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August 30, 2005

Comments

PinkDome

Wait, are you saying you love Jesus or not? Cause...you know, He's like the Creator and shit, yo.

Greg Wythe

Our problem right now is that America is filled with people who are not even reasonably intelligent.

I think the first twenty problems with this post originate from this one sentence. Regardless of the reflections one gets from a trip to the boonies every now and then, there is a collective wisdom that is generally smarter than many of us give them credit for ... even in rural McLennan County.

Creationism and evolution (in their purest iterations) both suffer from being incomplete theories. The strictest sense of creationism: that every living being was formed as-is thousands and thousands of years ago, is verifiably false. Evolution, as a pure theory, explains nothing about how we got here in the first place. But the level of creationism that many (including myself) subscribe to, is that there was a single point of creation in time, from which every living creature evolved. In other words, there's nothing exclusive about creationism and evolution, even among us religious types. The shame of it all is that there doesn't seem to be much polling to explore that question.

The result, re: Pew, is that you get a sloppy questions that (not unsurprisingly) gives a sloppy answer. That's not the basis of decrying ignorance of all the rubes in Levittown, but it should be the basis of decrying the ignorance at Pew in concocting the questioning for this poll.

Nate

I'm sorry Greg, but through direct experience and through a large number of the polls of I've seen, there is a pervasive ignorance in the American people. Whether it is beliefs concerning the war in Iraq or creationism or the capitals of all 50 states, Americans are not educated enough.

I see an inherant danger in that, this being a democratic republic and all, and I see a glorification of the "everyman" aka the C-student presidency.

I think part of the answer (maybe a very large part) is to adequately fund education and to make education a top priority in this country. Worrying about fake debates about evolution and teaching to tests aren't hacking it.

Part of the problem here seems to be a belief that science is a religion as well. Science is limited in that you can only hypothesize and test the observable. The things that took place before time and before this universe are the realm of the philosophers and religious. I don't think teaching anything about that is appropriate in a science classroom since you can no more prove God created the universe than I can prove the universe is actually a giant turtle's droppings.

And for Pink Dome, I'm Roman Catholic. Try to guess what the answer to your question is now.

Jon

"Let's just be practical for a minute and realize that most of the stories in the Bible are stupid. They may or may not have any value depending on what your value system is, but they are not the literal truth."

This is your space and you are free to write anything you want. I come to your space because I find you often insightful and reasonable in your commentary. I am just curious why the use of the word stupid when it comes to "most" of the bible was necessary. Maybe it just me (since I am a believer in the Bible) being called stupid (by extension) is not a nice thing. Calling them unbelievable I can buy into but I am a fairly educated person and do not consider myself stupid. I am not too wild about the idea of creationism being taught in schools (although comparative religion is something that I think should be taught for lots of reasons). I think too often the evangelical church (being an evangelical type myself) looks to society (the government) to promote and foster its beliefs in ways that we would never buy into for other faiths (I know someone will say we promote humanism all the time and it is a faith of sorts...but that is another discussion). All I want from society is the ability to espouse my beliefs and if they are as powerful as I believe they will accomplish their purpose. I do not need the state to promote my beliefs just do not hinder me from doing so. But I digress, I wished you would not think me stupid because I really am not. I am just a believer who respects the right of others to be non-believers and I would never think them stupid for being such. No matter, I will still come and visit your site from time to time. Take care.

Nate

Stories about talking snakes, people living for a thousand years, a person living inside of a whale and the naivete of God to believe that two naked teenagers would do exactly what they're told are thing that I would not classify as intelligent. So I used the convese term: stupid.

If I had meant to include everyone that believes or practices according to the Bible, I'm sure my rant would have looked something more like "and the people who believe this stuff are stupid." I didn't say that so I don't think that.

I said exactly what I mean, that you may garner some moral clarity from the stories, but belief in the literal truth of the text is not necessary, and, in fact, tends to muddy the issue.

I was raised Southern Baptist and then converted to Roman Catholicism, which may explain my hostility to organized religion. I come, not from a family of secularists, but from very devout Christians.

The point of this rant, and it was a very spur of the moment rant, was that a) most people in this country (and by most I mean at least a majority) suffer from a lack of education on all fronts, but especially when it comes to what science is and tries to do and what role religion should play in our public forum, and b) that scientists should stop demurring to the religious among us that demand we teach stories that, except that they are in the Bible, are indistinguishable from Aesop's Fables, as fact in science classrooms.

Jon

You did not disappoint me. You are an excellent thinker and writer. I will not try to get into a verbal exchange here with you. I thank you for taking to the time to expand on your rant. I suspect we are in more agreement that you think.

Nate

I think we probably are. I like when people bring things to my attention, especially my arguments and rants. I spent all of five minutes writing and thinking it through after I saw the Pew results so it is entirely possible that something in there is totally wrong or out of left field.

I'm just glad this medium allows my readers to comment and point out what they don't agree with.

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