July 14, 2024

Accurate Science for the Home-schooler

What will atheist activists do when professional creationists no longer have influence enough to bother with? It is already obvious that religious extremists like Ham and the Hovinds have done far more damage to their religion than I ever could. Even other Christians admit and lament that pretty openly. A Catholic genetics professor, Dr Kenneth Miller laid waste to the notions of Intelligent Design. Ivy league paleontologist and Pentacostal preacher, Dr. Robert T. Bakker blasted creationists for being ‘bigots’, and recently Professor Charles Reid Jr criticized pseudoscientists Paul Braun and Ken Ham, saying that Christians should be the ones to “call them out” -rather than unbelieving infidels. Otherwise the general populace might get the impression that all Christians are that dogmatic.¬† If you want Christians to apologize for their faith, don’t show them the facts we know in science, show them the frauds we see coming from representatives of the Religious Right.

At this time, it is confusing to me how it is that the United States of America is the only 1st world nation where roughly half the population rejects evolution, objects to science, and still believes in a magical creation. Worst of all is how fundamentalists seek to mislead children with unsupported assertions instead of teaching them things we can prove to be actually factually accurate. That’s why I want to debate Ken Ham, because it bothers me to hear children chanting the mantras of misunderstood misinformation which Ham has rehearsed them to recite.

So Ham refused to debate me. On his blog, he said instead that he would pit one of his own PhD apologists against an accomplished scholar who is still primarily focused on science. But where do you find a post-doctoral professorial professional who is also fluent in the quackery of pseudoscience-subversives?

Suddenly the curtains flew aside and there was P.Z. Meyers, who had been listening in the shadows all along. Ham or Hamza, doesn’t matter to him. So P.Z. accepts that portion of Ham’s amended arrangement on the additional condition that it be a tag-team, and I remain in the game. If I’m not in, it’s not on.

Now ideally, answersingenesis should bring out their front-man as the co-combatant for their side, since he was the one who threw down the first glove, and he’s the one bringing his medicine show to the homeschoolers of Houston. I’m pretty sure he’ll back away anyway, but it doesn’t matter what he does anymore. If he chooses a more accredited champion, it will look all the better for me in the end. It doesn’t matter who he chooses either. Regardless of credentials, I’ll make sure that truth wins this, and no creationist ever had that.

What I’d like to see come of this is a second, and secular homeschoolers conference going on at the same time, and our debate with Ham and Co should be part of that.

We’re in a sad state indeed when you consider why we even have so many homeschoolers here. Our universities are still outstanding, but our primary and secondary schools have been undermined and undermanned. Dogmatic believers took their kids out of school to keep them from learning about science. But secular parents now homeschool too, because the public schools won’t teach science properly. 20% of the science teachers are creationist, and those who aren’t usually don’t know evolution well enough to teach it. It’s a simple subject really, but it’s easy to get it wrong, and you’re gonna start a fight if you do it right. That’s one of many reasons why we should have a conference with expert specialists giving introductory lectures. And not just about that, but lots of other important topics, which are usually discarded or distorted in religious homes.

I think a secular homeschool conference is a great idea, and we should hold it at the same time as the creationist conference. PZ Myers and Vic Wang of Houston Atheists will be discussing our options and proposing potential speakers tonight, Tuesday June 4th at 8:00pm Central [Texas] time on the n0nes. Let’s get some feedback.

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35 thoughts on “Accurate Science for the Home-schooler

  1. A conference at the same time sounds like a great idea! Glad PZ Myers jumped right in – I’m sure Ham was not expecting that! I will try to catch the discussion tonight on the n0nes, but if I miss it, I hope they have it video’d so I can watch it.

  2. Wow, yeah. I’d love to see that debate. The two of you together onstage would be epic. PZ with the silk glove, holding the leash of his pit bull. “Don’t make me let this guy go! Don’t do it!” ūüėÄ

    I don’t suppose Ken Ham will make good on his proposal, huh? What the hell kind of PhD can he even offer up? Who does he have that can even claim any sort of specialization about the science, who can possibly have anything to say against a working embryologist, such that his apologist wouldn’t be laughed off on the face of the idea before the debate even got started?

    1. He can probably offer up someone like Jonathan Wells who gets on stage with a PhD (in a relevant field, even!) only to tell blatant lies with complete confidence. I find these cretins particularly disturbing because they can’t claim gullibility as an excuse.

      Have you seen any of the ExtantDodo productions? They’re excellent, but be prepared to witness brazen dishonesty from people who absolutely should know better.

        1. I keep forgetting that creationists are hardly united in their propaganda. Their world is kind of like Mean Girls.

          1. Well, some of them will work together. The Discovery Institute is a bit of a conglomeration of creationists from various sects, because they think it gives them credibility. Ken Ham is more of a religious ideologue, so I don’t think he would work with Wells.

      1. And yeah, Wells is the first and only one who popped into my mind, as soon as I said that, but I don’t think he’s a consideration.

        1. Don’t forget about Georgia Purdom, she’s their ace PhD hack. They like to trot her out to make their crap sound “scientific.” They also have another PhD hack but I don’t remember his name.

          1. Ah. Her name is vaguely familiar, but I don’t actually know anything about her.

  3. Christians should be the ones to ‚Äúcall them out‚ÄĚ -rather than unbelieving infidels. Otherwise the general populace might get the impression that all Christians are that dogmatic.

    Don’t be sure that they aren’t. The so-called “moderates” in any religion will support extremists (or at least not oppose extremists) if they think it will help them get their way (e.g. funding for bombers of abortion clinics in the US, money going to Al Qaeda in muslim countries, hasidic jews in Israel attacking jews who aren’t extremists).


  4. 20% of the science teachers are creationist, and those who aren’t usually don’t know evolution well enough to teach it.

    On top of that, many who do know something about it are afraid to teach it for fear of the class being turned into a circus or punishment by Creationist superiors.

    1. The superiors don’t even have to be creationists; they just have to be apathetic, lazy, or penny-pinching. If a teacher properly teaches evolution, you just know there’s going to be That Kid who runs off to his white, wealthy parents who raise a stink with the school board and threaten legal action. Rather than do the right thing and actually give a shit about students, the board will put the kibosh on teaching evolution…as administrators are wont to do.

      This is coming from a child of two schoolteachers who knows firsthand what school administrators generally care about.

      1. I know what you mean, I saw first hand what happens when a few uptight parents don’t like their kids getting exposed to science. I was living in Cobb County Georgia during the whole “warning sticker” fiasco. The grounds outside of the school board literally looked like a revival meeting.

      2. Quite true. Lot of permutations of fear, apathy, and deceit to explain why kids aren’t getting a proper education on evolution.

        One thing apathy/penny pinching puts in perspective: Education means putting kids into a temporary, uncomfortable confusion as an inherent part of teaching them new things. It often means they have to unlearn the myths and misconceptions they were comfortable with. Then they can learn how things really work. Because of that, education necessarily rocks the kids’ boats. Bureaucrats typically don’t like boat rocking.

  5. Holy shit! PZ and AronRa taking on AiG.

    I hope this “debate” takes place. It would be awesome! However, if they do refuse, I think it is better if PZ stays on and debates one of the creationist. PZ would be able to handle anything from the quacks at AiG. That alone would be great for home-schoolers that are teaching creationism to see.

  6. Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re all looking forward to the event of the century: Smitedown 2013, featuring the main event tag team match of AronRa and P.Z. Meyers versus Team Genesis. That’s right, Team Genesis, formerly known as the Intelligent Designers, are looking at a challenge so daunting, they’ll be praying to face lions in a coliseum.

    As we all know, AronRa is the current Viking-weight champion of Texas and a former #1 contender for the Cryptozoological Federation as thanks for when he took Big Foot’s place alongside the Skunk Ape and the South Carolina Lizard Man in a six-creature tag match against the evil foreigner team of the Yeti, El Chupacabra, and Owlman. Holy frijoles did that night go bad for the Chupacabra.

    That experience fighting against nonexistent creatures ought to serve AronRa well in this match, because there are rumors that Jesus Christ is going to be on the side of Team Genesis. They’re the same rumors we’ve always heard and he’s never actually shown up to help them out in any of their fights, but it’s what Team Genesis keeps saying anyway. Cross your heart and hope to win, Team Genesis, because if AronRa and P.Z. hit the Big Bang, then you’re going to be out like the heat-death of the universe in 1-2-3.

    Next up, P.Z. Meyers, and if the rumors are anything to go by, he’s a mean, man-eating son of a gun that tenderizes dissent with a steel banhammer. That’s what the marks say about him, at least. We all know him as the biology professor with a fighting style that evolves to make any enemy extinct. He was the natural selection for a tag team partner for AronRa here, though the General Manager has issued an order stating all squids must be banned from ringside during the bout. I believe there was some worry about the match getting excited and ink shooting all over the place. And we all know how the upright citizen’s brigade from Team Genesis doesn’t like getting inked.

    So join us, this TBD, at Smitedown 2013, if ya smell what the primordial soup is cookin’!

        1. Even after they demanded that exact condition? I know they’re cowardly, but I think that would look like running away, even to their flock.

  7. The thing about this “What about my rights as a parent to teach my child what I want?” that gets me is – what about the rights of the child? Shouldn’t they have 1st amendment rights too? Shouldn’t they have a right to a good solid education? Do parents really have the right to screw up the minds of their children for life? How is that different from physically maiming them for life?

    1. Well said. There’s no shortage of fundies who seem to treat their children like they’re tools manufactured for proselytizing their religion. When the village tries to help raise the child, they try to vilify the act as meddling because it suggests the child consider something other than factory settings.

      Parents are supposed to do what’s best for the child, which includes giving them opportunities to make their own informed choices as they mature into adulthood. That’s what it means to raise a child. They aren’t there to feed the parents’ agenda. Parents don’t have a right to a child with a predetermined worldview.

      1. Aronra touches on that in one of his videos. Many of these folks don’t see any value in an education beyond what is needed for their particular vocation, some actively discourage their children from learning.

        1. The Jehovah’s Witnesses come to mind, yes. Most of them don’t have anything beyond a high school education, and lots of them don’t even have that. They actively discourage non-Biblical education.

  8. Guess what? Ham has a reply to that “nones” broadcast.

    Ken Ham responds to “The n0nes” claim that he’s an ape

    Guess what? Comments are disabled for that video.

    He’s also posted about it on his facebook page.

  9. Stupid question: Don’t homeschoolers have to pass some kind of exam to get recognition of having had an education?

    1. If they want to go to a legitimate, accredited college, yes. Otherwise, there’s almost no regulation, in most states, and the home-schooling lobby is fighting to deregulate things even further. Most home-schoolers have no intention of going to an accredited college, so they don’t bother.

      1. Thanks.

        You would think that at minimum a high school diploma(GED) would be needed for employment beyond the “mom and pop” variety.

        Even unions(skilled trade) are looking at the education level of applicants and many are getting people with four year degrees applying.(I’m in NJ by the way)

        1. These are the same people who think there’s no difference between unions and the Mafia, I think. Besides, how much education do you need to be a preacher, which is what a lot of parents wish their children would grow up to be.

  10. The major problem, I foresee, is the typical Creationist confirmation bias.

    For an example (such a good one, it risks becoming a strawman), might I remind everyone of the debate between the Rational Response Squad and that idiot, who hangs around too much with Mike Seaver?

    The idiot did not make a single, good argument, during that debate. However, the Creationists have grouped together in their praise of how the idiot demolished the Rational Response Squad.

    It is evidence, such as this, which begins to convince me, that “Faith in Humanity” is still “Faith.”

    In other words, these people are too comfortable in their indolence. As such, they are so far gone that, if their God exists, if it were to appear tomorrow and tell the Creationists that it wasn’t done in seven days, six thousand years ago… If their god were to appear and admit to this, they would drive it out, as a heretic.

    But since their god, most probably, doesn’t exist, there is no way to test this scenario.

    1. Hell, it would be nice if you could limit a creationist to one field of science at a time, when they’re talking about Evil-ution.

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