It's impossible to sell your faith to a world which already has plenty of bullshit superstitions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by croftj (2359)

      I think L. Ron Hubbard would dis agree with you. He made an okay business out of selling his religion.

      What sort of bullshit are you spreading? You can not be smart and productive in science and have a belief in God?

      Sigh... it's folks with such limited thinking to believe bullshit like that which is sinking this country.

  • We have in this headline yet another obnoxiously-worded headline that appears to serve no purpose other than inciting verbal riot.

    There is nothing remotely "anti-evolution" in the text of the law. Go read it and see for yourself (it's only a single page).

    I call foul on this headline. I'm so tired of people shouting about how terrible all "those people" are, and I'm especially tired of people putting things in the worst possible light all the time.

    Reading these kinds of slashdot articles is like listening to talk radio.

  • Ethics of Belief (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Prune (557140) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @07:29AM (#23979643)
    I saw a couple of posts suggesting that people should be left to believe what they want. This is an incredibly dangerous proposition, and the reason that it must be rejected, even if said people don't try to push their false beliefs onto others, has been covered in depth in this classic piece that is, unfortunately, as much needed reading today as it was in the distant past when it was written: http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/w_k_clifford/ethics_of_belief.html [infidels.org]
  • NO ORLEANS, Friday (UNN) - The Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) was signed by Governor Bobby Jindal yesterday. The bill will allow local school boards to approve supplemental classroom materials specifically for the critique of controversial alleged "scientific" theories.

    "The Act is intended to foster critical thinking," said Gov. Jindal. "We want the state Board of Education to assist teachers in promoting open and objective discussion of scientific theories including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

    "Next, we'll work on classroom resources concerning the debates on the position of the Earth in the universe, whether Newton got it right, whether Democritus or Aristotle was correct about matter, and whether, in fact, the liver is the most important organ in the body. Then we'll get onto whether the 'periodic table' is just a Liberal conspiracy or fire, earth, air and water are a better fit for reality, and, of course, a critical examination of whether the so-called Holocaust happened or was a put-up job by the Jesus-killers."

    Some have worried that the United States will fall behind in education, science and engineering and hence economic achievement. But the new bill comes in the wake of the vast successes of Faith-Based Mortgage Lending and its beneficial effects on the US housing market. "The replacement of the US dollar with rocks and small twigs as a more trusted and widely-accepted medium of exchange is merely a temporary blip," said Ben Bernanke, director of the Federal Reserve. "The hordes of Europeans flocking to New York for the cheap shopping and laughing as they give the bums Euro notes or pound coins are merely an optical illusion. The Faith-Based Security employed by the Transport Security Administration should deal with it conclusively."

    Gov. Jindal looks at the move as an opportunity. "Louisiana will make America proud again. After the success of No Orleans' Faith-Based Levees in 2006, we'll impress the world again with our Penis Rocket To The Moon project. Or we would, except that we'll be advocating critical discussion of the Intelligent Stork theory of reproduction."

  • by Bayoudegradeable (1003768) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @08:43AM (#23979981)
    This makes me want to puke. Rita and Katrina screwed us up good, we're in no way rebuilt and this is what our legislature gives us. The same folks that damn near tripled their pay last week. I, for one, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster I don't have to worry about this as a teacher in a private school. My geography class starts out with the Big Bang, as does my world history class. If we're gonna talk God done dooed it, might as well talk Xenu, Inzanami and FSM...
  • _IF_ONLY_ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smchris (464899) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @09:57AM (#23980441)

    Are topics like intelligent design and global warming, or for that matter astrology and palm reading, good topics to teach critical thinking? Of course. Topics like astrology and creationism have appeared in various editions of Fogelin's Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic. The problems are two-fold:

    1. With local school board control, there is little incentive to teach children informal logic. Informal logic needs topics to dissect. Sure as hell, if the course shreds astrology, some child will have an astrologer parent who threatens to sue the school board. So why take the chance of teaching children to think critically about any social topic?

    2. Obviously, the intention is not to introduce the opportunity to dissect intelligent design or global warming. The teacher who values his paycheck will know which way the wind blows. (See #1 above).

    And that's democracy in the most vulgar sense. Teach them what the lowest common denominator demands they be taught.

  • by abbamouse (469716) on Saturday June 28, 2008 @12:29PM (#23982067) Homepage

    ...in other ways. See this set of T shirts, [wearscience.com] which would be appropriate to any such lessons on "intelligent design."

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