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Petition against teaching evolution in schools? – UPDATED!

arroba Email

Hmmm. At ipetitions:

A nationwide moratorium on the teaching of evolution in schools

To Mike Pence, Vice-President of the United States of America:

We the undersigned note that, when you were a member of the U.S House of Representatives, you spoke out on the subject of science education and for presenting students with all available information. Recently, we have seen the passage of academic freedom bills in Louisiana and Tennessee which have allowed for critical evaluation in the classroom and improved educational standards. However, whilst an important development, they were only enacted owing to the need to protect students from indoctrination. We object to the teaching of the very controversial theory of evolution as part of the K-12 science curriculum which we regard to be unnecessary and unhelpful.

It is obvious to us that Evolutionism-Darwinism is an anti-Christian atheistic dogma masquerading as science. According to renown philosopher of science, Professor Michael Ruse, himself an ardent evolutionist, there is no doubt that the theory of evolution represents a philosophical worldview: “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity.”

Evolutionists, indeed, themselves speak about their “theory” with an unmistakably religious fervour. More.

Snopes alert? Who knows. Whoever wrote this must be a Brit or Canuck (or educated in such a tradition). Note “fervour,” not “fervor,” in the last quoted line. The petition reads like a lecture, actually. An elected official might wonder, what do you want me to do, apart from listening to your lecture [glances at timer]?

Well, the petitioners do eventually get round to action items:

We therefore urge you to persuade President Trump to issue an executive order imposing a nationwide indefinite moratorium on the teaching of evolution in public schools. For it to be effective, this order should clearly state that it supersedes the decisions of state and district boards of education regarding the science curriculum. Those schools that don’t comply with it should be completely denied federal funding and aid by the Department of Education, just as it is proposed that cities that provide sanctuary to illegal aliens ought to be denied assistance. We hope that you will act upon this very urgent matter and uphold truth and the American way of life we hold so dear.

A friend notes that most of the signatories are either fake names (e.g., William Jennings Bryan or Donald Trump) or sneers like “someignorantfool” — and some clever efforts like Ima Paulled.

Jerry Coyne, a surviving U Chicago Darwinist, advises that he tried signing up:

I swear that the ignorance of Americans sometimes astounds me, not that I think we’re all ignorant. But I have to question the rationality of people who started the petition below (click on screenshot to go to petition, but for god’s sake don’t sign it!). Lots of biologists and scientists were sent this link by a creationist whom I’ll leave unnamed to protect the benighted.

Jerry, do just tell us who sent you this. The world doesn’t need as much protection from correct information as you must think.

I tried adding another humorous one like the above, but for some reason (LOL) they apparently aren’t accepting signatures. You might want to try one.

Alas, Coyne has been upstaged by, at 14:50 EST: youaresodumb, iamsodumb, someignorantfool, Carol stanley, Diddly Squat, Ima Paulled, Euell P Yorpanz, Donald J Drumpf, Clarence Darrow, Ima Dickhead, Ignt Git, Chuck Darwin, D Bill Platypus, Not Muhammad, and a host of other luminaries of our time.

This sideshow will be fun for our current “Last one out, turn off the lights” mainstream media.

Unfortunately, it’s a distraction from the serious look that is needed at why the United States spends so much on education but performs so poorly in international rankings. Stop blaming multiculturalism. Canada is multicultural too, so is Britain. Also, stop attributing it to how hard you try with difficult kids. We try hard too. Something else is the problem in the States. Maybe a new broom is a good start for sweeping some pretty dusty corners.

One problem in the United States is these stupid controversies, fronted by rent-seeking lobbies to the now nearly-useless legacy media. It wouldn’t even be legal to prevent the teaching of evolution as such or to teach any religion-based theory thereof in publicly funded schools. But some will keep their pressure group jobs by keeping the pot on the boil.

It’s got so crazy in the vast, rich, and creative United States that, as I said, in response to a commenter offering the usual bitch against charter schools at an earlier story, it can sound surreal:

[Commenter: ] “Maybe charter schools cream off the best students leaving public schools to deal with what’s left.”

[News:] It testifies to how bad things have become that people can make such an argument in good faith (I believe it is in good faith) and count on most of their audience to be oblivious to the implications: The escaping students and parents were responsible for saving the school from ruin at the hands of baby-kissers, ‘crats, and union thugs. So they have an obligation to stay and fight.

If so, let’s make all schools charter schools, obviating the flight risk.

Why should US prisons be full of kids from failing education systems? Those are the kinds of discussions needed now, not pressure group fundraising via headline grabbers from media that may not even be here a decade from now.

Okay, back to the real questions around evolution soon. O’Leary for News

UPDATED: A friend kindly writes to say that PZ Myers reports that he got the following email about the petition that is seeking to ban evolution:

Dear All,

Howdie. I thought you might be interested to read a fresh online petition which is directed at VP-elect Mike Pence calling on the incoming Trump Adminstration to impose an immediate,unconditional and indefinite nationwide moratorium on the teaching of evolution in public schools, including the threat of crippling financial sanctions on those schools that do not fully comply with this proposed executive action: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/moratorium-teaching-evolution

However, the real business will begin when Congress reconvenes on Jan 3rd. We will be speaking with Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) who heads the House Education Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. We will be asking for his subcommittee to approve a similar measure as an amendment to a House bill on education in 2017. Hopefully, the incoming Trump-Pence Administration will let high school students learn actual biology without the flawed narrative of evolutionism forced down their throats.

Merry Christmas to y’all,

Joe Hannon
Republicans Abroad (Make America Great Again)

Well, it all sounded like the Christmas Rush on snake oil to our diligent friend. So he took to Google. Turns out, there is a “Joseph Huff-Hannon,” a prolific American anti-Trump activist living in Canada (he seems to have taken remedial spelling lessons here).

The friend’s search turned up, without too much effort, an item from a western Canadian newspaper:

Joseph Huff-Hannon, a spokesman for Avaaz based in Washington, D.C., and campaigner at the rally in Vancouver, said a Trump presidency would affect Canada. “It’s a U.S. issue but it’s also a global issue. Donald Trump, beyond being a dangerous president, would be a terrible neighbour to Canada,” Huff-Hannon said. “We want to make sure Donald Trump sticks to the hotel business.

So, the friend wonders, is someone trolling Huff-Hannon, creating petitions in his name that he would not want to be a part of? If so, he might be best to publicly disavow the matter.

See also: Larry Krauss goes after new US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Really, the vast underperformance of publicly-funded US school systems, relative to those of other technologically advanced nations, should be the only issue on the table down there just now.

And possibly, Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) as hero to scientists—especially Larry Krauss: The fact that the article opens with this particular constellation of “greats who still care” makes sense. Hitchens was, after all, one of the Four Horsemen of the new atheist Apocalypse.

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Evolution should most assuredly be taught in schools, but it should also be taught just as any other scientific endeavor. In other words, tell the whole story about it, warts and all, and don't indoctrinate; educate! OldArmy94
I don't think you can define fact in terms of mind. Eventhough it is true, you cannot express what the logical function is of the mind in regards to facts. In practical terms materialists are good at facts, provided the subject at issue does not exhibit any freedom. Materialists don't do well at subjectivity, particularly religion they generally lack. Their politics is also generally shoddy, for lack of this subjectivity. mohammadnursyamsu
Seversky 11
The goal of public education systems has always been to ensure that all students receive a good, basic education, regardless of race, religion, class or means. How is that not a worthy objective for any society?
Yes, that sounds good, but there are some details that can cause us to wonder. For example, what is the difference between indoctrination and education? Do we know of public education systems now or in the past in various parts of the world that had a goal of indoctrination? I can think of one global system that attempts to shape the minds of all citizens according to strict standards of what is supportive of the state's philosophy. North Korea, for example. Silver Asiatic
The goal of public education systems has always been to ensure that all students receive a good, basic education, regardless of race, religion, class or means. How is that not a worthy objective for any society? As for the petition, it smells like a spoof to me. Seversky
mohammadnursyamsu @
... materialism ... only facillitates facts ...
How does materialism facilitate facts? In order for facts to exist a rational mind needs to exist — materialism can neither ground rationality nor mind. Facts are statements about the world — there is no clump of matter about another clump of matter. Origenes
The Achilles heel of materialism is that it really only facillitates facts, not opinions. What is good, loving and beautiful make no sense on materialist terms, except to denote the material fact that human beings make these arbitrary utterances which they call opinions. If one teaches the difference between fact and opinion in depth, validating opinion in it's own right apart from fact, then materialism is gone. Opinion requires the spirit choosing. That should be the strategy in regards to teaching in schools, to teach the difference between fact and opinion. mohammadnursyamsu
The only solution is to expose the pushers of this nonsense. They will fight back but exposing their unfounded faith they call science will eventually bite them. It has been in the offing for a long time but now, and ever since everyone has access to internet. This means death to their bs even it is cloaked as science. Good bye!
I agree with you here but maybe a dramatic letter like this can get the ball rolling. Religious teaching exists in our schools and universities its just anti religious teaching. The lack of teaching of design concepts in biology is also a big hole that needs to be fixed. bill cole
Continue to teach Darwinian evolution as a possible cause of the origin of life and speciation. Teach also the possibility of intelligent design and let everyone decide for themselves who or what the designer is. Some will choose traditional religions, some will choose extraterrestrial beings, and some will choose Darwinian evolution. None of these are conclusively supported by empirical evidence. All are based on faith and philosophical assumptions. Truth Will Set You Free
I'm totally against that petition, not because I support evolution. I don't. 1. What would be taught instead? Creationism? Which one? Young or Old Earth and with what spins on them? Who would do it? Are there enough people to do it? Even among the ID'ers there are vast disagreements when it comes to details of their philosophy...but I doubt Michael Behe would like to teach ID instead of evolution and how often. This idea is non-sense and it would not stand far from much, and much more rational prospective. It would take a revolution of some kind to defeat this corrupt system of Darwinian faith of education that invaded out lifes. The only solution is to expose the pushers of this nonsense. They will fight back but exposing their unfounded faith they call science will eventually bite them. It has been in the offing for a long time but now, and ever since everyone has access to internet. This means death to their bs even it is cloaked as science. Good bye! J-Mac
PPS: Plato's warning:
Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ --> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . . [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-
[ --> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by "winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . " cf a video on Plato's parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]
These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,
[ --> Evolutionary materialism -- having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT -- leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for "OUGHT" is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in "spin") . . . ]
and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ --> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ --> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush -- as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [--> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].
PS: The petition smells of click-bait satire to me (or even projection to set up agit-prop), especially as I look at the commenters, who speak for themselves starting with just their handles . . . as News notes; inadvertently underlining the issues about the self-falsifying and de-moralising, amoral nature of evolutionary materialism. A responsible person would say, yes, teach what is the general body of theory and evidence about evolution, but do so in a responsible fashion that addresses underlying ideological and worldviews issues and how these impinge on the work of science. That is, treat with the context of the science and its epistemology -- strengths and limitations -- do not merely pretend that all is well and settled. Beyond that, we need to regard high school education as education primarily for citizenship and so this sort of contextual matter including logic of induction and degree of warrant possible for kinds of knowledge should be part of everyone's education; e.g. we cannot observe the remote past of origins so we must infer to best empirically warranted explanation. In that context, Newton's vera causa principle applies . . . as in, has anyone actually seen functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information coming about, save by intelligently directed configuration, on trillions of observations? From this, should we not refrain from imposing an ideological constraint -- methodological naturalism -- that forces a conclusion opposite to what evidence and analysis of search challenge in large config spaces supports? Our kids need to be educated in ethics and grounding of ethics. Some sound history will help, too [including Alcibiades as exhibit A on what Plato warned against in The Laws, Bk X . . . aka, how Athens' democracy failed]. Then, in this sort of context, civics. KF kairosfocus
DfO, Pardon an OT. You may wish to see how I have got on and am getting on, now that U3 is on the table. Could you contact me through the email address listed at the foot of the page linked through my handle? Thanks, KF kairosfocus

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