Now the Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal is running an op-ed critical of Ken Ham.
There is a great educational injustice being inflicted upon thousands of children in this country, a large percentage of whom come from the Kentucky, Ohio and, Indiana areas. The source of this injustice is a sophisticated Christian ministry that uses the hook of dinosaurs, the guarantee of an afterlife, and the horrors of hell to convince children and their families to believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. The tax-exempt ministry, Answers in Genesis, and its new $28 million creation museum in Boone County has become the de facto source of science information to thousands of Christians who are throwing away reason and 500 years of scientific inquiry and replacing it with ignorant dogma.
And it just gets fiercer and fiercer from there…
We do not need citizens who are closed-minded, anti-knowledge fundamentalists who want to see the world move closer to the Biblical prophecies of an Armageddon. (AIG also believes in a literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation.) Unfortunately, the creation museum in Northern Kentucky has been very successful at encouraging their non-thinking, anti-reasoning philosophy, especially among young, dinosaur-loving children. Inaction in this matter may come back to haunt us in the future.
Now that’s what I like to see in our media!
JohnnieCanuck, FCD says
Wow. That’s enough to take my breath away. Encore!
Although, as they say, “no good deed goes unpunished.”
I foresee a barrage of angry letters-(or more accurately beratings, rantings, and browbeatings)-to-the-editor from incensed fundies flooding the Courier-Journal’s mailbox in the near future.
$10 says at least one letter (published or not) will claim persecution of christians in America.
greg laden says
Yes, my brother sent me this (and I wrote a blog post on it).
It is reassuring to see the mainstream (which this newspaper certainly is) publishing such a strong statement, even if it is an Op Ed.
Your readers should know that it is easy to go to this newspaper and add comments to their stories. Not a bad idea.
It is worth reading through the comments/discussion at the paper’s forum. Only a small handful of people so far, but it is a good reminder that the fallacies we see through so easily here are still the currency of debate in the real world.
if only Darwin had written that he received the text for “The Origin Of Species” from an angel when he flew to heaven on a magic finch, then we wouldn’t have to argue with these nuts so much…
“Literal interpretation of the book of Revelation?” I’m not sure that’s possible. Have you ever tried to read it? It looks like somebody dumped out a bunch of words on a table and strung them into sentences as they fell.
As I understand it, The End Times nonsense was made up only a century or so ago.
A former student of mine emailed a link to Answers in Genesis about dinosaurs a few weeks ago. He told me it reminded him of my science class. I replied that I hope he learned enough in science to realize what a steaming load of crap the article was.
So far, he hasn’t replied.
Yes, a great piece that is sorely needed but don’t get carried away PZ with thinking that this represents an advance in the media’s treatment of evolution. After all, this is an opinion piece not an editorial. How many opinion pieces supporting ID-iocy have they published? Furthermore, note the title they placed on Willmot’s piece: “Is creation museum good for kids?”. I mean, if you have to ask …
Anon: “still the currency of debate in the real world.”
Ha!! Since when is Kentucky the “real world”. This is F’ing awesome. Even more so that it’s from a Kentucky paper op-ed!! Major Kudos to them and admiration of their enormous balls for putting this out (even if i may degrade their survivability).
The tax-exempt ministry, Answers in Genesis,
oooh, I like the not-so-subtle inclusion.
hopefully, someday we will be able to add:
“not for long”
as a modifier.
Scott Little says
It is nice to see something smart reported from a news source these days. I am sure that the fundies will probably force a retraction, but none-the-less it is blogged and out in the world of “reality” now. One of the things that sickens me (being the parent of a dinosaur loving 11 year old) is the new-creationist use of dinosaurs to suck kids into the big lie.
It is interesting to note that the author defines those who do not agree with him as being narrow minded, when he certainly doesn’t exhibit a state of being broad minded.
I don’t see how those who accept a literal interpretation of the bible are far different than those who accept creation as scientific fact, both are based on faith.
Fundamentalists have remained consistent in their beliefs, whereas, the scientific world is often changing opinion on many positions, which I think is a good thing.
The dispute over T-Rex, predator versus herbivore is a current debate, as is the positive or negative effects of caffeine on humans.
The supply of crude oil, projected by some scientists in the 1970s to be depleted within 10 years, was taken as (pardon the pun) gospel truth by 10 of millions of Americans.
I think the author believes in leaving people to live their own lives as long as they believe as he does.
“…accept creation as scientific fact” Should read, accept evolution as fact.
Please excuse the sloppy editing.
A well written article indeed.
I did read the comments to date in response to the article (how very VERY depressing they were) and one of the responses the people had about home schooled kids stated they preform better in standardised testing against kids who go to state schools.
In the article it said that science education isn’t mentioned in the regulations.
Does that mean that the home schooled kids don’t have to be tested to see if they understand how science works? and if so surely the state run schools have to teach their kids scientific method and are tested for their understanding.
How is it if home schooled kids aren’t taught or tested for their knowledge of science, they can be seen to out preform state schooled kids if they aren’t taught one of the the fundamentals of education?
Sastra, OM says
zevgolman (who is about to get his head collectively handed to him) #11 wrote:
Are you really sure you want to make an argument that all beliefs — whether scientific or religious — are matters of faith? That’s going to get you into the “everybody has their own truths” brand of wishy-washy feel-good relativism I’m guessing you don’t particularly care for.
If you want to measure creation against evolution as theories, however, then be prepared to play by the rules: method, evidence, mechanism, testable consequences, falsifiability, and vetting it all through a community of experts in the field.
As someone once stated, “If you would enter the arena of science then you have to face the lions.”
I have great hope that, with the advent of the internet, this ongoing struggle between science and ignorance will finally play out on a national, and ultimately international, scene. Finally, subcultures within America are being exposed to the international consensus of mainstream scientists (even though they are fighting it tooth and nail). This article is yet another dig at their cloistered smugness.
J Daley says
We can’t hand him his head when it’s stuck that far up his ass.
Mrs Tilton says
AIG also believes in a literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation
What BaldApe @6 said. I’d be sufficiently impressed by a mere literal reading of Revelation. I mean, this is the acid trip that John feckin’ Calvin refused to interpret (on the not unreasonable grounds that he couldn’t make head nor tail of it).
QUOTE Literal interpretation of the book of Revelation?” I’m not sure that’s possible. Have you ever tried to read it? It looks like somebody dumped out a bunch of words on a table and strung them into sentences as they fell.
i had always thought that it looked like the word-salad communication that schizophenia patients are sometimes reduced to
evolution is a fact …separate creation is meaningless to biologists …….we know that LIVING eucaryotes are an amalgam of eubacteria and the rest of the cell (plastid endosymbisis )
and thats without even getting into the common descent subject
Richard Simons says
Zevgoldman said ‘The dispute over T-Rex, predator versus herbivore is a current debate’.
I assume you were merely posting to see what reaction you could get, but in the unlikely event that you were being serious: I doubt if you could find any biologist anywhere who is prepared to defend the notion that T. rex could be a herbivore. It is complete and utter nonsense to say that it is a current, or even a past, debate. It is probably the single largest source of entertainment biologists find in the Creation Museum.
Another voice of reason against the cdesign proponentsists.
Re: the book of Revelation. You can trace most christian pre-millennialism to that source. However, it should be noted that there have always been sects who expected the end of the world at any moment. This is particularly prevalent among some of the Jewish sects, who had to live under various repressive regimes.
RE: Evolution as an act of faith.
No. evolution does not ask one to accept it without evidence. Yes, the evidence is not all in on evolution, and some gaps in our knowledge are only to be expected.
But those gaps keep getting smaller.
Compare and contrast with Creation.
Brownian, OM says
 No, they haven’t. That’s why there are thousands of Christian fundamentalist sects, with new ones sprouting up all the time.
 The scientific world refines its explanations to include new evidence when it is found. Old evidence is not discarded.
 I really doubt that you truly do.
I wouldn’t take comments on a newspaper article as being very representative of the readers. For some reason, those articles attract right-wing nutwhacks. I think it’s in the John Birch Society handbook or something. Even here in liberal Seattle, I can predict almost exactly what the comments on the P-I (one of our papers) are going to say: Government is evil, public schools are communist, Christians are oppressed in the US, and evolution is a godless lie perpetrated by fatcat scientists getting rich off government grants. Bleah.
Given the flood of psychotic wingnuts in those forums, I’m pretty sure any rational people would see there’s no point, and not bother posting.
Ha!! Since when is Kentucky the “real world”.
I resent that remark. Kentucky is no worse than the rest of the USA. Hell, there’s a reason Florida has a tag on FARK. There are parts of the US that are far less developed that the majority of Kentucky, and far more indoctrinated into extreme religious faith than here. (Utah, I’m looking at you.)
Dave Eaton says
I was born and raised in Kentucky, and I don’t fault people for not knowing more about it, with the only image anyone has having come from the relatively narrow mountainous region in the East.
Kentucky is very much a mixed bag, with urban centers in the Central region like Louisville and Lexington representing moderate/large cities pretty well, both with decent public universities. The west is relatively flat and arable, and relatively prosperous, too, but the image most have is the mountain hillbilly poor.
The “Upland South” (where KY resides) is not the ‘stars and bars’, magnolia and plantation south. It is plenty bible-belt, but stubbornly suspicious of both northern snobbery and southern airs. I grew up in a very heterodox religious environment. People were divided about evolution, but even my grandfather, once a Baptist deacon, found the theory of evolution genial, because it suggested a far more subtle God than the rigid image he had been force fed. The questioning of dogmas like he did can eventually lead to rejection of the whole thing, even if it takes a generation or two.
Yes, the CJ will get a lot of angry letters. But some will be angry that they didn’t say this a long time ago.
Re: Sastra, OM, #14:
I like your way of speaking (writing): assertive without being aggressive. Of course, I read the comments mostly for the fun of a debate, but occasionally someone really sets a good example, and I’d like to promote that by recognizing it.
Curt Cameron says
Interesting that the very blog entry after this one is about someone not being able to spell “atheist” right.
This otherwise excellent op-ed article is marred by his spelling Ken Ham’s name wrong.
Lyle G says
There may be debate whether tyranosauri were predators or scavengers, but I think not that they were herbivores (except for creationists, maybe)
Crudely Wrott says
Top o’ the hat and many thankyous to James K. Willmot and his paper. I see many reprints of this editorial coming soon. And I hope that he is quoted widely and loudly.
Suppose we could put this on a sequence of road signs along the way to the Creation Museum, a la the old Burma-Shave adverts? I bet it would slow the traffic down.
Ross Nixon says
We do not need citizens who are closed-minded, anti-knowledge fundamentalists who want to see the world move closer to the selfish dogma of naturalism.
Go Ken Ham! The Creation Museum is the best thing to happen in Christendom in 100 years.
Sven DiMilo says
T. rex was an herbivore before The Fall, see, so there’s your debate.
On BBC2 just now, in the The Daily Politics Show, discussing the (imminent) release of the teacher falsely accused of blasphemy by the Sudanese religionists over the naming of a class teddy-bear: guest presenter/interviewee Professor Steve Jones (a geneticist) said “it highlights the stupidity of all religions” – and, possibly more tellingly, the two regular TV presenters didn’t make any attempt to disagree with him.
Just perhaps, the most prevalent religions are in the process of having their historic and present stupidities broadly exposed as never before, and most (not just the flyin’ into the wind few) rational people are not only able to see that clearly, but are now prepared to say it out loud at last.
Or I’m an optimist.
Fernando Magyar says
Re # 11 zevgoldman,
“The supply of crude oil, projected by some scientists in the 1970s to be depleted within 10 years, was taken as (pardon the pun) gospel truth by 10 of millions of Americans.”
Let’s address that one for starters:
Dr. Albert Bartlett: Arithmetic, Population and Energy
If you are able to refute the facts presented in this lecture then we can go on to discuss your other points.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
zevgoldman, what is your opinion on the leatherworkers in Jerusalem and the surrounding area? It must take a whole leatherworking guild to create a saddle for something like this.
Please, care to provide us some links? I can only guess where they will come from.
You mean around Labor Day?
Man, when I read the first sentence of this post my heart dropped… I thought it was going to be the other way around, someone writing in support of the “museum.”
Thanks to #24 and #25, they pretty much summed it up. I kind of like that Kentucky seems to be the no-faced little brother that the country doesn’t really know about.
G in INdiana says
I’ve lived in both KY and UT. UT has KY beat on nutters by the thousands hand over fist. Even the mormons who live in KY and IN (where I now reside) are saner than their promised land brethren.
And they joke about it as well.
I enjoyed Villa Hills, (NoKY) a whole helluva lot more than Sandy, UT. Here in Batesville, IN it isn’t much different than NoKy, just more land to live on and less traffic.
“Batesville, IN it isn’t much different than NoKy, just more land to live on and less traffic.”
Well and you can buy booze (except on Sunday). You can buy liquor in Florence (y’all) I think but South of there… not so much.
I know a couple of the op-ed editors on the C-J. They are rational, clearminded people, who also happen to attend (mainstream) churches. They generally are not shy about saying what’s on their minds, despite the C-J being part of the vast Gannett McPaper empire.
For what it’s worth, Louisville is more liberal than the rest of the state (and more midwestern in feel than southern). We did after all elect John Yarmuth to the Third Congressional District, unseating Republican Anne Northup. So the negative responses to the editorial are not a big surprise.
Newspaper editorials cannot be retracted, unless the facts in them are wrong. They are opinions, not news stories, so they abide by different rules.
Kesh: Ok, ok, point taken and I humbly apologize :-) I’m sure every state (and country for that matter) can point to the nutters in their backyards. Well, … except here in Idaho, of course! All we had were those neo-nazi guys up north, and the Mormon overflow from Utah, … and that Doug Wilson guy & his Fundies over in Moscow, and the toilet tapping Larry Craig guy, and …, well, ok! I give up! :-)
Like I said: Point taken and I apologize to KY!
True, there are some spatterings of Bible Belt insanity, but here in good ol’ Lexington we’ll be purchasing our liquors on Sunday starting this Month! Hurray for secular government.
Geez, that place sounds like a pain in the ass. :P
More seriously, I’m curious: how do Texas and Florida compare on the nuttiness scales?
prismatic, so prismatic says
Even in eastern Kentucky where I’m from, it’s hardly pure wingnuttery. By and large, mountain folk were Union sympathizers, and have long memories of union struggles, being helped out of poverty by FDR and LBJ, and so forth. (The old seventh congressional district routinely elected Democrats to Congress–did any of you get “Perkins loans” in college?–and might still, if the seat hadn’t been lost in the last reapportionment.) These days, there is indeed a good deal of “what’s the matter with Kansas” style undercutting of any tendencies toward economic progressivism by culturally conservative memes, and of course the fog of religion does hang over the region like a shroud. But even in that situation, bubbles for critical thought may arise–my own particular sect growing up was pretty strong on separations between things of the world and things of God, which meant I could sidestep a lot of the usual baggage people struggle with when disengaging from my erstwhile beliefs, because it wasn’t hegemonically wired up to everything else in my life the way it would have been if I’d grown up in some suburban megachurch.
Dave Eaton says
I lived in Florida for a stint as a post doc. I’m not sure Tallahassee is typical, and it is a college town, but it wasn’t too bad. Typical southern expectation that everyone more or less believes the same vanilla judeochristian thing, but no freak out when it turns out you don’t.
I lived in Lexington KY a couple of times, probably 10 years all told. Loved it. Local government is crazy, and the religious nuts are always trying to shut down the local headshop/eclectic bookstore/homosexual literature emporium, but haven’t ever succeeded in decades of trying. The existence of religious nutters isn’t so bad when they can’t gain any traction.
I lived a mile or so from Florence (y’all) and I enjoyed the character of northern KY from there to Cincinnati. That region is truly a mixed bag. Scorching secularists, bible bangers, and ‘vatican 2 was the work of devil’ catholics. Chaos. But fun.
I think its ridiculous that they ousted her for believing in evolution, but on the other hand, maybe teachers should be “neutral” on thorny subjects like evolution vs creationism. I mean, I wouldn’t be thrilled if she had being promoting creationism over evolution. Bias is always dangerous. But what do you think? I created a poll on the subject, vote on it here: http://www.pollsb.com/polls/poll/4270/56-year-old-texas-science-educator-fired-because-she-refused-to-be-neutral-in-debate-about-evolution
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
You’d like teachers to be neutral on subjects are that the “thorny”? Are you serious?
Its only thorny because the creationist chose to lie, ignore evidence and basically act like children because they don’t get their way. Teachers should teach what the subject matter entails. Evolution is the best and only supportable answer to the questions. It’s not a “thorny” issue with the people who are involved in the day to day research and practicing professional scientists in the fields involved. It’s only “thorny” to the religious wingnutters who can’t handle any challenge to their razor thin world view.
Should teachers remain neutral on the Holocaust?
That line of thought is exactly the reason that evolution is left out of many science classes in this country, to avoid the “thorny” problems. All that leads to is an undereducated generation. Terrible.