The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Root of all Evil

We've just been watching this on channel 4. Much shouting at the TV was involved. Some scary, scary stuff was shown. Aggie has also blogged his thoughts on it here.

As some of you may know, I have been arguing on a number of blogs over the teaching of Intelligent Design in (US) Science Class - most noticiably on Simons Blog, here, here and here, but also on a few others.

Now I am an atheist. Not a wishy washy agnostic, or a spiritulaist, or a lapsed believer, but a true can not understand what all this is about, when you're dead you're worm-food, before you were born you were nothing, aetheist, and have been since a very young agae. Atheism is not my "belief", it is just a fact of life, like volcanoes being caused by a build up of magma, or earthquakes due to plate tectonics. I am willing to look at evidence to the contrary - science is always being proved wrong. When I was young the idea that a meteor could have wiped out the dinosaurs (65 million years ago!), was considered ridiculous & I was taught it was just silly. I read the laymans evidence & the scientists opinions as they changed, and now agree that seems perfectly likely. I haven't yet been shown any evidence that can be replicated for Gods existance. I am happy to be proved wrong.

The US fundementalists (I hate that word) are arguing that Intelligent Design/Creationism (thats the one that says the world is 5000 or so years old & was created, as is, by God, in 6 days), should be taught in their schools science class as an alternative theory to evolution - as both are "just theories".

Apart from the fact that it shows a woeful incomprehension of the scientific term "theory", it sounds perfectly reasonable, which is why it is suceeding so well. I am a tolerant person & believe everyone has the right to be heard, as long as it doesn't hurt others, so I think they have a right to teach ID in US schools if they want. However, I believe it should be taught in Religious Studies, as one of many religious theories. Evolution should be taught in science as a scientific theory, with it's supporting & detracting evidence, research methods and empirical basis.

Can anyone out there in blog-land tell me why this is not acceptable?

UPDATE: OK, It's nice that there are people out there who agree with me, but this was a real question. I know I have some devout Christian readers. I definitely have at least one creationist reader. Lets have some of your input:-)


  • At Monday, January 09, 2006 9:07:00 pm, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said…

    Mrs. A said: "I think they have a right to teach ID in US schools if they want. However, I believe it should be taught in Religious Studies, as one of many religious theories. Evolution should be taught in science as a scientific theory, with it's supporting & detracting evidence, research methods and empirical basis." Because of our still tenuous "separation of church and state" we aren't supposed to teach religion in our public schools. Religion can be taught, for the purpose of promoting a religious ideology, in religious schools only. "Religions" can be taught from a historical, sociological or philosophical view in classes of those sorts in public schools, you know study the thing, but don't promote it. The problem with ID is that they want to teach it in science class (it's not a scientifically proven fact) and they want to teach it to promote a belief in God, i.e. promoting a belief in a religious ideology. That's a no-no. As for me, I don't want it being taught to my kids in public school, they already get enough religion from their teachers spouting off constantly about their personal beliefs. (Also a no-no.) :-)

  • At Monday, January 09, 2006 9:21:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    How does a country that doesn't teach religion in it'spublic schools, have so many religious fanatics & bigots?

    It can still be taught as a historical/sociological view of some Christians, in Comparitive Religion Class or whatever it's called. Not in science. It has no scientific basis.

  • At Monday, January 09, 2006 9:56:00 pm, Blogger spindleshanks said…

    maybe it has all those religious bigots because it doesn't teach religion - in other words, religion isn't something that can be discussed intelligently and comparatively as a school of philosophical or faith-based understanding - as it is in my son's c of e school, which spends equal time on all world faiths. instead it is regarded as so sacrosanct that it is left to families who have the same ignorance that has passed down the generations because they have never been taught to think about it like sentient beings. and it is terrifying beyond measure that they teach ID as a science subject. but then america is just terrifying in general - they elected bush twice for god's sake!

  • At Monday, January 09, 2006 10:30:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Oh, now that's something to think on. The seperation of Church & State is what causes the growth of the Church over the state.

    Rather like the right to bear arms to keep the peace is what causes the violent society?

    Any chance of the constitution being changed?

  • At Monday, January 09, 2006 10:31:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Hmmm, but Canada has exactly the same constitutional rights & doesn't seem to have the same problems. Why?

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 5:15:00 am, Blogger SullenBunny said…

    it is not acceptable to fundies because religion is not taught in public schools. They have to teach intelligent design there to recruit more fundies to their way of thinking.

    I got in trouble in 10th grade (age 15/16) once for arguing with a fundie girl about evolution. She got really personal and insutling.I gave her the what for and got in troble witht he teach for being rude. Oh well. That's how it is when you grow up in the scary Bible belt.

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 12:20:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    The thing about teaching comparative religions is that it tends to turn people off the idea of God. After all if all religions are viewed as equally valid... doesn't that inevitably make then all equally in-valid?

    How can you possibly choose a single religion on that basis? Isn't more likely that a well religiously educated population will have a pick 'n mix attitude.. which is basically what we have over here.

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:07:00 pm, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said…

    Spindleshanks said: "but then america is just terrifying in general - they elected bush twice for god's sake!"
    Ah, careful there, we're a might bit touchy on that subject. First, "we the people" did not elect Bush the first time. Gore had the popular vote and the Supreme Court appointed Bush to the Presidency because of the scandal in Florida and the electoral votes. Most of us hate that whole electoral college thing and wish they would do away with it. Second, easily half the country did not elect him the second time and we're all very suspect about the vote and voter fraud from all the electronic voting machines without a paper record, which just happen to be made by companies controlled by powerful Republicans. Half this country thinks the second election was rigged. We're not happy about what is being done to our country or our reputation. Most of us are working very hard to fix the problems in the polling places so we don't get another moron in office and we have even more people politically active because of these last two elections. VV, one very pissed liberal. :-)

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:42:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    CK - Yeah, but the thing about the USA is that it welcomes all people of any creed, color (sic), or religion. Therefore all religious concepts should be given the same credibility at public schools. If ID were to be taught as science, so should re-incarnation, along with Scientology's fantastic idea that we were all seeded by Xenu or Hinduism's belief that we are on a repeat cycle and have done exactly the same things before & will do them again.

    I just think that due to the lack of credible/empiric scientific research on these subjects they belong in a religous Education class. I think they should be teaching comparitive religion in public (and private) schools. It's not something that can be ignored - even France doesn't try to pretend there is no religion in the world & they are fanatical about the seperation of Church & State.

    BTW - the only seperation defined within the US constitution is in the first ammendment, saying that people may worship who, when & where they like & congregate to do so, without fear of state intervention. Some States have aded their own laws in addition to that, but there is certainly no federal law prohibiting religious studies classes.

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 4:43:00 pm, Anonymous smiffykins said…

    As a christian i believe in a combination of the 2 theories. the bible is a bunch of illustrated truth. so u can easily have the 2 theories working in hormany and concordance. all theories should be taught so kids can chose what they believe for themselves. id fits logically in re and evolution in science. children need to choose for themselves therefore they need many opinions to work with till they are able to chose their own.

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 6:04:00 pm, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said…

    I was educated in the state-run school system, and never had a religion class — at least, not as far as I can remember. My parents took me to church and Sunday school. But my classmates were completely ignorant of God / religion. Just utterly clueless.

    To some extent, I think religious instruction is the responsibility of parents, not the school system. And yet, it's bad to be ignorant of it, if you want to make sense of the world that we live in (where the majority of the world's population is religious).

    You mention that you cannot understand what religion is all about. It's alien to you. Surely that's a bad thing. No that you don't believe — that's OK and you obviously live a fulfilling life without faith — but that religion is completely alien and incomprehensible to you. It's the same thing I saw in the kids I went to school with.

    And I think the state should recognize that as a significant area of ignorance: as a social problem that needs to be fixed, one way or another. Your way, having religion classes, would be an improvement on what I grew up with.

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 6:58:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Hah, the atheists think that comparitive religion classes will make more atheists. The Christians think that having comparitive religion classes will make more Christians. It's a win-win situation!

    I hope Mr Bush is reading:-)

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:20:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Personally I look forward to a time (probably long after I'm dead unfortunately) when religion will be completely alien and incomprehensible to most people. At least I can dream.....

    But I do agree with what Mrs A said. I believe that teaching Comparative Religions will reduce faith, rather than increase it - especially if taught in a questioning manner (as it should be).

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:40:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Q - I just want to clarify, it isn't that I have no idea what religion is all about. I went to a C of E school, which occasionally gave a brief nod of the head to Judaism (Possibly just for me - My family are nominally Jewish, possibly because they were legally supposed to teach other religions!).

    Over the years I've researched a number of religions, usually when I've become friends with someone with a particularly strong faith, so have a passing knowldge of Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Quaker & Muslim faiths, and a literary interest in Hindu & Buddist faiths. I'm currently looking up some stuff on Scientology just out of interest.

    What I don't understand, and can not comprehend, is how perfectly sane, sensible, nice, well educated people can be very religious. Spiritual, OK, if you need something, but organised religions ask for too many "leaps of faith". If you accept one thing is true "just because you believe it to be true", how do you then not accept all of it? Which bits do you accept, and which don't you? Why? How? At some point you must either stretch your belief to breaking point or leave the real world behind and retreat into (to me) a complete fantasy.

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:21:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Mrs A....

    You took many words right out of my mouth......

    I find the whole idea of religion rather... bemusing...

  • At Tuesday, January 10, 2006 10:30:00 pm, Blogger Dave said…

    Just you wait until Simon comments on this post :-)

  • At Wednesday, January 11, 2006 2:32:00 pm, Blogger Mary P. said…

    This is a discussion I find utterly pointless. And thus boring. Just as atheism is a fact of life for you, God is a fact of life for theists. Or a belief, in both cases. I've never yet seen anyone learn much of anything from these discussions, and I certainly haven't ever seen anyone change sides (though I've heard it happens, Simon).

    Theists see reality one way, atheists another. Point is, no one will know the facts of the matter until we leave this planet, so why waste air ranting on about it, and getting annoyed with each other for not "seeing sense"?

  • At Wednesday, January 11, 2006 3:44:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Mary P said: This is a discussion I find utterly pointless.

    I'm not sure that the issue cannot be resolved. After all, as you have pointed out, people HAVE changed sides/their minds about it. Therefore, at least for them, the issue is very much debatable.

    Belief in God both bemuses and intrigues me. Personally I find such discussions frustrating but am still hopeful that someone can explain things in a way I can understand. The search continues.

  • At Wednesday, January 11, 2006 4:12:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Mary - which discussion do you find pointless? The one about whether ID should be taught in school science classes? Surely not. To me this is a vitally important discussion, as is anything that impacts on the public school curriculum. It is how we will shape how future, and teaching children that belief=science is fundementally wrong IMO.

    It is not suposed to be a discussion on belif's. I have no desire to "covert" anyone. Why should I? People can believe anything they like. I just wanted to clarify my stance to Q - it was not supposed to be pro/anti theist/atheist.

  • At Wednesday, January 11, 2006 8:09:00 pm, Blogger Mary P. said…

    You're quite right. You were talking about school curricula that exists in one or two of the united states. I was lumping it in with all the other atheist-theist wranglings I've been stumbling upon in the ether, which I find very wearying. No one is convinced of anything, just a lot of pontificating to no purpose.

    (I wasn't responding to what you said to Q, BTW, because I hadn't read any of the other comments.)

    However, I was evidently reacting to what is a side-issue. Significant to the post, but a side-issue. My apologies.

  • At Wednesday, January 11, 2006 8:30:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Mary - apology accepted. I agree there is no point arguing over individuals faiths. The argument basically boils down to "I'm right because I think I'm right, and you're wrong because I think you're wrong" which is just stupid. But I do like to delve into the side issues that faith can bring up when it affects our society/culture - which is where my real area of interest lies.

  • At Wednesday, January 11, 2006 9:45:00 pm, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said…

    Mrs. Aginoth:
    If you accept one thing is true "just because you believe it to be true", how do you then not accept all of it? Which bits do you accept, and which don't you? Why? How? At some point you must either stretch your belief to breaking point or leave the real world behind and retreat into (to me) a complete fantasy.

    This is totally unfair and inaccurate — it's no better than a parody of Christian faith.

    There is a text in Isaiah that begins, "Come, let us reason together, says the Lord". I am happy to take God up on that invitation. I listen to my conscience. I study the biblical texts. I read history and theology and, yes, science. I think about my world. I think about my faith. I defend what seems right and true to me; and I try to live in a way that I believe God would approve of. At no time have I consented to chuck my brain out the window as a necessary precondition of following Christ.

    This is what troubles me about your atheism. You think you have rejected the Christian faith, but you haven't. You have rejected only a parody of it. Perhaps if you could open up your mind and consider what the Christian faith really consists of, you might be less inclined to reflexively dismiss it (and even mock it, as you did in your comment).

    btw, I never said classes on religion would result in Christians. It would likely result in non-Christians who are less ignorant of religion. And that would be a step in the right direction, from my perspective.

  • At Thursday, January 12, 2006 7:16:00 am, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Q - it wasn't supposed to be an attack on Christianity or other faiths. It was an explanation of my personal inability to understand religion.

    I know the vast majority of religious people are, like you, open-minded, free thinking, moral citizens. However, the bit I "don't get" about religion is the belief that religious texts are divine truth.

    As I said to Mary P, it's not something I feel is worth debating, because we comes from a fundementally different world view. That paragraph in the post was just there to explain my personal view of the world.

    BTW, I haven't rejected the Christian faith. I have rejected faith. I am a "true" atheist in that I do not believe in any kind of divine being, life after death, soul, spirit or objective meaning to life. Therefore it really wouldn't matter how many times I read the bible (and, yes, I have read it), attended church, or listened to sermons, I could not become a Christian.

  • At Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:01:00 pm, Blogger spindleshanks said…

    vancouver voyeur - i stand (well, sit) corrected. you are quite right - bush was elected via fraud and minority votes and i sympathise with the majority of sane americans who have to live with such an inequitable system (not to mention the likelihood of serious vote rigging). so it's not most americans who are scary but as a country it is pretty damn terrifying. the fact that your constitution doesn't protect you against the bushes of the world, that money equates with power and political influence and that the US is the world's self-appointed moral governor - all that worries me just a little. oh and all the ravening fundamentalists and the influence they wield over bush and his cronies. not good. but - i apologise again - not representative of the decent majority.


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