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.

Presidential Candidates, Religion, Science

Religion Gone Too Far

Republican Mitt Romney, amid questions about his faith raised by rival Mike Huckabee, said Wednesday that comparing political records on the stump and through the airwaves is legitimate for presidential contenders, but “attacking someone’s religion is really going too far.”

First, I find it fascinating to watch two religious believers quibble over which of their superstitions is the right one. It’s a bit like a Star Trek nerd claiming the Borg are more powerful than the sith to his Star Wars counterpart. And truly believing it.

But fantasy and superstition aside, how can anyone rationally state that “attacking someone’s religion is going too far,” particularly when the “attacks” are really just fair criticism and inquiry. Huckabee’s superstitions preclude his accepting evolution, which is a fact of science not just a theory. He stated that he “doesn’t believe in evolution.” This is a true problem, since his understanding of science and his educational level is relevant to the job he is seeking to be elected to. Indeed, it may very well have been his utter ignorance in science that caused him to make a statement that patients of HIV/AIDS should be quarantined and segregated from society. His recent response to criticism of this statement is that he made the comment before the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS was actually understood and that there was confusion over how HIV was transmitted: “my concern was the uncertain risk to the general population — if we got it wrong, many people would die needlessly.”

Right. The vectors of HIV/AIDS have long been known and understood. They were understood well before his comments in 1992. And an education and understanding of science, at even a rudimentary level, would have given him that insight. But why should it be expected that someone who doesn’t believe in evolution should have that sort of education? The short answer is that we shouldn’t. But since the President of the United States would be expected to have informed opinions about topics such as stem cells, science education in schools, genetic manipulation, HIV/AIDS policy, etc.

And Romney! I only have one thing to say: magic underwear.

Okay, maybe I should say something else that occurs to me. Mormon doctrine states that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri. Either Mitt Romney believes this, and other nonsense beliefs of the Mormon cult, or he just claims he does. He’s either deluded or lying. Which condition better qualifies him for the Presidency? If we go by the current administration, it, of course, would be the latter.

By the way, there’s a call for a Scientific Debate in 2008 for Presidential candidates. Go to the link and check it out.