Creationists dealt a blow in Calif.

I was going to include this with the Sunday Cult Watch since creationism really is a cult (within a cult), fitting the definition leading the Cult Watch post quite well: the adherents of various creationist cults invoke a particular form of worship that involves special creation of humans; animals created as “kinds;” a global flood that exterminated all but two of each “kind;” a planet that is only a few thousand years old; etc. And such religious ideals involve a special sort of attention in the way of being anti-scientific and opposing reason and rational thought when it conflicts with their wacky and superstitious ideals.

So, the cults of creationism (Answers in Genesis, Discovery Institute, et al) were dealt a blow even they can’t ignore in California last week. A federal judge in L.A. ruled that the University of California can “deny course credit to applicants from Christian high schools whose textbooks declare the Bible infallible and reject evolution.” Followers of Christian cults, particularly those cults of creationism, objected to UC’s policy, suggesting that it was a policy of “religious discrimination.”

Among the courses rejected by UC is a history course called Christianity’s Influence on America which utilizes a text that, “instructs that the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events” and evaluates historical figures based on their religious motivations.” Another course, this one in science, uses a text titled, Biology for Christian Schools and, “declares on the first page that if (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong.”

So UC doesn’t find cult school courses that preach inerrant “truth” to be favorable over those that favor free inquiry and evidence? The only thing questionable about that position is that it actually had to go to court. This is no more asinine than if the Flat Earthers forced the same litigation over refusing to give course credit for denying the sphericity of this two-dimensional planet; or UFO nuts demanding that their high school astronomy programs be accepted even though the first chapter of their textbook deals with the Roswell cover up and the Moon-landing hoax.

And what did the creationist nutters have to say about the ruling on their blogs and sites?

AiG can be quoted to say, “Ultimately, this case is representative of the public—and academia’s—continued refusal to acknowledge the role of presuppositions in shaping how we acquire knowledge, including in the scientific sphere.”

The tragic thing is, these nuts are serious. They assume that because they rely on presuppositions (i.e. that their mythology is assumed the literal word of an assumed god) that, therefore, no one else is capable of achieving objective reality. Which is utter bollocks. There is an objective, knowable truth that can be had more easily and quickly by applying the methods (as opposed to apply the methods of superstition). They presuppose that the Earth is only a few thousand years old based on a single source of information developed by stone and iron age goat herders, ignoring all scientific knowledge and evidence to the contrary because it doesn’t fit their preconceived and particular notion of god.

WorldNut Daily, through the dimwitted Johnathan Falwell, said, well… I’m not going to bother quoting that asshole. Suffice to say, he went on and on about how society pretends values diversity unless it’s his particular notion of god and how his superstitious and unfounded beliefs should be valued in the name of diversity, etc. It was all very nauseating to read. don’t believe me, click the link and see. Ugh. Falwell committed logical fallacy after logical fallacy in a very weak attempt to make a point that students are forced to accept an “atheistic” point of view.

Sorry pal. Call it what you will, no one is telling students they can’t believe in whatever deities, fairies, Jedi, or magic frogs they want. The University system is about gaining an education in reality and if they haven’t the proper scores in the proper prep classes, they’re going to have a difficult time of it, putting an undo burden on professors and making it unfair for the students who actually did obtain an education. Classes would have to be dumbed down, extra time spent on teaching the basics, and, perhaps, even spent on explaining the reality-based point of view versus the sub-natural one relied on by creationists nutters.

To be fair, the creationist nutters did make a fair point in a couple of the articles I read on their sites, which was that it cannot be assumed that because a student came from a school that used sub-standard texts that she wouldn’t be educated sufficiently in the sciences. But, if these same nutters actually bothered to RTFA, they might have noticed the the sentence, “students whose courses lack UC approval can remain eligible by scoring well in those subjects on the Scholastic Assessment Test.”
But, then, it isn’t characteristic of creationists to actually study, research and do their homework, so we shouldn’t be too surprised by their false assumptions. Indeed, the very title of Falwell’s article, “Christians Need Not Apply” at WorldNut Daily is fallacious even before the first paragraph. The unfortunate thing is, this sort of propaganda feeds quite well into the less-informed masses who happen to be religious and are being led to believe that if they accept science they’re denying their god.

At least some school districts are getting it right

As if my link to AiG in a previous post weren’t enough, I’m going to toss out another to “Creation on the Web” where a former substitute teacher is prattling on about being “expelled” from his part-time teaching gig in a post there titled Censoring Intelligent Design.

The author opens his article by boasting about his “glory days” as the substitute teacher that put on “the biggest elementary school patriotic concert in Arizona state history” at the behest of a governor and a senator. Then he goes on to describe subbing for a science class that showed a movie which he described as “actively disrespecting the Christian families in the school.”

According to the substitute teacher (now author) the video “was a mix of science and anti-religious propaganda” and “the kids sat there like little sponges soaking it up.” It must have been painful for someone so steeped in superstition to have those superstitions challenged. Here’s a quote from the article:

To summarize, it portrayed early religious people—specifically Christians and Jews as it used biblical terminology—as primitive and superstitious. For example, when talking about comets it stated that religious people once thought they were signs from God or the devil. It then explained how science came to the rescue and explained what comets really were. A similar statement was made about lightning being a sign that God was angry. Once again science rescued man from religious superstition.

The author then described how he presented creationism (in the form of intelligent design) to the students as an alternative to actual science and reality and wondered why the district no longer has a need for his services. Duh.

This is the gist of his article. The rest is spent whining over losing his substitute teaching job and not getting an answer why (clearly, he knows why) and with attempting to argue the same tired and debunked social Darwinist, Nazi Holocaust, anti-science, science isn’t perfect crap that creationists do when they really don’t have a genuine and rational argument. Or, perhaps the author truly believes that nonsense -if so, the Washington School District (Glendale, AZ I think) made the correct decision in sacking the guy. He has no business pretending to be an educator.

So if you move to Glendale, AZ, at least you know the school district has something going for it. It’s willing to sack poor educators and willing to provide rational and objective education regardless of the sensibilities of the overly superstitious, like Roger Paull. Because not a single thing that Paull cited in the quote above is inaccurate. The video he remembers was probably The Soul of Science (Paull calls it “science of the soul”), which is a four part series originally published in VHS format in 1996 by Hawkhill associates. The series was designed to provide an overview of the “where, when and why of scientific research and discovery.”

Interestingly enough, this very video is included in the course syllabus for a class titled “History of Scientific Discovery: 1500 to Present (Great Moments in Science).” A class listed by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities no less!