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Apr 10 2012

Tennessee needs your input

Tennessee is taking a big step backward with a new “academic freedom” bill that will open the doors of the public schools to a whole flood of nonsense. Students at the University of Tennessee sent a polite letter to the governor explaining the problems with the bill.

Dear Governor Haslam,

We are writing to you regarding HB368/SB893. As graduate students at the University of Tennessee, we strongly believe that this Bill represents a step backward for Tennessee and our state’s ascending recognition for Science and STEM education. We are specifically writing to address the nature of the Bill itself, which we feel was not adequately discussed during either the House or Senate hearings and misrepresents the undivided consensus among anthropologists, biochemists, biologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, genome scientists, geographers, and molecular biologists.

If given a cursory reading, this Bill appears to advocate for intellectual freedom in the classroom and hence would seem prudent. However, it is abundantly clear from both a careful reading and from the testimony at hearings that the intent of this Bill is to encourage teachers to call into question universally accepted scientific principles.

In Section 1(a)(2) of SB893, the generally assembly states “The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy;”

We agree. However, this “controversy” is not scientific. The controversy to which the Bill alludes is the reluctance of non-scientists to accept these principles due to certain religious and political beliefs. This can be the only explanation for the inclusion of human cloning in the Bill. Human cloning is solely an ethical issue. There is no scientific debate on how to clone an organism or whether genetic clones can be created. It is a fact that humans can create genetic clones. Only the ethics of the issue is at stake.

Scientific evidence supporting the occurrence of biological evolution, global climate change, and the chemical origin of life are not controversial among scientists. Scientists universally accept these principles based on their predictability and the overwhelming evidence supporting them. Among scientists, the controversy exists in the details such as how changes in temperatures will affect biodiversity or what evolutionary forces
regulate the speciation process. This type of discussion is due to the very nature of science, which requires the constant acquisition and analysis of data.

However, this is not the controversy to which the Bill speaks. The bill later states, in section 1(c), that “The state board of education . . . shall endeavor to assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.” This wording seems to imply that the controversy for these aforementioned subjects lies in the scientific realm where in reality they lie only in the political and religious ones.

We fear that this bill only ostensibly supports “critical thinking” in Tennessee’s classrooms. Instead, by implying that subjects such as evolution and global warming are “debatable”, this bill achieves the exact opposite of its purported goal. This is tantamount to encouraging educators to suggest students in science classes disregard the very nature of the scientific process and ignore factual data in favor of the beliefs of some individuals. Scientists cannot ignore data in favor of personal biases. If they did, they would be discredited as non-objective.

This Bill is a step backwards and would do irreparable harm to the development of STEM education in this state. As university educators, we continually face the challenge of losing students’ interests in science courses when they arrive at The University of Tennessee because they are frustrated by their lack of sufficient preparation. Many of them know very little about evolution by natural selection or the mechanisms of global climate change. We hope that you see that as with the legislatures who passed this bill, we too are concerned about the education of children in Tennessee.

This passage of this Bill has the potential to cost the state dearly in terms of lost revenue, a poorly trained scientific workforce, and an exodus of scientists and educators who do not wish to have their discipline diluted with non-scientific biases. We fear that calling into question scientific support of foundations to biological theory will cripple the ability of Tennessee’s students to become functional scientists, doctors, professionals, and contributing members of many growing fields.

We ask that you please thoughtfully consider our position, and veto this bill. Thank you for your time.

Signed,
Graduate Researchers in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolutionary Biology (G.R.E.B.E)
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

[56 grad students from EEB and other departments signed the petition]

Now this is it: this is the last day before Haslam signs the bill into law. Contact the governor and urge him to veto this embarrassing law.

Here’s the contact information for his office:

Phone: (615) 741-2001
Fax: (615) 532-9711
email: [email protected]

World-wide criticism would be helpful at this point.

143 comments

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  1. 1
    Glen Davidson

    and the chemical origin of life are not controversial among scientists. Scientists universally accept these principles based on their predictability and the overwhelming evidence supporting them.

    Chemical origin of life is something of a ringer there, since it’s rather hard to figure out what “predictability” and “overwhelming evidence” it has. It has some evidence, but little is known about it, let alone enough for “predictability.”

    The chemical orgin of life is accepted primarily because it’s the only reasonable possibility, given the causes known to exist then. I can understand why they didn’t wish to get sidetracked by it, but I still think this leaves it open to (somewhat legitimate) criticism of the letter.

    What’s especially annoying about this bill is that it implies that the dishonest attacks by the IDiots are legitimate–as if mention and even discussion of genuine problems existing in any of the actual science issues aren’t already permitted. The governor knows this, in fact, which is why he says the bill won’t change anything (dubious in fact, although de jure it allows nothing that wasn’t already allowed).

    Glen Davidson

  2. 2
    WilloNyx

    I am thankful that you posted this. Please flood their phones and inboxs. I don’t want creationism taught here but it will be if we don’t get this vetoed.

  3. 3
    Predator Handshake

    I consider myself very fortunate to have attended a Tennessee public high school that had excellent science and technology programs, and I was very well prepared for my college courses.

    A friend of mine in college was from Dayton, and he had to fill in all the gaps in his biology education himself even 80 years after the Scopes trial. He’s really smart so he didn’t have too much trouble, but it always seemed very unfair to me that he had to put in all this extra work to learn something that his school should have been doing by default.

  4. 4
    w00dview

    In Section 1(a)(2) of SB893, the generally assembly states “The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy

    I find one of the best way to get under the skin of climate change deniers is to repeatedly bring up how similar their methods of “debate” are to creationists. When said deniers happen to be atheist, they really don’t like the comparison. Sometimes, mockery really is the best way to deal with these fools.

  5. 5
    wcorvi

    NO, NO, NO! I’m all in FAVOR of the bill – it will finally take some of the embarrassment and attention away from MY state! Which shall remain nameless, due to already too MUCH publicity.

  6. 6
    AndrewD

    If this bill is truly about “academic freedom” then I assume there will be no objections to teaching modern Marxist theory?

  7. 7
    Doubting Thomas

    I’m a Tennessee resident and I sent him an e-mail. For all the good it will do. Stupid Republicans.

  8. 8
    alejb

    @ Glen Davidson #1

    Chemical origin of life is something of a ringer there, since it’s rather hard to figure out what “predictability” and “overwhelming evidence” it has. It has some evidence, but little is known about it, let alone enough for “predictability.”

    Glad someone else noticed this. I think this is an unfortunate flaw in an otherwise well written letter. The origins of life aren’t nearly as well understood as its evolution, and its inclusion here weakens the case somewhat.

  9. 9
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    If you think that’s a doozy, TN’s also got a bill banning the teaching of “gateway sexual activities” in sex ed classes to compliment their abstinence only bullshit.

    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120406/NEWS0201/304060053/TN-Senate-approves-abstinence-bill-warns-against-gateway-sexual-activity-

    It has not been a good session for the TN lege.

  10. 10
    grumpyoldfart

    You Americans make me laugh.

    In a hundred years from now your biggest industry will be kids diving off the wharf to retrieve coins thrown into the water by the tourists.

  11. 11
    komponist

    You Americans make me laugh.

    In a hundred years from now your biggest industry will be kids diving off the wharf to retrieve coins thrown into the water by the tourists.

    Perfect!!

  12. 12
    kieran

    I’ll send him an email thanking him for helping the Irish economy by forcing biotech companies based in Tennessee to outsource to countries and states which have a scientifically literate population. Although grumpyoldfart says it much better than I do.

  13. 13
    cultureclash

    A link to the full text of the bill (if freely available online) might be helpful for those who do want to contribute to this fight but want to do so in an informed manner.

  14. 14
    cultureclash

    Having said that I ‘think’ these are the relevant links…

    Main page;

    http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=SB0893

    The full text of the bill (pdf);

    http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB0893.pdf

    A proposed amendment (pdf);

    http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Amend/SA0901.pdf

  15. 15
    Matt Penfold

    In a hundred years from now your biggest industry will be kids diving off the wharf to retrieve coins thrown into the water by the tourists.

    Assuming of course the tourists have not been put off by cretinous officials at the airport.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    cn2zv5oe

    Dear Governor Haslam,

    I support the petition submitted to you by Graduate Researchers in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolutionary Biology (G.R.E.B.E). This petition is a thoughtful, intelligent and heartfelt appeal to reason and academic integrity. Although my message to you is far less eloquent, it has the advantage of brevity in case you didn’t have time to read the entire G.R.E.B.E. petition:

    Bullshit wrapped in a benign euphemism like “academic freedom” is still bullshit. In the scientific context, the true meaning of Academic Freedom is to allow science to exclude ideas that are contradicted by physical observation without interference from unscientific influences. Lying for Jesus is a crime against academic integrity.

    Yours Truly,
    Paul Sanford
    Engineering Graduate, Stanford University
    Palo Alto, CA

  18. 18
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    Is it only coincidence that his name rhymes with “assclam” ?

  19. 19
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    @Dr. Audley Z Darkheart, #9:

    It has not been a good session for the TN lege.

    Depends on what they’re hoping to achieve. If they’re trying to run a modern state in a way that is compatible with both the economy and basic humanity, then they’re failing miserably. If, however, they want to curry favor with their god, then they’re doing just fine.

    After all, jeebus is gonna end it all real soon, dontcherknow?

  20. 20
    A. R

    kemist: Perhaps we can graft several clams onto his ass with our dark side powers?

  21. 21
    Rey Fox

    If this bill is truly about “academic freedom” then I assume there will be no objections to teaching modern Marxist theory?

    Or sex education?

  22. 22
    twist

    Say this bill passes, and a student in a Tennessee school decides to excercise their new found academic freedom to answer goddidit to certain questions on a biology exam. Would a teacher be able to fail the student, or is this a ‘teachers-better-not-dare-disagree-with-a-christian’ bill? Would every crackpot theory have to be taught as though it were actually a serious contender for the truth, or is that restricted to the crackpot theories popular with the fundies?

    This is one of the things that makes me realise just how privileged I am to have recieved a reasonable standard of education. Fuck, an education where teachers don’t have to indulge the delusions of politicians and fundie parents (or where teachers don’t have the right to present their own delusions as fact to a class of impressionable youngsters) shouldn’t be a privilege.

  23. 23
    marko

    Emailed from Scotland. Good luck.

  24. 24
    Alexandra (née Audley)
    I f this bill is truly about “academic freedom” then I assume there will be no objections to teaching modern Marxist theory?

    Or sex education?

    Silly rabbits, those are academic oppression.

    “Freedom” only applies to Christians and their “values”.

  25. 25
    Alareth

    I saw a suggestion yesterday that should the bill be signed into law, some history teachers start a class on the controversy over the authorship and veracity of the Bible.

    It would be fun to see the pearl clutching over that.

  26. 26
    reasonbeing

    Email to be sent as soon as I finish this comment. It is so sad that we still have to fight this issue today…

  27. 27
    nemistenem

    Emailed from Oregon – dad graduated from UT Knoxville in the 60′s with a grad. degree in Geology and had a successful career as geologist/engineer for over 30 years. He helped instill in me my love of the world as revealed through science so I was happy to add my voice of dissension. As previously stated, though, lotta good it will do. Poor kids – indocrinated by religious parents and poorly educated, too. Poor country – lots of bills around in this vein. Poor world ecosystems – little chance to recover/thrive without educated people to understand the serious issues at hand.

  28. 28
    juice

    Isn’t ironic when people who run government schools as part of a compulsory education program whine about academic freedom?

  29. 29
    peterh

    “…because [fill the blank] is the only reasonable possibility, given the [factors presently] known…”

    Isn’t this the basis of rational hypothesis/inquiry/synthesis?

  30. 30
    slideguy

    Emailed from California – Good luck to us all!

  31. 31
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I think the Governor needs to be reminded that SCOTUS has defined creationism a religious idea, and not science at all. Ergo, there is no scientific controversy, and some poor school system will end up paying the ACLU legal fees when they lose the case in court.

  32. 32
    humanape

    Haslam will sign the anti-science religious bill because he’s probably an evolution denier, and because he knows most Tennessee voters are uneducated morons who would never vote for him if he defended science education.

    Also, a veto would be easily overridden. The politicians of Tennessee are as retarded as the Christian idiots who voted for them.

  33. 33
    brianwood

    Somebody’s gotta flip my grandkids’ burgers. Might as well be Tennesseeans, who look dumb sitting in a college classroom anyway. I mean, if it’s from south of the Mason-Dixon, it’s really not ready for education, eh?

  34. 34
    ikesolem

    They might want to go and get the law school students onboard – otherwise they’re going to have to include Islamic Sharia law, Christian Canon law, Jewish Halakha law, and various hybrid blends like they have in India (where your legal code is tied to your religion, and ‘insulting religion’ is a crime).

    The law students would never be able to keep it all straight, anymore than science students would when faced with Young Earth creationism vs. Intelligent Design in all its flavors vs. aliens seeding the Earth with life vs. us all being stuck in a virtual reality simulation without knowing it, etc.

  35. 35
    carlie

    brianwood – fuck you.

  36. 36
    Ingdigo Jump

    Yes those southerners are so backwaters with their nostalgia for the confederacy and plantation system and slavery and biblical systems.

    We should totally let things stand as they are so they can become a servant class to the important people.

  37. 37
    koliedrus

    On behalf of my children, I want to thank everyone who made an effort to put this bill on the chopping block.

  38. 38
    Sharon C

    Alas, Gov. Haslam released a statement saying he wouldn’t sign the law, but won’t veto it – so it will pass into law without his signature.

    http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/17377218/haslam-wont-sign-monkey-bill-will-allow-it-to-become-law

    Sigh.

    I’m one of the GREBE members that signed the letter (and I sent it into PZ – thanks for posting it!). I want to thank everyone who sent an e-mail, I really appreciate your support.

  39. 39
    Aratina Cage

    My input has also been sent. Thank you for bringing it up! I hope we have Pharyngulated the governor enough to make him realize that vetoing the bill would be the smart move.

  40. 40
    Synfandel

    If you think that’s a doozy, TN’s also got a bill banning the teaching of “gateway sexual activities” in sex ed classes to compliment their abstinence only bullshit.

    What on Earth is a “gateway sexual activity”?! Doing it on the paving stones between the fence posts at the end of your front walk?

    Are they talking about kissing behind the bleachers? Copping a feel at the drive-in? Doing handstands in a cheerleader’s skirt?

    Are they Republicans or the Taliban?

  41. 41
    koliedrus

    Thanks for the update, Sharon.

    The link she provided contains the following statement by Governor Haslam:

    “The bill received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate by a three-to-one margin, but good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion. My concern is that this bill has not met this objective. For that reason, I will not sign the bill, but will allow it to become law without my signature.”

    I’ll translate that for you: “I don’t know what to do so I won’t do anything.”

    Yeah. Thanks for “governing”.

  42. 42
    saguhh00

    Quick! Send this to Tennessee!

  43. 43
    kantalope

    Then there is this: http://timesfreepress.com/news/2012/apr/09/vw-hiring-outside-fill-specialty-slots/?breakingnews

    coincidence? Probably not.

  44. 44
    koliedrus

    It’s sad that I now have to teach my kids about Xenu, Moroni and the FSM.

    They want to learn Paleontology and Marine Biology.

    This will be a potentially large distraction in their quest to understand and explore.

    Please feel free to create a Tennessee meme.

  45. 45
    yec123

    Heaven be praised that the Governor refused to veto the freedom bill despite all the threats, intimidation and scare-mongering of the atheists.

    Hopefully, students in Tennessee will now get the complete science education they deserve, which means examining creationist arguments and evidence as part of their lessons.

    Hopefully, we will see more academic freedom bills passed in other states much to the chagrin of the evolutionists and atheists.

  46. 46
    Ingdigo Jump

    Obvious Poe is obvious. Banhammer

  47. 47
    carlie

    Hopefully, students in Tennessee will now get the complete science education they deserve, which means examining creationist arguments and evidence as part of their lessons.

    Yes. I’m sure their standardized test scores will go way up after they spend their class time learning the flat-earth theory.

  48. 48
    Rich Woods

    Thanks, yec. I needed a good belly laugh before calling it a night.

    Twat.

  49. 49
    feralboy12

    Obvious Poe is obvious. Banhammer

    If it’s a Poe, the only appropriate solution is to wall it up.

    (Yeah, I know, different Poe. Still seems fitting.)

  50. 50
    yec123

    Feralboy:

    You, sadly, prove my point. Atheists are control freaks. They just want to ban and censor anything they don’t like. Sad.

    I support critical evaluation, debate and the free exchange of ideas. I can’t imagine how anyone living in a modern democracy would object to this.

  51. 51
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I support critical evaluation, debate and the free exchange of ideas.

    Nope, you don’t do critical evalution. If you did, you wouldn’t be a godbot or be apologizing for their and your stupidity with your inane insipidity.

  52. 52
    A. R

    yec123: Please click on the link “KILL IT WITH FIRE.” in the right sidebar, it will take you to a place where you can spew your bullshit without ruining perfectly good threads.

  53. 53
    Aratina Cage

    Uh, yec123, I hate having to tell you, but teaching kids about antiscience religious beliefs in a science class is pretty much illegal federally under the separation of church and state. So, dream on and all, but that is not going to happen in public schools.

  54. 54
    vhutchison

    Now that the bill in TN is law:

    You can help stop the same from becoming law in Oklahoma! After getting the bill killed in committee, the entire original creationst bill (HB 1551) has been filed as a floor amendment in the Senate into an unrelated bill, HB 2341. It can come up now at anytime after tomorrow (11 April). If you wish to help go to the OESE website ( http://www.oklascience.org/ ). Copy the entire list of Senate addresses into the ‘TO’ block, mention ‘oppose amendment to HB 2341′ and add just a few sentences into the body of the message. Huge numbers of messages were important in getting the bill killed earlier and numbers do count. Please help, time is short. Thanks to all who can help with just one message to the entire Oklahoma Senate!

  55. 55
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Synfandel:

    Are they talking about kissing behind the bleachers? Copping a feel at the drive-in? Doing handstands in a cheerleader’s skirt?

    No one really knows– the law doesn’t specify. From Jezebel

    Super Abstinence Only Education curriculum that expressly prohibits “Promot(ing) any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with non-coital sexual activity.”

    I’m pretty sure everything you’ve asked about would be discouraged.

    Are they Republicans or the Taliban?

    There’s a difference?

    *rim shot!*

  56. 56
    Rey Fox

    I support critical evaluation, debate and the free exchange of ideas.

    Already happened with creationism, it failed in the marketplace of ideas. Why do you want it to get a government handout?

  57. 57
    WhiteHatLurker

    @saguhh00
    I think the line “it’s not bible science until something gets BBQed” might actually have sold the bill in TN.

    But I think that grumpyoldfart is spot on, except TN is landlocked. Do tourists throw coins into rivers?

  58. 58
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Do tourists throw coins into rivers?

    [Park Ranger Mode Enabled]Tourists throw coins into any water. Even hot springs. Even Bridalveil Falls. Even the Colorado River. Even the C&O Canal.[/Park Ranger Mode]

  59. 59
    saguhh00

    YEC123:

    How about you teach in medical school that chopping up birds and burning pidgeons can cure disease?

  60. 60
    Sharon C

    A suggestion from a friend was that all we really need is one teacher willing to be the next Scopes: spend a few lessons on real controversies in the field (like the recent group v kin selection dustup), then take a class to cover the top 10 reasons Genesis is fiction. Get fired, ironically sue under the new law, then wait for the repeal.

    I’m not sold on the practicality of that approach, but it makes for a satisfying daydream.

  61. 61
    petzl20

    I don’t see the point of sending petitions. The governor’s internal dialogue is going to be, “Oh, the screechy liberals don’t like this bill? I must be doing the right thing.” Although, it could never get that far, because the governor is probably behind the bill as avidly as any of the legislators, it being Tennessee and all. Better to ask supporters to send $1.00 to the appropriate oppositional organizations than send a useless email.

  62. 62
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    I support critical evaluation, debate and the free exchange of ideas.

    Here’s an idea for you. Pull your head out of your ass. On the house.

  63. 63
    kenmacleod

    Academic freedom is for academics. Schoolteachers are not academics. They’re paid to do a job, and that job isn’t to discover but to teach. They should no more be free to decide the content of teaching than a McDonalds chef is free to decide the content of a hamburger.

  64. 64
    yec123

    Uh, yec123, I hate having to tell you, but teaching kids about antiscience religious beliefs in a science class is pretty much illegal federally under the separation of church and state. So, dream on and all, but that is not going to happen in public schools.

    .

    1. No, it isn’t illegal to teach creationism. In the past, schools did teach creationism, and with no constitutional controversy, because it was regarded as the proper scientific model. Leading paleontologists of the 19th century, such as Richard Owen, rejected Darwinism and supported creationism.

    2. There is no separation of church and state in America. There is just a provision that the U.S Congress should not mandate and impose any particular religious belief or non-belief. In other words, the U.S has no official religion of state that all citizens must adhere to. But that doesn’t mean that the U.S is a secular dictatorship.

    3. The bill passed by the Tennessee legislature does not mandate the teaching of creationism. It defends the right of those teachers who are prepared to expose students to counter-arguments to evolutionary theory as part of the critical evaluation of science.

    4. When legislators see that education has improved in Louisiana and Tennessee, they will drop their opposition to these freedom bills and they will be passed in other states.

    5. The ACLU can complain all it likes, but its sheer hypocrisy has been exposed. It is fundamentally against freedom of thought and speech.

  65. 65
    twist

    yec 123:

    I support critical evaluation, debate and the free exchange of ideas.

    Teaching kids about evolution and the big bang? You must also teach them the ‘theory’ that a mythical entity magicked the universe and all life on earth into existance over a time span of six days, 6000 years ago, in direct contradiction to evidence from the fields of biology, physics, archeology, history, geology and cosmology.

    Teaching kids about the moon landing? You must also teach them about the ‘theory’ that it was all a hoax filmed in the desert.

    Teaching kids about 9/11? You must also teach them the ‘theory’ that the US government did it on purpose.

    Teaching kids about world leaders? Don’t forget to mention David Icke’s lizardman hypothesis!

    Mention the death of Elvis? Better give equal weight to the ‘theory’ that he’s still alive and hiding out on the moon.

    Can teachers PROVE that the CIA aren’t reading our thoughts? Thought not, tinfoil hats for all school children!

    Oh, and I think time-travelling nazis killed Kennedy. Prove otherwise.

    The first example is as ridiculous as the following examples, so I don’t see why it should get special treatment. We’re in favour of the free exchange of ideas, after all!

    Honestly, teaching people about creation myths and conspiracy theories can be a good thing, as long as you’re teaching them how to spot the difference between a crackpot theory such as creationism, and a scientific theory such as evolution, rather than insisting that the two are equally valid. Teach it in some kind of critical thinking skills class, rather than wasting valuable science lesson time debunking myths. Teaching kids that a scientific theory is not the same as a hunch and teaching them the value of evidence can go some way towards protecting vulnerable young minds from the influences of Liars For Jebus.

  66. 66
    twist

    In the past, schools did teach creationism, and with no constitutional controversy, because it was regarded as the proper scientific model. Leading paleontologists of the 19th century, such as Richard Owen, rejected Darwinism and supported creationism.

    Yes, then more than 100 years went by, in which we learned a great deal about the world around us. Creationism was no longer regarded as the proper scientific model, or as a scientific model at all, except by those such as yourself who willfully deny evidence, deliberately misinterpret data and through your lies and deceit, continue to poison the minds of youngsters. Your god exists in gaps in human knowledge, and the gaps are closing.

    Many in the 19th century also didn’t accept the germ theory of disease. I demand the teaching of miasma theory in all public schools! After all, if it was good enough for them…

  67. 67
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    No, it isn’t illegal to teach creationism.

    True, it isn’t illegal to teach creationism in classes of comparative religion, mythology, or philosophy. It is illegal to teach creationism in science pretending it is science. So says SCOTUS.

    There is no separation of church and state in America.

    Ever hear of the first amendment. There is separation of church and state and SCOTUS acknowledges that fact. Which is why it is illegal to require students to lead in prayer by teachers in schools. You are one dumb asshat.

    The bill passed by the Tennessee legislature does not mandate the teaching of creationism. It defends the right of those teachers who are prepared to expose students to counter-arguments to evolutionary theory as part of the critical evaluation of science.

    Those counter-arguments must be science, and come from the peer reviewed scientific literature. Any literature that proclaims biblical inerrancy is by definition not scientific. Creationism still can’t be taught legally, since it can’t pass the test of science being refuted, which requires more science, not religion. Religion cannot refute science. So says SCOTUS.

    When legislators see that education has improved in Louisiana and Tennessee, they will drop their opposition to these freedom bills and they will be passed in other states

    They will see expensive legal bills and losing court cases, and run like hell away from the idea. What a liar and bullshitter you are.

    The ACLU can complain all it likes, but its sheer hypocrisy has been exposed. It is fundamentally against freedom of thought and speech

    Nobody is saying creationism can’t be taught. Just that it is a category error to say creationism is a science, and it refutes science. It is a religious idea. Science can’t refute religion either, but it makes religion look silly. Oh, and why don’t you reconcile ostentatious public prays with Matthew 6:6-6:8. Your mewlings should to funny to the intelligent folks here SQUAWK the Parrot.

  68. 68
    louis14

    Sent an email to Haslam, making it clear that I am not a US resident, but hoped he understood the damage to the reputation of Tennessee this bill would cause, and the harm it would do to Tennessee children’s education.

    Got a reply!

    Sadly, just a pally, generic automated response, addressing me as a Tennesseean. His reply ends with this absurdity: “I look forward to working with you and all Tennesseans to make our great state an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

    Is that deceit or irony? I can’t tell.

  69. 69
    Nick Gotts

    I support critical evaluation, debate and the free exchange of ideas. – yec123

    Yet another lie. If you did support these things, you would recognise that critical evaluation and debate can determine that some ideas are worthless, and that the last two centuries of science show that creationism is one of these. Creationism has inspired no research for well over a century, and its protagonists routinely lie, just as you do, distorting and quote-mining genuine research in their efforts to prop up the rotting corpse they pretend is still alive. Young Earth creationism was refuted in the 1820s and 1830s, well before Darwin’s Origin of Species, by scientists who were themselves Christians. Many, such as the Rev. Adam Sedgewick, had initially believed in and argued for the Noachian flood, but unlike modern creationists, they were honest scientists who eventually accepted the clear evidence that no universal flood had ever happened.

  70. 70
    yec123

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT DOES NOT MAKE AMERICA SECULAR! IT MEANS THAT AMERICA IS RELIGIOUSLY PLURALISTIC AND THAT FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR NON-RELIGION IS GUARANTEED.

    Why is this so difficult for you (supposedly intelligent) atheists to understand? Moreover, individual states can pass whatever legislation they like on the subject of religion. Only the U.S Congress cannot mandate and impose a national religion. Read the Constitution!

  71. 71
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Why is this so difficult for you (supposedly intelligent) atheists to understand?

    It is difficult for you to understand. Privilige caused by being the major religion causes you to ignore that you can’t by majority rule force the minorities to pray to your imaginary deities, make them acknowledge your imaginary deities, or even wait while you mentally masturbate in public to your imaginary deities. What it means is that the government, and all it functions, either effectively acknowledges all religions (Xians are good on lip service for this, until someone wants to give a Wiccan prayer), or none. And it is easier on everybody if government ignores religion. Which is what the founding fathers expected. Why is that so hard for a person who alleged can do critical analysis to see? Oh, that’s right, you SQUAWK unthinkingly like a Parrot, religious idiocy.

  72. 72
    carlie

    Bolding and all-caps doesn’t make your argument any smarter, yec.

    Freedom of religion isn’t present when a religion is being forced on you. Why is this so difficult for you to understand?

  73. 73
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and YEC, there is this thing called de facto establishment of religion, which is what the case is at the moment, caused by unconstitutional steps being taken, and anybody who complains is shouted down and harassed by Xians, and that is the privilege I mentioned. It needs to dismantled, and Xians simply become another religion amongst the many. Why aren’t you for that???

  74. 74
    Nick Gotts

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT DOES NOT MAKE AMERICA SECULAR! IT MEANS THAT AMERICA IS RELIGIOUSLY PLURALISTIC AND THAT FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR NON-RELIGION IS GUARANTEED.

    Why is this so difficult for you (supposedly intelligent) atheists to understand? – yecfuckwit

    Religious pluralism and freedom of religion or non-religion is pretty much what “secularism” means, you impenetrably stupid dolt. The courts are the authority on exactly what the implications of the second amendment are, and they have determined that teaching creationism in science classes violates the Constitution, because it amounts to government endorsement of a particular religious belief.

  75. 75
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    YEC, SCOTUS pronouncements on Creationism, and ID. Now, show creationism is truly scientific to us scientists, or shut the fuck up as an abject SQUAWKING Parrot should do when their cage is covered with conclusive evidence.

  76. 76
    A. R

    Freedom of religion isn’t present when a religion is being forced on you.

    You need to think about this carefully yec123. How would you like it of Islam were forced upon you?

  77. 77
    carlie

    or even wait while you mentally masturbate in public to your imaginary deities.

    Quoted for emphasis. Classroom time is extremely limited, and anything at all that takes up valuable learning time on religion is time that they aren’t learning actual valuable knowledge.

  78. 78
    Nick Gotts

    That’s a very useful link, Nerd. Bookmarked for future use!

  79. 79
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    How would you like it of Islam were forced upon you?

    Gasp, expecting an Xian to know how to apply Jebus’ Golden Rule? I’m shocked! Usually they act like they never heard of it.

  80. 80
    Childermass

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT DOES NOT MAKE AMERICA SECULAR! IT MEANS THAT AMERICA IS RELIGIOUSLY PLURALISTIC AND THAT FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR NON-RELIGION IS GUARANTEED.

    Your second sentence is what a having a secular country means.

  81. 81
    Childermass

    Lets reemphasize what Dr. Hutchinson said above and urge every Oklahoman contact the state senate. Use your real name. Give your real physical address. Be polite. From the OESE here is what you need to know:

    We have just found out that Senator Steve Russell has filed a floor amendment to HB2341, a bill to delay textbook purchases because of lack of funding, that would attach HB1551 (“Academic Freedom Bill”) to that bill. Please contact senators John Ford, 521-5634, [email protected] and Judy Eason McIntyre, 521-5598, [email protected], senate sponsors of bill, and your own senator, and urge them to defeat the amendment. Emails are especially encouraged. Mention that the amendment is not germane to the bill. The amendment will be considered when the bill is heard on the Senate floor.
    Here are the email addresses for the Senators:
    [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

    Just copy and past the list of senators into the “To:” field of your email. If you want to put more effort, write your own state senator.

  82. 82
    w00dview

    Oh wow, when was the last time a creationist showed up here? How old school. Well, MRAs were getting boring anyway.

  83. 83
    carlie

    Leading paleontologists of the 19th century, such as Richard Owen, rejected Darwinism and supported creationism.

    They also used leeches to try and cure diseases.

  84. 84
    Childermass

    Myself: “Just copy and past the list of senators into the “To:” field of your email. If you want to put more effort, write your own state senator.”

    …in a second email.

  85. 85
    cry4turtles

    OK, I worked my ass off these past two weeks so when I get paid this Friday, I will have an extra $25 bucks to donate to fighting the impending American theocracy, but where to send those $25? I appreciate that there are numerous organizations to represent us, but I want my donation to specifically go to lawsuits-there I said it. I know the FFRF is fighting my state’s “year of the bibble” fiasco; will that give me the most “legal” bang for my buck? Any advice would be deeply appreciated.

  86. 86
    bcskeptic

    I am a Canadian resident and I sent him an email.

  87. 87
    yec123

    Your second sentence is what a having a secular country means.

    Nope. A secular state is one which tries to exclude religion from political and public life. It cracks down on the expression of religion in schools, courts, the military and so on. It offers no acknowledgement of relgious holidays and events. It refuses to work with religious charities and organizations. We have seen this in Turkey. A secular state is an authoritarian state. The founding fathers, however, envisaged a free country where the government sought neither to impose religion nor to exclude it.

    Now, if the state of Tennessee wants to pass a law that bans homosexuality and prescribes the flogging of gays in the Biblical manner, there is nothing unconstitutional about that save for whether flogging is “cruel and unusual”.

  88. 88
    nullifidian

    yec123:

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT DOES NOT MAKE AMERICA SECULAR! IT MEANS THAT AMERICA IS RELIGIOUSLY PLURALISTIC AND THAT FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR NON-RELIGION IS GUARANTEED.

    If the first amendment did nothing but guarantee religious pluralism, then the establishment clause would simply reduce to the free exercise clause. Courts typically operate on the assumption that the drafters of the Constitution knew how to write and didn’t introduce redundancies when drafting it. If you wish to assert that the establishment clause is redundant, then you’ll need some strong evidence from either the case law or the historical record to make your case—assuming you can understand either one.

    Moreover, individual states can pass whatever legislation they like on the subject of religion. Only the U.S Congress cannot mandate and impose a national religion. Read the Constitution!

    Read the fucking case law. All the provisions of the 1st Amendment, including the establishment clause, have been incorporated by SCOTUS pursuant to the 14th amendment. The states do not have the right to pass laws that violate the first amendment.

  89. 89
    nullifidian

    yec123:

    Now, if the state of Tennessee wants to pass a law that bans homosexuality and prescribes the flogging of gays in the Biblical manner, there is nothing unconstitutional about that save for whether flogging is “cruel and unusual”.

    Except that Lawrence v. Texas invalidated sodomy laws nationwide.

    Do you deliberately try to make all your statements as inaccurate as possible, or is unintentional due to the combination of a retrogressive ideology and total ignorance of the canons of constitutional law?

  90. 90
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    A secular state is one which tries to exclude religion from political and public life.

    Citation needed by the proven liar and bullshitter. Your word is worthless.

    It cracks down on the expression of religion in schools, courts, the military and so on.

    Nope, only unnecessary and proselytizing expressions of religion. You still haven’t shown how ostentatious public prayer is congruent with Matthew 6:6-6:8. Maybe because you know that jebus doesn’t like such shit.

    if the state of Tennessee wants to pass a law that bans homosexuality and prescribes the flogging of gays in the Biblical manner, there is nothing unconstitutional

    Sorry, utterly and totally unconstitutional, starting with banning homosexuality. SCOTUS is not your friend, of SQUAWKING PARROT.

  91. 91
    WharGarbl

    @yec123
    #86

    Nope. A secular state is one which tries to exclude religion from political and public life. It cracks down on the expression of religion in schools, courts, the military and so on. It offers no acknowledgement of relgious holidays and events. It refuses to work with religious charities and organizations. We have seen this in Turkey. A secular state is an authoritarian state. The founding fathers, however, envisaged a free country where the government sought neither to impose religion nor to exclude it.

    I think you’re confusing secular state and atheistic state.

    By definition, secular means having no affiliation with ANY religion/non-religion. In effect, a secular state does not promote nor suppress religion (US by principle, Canada, some countries in Europe).

    An atheistic state would effectively be one that actually promote atheism and/or actively suppresses religion. For example, China and North Korea.

    Now, if the state of Tennessee wants to pass a law that bans homosexuality and prescribes the flogging of gays in the Biblical manner, there is nothing unconstitutional about that save for whether flogging is “cruel and unusual”.

    Lemon’s test.
    Definitely Poe.

  92. 92
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Lemon’s test.
    Definitely Poe.

    Any legitimate Poe would understand Johnny Carson’s rule of three. Ergo, YEC is long past being funny, if that was its goal. If a Poe, it is just a pathetic one-joke comedian playing to the same audience who found it stale the night before.

  93. 93
    A. R

    Yes, apparently our budding theocrat hasn’t heard of the Lemon Test.

  94. 94
    yec123

    An atheistic state would effectively be one that actually promote atheism and/or actively suppresses religion. For example, China and North Korea.

    And that is the kinf of state which most atheists here want to impose on the grounds of being strict adherents of “secularism”.

    The Federal Government cannot mandate religion. That does not mean it has the authority to restrict religion at the national or state levels. If Tennessee voted to expressly teach creationism as part of the school curriculum, there is nothing unconstitutional about this and it does not profane democracy.

  95. 95
    yec123

    Sorry, utterly and totally unconstitutional, starting with banning homosexuality.

    huh! Homosexuality has only been legal (nationwide) since 2003. Before then, you could be prosecuted for sodomy in several states like Texas.

  96. 96
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    And that is the kinf of state which most atheists here want to impose on the grounds of being strict adherents of “secularism”.

    Please cite where any of us have advocated this. We do not want public monies to be used to promote any religion which is a Constitutional requirement, but you insist that, despite our attempts to correct you, this is what we want. Prove it.

  97. 97
    Matt Penfold

    huh! Homosexuality has only been legal (nationwide) since 2003. Before then, you could be prosecuted for sodomy in several states like Texas.

    Yet more evidence that the US is a backward third world nation.

  98. 98
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    huh! Homosexuality has only been legal (nationwide) since 2003. Before then, you could be prosecuted for sodomy in several states like Texas.

    Before the success of the Reformation in the 1500s to 1600s, being any flavour of Christianity other than Catholic would get you prosecuted for heresy and, quite likely, put to death. Are you making the argument that, if a law has existed in the past and is now no longer a law, it should still be enforced?

  99. 99
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And that is the kinf of state which most atheists here want to impose on the grounds of being strict adherents of “secularism”.

    Third party citation need from the confirmed liar, bullshiter, and SQUAWK.

    The Federal Government cannot mandate religion. That does not mean it has the authority to restrict religion at the national or state levels.

    Actually, it does. And ever hear of the fourteenth amendment? Still SQUAWKING ignorance, stupidity and bullshit.

    Before then, you could be prosecuted for sodomy in several states like Texas.

    And your pointless point is? Still SQUAWKING ignorance, stupidity and bullshit.

  100. 100
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Or, yec, are you claiming that since a law once existed making homosexual acts illegal that those activities are always wrong? Couldn’t the Catholic Church make the claim that, since civil authorities once punished those who lapsed from the Catholic faith, that Protestantism is always wrong?

  101. 101
    Nick Gotts

    And that is the kinf of state which most atheists here want to impose on the grounds of being strict adherents of “secularism”. – yec123

    That’s a bare-faced lie. You cannot produce one particle of evidence for it. You haven’t even tried.

    If Tennessee voted to expressly teach creationism as part of the school curriculum, there is nothing unconstitutional about this and it does not profane democracy.

    Garbage, as the list of court decisions Nerd linked to proves. You are not the authority on the Constitution, the courts are, and they have consistently ruled that mandating or even permitting the teaching of a religious doctrine in public schools violates it.

  102. 102
    twist

    Homosexuality has only been legal (nationwide) since 2003. Before then, you could be prosecuted for sodomy in several states like Texas.

    I don’t know what your point is, so I’m going to assume that this means you believe that homosexual acts are still illegal. You know, like your earlier comment about how you thought that the fact that people believed in creationism in the 19th century was sufficient evidence to believe it today. You really are spectacularly stupid. I hope I’m alive to see the day when the likes of you and your poisonous religion disappear into the irrelevancies of the past. It won’t require banning, either.

  103. 103
    Anthony K

    Any legitimate Poe would understand Johnny Carson’s rule of three.

    The rule of three predates Carson by a long time. And choosing to engage in satire doesn’t automatically make someone good at it.

    I’ve only ever seen a handful of good Poes. They’re the religious articles in The Onion, Betty Bowers (moreso than Landover Baptist) and the occasional piece on Christwire.org. So it would be no surprise that I agree with the rest of your comment:

    Ergo, YEC is long past being funny, if that was its goal. If a Poe, it is just a pathetic one-joke comedian playing to the same audience who found it stale the night before.

  104. 104
    brianwood

    Look, the stupid parents of the kids elected their leaders democratically, so they are getting exactly the education they want and deserve. So long as we Merkins consider kids property of the parents, this is just hunky-dory.

    If Tennessee wishes, it can teach the geocentrism as science, so long as it keeps religion out of it.

    I never mind when christians show themselves to be utterly stupid or ignorant or both. I love to mock and laugh at them, and their kids make good menial labor.

  105. 105
    andyo

    OMG, look at this little creationist’s grammar and punctuation! Bravo!

  106. 106
    yec123

    Garbage, as the list of court decisions Nerd linked to proves. You are not the authority on the Constitution, the courts are, and they have consistently ruled that mandating or even permitting the teaching of a religious doctrine in public schools violates it.

    Nonsense. There is nothing in the constitution that prevents individual states from enacting their own laws on religion, criminality and education. If Texas wants to enforce Biblical law (eg. an eye for an eye retribution), there is nothing the ultra-liberal Supreme Court and do to overrule this other than with reference to the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause.

  107. 107
    yec123

    I don’t know what your point is, so I’m going to assume that this means you believe that homosexual acts are still illegal.

    I think Lawrence v Texas should be repealed and that sodomy laws should still apply. Most decent Americans think the same way that I do considering how homosexuals continue to have “sex” in public restrooms and even churches. But I just don’t think that the police should spend any real time on the matter. It is the principle that counts.

  108. 108
    Matt Penfold

    Nonsense. There is nothing in the constitution that prevents individual states from enacting their own laws on religion, criminality and education.

    True in a very strict sense. There is nothing to stop them from enacting their own laws, but of course those laws will not be enforceable if they conflict with the US constitution.

    If Texas wants to enforce Biblical law (eg. an eye for an eye retribution), there is nothing the ultra-liberal Supreme Court and do to overrule this other than with reference to the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause.

    You forget the First Amendment, which has been interpreted by the federal courts as prohibiting states from acting in a manner based wholly, or mainly, on religious grounds. This has been explained to you before. I am not sure why you are unable to understand it, other than you just lack the mental ability to do so.

  109. 109
    Louis

    Driveller,

    homosexuals continue to have “sex”…even churches…

    Speaking as someone who is not homosexual but is really quite keen to give it a go now I know it’s okay to do it in churches, Hurrah!

    It takes a special kind of exhibitionist courage to get up and give someone a portion in the middle of a mass, for example.

    What sort of homosexual sex is the most approved of? Strap on lesbian action? Anal sex between two men? Oral sex of various degrees? Hand holding? Heavy petting? A bit of a significant look? Hot priest on choirboy action….I’ve just answered my own question there haven’t I?

    Louis

  110. 110
    Rey Fox

    When legislators see that education has improved in Louisiana and Tennessee

    Okay, you’ve got to be pulling my leg.

    the ultra-liberal Supreme Court

    I’m sure Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy will be surprised to hear that they’re ultra-liberal.

  111. 111
    myeck waters

    Yeah, got to be a Poe. Just a shame they’re not clever enough to be an entertaining Poe.

  112. 112
    twist

    Most decent Americans think the same way that I do

    Decent people accept that other people’s sexual orientation is none of their business. Decent people also don’t twist facts, misinterpret data and outright lie in order to poison the minds of the young, so I think you’re using a different definition of ‘decent’ to people who actually are decent human beings.

    Your ideal world sounds like something the taliban might come up with. Just becuase hell isn’t a real place, there’s no need to create it on earth, scumbag.

  113. 113
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    There is nothing in the constitution that prevents individual states from enacting their own laws on religion, criminality and education.

    Oh yeah? SQUAWK more stupidty and ignorance.

    It is the principle that counts.

    Yep, the principal you are a stupid and ignorant fuckwitted parrot SQUAWKING and blowviating your ignorance to your betters. Who is anybody with a fifth grade education that can really think.

  114. 114
    Nick Gotts

    Nonsense. There is nothing in the constitution that prevents individual states from enacting their own laws on religion, criminality and education. – yec123

    The states can enact unconstitutional laws as can the federal government, but the courts will strike them down. The courts have ruled repeatedly that the teaching of religious doctrine in public schools is unconstitutional, and they are the authority on the Constitution, not you or your lying theocrat cronies.

    Most decent Americans bigoted scumbags think the same way that I do

    FIFY

  115. 115
    Usernames are smart


    Any legitimate Poe would understand Johnny Carson’s rule of three.

    The rule of three predates Carson by a long time. And choosing to engage in satire doesn’t automatically make someone good at it.
    — Brownian #102

    The credit for listing things in threes goes to … Cicero! (And who says that General Ed/Liberal Arts classes are useless? Thanks, Lit of Latin!)

  116. 116
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    blowviating

    I like the cut of your jib, Nerd.

    :D

  117. 117
    Aratina Cage

    Most decent Americans think the same way that I do –yec123

    Decent = thinking like you? Of course it does. I could have told you that.

    Anyway, can you list how your way of thinking is any different from the Taliban’s with regard to the role of religion in society? It appears that you want your religion to be the legal foundation and governing principle of society just like the Taliban does.

  118. 118
    Anthony K

    The credit for listing things in threes goes to … Cicero! (And who says that General Ed/Liberal Arts classes are useless? Thanks, Lit of Latin!)

    Thanks, Usernames are stupid!

    I once had the dubious pleasure of hearing a friend try his hand at stand up on amateur night, and he must have mixed up the rule, because he kept putting things in fours: set-up 1, set-up 2, set-up 3, punchline.

    I could overlook the fact that his material was weird, conservative Christian shit, but his constructions just killed any semblance of timing, rhythm, and pace.

  119. 119
    Jadehawk

    TN’s also got a bill banning the teaching of “gateway sexual activities” in sex ed classes

    what the everglorious fuck is a gateway sexual activity?

    You Americans make me laugh.

    non-Americans like you embarrass me, as a non-American who doesn’t think the fall of a civilization is particularly funny, what with the suffering such things generally entail.

    Super Abstinence Only Education curriculum that expressly prohibits “Promot(ing) any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with non-coital sexual activity.”

    oh. “making eye-babies”

    Academic freedom is for academics. Schoolteachers are not academics. They’re paid to do a job, and that job isn’t to discover but to teach. They should no more be free to decide the content of teaching than a McDonalds chef is free to decide the content of a hamburger.

    this is part of the reason the American empire is failing. you should be making your teachers into academics, not into unskilled labor.

    In other words, the U.S has no official religion of state that all citizens must adhere to.

    which means it can’t teach one particular religious belief to the exclusion of others, like you creationists advertise. that’s what “separation of church and state” means.

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT DOES NOT MAKE AMERICA SECULAR! IT MEANS THAT AMERICA IS RELIGIOUSLY PLURALISTIC AND THAT FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR NON-RELIGION IS GUARANTEED.

    religious pluralism is what secular means, you fucking idiot. it means the government is neutral towards religion, not supporting any of them to the exclusion of all others.

    A secular state is one which tries to exclude religion from political and public life.

    that’s the same thing: not promoting one religion over others means either promoting each and every single one of them equally, or not promoting any of them at all.

    A secular state is an authoritarian state.

    liar

    Now, if the state of Tennessee wants to pass a law that bans homosexuality and prescribes the flogging of gays in the Biblical manner, there is nothing unconstitutional about that save for whether flogging is “cruel and unusual”.

    I’m sorry honeybunch, but the supreme court disagrees with you.

    And that is the kinf of state which most atheists here want to impose on the grounds of being strict adherents of “secularism”.

    liar

    If Tennessee voted to expressly teach creationism as part of the school curriculum, there is nothing unconstitutional about this and it does not profane democracy.

    states are not exempt from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, sorry.

    Look, the stupid parents of the kids elected their leaders democratically,

    not really. you don’t know much about elections in the US, do you?

  120. 120
    Jadehawk

    the ultra-liberal Supreme Court

    this is right up there with whatshisface’s claim that the Torygraph was a left-wing paper. lol.

    Most decent Americans think the same way that I do

    only if your definition of “decent” means “homophobic”, since the majority of Americans don’t think the way you do. hell, half of all Americans support gay marriage.

  121. 121
    Louis

    Look can someone just give me a clear indication of precisely when and how I am allowed to perform Teh Ghey Secks in church?

    Does it have to be a Catholic church? A mosque? A gurdwara? How much tongue am I allowed? Do I have to be wearing leather and/or criticising the decor? It’s not enough for ludicrous fundamentalists to tell me that Teh Ghey Secks occurs in churches, I need details. And possibly photos.

    Especially if Teh Ghey Secks is that lesbian kind. I deeply need to study that. I’ve seen some documentary videos on the internet and subscribed to a newsletter. I think I might be a lesbian. After all, I have visited Lesbania, I might have lesbian heritage.

    Louis

  122. 122
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Look can someone just give me a clear indication of precisely when and how I am allowed to perform Teh Ghey Secks in church?

    The first step is to get yourself ordained. After that, anything goes.

  123. 123
    Louis

    What a Maroon,

    I am a freelance Pope. I’ll kiss any tarmac you like for the right money. I’m good with nuns, and I’m bloody marvellous in my own palace. I know how to keep a cardinal in line as well.

    I reckon that gets me at least a handjob in an unobtrusive pew after the second hymn.

    Louis

  124. 124
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Louis,

    I believe that makes you infallible, so as long as you can convince us that you got the ok from god, you’re good to go.

    The beauty of being pope is that you’ve got your own country, so you can make your own laws.

  125. 125
    Louis

    What a Maroon,

    I am pretty damned infallible. Even my wife agrees which has got to be worth something. I’ll just check with god…

    …yup…yup….oh of course…yeah no one likes them either…no worries…yeah I’ll get that done…yeah…yeah…okay, see you Sunday for racketball and a beer…yup…yup..see ya.

    …God says I’m good. Now you know that’s true because there’s, like, totally no way I could have made that up. I mean, racketball is real, people play racketball, so that shows it’s true.

    Louis

  126. 126
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Bolding and all-caps doesn’t make your argument any smarter, yec.

    But if you throw in italics and a few dozen exclamation points, I’m sold.

  127. 127
    A. R

    What we have here, is either a Poe, or the stupidest, most forwardly bigoted person I’ve engaged in a year.

  128. 128
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    So apparently god does play racketball with the universe. I guess that explains comets.

  129. 129
    stevebowen

    I sent this …

    Although I will never be in a position to vote for you, being as I am a citizen of the U.K and not an American, I would like you to consider the reputation of your fine Country and State in the context of worldwide scientific credibility.
    From what I have read of the bill in question it would seem from a scientist’s perspective that it is an attempt to smuggle religious and political prejudice into the science curriculum under cover of critical thinking.
    You will be aware I’m sure that the scientific concensus on issues such as evolution by natural selection and anthropic global climate change is well established. What controversy exists is in details and in the relative importance of competing mechanisms, not in the principles themselves, so allowing teachers to raise awareness of controversial ideas is liable to confuse rather than enlighten students. While I am sure you would not expect a teacher to abuse the stated intention of the bill to call into question established scientific principles, I fear that ideologically motivated individuals would use it for that purpose and so would urge you to oppose it.
    A good, well informed and motivated science teacher will already be raising the issue of genuine uncertainty in the science. For example, whilst acknowledging that CO2 levels are rising in excess of natural background levels, and understanding that as a greenhouse gas global temperatures are necessarily rising, it is reasonable to explain that local weather systems are unpredictable and that specific long term weather patterns are not as understandable as “climate” which is a statistical aggregate and not about whether we had a cold winter or not this year.
    Equally, it is reasonable for a science teacher to point out that biologists disagree about the relative extent to which genetic drift, gene mutation, gene transfer etc contribute to species diversity. None of which calls in to doubt the veracity of common descent or the modern synthesis of genetics and Darwinism.
    So it would seem that the bill achieves nothing to serve students but much to serve biblical literalists and conservative ideologues who would have carte blanch to confuse and confound genuine science.
    Should this happen, you will leave your State in jepoardy of being marginalised and shunned by the international community of scientists, which cannot be good for economic growth and future resilience.
    As a scientist to whom you will never have to answer at the ballot, I nevertheless urge you to oppose this bill.

    Thank you

    Steve Bowen BSc

    well, ya never know…

  130. 130
    steve oberski

    @yec123

    Most decent Americans think the same way that I do considering how homosexuals continue to have “sex” in public restrooms and even churches.

    Hard to imagine anyone else having sex in a church what with the pastors so busy diddling the congregation and the staff.

    And I think those Republican senators and congresscritters that apparently represent “decent” Americans like you have first dibs on the public restrooms.

  131. 131
    Gregory Greenwood

    yec123 @ 106;

    I think Lawrence v Texas should be repealed and that sodomy laws should still apply.

    How very fortunate it is that the US legal system is not requird to conform to your opinions.

    Most decent Americans think the same way that I do…

    That depends on your definition of ‘decent Americans’. My humanist sense of ethics would lead me to exclude reactionary homophobes from that particular category altogether, for instance.

    In any case, even if it were true that a majority do feel as you do, that is why the constitutional protection of civil liberties exists; to prevent a situation where minorities live only at the whim of majority public opinion.

    …considering how homosexuals continue to have “sex” in public restrooms and even churches.

    Are you asserting that this problem is somehow unique to homosexuals? Are you claiming that heterosexuals don’t do these things, or simply that the fact that they do it is somehow less significant and therefore presents less of a threat to ‘public morality’? In what way is this anything more than simple homophobia dressed up in the mouldering rags of a concern for ‘propriety’?

    Also, the actions of a minority who may do such things as have sex in public places in no way justifies the attempt to outlaw an entire form of sexuality – on that basis, one should outlaw heterosexual sex because of the so called practice of ‘dogging’ and similar such acts that breach public decency laws.

    But I just don’t think that the police should spend any real time on the matter. It is the principle that counts.

    So, you don’t actually believe that the notional ‘threat’ supposedly presented to society by homosexuality actualy warrents police time or the expenditure of public resources; you simply want your personal bigotry enshrined in law. You want a judicial pat on the head for your prejudice – a vindication of your hatred.

    Here is a newsflash for you, yec123 – the law doesn’t exist to help make you feel better about yourself or to hold your hand and tell you that it is OK to hate those who are different than you are. The law isn’t about you. It exists to maintain a safe envoronment where citizens of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ages, levels of ableness, political or religious beliefs and so on need not fear arbitrary threat to their lives, physical wellbeing or property. Such a goal is not served by acting as a support service for bigots.

  132. 132
    Gregory Greenwood

    …considering how homosexuals continue to have “sex” in public restrooms and even churches.

    What is with the scare quotes around sex? Homosexual sex is still sex – just because it is not the form of sex that you engage in does not mean that it is not a sexual act.

    Frankly, if your definition of sex is limited to a strict penile penetration of a vagina scenario, then you should probably do some reading. You need to broaden your horizons.

    Also, you are aware that heterosexual couples don’t always engage solely in what you would define as sex when they share a moment of sensual intimacy, right? Or are you one of those types who goes on about sex being only for procreation, a position that is both discriminatory and ignorant?

  133. 133
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    yec123:

    Most decent Americans think the same way that I do considering how homosexuals continue to have “sex” in public restrooms and even churches.

    My lordy! Sex in churches. Probably right up on the alter where they baptize innocent babies.

    Don’t homosexuals know that churches are for fucking over gays?

    Maybe they just misunderstood.

  134. 134
    Forelle

    Louis14 (68):

    Is that deceit or irony? I can’t tell.

    I sent my email some hours ago. Blah blah Spain blah blah Spanish blah, signed, Me (Spain). The response:

    Listening to and learning from Tennesseans is very important to me, and I appreciate hearing from you.
    After careful review of your letter,

    Really.

    I have forwarded it to my legislative staff for consideration.

    Really.

  135. 135
    shaundenney

    Perhaps he is unaware that Spain is not within the confines of Tennessee?

  136. 136
    concernedjoe

    Tell me Glenn and Alejb where is the controversy over the chemical origin of life? What is the alternative?!?!

    Did you mean we have LOTS of competing hypothesis for mechanisms and means? Of course we do! Lots of gaps in the details. That’s science for you – always filling some gaps and always SEEKING out others to eventually fill.

    But no scientist I know of (that ain’t talkin religious trash) has any reservations in the least about life being nothing more (or less) than the laws of physics and chemistry at work – that is what we are now – that is what “we” were at the first replication of something that then could again replicate, etc.

    Tell me what competing principle we have among us? Who is saying chemistry and physics it ain’t?!?!?

    There may even be new laws – it may be a quantum something we do not yet understand – but is NOT MAGIC – and if it ain’t chemistry and physics it is magic!

  137. 137
    carlie

    considering how homosexuals continue to have “sex” in public restrooms and even churches.

    No, sex in churches only happens during youth lock-ins.

  138. 138
    A. R

    carlie: Very snarky, one internet to you.

  139. 139
    feralboy12

    I think Lawrence v Texas should be repealed and that sodomy laws should still apply. Most decent Americans think the same way that I do considering how homosexuals continue to have “sex” in public restrooms and even churches. But I just don’t think that the police should spend any real time on the matter. It is the principle that counts.

    As usual, your “principles” are merely simplistic platitudes that break down quickly when you start working out the implications. But conservatives and religious nuts never think things out that far.
    Are you suggesting that we should have laws for which enforcement is, like, optional? Do you not see how this opens the door for selective enforcement, only investigating or arresting the people you don’t like? You would be creating a system ripe for abuse. Hell, it could even be turned against Christian nutjobs like yourself if the powers-that-be so desired.
    But you never think that far through it.
    As for your “decent Americans agree with me” bullshit, you can fuck right off. You’ve defined “decent Americans” as the ones that agree with you, which is self-serving meaningless crap.

  140. 140
    Forelle

    Shaun:

    Ha, ha! Er. Wait…

    You may be right; who knows if there is an actual person reading who has been educated in some form of “academic freedom.” I was so sure I had received a stupid automated answer, I hadn’t thought of this possibility.

    And yet I felt some vague discomfort when writing that email — I know that we Spaniards can be very Eurocentric when dealing with any American (meaning the whole continent) issues. But a) PZ had asked us to mention our foreignness and b) a governor and his/her staff are surely educated, right? I just had to make sure to mention Spain, rather than Spanish. Oh, well.

    Anyway: if my foreign condition didn’t serve me well with Mr. Haslam and his staff, I’ll use it to tell an idiot like yec123 that from this side they sound truly Martian. yec123, if despite your religious and probably very weird upbringing you’ve become able to express yourself like you do, you’re indeed responsible for your stupidity — unlike some of those poor future pupils in Tennessee.

  141. 141
    seditiosus

    You know yec, at first I thought you were an irrational, ranting idiot with no worthwhile or coherent point to make, but now that you’ve made your point in BOLDED ALL CAPS I realise what a credible, sane, and all-round intelligent person you are. All you need now are some extraneous exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!

  142. 142
    scifi

    I wrote the following:
    Governor Haslam,

    I strongly urge you to veto this extremely bad bill. It is time to keep religion out of the science classroom. Religious beliefs are based on FAITH and not on science and should be kept to the church. America is falling behind in the sciences and this bill will only cause it to fall even further.

    I got the following form email back:

    April 11, 2012

    Dear Friend:

    Thank you for writing to me and sharing your thoughts and concerns. Listening to and learning from Tennesseans is very important to me, and I appreciate hearing from you.

    After careful review of your letter, I have forwarded it to my legislative staff for consideration. Your suggestions will be helpful as we develop our legislative and policy agenda.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to write. I look forward to working with you and all Tennesseans to make our great state an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.

    Warmest regards,
    Bill Haslam

    BH:mg

    cc: Leslie Hafner, Senior Advisor for Legislation

  143. 143
    michaelpowers

    While I found the students’ letter polite and well-reasoned, it may have contained too many big words for the average politician to understand.

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