Home » Evolution, Intelligent Design » KU’s New Class — Creationism, Intelligent Design and Other Religious Mythologies

KU’s New Class — Creationism, Intelligent Design and Other Religious Mythologies

[Updated links 30nov05:
http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/nation/13286369.htm
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_Creationism_Class.html]

[From a colleague:] The University of Kansas is flexing its anti-religion muscle again, this time by announcing the introduction of a new course in the Religion department: “Creationism, Intelligent Design and Other Religious Mythologies.”

To be taught by a professor of religion, no scientists allowed. God forbid that the students would hear both sides of a controversy presented in their strongest terms by experts.

When protestations arise from those who sense a somewhat disengenuous linking of ID (or creationism) with Mythology, the Provost self-righteously says, “The course title is not meant to offend any religion or belief, KU Provost David Shulenburger said Tuesday. He explained in a written statement that “myth” and “mythology” are common in the academic study of religion.”

Right. They know well how to manipulate with slippery terms… they’ve had plenty of practice with “evolution.”

It’s this kind of activity that should stir some legislators to question the extent to which Kansas taxpayers should be funding State-spoonsored faith-bashing.

I have a solution: Let them change the name to “Creationism, Evolutionism and Other Relligious Mythologies.” Now THAT’S a little more balanced.

[snip]

PS. A very telling comment from Boo Tyson of the Mainstream Coalition (a political action group in Kansas City set up to ‘out’ political candidates with hidden, right-wing agendas): “I think it’s a sign of weak faith to try to prove your faith.” So any faith based in fact is a weak faith; the more the objective evidence supports your belief system, the more illigical it is to embrace it. Facts are the enemy of faith. Now that’s a sign of the times.

===========================================================

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/local/13237625.htm

Use of ‘mythologies’ questioned
Intelligent design backers criticize KU course title

By LAURA BAUER
The Kansas City Star
November 23, 2005
Months before a University of Kansas religion course is even taught, its title has riled some who say the school is acting the spoil sport in the evolution debate.

The course, “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies,” will be offered next semester. The goal, university officials say, is to open students up to the many cross-cultural stories of how the world was created.

Those in the intelligent design camp believe it is just KU’s way of degrading the concept. Intelligent design is the belief that some aspects of nature show evidence of being designed by a creator.

“All of a sudden, just from the title, intelligent design is being put in there with mythology,” said Bruce Simat, an associate biology professor at Minnesota’s Northwestern College, who testified on behalf of intelligent design at Kansas hearings in May.

“I think it’s reactionary. I think it’s defensive. I think they are unwilling to study intelligent design head-on.”

For months, Kansas has been embroiled in controversy over what the state should teach its children in the science classroom. Earlier this month, the state board of education adopted new standards that allow for nonnatural explanations and cast doubt on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The course title is not meant to offend any religion or belief, KU Provost David Shulenburger said Tuesday. He explained in a written statement that “myth” and “mythology” are common in the academic study of religion.

The course will accommodate as many as 120 students. They will be introduced to many different creation stories and be able to make up their own minds on what they believe, university officials say.

What worries John Calvert, an attorney and managing director of Johnson County’s Intelligent Design Network, is whether the course instructor will be educated in the science behind intelligent design.

“… People will be misled and buy the lie,” Calvert said. “But the public is going to see what’s going on. We’re not all fools. Misinformation has a finite life.”

But some, in addition to faculty members at KU, think the class is a good thing.

Boo Tyson of the Mainstream Coalition said she likes that the topic is being taught in a religion curriculum.

“It may be right way to go about this. Let’s have this discussion in religion classes,” Tyson said. “I don’t think creationism or intelligent design belongs in a science classroom. I think it’s a sign of weak faith to try to prove your faith.”

Tyson said that after the course, students should be able to decide for themselves where they fall in the debate.

The nonpartisan coalition, based in Johnson County, works to maintain the separation of church and state.

Shulenburger said the course allows the university to fulfill its obligation to the community and students.

“My concern is that our faculty feels free to go to their disciplines and teach from them on any subject,” Shulenburger said. “Regardless of the controversy associated with it.”

——————————————————————————–
To reach Laura Bauer, call (816) 234-7743 or send e-mail to [email protected]

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

57 Responses to KU’s New Class — Creationism, Intelligent Design and Other Religious Mythologies

  1. “The nonpartisan coalition, based in Johnson County, works to maintain the separation of church and state.”

    I’m ready for people to stop being dishonest and actually fight for what the Constitution actually says, not what they WANT it to say. It says nothing about a separation of church and state in any manner other than the banning of a NATIONAL RELIGION. Other than that, the document guarantees FREE EXERCISE of religion no matter what, end of story. Free exercise means free exercise everywhere by everyone- you cannot ban it from schools or public places, because it isn’t free if you can only exercise it in certain places at certain times and only by certain people. What does these people not get about the phrase free exercise?

    Read the Federalist Papers and you’ll see that such a notion was not what was meant…thanks to SCOTUS and the ACLU and other like-minded groups, we have a bogus interpretation of the very rights the founders said were guaranteed us BY GOD, not by the state…freedoms given BY GOD are not to be taken away, because no one can come above God. Even if the government wanted to take away these rights, the founders rightfully pointed out that the govt would have no way to do so. Unless the govt could somehow rise above God.

    We all know Jefferson was merely appeasing the Baptists when he mentioned in his letter to them about the wall we hear so much about. He wanted to make sure they knew that they wouldn’t get the shaft in favor of the Lutherans or the other denominations.

    So, always beware of groups that want to keep state and church seperate, because they’re always the ones distorting the Constitution to fit their secular, usually anti-God agenda.

    It’s a shame that we have come to a point where we allow a group of scientists define what is and what isn’t science. A consensus, as I’ve said before, is for politics not science…the consensus has been wrong too many times to count, and this politicizing of the issue is damaging all of science and is destroying free inquiry.

  2. Excellent post Josh. These people need to be fought aggressively and they need to be called anti-intellectual. I have debated a ton of these folks and the tactics that work are the ones that utilize their own terminology. Most people that debate on our side start in a defensive mode, when in fact we should be on the offense at all times.

    Regards
    Dan

  3. The academy doth protest too much, methinks. :-)

  4. Wow Josh…once again…your prove yourself.

    Your absolutely correct, the constitution gives you the right to “free exercise”

    Bad News: If a government agency…aka a state-school…teaches a particular religions viewpoint…then that school is “endorsing” a particular religion. Therefore, you have every right to practice your religion on school grounds, however the school and its teachers cannot “teach” a particular religious view.

    Your rights…all of them…only continue as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others. If you would stop and think about it, teaching any religion in a public school would be violating the rights of others of different religious beliefs.

    :::Jefferson:::

    Hmmm…you forgot some history. Jefferson wrote the US Constitution. He did not use the word GOD once. If you read any of the other papers of that time period, you will notice that religious terminology is used frequently in secular papers. Heck, read the Declaration of Independence.
    But, when they wrote the Constitution, they excluded the word GOD, or any other Christian reference.
    This was a tour-de-force, but it makes a strong point, endorsing Christianity is just like endorsing Lutheranism….the government cannot endorse any religion.

    :::Consensus:::

    Josh, you are an idiot. Of course the consensus matters, as long as people in the scientific community disagree. Are you honestly proposing that cryptozoology and Flat-Earth should be considered valid science? Any time you are dealing with a large group of people, there will be dissenters for just about anything. It would be perfectly acceptable to argue that the consensus is incorrect, but to argue that it is completely invalid is a joke. What do you do about the outliers?

  5. Thanks, Dan. Too many groups out there have gone along with the bogus rulings by SCOTUS in the 40′s regarding this matter. Justices who refuse to actually interpret the Constitituon based ONLY on the Constitution- not public opinion in Europe or foreign law in Canada or the view of a tiny minority in the US.

    The Constitution does nothing but ban the establishment of a national religion…nowhere does it ban the government from being involved in religion in any manner, nor does it even ban the government from endorsing a particular religion. AFTER the 1st Amedment was written, the federal government stated official days of Thanksgiving in prayer, used federal funds to buy tens of thousands of bibles to convert the native Americans to Christianity, and much more along these lines. They surely never meant to ban the government being involved in religion with THESE actions, or they would have been total hypocrites.

    Anyhow…

    Yes, I’m an idiot Puck.

    Jefferson wrote the Constitution (wrong, that would be Madison)…

    …and “Bad News: If a government agency…aka a state-school…teaches a particular religions viewpoint…then that school is “endorsing” a particular religion.”

    (wrong again- the government shall make no law respecting an an establishment of religion- NOWHERE does it say that the government cannot take part in religious activities, nor does it say that government cannot endorse religion. It says that CONGRESS shall MAKE NO LAW respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion.)

    Fact is Jefferson wrote this in a letter to the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut. for heaven’s sake…at a time when nearly every state had its own official state church!

    The Baptist’s letter to Jefferson ends with:

    And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you
    at last to his heavenly kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious
    Mediator.

    Their concern was that, in their state, being a religious minority, their religious freedoms weren’t being given to them from the state as unalienable rights but rather favors from the government.

    Jefferson’s own letter merely says:

    “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

    Free exercise means free exercise. He was merely assuring them that, at the national level, there would be no official head of a national church in the Executive branch. That he, as president, would not act in this fashion and would not work to establish a national church nor act as head of any official government church.

    We also have to take into consideration that the Constitution itself was ratified in 1787 and 1788, taking effect in 1789…Jefferson wrote his letter when he was president in 1802! Taking a letter by Jefferson that was written years after the Constitution was already written and ratified by all states is, of course, dubious…heck, it’s outright distortion.

    The Constitution itself merely says the same thing that Jefferson was saying…that Congress, nor the Executive Branch (acting out the wishes of Congress) would establish a national church or appoint a national executive in charge of any church of this sort.

    As for consensus- no…it hardly matters in science. A consensus could proclaim anything truth, but that doesn’t make it so. It doesn’t even mean that the facts back up such a claim.

    As Michael Crichton said on this matter:

    “I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics…In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of.”

    He’s just another idiot too, tho.

  6. [“My concern is that our faculty feels free to go to their disciplines and teach from them on any subject,” Shulenburger said. “Regardless of the controversy associated with it.”]

    I seriously doubt whether anyone in the science disciplines now “feels free” to teach “on any subject”, particularly if they would like to honestly examine the scientific claims of ID.

    “Free to bash” isn’t freedom, it’s mob rule, if “free to examine” doesn’t exist along side it.

  7. I smell BS, and from the general direction of the wind, I’d say it’s blowing in from Lawrence, Kansas.

  8. Does anyone know where one could find an official syllabus and/or what the textbooks or other material that will actually be presented in the class will be?

  9. ..Josh…

    If you teach “Mormonism” in school, then you are violating the rights of people who do not believe in mormonism to have the freedom to practice their own religion…think about it. If the Kansas School Board Declared that they would allow Christianity to be taught in school, then they would be violating the religious freedoms of all people who are not christians…Muslims, buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Atheists, Daoists….

    You are correct, strictly speaking, the consitution does not inherently grant a seperation of church and state…however, the problem is that more than one religion exists. Unless you can find a “religious” point on which all religions agree…then you cannot teach it in schools, nor can the government endorse that religion.

    :::Constitution:::
    Actually Madison did not write it either…I was mistaken by claiming that Jefferson wrote the Constitution…you didnt even bother to study up though..the Constitutional Convention wrote the United States Constitution…several men were involved with the framing of the constitution.

    There are multiple documents from multiple US leaders that claim some form of seperation between Government and Religion. You are correct, the US government cannot claim a state Church, but it also cannot discriminate against someone because of their religious beliefs….this is where the concept of seperation of church and state comes from…not the clause that you are frequently referring to.

    :::Michael Crichton:::
    Alright Josh….you really like Michael Crichton…I get it

    I am asking you a question..
    should biology classes teach cryptozoology? the consensus is that cryptozoology is a joke, but some scientists support it.
    Perhaps we should teach about alien visitation, since some scientists support the idea…

    I am not even referring to ID at this point, I am simply explaining that while majority may not be the wisest approach to science…Science should be allowed to exclude rare views.

    If the rare views are any good…then they will be accepted eventually…as all true things only become more self-evident.

  10. “If the rare views are any good…then they will be accepted eventually…as all true things only become more self-evident.”

    I think you have too much faith in here. Let me produce you a quote to see what I mean:

    [[[ Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic." (Dr Scott C. Todd, Immunologist at Kansas State University: Correspondence to Nature 410(6752):423, ]]]

    In other words, evidence alone doesn’t change people’s mind: they need to change their worldview. This is why it doesn’t matter how much evidence you produce, since the Darwinist cannot allow a Divine Foot at the door, using their own words.

  11. ****Constitutional Side Note***

    I could be wrong but I don’t believe Jefferson was even at the Constitutional Congress or a signer.

    http://www.archives.gov/nation.....thers.html

  12. puckSR

    ID isn’t religion so what’s your point?

  13. PuckSR,

    Your use of strictly speaking is helpful. We should be appointing strict Constitutionalists to the bench so they strictly interpret the meaning of the founders, not the post modern civics of the so called intellectual elite.

    Thanks
    Dan

  14. Bill you should kick PuckSr out for calling Josh Bozeman an idiot.

  15. Puck, here’s what it actually says.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,”

    Only Congress is enjoined. Everyone else can do whatever they want. The states, for instance, regularly “establish religion” in statehouse rituals. They could go further if they wanted, and have in the past. In fact the Founders themselves presided over state-church arrangements at the time of drafting, ratification and thereafter! Further, so far as their state allows them, citizens can also do as they please, with school boards, city councils, county commissions, in the classroom, whatever.

    That’s it, Puck. Ain’t no more. It terrifies you doesn’t it? That local majorities can actually call it the way they see it, that Congress and the courts and people like you just have to butt out and take a hike.

    That’s why you can go to a Mormon university and finance your mission on the G.I. bill. That’s why you can spend your social security check on distributing bible translations. That’s why churches get property tax breaks. And that’s why a state can, if it wants, establish religion in statehouse rituals, as is regularly done.

    As far as “interfering with the rights of others,” my local and state jurisdictions are interfering with me 24-7. It’s called majority rule. Get used to it. The bigger danger is centralization, minority rule. For example, check out what the ACLU dweebs and their cluster-flutz of lawyers are doing to folks in Wisconsin in Kansas.

  16. The ACLU is just a deplorable organization in my mind. They do more to destroy our liberties than any other group in the nation. Then again, it’s no surprise once you learn of their founding and their founders themselves…to see why they started it all and what the mission of the people who were there first was. They go into cities all over the place suing like madmen, doing all they can to distort the Constitution and we have SCOTUS to thank for it, starting mainly in the 1940′s with their absurd rulings, using Jefferson’s phrase wall of separation for the first time. Of course, they knew Jefferson wasn’t saying that govt couldn’t get involved in religion, but it fit the justices agenda back then…and since then SCOTUS has allowed these precedents to stand and have made more on the backs of these rulings. A total shame if you ask me.

    I just don’t understand what some of these people don’t get about FREE EXERCISE. They seem to think it means free exercise only if you’re not a govt official, or only free if your in church or in your home. Free exercise means just that- free. The founders put no stipulations on that freedom outside of the ban on a national religion and a public office holder presiding over any such church. Other than that- free is free is free. Free for high school football teams to pray before game, free for student lead prayer in schools, free for govt officials to invoke God in official addresses, free for govt to give money to churches to go good work for the homeless, the sick, the elderly, etc. free for people to display religious icons and symbols on govt bldgs, in schools, etc.

    Like I said, we have the Supreme Court and rogue jurists to thank for the slow yet steady destruction of these rights…with help from near fascist groups like the ACLU (and let’s not deny the fact that the ACLU is often quite fascist in their targeting of religious groups.)

  17. HAHA…I think it would be great if we throw out this whole seperation of church and state…power to the people

    Christians trying to run everything…thank goodness that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world…theocracies are wonderful.

    Christians only want the whole seperation of church and state thrown out because they are the majority at the moment. Christians do not want the concept thrown out on principle. Josh…are you honestly telling me that if in the next 20 years Islam or Scientology became the majority religion you would still favor throwing out the seperation of church and state?

    Josh::
    Your rant doesnt make any sense…people are free to do all of the things that you listed..except for a misunderstanding about “free for people to display religious icons on govt buildings”.

    People are allowed to do this, the govt building cannot normally be decorated.
    Let me explain…if a Judge wants to wear a pendant with the 10 commandments on it…he is welcome to..but the Court House cannot display a religious persuasion…the reasoning should be self-evident..not everyone who stands trial will be of that religious persuasion..and courts should not appear biased.

    ::Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.::

    Right…since ID is not religious…all of the data would point to an intelligent agent..not an actual entity…

    besides..since he used the word “naturalistic”, he is implying that the data would point to the Intelligent Designer being supernatural…which it obviously is not…all ID supporters know that it is just some unknown natural process behind ID…not a supernatural one…the Intelligent Designer is NOT God…thats crazy

  18. puck- there is no misunderstanding. There have been cases brought to the US Supreme Court on issues of prayer in school, prayer for sports teams before games, having prayers at graduation or even having a chaplain attending at all…of course I was pointing out that court bldgs cannot have 10 Commandments statues, as we saw in Alabama. That’s not what the Constitution says. I will go with what the document says, yes…it says free exercise and merely bans a national religion run by the state, nothing more. Courts don’t seem biased by having the 10 Commandments…that’s absurd. A judge doesn’t rule based on his religion, he rules based on the law, no matter if there’s a 2 ton statue of the 10 Commandments outside or not.

    Besides- the foundation of US law, as even the Supreme Court has ruled, IS based on the 10 Commandments, tho they have somehow found that it’s still not reason to allow such a display…tho, of course, the Constitution guarantees the right for a justice to make such a display, or the court as a whole to do so. It doesn’t read “free exercise, except for government officials and government buildings.”

    You’re clearly paranoid of religion in general, especially with silly comments about a theocracy. Because you just know there are SO many people out there calling for that very thing!

  19. “Christians only want the whole seperation of church and state thrown out because they are the majority at the moment. Christians do not want the concept thrown out on principle.”

    I want this “separation of church and state” business thrown out because in a truely multicultural society such as the U.S., all faiths should be included and equally represented in the public square. Take this season, for example. Instead of treating Christmas and all that it represents as something pernicious that needs to be entirely relegated to the private sector, I think it should be exemplified and embraced as part of our cultural heritage equally along with hanukkah, kwanzaa, and any other holiday that may be celebrated at this time of year that I’m unaware of. When you purge public society of traditional religious references, as is commonly done now, what you are left with is Secular Humanism, which is a religion in its own right. The only thing I really object to is the proselytization of others to embrace a particular faith as an endeavor of official governmental modus operandi; this *would* be a violation of the establishment clause.

    BTW, Puck, you would be wise to avoid universal statements such as the one above. Painting all Christians as extremist zealots who want to impose a theocracy on everybody else does nothing but make you look like a bigot.

    David

  20. I did not claim that all Christians want a theocracy…I claimed that Islam supports theocracies. I wasnt talking about Christians at all at that point. I was pointing out that other religions may come along that wish to establish a theocracy, and the theory of “religion of the majority” could become dangerous if a more radical religion become the majority.

    ::US Law based on 10 commandments::

    Really? You are really going to have to explain this.

    We are allowed to covet
    We are allowed to break the sabbath
    We are allowed to have any God we want
    We do not have to acknowledge God
    We may covet our neighbor’s wife
    Children do not have to obey their parents
    You are allowed to curse
    You are allowed to lie, except under oath

    That sounds like US law is based on only 2 commandments, with a weak correlation to another 2…considering that almost all societies maintain these “commandments” would seem to indicate that the only Commandments that were the framework for US law were the ones that everyone already used.

    :Courts and religious texts::

    If a judge posts the 10 commandments on the wall, he is displaying his Judeo-Christian belief
    If he puts a crucifix up, he is displaying his Christian belief

    I would be equally upset if a judge posted a document explaining how he was very republican/democrat. ID proponents are always mad that the vast majority of scientists are atheists. I have repeatedly heard that the only reason that no one listens to you is that all of the “judges” are atheists….same point applies.

    I do not want someone who is so strongly convinced of his beliefs superiority deciding the fate of someone who he believes is utterly wrong.

    ::Purging society of religious references::
    The government has never “required” that religious references be purged, they have simply opted for more “open” practices.

    i.e. no prayer before a football game
    the players can still pray on their own
    the fans can still pray on their own
    they even get a moment of silence in which to do it…i guess you could have a moment of loud prayer…but it seems somewhat irreverant.

    All that has been asked is that no one leads a Christian prayer over the PA system. They didnt “ban” anyone from praying, they simply invited more people to pray.

  21. ((Right…since ID is not religious…all of the data would point to an intelligent agent..not an actual entity…))

    The point was to refute your claim that all that is true eventually becomes accepted. As you can see by that quote, even if all the EVIDENCE points to God, Darwinists would disiss it. WHy ? Bkz it is not something they call “science”.

  22. You’re wrong. The US Supreme Court decided a case where they said that a Texas high school football team couldn’t say team prayers (even in silent) together before the game. The reason given by the justices who were in the majority voting against the practice was that the team members who weren’t religious might feel bad or might feel left out. They might feel “peer pressure” to say a prayer they didn’t mean. The Constitution doesn’t guarantee a person some imaginary right to NOT feel peer pressure.

    As for the 10 Commandments…The 10 Commandments are the foundation of English common law as it changed over many hundreds of years (there was no written Constitution). US law is based loosely on that law and it’s based on Blackstone’s interpretation of English Law with a little unique American law thrown in as well- mainly from the devout Christians that founded the nation. Because the Constitution doesn’t spell out every Commandment doesn’t mean the legal code isn’t based on the law of Moses.

    Take US law, in general, as it has been in many places for quite some time. We have laws against cursing (if you walk up to someone and scream profanities at them, that’s simple assault), we have laws concerning the sabbath in terms of blue laws- you still can’t buy liquor in most states on Sunday. The other Commandments have loose association with other laws as well.) Not all of this was crammed into the Constitution, but it was part of early American law…it was rooted in the system of the Constitution. It was common law in the colonies (heck, in the 1700′s, you’d be screwed if you didn’t acknowledge the sabbath.)

    As for purging govt of religion- that’s just what they’re doing. Alabama and the 10 Commandments case. Judge Moore was ordered to violate his oath of office (in Alabama, a justice has to pledge allegiance to God in carrying out his duty to the court)…yet they ruled that Moore had no right of free exercise as a jurist while in office where other people could see it. That’s hardly free exercise when they say- well, you can have a monument, but only at home not in your court (the monument actually started out as a small wooden plaque he made that sat behind his bench…and guess who originally sued to get rid of this tiny plaque? That’s right, the ACLU.) Now, if Moore had complied with the order of the other court, even tho it violated his oath- he would have been the same man with the same devout beliefs…yet he could have ruled just as fairly as he always had (Moore had a good reputation…except for one witch hunt in his earlier years over the 10 Commandments issue, he was elected as Chief to the AL Supreme Court, so he was doing something right.) That shows you that a man’s beliefs don’t make him biased. They could, but a show of religion need not go along with it- a man need not be religious and show his non-religion to be biased.

  23. I think it is time to call these folks that might feel left out what they are, a bunch of whining cry babies that cannot tolerate any sort of diversity of opinion whatsoever. Infact, when I debate and people use this whining garbage, I call them intolerant and anti-intellectual. They are intolerant because they try to take away people’s right to excercise their religion and anti-intellectual because if they disagree with someones position, they should have the intellectual fortitude to debate them.

    Dan

  24. Crandaddy

    RE: #15: “all faiths should be included and equally represented in the public square.”

    So you propose the “big list” from Wash. D.C.?
    The Official Compulsory Religious Display list?
    Who will assemble the list?
    Will there be a Certified Religions Agency?
    Will Congress “make a law?” (to paraphrase the 1st Amendment.)

    Tell me about how you’d police it. I know that’s your favorite part. Since many locals don’t want an Official Certified Religion Registry, your policing would have to be national wouldn’t it. You’d just love that, wouldn’t you.

  25. Puck,

    RE: #20 and your critique of people who say our law is based on the 10 Commandments.

    This is going to shock you but Western legal tradition took longer than 10 or 15 minutes to put together. Just because Newton’s laws no longer apply to small particles does not mean that Newton’s work was not a basis for modern physics. The 10 Commandments are one of the primary pillars of law in the West. Granted, you have a visceral hatred for them, but that’s irrelevant. It’s called history Puck, discovery, moral advance, that sort of thing. Check it out sometime.

  26. Puck,

    RE: your quote “I do not want someone who is so strongly convinced of his beliefs superiority deciding the fate of someone who he believes is utterly wrong.”

    So only someone who believes exactly as you do should sit as judge? Is there some sort of new Belief-Meter I don’t know about? Can I get it at Best Buy?

    Or do you mean that those who decide the fates of others should have weak faith, should be unsure of their own faith?

    If you don’t think your own beliefs in this matter are superior, then why do you endorse shoving them down the throats of every village, city and state in the union?

    Why don’t you just leave local people alone and retire to your uncertainties and weakness of faith?

  27. …Josh….

    Now your just making things up. There was never a court case that decided that football players could not pray before the game. You flat out lied, or at least twisted the hell outta the truth. There was a case that claimed that the entire stadium couldnt pray before the game…but there was not a case about lockerroom prayer.

    Josh, using vulgarity is not the same as taking the lord’s name in vain. They are actually two totally different things. Are you telling me that if i run around saying bad things about Jesus/God that i will be arrested?

    It does not matter that the puritan pilgrim’s laws reflected Christian beliefs…most current US laws are pretty free from any religious persuasion.

    Yes, blue laws are based on religion….So was prohibition…they just haven’t repealed the blue laws yet.

    …Matz….

    All the evidence already points to God. God is the unknown, and He is all-powerful, so he can do anything. Therefore anything that we do not understand, yet could be done by an all-powerful being…would be evidence of God.

    The problem with evidence pointing to God….in the past the Sun was God. The water was God. The sky was God. Fire was God. Lightning was God…..

    We were wrong in the past, because of our ignorance, who is to say that we are not wrong again due to our ignorance.

    …Dan…

    The problem isnt that non-Christians are upset because they cannot handle religious diversity. The problem is that Christians base their religion on a fairly intolerant book. Now, my faith has tried to absolve itself of much of the Christian intolerance, but fundamentalists…they embrace the intolerance.

    I do not want a belief that advocates stoning disobedient children to be the most “influential” belief in this country. You are more than free to believe in the Bible, but dont try to get laws passed that support your religious views. I am not in support of stoning children….ever

  28. pmob:

    I want someone with a liberal mind about religion deciding my fate. There is a difference between believing your faith to be correct, and believing in the total superiority of your faith.

    I want someone deciding my faith who is tolerant of other faiths. Not someone who thinks that everyone but the people who go to his church are “going to hell”. If he thinks I am going to hell…why should he care about me being guilty or not about a petty mortal crime.

  29. Puck,

    “liberal mind”

    Isn’t that oxymoronic?

  30. Wow! We’ve really pulled the scab off of this “scientific” debate.
    Puck, a football coach praying with his team is NOT Congress making a law respecting the establishment of religion, I don’t care how you parse it. ONLY Congress was restrained in the founding document of this nation.
    The First Amendment SPECIFICALLY guaranteed EVERYONE ELSE the liberty to exercise their religious faith whenever, wherever and however they in their own good judgement chose to do. If we err, let’s err on the side of liberty not restrictions.
    And you go on and on about the theoretical “someone” being offended. In today’s Houston Chronicle, there was an article titled, Coaches say religion promotes morale and sportsmanship; critics say it puts pressure on players, blurs line between church, state” [see http://www.chron.com/disp/stor.....84313.html ].
    It’s a story about coaches Bobby Bowden of Florida State University, Mark Richt of Georgia University, Joe Paterno of Penn State. The article points to all kinds of things that you’ve said are offensive to you or should be offensive to some kid on the team who is afraid to object because he might not get to play.
    >>>>
    Bobby Bowden has taken his players to a church in a white community and a church in a black community in the Tallahassee, Fla., area in an effort, he said, to build camaraderie. He writes to their parents in advance, explaining that the trips are voluntary, and that if they object, their sons can stay home without fear of retaliation. He remembers only one or two players ever skipping the outing.
    Mark Richt, too, has taken his team to churches in the preseason. A devotional service is conducted the night before each game, and there is a prayer service on game day. Both are voluntary, and Richt said he does not attend them.
    On game days, Penn State players may choose between Catholic and Protestant services or not go at all. Coach Joe Paterno and the team say the Lord’s Prayer in the locker room after games.
    Bowden believes prayer and faith are part of the American way. “Most parents want their boys to go to church,” he said. “I’ve had atheists, Jews, Catholics and Muslims play for me, and I’ve never not started a boy because of his faith. I’m Christian, but all religions have some kind of commandments, and if kids would obey them, the world would be a better place.”
    >>>
    He (Mark Richt) has one supporter with a different perspective (from Barry Lynn): Musa Smith, a rookie running back for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, who played at Georgia. Smith was reared a Muslim and did not attend chapel services with his teammates. When he did pray with them, he stuck to his own prayers. Smith said he was inspired by the example set by Richt.
    “At the end of the day, it was about strengthening your spiritual foundations and to walk in a righteous way in whatever you believe,” Smith said. “It reminded me of my fundamentals and made me a better person.”
    Neither Richt nor Bowden drinks alcohol or smokes, and both adhere to a spiritual regimen. Richt reads a chapter of Proverbs a day, and prays between meetings and before interviews; Bowden begins his day at 4 a.m. with an hour of reading the Bible and is known for offering fiery church sermons.
    Each believes that by exemplifying his religious values he can develop not only better players but also better students, sons, husbands and fathers.
    Center David Castillo, who is in his final season at FSU, said Bowden has been sensitive to the diversity of his players. The pre-game and post-game prayers Bowden leads are nondenominational and directed at the safety of both teams and those traveling to see them, Castillo said.
    “He tells us that he doesn’t care if we don’t believe what he does,” said Castillo, who is preparing for medical school. “But he wants us to believe in something.”

  31. Wow…kneejerk

    Red Reader: I am a religious person, i think i need to clarify this position because you seem to think that I am not a religious person. I may be wrong, you may realize that i am a very religious person…but i thought i needed to clarify.

    Next, read what i actually wrote. I only chastised Josh for misrepresenting the football prayer case. Of course a coach is allowed to pray with his team, as you gave me many examples….Josh..read what he wrote

    Finally…read Article 3, Section 2 of the constitution

    The Supreme Court gets final say on all constitutional matters, and if they deem that the original constitution provided for the seperation of Church and State, then they have authority under the constitution to do so.

    Therefore, the Constitution of the United States of America does allow for the Supreme Court to decide on interpretation.

    …Strict Constitutionalism…
    This word is frequently thrown around, and often by people who disagree with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution. i.e. Seperation of Church and State.

    If you were arguing that the Supreme Court was being too loose in its interpretation of the Constitution, you would have to argue that they had allowed violation of a clause…i.e. the 1st Amendment….not that they added to the extent of a clause.

    I dont really know how better to explain this, but just because the constitution does not explicitly state “something”; that does not mean that the Supreme Court cannot decide that Constitution implicitly states “something”. Your argument is somewhat backwards.

  32. Puck wrote
    >>>>
    …just because the constitution does not explicitly state “something”; that does not mean that the Supreme Court cannot decide that Constitution implicitly states “something”. Your argument is somewhat backwards.

  33. puckSR: I want someone deciding my faith who is tolerant of other faiths. Not someone who thinks that everyone but the people who go to his church are “going to hell”. If he thinks I am going to hell…why should he care about me being guilty or not about a petty mortal crime.

    I wish you’d take your hostility towards Christianity elsewhere.

    Having said that, in regards to the above quote, may I ask you: How “tolerant” is the ACLU towards my practice of my faith? In other words, where is the intolerance coming from? Do you know of any “Christian” lawyers who are seeking to have a cross put up in every classroom in America? Yet there’s the ACLU seeking to have crosses taken down in every part of America. Again, puck, where is the intolerance coming from? Is it the “left”, or the “right” that wants to impose its views? And attempts to take “In God We Trust” off of U.S. money and currency, who does that “offend”? Christians? What about Muslims? What about Jews? What about Mormons? Don’t they all believe in God? Doesn’t it offend all of these religions? Isn’t “God” what all these religions have in common? Yet, there’s the ACLU hacking away. Why doesn’t that bother you?

    Again, open your eyes.

  34. How do you know God is unknowable…that is a self defeating statement because if you say that God is unknowable, then you know something about God. I do have to say that you have a lot more guts than alot of other people who just shoot down this Blog without engaging. Though I do not agree with you, atleast you are trying to justify your position.

    Dan

  35. red reader…notice that i used the words explicitly and implicitly

    PaV wrote:
    “And attempts to take “In God We Trust” off of U.S. money and currency, who does that “offend”? Christians? What about Muslims? What about Jews? What about Mormons? Don’t they all believe in God? Doesn’t it offend all of these religions? Isn’t “God” what all these religions have in common? Yet, there’s the ACLU hacking away. Why doesn’t that bother you?”

    Hmmm…good thing you only mentioned religions that worked for your argument. As i was attempting to explain to someone earlier…believing in god is very different from believing in God. God is the judeo-christian deity…a god is any singular deity. All theists believe in at least one god…Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe in a god named God.

    What about the Hindus, the Daoists, and those of no theistic faith….they do not believe in God…when you consider the total number of religions that do not worship the god of Abraham…they actually outnumber the people who do believe in the god of Abraham in the world.

    That being said…Im not hostile towards Christians…I am a Christian…but i can see the obvious advantages to keeping any particular religion out of government.

    The founding fathers were also painfully aware of the need for the seperation. The constitution mentions a “national religion”. This is obviously a reference to the Church of England…and where a mistake is made. Many people came to the US to avoid religious persecution…but many did not come from England.

    Many people fled because of the unpopularity of their religion in their original countries. They did not flee from a national religion…but because of religious intolerance in their home country. The same religious intolerance that we see today. The assumption from the majority religion that might makes right.

    Dan-God is not unknowable…he is the unknown. re-read..

  36. puckSR: Many people fled because of the unpopularity of their religion in their original countries. They did not flee from a national religion…but because of religious intolerance in their home country. The same religious intolerance that we see today. The assumption from the majority religion that might makes right.

    puckSR, if I may be allowed to read between the lines, I suspect you are one of those who have had to flee from a national religion. But, in this country, those who would use power in a heavy-handed way, are not those of religion. Liberals have suceeded in turning the phrase you used, inside out. For liberals “right” is “might.” They think they’re right. They’re smarter. They’re bettter educated. They’re more sophisticated. They’re more idealistic. In short, they’re the “Anointed” (to use Thomas Sowell’s term). They KNOW what’s “right.” And, since they’re “right”, EVERYONE must listen to them. EVERYONE must follow where they want to go. You make a mistake to trust them.

    Let me just give you this insight, if I may. Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman who came to the U.S. to study this “experiment” in democracy, wrote a monumental work that still stand the test of time. He studied our various forms of government, at both the local/state level, and the national level.

    He said that as wisely as the Founders of our nation constructed the Constitution, that which made our system of government work was not its structure, but the religious instincts of its people.

    When the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia was raging, there were those who pointed out the similarity between the Russian and U.S. Constitutions. Russian atheism, versus the religious instincts of Americans. It was our religious instincts that won out in the end.

    And, about ID, while it might serve the purposes of, let us say, fundamentalists, it really is about science nonetheless. Again, I’ve lived a long time, and believe me, what threatens this country is not religious fanaticism from the Right, but ideological fanaticism from the Left. For the Left, “right makes might”, and “the ends justify the means.” That kind of thinking can lead you to every kind of abuse of power. At least Christians–fundamentalists included–know that there’s a difference between right and wrong.

  37. When we align the ID-Darwinism debate along conservative-liberal delineations, good things happen. It’s a solid bootstrapping technique.

  38. puck,

    How do you know that God is unknown? This is self defeating since you claim to have knowledge of God…I suggest that you take a course in logic.

    Dan

  39. Puck: “What about the Hindus, the Daoists, and those of no theistic faith….they do not believe in God…when you consider the total number of religions that do not worship the god of Abraham…they actually outnumber the people who do believe in the god of Abraham in the world.”

    Well, not quite. Christianity and Islam together compose over half the world’s population. Islam is often cited as growing faster than Christianity. Statistically it is able to grow at a more accelerated rate because it has fewer adherents than Christianity (i.e., the same numeric growth added to each would represent a higher percentage growth rate for Islam than for Christianity, due to its smaller numbers). Christianity is the largest religion in the world.

  40. One reason Islam is on the rise is that a lot of the numbers are in Muslim nations which stifle religious activity unless it’s Islam. You can punished severely for even practicing Christianity in many of these nations. Or another other religion for that matter. A sad state of affairs for such nations. So many of these countries have systematic brainwashing of children into Islam, and a very harsh brand that is very anti-west, anti-semitic, anti-christian, and even somewhat anti-progress.

    You gotta feel for people in these nations that refuse to adhere to the religious dogma preached by those in the name of Mohammed (who I might add was a mass murderer. Which, clearly, is part of the reason that you find way too many violent adherents of Islam.)

  41. Dan-This is simple…I didnt claim that God is unknown…I claimed that he is the unknown.

    Knowledge is power…the way in which i phrase the statement is important. You are correct…God is known if we claim that he is the unknown. However the devices, methods, actions, and realm of influence of God is unknown. Therefore God is the unknown to a believer…at least until a better explanation is proposed.

    PaV- It is interesting that you mention Russia. Obviously the Constitution of Russia and that of the United States are drastically different. Russia called for Communism, while America called for Capitalism and Democracy. The political motives of the two nations was drastically different, despite the religious differences.

    It is really funny, i have never heard anyone claim that their belief is the bad, dangerous, harmful, hateful, or negative one….it is always the opposing viewpoint

  42. Thank you Josh for explaining why advocating any particular religious viewpoint i.e. Christianity in the US, can become dangerous eventually

  43. Lutepisc-your right, the pro-God people do constitute a slim majority

  44. Puck,

    You said:
    “Thank you Josh for explaining why advocating any particular religious viewpoint i.e. Christianity in the US, can become dangerous eventually”

    Kind of odd, isn’t it, that as we become a less overtly Christian nation, over the last 50 years or so, you see religious advocates as more and more dangerous.

  45. puckSR: It is interesting that you mention Russia. Obviously the Constitution of Russia and that of the United States are drastically different. Russia called for Communism, while America called for Capitalism and Democracy. The political motives of the two nations was drastically different, despite the religious differences.

    Puck, you’re simply wrong. I’ve read them both. Don’t be so stubborn. Read them for yourself.

  46. Sorry Puck, I really do not understand what you mean.

    Dan

  47. I can’t imagine any danger from a traditional morality based on Christianity in the US. We’ve seen a steady secularization of America and look at kids nowdays, look at network TV everynight, look at the instance of STD’s (even among teens), look at so many things that have gone right down the flusher when certain groups in the nation have fought and tried to destroy religion in our everyday lives.

    No doubt there’s a clear connection between the decline of religiosity and the increase in all manner of sordid behaviors.

  48. sorry Dan…let me explain…you are correct to say that God is not unknown if we know that he is unknown…

    I am not claiming that God is not known…I am claiming that God is the force behind the unknown. He is the Unknown.

    This is what ID is claiming(well except that the Designer is the Unknown element in evolution)

    I was simply explaining that this is a very old belief…most myths are based around gods being the unknown…the rain, the lightning, and the sun.

    Im still trying to find a good version of the Russian Constitution. I will definately read it when i get a chance…but while i am doing that PaV…perhaps you can help me

    The fact that the US economy is based on some form of capitalism and the Russian economy was based on Communism…would that make a difference?

    Also, and since I havent read yet dont bother to correct me if i am wrong…i will correct myself, but doesnt the Russian Constitution lay out less individual rights than the US constitution does in the Bill of Rights.

    If you are simply referring to the form of elected government that is specified in both constitutions…I would say that a number of factors are more influential than the religious beliefs of a particular nation.

  49. Actually Josh that connection is not so clear. Secularized Europe is suffering from significantly less severe social ills then America. I’m not saying yeah Europe or that there is a connection between secularization and good behavior. My point is that there really is no causation between religiosity and morality. Morality exists out of necessity and is in no way dependant on religion. Social ills are much more firmly linked with prosperity or the lack of it.

  50. #48, That’s a conflation of “social ills” and lack of morality.

    “My point is that there really is no causation between religiosity and morality”

    No link at all? That’s hard to prove. In fact, it is easy to disprove through one counterexample — me. My concept of morality is highly linked to my faith (and vice versa, if you use Bayes rule).

  51. Hmmm….so let us find an atheist anteater and see if he will be our counter-counter example….

    I would definately say that religious people have a stronger sense of morality than atheists. They have fear…and fear is powerful…but they also have a stricter sense of morality…that may not serve any particular function in a society.

    Some christian faiths do not dance…this doesnt really benefit society….so while it is a strong sense of morality…it is not beneficial morality…at least from a societal standpoint.

    Christians dislike euthanasia…yet euthanasia serves a valuable role in society…it takes a great deal of the strain off of a society…yet Christians believe it whole heartedly….

    So in conclusion:
    Religion and Morality are strongly linked…because Religion often defines morality…

    however, religion is not the cause of morality…

  52. jmcd

    “Secularized Europe is suffering from significantly less severe social ills then America.”

    You need to get out more. Old Europe is coming apart at the seams. Unemployment is skyrocketing, GNP is plummeting, and the reproductive rate has fallen below replacement level. Meanwhile radical Islam within old Europe is becoming a force to be reckoned with. America is still the shining city on the hill in comparison.

  53. Talk about social ills – over 10,000 people died in the 2003 summer heatwave in France.

    No wonder France didn’t want to get bogged down in a war in the Middle East. They need to worry about the war against lack of air conditioners and emergency medical services in their own country first.

  54. When the Bill of Rights was being drafted Thomas Jefferson started with the basis of Virginia’s “Statute of Religious Freedom”. Jefferson had written it himself and the Virginia legislature had passed it in 1786. It declared that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion.” For the Constitution, James Madison expanded this into, “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or any pretense, infringed.” These were the documents used for drafting the First Amendment.

    The problem was that this particular wording could possibly be twisted and they wanted a firmer statement that was (or at least, should have been) simple to comprehend. This “should” have prevented any particular religion from gaining the upper hand in the government…at least until the whole legal theory of Separation of Church and State came about, which only seems to favor certain religious beliefs in practice. Now the people who claim that the Constitution and Bill of Rights CURRENTLY supports the legal theory of Separation of Church and State are either ignorant or liars. I have no problem if people say they want to CHANGE the existing Constitution and Bill of Rights. They’re perfectly within their rights to attempt that; we’re a Republic after all. But the deceptive tactics used in actuality are reprehensible.

  55. jmcd,

    I guess you are reading that ridiculous report by the head of one of the Secular Humanist organizations that was released about 3 months ago. The report is laughable and pure propaganda. All I have to tell you is to do a little math and look where secularized Europe is headed with its super low birth rate. Secular Europe is destined to be taken over by Islamic separitists whose birthrate is super high. Also look at how the secular folks in the US are having fewer children, but the traditionalists are having more children. Secularists have more nightmares, shorter lifespans and reproduce less, therefore going to be selected out of the population.

    Dan

  56. Dan

    The irony in Darwin weeding out the secular humanists is priceless.

  57. This is what I noted from how this was reported:

    Paul Mirecki, Professor of Religious Studies in the University of Kansas, has gone down in history for saying some remarkable things about Intelligent Design:

    (quote)
    “Creationism is mythology,” Mirecki said. “Intelligent design is mythology. It’s not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not.”

    John Calvert, an attorney and managing director of the Intelligent Design Network in Johnson County, Kansas, said Mirecki will go down in history as a laughingstock.
    “To equate intelligent design to mythology is really an absurdity, and it’s just another example of labeling anybody who proposes [intelligent design] to be simply a religious nut,” Calvert said. “That’s the reason for this little charade.”
    (end quote)
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCAT.....cnn_latest

    Looking up Paul Mirecki shows that he is erudite in his field and otherwise respected. In the end though, he and others of his ilk may indeed (if they refuse to be balanced) “go down in history as a laughingstock” for their outrageous claims about Intelligent Design theory.

    Jim

Leave a Reply