God Works in Mistaken Ways

Much has been made of late regarding the theory of evolution and how it’s taught in Texas public schools. For the next few months, the Texas State Board of Education will be considering changes to our children’s science curricula. The chairman of this board, a dentist named Don McLeroy, calls himself a Creationist and believes in a literal reading of the Bible. Cynthia Dunbar, a vocal board member, recently made news when she suggested that in the first six months of Barrack Obama’s presidential administration, he would collude with terrorists to bring down our nation.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trust a biblical literalist, much less an admitted Creationist to arrange my children’s sock drawer, much less instruct, presume to choose who instructs or definitively decide what gets instructed to my children in a public school setting, much less a science classroom. And Mrs. Dunbar — a conservative zealot who is so thoroughly brainwashed that she (according to her own website) believes that her role on the Board of Education includes ferreting out nefarious “socialist” and “humanist” agendas — has absolutely no business proposing or voting on anyone’s intellectual future, let alone our children’s.

To date, a State Board of Education committee recommended a “change” in our public school curriculum that allows for an examination of the “strengths and limitations” of the theory of evolution in regards to the instruction of biology and science. This is simply the first step towards allowing Christian Creationist operatives to insert their mythology into public school curricula — it has nothing to do with real science or the instruction thereof. But for the sake of argument, let’s settle this once and for all.

It’s really simple. Like most scientific theories, evolution is based on and bolstered by the scientific method.

Formulate a question. Research and observe. Form a hypothesis. Perform an experiment. Collect and analyze data. Interpret data and draw conclusions. Reproduce and verify data. Publish your findings. The scientific method is universal and inviolate. Every serious branch of science has roots in it. Any conclusions arrived at by the scientific method are open to all takers. They can be tested, disputed, challenged and/or refuted if demonstrable, empirical evidence suggests a claim or theory is flawed or unsound.

The theory of evolution is the scientific heavyweight of explanations for humanity’s origins because it’s the most challenged, tested, supported and applied theory that anyone anywhere has ever come up with on the subject. Evolutionary principles are the foundation on which the studies of biology, botany, zoology, pathology, medicine, etc. are established. Without them, you, me and the esteemed members of our State Board of Education would still be having our blood drawn by leeches when we paid a visit to their local physician.

Creationist narratives for human evolution are based on faith instead of science and hold up only to adherents of said faith whom invariably claim their beliefs require no scientific evidence or demonstrable proofs. And there’s just one enormous, unavoidable problem with that: in any legitimate forum devoted to the origin of our species, the line for proponents of Creationist narratives starts at the back door and winds around the planet. Who decides who’s right?

The Bantu tribes of central Africa believe a god named Bumba regurgitated the sun, moon, stars, and human beings after a bad tummy-ache. The Scandinavian creation narrative maintains that humans descended from frost giants which emerged from the dripping underarm sweat of an evil ogre named Ymir. Persian Zoroastrians held that the first humans grew out of a rhubarb plant. The ancient Chinese believed that the goddess Numa shaped humans out of mud from the Yellow River because she was lonely. The Japanese creation narrative suggests that a goddess named Izanami and a god named Izanagi created the first Earthen land mass by stirring the ocean with a bejeweled spear until it curdled. Inuit Eskimos believe the world was formed by a raven.

It doesn’t matter to me if you and I are actually descended from vomit, sweaty armpits, rhubarbs, curdled ocean, mud or dust; until such claims can be reasonably traced, observed, tested and verified they do not constitute “science” and therefore do not belong in a “science” curriculum.

I have no problem with my kids being taught Creationist narratives because each one has its own cultural richness and contains clues to each people’s prehistoric, oral traditions. Its fascinating, profound stuff, but the tales themselves fall under the heading of anthropology, not science (or biology). And until these narratives can be scientifically validated, it should never be otherwise.

In the Christian creation narrative, after God reportedly created Adam, he is said to have explicitly instructed “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (italics mine).

Adam ate of this tree and did not die. God was wrong.

Regarding the eminence of evolution in our public schools, so are many of his current followers.

Native Texan E.R. Bills is the author of Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional and Nefarious and Texas Oblivion: Mysterious Disappearances, Escapes and Cover-Ups. Read other articles by E.R..

45 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on November 25th, 2008 at 9:56am #

    The latest twist in the debate over how much DNA separates humans from chimpanzees suggests we are so closely related that chimps should not only be part of the same taxonomic family, but also the same genus.

    The new study found that 99.4 percent of the most critical DNA sites are identical in the corresponding human and chimp genes. With that close a relationship, the two living chimp species belong in the genus Homo, says Morris Goodman of Wayne State University in Detroit.

    On the basis of the new study, Goodman would not only put modern humans and all fossils back to the human-chimp divergence into Homo, but would also include the common chimp (Pan troglodytes) and the bonobo (Pan paniscus). New Scientist

    I know related to chimpanzees hard to take. Maybe this will help chimpanzees are very nice creatures unless you put them in a box then they become sad. Think Frank

  2. Danny Ray said on November 25th, 2008 at 10:58am #

    Every group of people have their own creation story. it is just an attemp of people to answer the question, why am I here and where am I going. These stories belong in school like the brothers Grimm good stories but bad science. I said all that to say all this. Keep up the good work Bills.

  3. bozh said on November 25th, 2008 at 11:13am #

    nature may change its mind and turn apes into intelligent/gentle/loving ‘people’ and people into angry/greedy/bellicose apes.
    this wld solve everything. i hope nature is reading this.thnx

  4. Petronius said on November 25th, 2008 at 12:07pm #

    bozh: nature, she is too busy getting back at us, we who gave rise to the apes, as god says go forth and multiply, well we did and produced
    baboons for washington w.c. and chimps for teaching about god in schools, gorillas for wall street and so on. we see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil…

  5. Ron Horn said on November 25th, 2008 at 1:51pm #

    The writer of the Christian narrative that Bills refers to was a literate person, which suggests in itself that it was written by a member of the ruling class at that time. Ruling classes have always wanted their subjects to be ignorant thereby making it much easier to rule over them. The Creationists today serve the same purpose.

  6. bozh said on November 25th, 2008 at 3:30pm #

    petronius, thnx fo ur comment.
    it does look that nature is up to s’mthing. thus is busy to listen to me or u.
    but it wld be nice if she made us apes and “them” people. and who knows? when nature kicks us, i hope it doesn’t punish our dear cousins.

  7. bozh said on November 25th, 2008 at 3:34pm #

    i forgot to say that my wife keeps me in the basement; brings me up when i’m fit to be seen.
    so, may be nature is already working on me? so i just might become first ape on planet.
    and people might call me “dubya” . thnx

  8. Gary S. said on November 25th, 2008 at 3:47pm #

    From the preceding article:
    “Formulate a question. Research and observe. Form a hypothesis. Perform an experiment. Collect and analyze data. Interpret data and draw conclusions. Reproduce and verify data. Publish your findings. The scientific method is universal and inviolate. Every serious branch of science has roots in it. Any conclusions arrived at by the scientific method are open to all takers. They can be tested, disputed, challenged and/or refuted if demonstrable, empirical evidence suggests a claim or theory is flawed or unsound.”
    Where is the experiment for an explosion resulting in order rather than destruction and disorder? (Big Bang) Where is the repeatable experiment for a reptile turning into a bird?

  9. Petronius said on November 25th, 2008 at 4:51pm #

    bozh, u shld read huxley, after many a summer dies the swan, where a swinish brit 18th century upperclass earl eats carp to live forever w. his concubine, v. funny. they r discoverd in the grottos below his stately home ‘degenerated’ into apes. but what a delish fate … !

  10. MrCynic3 said on November 25th, 2008 at 6:17pm #

    I live in Texas and I ashamed and embarrassed about State Board
    of Education. It is the 21st. century and we have such people in
    in such crucial influential position

  11. Hue Longer said on November 26th, 2008 at 1:58am #

    Gary S.

    Understanding the scientific method does not mean understanding a field of science.

    There are many “experiments” that don’t equate to the layman or even a scientist in an unrelated field being able to comprehend the results.

    I think a good book for one trying to wrap their mind around evolution would be “Cosmos”, but if you don’t want to read it, start with unnatural selection (plenty of recent proof in corn and dogs and cattle) and move to fathoming what a million years actually is before considering natural selection– The drawings of monkeys “turning into” other animals has done a disservice to many.

  12. HallelujahTime said on November 26th, 2008 at 7:01am #

    “Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, its universal basis for consolation and justification. It is the imaginary realization of the human essence, because the human essence possesses no true reality. Thus, the struggle against religion is indirectly the struggle against the world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

    “Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feeling of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless circumstances. It is the opium of the people.

    “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusions about their condition is a demand to give up a condition that requires illusion. The criticism of religion is therefore the germ of the criticism of the valley of tears whose halo is religion.

    “Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers from the chains not so that man may bear chains without any imagination or comfort, but so that he may throw away the chains and pluck living flowers…”

    -Karl Marx, Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction

  13. bozh said on November 26th, 2008 at 8:09am #

    lest we forget,
    being against all known religions is being religious. one can’t be antigod if god does not exist.
    and if god exist, once again one can’t be antigod; for god wld quickly tell one where to go.
    or, one can say it even better by eliminating the words “religions” and “religious” : each human possesses a set of metaphysics. this ends the millennial arguing that wld have lasted till the end of times.
    live and let live, s’mone said. let’s now shutup and eat. thnx

  14. craig said on November 26th, 2008 at 10:42am #

    Don’t blame God for human ignorance, stupidity and downright pig-headedness. God provided order, beauty and harmony; we wreck it on a daily basis with our arrogance and pompous self-inflated importance on both sides of the Evolution-Creation argument.

  15. E. R. Bills said on November 26th, 2008 at 11:16am #


    Whose God? Yours? The Hindu God(s)? A MAyan or Aztec God? It all depends on which metaphysical cereal box you’re reading. And the prize inside is not always a heavenly afterlife. sometimes, it’s reincarnation. If your God does exist, I pray–no offense–he doesn’t reincarnate Christians.

  16. bozh said on November 26th, 2008 at 1:32pm #

    ur calling people names: stupid, ignorant. namecaling, even w. good intention, doesn’t explain anything. people r ok. shout it from rooftops.
    that they r masssively lied too, miseducated by clerco-plutocratic class is entirely another matter.
    neither ‘god’s’ nor nature makes junk. but people do. and priests and plutos/wld be plutos do most of that.
    craig be on our side and not on our enemies’ side. thnx

  17. Gary S. said on November 26th, 2008 at 4:45pm #

    you said “Understanding the scientific method does not mean understanding a field of science.

    There are many “experiments” that don’t equate to the layman or even a scientist in an unrelated field being able to comprehend the results. ”

    Are you saying if someone smarter than me says something is absolute truth I have to believe him even if he can’t make that truth understandable?
    So when Hitler and his scientists said that the Jews were an inferior race and offer no proof we should still believe them and take whatever measures necessary.

  18. AaronG said on November 26th, 2008 at 11:02pm #

    There are more holes in this article than in both ”theories” of Creationism and Evolution.

    Like the recent American election, the media (yes, right AND left) hype up the origin argument and create a polarity of Creationism vs Evolution and give the impression that one of them is the truth – if you don’t belong in one camp then you must belong in the other. However, like the election, this is just a smokescreen – what if both theories were wrong? What if the truth wasn’t even allowed a televised debate on the issue? What if the truth is being pushed aside while those with a bigger budget and lobby are being heard? I think evolution and the man-made idea that we came from monkeys is absurd. But that doesn’t mean that I believe in Creationism – the man-made idea that the earth’s rocks are only 7000 years old is not only non-Biblical and non-scientific but is also absurd. It’s no wonder that these people are laughed at by the scientific community. But sound reasoning doesn’t belong in an emotionally charged debate where both camps are defending their own ”theories” to the death. You either belong in one or the other……….

    Let’s talk about theories and the ”scientific method”. You belittle people with faith yet you worship the scientific method as blindly as the Creationists uphold their Texan god. Yes, the scientific method may be ”universal and inviolate”, but does that mean that it is infallible? ‘Commonly used’ does not mean ‘correct’. The mob is not always right. What if a group of men in the mid-19th century arrived at a conclusion, then went to work to fabricate a theory to support this conclusion? Biblical and scientific evidence abounded for years that the earth is spherical and that it revolves around the sun, however a group of backward thinking men (am I allowed to write Catholic Church) prevented this truth from getting out to the mainstream. The alternative ”theory” at the time was that the flat earth was held up by a turtle or an elephant or something. Sounds plausible, I guess??!!

    I’m not questioning the validity of the scientific method, I’m just questioning the motives of imperfect men and women with agendas and who, under the pressure to secure research grants, may be tempted to present their findings in a non-biased way, either consciously or subconsciously. We all have biases and prejudices, even without knowing it explicitly. Scientists are no different. All readers be very careful when following this ”debate”. Scientific researchers are not your god. If Pfizer or Lockheed Martin etc can per$uade 75% of the world’s scientists to work for them, then we have to be careful about what we hear. The truth may not be contained within Obama or McCain. Look for an alternative………..

    ”Adam did not die”!! I’ve searched far and wide for him but I think you’ll find that he doesn’t walk the planet any more (although I heard he was spotted having a drink with Elvis at a bar in Tennessee last summer). Before both sides of this debate throw uneducated grenades over the trenches, do some homework first.

    I’m a christian in Australia and I’m not gonna leave something as important as my kids’ education to schools that dabble in ”theories” that blow in the wind. Sure, 1+1 will always equal 2, so there are some things that I can trust the education board with. However, although attending the institution called school will be good for a laugh, some finger painting and a social network of friends, it is mainly designed to produce the next generation of economic pawns and drones for society…….it is definitely not for education or an ability to think creatively and freely. Their education will commence when they arrive home from school. Then my job begins……………….

  19. AaronG said on November 26th, 2008 at 11:20pm #

    I forgot to mention the two postings above by Gary S. Excellent pieces that have yet to be successfully refuted.

    The phrase ”The Theory of Evolution” has been shortened to just ”Evolution” and this takes the all-important word of ”theory” away from the school children’s ears. It was not presented as a theory in my school – it was dished up as a fact. We need to make this clarification in the schools. Why not come out and honestly say that ”scientists don’t really know how it all started, but check out this theory from some guy called Darwin”.

    Let there be light…………….After all these years of theories and research experiments, if we are still grappling about whether light is a photon particle or a wave of energy or a piece of string or something else, then lets be open and honest and admit that we really don’t know how it all started. Lets not brainwash our kids about evolution or creationism as if one of them is an established fact.


  20. AaronG said on November 26th, 2008 at 11:28pm #

    I forgot to mention the two postings above by Gary S. Excellent pieces that have yet to be successfully refuted.

    Let there be light………………after all these years of theories and experiments, if we don’t know whether light is a photon particle or a wave of energy or a piece of string or something else then lets be open and honest and say that we really don’t know how it all started. Lets not brainwash our kids about the theory of evolution or creationism as if one of them was an established fact.


  21. E. Bills said on November 26th, 2008 at 11:36pm #

    Aaron G:

    The quote is:

    “. . .for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam did not die the day he ate thereof. God was literally wrong by the Bible’s own account. Adam ate of the tree and continue to eat of the tree. it is what it is. No one here worships science or the scientific method–we just used it to get everything practically everything we have, medicine, technology, biology, pathology–the computer we’re spewing into. There’s nothing wrong with having faith–you just shouldn’t base your education on it.

  22. AaronG said on November 27th, 2008 at 12:02am #

    E. Bills

    Did you use the word ‘literally’? Are you assuming that the word ‘day’ refers to what we know as a 24 hour period? Be careful. This is fundamentalist thinking to take a literal rendering of the Bible like this. You’re on your way to proving the creationism’s lie that the earth was created in 7 periods of 24 hours. Their whole argument is based on their (and now your) wrong application of the word ‘day’.

    If your grandfather says ”In my day I used to be a plumber” what does he mean by the word ‘day’? 24 hours or a phase of his life? Similar with ”Back in the day when we didn’t have mobile phones…..”

    Interestingly, after describing each of the 7 periods of the creation account, Genesis 2:4 summarises by saying:

    ”This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the DAY that Jehovah God made earth and heaven” (emphasis mine). So the Bible calls each creative period a ”day”, but it also calls the entire 7 periods a ”day”. This indicates that the word day may not be just 24 hours, as we could assume when we are stuck inside our small box of understanding.

    (As a side point, this understanding opens up the possibility that each creative period or ”day” could have lasted thousands, millions, or more likely billions of years. In other words, just like science has proven, these rocks that we are standing on are old – you could use this ammo when debating with those creationists!)

  23. AaronG said on November 27th, 2008 at 12:03am #

    I forgot to mention the two postings above by Gary S. Excellent pieces that have yet to be successfully refuted.

    Let there be light………………after all these years of theories and experiments, if we don’t know whether light is a photon particle or a wave of energy or a piece of string or something else then lets be open and honest and say that we really don’t know how it all started. Lets not brainwash our kids about the theory of evolution or creationism as if one of them was an established fact.

  24. DavidG. said on November 27th, 2008 at 1:01am #

    The Bible, the greatest work of fiction ever written, carries the somber words that, “The truth will set you free!”

    Surely this statement contains the greatest irony ever recorded.


  25. Gary S. said on November 27th, 2008 at 7:17am #

    Thank you for your kind words.
    You wrote “just like science has proven, these rocks that we are standing on are old – you could use this ammo when debating with those creationists!”

    I respectfully submit the following:

    Steve Austin, PhD geology, had a rock from the newly formed 1986 lava dome from Mount St. Helens dated. Using Potassium-Argon dating, the newly formed rocks gave ages between 0.5 and 2.8 million years. These dates show that significant argon (daughter element) was present when the rock solidified.

    Mount Ngauruhoe is located on the North Island of New Zealand and is one of the country’s most active volcanoes. Eleven samples were taken from solidified lava and dated. These rocks are known to have formed from eruptions in 1949, 1954, and 1975. The rock samples were sent to a respected commercial laboratory (Geochron Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts). The “ages” of the rocks ranged from 0.27 to 3.5 million years old. Because these rocks are known to be less than 70 years old, is again false. When radioisotope dating fails to give accurate dates on rocks of known age, why should we trust it for rocks of unknown age? In each case the ages of the rocks were greatly inflated.

  26. bill rowe said on November 27th, 2008 at 10:42pm #

    cannot make rational arguments to irrationalists…. just hope we outnumber them …

  27. Hue Longer said on November 28th, 2008 at 1:28am #

    Refuted with what, Aaron? Analogies?

    I attempted to give a introduction to something I am relatively educated on (evolution), but the insistence of some to demand that everything is “proven” to them at a 5th grade level assumes that scientists are in the same profession as the clergy and must compete with faith utilizing “proof”. Science does not deal in facts and the common use of the word, “theory” has been bastardized and relagated to the status of fantasy or paranoid musings of those who think reality is a conspiracy.

    Theory is the closest thing you can get to a “fact” in science. Much has taken place before it arrives at this stage and is always open to peer review. There is no secret cabal of scientists that would be able to pull off what you people are suggesting without the other scientists (such as the ones who’s theories such as atomic or electricity many seem to embrace) calling them out. Of course maybe they’re all part of the grand conspiracy as well? After all, no one has ever seen an electron and I sure as hell don’t understand enough about splitting atoms to prove to you that Hiroshima wasn’t instead ignited by magic Pixie dust.

    My last appeal would be to take my advice on starting with unnatural selection….it IS 5th grade easy and even easier to explain than carbon dating

  28. Gary S. said on November 28th, 2008 at 2:26pm #

    Are you unaware of the growing number of sientists that at least doubt evolution. Here is a SHORT list of those scientist who have signed a document stating “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

    Lyle H. Jensen Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Biological Structure & Dept. of Biochemistry University of Washington, Fellow AAAS

    Dean Kenyon Emeritus Professor of Biology San Francisco State University

    Stanley Salthe Emeritus Professor Biological Sciences Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

    Donald Ewert Ph.D. Microbiology University of Georgia

    Russell Carlson Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology University of Georgia

    Scott Minnich Professor, Dept of Microbiology, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry University of Idaho

    The full list is exhaustive. I only included a few biologists. The full list incudes men and women from other fields such as chemistry, physics, astronomy, anthropology, and others.

  29. Hue Longer said on November 28th, 2008 at 3:43pm #

    I suggest you consider what that statement implies and more importantly what it does not before asking yourself what the political motivation of having it signed or signing it means. Then we’ll move on to well poisoning by appealing to me with numbers.

    In the kindest possible light this should suggest to you that peer review is and has been taking place

  30. bozh said on November 28th, 2008 at 3:48pm #

    i’m not sure what “doubting” evolution means. evolution means change. there was either evlution or no evlution but s’mkind of instant creation. even god according to mad priests took seven days to create world.
    which proves evlution.
    eg, from one seed came many kinds of apples? no? yes! or we may assume that all these different apples started w. different original seeds that were not interrelated?
    we can doubt both of these scenarios; ie, we have no proof of the either phenomena.
    but we may even say that apple seeds have not existed at all mns of yrs ago.
    but s’mhow emerged; which proves there was change/making (evolution).
    we’v had pigmies and giants and all kinds of other people. was it always so? obviously, at one time humans did not even exist. but they show up one day.
    in one day or in mns of yrs? were all peoples black at one time? or did some of the blacks become lighter as they moved into cooler areas.
    if one suntans, the skin gets darker. this again proves evolution/ change.
    what can’t be proven is the rate of change and why/how some of it occured. etcetc.
    from flat ground, hills and mountains rose.
    from a sperm a baby comes. at one time there was no human sperm because there were no humans 50mn yrs ago. even the bible acknowledges that adam was of average height. so god did not initially if ever created dwarfs nor 7′ people.
    so, todays 7′ people r not god’s nor nature’s people?
    and one can go on. thnx

  31. Don Hawkins said on November 28th, 2008 at 4:08pm #

    Bozh that was a good one brilliant and ignorance is not strength and war is not peace and big brother doesn’t fool me for a second but I must admit he does fool many.

  32. Hue Longer said on November 28th, 2008 at 4:30pm #


    It’s why I start with unnatural selection first…it’s even easier because the results can be witnessed (so too can finch beaks, but this one’s easier). Dog breeders denying evolution would be funny. And how about them blood oranges? Tasty.

    Sagan had some interesting examples (the story of the emperor crab should keep any short attention span enthralled) and Cosmos is a great read for anyone who still thinks evolution is about believing a monkey turned into a man.

    A difficulty for many is grasping time as something different than their own short amount of it or as merely a number followed by more or less zeroes

    The people who are taught to fire back with talking points about cross species impossibilities should educate themselves without the chattering preachers in the back ground.

  33. Gary S. said on November 28th, 2008 at 4:48pm #

    Well, I guess it’s political motivation we’re talking about, ie. the article we’re commenting on. Its a shame we have to submit to pollitics to get a “careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory” in the public school. I don’t understand why we ram the theory down kids throats but its unconstitiutional to ask questions about it. Why is it unconstitutional to have a careful examination of the theory. Why can’t science teachers or students ask the same questions the aforementioned scientists have? If its almost a fact what’s the problem?

  34. Gary S. said on November 28th, 2008 at 5:03pm #

    A finch with a differnt beak from another finch is still a finch.
    A poodle is a dog, a great dane is a dog. Breed them togeher you get a dog. there are white humans, black humans, yellow humans, hairy humans, bald humans, tall humans, short humans…are we the same or is one ahead of the other on an evolutionary scale. Given enough time we’ll find out.

  35. Hue Longer said on November 28th, 2008 at 5:19pm #

    nice try, Gary but evolving doesn’t always mean something is “ahead” as in above or better.

    No one is preventing anyone from questioning on going questioning of questioning. Your either all or nothing understanding of evolution is unfortunately a difficult one to tackle at the school children level, so I suppose you may have a point…I for one never liked the one dimensional trees insinuating progress and instant jumps. That could look like the same magic taught in Sunday school when one reflects upon their past education

  36. Gary S. said on November 28th, 2008 at 5:41pm #

    It seems, at least e can agree that SCIENTIFIC questions should be asked in schools. But you’re wrong when you say No one is preventing anyone from questioning on going questioning of questioning. In Cobb county GA All some parents were asking ws to have a sticker in a biology book that said
    “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”
    Nobody was asking the teacher to comment on it; just have the sticker on the insde cover. This simple statement was struck down in federal court. Imagine… asking American kids to critically consider something, unconstitutional.

  37. Don Hawkins said on November 28th, 2008 at 7:24pm #

    Gary regarding the origin of living things and I mean the origin as far as we can see and then some and probably then some again that question may never be answered. Say there is other life out there in our Universe and millions of years more advanced do they have the answer to the origin probably not. I say our Universe because there may be more many more.

  38. Hue Longer said on November 28th, 2008 at 11:20pm #

    that parent, that sticker and a curiously concerned body of people don’t understand the word “theory”…I’m not for the sticker either

  39. DavidG. said on November 29th, 2008 at 12:05am #

    I’m a member of the Cargo Cult. We believe that a huge bird will come out of the sky one day, one filled with all manner of goodies. I’ve booked a front row seat so I can ensure I get my share.

    Is my belief something I inherited genetically, or more accurately via evolution or did the Big Mazambo in the Sky put the idea in my head when he, she or it made me?

    Your advice would be appreciated.


  40. E. Bills said on November 29th, 2008 at 2:30am #

    creation narratives are not science. the ulterior motives behind the sticker were implicit, i.e., the science book does not include nods to the godhead. putting a sticker like that in a biological text is not the same but just as ludicrous if you put it in a bible. we’re flying through space right now at thousands of miles per hour. the universe is expanding. pit the big bang theory so far best explains it and what’s happening in our universe. we also–even as upper primates–have tailbones which are vestigial reminders from whence we came–or did your god put them their for laughs, to throw us off track–to reveal the vanity of our “knowledge?” you religious hypocrites sit around and posit pseudo-clever humbug about evolution and the big bang, bemoaning the broad strokes, the inconsistencies–and yet you’ll waffle on the definition of a day? the good news at least we can have science to keep us alive even if we’ve developed no minds or wherewithal of our own. used to be christians would just kill us for thinking independently. have we dare I say “evolved?”

  41. E. Bills said on November 29th, 2008 at 2:42am #

    further, great, list a number of scientists who doubt evolution–now tell us which churches they attend. also, who says random selection and evolution exist without intelligence. it ignores and/or discounts genetic memory. the processes and parts have a form of intelligence built into them. more examples of their profound complexity, beauty, etc. the real magic and mystical rhythm in our universe exists in the random, complex processes. the natural world is abundant, wonderful, knowing and oblivious. to think we matter so much because some therapeutic apparition put us here is the ultimate vanity.

  42. Hue Longer said on November 29th, 2008 at 3:03am #

    Hello E. Bills,

    Whatever the motive for signing that, “Doubt” wasn’t the words they used…it was inferred by Gary that they said that. Hell, I agree with what they said when it comes to certain aspects of a very large and complex theory such as evolution, but they don’t have the ability to literally say what it seems they wish they could concerning the theory. Cognitive dissonance is a bitch but it seems that science prevails with even the more compartmentalized in the field…unfortunately theirs is not the only minds they are toying with when they say such things

  43. E. Bills said on November 29th, 2008 at 3:18am #

    cognitive dissonance. the perfect term for this discussion. that and gaping primate.

  44. Gary S. said on November 30th, 2008 at 7:50pm #

    E. R.,

    If you think the “tail bone” is useless, fall down the stairs and land on it. What happens? You can’t stand up; you can’t sit down; you can’t lie down; you can’t roll over. You can hardly move without pain. In one sense, the sacrum and coccyx are among the most important bones in the whole body. They form an important point of muscle attachment required for our distinctive upright posture (and also for defecation, but I’ll say no more about that). Far from being a useless evolutionary leftover, the “tail bone” is quite important.

    Your comment about this list…just baffles me, A Harvard biology professor doesn’t get to be a Harvard biology professor because of where he goes to church. Because he may (we don’t know) go to church every Sunday Harvard should fire him? Students should be banned from his class? Even though he’s accomplished all you have to accomplished (peer review*) to be a Harvard professor he should be ignored? Because he doesn’t fit your template.

    I sense great fear in you. I’ll concede that the motivation of SOME MAY be suspect. The sticker was to stand alone. No teacher, no teacher’s aid, no librarian, was to direct a student in any direction. Taking out the sticker says we don’t want the student to go by themselves to the library or the internet to study cell biology, anatomy, anthropology, plate tectonics, astronomy, etc. We will absolutely control what they can learn. Why is it so wrong, in an educational setting, to question anything? Why would you or anyone assume that as soon as a 13 year old, all by himself or herself, studied carefully and critically considered this theory (almost fact*) they will immediately turn to god. I’m willing to see if that 13 year old or someone some day will fill the holes that I see.

    One final point. You are the one that brought up god in this discussion, not me. I’ve asked critical questions about the science and findings of evolution. You’ve called it humbug. You brought god in this discussion and have assumed I’m a christian, hypocrite, and vain. You made assumptions based on your world view of evolution. Is it even remotely possible that evolutionary scientists use these same biases and come up with wrong conclusions?

    * for Hue

  45. Al Cibiades said on December 2nd, 2008 at 9:44pm #

    Gary S seems determined to re-introduce the tired stream of refuted creationist nonsense into the discussion.

    Steve Austin’s radiometric dating exercise has been throughly refuted. See http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/mt_st_helens_dacite_kh.htm.

    As for the Georgia textbook issue, its the same old backdoor dishonesty the those seeking to confuse kids do. The “theory, not a fact” argument is bogus. If we’re discussing science, the word theory means an established conceptual model completely supported by fact. And, aspects of the theory of evolution are so completely established and completely documented that they are, for all intents and purposes fact.

    No one suggests that kids in school shouldn’t ask questions. No one suggests that scientists shouldn’t question any and every point of data, every hypothesis, or even core arguments, if they do so with fact and valid logic. What the creationists attempt to do, however, is to attempt to disrupt valid instruction with a stream of bogus assertions, such as the Austin canard, and a myriad of other invalid arguments which takes time and effort to refute.

    Despite the supposedly non-theistic pose you try to offer, the only motivation for this intentional obfuscation is devotion to religious dogma. No, it is not some supposed bias that leads scientists to see the theory of evolution as the only viable model for understanding the biological world that we have. It is devotion to reason and fact.