Very interesting, slightly depressing site, courtesy of Willie. If you’re interested in crazy things done in the name of religion, this is the site for you.
Here’s the link: AtheistsNever.com
There’s some drama over a Christian Nativity scene displayed on the lawn of a county courthouse in Indiana. The Freedom From Religion Foundation demanded the removal of the display on first amendment violation concerns and now locals are fighting. It’s the same fight every Christmas and I get tired of writing about it.
Now for the shock:
These Christmas fights bug me, honestly. I am a supporter of the FFRF and of some of these secular and atheist organizations, but sometimes I am shaking my head and wondering what they are thinking. You might get this scene removed but you do so much damage to our cause in the process. You don’t think these perceptions matter? Then what is this all about? These Christmas fights make us look like such assholes, that’s all I’m saying. They are not reciting prayers in a state building or anything on that level. A Nativity scene is barely religious, it’s like a cross necklace. End of rant.
What do you guys think?
The New York Times reports:
the state of Kentucky The state has promised generous tax incentives to a group of entrepreneurs who plan to construct a full-size replica of Noah’s ark, load it with animals and actors, and make it the centerpiece of a Bible-based tourist attraction called Ark Encounter.
Since Gov. Steven L. Beshear announced the plan on Wednesday, some constitutional experts have raised alarms over whether government backing for an enterprise that promotes religion violates the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state. But Mr. Beshear, a Democrat, said the arrangement posed no constitutional problem, and brushed off questions about his stand on creationism.
“The people of Kentucky didn’t elect me governor to debate religion,” he said at a news conference. “They elected me governor to create jobs.”
Gov Beshear, you can expect the Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster theme park submission soon.
They use words such as Love and Family but I hear hate and anger in their tone. These people scare me. I started a new category named ‘creepy’ for them. Lou Engle is an Advisor to Sarah Palin, by the way.
My Clay Sun has published a report on the recent Clay County School Board meeting:
Despite impassioned opposition from science experts, teachers and some clergy, Clay County School Board members unanimously resolved Tuesday night that evolution should be presented as a theory, and not fact, in the classroom.
The board passed a resolution, proposed by Superintendent David Owens, asking the Florida Department of Education to reword its newly proposed state standards, which presents evolution as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence.”
The Baker County, Florida, School Board approved a similar resolution a month ago.
The Florida State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Feb. 19th on proposed changes to state science standards.
Creationists will likely continue their campaign that evolution is “just a theory”, and as such should not be presented as fact. Their argument is that unless a theory has been “proved”, it is no more valid than any other theory. They don’t realize – or choose not to acknowledge – that most theories in science have not been “proved”, and it’s not the purpose of science to provide dogmatic proof of anything.
Scientists will likely continue to get worked up and make compelling logical arguments that will go right over the Creationists’ heads. They’ll not accept that appeals to logic don’t work on those who have abandoned logic for faith.
Here are some links if you’d like to read more.
We need to decide how we’ll proceed …
A majority of the Pinellas County, Florida, School Board supports the inclusion of Intelligent Design in the science curriculum, reports the St. Petersburg Times.
Four members of the school board, including the chairperson and vice-chairperson, have made statements in support of Intelligent Design.
“The entire theory of evolution is not scientific fact. Intelligent design balances it out.” — Nancy Bostock, Chairperson
“I’d probably ideally like to keep it all [evolution and Intelligent Design] out of the classroom. If it’s going to create this much controversy, how important is it?” — Peggy O’Shea, Vice Chairperson
“I think that students should be given the opportunity to view all theories on how man evolved and let their science background and their religious background take over as to which one they believe in.” — Jane Gallucci, Member
“To teach one [evolution] as if nothing else existed, I think we’re doing our students a disservice.” — Carol Cook, Member
You can read the news article here.
The PCSB website states: “The public is encouraged to contact the School Board members on any issue.”
I suggest we contact the school board and let them know there are more than two theories of our origins. Pastafarianism is built on similar tenets as Intelligent Design, and has much greater support from the academic community. If you decide to write, please be respectful.
Office: (727) 588-6300
E-mail: [email protected]
The Ledger reports that the majority of Polk County, Florida, School Board members support teaching Intelligent Design in addition to evolution in public schools.
It’s unclear if they’re prepared to change the definition of science. Some people are concerned that a supernatural theory will not mesh with the study of the natural world.
Board member Kay Fields said last week she wants intelligent design, which is promoted by some Christian groups, taught in science classes in addition to evolution.
“If it ever comes to the board for a vote, I will vote against the teaching of evolution as part of the science curriculum,” Lofton said. “If (evolution) is taught, I would want to balance it with the fact that we may live in a universe created by a supreme being as well.”
The board’s majority opinion is at odds with many in Florida’s scientific community who strongly support the new, more rigorous science standards, and say intelligent design lacks scientific credibility.
Perhaps Florida’s scientific community has not realized the type of genius arguments they’re up against:
“My tendency would be to have both sides shared with students since neither side can be proven,” [School Board Member] Tim Harris said.
“I don’t have a conflict with intelligent design versus evolution,” [School Board Member] Sellers said. “The two go together.”
“It crosses the line with people who are Christians,” [School Board Member] Lofton said. “Evolution is offensive to a lot of people.”
I will wager that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can produce more academic endorsements for our theory than Intelligent Design proponents can for theirs.
My guess is that the Polk County School Board is just unaware of Pastafarianism. As a public service, I propose that we contact them, and let them know that there are other supernatural theories just as valid as Intelligent Design, primarily ours.
Those in favor of Intelligent Design:
Kay Fields (District 5)
Tim Harris (District 7)
Margaret Lofton (District 6, Chairman)
Hazel Sellers (District 3)
Lori Cunningham (District 2, Vice-Chairman) – undecided
Those not in favor of Intelligent Design:
Frank O’Reilly (District 1)
Brenda Reddout (District 4)
You can use this link to email all 7 School board members.
Please be respectful – remember we are not criticizing their beliefs, merely pointing out that there is another, just as legitimate, theory that should be included into the curriculum. Please leave a comment and tell us about your conversations with the School Board. Thank you!
The Ledger article can be found here.
*update* 12/11/07 – Their local newspaper published a story about our campaign here.
Author and blogger John Scalzi has posted an amusing report of his visit to the Creation Museum.
Some time ago he said that he’d visit the museum, which was built near his home, on the condition that his readers donated $250, with the added incentive that any extra money would be given to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. His readers came through and donated over $5000.
So he went, took a bunch of pictures, and posted a very thorough report.
Here’s how to understand the Creation Museum:
Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit. And we’re not talking just your average load of horseshit; no, we’re talking colossal load of horsehit. An epic load of horseshit. The kind of load of horseshit that has accreted over decades and has developed its own sort of ecosystem, from the flyblown chunks at the perimeter, down into the heated and decomposing center, generating explosive levels of methane as bacteria feast merrily on vintage, liquified crap. This is a Herculean load of horseshit, friends, the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Augeas.
You can read his entire report here.
NOVA’s most recent program is about the Intelligent Design debate over the last few years. They’ve put together an excellent companion website, and as of November 16th, you can watch the entire program online – I highly recommend it. NOVA always does a fantastic job on their programs and this is no exception.
My one criticism is that they neglected to mention the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s role in the Intelligent Design vs Science debate.
Richard Dawkins has a new TV series about the rise of superstition and pseudoscience, and you can watch the first episode online here. It’s pretty good.
Also, I would like to note that about 6 months ago I sent professor Dawkins an FSM emblem, and he never wrote back. I can only assume that he was so taken aback by the gesture that he couldn’t find the words to respond. I’m still waiting, professor.