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July 2017
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Aerden [userpic]
Sunday Stuff

Family: Today was my Dad's 70th birthday. We celebrated by having lunch at Steak & Ale and then having a Swedish tea-ring at my Aunt Frances' house. It's one of my Dad's favorite desserts. Aunt Frances doesn't like to make it very often because it requires a lot of work--it's essentially making a sweetbread. She got up at 5 o'clock this morning to start it and have it ready by the time we got there.

Anyway, it was delicious!

Food: new cool food item of the day: Parched corn! Once a snack of the American pioneers, now it is sold in cans like honey-roasted peanuts. Rather tasty!

Politics: A mild rant against creationism. Might be offensive to some, so read at your own risk.

On C-SPAN, I watched a lecture by author Ann Coulter . I didn't catch all of her lecture; primarily the very and and the question and answer session afterward. I like listening to Coulter. She's very entertaining, even if she is a bit over the top for my taste.

I don't agree with her stand on the theory of evolution, however. I get the impression that Coulter is a lot more in favor of teaching creationism in science classes than I am. I am totally against it. I do not regard the Judeo-Christian creation myth as fact, and I do not want it taught to my children (should I ever have any) presented with as much validity as the theory of evolution.

Bottom line--School is school, and church is church. Evolution should be taught in school; creation should be taught in church, in my opinion. I hold a lot of conservative beliefs, and I consider myself to be religious and Christian (Catholic)--but I do not want religion taught to children as if it is fact.

Religion is a thing of the heart. Religion has to be learned by living it and longing for it; it can't be taught as fact; that's not the way religion is best understood. It has to be felt, instead.

People who want creation to be taught in school as a valid explanation of cosmology scare me. I have not seen one shred of evidence to suggest that God woke up one day and said, "I think I'll create the universe over the next few days." I have seen people jump through hoops trying to reconcile creation with known facts about the age of the Earth and of the universe. "A day in God's reckoning could be billions of years," they've told me.

No. The people who lived when the first books of the Bible were written did not conceive of billion-year days. They understood a day to be 24 hours long, perhaps slightly less. One revolution of the Earth on its axis. Any so-called theory that requires that big of a hoop to be jumped through does not hold any water with me, and I don't want it being taught to my children as if it has the same rigor as evolution--which can be directly observed in bacteria, peas, and Drosophila, among other things.

I don't mind creation being taught in a religious survey class, but please leave it out of science class. Please. It's about as provable as spontaneous generation.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Comments

You are right: this evolution v. creationism battle is one that needs to go away. I think people like Ann Coulter are a problem because they don't let it go away.

There's no doubt in my mind that there's a Creator. But the notion that Adam and Eve walked on the earth 6,000 years ago? Please. What always intrigues me is that folks who think this Creator is so powerful he can save them from Hell also seem to think wasn't clever enough to figure out how to construct the world and everything in it through the basic Darwinian scheme.

I'm not offended at mentioning even hard-line Creationism in a science class in school, though I think if you are going to do it, it has to be done with a little less sneering than it was in my eighth grade science class or the point of doing it is lost. And maybe at least mentioning it is a good thing; evolution is a theory: the notion of acknowledging other possible views isn't totally offensive. Kids get so programmed in schools anyway, reminding them it's a bigger world out there seems OK. Taking a half a class to talk about carbon dating and pointing out that some scientists have procedures that date certain fossils to be much more modern than most scientists think maybe isn't all bad. Maybe it's an opportunity to explain briefly why scientists sometimes differ and what makes evolution sound as science; a moment for critical thinking skills. But I don't see how you can teach anything like that as much more than a cultural curiosity -- almost like you are making students aware of different philosophies out there -- or what I do with the law sometimes, which is teaching what it is by critiquing it or other views. And with all there is to teach, you can't drag it on. I guess if you were really in a district where the voting population felt very strongly on this, some concessions would have to be made (I'd feel OK on making them, because I'd just tell my kids its not what our Church teaches, etc., but I understand why others choose not to live in those districts). But no: deep down, as much as I don't want to offend people I think are good people, I just can't take hard-line Creationism seriously, and don't see much reason to fool with it.

What's more interesting to me is what you do with what I do actually believe, which is that God put this scheme together, sort of wound it up, and then let it go, whether by a Big Bang or one of the other theories floated, but it was in action what Darwin calls evolution. I guess they are calling this Intelligent Design these days, though I'm behind on all the vocabulary. I don't mind anyone saying, "We don't know what caused the Big Bang. Scientists are still studying this. There are all kinds of theories [describe]. One is that a deity, a God, caused the Big Bang. It's a fascinating area of science and speculation. All kinds of thinkers from scientists to philosophers to theologians work on this problem. Perhaps you will study these things in greater depth later in a future class. For now, however, our job is to figure out what happened after the Big Bang according to the generally accepted scientific theory, for which there is substantial evidence, though it hasn't and may never be proved. That theory is called 'evolution'."

I actually like thie idea that God used science to bring about the creation of the cosmos. At least that gives science its due, instead of just chucking it out the window. If I had been taught creationism that way, I would be much more likely to believe in it.

I have asked myself, "Do we need God to have started the cosmic creation ball rolling? If there were another explanation for it, what might it be?"

The answer I came up with was gravity. If we had a Big Bang, I think we'll someday have a Big Black Hole that our entire universe will be sucked into, until it explodes and creates another Big Bang in a new universe. I've read articles disputing that there is enough matter currently in the universe to bring about the ultimate Big Black Hole, so maybe my reasoning is invalid. I have no idea. It's fun to speculate about, though.

Chantal

I think the major problem with the creation story is that supposedly it was given in a vision. Visions are trixy things, subject to wildly varying interpretations and manipulations. Also, visions tend to be more like movies than living a day. Imagine taking a movie that happened over a long timespan and claiming it happened in just those two hours that it took to watch the movie. So the vision receiver got impressions and pictures, and had to make sense of the entire thing, which in that time meant days, not science eons.

And then there's the whole issue of who has visions. Then, they called them prophets. Now, they call them insane and dose them with chemicals and therapy. "They" being relative, of course, to the appropriate time period.

No, I'm not fond of shrinks, either. I think too many people have been diagnosed insane when they're actually prophetic and/or spiritual in some manner.

And I do wish the fundementalists would remember that each religion has its own creation story equally valid to the Christian one.... *grrr* And science classes don't have room to discuss them all to an equal advantage.

And I do wish the fundementalists would remember that each religion has its own creation story equally valid to the Christian one.... *grrr* And science classes don't have room to discuss them all to an equal advantage.

Exactly! When we start teaching in science class that the Earth rests on the back of a turtle, which rests on the back of an elephant, which rests on the back of a still larger elephant, ad infinitum, then I might see some rationale for teaching creationism in science class. Until then, I say keep it in church.

Chantal

It's not teaching creationism that gets my goat. It's the fact that you cannot even teach the criticisms of Darwinian evolution of which there is much. To me, evolution is being taught as religion. When a teacher can be disciplined for even bringing up the valid problems with the theory, that tells me someone has something to hide.

I'd have to see this case by case for which teachers trying to bring up what criticisms. TBH, evolution itself, the changes over time a species makes, is pretty well documented, IIRC. I've read stories about 31 generations of fruit flies being bred, and that species adjusted to changes in the environment.

If it's "man evolved from apes" evolution, and the teachers aren't pointing out that we haven't found a 'missing link' filler, then I'd be worried too. Or if it was "how did these amino acids form proteins which ended up forming life", and the teacher wasn't covering the fact that we haven't proven that.....I'd be really worried.

The major problem I have with the evolution debate is exactly what I outlined above--WHICH evolution are we talking about. If it's the continuation of things, that's well established. If it's the beginning of things, criticisms and the emphasis on THEORY needs to be taught.

Amqu--*nods* I was very surprised to learn in my community college biology class that there are in fact holes in Mendelian genetics large enough to drive a starship through--that his assistants were either lazy or incompetent, and they just told him the results he expected to hear, instead of what they were really observing. So genetics is actually far more complex than Mendel's model. I think that's good, because more complex means more interesting and more wonderful. But you only get taught the accepted Mendelian grids in secondary school.

I suspect Darwinian evolution is a lot more complex than Darwin conceived of, too. What are some of the valid problems with his theory?

Chantal

More comments here than you can shake a stick at...:)

To malaprop Mr. Carlin, this is one of the Ten Things We Don't Know Yet. Nobody -- not the creationists, the evolutionists, nor the ID people -- can say for a fact What Really Happened. They're all ever so much better at poking holes in each other's theories.

Personally, I believe that God created the universe, set up natural laws and rules, then turned it loose. Through learning about His universe, we become more able to appreciate His awesome power, and thereby come closer to an understanding of Him. Can I prove that? No. Can you DISprove that? Equally, no. So, I don't proselytize about it. My opinion, and I'll find out one way or another in the Afterlife.

My opinion of the debate? I think Robert Heinlein said it best in Job, A Comedy of Justice:"Your universe is about twenty-three billion years old...[and] was created in 4004 BC...[i]t was created old." There's something in that cosmology for everybody. :)

Dave--Dude...The universe suffers from progeria. Who'd'a thunk it? (g)

Chantal