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UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact 783

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-more-monkeying-around dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A story at the BBC explains how the UK government has put an extra clause into a funding bill to ensure that any new 'free schools' (independent schools run by groups of parents or organizations, but publicly-funded) must teach evolution rather than creationism or potentially lose their funding. 'The new rules state that from 2013, all free schools in England must teach evolution as a 'comprehensive and coherent scientific theory.' The move follows scientists's concerns that free schools run by creationists might avoid teaching evolution. Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said it was 'delighted.' Sir Paul told BBC News the previous rules on free schools and the teaching of evolution versus creationism had been 'not tight enough.'"
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UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact

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  • good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aldousd666 (640240) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:37PM (#42142739) Journal
    good
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:37PM (#42142755)
    Seriously, when you have to pass a law to ensure fairy tales aren't taught as facts in school, something is horribly wrong with society.
  • by iggymanz (596061) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:44PM (#42142905)

    Most educated christians and muslims and Jews have no problem with evolution, despite the stereotypes thrown about on slashdot by people obsessed with a certain minority. While establishing his theory of evolution, and for many years after Charles Darwni himself continued to be a practicing Christian

  • Re:I disagree. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:46PM (#42142941)

    Last time I checked, the educational process does not involve the presentation of scientific falsehoods as if they were truth, then expecting students to determine for themselves which is which. That would be fundamentally intellectually dishonest. "Teach the controversy/debate/both sides" is nothing more than a naked attempt at putting creationism on equal footing with science.

  • Re:I disagree. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:47PM (#42142985) Homepage Journal

    People should be taught both and then left alone to decide which one makes more sense.

    Which form of creationism would you like them to teach?

    Young-Earth creationism
    Old Earth creationism
    Gap creationism
    Day-Age creationism
    Progressive creationism
    Neo-Creationism
    Intelligent design
    Creation science
    Theistic evolution (evolutionary creation)
    Omphalos hypothesis

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:48PM (#42143005) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, you can prevent creationism and lose the "free" part, or allow it and lose the "school" part.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:49PM (#42143027)

    As far as I can tell, this law doesn't do that. TFS doesn't say anything is prohibited by it, just that a certain something must be taught.
    Teaching evolution as a 'comprehensive and coherent scientific theory' is a cinch for even the most fundamentalist US-type biblical literalist.

  • by GigsVT (208848) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:50PM (#42143043) Journal

    If you mean "origin evolution", then yeah. If you mean "evolution" as a widely accepted thing that actually happens all the time and is a major basis of all biology, then that's of pretty obvious value.

  • by BMOC (2478408) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:53PM (#42143101)

    Yes, it means you have politicians doing things they shouldn't be.

    This is a horrible precedent. Evolution is likely the correct explanation for life on earth, but what happens when science is wrong? (it often is, that's how we learn) Do we then just say "oops, sorry, we didn't mean to legislate teaching you what wasn't known for certain yet."

    Politicians should not be involving themselves in science, lest they quickly become little better than a monarchy.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:54PM (#42143121)

    What will the Government decide must be taught in schools?

    In my country, it already does. It's called "the national curriculum".

    I had a teacher split the class into 2 sides, those who believe in God and those who believe in evolution. There was me and a very nervous oriental student on the evolution side. I didn't win the debate, but I put up a good fight.

    You don't believe in evolution - you accept it, just as you accept the map of the Solar system and the periodic table. There's no place for believing.

  • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr1911 (1942298) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:57PM (#42143161)

    I likely don't have a problem with this, because I don't claim to know how God created everything. From a faith-based point of view, I have some problems with Evolution

    It is not about how science fits in to your religion's book of stories. Science is observable whereas religion is believed only because the believer wants to, or, more likely, is afraid of the punishment their religion promises for deviating from the church. It is amazing how people dismiss science to believe their religious teachings, quite often centered around an all-loving, all-forgiving deity that will send them to eternal suffering for failing to believe properly.

    we may not understand everything yet, but if we don't endeavor to learn everything we can through Science, we will only block our own growth.

    The most sensible statement I have ever seen by someone self-identifying as a creationist. Congratulations, but saying such sensible things might get you thrown out of the creationist club!

  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@uberm00. n e t> on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:57PM (#42143173) Homepage Journal

    What the fuck? You can't believe in God and also believe in evolution now? What was your teacher trying to prove?

  • by gorzek (647352) <gorzek@gmailREDHAT.com minus distro> on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:57PM (#42143175) Homepage Journal

    That is a great summary of the basic issue.

    Science is the process by which we expand and refine our knowledge. It is not a system of belief. The debate has been framed in such a way that you have two sets of beliefs--science and religion--and they are in conflict, but on equal ground. Applied more broadly, this is an illustration of "my opinions are just as good as your facts." It comes from people who fundamentally misunderstand what science is and how it works.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:00PM (#42143225)

    You don't have to just accept it. Challenge it, test it, prove it invalid if you can. That is called science.

    And the theory of evolution has been placed in that crucible and come out the other side intact, even if it is shaped a bit differently than it started.

  • Re:I disagree. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:03PM (#42143307)

    People should be taught both and then left alone to decide which one makes more sense.

    That's frankly, the stupidest solution possible.

    If this reasoning were applied:
    1. Physics classes would teach "the 4 elements", and all the other crap the Greeks believe just because Aristotle said it.
    2. Chemistry would teach the "grand arcana" and how you can live longer by drinking mercury.
    3. Astronomy would teach the "crystal spheres" theory, the "circular orbits with epicycles" theory, and the "the gods just move things around at their discretion" theory.
    4. Any student could derail any class at will by making some shit up and demanding that the class dedicate time to teaching it and letting everyone make up their mind.

    The truth is that Creationism is not a valid theory (it's a story from a book that was probably fiction when it was written*), and if you want it to be taken seriously as a competitor to evolution by natural selection the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that it 1) explains observed behavior at least as well as evolution and 2) makes falsifiable predictions which conflict with evolution that are verified by experimentation.

    *No historical evidence exists to corroborate the events aside from the text who's authenticity is in question, and many of the events are believed to by physically impossible. Occam's Razor indicates it's more likely those events never actually happened, than that there is an as yet not understood mechanism that allows them to be true.

  • Re:good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:06PM (#42143353)

    As a Catholic, I completely agree with evolution, and have no problems with it being taught in schools. That being said, people here are losing sight of the fact that it is a parent's job to raise and educate their own children. The government is there as an assistance to the parents - absolutely not as a usurper.
    Much of the conversation here, while correct on the science, is absolutely incorrect on the fundamentals of human rights and freedoms.

  • by BMOC (2478408) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:06PM (#42143363)

    The whole point of teaching science is to hope that people will find that things are wrong with it and improve on it. But without a solid understanding on the scientific method, what we observe now, how we interpret that evidence and why the current body of knowledge is accepted, people cannot possibly understand WHY the science is wrong (when it's wrong) and how to fix it.

    No, wrong. The whole point of teaching science is teaching kids the proper way to think and approach problems. The appropriate way to think does not include clinging to one particular viewpoint because it's fashionable, whatever that viewpoint may be.

  • Re:good (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:10PM (#42143437)

    No, bad.

    Just because it is the supported theory, and all the archeological evidence does support it, and we of the scientific community hold that it is the 99% best supported explanation, it is not a fact.

    If it was truly a fact, then no more resources would be spent studying evolution. And, it is way too soon to close that checkbook.

    I really think it is bad when politicians and fools get involved with science.

  • by shilly (142940) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:11PM (#42143459)

    1. We Britons have decided we want to purchase education through collective taxation as a society. If we're going to buy education, it makes sense for our legislature to have some say over the content of what we buy, just as other purchasers would. Blah blah slippery slope doesn't really cut it, ya know. Not when you don't acknowledge that there are downsides to the *non*involvement of government in education, including lack of access, no standards guarantor, costs going through the roof, the private biases of proprietors affecting the content of what is taught, etc etc.

    2. Science teachers don't merely teach pupils to accept evolution as fact. They explain how it's been tested and why it stands. That said, you wouldn't be able to do very much science teaching (or science) if you have to explain the tests applied to absolutely every aspect of science.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:12PM (#42143479)

    The government has a duty to step in when parents abuse their children. This is not up for debate, we do it all the time when we remove children from dangerous households.

    The only question is if this meets that bar or not.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:12PM (#42143481) Homepage

    You keep using that word, but I do not think you know what it means.

    Belief: "An acceptance that a statement is true ..."

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:14PM (#42143501)

    A great example of the problem.
    You lost a debate that was unloseable.

    How could they have won? They have 0 evidence.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:18PM (#42143589)
    If someone proposes a better theory, it will be tested and if it meet the bar it will be followed. It's not like evolutionists are closed minded idiots acting on faith, they're scientists and act based on verifiable evidence. I think you have evolutionists confused with the ID crowd.
  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:21PM (#42143635)

    You don't believe in evolution - you accept it, just as you accept the map of the Solar system and the periodic table. There's no place for believing.

    Don't drag epistemology into it :) How people know things, wether it's by faith or evidence, isn't relevant to the debate -- most kids in 4th grade are going to take most of what they hear in science class on authority, which isn't much better than faith.

    The debate over teaching evolution is where that authority comes from -- will it come from objective knowledge, or from churchmen? And is teaching the Origins of Man going to be about the search for truth and knowledge, or is it going to be a lesson about morality? That's the dispute.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:28PM (#42143785)

    There are no supernatural theories. They cannot exist as they are not testable and therefore not theories.

    If you want to say myth or guess, just say so.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dave420 (699308) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:29PM (#42143797)
    Teaching a child that the scientific method doesn't work is not "education" by any stretch of the word. It's lying.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:34PM (#42143881) Homepage

    This is a horrible precedent. Evolution is likely the correct explanation for life on earth, but what happens when science is wrong? (it often is, that's how we learn) Do we then just say "oops, sorry, we didn't mean to legislate teaching you what wasn't known for certain yet."

    Find me one piece of credible, scientific evidence for creationism. Go ahead, I'll wait.

    So far, people have put forth theories to try to shore up their belief in creationism, but there's precisely zero evidence for it. The best attempt I've ever seen is "this is so complex it couldn't have happened through natural processes, therefore it must have been magic".

    We have observed evolution and speciation. We haven't observed any creation occurring, nor is there any evidence for it.

    So when people try to teach creationism in school, it largely amounts to a religious point of view, and is presented as if it's an equally valid "theory" -- because they abuse the scientific definition of "theory" to say "well, that's just what you think". (If Newton had proposed the law of Gravity in the last 100 years or so, it would stil be a theory.)

    Politicians should not be involving themselves in science, lest they quickly become little better than a monarchy.

    They're not dictating the outcomes of scientific endeavors, they're saying that since there is no credible scientific evidence for creationism -- you can't teach it alongside science as an equally valid view, because there is precisely zero science involved in it.

    If the public is paying for people to be educated, it expects people to come out of that system understanding what is real and what isn't. Creationism isn't objective reality, it's trying to make the universe adhere to your religious beliefs.

    So, if you want to teach your children that 2+2=58 million, that water is made up gumdrops and moonbeams, and that some creator god whipped up the world in 7 literal days ... well, you can bloody well pay for it yourself, and expect them to be mocked relentlessly when they get out into the world.

    But all those people saying that fossils were there to test their faith, and that the world is only 6000 years old -- well, we can't exactly accept that their version of reality is equally valid so we don't hurt their feelings, especially when it contradicts real physical measurements.

    If there is a creator god, he/she/it is vastly more complex and unknowable in light of everything we know about the universe. it would have to encompass everything we know about physical reality. And if people can't include reality in their religious beliefs, it's not the states job to pay for funding their version of it.

    I've known professors of computational astrophysics who are still quite religious. They have no problem with the duality of it -- because if God did create the universe, he's so far outside of any of the bits we can ever directly see and measure, that you have to take those parts on faith.

    Science and religion deal with different areas of human endeavour. But you can't twist science to match what your religion tells you.

    Creationism is not a scientific theory by any meaningful definition. It isn't testable, falsifiable, or evidence based. It's based on thousands of years of beliefs, most of which were borrowed from civilizations which came before the religions who now say that their bible tells them that the world was created in 7 days (the creation myth was borrowed from the Sumerians or Babylonians almost verbatim).

    You should be free to believe whatever you think god has told you about morality and the like -- but it really can't be placed along side of science as a plausible alternate answer to these questions.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:34PM (#42143889) Homepage Journal

    Schools, just like our legal system, should be based on logic and fact. We should teach the most likely explanation (or that we simply don't know) given experiment, research and evidence. That is the only sane way to proceed.

    Of course people should be allowed to believe whatever they want - but that does not belong in the classroom or law, as it's not based on logic and reason. (Naturally, subjects like RE are fine as they are about the fact that many people do believe in religion, and the culture around it. Unfortunately, my experience of RE was a teacher peddling logically unsound stuff (pascal's wager, paley's watch, etc - pseudo-logic that is damaging to children as it will set bad precedent for their reasoning skills.)

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:37PM (#42143939)

    I agree with evolution completely, and yet it's plain that is a very, very nasty slippery slope that anyone who cares about human rights should fear greatly.

    Actually, I strongly suspect that you do not in fact agree at all with evolution, and are using the bogus human rights argument in an attempt to muddy the waters and pretend you're arguing against requiring state funded schools to teach reality for reasons other than defending your religiously predetermined ignorance.

    If you don't like what your kids are being taught, you can always pull them out of the state funded free school, and pay for them to be educated elsewhere. Just remember that if your kids are educated in what amounts to a sham of a school that doesn't prepare them to face the real world, their job prospects are going to be minimal, and their education will be worthless. The government in the meantime, has not only the "right" to determine the curriculum at the schools they fund, they also have a responsibility to do so. There's nothing slippery about this, nor is there anything sloped, and it has nothing to do with human rights - the only reason to claim otherwise is if you're pushing a hidden agenda to remove content you don't agree with, despite the unfortunate truth of the matter.

  • by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:38PM (#42143945) Homepage Journal
    I would argue the biggest problem is the perception that 'faith' is a good thing - faith, by definition, is believing in something without a good reason to do so. That is literally insane and is the worst thing we could teach our children, however, if you look at children's films (and often adult's films), they are packed with it. The idea that 'faith' is a good thing has become engrained in culture. I'm sure this is part of the reason why people get scammed so often too.
  • What about... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by balaam's ass (678743) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:42PM (#42144007) Journal
    ...mandating that students should be able to add fractions? My college students can't even manage that. Can 'we as a culture' devote a little less time to the creationism/evolution circus, and at least make sure that basic scientific proficiency is getting through?
  • Re:good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vidarlo (134906) <vidarlo AT bitsex DOT net> on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:49PM (#42144139) Homepage

    Just because it is the supported theory, and all the archeological evidence does support it, and we of the scientific community hold that it is the 99% best supported explanation, it is not a fact.

    If it was truly a fact, then no more resources would be spent studying evolution. And, it is way too soon to close that checkbook.

    Wrong. Evolution is a fact. The particular details of evolution is still discussed, and refined from time to time. In the same manner, Albert Einstein refined the laws of Newton, with regards to high speeds. Newton was not wrong in any way, he was just not as right as Einstein.

    It is a bit like saying that Newton claimed 2+2 equals 2.999, whilst Einstein said it's 4. However, creationists basically say zeebra + 2 = god - which does not even make sense.

  • Re:good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:51PM (#42144175)

    I grew up in a fundamentalist christian household. And inflicting the communicable memetic disease of faith on children and brainwashing them to believe in the evil of religion is absolutely child abuse. It imposes a severe mental, emotional and ethical harm to children's minds before they are capable of fighting off the infection. In most cases this harm is permanent, and the child never recovers and becomes healthy again.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:54PM (#42144257) Homepage

    The European Convention on Human Rights states that education is a human right. Therefore not allowing your children to learn to read and write is a violation of their rights and the government will step in to stop you.

    So the question is does the denial of education about evolution, taught as fact according to the curriculum in science classes, count as a breech of the child's human rights in the same way?

    Note that parents have no right to teach their children whatever they like without limit. For example they are not allowed to teach them things which would result in psychological harm, even if they really believe that the child is possessed by the devil and doomed to spend eternity being tortured in hell (we have had that in the UK). Children are treated differently because unlike adults they cannot deal with such accusations without being injured. That does not have any impact on freedom of speech - you are free to shout "fire!", just not in a crowded theatre where people will be injured as a result.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:59PM (#42144325)

    I disagree. I think teaching children about fictional all powerful beings as if they were real is a form of abuse. This perpetuates a society which can't distinguish between right and wrong, real and imagined, and fosters abuse of the minority (be it communists, pedophiles, African Americans, gypsies, jews, or some other group).

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:59PM (#42144335)

    You may teach your children as you like, but to never teach them about evolution is abuse.

    I could easily come up with dozens of scientific theories and concepts that are certainly more important to be taught than evolution.

    Do you consider it abuse to not teach kids about Newton's laws of motion? Sadly, I would be willing to bet that most products of the public education system have a better concept of evolution than of inertia.

    This is the problem that I have with the whole evolution/creationism in education debate: the theory of evolution is just not that important. The loudmouths on both sides of this debate aren't interested in education; they're just using it as a proxy to attack their political enemies.

    Try fixing the general state of science education, and then you can go attack the evolution in education question all you want.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:00PM (#42144345)
    Then teach your children without public funding. That's what this is all about. It doesn't appear that privately funded "free schools" are required to teach evolution.
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:13PM (#42144535)

    And even if Hitler took the Theory of Evolution and twisted it to his own devices (which, as you pointed out, he didn't), that doesn't mean you toss out the Theory of Evolution. You just ditch his twisted and distorted mis-usage of the theory. Hitler also took rocket science and used that to kill a lot of people, but that doesn't mean we don't use rockets to go into space.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drosboro (1046516) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:16PM (#42144597)

    I disagree. You may teach your children as you like, but to never teach them about evolution is abuse.

    I'm a biology teacher at a Christian school. I do teach evolution - with far more rigour than I ever taught it in public school - because I think that it's important for anyone who wants to hold a dissenting view on something considered to be this foundational to be really, really well informed about what they're disagreeing with. That said, I also work with students who have actually been abused by their parents - real abuse... emotional, physical, sexual, etc. Dogmatically stating "never teaching a child about evolution is abuse" just seems silly and insulting to anyone who has actually encountered abuse. Let's not throw the term "abuse" around so lightly.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:18PM (#42144617)

    Why?

    Eugenics should be taught in a history class. To be unaware of something that shaped so much 20th century history would be insane.

  • Re:good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:20PM (#42144663)
    I wholeheartedly agree with this, and I don't think many people realize just how damaging this type of upbringing can be. I was also raised in a fundamentalist Christian home (my father was even a pastor for a period of time), and as a young adult I feel that I am only just overcoming the emotional and mental damage that I incurred. Don't get me wrong, I've never been broken or unfit for life in society, but I don't think you can really understand the impact it has on relationships and your own inner well-being unless you grew up in such a situation. Even if a child is fortunate enough to see religion for what it is as they reach their adolescent years, the fear and guilt are so ingrained in you that every day while you grow up there is internal and external struggle as you have thoughts like "what if I'm wrong and I go to hell for eternity" and try to deal with the constant friction between you and your parents since they think of you as a sinner and try to control your life. Neither myself nor my sisters ever felt comfortable with asking our parents the kinds of questions that children should be able to ask, and as I've had private talks with them as adults they mirror my sentiment for the difficulties in growing up like that.

    Even if down the road we discover that the theory of evolution is incorrect, forcing state-funded schools to teach evolution for now will still be a blessing just by introducing young minds to science who would otherwise be living in the controlled ecosystem that many home-schooling Christian fundamentalist families raise their kids in.
  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:20PM (#42144669) Homepage

    I could easily come up with dozens of scientific theories and concepts that are certainly more important to be taught than evolution. ... The theory of evolution is just not that important.

    I'll put it this way: Trying to do modern biology without learning evolution is like trying to do modern chemistry without learning how the periodic table works.

  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:26PM (#42144751)

    Ideas that have evidence supporting them should not require the preaching you're giving us.

    You can say that again. There is an overwhelming mountain of evidence for evolution, not to mention basic common sense about how the world works. It's definitely a mystery why so many people simply refuse to look at the evidence and accept the conclusions. It really shouldn't require all of this preaching, but for some reason it does. I wonder if society was this fragmented 150 years after the heliocentric model of the solar system was demonstrated.

  • by gorzek (647352) <gorzek@gmailREDHAT.com minus distro> on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:26PM (#42144753) Homepage Journal

    If you believe science leads to facts or to truth - the real truth if you will - then you are making assumptions for which you have no proof.

    That is not the purpose of science. The purpose of science is to improve our understanding of the universe and how it works. The ultimate truth about how everything works is likely to be unknowable, always limited by the tools available to us and our ability to mentally grasp and understand them. However, it does produce a clearer and clearer picture over time. Sometimes it is wrong, and we later learn better. It is not perfect, but it is the best method we have for exploring and understanding our universe.

    First, you assume that there is no intelligent guiding hand who happens to choose to make things behave in a mathematically coherent way most of the time (but who may change things a bit when a point needs to be made).

    Science does not assume this, it simply fails to a) find evidence of such an "intelligent guiding hand" and b) has encountered no situations which require an "intelligent guiding hand" to explain them.

    You're assuming that your brain is functioning properly and that you're sense of logic is correct - that If a implies b and b implies c, that a does imply c.

    Which is why science is not advanced by the conclusions of any one scientist, but of many who work independently and review each other's work. It is a group effort, never relying solely on the research or conclusions of any one individual, who may have taken a flawed approach.

    Perhaps it does, or perhaps you believe it so fervently that anytime something contradicts it you refuse to see it and come up with some other excuse. Perhaps the logic of the universe is incredibly simple and the only reason we keep having to invent new smaller particles and weird forms of matter is that our brains have a fundamental flaw that doesn't let us see the logic. Of course, none of these other ideas can be proven, but neither can your idea that science reveals the real truth.

    There is no evidence that this is the case. You are essentially implying that your "intelligent guiding hand" deliberately plays tricks on all of us. If it does, it does so in a completely consistent manner, which means the science is still valid. But such an agent is not required in our explanation.

     

    Instead we find that science seems to work for us so we use it, and it has been very reliable. That's good enough to make it part of our curriculum. That's good enough for us to trust our lives to it when we get surgery or fly through the sky at Mach 1. But we go too far if we declare that science is therefor the only truth. Looking at it logically, we just can't be sure. So people who try to push science are fine, but people who try to push science to the exclusion of everything else are indeed promoting a religious belief.

    "Knowledge" and "truth" are not the same thing, nor did I equate them. That was all you.

    As I like to say, science tells us the "how," but does not care about the "why." The "why" is left for philosophy and religion. Where the latter overstep their bounds is in saying science is wrong because it contradicts them.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:27PM (#42144767)

    Why should a parent that is home schooling their children be required to teach evolution?

    Maybe the child is very interested in Music. You don't need to know about evolution to learn about music. Maybe the child is interested in sculpting or painting. You don't need evolution to learn those things. Hell, perhaps the child is very interested in motion and kinetics. Even learning a hard science like physics does not require you to learn about evolution.

    I understand the value of a classical liberal (in the old sense of the word) education. But everyone doesn't need that kind of education. What if the kid wants to be a plumber or an electrician like his mom or dad? Still don't need to learn evolution (I also think we've lost something by no longer really supporting apprenticeship styles of learning too).

    What if the child wants to be a farmer like his mom or dad? Trick question, evolution might be helpful here. Farmers can directly utilize knowledge about hybridization of plants, which would require learning about evolution ;-).

    At the end of it all. I do not believe teaching of evolution should be mandated by the state.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:37PM (#42144939)
    Telling your children that if they misbehave you will throw them in a furnace: Abuse
    Telling your children that if they misbehave God will throw them in a furnace: Not Abuse?
  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:39PM (#42144969) Homepage Journal

    The government has a duty to step in when parents abuse their children. This is not up for debate, we do it all the time when we remove children from dangerous households.

    The only question is if this meets that bar or not.

    You are on a very slippery slope. What other forms of "abuse" do you wish to prevent? Teaching bigotry? Ethnic or racial prejudice? How about teaching them that females shouldn't be educated? Simply telling ethnic jokes? How about teaching your children that homosexuality is wrong? Teaching them that individual responsibility is "good" and reliance on government programs is "bad"? Teaching them not to trust politicians/the government? Teaching them to question authority? Teaching them that vacines are bad/a plot?

    Pretty soon you end up with a "1984" world where children can simply report their parents for teaching some sort of socially unacceptable idea and the parents are off to a re-education camp and the children get raised by state (and obviously are only taught things the state wants them to learn).

    Unfortunately, freedom means being free to be stupid. Sadly, this stupidity sometimes gets inflicted on children. It also means that some children don't grow up to be politically correct sheeple.

    Cheers,
    Dave

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:54PM (#42145237)

    The reason this issue is important is not because the theory of evolution is important, but because allowing the creationist alternative means undermining the validity of the entire Scientific Method and endorsing religious Faith as "scientific" instead.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:58PM (#42145321)

    To protect the child?

    Those parents should also be required to teach him to read, write, do math even if they think algebra is the work of evil mooslims.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:03PM (#42145429) Homepage

    I could easily come up with dozens of scientific theories and concepts that are certainly more important to be taught than evolution.

    Do you consider it abuse to not teach kids about Newton's laws of motion?

    No one is teaching their kids that Newtonian Dynamics is bunk and all objects move only because god will it.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by marcello_dl (667940) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:08PM (#42145501) Homepage Journal

    You miss a detail, when a religion says "believe" and "announce the good news, that people can be saved", and it becomes "this God is real and I'll punish you for not obeying what [I say] it is saying", the problem is not the religion.

    Then you miss the whole picture, together with everybody else.

    IT IS A FAKE dualism, the one between evolution and creation. A hypothetical creator outside time does not create the initial state of the universe and lets it evolve. It creates the whole timeline together with the whole space in one step. Else he'd be travelling himself in time, a creator bound by the thing it is going to create? IMPOSSIBRU)

    Evolution is orthogonal to religion, the how is not the who.

    OTOH if somebody comes up with a young earth theory that fits some ancient religious books, why not? Does not prove any book correct in its impossible to prove religious messages, so what is the problem? It does not rule out evolution automatically. Maybe DNA is shakered faster when some cosmic ray showers occur :)

  • Re:good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drosboro (1046516) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:20PM (#42145733)

    Simple. There's people who ascribe the term "evil" to each of those concepts (yes, even potty-training). They have, in some cases, equally emotionally-charged opinions about secular humanism or potty training as Nadaka seems to have about religion. They would claim that those things cause "severe mental, emotional and ethical harm". They could even back it up with some anecdotal evidence ("I grew up in a secular-humanist household", or "I grew up in a household that potty-trained"), or some statistics (there's an awful lot of criminally-minded individuals out there who commit a lot of evil who have been potty-trained).

    Hopefully, most of us would see right through their arguments. But, for some reason, when people start talking about the "evils of religion", we don't see the same holes in those arguments that we would see in a similarly-constructed argument about the "evils of potty-training", the "evils of vaccination", the "evils of wi-fi radiation", etc. Nadaka's argument is high on the same sort of hyperbole ("it imposes a severe mental, emotional, and ethical harm", "inflicting the communicable memetic disease", "the child never recovers") that often comes from the "anti-everything" crowd, but pretty short on data to support some pretty over-the-top claims.

    Now, none of this is to say that Nadaka's "fundamentalist christian" upbringing DIDN'T have any hallmarks of mental, emotional, or ethical harm, or even child abuse. Perhaps it did. It does happen. But to paint all of "religion", or even all of "fundamentalist christian" with the same brush is rather poor reasoning.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent.jan.gohNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:37PM (#42146051) Homepage

    That's absurd. There's no agenda to atheism. By definition, *there's nothing to believe in*.

    If I told you I was an a-unicorn-ist (that is, someone that doesn't believe in unicorns) would you think that I have some sort of agenda? Some sort of RELIGION?

    At best, you can describe atheism as a philosophy, but it's more accurate not to call it anything at all. It's like the number 0. It's there, it's useful to define the absence of something (i.e., I have 0 oranges at my desk), but in the end, there's literally no belief structure tied to it at all.

    You can make the point that there are ANTI-religious people and that THEY have an agenda, but don't tell me I have a religion specifically because I don't believe in any of them.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisje (471362) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:31PM (#42148799)

    You are right about one thing. It is a psychological cliche to believe you are a better than average driver. Indeed.

    However, as I argued above, I feel many atheists simply don't believe because they haven't seen anything to support the notion there is something to believe in.

    Quite honestly, I don't understand your notion that atheism is truth. For all I know one day we can all be caught with our knickers down when we do discover there is a supreme being of some sort, even if it could be a wanker like Q from star trek.

    The thing that most atheists would like is this:

    - Quit trying to debunk factual phenomenon because they don't fit your antiquated book
    - Quit trying to impose a system on morality on others based on what some dude with a beard wrote in Babylon 2500 years ago (talking about Torah here)

    That's not so much debunking Christianity / Judaism / Islam as more trying to get the Christians / Jews / Muslims to shove it into our faces all the time with shitty and immoral legislation.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Friday November 30, 2012 @07:47PM (#42149865)

    Slashdot is falling down on the job today. This should have already been done, and before you were modded up.

    *whooooosh*

    That is all.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chrisje (471362) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @06:16AM (#42153409)

    Your view on atheist morality is dangerous and disturbing at best. Firstly you confuse the notion of atheism and evolution in your mind. Atheism does not teach anything, certainly not that survival of the fittest is the rule. Atheism simply means that one does not believe in any deity, no more no less.

    Evolution theories of today don't even teach survival of the fittest. It has been proven that in many species altruistic behavior is an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy as it's called, so helping one's neighbors and even members of other species is definitely wired into our system.

    As far as Evolution not being a fact because of lack of proof, that is simply not true. We have fossil records that are becoming ever more complete, both in the plant- as well as in the animal side of things. This fossil record amounts to a mountain of proof on which to base the hypothesis that evolution occurred and how it occurred.

    Now if you add to that the real-time observations and experiments that were carried out, you can argue that evolution as a concept has been proven in an ironclad way, and the only thing that remains is the figuring out of the details.

    Now the creationist view and the view of non-evolution have never, ever had a shred of evidence to support those notions. It really reminds me of XKCD comic 373, The Data So Far. Google it.

    Quite frankly, since altruistic behavior is pretty much wired into our system, we have an inherent sense of morality that really exists outside of any religious source. As a matter of fact, I think that the religious writings are an apt reflection of the human condition in its full breadth.

    Actually, Humanism and Liberalism in this country was phrased by non-religious people. Baruch Spinoza even got kicked out of the Jewish congregation because he wrote humanist books. We could have the tedious exercise where I would put the religious wars and inquisition in the fray, and you'd come up with Stalin and Hitler (although they were also dogmatic), and that whole discussion with you is just a very tedious chess game in which I know all the moves you'll play but I also know we'll agree to disagree.

    It's just very boring to have to deal with your kind of arguments, because we've seen 'm all before, they've been logically refuted a million times over and yet people with your line of reasoning crawl out of the woodwork wherever I turn.

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