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Old August 27 2012, 04:35 AM   #1
Yminale
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Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

http://io9.com/5937947/bill-nye-crea...e-for-children

Please keep this civil. No holy wars.
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Old August 27 2012, 04:44 AM   #2
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

I have had a long-standing opinion that sometimes you just gotta let old people think what they want. I think we have a whole generation (or two) of "backwards thinking" older people that are on their way out the proverbial door. Whether it takes another 10, 20, or 30+ years, eventually today's children are going to be the ones calling the shots.

This doesn't just apply to creationism vs. evolution. This also applies to things like racism, homophobia, etc. My 90-year old grandma occasionally says the most racist things against black people. Is it worth it to argue with her? Not really. She grew up in a different time, and luckily we know better than to take her seriously. She's not even a racist; she's just a bit out-of-touch with the modern world, and so every once in a while you'll hear her talk about her "negro neighbor" and wonder why the hell she'd use that word.

So, yes, I agree with Bill Nye. Target the children if you want to change things. They'll grow up to find humor in how bizarre their parents' beliefs are.
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Old August 27 2012, 04:58 AM   #3
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

He's absolutely correct. Adults can believe what they wish, so long as it harms no one. However, teaching children that evolution isn't true, and that creationism is the valid belief, is just wrong. It shortchanges them, intellectually, and leaves their critical thinking skills wanting when trying to discern the universe around them.
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Old August 27 2012, 05:35 AM   #4
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

Meh. I'm not impressed. I was taught to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but the skepticism that resulted when I figured out the deception ultimately challenged the religious beliefs my family raised me with, too. Of course, exposure to the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans helped, too.

I suspect that some people are naturally skeptical. They question authority and make up their own minds based on their own observations and evidence. Along with that, a larger number of people are ... gullible. They are easily swayed by authority and are more susceptible to social pressures to conform. Whether they believe in creationism or evolution, the problem isn't what they believe, but the way they accept such beliefs without question.

I toyed with the idea years ago that the Middle Ages and centuries of persecution of skeptics as heretics provided a evolutionary force that marginalized people who carried genes that contribute to skeptical thought -- ultimately leading to a population prone to believing what they're told.
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Old August 27 2012, 06:20 AM   #5
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

I think that a false comparison is being made in this thread, by equating believing in creationism with being a racist. A racist someone who causes harm to others, emotionally or physically. While there are some creationists who are nasty and hateful, the problem is that they are fanatical, which is something that can happen to people of ANY ideology. Creationism in and of itself is not a hateful ideology. Only when fanaticism is there, is there a problem because that is the source of cruelty, not an argument about science.

My grandparents, for instance, are creationists and are nice people who would never bully anyone, never bullied my mother and aunt into agreeing with them on the subject, and with whom I was able to have a wonderful conversation on the subject even though we never agreed on it. (Grandma: "If evolution were true, there would be [multiple species of the Homo genus] running around." Me: "But Grandma--there are Neanderthals EVERYWHERE!" We both had a great laugh over that.) They do not bully or abuse people on other religious ground either.

So I do have a problem with reaching into people's homes and telling them what they must teach their children on a thing like this. This is not like raising your kid to be a skinhead or some other sort of hateful ideology.

That said, I would raise my own children the same way I was raised: by encouraging them to read and learn about the world. In my own case my parents gave me full access to the Bible and full access to all sorts of (accurate) books on science and encouraged my curiosity in both. No mention was ever made of any sort of conflict between the two. I clearly recall being about 5 or 6 years old, noticing the "apparent issue," and sitting down and reading both the science books and the Bible together, and coming to the understanding of what is called theistic evolution. I did not go to my parents and ask them this question myself. Simply being provided all of that information with the full support of my parents was enough for me to discover the truth by myself.

I didn't learn that term for it until I got older, but it basically entails the view that all of our scientific observations are accurate--there is no bending of facts. The processes that we see and observe are real. However, science cannot answer the more "thematic" questions of our purpose, nor does science itself provide any guidance as to what is right and wrong. It can only provide us with the possibilities of what we can do, and the potential consequences of each choice we could make. Construing science to be any sort of moral guide or capable of offering any proof or disproof of God is to use it for something it is simply not capable of delivering on, just as it is an abuse to bend scientific facts to fit a literalist interpretation of theology.

In other words, I completely reject the idea of a conflict between science and religion. If I ever have kids, I intend to teach them the same way--by making sure they're free to satisfy their curiosity, and if they ask me about it, I will explain to them why there should not be any conflict and teach them that truth is to be respected where it is found...both in the Genesis account, which should be read as a theological text rather than some sort of literal scientific treatise, and in the scientific method that reveals the physical processes by which the Creation occurred.
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Old August 27 2012, 07:37 AM   #6
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

Psion wrote: View Post
Meh. I'm not impressed. I was taught to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but the skepticism that resulted when I figured out the deception ultimately challenged the religious beliefs my family raised me with, too. Of course, exposure to the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans helped, too.

I suspect that some people are naturally skeptical. They question authority and make up their own minds based on their own observations and evidence. Along with that, a larger number of people are ... gullible. They are easily swayed by authority and are more susceptible to social pressures to conform. Whether they believe in creationism or evolution, the problem isn't what they believe, but the way they accept such beliefs without question.

I toyed with the idea years ago that the Middle Ages and centuries of persecution of skeptics as heretics provided a evolutionary force that marginalized people who carried genes that contribute to skeptical thought -- ultimately leading to a population prone to believing what they're told.
Still, never doubt the veracity of the true believer. The story of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are just that: stories. Children believe them until they grow up and realize their collective legs have been pulled. A Creationist believes wholeheartedly in what they speak, and that passion passes onto the children.

It is my hope that when a child grows up, he or she has long since began thinking critically (something that should be taught in schools). Then when the evidence presents itself, the child is capable of removing the dross and coming out ahead with the understanding that Creationism is nothing more than a story, albeit one reinforced, and believed upon, by millions of otherwise functioning adults. An admittedly appealing one, but unrealistic in the best of circumstances.
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Old August 27 2012, 07:53 AM   #7
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

Bokonon 1:2-4

In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.
You assume, Nerys, that existence must have a purpose and that morality must exist outside of ourselves. There is no evidence to support this theory.
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Old August 27 2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I think that a false comparison is being made in this thread, by equating believing in creationism with being a racist.
I admit that I was hesitant in making the comparison, but since I don't know any Creationists, that was the best I could do.

But I think that ultimately the point is this: leave religious beliefs out of school. If parents want to instill their Creationist beliefs in their children, that is their right, but the children also need access to the other side. This scares them because, all things being equal, the majority of kids would side with science.
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Old August 27 2012, 01:40 PM   #9
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

Schools are there to educate, not indoctrinate. It's fine to teach kids about religion--as in, "here's what this group of people believes"--but you cannot and do not teach religious dogma in place of scientific fact.

The world was not made in 6 days, the Earth is not 6000 years old, humans did not pop into existence when God made them. Evolution is a fact. I am sick to death of people acting like these things are opinions. They are not opinions, they are scientific facts, and if you choose not to accept them, you are unequivocally an idiot. You hate knowledge, you hate science, you hate having any understanding of reality. You've chosen to hide yourself under a veil of ignorant certainty, comforted by fairy tales because you're too weak to face reality.
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Old August 27 2012, 02:19 PM   #10
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

^ That's only true given what was discovered through the scientific method, which would have produced a completely different set of conclusions if Earth life had been fiddled with by an interstellar species traveling around terraforming planets. If we start terraforming on hosts of planets in other solar systems, fiddling with native organisms and mixing in species native to Earth and then fade from the scene, the galaxy will eventually fill up with millions of alien scientists from thousands of worlds who will have conferences on "the creator". Convincing them that the same small, slow, evolutionary changes they've observed on their own worlds since the sudden and dramatic acts of creation in their geological record is the same process that produced their "creator" will be a largely futile effort (and would probably make a nice short story).

For young children creation is a story that has an understandable cast of characters, a purpose, moral lessons, and a reasonably coherent narrative that can reinforce parental efforts to make children behave. Pretty much any creation myth could do the same, and we've been successfully using such stories for that purpose for thousands of years. Teaching them evolution before their minds can grasp it without filling with all sorts of misconceptions (like all the ones Steven J Gould used to write about) is difficult, much like trying to teach statics or thermodynamics to five year-olds.
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Old August 27 2012, 02:21 PM   #11
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

Soapboxing aside, I'd say the OP's article is correct. Religious indoctrination has no place in school.
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Old August 27 2012, 02:21 PM   #12
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

gturner wrote: View Post
^ That's only true given what was discovered through the scientific method, which would have produced a completely different set of conclusions if Earth life had been fiddled with by an interstellar species traveling around terraforming planets. If we start terraforming on hosts of planets in other solar systems, fiddling with native organisms and mixing in species native to Earth and then fade from the scene, the galaxy will eventually fill up with millions of alien scientists from thousands of worlds who will have conferences on "the creator". Convincing them that the same small, slow, evolutionary changes they've observed on their own worlds since the sudden and dramatic acts of creation in their geological record is the same process that produced their "creator" will be a largely futile effort (and would probably make a nice short story).
Okay, that is not helping.

For young children creation is a story that has an understandable cast of characters, a purpose, moral lessons, and a reasonably coherent narrative that can reinforce parental efforts to make children behave. Pretty much any creation myth could do the same, and we've been successfully using such stories for that purpose for thousands of years. Teaching them evolution before their minds can grasp it without filling with all sorts of misconceptions (like all the ones Steven J Gould used to write about) is difficult, much like trying to teach statics or thermodynamics to five year-olds.
Nonsense. You can give kids the basics without lying to them.
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Old August 27 2012, 02:28 PM   #13
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

I wonder why people NEED to fantasize about the Creator, because they simply can't accept that the universe and life simply started existing out of nothing and nowhere, but when they are asked "Who created the Creator?", the Creator simply started existing out of nothing and nowhere.



My problem with Evolution is that I simply can't see how all this is the result of undirected mutations, and the best one wins. It would make a lot more sense if during a lifetime an animal stores some information in the DNA. If it lives in the desert, it stores perhaps some bits about heat, sun radiation, dehydration, that sort of stuff. And over time, if the descendants keep living in that area as well, and keep adding information to their DNA, slowly their descendants become more and more adapted. But just based on coincidence and selection, it doesn't make much sense for me.
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Old August 27 2012, 02:32 PM   #14
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
I wonder why people NEED to fantasize about the Creator, because they simply can't accept that the universe and life simply started existing out of nothing and nowhere, but when they are asked "Who created the Creator?", the Creator simply started existing out of nothing and nowhere.
God has always existed! That is all you need to know. At that point, it just becomes "a wizard did it" and thus bears no further inquiry.
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Old August 27 2012, 02:57 PM   #15
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Re: Bill Nye: “Creationism is not Appropriate for Children”

At its core, creationism is really a political movement. It trades knowledge and science for popular influence. In the world of the creationist, all is relative to social standing, ergo they think that they must be the ones at the top of the totem pole. To do that, it is necessary for them to eclipse science. Delude themselves as they might, it's not about God to them at all. It's just straight up jockeying for power.
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