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Christianity Johnson on 09 Sep 2008 02:02 am

The Texas Theocracy

In Texas, they are now teaching classes in the Bible:

Texas to teachers: Bible will be taught

The Bible’s history and literature will be required to be taught in public schools in Texas under a new law that has been clarified by the state attorney general to mean exactly what it says.

The basic argument put forward to support this type of instruction can be summarized as “Cultural Literacy”. The article describes it this way:

“There are 1,300 references to the Bible in the works of Shakespeare alone. Over 60 percent of the allusions studied in [advanced placement] English come from the Bible. Students are going to be better academically and culturally when they hear about the Bible.”

Fair enough. If that is the logic, let’s extrapolate. There are millions of scientific papers, books and textbooks that reference evolution. “Students are going to be better academically and culturally when they hear about evolution.” Scientific literacy depends on an understanding of this topic. Therefore, we would expect to see a parallel law in Texas requiring that evolution be taught in Texas schools, would we not? Unfortunately, Christian logic does not work that way:

Battle Against Teaching Evolution in Texas Begins

The decision the state board makes on the science curriculum this November will determine what every public school student in Texas learns about science for the next 10 years. And that’s not all. Because Texas buys more textbooks than every other state except California and publishers would rather not create separate editions for smaller states, the books ordered here will end up in classrooms across the country.

“If Texas falls, this is the beginning of a giant move backward in science education,” says Chris Comer, the former science director who resigned in November. “What really disturbs me most of all is how the average citizen doesn’t really care. The entire education system is about to be subverted, because this isn’t just about science. This is about a group of people who are trying to dictate what should be taught in every subject, not according to research or facts, but according to their own whims and personal beliefs.”

Welcome to the Texas Theocracy.

Christians are quite fond of saying things like this: “Why do people oppose Christianity? If they aren’t believers, Christianity has no effect on their lives!” As seen above, particularly in the second article, this statement is categorically untrue. Christians, with their ridiculous beliefs and stone age thinking, act as a constant and consistent brake on scientific progress and rational thought. The irrationality of Christianity affects everyone in ways both big and small.

17 Responses to “The Texas Theocracy”

  1. on 09 Sep 2008 at 12:29 pm 1.Snag said …

    What’s the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick

    “A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian.”

  2. on 09 Sep 2008 at 12:49 pm 2.Armchair General said …

    Uh, there’s absolutely no empirical evidence to support the THEORY of evolution.

    It can’t be reproduced, no “transitional stage” creatures have been found (genetic mutations resulting in LOSS of DNA information DO NOT count), and it requires just as much FAITH to believe in, as the creation theory.

    They’re both theories and they both require FAITH to believe in, since neither side has seen REPRODUCIBLE evidence.

  3. on 09 Sep 2008 at 5:32 pm 3.SteveK said …

    “Uh, there’s absolutely no empirical evidence to support the THEORY of evolution.”

    It depends on what definition you give ‘evolution’ here. There are many, even among the scientific community. If you mean, change through mutation and adaptation without some form of divine intervention, then I agree with your comment because divine intervention is not something accessible to empirical science. If you mean change through mutation and adaptation then I must disagree with your comment.

  4. on 09 Sep 2008 at 9:23 pm 4.lil tom said …

    You know, this might actually be a blessing (ahem) in disguise..
    It seems pretty clear to me that most christians I’ve met who get up in my face about their powerful faith have not actually READ the bible. So perhaps the plan will totally backfire and the kids will see how absurd the good book really is!
    but seriously, I’m not against the bible being read in schools as long as it isn’t being taught as fact. In fact I tend to agree with Dan Dennett that it would be highly beneficial for kids to learn the basic texts and beliefs of ALL major world religions. This would not only arm them with very useful conversational and diplomacy skills that are painfully lacking in a world where those skills are becoming necessary, and in addition to the historical value, it would help people learn early on that the dogmatic foundations of all religions are clearly incompatible and this madness needs to be studied for what it needs to become: history.
    I wish I had had that education rather than being brought up as a “mormon child” in a household where non-mormon literature was not allowed.

  5. on 09 Sep 2008 at 11:29 pm 5.Snag said …

    “Uh, there’s absolutely no empirical evidence to support the THEORY of evolution.”

    This proves you know nothing about evolution. Why dont you take the time to learn about it?

  6. on 10 Sep 2008 at 12:07 am 6.Snag said …

    Let me help you learn about evolution. Learn about the LTEE:

    E. coli long-term evolution experiment

    Professor Richard Lenski, Michigan State University

  7. on 10 Sep 2008 at 1:31 am 7.Armchair General said …

    Unfortunately (for your argument) is that Lenski’s experiment shows a prime example of ADAPTION, not evolution.

    E. coli ALREADY possesses the ability to transport and utilize citrate under certain conditions (particularly, low oxygen), it is conceivable that they could adapt and gain the ability to utilize citrate under broader conditions (high oxygen, as in Lenski’s experiment).

    This does not require the ADDITION of new genetic information or functional systems (there are no known “additive” mechanisms). The E. coli already has the ability, just not under the given circumstances.

    Instead degenerative events are likely to have occurred resulting in the LOSS of regulation and/or specificity.

    Once again, ADAPTION, not evolution.

    Now why don’t you go out and learn a little more about science?

  8. on 10 Sep 2008 at 5:00 am 8.lil tom said …

    armchair. I’m sure you are right and 99.85% percent of practicing scientists are a bunch of dimwits.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_publi.htm#earth

    (notice where the highest percentage of creationists pops up on the charts! very interesting…)

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_proof.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution#Creationist_disputes_over_the_scientific_support_for_evolution

  9. on 10 Sep 2008 at 9:36 am 9.Snag said …

    Armchair General – The lead scientist for LTEE has already answered your objection:

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservapedia:Lenski_dialog

    This is your second lesson in evolution:

    The Short Proof of Evolution

  10. on 10 Sep 2008 at 10:21 am 10.Armchair General said …

    Oh wow, the guy who spent 20 years on this experiment believes he’s right? No way! Who’d have thought?

    Show me proof of an organism changing into a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT organism.

    The E. coli is still E. coli. Even if it’s mutated to contain slightly different properties. This isn’t an amazing discovery. This isn’t evolution.

    Oddly enough, you’ll swallow absolutely anything that’s shoveled at you, as long as the person shoveling it is a scientist (with the stipulation of NOT being a Christian).

  11. on 10 Sep 2008 at 10:54 am 11.Foolish believer said …

    Do evolution, adaptation and creation contradict? This debate seems counter-productive. what is the intended result?

    Where did the first particle come from? What about these axioms and algorithms that cause particles to accelerate and collide and become micro-organisms and micro-organisms to become organisms and so on?… regardless of what is taught in schools, these are the questions that kids will eventually ask.

    If the answers are all arbitrary, then does it make sense doing science? what will we discover at the end? that its all meaningless? that conclusion has been been deliberated years ago…

  12. on 10 Sep 2008 at 11:39 am 12.Snag said …

    “Show me proof of an organism changing into a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT organism.”

    http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/essays/courtenay1.htm

    And:

    http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=444&m=1

  13. on 10 Sep 2008 at 11:53 am 13.Armchair General said …

    Wow, what scholarly sources…

    A forum and some undergrad’s term paper *snrk*

  14. on 10 Sep 2008 at 12:46 pm 14.Snag said …

    “Wow, what scholarly sources…

    A forum and some undergrad’s term paper *snrk* ”

    So it should be easy but you offer nothing to refute what they say.

  15. on 11 Sep 2008 at 4:14 am 15.Foolish believer said …

    The problem with the sources quoted as “evidence” is that they contain so many unknowns:
    (1) what is the lifetime of a fossil? can fossils disappear over time due to heat or erosion?
    (2) have the earth’s layers been displaced over time?
    (3) are there fossils beneath sea beds that remain undiscovered?
    (4) did different plants and animals only exist in very specific regions?

    Evolution vs Creation is like comparing ways of developing software. When you discover improvements you may reuse parts of your existing code in order to create something novel. It doesn’t mean that you just add two bundles of code together and something useful emerges after compilation. Something new always has to be created, rewritten, integrated and then executed. Of course, when it all goes wrong, you might scrap everything and develop from scratch….

    Also, recall that creation is a process that lasted many many years. The Bible talks about “7 days”, but then goes on to state that 1 day is like (like => not exactly) 1,000 years with God. This means that (for the purposes of our comprehension of time) mankind could have become part of the earth ~7,000 years after other plants and beings existed.

  16. on 21 Oct 2008 at 1:53 pm 16.Red O'Brien said …

    I live in Texas, and this fiasco with the state board of education is infuriating. I promise we’re not all as backward as we sound.

    Love the blog and the site.

  17. on 21 Oct 2008 at 5:13 pm 17.Hermes said …

    Red, the Atheist Community of Austin alone has shown that there are quite a few forward thinking folks in your state;

    http://www.atheist-experience.com/

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