It takes a humor site to speak the truth »« Anti-creationism legislation—imagine that!

Comments

  1. says

    Yes, it’s just a theory. Yes, it’s just science, like other boring theories.

    Really, “it’s just a theory” has to be included into one of the “answers.” If the media intend to miseducate the public about these matters, how is the public supposed to make the proper choice?

    Glen Davidson

  2. tbtabby says

    The only continent with a greater need for good, hard science teaching than North America. Our Pharyngulation talents are needed this day.

  3. says

    The “just a theory” meme will never die, no matter how often it gets gut-shot by careful explanations of what “theory” actually means. Irritatingly frustrating.

  4. says

    On the one side “Evolution, natural selection and embryology make for just a theory” and on the other side we have “Creationism is not even a hypothesis”.

    Got to wonder why anyone with a functioning brain in our modern world would take the word of Bronze Age temple priests with next to no scientific training (but some conjuring training) over that of several generations of scientists who dedicated their lives to discovering evidence to prove hypotheses. If thiose priests had any real knowledge we’d have all had cell phones 3000 years ago.

  5. says

    Hmmm, they don’t mention the school in the article. That’s not very helpful.

    You can expect there to be a fierce comment war on that article, but the good news is that News24 does have a set of regular commenters who do a great job of combatting the religious, creationist and conspiracy theorist nutjobs that’ll inevitable be lured out of the woodwork by this article.

  6. Ms Anne Thrope says

    Just a godless South African delurking to say thanks for the much needed pharyngulation. I’m not sure if anybody has picked up on the article that prompted the poll. Warning : the comments may result in a chronic case of head-desking.

  7. says

    Is it still 1961 in South Africa?

    I’m actually of the opinion that it is still 1861 in South Africa.

  8. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Ms Anne Thrope

    Is there any way we can get hold of the name of the school? If ever there was a time for naming and shaming it is right now.

    @ CapeTownJunk

    Holy shit, we were just talking about this a few threads ago. Seems that things really are worse than I recall.

  9. McCthulhu, now with Techroline and Retsyn says

    There’s a link at the bottom to a story about a teacher who had to quit her job for teaching evolution. It contained this gem:

    “Sometimes the world is very complicated it is difficult to communicate science to the public and the result is that some people have a negative view of science and then science communicators then bend over backward to try and accommodate people while they on the other hand, they know it is E=mc², it’s not E=mc² plus baby Jesus,” psychohistorian Auke Slotegraaf told News24.

    That’s freakin’ classic. I wish I had said it.

  10. kahomono says

    Anyone who wants scientific ideas to be taken seriously needs to quit patronizing people who think “theory” means “pretty decent guess” or “one of a panoply of possible answers” and start explaining it calmly and without talking down. Adult-to-Adult instead of Parent-to-Child (if you were alive in the seventies you’ll recognize that framing).

    Otherwise, enjoy life in the echo chamber while the funding dries the rest of the way up.

  11. David Marjanović says

    Yes, it’s still just a theory 22 % 939 Votes

    No, students should learn all science 73 % 3040 Votes

    Let parents decide at individual schools 5 % 211 Votes

  12. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ kahomono

    The “three strikes and you’re out” rule applies here.

    (You think these people are not lying? Really?)

  13. kahomono says

    On whom is there two strikes?

    All the talk we talk is only any good if bystanders are influenced. If you make it clear that only the in-crowd is welcome then it’s all really just balloon juice.

  14. says

    Holy flurking schnitt, I’ve just seen the comments section. It’s like Daniel Haven has spawned a litter of tribbles.

    I just… oh sod it – CANDLEJACK!

  15. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    My spies are starting to report back:

    I am afraid there are a whole bunch of private Christian schools popping up. The parents belong to what they themselves term “cells” where they get together and do bible bashing.

    And these are people driving BMs and Mercs. But, if people opt to be ignorant, who are we to stop them. One day they will be dead and not get to realize that they were wrong.

    I haz a sad…

  16. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ kahomono

    On whom is there two strikes?

    Three strikes. On this blog the “three comment rule” applies. Link here.

    Goddists deal in very bad faith when we point them in the direction of even the Pfffft of All Knowledge, where the meaning of Scientific Theory is explained in an adult fashion that even a child can understand. (Click on this link if you do not understand what the term Scientific Theory means.)Liars-for-jeebus argue in bad faith and … well … LIE – even when they know better.

    To prevent Liars-for-jeebus weaseling on any ambiguities, Richard Dawkins has proposed the use of the term “Theorum” to prevent Humpty-Dumpty style wordplay to create hideaways for their sky-gods. Linky here.

    The problem that I have is that if we have to fight a rearguard action for every established meaning tat gets corrupted by Liars-for-jeebus, our whole language becomes corrupted.

    strike one
    strike two

  17. Moggie says

    Is it still 1961 in South Africa?

    They have Die Antwoord. Your argument is invalid.

  18. kahomono says

    I don’t have a problem if the word Theorum replaces Theory as an aid to distinguish the popular from the rigorous definitions.

    I do have a problem when you refuse to acknowledge that the popular definition exists and that the vast majority are of good will but confused. Pointing them at a definition of “Scientific Theory” does not prevent them from lazily interpreting the word “theory” the same way they have since they were ten. The fact that they are not willing to put more effort into it… well, go ahead and smash a whiskey bottle over their head. That will keep them around to get educated! Or maybe not. I know which way to bet.

    If, on the other hand, you are elliptically proposing that this is somehow my third strike, well, see what that buys you.

  19. says

    moggie #19:

    Is it still 1961 in South Africa?

    They have Die Antwoord. Your argument is invalid.

    Die Antwoord makes all our arguments invalid. Please nuke us now. We all deserve it, because we failed to stop Die Antwoord before they became well-known internationally.

  20. chigau (同じ) says

    kahomono

    I do have a problem when you refuse to acknowledge that the popular definition exists and that the vast majority are of good will but confused. Pointing them at a definition of “Scientific Theory” does not prevent them from lazily interpreting the word “theory” the same way they have since they were ten. The fact that they are not willing to put more effort into it… well, go ahead and smash a whiskey bottle over their head. That will keep them around to get educated!

    Is that an example of “Adult-to-Adult instead of Parent-to-Child”?

  21. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ kahomono

    Pointing them at a definition of “Scientific Theory” does not prevent them from lazily interpreting the word “theory” the same way they have since they were ten.

    The context was that Science (in the form of evolution, big-bang, history, gravity (I am not joking here)) is claimed by Liars-for-jeebus to be “just a theory”. We are clearly talking about the scientific term because that is the specific context of the discussion. Stop weaseling. Stop pretending you have the childlike naivety of a ten year old. In a word stop lying.

    Further, you are currently using the Internet, which is also the product of “mere theories”. The point is that this shit works where fables about imaginary sky-gods do not. Goddist liars in education do know better, even if the children that they abuse with their lies do not. Stop being an apologist and at the very least stand against that.

  22. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    There is one christian liar that I can have even the smallest smidgeon of respect for. That is he is open about what he does. Kurt Wise does not lie about his lying at least. Unlike the people who say that “[Science] is just a theory”:

    Later, as a sophomore in high school, he took a newly-purchased Bible and a pair of scissors and cut out every verse which could not be interpreted literally if scientific determinations on the age of the earth and evolution were true. He pursued this task with a flashlight under the covers of his bed for several months; at the end, he had removed so much material that “with the cover of the Bible taken off, I attempted to physically lift the Bible from the bed between two fingers. Yet, try as I might, and even with the benefit of intact margins throughout the pages of Scripture, I found it impossible to pick up the Bible without it being rent in two.

    He did not hide behind easel words. He turned his back on his scientific education and sought complete solace in his chosen fables.

  23. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    And while you are about it, shunt this w into the above.

  24. petzl20 says

    Not only is it a badly written poll, it’s a badly formatted poll:
    The poll result for “No, children shd learn all science” is nearer the text for “Let parents decide at individual schools”, thus giving a misleading apparent result.

  25. kahomono says

    The context was that Science (in the form of evolution, big-bang, history, gravity (I am not joking here)) is claimed by Liars-for-jeebus to be “just a theory”. We are clearly talking about the scientific term because that is the specific context of the discussion. Stop weaseling. Stop pretending you have the childlike naivety of a ten year old. In a word stop lying.

    Further, you are currently using the Internet, which is also the product of “mere theories”. The point is that this shit works where fables about imaginary sky-gods do not. Goddist liars in education do know better, even if the children that they abuse with their lies do not. Stop being an apologist and at the very least stand against that.

    Oh, HFS, you think I am a theist.

    Time for my mani-pedi. That’s going to be a better use of my time.

  26. baal says

    I’ve made this point before but I’ll make it again. It is not fair and often literally impossible to meet the demands of Kahomono and the “just a theory” crowd.

    They say what they want is not to be talked down to but then they plug up their ears, close their eyes and start making la-la-la noises over and over. There has not been a shortage of appropriate polite adult-to-adult explanation. At the very least, school text books take a good stab at it and we now have this modern inter-tubes as well as the older ‘Library’ technology.

    If Kahomono was being honest or fair or taking personal responsibly to educate itself, Kahomono and friends would know what scientific theories are. Sadly, they instead constantly demand the scientists (or atheists) relate ideas in their idiom. Turns out, you can’t discuss molecules in bible verse and still keep the actual science in.

  27. says

    Pharyngulation now at 77%, fantastic work by everyone who’s voted!

    Something that’s heartening is to see the comments page thumbs up vs thumbs down count. The pro-evolution comments have received plenty of thumbs-up, and the creationists are getting thumbs-downed. Obviously it’s not meaningful in a scientific way, but the comments page is getting read by a lot of creationists in South Africa, and for them to see that creationist comments are unpopular must give them food for thought. I believe in sowing the seeds of doubt in creationist minds – sow enough seeds as often as possible, and some of them are bound to germinate sooner or later.

    As for that annoying saying “Evolution is only a theory”, I’m thinking of replying to it “In that case, Creation is only a fairytale”. As you may have noticed from that News24 comments page, our South African creationists aren’t the sharpest debaters on the planet. It doesn’t take much of a “Gotcha” to bamboozle them, so I reckon “Creation is only a fairytale” should be enough ammunition to do it.

  28. kahomono says

    LAST POST I PROMISE

    You twits have decided I am a god-botherer because… I guess because instead of joining in with the, “look at the ijits” jeering I dared to propose that the side of truth (yes, your side, mine too) could do a better job communicating.

    You have proven my point. One of you read every prime-numbered word in my first post, I guess, decided that lack of sheep-like following THIS flock made me a blade of grass… and… let the trampling begin! No need to read his posts any further but for pulling two- or three-word phrases with which to hammer him! Yes, the analogy is breaking down but anyone who cares to try (none of you, so far as I can tell) will get what I mean.

    I am an atheist and I am not interested in living in a world where the idiocy of religion makes the rules… but I recognize – as nobody else I have seen respond here seems to – that we’re going to have to KEEP TRYING TO EDUCATE THEM until the changes begin.

    NOT “oh, well, we’ve written TWO Wikipedia articles with The Truth, WTF do they want???????”

  29. Chris from Europe says

    @kahomono
    So you are new to Pharyngula. The debate about accommodation vs confrontation isn’t exactly new.

    Is there any support for view that engaging people in a nice way is helpful, especially fanatics, is a successful strategy?

  30. khms says

    What bothers me is that kahomono was immediately categorized as a god-bot, when I cannot see any of that in what (s)he wrote. Sounds like common garden-variety accommodationism to me, instead. Which has enough problems of its own that there’s no need to saddle it with the problems of an entirely different demographic. (Google also suggests it’s not a god-bot.)

    Not the first time I noticed something like that here, either. Some of the local denizens are awfully fast with putting people in a box, and if they don’t fit, force them in.

    It’s especially irritating if the people doing so talk of the three-strike-rule, while demonstrating more relevant behavior than the people they’re attacking

    And yes, theophontes, I’m talking about you here.

  31. Stacy says

    If, on the other hand, you are elliptically proposing that this is somehow my third strike, well, see what that buys you

    Heh. I’m more interested in what it’s gonna buy you.

    Oh, HFS, you think I am a theist

    No, he doesn’t. Better work on reading for comprehension.

    *prepares popcorn*

  32. Stacy says

    What bothers me is that kahomono was immediately categorized as a god-bot, when I cannot see any of that in what (s)he wrote. Sounds like common garden-variety accommodationism to me, instead.

    Categorized by whom? theophontes accused him of apologizing for theists, not of being one.

  33. Stacy says

    Yes, the analogy is breaking down but anyone who cares to try (none of you, so far as I can tell) will get what I mean

    *munches popcorn* I get your analogy. I see that you missed theophontes’ point, and are now calling us twits and screaming at us. So much for “Adult-to-Adult” conversation, and how good at it accomodationists are.

  34. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    kahomono,

    I don’t think you’re a theist. I think you’re a common or garden accommodationist. That’s an atheist who tries to play nice with theists in hopes they’ll play nice with you. If that’s what you want to do, then go for it. Just don’t whine that your way is the best or only workable way to deal with theists. Because it’s not.

    Have a nice day.

  35. says

    khms #35:

    What bothers me is that kahomono was immediately categorized as a god-bot, when I cannot see any of that in what (s)he wrote. Sounds like common garden-variety accommodationism to me, instead.

    Some observations:

    1) theophontes did not accuse kahomono of godbotting. kahomono views the “only a theory” misunderstanding as godbot ignorance. theophontes views it as godbot malice, deliberately muddying the waters of the definition of the word “theory” in order to discredit evolution.

    2) theophontes might have had a very itchy trigger finger there, and probably overreacted a bit, but you know what? After reading the utterly depressing godbot drivel on the News24 comments page, I wouldn’t blame theophontes one bit for being in the mood to take aim at the first available target.

    3) What’s the difference between a godbot and an accommodationist? At a time like this, who cares? There is no valid accommodationist stance when the topic at hand is religious authorities discriminating against a science teacher. In this case, an accommodationist position is a traitorous one.

  36. says

    Go right ahead, kahomono, and calmly, adult to adult, explain what “theory” really means in the realm of science. Then, when a creationist gets done mangling what “evolution” means, you can calmly explain that no, crocoducks don’t fit the theory.
    Then get ready to explain the word “theory” again.
    Repeat as necessary. Do not count on having time for a mani-pedi.

  37. John Morales says

    kahomono:

    I do have a problem when you refuse to acknowledge that the popular definition exists and that the vast majority are of good will but confused.

    Funny how this same good-willed vast majority don’t similarly claim the germ theory of disease is just a theory, eh?

    (After the ten-thousandth time you’ve had to correct someone, you too might begin to get jaded, and to recognise how self-servingly wilful is this confusion to which you refer)

  38. DLC says

    “I have a religious objection to teaching that theory. ”
    If they said that, they’d still be wrong, but they wouldn’t be liars.
    How is it that none of these people have a religious objection to teaching Newtonian physics, quantum mechanics or the germ theory of disease ?

  39. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ kahomono

    (Going back a little:)

    I don’t have a problem if the word Theorum replaces Theory as an aid to distinguish the popular from the rigorous definitions.

    I certainly do. The words “scientific theory” (referred to simply as “theory” in scientific discourse) has a very definitive meaning. It is a time to put an end to the Humpty-Dumpty games of goddists that pretend our words mean whatever is convenient for goddists to have them mean. They have a habit of claiming an equivalence between lies and reality.

    Stop being so wishy washy. It makes you sound as if you buy into that crap.

    vast majority are of good will but confused.

    Oh you mean the kids that go to school to remedy their ignorance in the first place? Or the poorly educated adults who have given up trying? Or the lying goddists in xtian schools that try and feed the kids lies in place of science? It is those last that I have set my sights on.

    #28

    Oh, HFS, you think I am a theist.

    Read what I said (#24):

    Stop being an apologist and at the very least stand against that. [emphasis added]


    What (my God) baal said.

    What CapeTownJunk said. (I hope the “Creation is only a fairytale” response has not offended delicate sensibilities. /snark)

    @ kahomono 32

    LAST POST I PROMISE

    Thank Dog!

    The rest of your post scores a 0,5 DH on the Daniel Haven Scale ™. Well done!

    @ Chris

    Is there any support for view that engaging people in a nice way is helpful, especially fanatics, is a successful strategy?

    Fishing for trolls with marshmallows is as difficult as tickling for trout. I have learned from much experience and the advice of others that smelly cheese is the best bait.

    @ khms

    And yes, theophontes, I’m talking about you here.

    Read my above response to kahomono’s #28 in this comment. I am tackling both the apologetics of kahomono (Are you telling me I’m responding too strongly?) and the goddist bullshit that ta wants us to softpedal.

    (We are talking about my home town here, by the way.)

    @ Stacy 37 & 38 & 39

    Succinctly put. (Am I perhaps being to verbose for kohomono and khms?)

    @ CapeTownJunk 41

    1. Yes. And the people who feel offended deserve to be. (And those kahomono claims do not know better should be angry at goddist for lying to them.)

    2. Hey! That was a damn good kolskoot! (But I am also angry as you say.)

    3. Wow, your stance sounds stronger than mine. Cool!

    @ evodevo

    Two words – AIDS virus

    A contemporary example of ongoing evolution that is well documented, the consequences of which will be remedied by Science and not fairytales?
    ….

    /Marjanovićing

  40. janvd says

    I went to a state school in SA and was force-fed Christianity. Ironically enough I went there because it had a really good math and physics program. At that time I never complained, mainly because my parents are fundementalist xtians, but also because if I had complained about it I probably would have been told that’s part of the school’s identity and asked to leave. It’s ridiculous how much control religious sects have over education in SA for a country that’s supposed to be one of the most liberal secular democracies in the world

  41. says

    theophontes #47:

    @ evodevo

    Two words – AIDS virus

    A contemporary example of ongoing evolution that is well documented, the consequences of which will be remedied by Science and not fairytales?

    I see one of two diametrically opposing ways to read evodevo’s two words:

    1) The AIDS virus is evidence of evolution which we’ve observed in the last few decades; or

    2) Whaddya expect from a nation of dumbfucks that’s currently being ravaged by the AIDS virus?

    evodevo, you’re not using telegrams to comment here, are you? Are they charging you by the word? If you’re not going to give us any verbs or adjectives so that we can work out the point you’re trying to make, then all you’re doing is trolling us. In that case, I have one highly appropriate word for you, given your original telegram-like comment: Stop.

  42. says

    DLC #46

    How is it that none of these people have a religious objection to teaching Newtonian physics, quantum mechanics or the germ theory of disease ?

    The reason is well-known, but it bears repeating. Because evolution, when properly understood, is the only one of those scientific theories which refutes the need for a Creator God, and therefore directly threatens to expose the fictional nature of their creation stories, and their religion(s) in general.

    They know how serious this threat is. That’s why they frame issues as being battles of good versus evil, and everything which contradicts their dogma is, by default, evil.

    (Notwithstanding their other devious tactic – to co-opt evolution as being “all part of God’s plan”. The implication is that you ought not to question God’s plans, so that’s all you need to know about evolution. End of story, so please, for the love of God, stop thinking about evolution already, dammit!)

  43. kimulrick says

    CapeTownJunk:

    evodevo #44:

    Two words – AIDS virus

    Two words – Elaborate please.

    I assumed evodevo was responding to:

    John Morales:

    Funny how this same good-willed vast majority don’t similarly claim the germ theory of disease is just a theory, eh?

    Meaning that some people do deny the germ theory of disease, even if they don’t use the same “it’s just a theory” rhetoric. Though saying that AIDS is a punishment from god is a similar mindset. But maybe I am being too optimistic about evodevo’s motivation.

  44. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ CapeTownJunk

    Because evolution,… directly threatens to expose the fictional nature of their creation stories, and their religion(s) in general.

    I am really keen to open up new fronts, in part because of the issue you have raised here. There are some other very good arguments that stand outside of the evolution debate.

    A good example is the idea that we do not even have to prove the gods to be false, we only need to show how they came into being. ¹ This is fairly easy to uncover, as all the predecessors of the current RWA gods: jeebus, YWHE, allah and their chthonic entourages are well recorded and leave a trail that is as distinctive as the fossil record. The problem is not a lack of historical evidence. Rather it is the same lying and lalala-ing that one encounters with a discussion of evolution. I still think there is a huge advantage in doing this though – because the more fronts on which we expose their deceit , the more people will start to question them.

    There are also some simple little “pocket-proofs” of scientific positions that completely blow the goddist version out of the water. One such that we had recently is the image of the moon, pockmarked with craters. We know that the craters are caused by rare astroid strikes and that the moon is also less likely to incur such events than the earth. But we do not have such major cataclismic events every few years (which would have to be, if the earth was less than 10,000 years old). Therefore, QED, the earth is extremely old.
    ….

    ¹ For the life of me I cannot remember if I read this or dreamed this. If anyone knows, please share.

  45. says

    Oh god, I’m hosing myself here. The comments on that original article on News24 are still going strong, and I’ve stumbled across this little gem:

    Really? I’m a Christian, and I know the Earth is older than 6000 years. I know that Natural Selection is how species propagates itself. Just consider the butterfly that has eyes on it’s wings, and predators don’t eat it.

    Imagine that last sentence being read aloud in a Karl Pilkington voice!

    I’m trying to imagine Ricky Gervais trying his best not to explode in a piss-taking shitstorm…

  46. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ CapeTownJunk

    Imagine that last sentence being read aloud in a Karl Pilkington voice!

    I imagine what was meant was that they have what looks like larger creature’s eyes (ocellus) on their wings to scare off other potential predators.

    That still doesn’t make him right about his religious precepts though.


    Why xtian schools in South Africa are a form of child abuse:

    The problem runs on two levels. As an analogy, intellectual malnutrition (a lack of reality) and poisoning of minds(through their lies). Children should not be forced to endure such things, even if the mental liabilities are not as immediately obvious as their physical equivalents.

  47. sueboland says

    Hey ! It’s not just us SAfricans who are pig ignorant.
    40% of Americans believe in creationism.Let’s not flagellate ourselves here – stupidity is global.

  48. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ sueboland

    True. I wish this insanity was geographically limited to a tiny area. It once was.

  49. richardgadsden says

    Is it still 1961 in South Africa?

    No, 1961 was the year the ANC started the armed struggle against apartheid. South Africa is greatly improved from that.