Creationism sub-thread

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:22 pm UTC

I dunno which one. I haven't memorized the filter, and I can't be bothered to go through quotes word by word. It changed "political c0rrectness" in mine to "basic human decency", which seems a particularly poor translation.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:41 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:This isn't about me.

We have reached peak absurdity. No claim you can possibly make from this point will top this one.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby ucim » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:52 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:From the standpoint of the general public Science is some kind of magical mystery thing that says...
Then they are wrong, in real life, and their wrongness needs to be corrected, not coddled. This gets down to basic education in elementary school, and high school where actual science experiments are routinely done by students.

When a child (or grownup even) asks about evolution, you don't go to the Bible to answer these questions from (dubious) authority, you go to the museum of natural history, where the actual fossils are laid out to be seen. If you suspect the museum is a giant conspiracy to sow godlessness, volunteer to aid an actual researcher, and you'll see how it's done. You'll learn enough to do it yourself. And you yourself are not part of this conspiracy, right?

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:07 am UTC

ucim wrote:Then they are wrong, in real life, and their wrongness needs to be corrected, not coddled. This gets down to basic education in elementary school, and high school where actual science experiments are routinely done by students.
As I have already shared with everyone else, the schools in America fall between bad and worse. They are having a hard time teaching basic literacy, much less science. Call me when it changes. And unless we have moved into a nanny state and I missed it YEC's or Catholics or Strident atheists can teach their children whatever they wish, in schools of their own devising, as long as they meet any restrictions offered by the state. You can call them dangerous, stupid, wrong headed or whatever you wish. But you can't change that.
ucim wrote:When a child (or grownup even) asks about evolution, you don't go to the Bible to answer these questions from (dubious) authority, you go to the museum of natural history, where the actual fossils are laid out to be seen. If you suspect the museum is a giant conspiracy to sow godlessness, volunteer to aid an actual researcher, and you'll see how it's done. You'll learn enough to do it yourself. And you yourself are not part of this conspiracy, right?
Tell your child whatever you wish, I did. I talked to mine about the various geologic ages and took them to the Falls of the Ohio, site of a very good fossil bed. And then checked the schools to make sure they weren't being fed nonsense. I own three or four Bibles and have read none of them. I've never shared that fascination that most Atheists have with it. I read mostly fantasy and SF. I only offer this because you seem to be implying that maybe I believe the universe is 6000 years old. Sorry old sod, no such luck.

Of course that YEC can tell her children whatever they wish just like I can. They can feel so strongly about it that they home school or fund their own private schools. They band together and lobby and become active politically. Put up candidates for the school board and generally do what less dangerous people do. I'm sure some beat their kids, it seems to be a popular American sport. However they seem to work and generally live lives that you would consider law abiding.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:27 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
ucim wrote:Then they are wrong, in real life, and their wrongness needs to be corrected, not coddled. This gets down to basic education in elementary school, and high school where actual science experiments are routinely done by students.
As I have already shared with everyone else, the schools in America fall between bad and worse. They are having a hard time teaching basic literacy, much less science. Call me when it changes. And unless we have moved into a nanny state and I missed it YEC's or Catholics or Strident atheists can teach their children whatever they wish, in schools of their own devising, as long as they meet any restrictions offered by the state. You can call them dangerous, stupid, wrong headed or whatever you wish. But you can't change that


Yes, schools in the US leave much to be desired. This is not a reason to give up on them.

Nor is it a reason to justify similarly anti-science views elsewhere in life.

We *could* change what they can teach their children, yes. The question of if we should is more complex. But you can't deny that changing regulations is possible.

Additionally, you're missing the problem, in that they are attempting(and have, in some cases, been successful), in forcing their teachings upon OTHERS children. This is pretty clear cut in terms of danger. They're not some isolationist group that is satisfied to live and let live. They view themselves as engaged in a culture war, and you are their enemy. The fact that you cease using a given word or two will do exactly nothing to change this.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:43 pm UTC

I know what they are doing. Just for giggles I looked up all the court cases. And in my state they got a tax rebate for some weird project built around Noah's Ark. And I haven't given up on schools. But if you believe that science literacy is widespread, than I believe you to be mistaken. There is only now a national science standard being introduced which would improve how science is taught. And if anyone truly believes that you can demonstrate science of any type to YEC's and change minds is addled. As to the rest I won't debate it.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:58 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I know what they are doing. Just for giggles I looked up all the court cases. And in my state they got a tax rebate for some weird project built around Noah's Ark. And I haven't given up on schools. But if you believe that science literacy is widespread, than I believe you to be mistaken. There is only now a national science standard being introduced which would improve how science is taught. And if anyone truly believes that you can demonstrate science of any type to YEC's and change minds is addled. As to the rest I won't debate it.


Ignorance is fixed with knowledge.

Yes, it might not be an instant thing. Education usually isn't. But it's pretty rare for any group to be entirely beyond help entirely.

If belief in god always triumphed over experience with science, science would not now exist.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:17 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Additionally, you're missing the problem, in that they are attempting(and have, in some cases, been successful), in forcing their teachings upon OTHERS children. This is pretty clear cut in terms of danger. They're not some isolationist group that is satisfied to live and let live. They view themselves as engaged in a culture war, and you are their enemy. The fact that you cease using a given word or two will do exactly nothing to change this.

Far be it from me to be seen supporting mw's side of anything, but all of these statements do apply equally to both sides. I say that not for the sake of false equivalence, but because it seems sometimes easy to forget that being on the other side of the fight is not by itself a war crime.

Edit: And I'll stand by "forcing" when public education is free and compulsory and substituting private or home schooling is entirely at the parent's cost - an individual can get out of it, but the incentives work on populations, and we didn't allow the voucher system.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Trebla » Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:48 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If belief in god always triumphed over experience with science, science would not now exist.


Spoiler:
It doesn't really bear on the discussion, but it's fun to note that science (as the method we know today focusing on verifiable results) barely does exist (in terms of human history) tracing back to Galileo in the early 17th century. Sure there were methods prior and enhancements after, but that was a major change. The relatively recent advent of the scientific method fascinates me, at least.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_scientific_method

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:49 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Additionally, you're missing the problem, in that they are attempting(and have, in some cases, been successful), in forcing their teachings upon OTHERS children. This is pretty clear cut in terms of danger. They're not some isolationist group that is satisfied to live and let live. They view themselves as engaged in a culture war, and you are their enemy. The fact that you cease using a given word or two will do exactly nothing to change this.

Far be it from me to be seen supporting mw's side of anything, but all of these statements do apply equally to both sides. I say that not for the sake of false equivalence, but because it seems sometimes easy to forget that being on the other side of the fight is not by itself a war crime.

Edit: And I'll stand by "forcing" when public education is free and compulsory and substituting private or home schooling is entirely at the parent's cost - an individual can get out of it, but the incentives work on populations, and we didn't allow the voucher system.


Sure, it's not a war crime. They're merely wrong. But his emphasis on saying we should avoid conflict rings hollow when they are obviously not doing the same. Why should we avoid calling them dangerous when A. they are, and B. they wouldn't even think twice about describing us in the same(or far more hostile) terms?

Sure, politeness can be valuable, but sacrificing accuracy for politeness* is a tradeoff. What you're losing is clear...what's the gain on the other side?

As for cost, well, nationwide, some homeschooling expenses are deductable. Some states also offer tax credits(mine did). There is also a tax-advantaged educational savings program for homeschool/private school. Granted, there's a time element there as well, and there may be expenses that are not allowable expenses, but they are not being treated exceedingly harshly.

*And, calling someone "dangerous" is not a particularly strong epithet in itself.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:09 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:*And, calling someone "dangerous" is not a particularly strong epithet in itself.
Yeah I suppose you're right. Obama is often called dangerous, as are his ideas. Rush Limbaugh had a book written about him called, wait for it, The Most Dangerous Man In America.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby ucim » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:50 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:And, calling someone "dangerous" is not a particularly strong epithet in itself.
It is when it's coupled with "If I see something dangerous, I kill it".

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:51 pm UTC

Mostly it's a rhetorical device used to demonize someone. It common and widespread. Whatever someone believes something that you don't like, you can call it dangerous and all your cronies can pat each other on the back and agree with you. I don't like it and I guess that is offensive. On the other hand we have a candidate for President who is a YEC. He a poster boy for compartmentalization, considering he is a retired neurosurgeon. Perhaps best evidenced by this quote from a book in his Wikipedia entry.

Political affiliation and views
Carson said in 2013 that he was not a member of any political party.[49] However, he joined the Republican Party on November 4, 2014, the day the 2014 midterms took place, as "truly a pragmatic move" because he was considering running for president in 2016.[50] In his book America the Beautiful, he explained his decision to enter politics: "I believe it is a very good idea for physicians, scientists, engineers, and others trained to make decisions based on facts and empirical data to get involved in the political arena".[51][52]
Obviously he has a different definitions for the word fact and empirical data than I do.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:05 pm UTC

Or he's well aware what the words mean and is lying. Leetle possibility there.

Tyndmyr wrote:Sure, it's not a war crime. They're merely wrong. But his emphasis on saying we should avoid conflict rings hollow when they are obviously not doing the same. Why should we avoid calling them dangerous when A. they are, and B. they wouldn't even think twice about describing us in the same(or far more hostile) terms?

To be clear, I wasn't claiming that. I've been arguing in favor of the term for pages. It's possible I was reacting to what you said a bit out of context.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:18 pm UTC

Gotcha, Copper...yeah, not really enraged at creationists or anything. More of just a "mmm, should do something about that".

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:And, calling someone "dangerous" is not a particularly strong epithet in itself.
It is when it's coupled with "If I see something dangerous, I kill it".

Jose


Well, yeah.

Which is why most of us are definitely not arguing for that perspective.

morriswalters wrote:Mostly it's a rhetorical device used to demonize someone. It common and widespread. Whatever someone believes something that you don't like, you can call it dangerous and all your cronies can pat each other on the back and agree with you. I don't like it and I guess that is offensive. On the other hand we have a candidate for President who is a YEC. He a poster boy for compartmentalization, considering he is a retired neurosurgeon. Perhaps best evidenced by this quote from a book in his Wikipedia entry.


Your dislike of the word isn't offensive to me, it's just odd.

And yes, people routinely use negative words in an improper context. Socialist, for instance. It is a little silly for someone to describe all democrats as socialist. It is entirely reasonable to use the term for Sanders, because....that's what he is, and claims to be. A misuse in one instance does not mean people must cease using the word in the correct context. In fact, if you successfully campaign against the word being used correctly, all you will accomplish is making the misuse the standard practice.

And, are you holding that Carson's what, a good candidate for president? Does his views on this and other issues NOT concern you? Disregard for science and logic are not really things I look for in a leader.

And yeah, I'll cheerfully describe several candidates for president, Carson included, as dangerous choices to elect, due to one position or another.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:53 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Your dislike of the word isn't offensive to me, it's just odd.
That probably as good a description of me as you are likely come up with.
Tyndmyr wrote:And, are you holding that Carson's what, a good candidate for president?
He's an idiot. Practicing to be a moron. I've already told you, I'm giving consideration to changing my party affiliation to Republican so I can vote in that primary, and I told you who I would vote for if I did. I haven't seen a good candidate to this point.
Tyndmyr wrote:In fact, if you successfully campaign against the word being used correctly, all you will accomplish is making the misuse the standard practice.
Given my results here you needn't worry on that score.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:05 pm UTC

I'm becoming positively infatuated with Bart Ehrman, via YouTube lectures. He's a former evangelical turned sane and a very visible New Testament scholar, sort of acting as a communicator for the field in the way that we talk about science communicators and things (he's written several general-audience books that actually aren't shilling quack theories, just communicating the scholarly consensus on things.) I should note that I haven't read any of them. = /

He's an "agnostic and atheist", as he puts it, now, but he likes to point out that basically all of his personal and professional communities are liberal Christians and he doesn't take issue with that; he's only opposed to fundamentalism and ideas of biblical inerrancy. He lays out his feelings on his deprogramming and what we can do about deprogramming others in this video (warning - it's an hour long.) I feel rather strongly that he has the right thing going on.

Edit: To summarize a little, he seems to feel that fundamentalists are impervious to attack - you can't break down the mental guards with a logical argument, because they'll find some tortured logic to rationalize their beliefs against anything they recognize as an attack. What changed things for him - the "chink in the armor" - was studying the bible enough to come to the conclusion that there were simpler explanations to the problems created by assuming biblical inerrancy. In other words, understanding the bible is a cure for fundamentalism, and he's working to communicate what we do understand about what it says, what it meant to its various authors, and how it came to be.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby krogoth » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:01 am UTC

I haven't watched it yet fully, but have heard one by Dan Barker the guy that introduces him, also a really nice ex-preacher. Really easy to listen to very different to the confrontational "angry" spokesmen we normally hear debating against religion.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:51 pm UTC

Yeah, I think that's important. It actually reminds me a bit of Carl Sagan's approach to communicating skepticism while staying more or less silent on Christianity itself, or Dennet's attempts to engage non-believing ministers.

There's an extra wiggle, though. The kind of fundamentalism we're discussing is a uniquely American problem, and so is the relative invisibility of informed biblical scholarship. Ehrman occasionally points out that ministers in the US all go to the same seminaries and learn that six of the letters of Paul weren't actually written by Paul, but they aren't likely to tell their congregations that. We know that US Christianity started from some extreme, often separatist Protestant traditions, that the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is a primarily US tradition, and so on; the traditions created a climate where serious scholarship was impossible, and the churches are resistant to that kind of information even when it's available. But the question to me seems to be whether that causal link can run both ways. If we break down the bad education on the scripture, can that start to weather away some of the bad doctrine that it reinforces?
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Cradarc » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:44 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:If we break down the bad education on the scripture, can that start to weather away some of the bad doctrine that it reinforces?

I think that is very likely.
I watched a short Ehrman video. Although I disagree with the conclusion he came to with his own relationship with God, I totally see the value in some of the points he is making.
Th fundamental problem (pardon the pun) with fundamentalists is that they have a really pharisaical interpretation of what it means to be Christian. They see the scripture as a book of divine rules rather than a novelistic description of the different aspects of God. One can have faith in God's perfection while still acknowledging people's imperfect ability to perceive and interpret it. True faith is ultimately about learning more and more about God, much like how you would go about learning more about a person that is infinitely more complicated than you are. If one starts with the premise that one has complete knowledge about God and God's will, then "God" quickly devolves into something egotistical and human.
True Christians cannot lose their faith, because God is at the bottom of all their philosophical assumptions. "God trumps one's ability to understand God" is as close as I can get to describing it in words.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:03 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:The fundamental problem (pardon the pun) with fundamentalists is that they have a really pharisaical interpretation of what it means to be Christian.

That really drives me nuts, honestly. Has for a long time, and I've posted on this before elsewhere, although Ehrman's given me more vocabulary to do so (he doesn't make exactly the same point.)

This thing that bothers me is to look at Jesus as the figure presented in the Gospels and try to reconcile how we got from there to here. His entire ministry is presented as fighting legalism and religious law, emphasizing compassion and fighting social stigma, and even has a drop to civic responsibility in the "give unto Caesar what is Caesar's" bit. Just to polish things off, and this part I didn't realize until seeing Ehrman's lectures, he's even anti-family.

Of course, the real reason for all of that is that he's an apocalyptic prophet and necessarily anti-establishment, and then Christianity managed to become the establishment a few centuries later. But it's distinctly the sad kind of funny when people today try to rewrite him into someone who would support their pro-establishment positions.

And yeah, the fact that the most vocal people professing Christian motivations are indistinguishable from the villains in their own favorite book is just icing.

Edit: I should say that yeah, I don't find his reasons for leaving the faith to be a compelling argument, but I don't think it's exactly an argument to start with, though he's presented it that way in places. As an argument, it's just the theodicy paradox, and I find that one logically poorly founded. As a reason for conviction and belief ... yeah, I can see why a person makes that decision.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby krogoth » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:10 am UTC

I've heard it both ways, some people saying "what shook me out of it was the adamant nature with which i was confronted. I was always told this was fact and if I hadn't seen someone so opposed to it I wouldn't have looked into their issues (with religion) further"

I used to go to a church that thought the bible was inerrant and literal, not in America, I've always hated lies, so when I looked at the story of the ark, I suspected something was up.
I still know people that go to that church, whom are whole indoctrinated, one managed to come from an atheist home but was sent to a christian school and fell into the idiocy as part of the peer pressure, and the need to feel welcomed. I doubt anything will shake him out of it.

The thing is there is so much bad teaching on the scripture, it's such a large set of books.eg, no slavery wasn't indentured servitude, you aren't allowed to beat people within an inch of their life and say it's ok as long as they recover in a few days.

Releasing an annotated version of the bible that explains what's real and what are misconceptions? like a more thorough version of http://skepticsannotatedbible.com
That would be a lot of work, starting from scratch, and the start of the bible, might be easier in web format like the above page extending out each time to educational sources why the bible is wrong. Chapter summery ect. maybe a few extra sections explaining morals, evolution, critical thinking, why compartmentalising happens, sounds like a lot of work dissecting the bible to such a level.

Cradarc commented while i was writing this. You don't need to disprove a god, or even think to much about him. If a god exists or not is separate to the bible being fiction. You can't disprove god because as you rightly noted "god is unknowable" aka in the gaps of knowledge, a god of the gaps, if it can't be known then they have no right pretending they do. Either god is knowable, then there should be a method to know, then that method is falsifiable. If there is no method to their madness, then it might well be god is just willed into existence by their mind, and ultimately he only exists in their subjective reality, not in objective reality.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:34 am UTC

Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I'm not really thinking about an individual tool for deconstructing the bible. I mean, for the purposes you're interested in, I don't think you'd need to cover the whole thing to prove what you want to prove, and I'm not sure I'm interested in proving people out of their faith in the first place.

I actually think that saying, okay, this thing over here isn't literally true, but we should resolve to behave as if it were true, and it has a metaphoric meaning that is fundamentally important to human society, we're going to call it true for all intents and purposes - that's something we do in every aspect of culture, all the time, everywhere. It's the basis of the meaning of fiction and the substance of law and everything in between. There's absolutely no benefit in trying to attack that aspect of religious faith, because religious faith is not even conspicuous in that aspect.

I don't "believe in" MWT as a quantum physics interpretation because I don't think it's useful. I care what "really" happened to Luke at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and whether Han shot first in A New Hope. Those are already statements of belief decoupled from empirical reality.

What I'm realizing we really need is better education on the bible as literature, and frankly a better understanding of why we study literature in the first place, because I can see a lot of the phenomena that worry me in a high school Shakespeare class, too. That's not surprising - all Western literary criticism went through a bottleneck of being a study of the bible, and basically every development and tool of literary criticism that happened in between Aristotle and the Enlightenment was about biblical study. Naturally, the same problems reappear with the way evangelical Christians choose to read, interpret, and argue from the US constitution.

I don't think it's necessarily meaningful to think about "teaching critical thinking." But if kids coming out of high school in the US were familiar with the bible and understood it as a constructed text with a history, and could reasonable think about the motivations of its authors, and just separate the layers of meaning and intent involved here - and maybe do a bit of the same for Shakespeare and any other text - I think it'd be harder for people to become normalized into these fundamentalist ways of approaching texts. I don't think you have to believe in divine inspiration to have an overly magical view of what a text is, and I think that may be one of the bases for the way fundamentalism actually works.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:07 pm UTC

I hate to bump, but I should rephrase that as a question - do you all think this might be a missing piece, structured this way? Not, can individual explications of biblical scholarship deprogram individual fundamentalists - I think it's obvious that it sometimes can and sometimes can't, and books like Ehrman's are probably responsible for breaking a few individual entrenched worldviews. But more directly, do you think there's any hope of changing the way we approach the bible specifically in educational contexts, how we talk about the history of Christianity, and could that help to inoculate people against fundamentalism? I mean, the bible isn't just an important document for Christians, and Christianity isn't only historically important to Christians, it's the dominant lens on the world for most of Western civilization. And I think we've ceded the teaching of our history and literature in this area to religious organizations - even "comparative religions" classes and things focus on modern practices in a sort of geographic or ethnographic way.

Put simply, should we worry less about what's going into the biology classes and more about what's going on in the history curriculum?
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby DSenette » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:52 pm UTC

the bible, or Koran, or torah, is only historically important to the religions that use those books. the only importance of those books to anyone who doesn't belong to those religions is the effect that the people who believed those books to be true had on people who did not.

I'm MUCH more concerned with people teaching from the bible in biology classes than I am with people NOT teaching the bible in history classes
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Quercus » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:25 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:the bible, or Koran, or torah, is only historically important to the religions that use those books. the only importance of those books to anyone who doesn't belong to those religions is the effect that the people who believed those books to be true had on people who did not.

They form a large part of the foundational mythology of large portions of the world, and the massive cultural effect they have had and continue to have can't help but colour people's thinking even if they they are not themselves followers of an Abrahamic religion. I'd say it's difficult to find documents that are more historically important. I'm not of the view that religion can be so easily isolated from culture.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:27 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:I'm MUCH more concerned with people teaching from the bible in biology classes than I am with people NOT teaching the bible in history classes
It's just as well, Texas appears to teach the Bible as literature already. If you follow the link you'll be amused that the Koran doesn't appear to exist in that context.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby DSenette » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:41 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
DSenette wrote:the bible, or Koran, or torah, is only historically important to the religions that use those books. the only importance of those books to anyone who doesn't belong to those religions is the effect that the people who believed those books to be true had on people who did not.

They form a large part of the foundational mythology of large portions of the world, and the massive cultural effect they have had and continue to have can't help but colour people's thinking even if they they are not themselves followers of an Abrahamic religion. I'd say it's difficult to find documents that are more historically important. I'm not of the view that religion can be so easily isolated from culture.

why should anyone care about mythology beyond a passing glance in a history class like you get for greek mythology? or do you think students should be learning more in depth information about all formative religions....which, would maybe be a decent idea if you started with all the ones that the bible stole it's stories from.

but no, the suggestion was we should teach more Christianity in history classes. nah, cover Christianity the same way you do the ancient greeks, romans, and Egyptians.

there are a lot of cultural items that were pivotal to a great many societies that have lead to the ones we live in now that don't get taught in history classes as it is, unless you go into a specific field that focuses on those histories.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:45 pm UTC

That may or may not be a good sign, but it does indicate to me why this is a problem; just teaching the bible as literature is a legal minefield.

DSenette wrote:the bible, or Koran, or torah, is only historically important to the religions that use those books. the only importance of those books to anyone who doesn't belong to those religions is the effect that the people who believed those books to be true had on people who did not.

Wow, that's, like, wow. No. By the same thinking, Shakespeare is only relevant to people who intend to kill their uncles.

Some schools still have American history classes every other year, right? I'd think we could use that block for something useful.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:22 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:
Quercus wrote:
DSenette wrote:the bible, or Koran, or torah, is only historically important to the religions that use those books. the only importance of those books to anyone who doesn't belong to those religions is the effect that the people who believed those books to be true had on people who did not.

They form a large part of the foundational mythology of large portions of the world, and the massive cultural effect they have had and continue to have can't help but colour people's thinking even if they they are not themselves followers of an Abrahamic religion. I'd say it's difficult to find documents that are more historically important. I'm not of the view that religion can be so easily isolated from culture.

why should anyone care about mythology beyond a passing glance in a history class like you get for greek mythology? or do you think students should be learning more in depth information about all formative religions....which, would maybe be a decent idea if you started with all the ones that the bible stole it's stories from.

but no, the suggestion was we should teach more Christianity in history classes. nah, cover Christianity the same way you do the ancient greeks, romans, and Egyptians.
Yes, cover Christianity in a (post-Roman) European history or (post-colonization) American history class the same way you would cover Greek, Roman, or Egyptian mythology in a class on ancient Greek, Roman, or Egyptian history.

Which is to say, you ought to cover it rather a lot if you have any interest in pretending the class gives a useful amount of information about the cultures in question.

Or to put it another way, yes religion is important to nonbelievers "only" in terms of the effects it has had, but for Christianity those effects are enormous, so it's pretty enormously important.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby speising » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:29 pm UTC

That's not exactly compareable, since Christianity is still very much alive and relevant today, while worshippers of Zeus or Ra are a distinct minority.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:30 pm UTC

On "formative religions", I'd like to move that we replace English literature and composition classes with Proto-Indo-European ones. English stole all its ideas from PIE anyway, after all.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:32 pm UTC

What does the current popularity of Christianity have to do with the importance of understanding historical Christianity when talking about the Puritans or the Reformation?
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:38 pm UTC

While I don't agree that it does, or that one necessarily needs any deeper understanding of the religion to understand the history in those cases, I do think that extant and influential religions are worth study in their own right, including their histories and texts.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Quercus » Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:15 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Yes, cover Christianity in a (post-Roman) European history or (post-colonization) American history class the same way you would cover Greek, Roman, or Egyptian mythology in a class on ancient Greek, Roman, or Egyptian history.

Which is to say, you ought to cover it rather a lot if you have any interest in pretending the class gives a useful amount of information about the cultures in question.

Or to put it another way, yes religion is important to nonbelievers "only" in terms of the effects it has had, but for Christianity those effects are enormous, so it's pretty enormously important.


I agree with this. I also think that ancient mythologies could be used as a springboard for studying more modern, secular mythologies, like those surrounding the founding of the United States for example, or those surrounding the British Empire in the case of my culture. There's this utterly weird view, probably promoted by how Greek myths are taught, that myths are basically nothing more than ancient "just so" stories - not true. Myths, sometimes explicitly acknowledged as such, sometimes not, are the stories that hold cultures together, that give a sense of common identity and purpose. They are powerful cultural forces, for both good and ill, in both ancient and modern contexts.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby speising » Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:26 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:What does the current popularity of Christianity have to do with the importance of understanding historical Christianity when talking about the Puritans or the Reformation?

You proposed to teach it in history class, but unlike the other examples, Christianity isn't history, but rather has history.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 22, 2015 12:36 am UTC

Well yes, you could also have a history of Christianity class. But that's rather beside the point, which was that you can't really claim to understand the history of Europe or America if you don't know a fair amount about what various types of Christians have believed throughout that time.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:42 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:While I don't agree that it does, or that one necessarily needs any deeper understanding of the religion to understand the history in those cases, I do think that extant and influential religions are worth study in their own right, including their histories and texts.


Ideas like "divine right of kings" are important to various historical events and times. I don't know that you need a particularly deep understanding of Christianity, and certainly not modern creationism in particular, to grasp it. It's no different than getting a brief summary of another religion to better understand their history. It helps, but you can't do a deep dive into every religion, and diminishing returns exist, so in practice, you tend to get shorter summaries unless it's a fairly focused class.

I don't really have a problem with that.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:04 pm UTC

Well, I don't think anyone's talking about modern creationism as itself a subject specifically. The models I'm looking at are really lit classes on the one hand, with Shakespeare as the easy example of someone we spend a shit ton of time on for reasons not inherent in the literature itself, and the conspicuous custom, on the other hand, of US history classes in the US, with the assumption that proximity weights significance. I don't know or care under what course heading, but the arguments that would support those customs would as easily support spending a year on the Bible and slash or the history of Christianity. I think the reasons we don't relate to religious tolerance, and I'd further assert that that might be a great idea if it weren't wildly self-defeating in practice.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:22 pm UTC

I can't think of any topic where modern creationism would be appropriate. I mean, outside of being used as a negative example of what not to do. I don't see it as having any educational value for it's own sake. In any realm.

Maaaybe it could be addressed in poly sci in a neutral fashion. Maybe.

Anyway, back to the more general christian education bit...that's complicated a bit by the fact that, in practice, religion evolves. So, the study of historical religion may not relate well to modern fundamentalism. Someone raised in the latter tradition is likely to cheerfully accept oddities of historical religion as merely part of Catholicism's flaws. The historical study of religion and the examination of modern religious trends kind of diverge, I think.


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