Creationism Gains Ground in Tennessee

April 8th, 2011 at 2:43 am | 74 Comments |

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Tennessee House Bill 368, the creationist friendly legislation that we have previously covered on FrumForum, has passed through of the Tennessee House on a vote of 70-23. The Senate is expected to take up the bill for a vote on April 20th.

As many observers had feared, the bill passed successfully on a near-party line vote. 8 Democrats joined with 62 Republicans and one independent to vote in favor of the bill, while 22 Democrats voted against it.

WPLN News has a good collection of some of the statements that were made in support of the bill by lawmakers:

Anti-science rhetoric was common as the House debated the bill. Williamson County Representative Glen Casada says science proponents are intolerant of dissent.

“But there’s now the new religion of evolution. And they in turn are now trying to suppress questioning and free thought.”

Representative Sheila Butt, Republican from Columbia, says things she was taught in high school turned out to be untrue.

“I remember so many of us, when we were seniors in high school, we gave up Aquanet hairspray. Do you remember why we did that? Because it was causing global warming. That that aerosol in those cans was causing global warming.

Since then scientists have said that maybe we shouldn’t have given up that aerosol can, because that aerosol was actually absorbing the earth’s rays, and was keeping us from global warming.”

Representative Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, called the bill a return to common sense.

“And ever since the late ’50s and early ’60s, when we let the intellectual bullies hijack our education system, we’ve been on a slippery slope.”

Dr. Joey Hensley, a Republican from Hohenwald, says a scientific theory is…well, more theory than science.

“Every theory is… just that, it’s a theory. And many scientific theories that we’ve heard from, that people claim, every scientist believes a certain theory, that’s certainly not true.”

One Republican did vote against the bill however, Representative Bob Ramsey. According to his website, Ramsey also holds a B.S. in Biology.


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74 Comments so far ↓

  • Nanotek

    “Representative Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, called the bill a return to common sense. ‘And ever since the late ’50s and early ’60s, when we let the intellectual bullies hijack our education system, we’ve been on a slippery slope.’”

    jaw dropping

    I wonder if he sees a witch doctor when he becomes ill.

  • ottovbvs

    It’s a measure of just how in the grip of loonies the GOP really is. This is today’s GOP. Racism, creationism, denial of science, voodoo economics, stupidity. It’s like a scene from out of Inherit the Wind.

  • TheQuad

    If you ever needed more evidence that the GOP is anti-science; Exhibit “T” right here.

  • Nanotek

    At what point, do sane people look at their Republican party and recoil?

  • sinz54

    FrumForum continues to report on creationist activity around the United States. But so far it has refused to deal with the basic issue of whether, or to what extent, the Theory of Evolution is compatible with religion–especially the creation myths that have traditionally underpinned religion.

    And that’s not a simple question. Anyone who just says “Oh, sure” either pro or con is bound to be missing something.

    Whole books have been written on that subject.

    Evolution is particularly problematic for devout Protestants, because many of them believe that Jesus died on the Cross to offer us salvation from the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve never Fell from Grace, but evolved from lower forms of life, then they believe that Jesus’ death becomes meaningless.

    • Primrose

      Actually Sinze54, if you read the bible from the point of view of the Jews for whom the old testament was written, the Adam and Eve story was never true.

      It is not the first story of genesis but the second, an important statement in a religion that scrutinizes everything. For example, most Rabbis find that because the first letter of the book starts with the Hebrew B (which furthermore has an opening to left) it means there were things that came before this book.

      Indeed, an orthodox rabbi told me that Adam and Eve is known to be a bit of a literary story, by both style and meaning, intended so that no man could say he was created first. Since the Jews don’t promulgate the idea of original sin, we can assume that that is an adopted idea.

      But as for Frum not covering it, I don’t think comparative religion is appropriate to this forum.

    • Watusie

      sinz, your burblings are as irrelevant as a suggestion that a physics coursebook has to respect the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.

      Creation myths have nothing at all to do with science, and vice versa. If you want your kids to believe the world was created by a man with a white beard on a white fluffy cloud, then you “teach” them that at home.

    • balconesfault

      If Adam and Eve never Fell from Grace, but evolved from lower forms of life, then they believe that Jesus’ death becomes meaningless.

      You realize that per Christian dogma, it’s an omnipotent God who made all the rules, including the rule that His own Son would have to die a brutal, agonizing death in order to liberate mankind from original sin.

      There was no law of nature that decreed that to be so, correct?

      So what’s that say about God – that He wanted to see His Son suffer miserably?

      Then again, He must have Intelligently Designed any number of horrible, cruel childhood diseases that have made the lives of countless many children short, painful, and filled with misery for them and those who loved them.

      Plus, He seems to get a kick out of killing one out of every three “unborn children” in utero.

      Quite the Bastard, eh? I think kids should be encouraged to ask about those issues when they’re studying “Intelligent Design”.

    • ottovbvs

      the Theory of Evolution is compatible with religion–

      Well that’s because it’s not compatible. The creation myth was a fairy story written for ancient nomads wandering around in the desert. It’s essentially no different in terms of scientific or historical accuracy than the stories from Greek mythology that were invented around the same time.

  • Primrose

    I’m astounded by SheliaBZ’s belief that aerosol cans were causing global warming and her subsequent belief that it absorbs the suns rays.

    They were banned because they caused a measurable hole in the Ozone. If there is no Ozone, the sun’s rays can’t be absorbed. While yes, that means bad gasses can escape, so too Oxygen!

    I don’t expect everyone to understand all these differences, but at least understand on certain subjects you are clueless.

    • balconesfault

      I had to laugh at that as well – this is the level of intellectual coherence within the GOP, where they don’t even know the difference between the issue of CFCs versus the ozone layer, and CO2 versus global climate patterns.

      If anything this is the strongest endorsement for why science class time should not be wasted on teaching mysticism.

    • kimmah

      I’m horrified to admit this, but she is my state rep. I voted against her. I bang my head on a wall once a week over something stupid she says. It is repugnant to me that she was deemed fit for office. BUTT NO! is my new bumpersticker for the next elections.

  • talkradiosucks.com

    “sinz, your burblings are as irrelevant as a suggestion that a physics coursebook has to respect the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.”

    Nailed it.

  • gman

    I’ll say this again – there is already a well established, widely taught subject where it appropriate to explore Creationism. It’s called Religious Studies. Teaching Creationism as Science is like Latin and/or Germanic languages in English class.

    • LFC

      I disagree with your example. English actually has roots in the Latin and Germanic languages. Science has no roots in religion, making it even more absurd to try to co-mingle the two.

  • Rabiner

    I like how the only Republican to trust the science and vote against this was a guy with a Biology degree. Crazy what education does for the mind.

  • amazed foreigner

    “And ever since the late ’50s and early ’60s, when we let the intellectual bullies hijack our education system, we’ve been on a slippery slope.”

    “Every theory is… just that, it’s a theory. And many scientific theories that we’ve heard from, that people claim, every scientist believes a certain theory, that’s certainly not true.”

    Well, good luck to all of you since it seems that the priests are playing an evergrowing role in America. Your education system is already falling behind internationally but you will be all saved by your faith right? America is turning itself out into a big seminary and you will for sure produce a well educated population according maybe to 19th century criterias… In the meantime, the Chinese and, actually to be blunt about it, the whole developed world does not care about what priests have to say about science and will continue to move on.

    God bless America and to show how right those Tennessee lawmakers are, let’s remember that :
    Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Because they surely have their seat reserved up there

  • Carney

    Here’s the language that is so awful, again:

    “Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.

    “Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”

    Fetch the smelling salts! I’m feeling faint!

  • talkradiosucks.com

    “Fetch the smelling salts! I’m feeling faint!”

    Dishonesty will do that to a man. You and I and everyone here knows what the purpose of those words is, and how they will be used.

  • Carney

    I accept evolution, but what I find amusing is the devout religious belief of left-egalitarians that human beings are magically immune to evolution, or that the human brain specifically, out of all the organs in all the organisms, is magically immune to evolution.

    Yes sir! Humans population groups living in genetic isolation for tens of thousands of years, facing wildly different climates, disease profiles, food availability situations, and needing wildly different survival strategies, must be completely identical in every measurable trait, down to several decimal places! Any group differences must be ruled a priori as resulting from NO genetic input whatsoever, and anyone who suggests genes being *a* factor is to be excoriated, ostracized, and ruined as an example.

    • Watusie

      Carney, what are you talking about? Scientific literature is packed with papers detailing the genetic differences amongst different populations and the ways these differences manifest themselves.

  • Moderate

    This isn’t an indictment of Republicans, it’s an indictment of Tennesseans. If 90% of the state accepted evolution, then these legislators wouldn’t be passing creationism bills.

    Probably only 1 or 2 of these Republicans actually believe this crap, the rest are pandering.

    @Carney

    Careful, you’re touching THE third rail.

  • Rabiner

    Carney:

    “Yes sir! Humans population groups living in genetic isolation for tens of thousands of years, facing wildly different climates, disease profiles, food availability situations, and needing wildly different survival strategies, must be completely identical in every measurable trait, down to several decimal places! Any group differences must be ruled a priori as resulting from NO genetic input whatsoever, and anyone who suggests genes being *a* factor is to be excoriated, ostracized, and ruined as an example.”

    Considering macro-evolution takes hundreds of thousands of years if not millions of years to develop an actually different species, what you say is pointless and not to the issue in question. Just because you can’t see evolution happen from 1950 to now in humans doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    Also, who in the hell says human beings are immune to evolutionary processes? “left-egalitarians” (what % of the population is that anyways)?

  • Rabiner

    Moderate:

    For a guy who just posted that they were pandering then backing Carney’s chatter makes me wonder if YOU’RE pandering to everyone in this thread.

    • Moderate

      @Rabiner

      Your post makes no sense to me. 80% of posters at this site are true-believing liberals; I have no desire to pander to them. I’m one of the other 20%.

      1) The Tennessee Republican legislators are acting in bad faith with this bill. Most of them don’t believe what they’re saying – they’re throwing a bone to the yokel vote.

      2) #1 is obvious to anyone to knows politics

      3) Carney, a fellow 20%er (although a bit further to the right than I am), like myself accepts evolution but dislikes the “Culture/nurture explains everything” hogwash that is regurgitated on the left and accepted as dogma in education theory.

      If Democrats are going to pat themselves over the back for being so committed to science even when it’s morally uncomfortable, they should also take a hard look at the egalitarian “anyone is capable of anything; culture and environment explain different outcomes” theory which is even more widespread than belief in creationism.

  • Sinnombre

    What the legislators seem to be ignoring is that while the teaching of creationism will no doubt appeal to dumber, less thoughtful students, it could drive almost everyone else away. For example, if the creator really created the universe in 6 days, why did it leave evidence behind that the process took billions of years (and none that it took 6 days)? Similarly, if life was created in its present form, why is there evidence that it evolved (and none that it was created)? Finally, if the creator was truly intelligent, why did it use a common, suboptimal design, independent of whether an animal lives in water or land, or walks on all fours instead of two?

    In other words, when religious myths are exposed to the same type of analysis as scientific theories, in a science class, most students should conclude that creationist beliefs are silly and are not evidence based.

    Perhaps, the Tennessee legislators should be more careful what they wish for.

    • indy

      My, don’t you have rosy picture of what goes on in a classroom.

    • balconesfault

      For example, if the creator really created the universe in 6 days, why did it leave evidence behind that the process took billions of years (and none that it took 6 days)?

      I have had a Christian friend of mine reply to that one “perhaps God created that evidence to test our faith …”. Pretty tough to argue science at that point.

      • ram6968

        the way your friend assigns human traits to a “god” is much the same as dressing a monkey in human clothes

  • Rabiner

    Moderate:

    “3) Carney, a fellow 20%er (although a bit further to the right than I am), like myself accepts evolution but dislikes the “Culture/nurture explains everything” hogwash that is regurgitated on the left and accepted as dogma in education theory.”

    The culture/nurture argument doesn’t explain everything but it explains more than genetics in a classroom. Considering that socioeconomic status is the best indicator of how well a child will do in school seems to strengthen that argument. Nothing is 100% of course and genetics have some role in the equation as well, just not as much as culture/nurture (depending on how broad you want that to encompass).

    • Moderate

      @Rabiner

      Here’s one study of many that genetics play more than “some role” in classroom performance: at least 50%.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12339798

      Every study I’ve read has concluded that genetics account for between 25%-75% of classroom performance, and that the correlation between IQ and performance only becomes stronger the older a person is.

      You realize Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats…

      Yes.

      Also, how is saying creationism is hogwash ‘morally uncomfortable’?

      Because creationism undergirds many people’s ethical belief systems. If fundamentalists had to acknowledge that creationism is balderdash, they’d have to consider that other beliefs of theirs might be wrong as well… and that leads down a very uncomfortable road.

    • Carney

      Considering that socioeconomic status is the best indicator of how well a child will do in school

      Wrong. IQ is. Next comes standardized tests, which are heavily g-loaded. And skip the feel-good counter-trend anecdotes; what matters is the overall trend and reality.

      • Primrose

        Actually, no Carney. IQ is not the prime indicator, as numerous studies have shown. In order to go to an elite school, do good, important work (in science) for which you get a Nobel prize you only need an IQ of 120 (high average).

        Additionally, many things influence IQ including the amount a mother holds a child, which has a strong influence on IQ. Knowing this an then applying a genetic concept, we should assume that the children of white, middle class parents (those with access to a pediatrician) should be dumber than others because it was the practice of doctors to tell mother’s not to touch their infants. Since this happened from 1920-1960, we can assume that they got increasingly dumber.

        Whereas African American children who come from a culture that believes in picking children up constantly, would be significantly smarter. Something in your other posts makes me suspect that this was not the idea you were driving at.

  • Rabiner

    Moderate:

    “If Democrats are going to pat themselves over the back for being so committed to science even when it’s morally uncomfortable, they should also take a hard look at the egalitarian “anyone is capable of anything; culture and environment explain different outcomes” theory which is even more widespread than belief in creationism.”

    You realize Republicans are just as guilty as Democrats regarding this, they just use different language, or what else would you call the ‘American Dream’ but a egalitarian view that everyone is capable of obtaining a semblance of middle class status and they just have to ‘want it’.

    Also, how is saying creationism is hogwash ‘morally uncomfortable’? I didn’t know thinking creationism was stupid made anyone less moral or ethical.

  • indy

    The Tennessee Republican legislators are acting in bad faith with this bill. Most of them don’t believe what they’re saying – they’re throwing a bone to the yokel vote.

    I think this assessment is absurd.

    • Moderate

      @Indy

      Then you’re wrong. The percentage of educated adults who believe in creationism is between 22% and 37%.

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/145286/Four-Americans-Believe-Strict-Creationism.aspx

      Although most Tennesseans do not have a college education, almost every single Tennessee legislator holds either a college or postgraduate degree.

      These Republican legislators were all selected from the pool of educated people, not from the much smaller pool of educated creationists (the aforementioned 22%-37% of all people with higher education). Even assuming non-random selection, on the premise that belief in creationism plays some role in primary candidate sorting, the odds that all but one Republican actually believe this is 0%.

      It’s pandering.

      • indy

        Ummm…This legislation is not directly about teaching creationism, even though everyone, including the author of this piece, apparently believes it is. Somewhere between 75-85% of the population, including more educated people, don’t believe in strict evolution (by which I mean an entirely Godless one). You don’t have to be a die hard believer of creationism to vote for this legislation. You just have to have doubts about strict evolution. That is the reason it is worded the way it is.

        • Sinnombre

          Perhaps some of us are indeed overreacting to the commonly used, but cowardly practice of using code words to get ideas across. For example, we know that it is the nature of science to question long-held theories when new, conflicting evidence is found. There is no need for legislation that specifically requires this. For example, early in the last century, when it was found that certain physical effects could not be explained by classical mechanics, the scientific community did not wait for a law to be enacted; they did it on their own and created a new theory of mechanics.

          Why isn’t this self-policing satisfactory? Over the years, supernatural beliefs about creation, lacking supportive evidence, have lost ground to evidence-based ideas. However, if in spite of this, the supernatural could be established as the default, then any gaps in evidence could be used to justify a return to the supernatural???? Hmmm.

        • indy

          Please don’t confuse my disagreement with moderate over whether or not the republicans who voted for this were ‘pandering’ with any sort of support for the legislation. I don’t think the republicans were pandering so much as throwing together a cocktail of naivety, ignorance, doubt, and denial for themselves over the true purpose of this legislation. Which is, obviously, to allow creationism to gain a toehold.

  • kimmah

    So, I wonder how long until I was hauled into court if I started teaching the Koran in my literature classes. Hrmmmm.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    gman: Teaching Creationism as Science is like Latin and/or Germanic languages in English class.
    Actually, as an English teacher I do bring up Latin in my class when I teach prefixes, the base form of a word, and suffixes. So no offense I think your analogy is wrong.

    Carney, carney, carney, science has long proved that the differences within individual member of any ethnic group is far greater than differences between ethnic groups. A Chinese person and a white person can have the same aptitude, IQ, abilities, etc., in fact similarities between people of different ethnic groups can be so similar as to seem almost unnatural…but they are not, you forget the common linkage of our own common humanity.

    You truly can’t see beyond color of skin or language at the person underneath, how sad for you.

  • armstp

    And we have a party that believes in creationism negotiating the budget in this country. No wonder they believe in the Unicorn Ryan plan.

  • PatrickQuint

    Genetic differences matter big-time when it comes to congenital mental disorders. I’m sorry to say that there’s only so much you can do for a person with severe down syndrome.

    I’m sure that race is a factor, mentally. However, in no way is it strong enough to make assumptions about any given individual. I don’t even know what the trends would be with regard to race, because I suspect that racial factors in intellect are being swallowed by cultural and socioeconomic differences between races overall.

    We’ve managed to breed dog populations for behavior in mere centuries. I suspect that a similar thing could be done with humans, but I don’t recall any wide or successful human eugenics programs.

    I have honestly heard a well-educated human being, a biology student no less, claim that there is no genetic basis for race. I suspect we misunderstood each other.

    If people are discussing the science of creationism or intelligent design, then they may be more open to criticism on a scientific basis.

    Carney, IQ appears to be minimally influenced by genetics. I believe the connection will exist within the margin of error for the study.

    • Primrose

      There is absolutely no reason to think there are differences of intelligence based on race because a) as I said earlier we have been in genetic contact with each other and b) we have faced the same basic challenges: Food, shelter, sex, and used the participated in the same tropes: war, social organization, farming, hunting, art and music.

      While the blues song may be different from the Indian Raga which is different than Greensleaves style folk song, they are all music. The African housewife may have looked for different herbs than than the European one, but both required an ability to categorize plants by color, shape texture, and size and remember their different properties. The Japanese paper house with simple decorations may look different from the Zulu’s mud house decorated with complex, colorful patterns but both require basic building and artistic skills, such as the ability to recognize and produce patterns.

      The reason dogs are different from each other is a) an unusually flexible piece of gene (wolves don’t have it b) human beings non-random exploitation of this gene c) task reinforcement. The job of the ratting terriers, like Jack Russell’s is very different from that of the English Sheepdog which is different still than that of the coursing hounds, like Greyhounds.

      None of this applies to humans, and the persistant need to assume large differences is entirely political.

  • Diomedes

    What the legislators seem to be ignoring is that while the teaching of creationism will no doubt appeal to dumber, less thoughtful students, it could drive almost everyone else away. For example, if the creator really created the universe in 6 days, why did it leave evidence behind that the process took billions of years (and none that it took 6 days)? Similarly, if life was created in its present form, why is there evidence that it evolved (and none that it was created)? Finally, if the creator was truly intelligent, why did it use a common, suboptimal design, independent of whether an animal lives in water or land, or walks on all fours instead of two?

    And why did an omnipotent being need to REST on the 7th day?

    The best indicator of evolution, in my opinion, is the fact that we only utilize 3% of our DNA to actually code for anything. The remainder, a full 97% is unused. (These are called introns) They are genetic hold-overs for phenotypical characteristics that were used in our ancient past but are now dormant. You can see this periodically manifest itself when people are born with ‘tails’ due to an accidental triggering of a particular portion of our full DNA.

    The point is, if you are an intelligent designer, you are not going to create a code structure where 97% of it is not used. That is akin to creating a circuit board where 97% of the chips don’t do anything. Try passing that off and see how fast that engineer gets fired.

    The one thing I will say (and I am not a Christian by the way); beliefs CAN coexist with science if one simply recognizes that holy books like the Bible or Koran are allegorical and metaphor. They are a compendium of stories to convey a particular message. It’s the message of the story that carries meaning; not the story itself.

    • Sinnombre

      We agree that if a creator exists, the evidence appears to suggests that it was dumb, not intelligent. I suppose this should please the creationist/intelligent design crowd.

  • Primrose

    To Carney, Moderate, and all else who are offended by “liberal egalitarianism”, a few more thoughts.

    In general, all these people who seem to think IQ is so important need to understand that there is a wide variety of traits people can have to be successful in life, an ability to succeed on a certain kind of test, is only one.

    Imagination is far more important to discovery than intelligence. As bright as Einstein was, it was his ability to imagine himself riding a beam of light that led to the theory of relativity.

    Musical genius, indeed any artistic genius, is not really attached to IQ at all. It is perfectly possible to have a very high IQ and be completely tone deaf and estranged from rhythm (trust me on this).

    Nor does IQ prevent you from having learning disabilities. Indeed, there plenty of people with great talents in one department who are inept in another, this is particularly true of males whose brains are (like their bodies) much more fragile than females.

    And we haven’t even dealt with emotional/social IQ. I have a brother who for family pride’s sake I will say is of average intelligence—except when it comes to social matters. In this he is an extreme high achiever and can master social situations easily. I think his abilities are much more useful for success across time, place and culture than my academic skills (thus more influenced by genes). Yet nobody has suggested that there are “groups” who are genetically better at social situations than others.

    Additionally, your analysis rests on the assumption that human populations have been isolated from each other. They haven’t. Africa, Asia and Europe have been in constant contact with each other. There was the Babylonian Empire, Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Spice trade, The Polynesian voyages of colonization etc. Not every culture was in contact with every other at the same time, always, there were never more than a few degrees of separation, so there was always mixing—and the genes show it. We only differ by hair, skin and occasionally eyes and nose, even genes for Malaria are scattered across continents, and not attached to the above genes.

    We could perhaps compare those who lived in the Americas to everyone else since there was supposedly a 10,000 year separation but since groups in the Americas built complex societies, many of which required complex math, I think we can assume IQ was not a differentiating factor.

    Finally, the most important scientific truth about humanity is that the differences between individuals are greater than the similarities among groups, and thus social policy should be based on that understanding. You call it liberal egalitarianism. I call it an efficient utilization of human capital.

    • Moderate

      @Primrose

      I appreciate your thoughtful response, but you’ve missed my point (italicized below). I’ll try again for clarification.

      Regarding the limits of intelligence: I’m one of the first to confess that IQ isn’t all, or even most of what determines a person’s potential. Motivation (“fire in the belly,” my dad calls it) is, in my opinion, at least twice as important. A high IQ and a lack of ambition will get someone nowhere fast.

      Analogously, I’d much rather see a doctor who is empathetic, caring, sensitive, and who earned “B”s in medical school than his “A” student colleague who doesn’t have the interpersonal skills to understand what his patient is (or isn’t) saying.

      So in that sense, I agree with everything you’ve written. Other traits matter a great deal in life. However, it is also true that people have different capabilities as a result of different IQs. Someone with an IQ of 100 is never going to be a professional mathematician. Ability varies, and a large portion of that variability is genetically inherited.

      Liberals are prone to ignore this blindingly obvious truth. My original post, and (I think) Carney’s as well, was intended to point out this hypocrisy: of liberals ridiculing creationists while ignoring the scientific beam in their own eyes.

      Both sides have truths that they’d rather not address because they lead to uncomfortable ground. Religious conservatives fear that acknowledging evolution will lead to godlessness. Secular liberals fear that acknowledging the heritability of intelligence will lead to eugenics.

      I don’t believe that we need to fear either outcome as likely. I’m a church-attending evolutionist, and I acknowledge the variability of human ability while being repulsed by the thought of genetic engineering being used to modify that ability. Apart from the church-attending part, the majority of scientists are in accordance with these positions.

      • zephae

        “Secular liberals fear that acknowledging the heritability of intelligence will lead to eugenics.”

        I don’t remember ever seeing this particular argument being made, but I have seen a similar one advanced before: a fear that acknowledging the heritability of intelligence will lead to apathy, excuse-making, and low expectations. But both stances strike me as being flawed because they treat “intelligence” as having a single definition, when, as Primrose noted, there are many different kinds of intelligence. Some people are very good at planning many steps ahead but fail at situational awareness and making changes on the fly. Others have incredible business acumen but have great difficulty understanding and applying broad conceptual knowledge.

        If there’s one area where I think hypocrisy might exist, it would be in the inability to treat the study of race in genetics with seriousness and respect. Too often, this kind of work becomes conflated with racism and political correctness and attempts to prevent honest inquiry into the subject.

  • TerryF98

    “Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology”

    Seems spot on judging by how people react, seems spot on seeing how the GOP and Dem’s govern, seems correct when comparing the way recent GOP and Democrat Presidents have behaved.

  • pnumi2

    “Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.”

    Ashley Montagu

    • chephren

      Ashley Montagu misstates what science is. Calling science “proof without certainty” is not quite correct.

      What scientists do is to prove things based on many unbiased observations, in a way that can be examined and repeated by other scientists. The end result of the scientific method is a high degree of certainty – though not complete certainty. The possibility always exists that new questions, new hypotheses, new knowledge and refined methods of measurement and analysis will emerge – and new proofs will emerge. These, in turn, create new certainties about the universe, wider frontiers of knowledge – and more questions and hypotheses for scientist to investigate.

      Old ideas, once considered revolutionary and controversial, become established certainties. An example is the fact that the earth revolves around the sun. This is the idea that established the scientific method in Western civilization. Galileo’s confirmation of Copernicus’s hypothesis so challenged the cosmology preached by the Catholic Church, that the latter forced Galileo to recant under threat of torture.

      Now the relationship of the earth and sun is proved and certain. The scientific method established this.

  • pnumi2

    “Moreover, Yellow people skulls are the most gracile in the human family. It is believed that the Yellow people skull type is a very recent evolutionary development. “The Yellow people skull has proceeded further than in any other people. The Yellow people skull, whether Chinese or Japanese, has been rather more neotenized than the Caucasoid or European.” “Yellow people races are explained in terms of being the most extreme pedomorphic humans.” “The intuition that advanced human development was pedomorphic rather than recapitulationary and accelerated was disturbing to many Eurocentric nineteenth century anthropologists.” “If juvenilization was the characteristic for advanced status, then it was clear that the Yellow people races were more deeply fetalized in most respects and thus capable of the greatest development.” “[R]elatively large-headed [is the] yellow people”.

    “An interesting hypothesis put forward by paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould many years ago was that the package of the Yellow people anatomical changes could be explained by the phenomenon of neoteny, whereby an infantile or childlike body form is preserved in adult life. Neoteny in hominids is still one of the simplest explanations of how we developed a disproportionately large brain so rapidly over the past few million years. The relatively large brain and the forward rotation of the skull on the spinal column, and body hair loss, both characteristic of humans, are found in foetal chimps. Gould suggested a mild intensification of neoteny in Yellow peoples, in whom it has been given the name pedomorphy. Such a mechanism is likely to involve only a few controller genes and could therefore happen over a relatively short evolutionary period. It would also explain how the counterintuitive retrousse [turned up at the end] nose and relative loss of facial hair got into the package.”
    “[D]ecrease unnecessary muscle bulk, less tooth mass, thinner bones and smaller physical size; …this follows the selective adaptive model of Yellow people evolution.” In Ashley Montagu’s list of “[n]eotenous structural traits in which Yellow peoples… differ from Caucasoids”, Montagu lists “Larger brain, larger braincase, broader skull, broader face, flat roof of the nose, inner eye fold, more protuberant eyes, lack of brow ridges, greater delicacy of bones, shallow mandibular fossa, small mastoid processes, stocky build, persistence of thymus gland into adult life, persistence of juvenile form of zygomatic muscle, persistence of juvenile form of superior lip muscle, later eruption of full dentition (except second and third molars), less hairy, fewer sweat glands, fewer hairs per square centimeter [and] long torso”. “Yellow people subjects were found to have approximately 20% higher bone density at the angle of mandible than Caucasoid subjects.”

    Plus 2 trillion in foreign reserve currency, extremely positive balance of payments and the fastest growing economy. And their very own space station.

    Two Minutes Hate will follow at 9pm

    Please check your guns and knifes at the door.

  • Krom

    Anybody who believes that the world was created in six days or that evolution doesn’t occur is not only an idiot, but they also don’t really understand the Bible. Interpreting the Bible literally is a foolish thing to do; anybody who reads Genesis and doesn’t detect some hint of the necessity of reading between the lines is… well, as stated previously, a damn fool.

    I doubt it’s ever been an issue for a science teacher to note that, in the context of the wonder of the universe, that it might seem implausible for it to occur by chance. The only thing that’s ever been controversial is when they try to take it far beyond that point and directly contradict accepted science.

    • Bebe99

      To miss such glaring contraditions from chapter-to-chapter, book-to-book, it is my bet the majority simply haven’t read the book in any serious manner. For sure many can’t recite the 10 simple commandments that they believe form the basis of our laws. The Bible is not their true object of devotion, it is merely the symbol for obedience to authority and tradition.

  • balconesfault

    Liberals are prone to ignore this blindingly obvious truth. My original post, and (I think) Carney’s as well, was intended to point out this hypocrisy: of liberals ridiculing creationists while ignoring the scientific beam in their own eyes.

    Liberals are not blind to this truth. What liberals steadfastly oppose is the idea that you can use some external marker (say, skin color) as a methodology for segrating those who are likely to have the brainpower to be a top mathematician versus those who won’t.

    • Moderate

      balconesfault:

      Liberals are not blind to this truth.

      I appreciate your advocacy, but this simply isn’t the case for a large number of liberals, especially those in the field of education (administrators, of course, not teachers).

      Here’s a representative sample:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/magazine/21wwln-Q4-t.html

      Deborah Solomon: Europeans have historically defined themselves through inherited traits and titles, but isn’t America a country where we are supposed to define ourselves through acts of will?

      Charles Murray: I wonder if there is a single, solitary, real-live public-school teacher who agrees with the proposition that it’s all a matter of will. To me, the fact that ability varies — and varies in ways that are impossible to change — is a fact that we learn in first grade.

      Deborah Solomon: I believe that given the opportunity, most people could do most anything.

      Charles Murray: You’re out of touch with reality in that regard. You have not hung around with kids who are well in the lower half of the ability distribution.

  • pnumi2

    Krom

    I agree completely (tho, I might not have used the word idiot.)

    A couple of months ago, I said that even a fundamentalist had to accept the fact that Creation didn’t take 6 days.

    A day, as you know, is the time it takes for the Earth to make a complete rotation on its axis.
    If the earth wasn’t formed until the third day, who can say how long day 1 and day 2 were? And on the 3rd day grass, herb yielding seed and fruit trees were created. But the sun necessary for their growth was not created until the 4th day. Hmm.

    Clearly there’sa subliminal message here.

    “Don’t take me too literally.’

    okay

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Moderate, you did not address Balcone, you are stating that…surprise, surprise, people have different abilities…

    We all know this, the point is that there are no inherited genetic markers in any one race that means that most members of that race will be superior to members of another race.

    Again, the difference within groups themselves far outweigh differences between races. Yo Yo Ma can play Mozart brilliantly. My family comes from Bavaria yet I can’t play anything. Balcone made this point: What liberals steadfastly oppose is the idea that you can use some external marker (say, skin color) as a methodology for segrating those who are likely to have the brainpower to be a top mathematician versus those who won’t.

    Address this please.

    • Moderate

      @Frumplestiltskin

      At no point have I mentioned race or any other group. I’m not playing games; that’s just not the point I was trying to address.

      We all know this

      I wish we did! A lot of education dollars are wasted under the false assumption that all students are basically equal in ability (if given the same chances).

      Since you’ve raised the subject of race, I think that discriminating based on race/sex/nationality/etc. is immoral, and people who do so are exercising horrible judgment.

      • Primrose

        I’m replying to this specifically, because it doesn’t fit in the overall theme.

        Actually schools spend a lot money helping children with problems do better, better not equal. It is money well spent. A developmental delay does not actually mean there is an overall intelligence capability problem.

        My son had a major speech delay, at the age of two he had less than 50 words and no sentences. He stared early intervention and great, great gains were made. Huge gains. However, he still had issues on articulation and grammar when he entered kindergarten. There was great fear it would affect his ability to learn to read so they spend school money (before was state money) to help him and he is nearly done. Other than that he is very capable.

        Had there not been that massive intervention, a bright, capable person would have had to live a life of poor school achievement and inarticulateness. That would inevitably have led to social problems,addictions etc. And all that would have been decided before the age of 6 (well really 2).

        As a third-grader, there’s no guarantee life won’t go wrong, but at least he still has chance. That’s what all the funding does, prevent waste.

  • Bagok

    When a “science” teacher begins lecturing his students on problems with evolution I hope, I really, really hope one of his pupils suggests a class project to validate intelligent design. As a class come up with hypothesize and ideas for experiments. I think it would demonstrate nicely why ID is not science.

    Here’s mine: If a new species could appear suddenly, fully developed with no evolutionary ancestors, anywhere, at any time, then it could appear in our classroom broom closet. Let’s check the broom closet every day to see if a new species has emerged.

  • pnumi2

    Frumplestiltskin,

    It was interesting to read what you just said about the differences or lack thereof between the races.

    Especially in light of what I haphazardly posted by Steven Jay Gould and Ashley Montagu.

    ‘The Mongoloid Race has a larger brain and brain case and its neoteny has been identified.’

    I have no dog in this argument. I’ll just sit back and watch the facts unfold. Hopefully before full senility sets in.

  • Rabiner

    Moderate:

    “Here’s one study of many that genetics play more than “some role” in classroom performance: at least 50%.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12339798

    Every study I’ve read has concluded that genetics account for between 25%-75% of classroom performance, and that the correlation between IQ and performance only becomes stronger the older a person is.”

    Taking the average when the variance is between 25% and 75% is absurd. Please try again.

  • Primrose

    Moderate,

    I will take issue with the concept that liberals don’t agree that there is variability between people. Two people do not make a consensus. Having gone through public school in the 70’s and mid- eighties I never was under the impression that schools thought there was no difference in ability, nor do they now (I have school-age children).

    What liberals object to is (as Balcone’s pointed out) the idea we should make broad assumptions about IQ based on a group identity. You may not have made that point but Carney did (and often pushes the idea that IQ is all that matters).

    While a 100 IQ might not mean you are a math genius, the B student future doctor with other skills still needs the same prep as the A one without. An overemphasis on IQ as a sorting tool would take that away. Small differences in talent will be magnified hugely by differences in training or practice, see Malcolm Gladwell’s book on this.

    Liberals also tend to believe that external metrics can be affected by other factors, i.e. You can do poorly in school if for example, you don’t eat breakfast, your expectations in/for life are low, your don’t have access to the same resources/training, those testing and training you feel you shouldn’t be there because of your group identity etc. etc. Many of these factors have been shown in scientific studies, as I’m sure you are aware.

    As for me, yes, IQ can be inherited, but it is by no means the only way to achieve it. Changes in IQ up or down happen frequently across generations, even within them. It would be better to say that genes (inherited or mutated) influence IQ, the way they influence schizophrenia. Environment can cause those genes stronger or lesser expression, as they do schizophrenia, or any number of traits.

    No the kid with down’s syndrome is never going to MIT, but kid with average intelligence do not need to live their life flipping burgers either. The B doctor can do better than the A doctor. A bad start in life shouldn’t equate to a bad life.

    That’s what liberals really believe.

  • TJ Parker

    What idiots.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    “I wish we did! A lot of education dollars are wasted under the false assumption that all students are basically equal in ability (if given the same chances).”

    This obsession with IQ is annoying. I know people who have an IQ of 100 who can take apart and put back together a car blindfolded. I know geniuses that can barely find the gas cap. I have known 3rd world farmers that know more about animal husbandry than some Vets. Put Carney on a desert island and in a week he would be dead, put some illiterate 3rd world farmer on one and in a week he will have tamed half the island and built a functional shelter.

  • chephren

    “Every theory is… just that, it’s a theory. And many scientific theories that we’ve heard from, that people claim, every scientist believes a certain theory, that’s certainly not true.”

    Why are so many Americans so stupid?

    And who the h*ll is this legislator to characterize a theory (in this case, the theory of evolution) as some kind of provisional, unsupported, arbitrary notion? That’s not what a theory is. That’s not how the scientific method works.

    A theory is an idea, process or phenomenon that has already proceeded well beyond a speculative thought, an informed guess, or a provisional idea based on uncorroborated observations (that would be a hypothesis).

    A scientific theory is a hypothesis that has been subjected to repeated tests through objective investigation and unbiased observation. A theory is something that has been shown to be repeatable through repetition by different scientists.

    It’s pointless and ignorant to dismiss evolution as “just a theory”. Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. Relativity, now considered to be proven by observation, is a theory. Do Creationists challenge these theories as somehow invalid? If so, on what objective basis do they do so? Religious faith doesn’t cut it. Disputing any scientific theory – which is perfectly valid in the terms of the scientific method – can only be done based on evidence and objective corroboration.

    One hundred and fifty years after Darwin’s travels to the Galapagos, there is a huge body of objective data to support the theory of evolution. Natural selection has been observed and confirmed in thousands of studies across innumerable species. Paleontologists and evolutionary biologists have refined and advanced evolutionary theory – spurred by the vast knowledge of genetics that has emerged in the past 50 years since the discovery of DNA.

    To reject this body of scientific knowledge based on literal interpretation of scripture is idiocy.

    Do the fundamentalists believe the sun revolves around the earth? The Bible says it does. The Bible is in error on this point, and many, many others. How do creationists account for this?

    I’ve always wanted to ask a creationist about the story of Moses and the Ark.

    When Moses collected mating pairs of all the world’s animals on the Ark in order to repopulate the world after the Flood, did he sail his boat to all the undiscovered countries of the world and travel these vast wildernesses to find and save every species? He must have travelled to Antarctica to collected penguins and ascended the Amazon to collect sloths, pumas and all the other land animals of South America. Did he roam Africa for zebra, lions, wildebeests and monkeys? In literal, biblical terms, he must have – because everything was created in the first 7 days of creation, and every animal that didn’t survive the Flood would have been wiped out. The bible says so.

    Moses and his boat-builders and animal-collectors must have been wildly busy, intrepid and efficient people.

    What about the millions of species of ants, termites, aphids, bees, beetles – all the insects without number? Did Moses collect, then redistribute, every insect species, even the unknown ones? Because if he didn’t, the world would have had no non-flying insects after the Flood – and humans would have had little in the way of soil to grow food on.

    • pnumi2

      Except for one tiny error, I’d give you 100% on your extremely thoughtful post.

      Heck, I’ll give you 100% anyway.

    • pnumi2

      Why are so many Americans so stupid?

      Because their parents were, and their parents’s parents, all the way back to Noah and Eve.

  • Rabiner

    chephren:

    The problem is these people use language void of context to support their positions. A theory in laymen terms is basically a feeling, a hunch or an idea. A theory in scientific terms is what you describe, something far different from the laymen concept. They conflate the two specifically to discredit science which is misleading and appalling.

    This is very similar to the ‘climategate’ emails from a year ago where they used laymen terminology to attack scientific language. The public is easily manipulated (well the uneducated and those with an axe to grind) into believing that something sinister was going on when nothing was.