One might have thought that the advocates of creationism, relabeled intelligent design, would have retreated after the landmark decision in Kitzmeller v. Dover Area School District, where a Republican federal judge, a George W. Bush appointee, held that the theory was religious dogma, not science, and therefore could not be taught as an alternative to evolution. After the decision was handed down, all eight of the school board members who mandated the teaching of intelligent design in science classes were defeated, and the ruling was not appealed. But, no, just as in the movie, Poltergeist, one finds that "They're baaaaaaaack!" Only this time, they're trying to see to it that science textbooks used in most if not all of the nation's public schools from now until at least 2022 include such information that recent discoveries in the fossil record reveal "a balance between gradualism and sudden appearance." This gobbledegook translates to a watered-down though no less ridiculous form of creation "science," i.e., as Will Weissert of the AP put it, "that, rather than developing over time, life got a boost from an intelligent designer.

The latest skirmish in this ongoing war took place in Austin at meetings of the Texas Board of Education, an entity that, unfortunately, decides what goes into public school textbooks nationwise, since Texas buys a lion's share of the publications. The Board is the best argument against the conservatives' claim that the federal Department of Education should be abolished. It was one of the three departments Gov. Rick Perry actually remembered at the presidential debate where he made a complete fool of himself and very likely ruined any chance of winning the GOP nomination -- ever. Another of the contentions of the religionist members of the Board wanted included in the text, also a conservative talking point, is that climate change has not been settled as a scientific matter.

Fortunately, it appears that publishers of school texts are getting actively involved in the debates and taking the sides of progressives, including Darwinists. Forexample, one of the largest publishers of school books, Pearson Education, weighed in at the Board hearings and refused to make major changes in the texts, questioning the factual correctness of some creationist objections to the books. The long and short of it is that after a much-publicized intrusion of religion and politics during the Board's leadership of a goofball dentist named Don McLeroy, the Board, including some mainstream Republicans, seems inclined to reject dogma in favor of real science, favoring physics rather than metaphysics. Final approval of the biology text is on hold until an "outside review" can be had, but it does not look good for the God guys. Many thanks to the Texas Freedom Network for their perseverance and valor in this ongoing battle!

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Well, it's about stinking time!

this isn't over (unfortunately), not by a long shot.  

in Ohio, a teacher was fired for passing out creationist materials against the direct order of the school district.  he sued, and the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the decision - by a 4 - 3 vote!!  that's right, 3 Republican elected judges thought that he had a first amendment right to defy the school board, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution.

it will be over in about 25-30 years when these old fuckers die off and take their ideology into the grave with them.  

But it isn't all old people! I'm an "old people" and realize that creationist and religious indoctrination goes on daily. The young takes the place of the old, and the cycle continues. People just want to believe outrageous impossible shit!

I remember when I was on the "other side" and a theist. I thought people were crazy NOT to believe creationism. Imagine a boat not even as big as the Queen Mary and you are going to get 2 of every species in the world in there. Impossible! How many years also would you take collecting the animals? The problems with this idea goes on and on, but the gullible keep believing it. To do otherwise upsets their world greatly.

I was still a theist when Madalyn Murray O'Hare was murdered, and I remember thinking god must have killed her because she didn't believe in him! How utterly stupid!

The theists and creationists think so much differently than anyone else and you cannot tell them anything. I still believe that the Internet is the tool that will bring religion down, but even then you will have some idiot arguing for god and the bible. He can be proven wrong for lack of evidence and still look at you and say, "well, you have to admit that it might be possible."

WRONG. It's all a myth.

I wonder how many people on these forums would say that the internet played a significant role in their ultimate rejection of religion.  (I'm always thinking of questions like that I'd like to introduce as a new topic, but Joan has issued a call to do something constructive and I'm thinking along those lines too!)

In my case, it wasn't information I found on the internet that contributed to me becoming an atheist but more the progression of conversations on internet discussion boards.  At first I defended liberal, reasonable, symbolic, increasingly nebulous Christianity against literal and unyielding fundamentalists, but eventually realized I was just playing word games and it ALL had to go.

(The specific forum was an AOL parenting board when my kids were small.)

Websites like would SEEM to have the potential to be very powerful and educational in influencing opinion, but I have my doubts if they are really getting through to anybody...

i think you should definitely put up a discussion on that.  i'd be really curious myself.  maybe a poll within a discussion??

as for me, the internet wasn't around when i became an atheist.  it came from questioning "teachers" at CCD (like Sunday school for catholics) and time in bed thinking about death.  the idea of Hell in particular seemed off to me, and then Heaven fell.  and then i thought about the thousands of years that must have existed before i was born and assumed that it would be like that after i die.  which was UNBELIEVABLY scary at the time.  i used to wish that there was an afterlife b/c coming to the understanding that there isn't one is difficult for a 14 year old.  and i had to do it on my own.  

it wasn't until college that i learned the term atheist.  ironically, it was in a religion class at the Christian liberal arts college i went to.  (i didn't pick it b/c it was Christian)  in it i learned that, shockingly to me at the time, other people didn't believe in God or an afterlife either.  our tests were all essays and i tended to focus on atheist thinkers like Russell or Sartre.  even when the topic was another religion i'd always find a way to bring it back to them.  naturally, i had an F in the class until acing the multiple choice Final to squeak by with a D.  

I would be in favor of your new topic B.K.

I became an agnostic because of my logical reasoning, but became an atheist because of the internet.

Actually, I met and interviewed Ms. O'Hare quite some time before her death and the same thought occurred to me as to you, but what I figured was that some religious nuts might have done her in. Then it developed that they were simply depraved sociopaths. Even so, they may have been thinking that as they were offing a non-believer they were doing the world a favor. As you may recall, many believers were saying at the time that God had punished her and that it was the doing of the Almighty working his retribution against an enemy of the "God."

Your use of logic in explication of the absurdities of the Noah myth amuses me. Actually, I think it was seven pairs of every species, and that would make it all the less likely. I usually point out that it would take an ark as big as Rhode Island. And I'm with you in the agnostic-versus-atheist debate, usually couched as, "How can you be an atheist since you have no more proof God does NOT exist than I have that He does." Oh? We have logic and "they" have nothing. The argument from evil is all I need.

I agree. On the O'Hare murder everyone thought like this at the time, but I was a christian then. She and some of her family was actually murdered for money by a man she had trusted, and never should have. You've heard of live and learn --In her case it was learn and die.

On god and the bible, here is my view. I CAN prove by the bible that it's all bullshit. The book of Genesis is impossible and could not have happened that way. It simply makes no sense if you use logic and modern scientific investigation. If you throw out Genesis as a myth, then there is no need of salvation. This is why they fight so hard to keep it. Some agree it's all myth and yet go around looking for any other books that might prove god, or some way of believing that god might be "talking to them." Nobody wants to die, and most of us are not that important.

Michael, what about the people who don't throw the bible out as myth but think it's all symbolic...somehow.  These sorts of people might not even concern themselves with whether stuff is literally true.

(To my knowledge I've never met somebody who thought there was a literal talking snake or an ark, although I may live among some folks like that here in South Carolina and have just been too squeamish to ask for fear of what I might find.) 

 As you may have guessed, in spite of my current residence in the bible belt, my origins were in a pretty liberal Christian tradition.  Some of these liberal Christians, if pressed, might even say it doesn't really matter if Jesus was born of a virgin or literally came back to life after three days. But they still have some sense of needing to be "redeemed" from sin and the intervention of what they see as a loving God fits in here... somehow.

The language can get pretty vague and evasive--  I'm thinking of a good friend who is a professor of Church and Community at Eden Theological Seminary in Atlanta.  I don't know WHAT the heck he believes, and if he's not deliberately doing double talk, he could have fooled me.

Anybody else have any background or experience with this stripe of Christian?

Ah, but the authors of the Bye Ball probably did see talking snakes and burning bushes that spoke to them -- in the form of natural phenomena they were not scientifically advanced enough to understand, events so unusual they could only attribute their happening to the divine. The authors of Genesis may have thought a flood covered the world, because the world was flat and had not been explored to any great degree. We now know that the parting of the Red Sea was a natural phenomenon that occurred ever so often and that the conflagration that destroyed the Cities of the Plain was probably an asteroid or mephitic gasses ignited by home fires.

Being completely without knowledge of physics and biology, astronomy and anthropology, primitive people had to seek answers for the unexplainable, and fear of what seemed metaphysical phenomena made them only naturally inclined to attribute what they experienced as aspects of the divine. Vis-a-vis the talking snake, in Mexico, in the Yucatan, in the 19th century, Mayan peoples almost rid their peninsula of Europeans and Mestizos through the influence of a "Talking Cross" that told them to run their oppressors into the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean Sea. Who knows what chicanery duped the authors of the O.T.?

That more sophisticated Booble believers think the stories are symbolic nevertheless fails to account for all of its violence, its misogyny, and its emphasis on slavery and other institutions we now regard as archaic and even evil. These people are the enablers of fundamentalists like Rev. John Hagee, who can claim Buy Bull authority for such pronouncements as, "Hurricane Katrina was God's judgment on New Orleans for hosting gay pride events."

B. K.,

Most of the bible belt and fundy christians believe their bybull literally. They say things like "god said it, I believe it, and that ends it" in regards to bible and scripture. In the last few years however, things like smoking, manner of dress, etc. have been set aside just to get people inside the church doors. Ministers want to claim getting people to come to church is the main goal. Once they are here "god will do the rest." They do not see it as a dropping of standards.

I'm wanting to know what it is that god will be doing? He didn't do anything so far.

If God told me to murder my first born son as he did Abraham, I would have said to God, "Fuck you!"




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