I’m so sorry, Kentucky. How do you end up with such ignorant school superintendents?
Ricky Line is concerned because his school district is teaching the facts of evolution.
“I have a very difficult time believing that we have come to a point … that we are teaching evolution … as a factual occurrence, while totally omitting the creation story by a God who is bigger than all of us,” he wrote. “My feeling is if the Commonwealth’s site-based councils, school board members, superintendents and parents were questioned … one would find this teaching contradictory to the majority’s belief systems.”
“My argument is, do we want our children to be taught these things as facts? Personally, I don’t,” Line said. “I don’t think life on earth began as a one-celled organism. I don’t think that all of us came from a common ancestor … I don’t think the Big Bang theory describes the explanation of the origin of the universe.”
So a school superintendent rejects all of modern science. The only novel thing here is his excuse:
The vast majority of scientists contend that evolution is an accepted cornerstone of modern science, and that there is no real scientific debate over the concept.
Line counters that “it’s interesting that the great majority of scientists felt Pluto was a planet until a short time ago, and now they have totally changed that. There are scientists who don’t believe that evolution happened.”
That argument might work a little better if Pluto had winked out of existence when it was retitled…but it still whirls about the sun. Just as life on earth keeps bubbling up, and descent with modification keeps on happening.
And just like bible-thumping American yokels keep meddling in our children’s educations.
(Also on Sb)
Gee, it’s almost like evolution’s the cornerstone of biology, or something.
It turns out that Pluto is one of thousands of similar objects floating around on the outskirts of the solar system; there is nothing, really, to set it apart from the others.
Sort of like how Yahweh turns out to be one of thousands of gods believed in by people at one time or another–nothing special.
It’s time to “Pluto” the Christian god.
Killed By Fish
How does their brainstem continue to function with that much damage?
Oh no, this is the sign of the zombiepocalypse isn’t it?
Merit of the Badgers says
The Earth was never flat, God didn’t create the world 6000 years ago, but Pluto was a planet. It was a true statement.
Glen Davidson says
First off, moron, that’s a question, not an argument.
Then one wonders why facts shouldn’t be taught as facts. Or do you get on jury duty and get to decide that forensic DNA doesn’t count because you realized that, given an inscrutable and omnipotent god, that DNA might have been made miraculously identical to the defendants’ DNA?
Of course the Pluto issue is a bit complex, as it was thought to be the planet that was thought to be perturbing Uranus’ orbit. Later, as it was found to be tiny, especially when Charon was found to be able to “weigh” Pluto, the thought that it might not count as a planet arose, and lasted for well over 20 years.
To be sure, the moron likely knows nothing of this, only knowing that Pluto was determined not to be a planet a few years back–of course this was in light of a newly accepted definition for “planet.” He’s stupid about that, since it was merely a taxonomy decision at that point. Yet it’s true that once it was thought to be a planet in the sense of “big,” at least as big as Mercury.
Tell Line to relax: Mickey Mouse still believes in Pluto.
Pluto didn’t change. It wasn’t even necessarily that new observations of Pluto made us realize it wasn’t a planet; that we had corrected a previous mistake. We essentially changed the definition of “planet” and Pluto no longer fit. Pluto is still Pluto.
To answer your initial question: he was either elected, or hired by people who were elected. So, yes, there are voters in his district even dumber than he is.
Glen, be careful with the DNA argument. There are people out there who like to completely discount it because it goes against their case. Usually corrupt prosecutors who care more about winning than putting the correct person behind bars, but still.
Here’s an example: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/magazine/dna-evidence-lake-county.html?_r=1&hpw=&pagewanted=all
lol, that part made me laugh a little. Do believers still try to invoke their imaginary God’s “bigness” in order to get authority by proxy? Seriously? And here I thought “My god is bigger than your god” was supposed to be a joke, not something that believers actually believe.
I love, love love that P.Z. is on these guys like white on rice. The voice of reason through cloud of woo. The beauty of it is that yes P.Z. is in the top 50 Atheists list. So he will be heard.
Dave McCone says
PZ, I’d be curious as to how the sorts of kids who aren’t taught evolution fare when they leave a protected highshool or homeschool environment, and then have to re-calibrate their thinking when they hit a college Biology class. As an educator, do these kids generally crash and burn when they hit college-level classes that presume a knowledge of evolutionary theory? While disavowing evolution may win you points at a bible college, I can’t imagine that this would help you at all if your interests were anywhere in the sciences.
Pluto ceased to be a planet because a bunch of astronomers got together and voted to define it as something else. But NOTHING else changed. None of the facts regarding Pluto changed when they decided to stop calling it a planet. The physics of Pluto are the same. The chemistry of Pluto is the same.
I guess idiots like Lane can define evolution as a myth just as they define god as being reality, but it doesn’t change the the things that matter that we call facts.
School superintendent? If there’s any more pressing evidence that the modern conservative is so short-sighted that she cannot see even as far as her child’s future, it’s her commitment to getting hired, elected, or appointed as the head of organisations she wishes to see abolished.
It’s him taking his “I got mine, so fuck you” attitude right to the pinnacle of his career. “I wanna be president,” he aspires, “so I can demolish the federal government.” Why does everyone else need a government job? You’ve got one, and you’re all that matters.
After all, if you’re the type of American who thinks decisions are best made quickly and without second-guessing, who thinks of the constant revision of science as the kind of uncertainty a child has about whether to grow up to be a doctor or a firefighter, who thinks of wanting to learn as the not-quite-right younger sibling of wanting to do; if you’re that type of American, then competent, knowledgeable colleagues and underlings can only show you up.
Rey Fox says
You just taught it. I mean, really, what are the finer points of this story that really need air time in public schools? Why do they matter? Is it really just that you need to force it into a school curriculum so that it gains that veneer of respectability and hopefully won’t just sound like ridiculous bullshit?
That Pluto argument, just wut…? I can’t believe that he actually thinks he is making a good argument with that.
Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says
If they teach this in school, does that mean that we can get rid of all the churches? Not that I think creationism (in any guise) should be taught using tax money but, if making schools into churches means we can get rid of all the churches, I may be amenable. Then, when the churches are gone, we kick religion out of the public schools and we can snip this whole chruch/religion thing back to a manageable weed.
You see, everything is really just an opinion. There’s no right or wrong about it … it’s all just opinion. You choose what you want to have faith in.
Oops, wait. Wrong form of skepticism. Line needs to use that form of skepticism which blows up and lays all knowledge to waste in a confused rubble of undifferentiated mush and human ignorance BUT still keeps God in place as the One Thing We Can All Be Sure Of.
a bunch of astronomers got together and voted to define it as something else.
A similar thing happened to Line’s “god” at the Council of Nicaea.
Scientists reclassified Pluto.
What now Atheists?!?!?!
Nice. I LOLed.
Hey, I just had a thought. Is there any chance that the superintendent thought scientists had been believing in the God ‘Pluto’ and dismissed his planet when they lost their faith?
It makes as much sense as any other interpretation. Science really is JUST like religion.
The man makes a very compelling point about Pluto. Previously it was an unknown, then it was known, but now it is known that it was unknown (the worst kind).
d cwilson says
Other than the Pluto bit, his arguments sound exactly like the ones the Dover school board used when they were adopting (un)Intelligent Design.
ugh. scientific consensus changes as new evidence is discovered.
scientists changed plutos classification to match observations.
THEY DID SCIENCE!
someone should revoke his high school diploma.
Rich Woods says
This line of argument is so fucking stupid that all the Kentucky students should be lining up to slap him.
Kentucky, eh? Never would of guessed that.
If there is no god, how did the alphabet get into alphabetical order???? Hmmm, answer me that!!!!
(was that enough exclamation points to emphasize how serious I am?)
Superintendent: “Well, ya see, science changed its mind on whether Pluto was to be classified as a planet by developing the new category “dwarf planet” for Pluto and other similar anomalous celestial bodies. Therefore, it is entirely possible that science might change its mind on the issue of whether the universe is actually 2 million times longer than Creationists say it is, and on the issue of whether evolution actually is a thing. Because, fuck it, Pluto is no longer a planet, people! Anything is possible, science can change! Therefore, we must teach children strict Biblical creationism as true and nothing else.”
Creationists can make “serious” arguments every day that every other person can only make when they are incredibly drunk.
I just sent Mr. Line an email. Here it is…
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 12:15 PM
From: “Reardon John” Add sender to ContactsTo: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is John J. Reardon. I’m an Ohio native and former US Marine who currently teaching English at a junior high in Yamagata, Japan (near Nagoya). I just wanted to let you know how dissapointed I am to hear about your religious stance against the science education of your city’s young adults. I could have written a nasty email, which I’m sure you have gotten many by now… or soon will. Instead I’d like to give you some advice.
If you think you are stuggling with your faith, you’re right! You should be. If science disproves religious superstition, you should accept it and pass on the ‘good news’ to the students. Their education is at stake here, not your pious reputation.
Thank you for your time, and hopefully you won’t be the laughing stock of Kentucky this week.
John J. Reardon
PS If you have any questions regarding the damage that religion does to our country, please feel free to email me back. Or contact http://www.atheists.org/. and ask for David Silverman if you have any questions regarding the separation of church and state. He’s a nice guy.
I just had a thought in my tiny pea brain.
Should it surprise anyone that the vast majority of people are not only stupid, but that they harbor disdain for “Smart” people and education?
When you went to high school, how many people valued intellectualism vs the number of people that made fun of “nerds” and other academic successes? The answer for me is that there was a tiny percentage that was very smart, and they were constantly ridiculed and berated by the majority that were “cool” or “pretty”.
As a smart guy who was also athletic and popular, I always defended the nerds and geeks against my dumb jock friends, and it always amazed me that intelligence was considered to be a liability by the vast majority of the people in my school.
So it doesn’t surprise me that not only can idiots like this exist, but that a majority will continue to vote them in to public office.
We, as intelligent people, are the minority. Let’s face it. If there’s one thing I think the scientific / secular / humanist / skeptic / atheist communities lack is an understanding that we really are dealing with a majority of ignorant and stupid people.
We ask too much of them. But we can’t really dumb our message down so then what to do?
@Dave McCone #12
You wondered how kids who had been taught creationism fared when they encountered evolutionary biology. I’d imagine it depends on the kid, but if I’m any indication, many can do just fine.
I was involved in conservative evangelical culture from age 10 onwards. I remember attending some kind of event where a speaker presented young-earth creationism as truth. I never encountered evolutionary biology before Grade 12, and I had all kinds of misconceptions about it. Fortunately, my English teacher had insisted on clear, critical thinking in our assignments for her class. Using the skills she taught me, I quickly realized that evolution made a lot more sense than creation.
The summer after high school, I borrowed “Darwin’s Ghost” from the library. By the time I took first-year biology at university, I knew that evolution was the best explanation for life on earth. By the time I got to third-year, I was an atheist.
I had advantages that some of those kids will never have: access to a library, a strong grounding in basic science, and encouragement to think critically. Still, I think there’s hope for lots of them, if they can just get out of high school.
>while totally omitting the creation story by a God who is bigger than all of us,”<
-How does such an ignorant person become a school superintendent? Is he even aware that there are quite a few creation myths and none of them have been proven to be true? In the interest of not offending anyone, this guy would have to change biology textbook to discuss every creation myth.
had3 @ 6
Maybe, but the evidence suggests that it is Line who is f’n Goofy.
Ing: I SPEAK FOR THE HIVEMIND GROUPTHINK says
I don’t know about we, but I can advise you to stop sniffing your own farts
Claiming that changing the definition of a planet altered Pluto is like saying Reagan changing the definition of what it means to live in poverty made people richer. What this man did is beyond stupid.
N. Nescio says
Disqus seems to have a problem with me linking to Greta Christina’s “The Armor of God”, or even mentioning that it’s on FTB.
Does anybody else have that issue?
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. These people seem to revel in their ignorance and stupidity. It’s like a badge of honor. Problem is, they the majority decide who controls 21st century weapons, and so continuing to hammer away on them like PZ so competently does, is not only entertaining, but probably essential for the survival of our species (or at least our current standard of living).
No doubt about it though, the guy’s depth of stupidity is hard to fathom.
Oh, don’t be so melodramatic, PZ! He doesn’t reject all of modern science!
Just significant portions of biology, cosmology, and physics. I’m sure he’s fully in agreement with the other sciences.
Oh, I suppose he might think a lot of geology isn’t rock-solid, given all those suspicious fossils.
But I’m sure he’s solid on chemistry. Well, except when it affects climatology, of course, or radioactive decay.
But they give me quite the buzz
If Mr. Line is so concerned with the beliefs of scientists who go against the mainstream view, perhaps we could put together a list of scientists who believe that he is not really the superintendent of his district?
To slightly paraphrase Mark Twain: “God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school administrators.”
I promise we’re not all retarded here in Kentucky. I think I need to get the hell out of here as soon as I graduate, though.
Thousands of scientists thought Pluto was a dog, like Goofy , but they changed their minds when Xena had an Oort cloud object named after her
Evidence for Creation = 0
Evidence for evolution = Shitloads
What to do?
Better believe in creation because the big bad God I have no evidence for might smite me and I’m very afraid of the big bad god. The bible, which I can not validate says he will strike me down and send me to hell.
Go away,(sticks fingers in ears) I can’t hear you, I cant hear you…….
Active Margin says
All those billions of years spent accreting and wandering the cold, dark outskirts of the solar system without anyone knowing he was there. And then, all in the blink of an eye, discovered, celebrated, demoted to less-than-planet status, and ultimately presented by a fundy as proof that goddidit.
It would make me wish my name was Alderaan instead.
I liked this part: “My feeling is if the Commonwealth’s site-based councils, school board members, superintendents and parents were questioned … one would find this teaching contradictory to the majority’s belief systems.”
What’s your point, Mr Line? Truth is not a matter for majority vote. In 1492 the majority of Europeans thought the earth was flat, but that didn’t change the shape of our planet.
Besides, Pluto had it coming…
If my recollection is any good, i believe it causes the next lot of teachers a great deal more work and slows down the university class.
This person should not be a superintendant. He is clearly unfit, if not actively dangerous to the health of the school district as a set of places for “learning”.
A school superintendent actively against learning and facts… Sigh…..
Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort says
I can tell you specifically how they fare. I was homeschooled by fundie parents (who still believe the Creationist tripe) and I went to college.
First, between the time I was 12 and about three years ago – I found my love of science dying. Before 12 I wanted to be an astronaut or a paleontologist. I read books about space and dinosaurs religiously, I wanted to visit science museums and go to observatories.
When we became fundies, that stuff became taboo and it floundered into what I could no longer understand and no longer wanted to understand. It killed my scientific drive. I went through high school with no evolutionary biology, no astronomy, no high sciences – not even goddamned physics. When I got to college, I was so enveloped in fundamentalism that I only took the science courses and interjected my own beliefs into them.
When I dropped the pretense of belief, I started reading again, started learning. I can honestly say I love science again – but the sad fact of the matter is that I don’t have much more than a high school understanding of the sciences. I’m truly underachieving when it comes to those, and it sucks miserably.
Which only goes to show what a crappy job the Kentucky school system is doing… producing a majority of uneducated people who don’t realise that whether or not something is factual has nothing to do with the number who believe it.
I feel sorry for people like this superintendent Line and his constituents. The world is continuing to change and there is not much they seem to be able to do to adapt to it.
Emigrant labor is coming north to take what low skill low education jobs there are for much less money then they will take them. At the same time the high skill high pay manufacturing jobs are being out sourced to contract manufacturing in lower cost markets. So they lean on their religion to help and it tells them that the modern world and science is sinful and they fight the one thing that could help them out of the dean end trap they are in. Ignorance compounded by brainwashing and fear does not convince easily some times they even win and drive us all into a ditch.
don’t give them any leeway or any slack reality is not a political football and neither is the education of the children.
When you went to high school, how many people valued intellectualism vs the number of people that made fun of “nerds” and other academic successes? The answer for me is that there was a tiny percentage that was very smart, and they were constantly ridiculed and berated by the majority that were “cool” or “pretty”.
I can’t relate to that notion at all.
I’m a rarity in that the poplar kids were the smart kids at my high school. In East Texas, no less! But that was a school that prided itself on being one of the best public schools in Texas. Back in the 70s, it was second in the state academically–and that was going against schools 3 and 4 times its size in Dallas, Austin, and Houston.
It really was a good school, and I realize how lucky I am to have attended it. It nearly killed me to have to transfer my senior year, to a school 3 times as large in Tyler. Intellectually, it was like I’d been sent back to jr. high. I was so fucking bored, I couldn’t stand it, and I was having to go to school all day, just to get the graduation credit I needed for one class. If I’d know I needed only government to graduate, I would have taken it in summer school, gotten my diploma then, and started college when I was 17, rather than wasting my time with a moron school.
In the early Fifties, the USA got a shock when the first Sputnik satellite was launched, and the so-called “Sputnik moment” resulted in a big boost being given to science education.
… Could it happen again today ?
It might be argued that today’s equivalent of the Sputnik could be climate change.
Which leads me to the following, horrifying thought:
If the Sputnik was sent into orbit today, it would be denied of Fox News and other similar media. All we would hear would be “It’s a hoax!”, “It’s a trick to increase government spending”, “God wouldn’t allow this”, “Here is a dentist, or computer specialist, or architect, who doesn’t believe in the Sputnik”, and so on.
“I don’t think that all of us came from a common ancestor …”
Does that mean he thinks some of us came from a common ancestor?
As he has every single one of the flatheads who raised him to his current position, Mr. Ricky Line (You’ve GOT to be kidding! LINE? LI-IN? LYIN’!) has convinced me. I will convert my current groudless (except for those continents of scientific evidence) and mindless belief in the Atheistic Darwin Lie (except I don’t “believe in” it, but accept it to be the best explanation I’ve yet seen and thought over, however shallowly) AFTER he proves his own wisdom.
Mr. Ricky Line, please look at this. Is it your ass, or a hole in the ground?
That’s OK. Take all the time you need…
Here, have some gum.
FER GAWD’S SAKE, DON’T TRY TO WALK WITH THAT IN YER MOUTH!!!!!!
Tiny bit of pedanticism, but we don’t have much evidence for this. Wouldn’t surprise me if most of the inhabitants of anywhere didn’t think about it much. And certainly, and at least from the Greeks on, just about everybody who did think about it knew it was spherical. The point about Columbus was that he (possibly intentionally) underestimated the distance between the left-hand side of Europe and the right-hand side of Asia.
BTW by 1493 C may have already been to the Great Banks-y parts of North America after stockfish along with a lot of fish merchants who were being very quiet about it for financial reasons.
And while I’m at it, what’s the most important event of 1492?
It’s (as the old poem has it) ‘Fourteen hundred and ninety two/The Spanish conquered Granada. Whoohoo!.”
The problem is not limited to a county school superintendent. The Education Commissioner of the entire state of Kentucky “insisted Monday that Kentucky will not be teaching evolution as fact.”
Now I understand why Ken Ham chose Kentucky for his magical creationism museum.
— Human Ape
It will probably be politically feasible to go on denying that human activities are responsible for climate change well into the next decade. So a Chinese moon-landing could well come first if China does not implode – and despite what you say, outright denial just would not work, and I believe it would act as a kick up the fundament. Of course by then, Chinese science and engineering could have too much momentum for anyone else to avoid being left floundering in their wake. They have ambitious plans for low-carbon energy, fortunately – but of course they also have enormous problems: social, environmental (air pollution at dangerous levels over large parts of the country), political and even economic (their asset/credit boom is just now in the process of bursting, with property prices expected to fall considerably in the next year).
I grew up in Kentucky (33 years old now) and remember the pages on evolution being glued together. I faced a major existential crisis after growing up and attending college. The truly amazing thing is just how quickly I shrugged off all of the old dogmas. It showed me how weak the creationist/religious arguments are. Sad that children will have to keep doing this.
No One says
12 December 2011 at 8:48 pm
Yep. The then government decided what went into the bible. Not their god.
opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says
I’m afraid the only Sputnik-equivalent that might work on the US today would be if China, say, were very visibly making huge amounts of profit out of green technology (not climate change directly, because people have already bought the idea that it means they’ll be worse off/pay higher taxes/not be allowed to drive SUVs etc.). However I say this as a non USAnian and am open to correction.
So many creation stories to choose from! Which one will the school teach?! All of them? If they have to choose just one, I wonder which one they’ll teach…
Of course! He knows that his kids came from him and his sister.
So his argument, if you can call it that, is that some scientists disagree about evolution, and scientists change their mind anyway, so you can’t trust ’em. Doesn’t this apply equally to theologians and bible scholars? Among those, you’ll find a range of positions about the nature of god and creation, the existence or otherwise of Jesus, the relevance of the bible to life today… and sometimes they’ll change their minds. I’d guess he’s suspicious of book-learnin’ in general, unless it tells him what he wants to hear. I’ve known school janitors with more respect for education.
People can’t just go around changing their minds about stuff. Once someone has determined how things should be, you need to just let them be, forever. Otherwise it’s too confusing. Plus it upsets a lot of people who just…aren’t flexible thinkers.
So don’t call Pluto a planet one day, then say it’s not a planet the next.
Don’t define marriage as only between a man and a woman, then say marriage can be between same-sex people.
Don’t agree that skeptics can’t be skeptical of god and religion one day, then decide skeptics can be skeptical about them.
Why is Cletus a superintendent? I thought that was Chalmers?
David Marjanović says
Precisely not. Seeing as you didn’t read the comments above yours, you’re probably a drive-by commenter and won’t ever read this, but just for the sake of completeness: first the observations happened (observations of Pluto, Eris, and several other Kuiper belt objects), then the International Astronomic Union officially changed the definition of “planet” by vote and introduced the new category of “dwarf planet”.
It’s nomenclature, not science. It’s a set of conventions about words that don’t exist outside our heads.
MMXI Vole says
By being smart enough to tell his constituents what they want to hear.
He’s at the LaGrange point of intelligence, slightly closer to stupid than intelligence, but right at the point where other stupid people think he’s intelligent.
Perhaps he is simply saying that his main issue is semantics. Science was “wrong” to call Pluto a planet, and science is also “wrong” to say that life evolved on Earth via a completely natural process with no divine intervention. In reality, science Jesusvolved on Earth via a completely natural process with no divine intervention.
Are we copacetic now?
So the superintendent is in a gravitationally stable ( or politically) position. He could be at L3, it wouldn’t take much to dislodge him from there.
These IDjits never catch on that correcting a mistake isn’t wrong. But they, of course, make no mistakes . . . . .
Akira MacKenzie says
Democracy, of course.
Gregory Greenwood says
That almost sounds like the title of an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
As for this Ricky Line;
It seems that Line is another example of that breed of theist who genuinely believes that reality must be ratified by faith – that what he wants to believe or finds personally credible defines that which exists whateve the actual evidence may be. So, he is not merely stupid, but also arrogant.
So, the fact that Pluto is no longer classed as a planet is an objetion to evolution… in what way? Pluto is still up there. The observations that detected it are still valid. It still follows the same orbital path, our observations of its surface still indicate that it has the same physical makeup – all that has changed is a label, basically for ease of categorisation.
Of course, Line is right in one regard:- unlike his blinkered theism, science is responsive to changes in the evidence. It is a self-correcting process, and as such is amended in the face of new discoveries. But Line and his ilk don’t offer new evidence or new avenues of research, all they have is the same, tired old theology that bears no resemblance to reality whasoever, and trying to force feed that tripe to children in the place of an actual scientific education amounts to no more than indoctrination, the opposite of what a school should be doing.
This man confounds things with the names we give those things. Very sad.
Maybe liberals could take advantage of that trait if it were common: “Okay conservatives, we will get rid of medicare because it’s evil socialism. We will replace it with a system that works exactly like Medicare, except it will be called Americare! 100% American! Wait, no, you don’t have to sing the anth…eh…oh.”
Well the point of fact at present is that the reclassification of Pluto is very far from a done deal. There are still many, if not a majority, of astronomers who do not like the new classification, and some of them are pretty vocal about it. It is very likely that the definition will change again at some point in the near future, particularly as all the new data on exoplanets flows in.
Now to extend this analogy, I must say that so long as the course material teaches random mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, and common descent, they can call it whatever they want.
Ricky is free to call it the “Theory of Special Creation of Biological Diversity through the Nonrandom Survival of Randomly Occurring Variants Descending from Common Ancestors” if it’ll make him feel better.
Also, back when the majority of astronomers were happy to call Pluto a planet, no one, but no one, was out there arguing that school textbooks shouldn’t be calling Pluto a planet, and teaching that as fact, just because there were these two suave looking mavericks out there insisting that Pluto really isn’t a planet like the other eight.
And if one day we learn something new and the theory of evolution is changed, then we’ll teach our children that new thing in science class, and if the science class is any good, we’ll teach them evolution AND the new theory, and we’ll teach them WHY the theory changed, and show them the evidence that resulted in the change.
In fact, that’s precisely how my high school physics courses were taught. We started with the old theories, then went through the new evidence and experiments that cast doubt on them, and then learned of the new theories that replaced the old ones. We did it all the way from Ptolemy to the Standard Model and Relativity.
Pluto always didn’t have a distinct orbit and we were always kinda perplexed about whether we should call objects that cross paths planets or not.
I think the word ‘dwarf’ is stupid here, since you could have a planet the size of jupiter that also hadn’t cleared its orbit – early life solar systems will have things like that. So proto-planet would’ve been better, but I prefer Centaurs as the astronomical term for the solar-orbit iceball asteroids (they’re mostly spherical) out there.
We just found that there were dozens of objects like Pluto, and no one ever thought to add them to the solar system charts, either. So Pluto just go lumped in with the other objects we found, because it matches better.
That’s because It’s Science, not dogma. It’s not like Christians are suddenly going to find a second god, or new supernatural entities, are they?
'Tis Himself, OM says
People, you’re missing the importance of Line’s argument. The squabble over Plutonian nomenclature within the astronomical community means the heliocentric theory is about to collapse. Evolution is next!
Catholic Saints Index
'Tis Himself, OM says
Christians already have at least three gods: Yahweh, JC and the Spook. Satan’s pretty much a deity. Catholics essentially revere Mary as a goddess. Christians dropped Jewish monotheism centuries ago.
I also sent Mr. Line a little note. Here’s what it said.
Dear Mr. Line:
I imagine that, by now, you have received many emails and other responses to your comments about evolution as quoted in the Herald-Leader. At the risk of repeating what has already been pointed out to you, please consider the following:
1. Evolution is a fact, whether you like it or not, because the evidence supporting it is overwhelming. Fossils, DNA, dating methods, geological strata, population genetics and other data from almost every relevant branch of science point to only one conclusion: that the genetic makeup of life on this planet has changed over time.
2. Most religious beliefs are indistinguishable from mythology. So please ask yourself one simple question: which belief is more supportable by observable facts, that present species evolved from other forms or that the entire planet was populated by two people 10,000 years ago? (And no, the Bible does not count as a reference.)
3. What part of “separation of church and state” do you not get? You don’t want the Muslim version of life’s origins on Earth taught in schools anymore than non-Christians want your view taught. If the facts about evolution conflict with your religious views, too bad for you. Science is not religion and is irrelevant to the church-state issue. Maybe you need to rethink your beliefs rather than try to suppress data that fail to support them.
4. Science, unlike religion, is a self-correcting process. If there are errors, they will eventually be identified and remedied, not by religion, but by scientists. Don’t you think it is ironic that you try to impugn evolution by citing scientific errors (the Pluto issue, by the way, was not an error, simply a reclassification — Pluto is still there, trust me) given the poor scientific track record of religion (e.g., Galileo)?
5. Finally, in your comments to Commissioner Holliday, you wrote:
“I don’t think . . . life on earth began as a one-celled organism”
“I don’t think . . . that all of us came from a common ancestor.”
“I don’t think . . . the Big Bang theory describes the explanation of the origin of the universe.”
Well, you’re half right, anyway, so I guess that’s something.
Please find a career field for which you are better suited. Ignorance and education are a terrible match.
Mark J Chambers, PhD
That’s a great one, on a similar note scientists used to agree that George Bush was president of the USA and now they don’t.