Ga. Evolution Stickers Ordered Removed

A federal judge Thursday ordered a suburban Atlanta school system to remove stickers in its high school biology textbooks that call evolution "a theory, not a fact," saying the disclaimers were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion
So says The Associated Press.

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flip it

"By denigrating evolution, the school board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories," U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said.

By pulling the stickers Judge Cooper is saying evolution is fact and is endorsing the religion of atheism.

Read It For Yourself

I wouldn't expect the decision to open your mind on this issue, but it's Online Here. That's a PDF.

For a slightly odd view...

It is only a recent idea that The State should be involved in education at all. I am more in favor of handling such "the old fashioned way" by having the church handle such. Have the state set standards but let the church teach. I have been at religious institutions of education that barely mention creationism outside the religion department and talk about evolution pretty much just in the science department. Such a thought would at least prevent controversies such as the above judicial matter from erupting I would think!

Re:For a slightly odd view...

When I was young, I'd have been happy to attend a school run by a partnership of Jews and Soto Zen Buddhists but somehow I don't think that's what you mean by letting the church teach.

And what about the pagans?

Re:For a slightly odd view...

(tongue in cheek here) Oh yes, the madrasas are helping young Moslems get a well-rounded world view now, aren't they? So well-rounded, they'd like to round up all us American heathens are send us to a non-existent planet.

Re:Read It For Yourself

Evolution in science textbooks is the norm and has been for some time. So why is it my mind that needs to be opened? Isn't an established habit a closed door?

The quotes on pg 16 are laughable. No I didn't read the whole thing (its 44 pages).

Not being a legal scholar the best I can boil down the decision to is the judge's repeated arguement that the sticker somehow makes those who believe in creationism 'insiders' and those who believe in evolution 'outsiders'. Since the stickers don't say *anything* about creationism I don't see how that can be the case. If your a supposed 'outsider' there's a good chance you won't even know what creationism is and any supposed intent falls by the wayside. So, back to my original arguement. All he did was endorse atheism.

Re:For a slightly odd view...

well now that wasn't very politically correct

Re:flip it

By pulling the stickers Judge Cooper is saying evolution is fact and is endorsing the religion of atheism.

Wow. It's not very often that someone calls Pope John Paul II an atheist, or a promoter of "the religion of atheism."

Creationism doesn't belong in science class because it's not science; it's religion. Evolution does belong there because it is science--as solidly grounded in fact as anything else in science that goes beyond immediate, short-term, visible physical facts. You just can't teach modern biology in any meaningful way without evolution. It has enormous predictive power in all life sciences research, and it's because it works that scientists continue to adhere to it, when they've long since thrown out Lamarkism and phlogiston.

What evolution doesn't do is say anything at all about the existence or nonexistance of God, immortal souls, or the afterlife, which is why most Christian denomiations have no problem with it.

Re:flip it

Well, that'll teach me to forget to close my html tags, fer shure.

Re:flip it

I don't have a problem with it. Its a nice little theory.

Uh...

By pulling the stickers Judge Cooper is saying evolution is fact and is endorsing the religion of atheism.

Umm atheism actually isn't a religion, hence the name "a" (without) and "theism" (religion). So, one could argue that the judge actually promotes no religion at all, which is what the government is supposed to do.

Sure, evolution is a theory. But, unlike creationism, it's a theory grounded in observable fact That's what science is. Creationism does use some observations to back its arguments, but ultimately relies in that which cannot be proven (some sort of god). And before anyone jumps the fact that we speak of the theory of evolution we also speak freely of the theory of relativity.

Last I checked, there's no big religious uprising over relativity theory or quantum theory or string theory. Now I have my own theory about why. I think it has something to do with the fact that relativity, quantum, and string don't seem to openly challenge religious beliefs. Now, in fact, they do challenge religious dogma in some ways. In other ways they back up some religious ideas. I'm not going to get into how, as this really isn't the place for it, but I don't see anything like the Scopes Quantum Trial happening anywhere.

Besides, I have no problems with a judge upsetting people who honestly believe that the age of the Earth and the cosmos can be measured in tens of thousands of years.

For a rather nifty philosophical argument regarding creationism, unencumbered by religious and scientific perspectives, check out The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking by Stephen Law. Good stuff there.

More stickers

Here are some more proposed stickers for school textbooks.

Re:More stickers

Do check them out, especially the one about "read the entire textbook, as you will not have a teacher for this class."

Re:flip it

"Theory" is not word that means to scientists when they're using it in a scientific context what it means to laypeople when they're using it in ordinary conversation. Gravitational theory is a theory too, but I suspect you'd think it a bad idea to, on that basis, encourage kids to keep an open mind about the consequences of jumping out a third-floor window.

For scientists, the word "theory" describes an explanatory framework that has an extremely strong grounding in fact, but which is subject to revision if facts are uncovered which aren't adequately explained by the theory. The word scientists use to mean what laypeople mean by "theory" is hypothesis. Evolution is not, at this point, an hypothesis.

Re:Read It For Yourself

I'm not sure how that would be endorsing atheism. Many people who have a religious belief, also accept the Theory of Evolution. In fact, you could be an athiest, and not accept evolution. They are two different things.

Re:flip it

So why is it necessary to treat this theory any differently than any other scientific theory? We don't require that Physics books make a note that the Theory of Relativity is a theory and not a fact. We don't require that our Astronomy books note that the Big Bang theory is just a theory, and not a fact.

Re:flip it

We treat it differently because our primary school science education in this country is so crummy that it has only minimal chance of overcoming the fact that evolution has an emotional impact that other scientific theories don't, and that emotional impact is politically useful to certain groups.

Re:Uh...

"Umm atheism actually isn't a religion, hence the name "a" (without) and "theism" (religion). So, one could argue that the judge actually promotes no religion at all, which is what the government is supposed to do."

To believe in nothing is to believe in something and that philosphy guides that individual's actions as much as any organized religion would. Which is the point of the entire arguement. When you tell a child where they are from you are, to a point, telling them where they are going. Its what makes this theory or hypothesis or giant guess, the controversy it is, and why other posts about relativity and such are simply silly.

"Besides, I have no problems with a judge upsetting people who honestly believe that the age of the Earth and the cosmos can be measured in tens of thousands of years."

And I have no problem upsetting people that think we just happened to grow out of a hot puddle.

Re:Uh...

I don't think telling my kids that they came from their mother's womb, means that is where they are going back to. If that is where they're returning to, I am really glad that I'm male.

Re:flip it

By pulling the stickers Judge Cooper is saying evolution is fact . . .

1: Evolution is a fact; reactionaries misuse the term theory out of invincible ignorance to misrepresent the state of affairs. Reputable biologists do not dispute the reality of evolution, they are only unsure of the processes by which evolution advances.

2: Enforcing the Church\State seperation is not an endorsement of the religion of "atheism" or any other religion, it is a matter of maintaining a level playing field.

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