Ivan OrdonezReinoso writes: I have been reading this newsgroup for sometimes, and I have o

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Ivan Ordonez-Reinoso writes: >I have been reading this newsgroup for sometimes, and I have often read >questions about the point of discussing such a subject. So I have a >question: has anybody out there ever changed his or her mind about the >evolution/creation controversy? Has any evolutionist ever turned into a >creationist or vice versa? There have been people who have softened their harsh attacks on evolution, a handfull. I am not prepared to name names, but I do recall that there are some. Even if your views about science, evolutionary theory, and religion haven't fundementally changed, there are other processes at work. One learnes things anew in teaching or explaining them to others, especially when the reception is hostile or ignorant. One learns about science, religion, rhetoric, debate, writing, and related matters. One questions own's beliefs and comments to this group. Even though I have thought from the beginning that Creationism was bogus, but even that it was a political ruse, I have experimented with various challenges to it and its propoanants and have asked questions of my reading to help me deal with it. I operate on the premise that every assertion has some little germ of truth, there is a "good" reason to believe in it for someone, and to them that is a basic need met in holding to that belief. This is true even when they can't tell you that reason or when all the ad hoc arguments we hear are weak. We get ad hoc arguments here alot that disguize basic motivation, from both sides, but especially from the people who advocate Creationism. The repitition in this group gets tiresome; I can imagine that it is like teaching an introductory course but to a hostile audience, such as a required course. On the other hand, there are breakthroughs to be had in dealing with this subject. I would imagine that whereas some people have studied biology as a result of this group, I have been reading comparitive religion and mythology in an effort to get behind the rhetoric of the debate to the motivation of the Creationist attack on science. This leads to some disquieting conclusions about the nature of the Judeo-Christian heritage and why religion becomes such a hot topic in Western secular societies. I have voiced some of these concerns recently. I think that Creationism is integral to that heritage but not a necessary result. As critical as I have become of "our" roots I see that our religious heritage is quite flexible and accommodates theistic evolutionists quite handily. It doen't assure us against the recurring error of Creationism. I think that the political threat of Creationism is past; it may linger in watered down science curricula, but then again that is a minor aspect of the general failure of public education in the U.S. The Creationists will certainly find that the effect on me, of going from someone who tolerated other people's religion, to someone who has concluded that our religious heritiage is degenerate and downright dangerous, to be antithetical. When you open a can of worms, that is the risk you take. But there is something else to say, and that is that people are spiritual seekers, and finding the wisdom of the ages is not to be taken lightly. It doesn't necessarily have to lead to moral dogma and opposition to science or evolution. Bruce Salem ------------------------------------------------------------ > I think that the political threat of Creationism is past; it >may linger in watered down science curricula, but then again that is >a minor aspect of the general failure of public education in the U.S. In one sense I think you are right about the political threat of creationism being past. The political firestorm created by the creationists woke up a lot of people to the dangers of this kind of thinking. There are people to fight back now. In another sense I think you are dead wrong and your error is contained in the paragraph's second sentence. To a large extent it is the failure of science education in this country that allowed creationism to gain such a large following in the first place. If science education remains watered down someone in the future will have to say "They're baaaack". I believe that the creationist movement in this country is not just anti-evolution, it is anti-rational and anti-science. The real goal is not to teach biblical creationism in school, it is to destroy your capacity for critical thinking and independent thought. Scott H Mullins ------------------------------------------------------------------- >In one sense I think you are right about the political threat of creationism >being past. The political firestorm created by the creationists woke up a >lot of people to the dangers of this kind of thinking. There are people >to fight back now. Yes, sciemtists have become more politically involved both in making sure that their messages get to lawmakers and the public and because their findings relate directly to national policy, as in ozone depleation. >In another sense I think you are dead wrong and your error is contained in the >paragraph's second sentence. To a large extent it is the failure of >science education in this country that allowed creationism to gain such a >large following in the first place. If science education remains watered >down someone in the future will have to say "They're baaaack". I understand what you mean. Creationism is a symprom of the general failure of science education, one could argue that, and I don't mean to diminish the seriousness of this as it relates directly to economic competativeness, but in the larger scheme of things the creationism battle is a classic case of hype and the loss of the ability to use critical thinking on the part of students, educators and in particular, policymakers, whether it be politicans, school boards or businessmen who publish textbooks. It is true that alot of these people need to be tutored about the basics of science, but it is more ugrgant that the wool has been able to be pulled over their eyes; the watchdogs of the mind were not working. In this sense Creationism has nothing to do with sound science or religion, but with rhetoric and deception. The people who pushed it were political and liers to boot. People who read this group ought to be aware that Creationism got important because its proponants sought political remedies, having no scientific, or for that natter, no religious basis for their claims. So the problem is larger than the state of science education, it is about the political process and the forces behind it. >I believe that the creationist movement in this country is not just >anti-evolution, it is anti-rational and anti-science. The real goal is not >to teach biblical creationism in school, it is to destroy your capacity >for critical thinking and independent thought. Actually, I'll go one step further. The goals of the people who back Creationism is political. They do wish to turn off the mental skills that led to the modern secular and technocratic state, but there are alot of people around the country who were never turned on to this and who crave a simpiler and more certian life than modern society offeres. These people turned to the shelter of the Bible oriented congregtions of the Southern Baptists, then dominated by Biblical Fundementalissm who assured them, as they were already susseceptable to the message, that if they slavishly followed the notions in that one book and opposed all that contradicted it that they would have the peace and quite they so seek. Creationism is part of a reactionary trend that is very much part of the American scene. Despite the strong sense of religious toleration and disestsablishmentarianism in the U.S., there is a strong undercurrent of utopian religious communities and theocratic enclaves. In this sense Creationism has always been with us. The thought just occured to me that the timming of the rise of Creationism, c. 1980 may be timmed with the intrusion of federal education guidelines into places where Church oriented values had been quietly taught or at least catered to in the Public Schools. When it became clear that out of state administrators and auditors were going to mandate curricula in places like Little Rock Arkansas and Fredericksburg Virginia, that is the time when the Creationism ploy could become a movement that would ride on the coattails of conservatives into national prominance in the Reagan landslide of 1980. Bruce Salem ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- >In this sense Creationism has nothing to do with sound science >or religion, but with rhetoric and deception. This is exactly what I was getting at. I see a primary role of science education as being one way of teaching students critical thinking, of showing them how to sort out good arguments from bad arguments. I think that for many people this is _the_ primary goal of science education, people who do not go into fields that directly involve science. Economic considerations are secondary because IMO a healthy economy can only be supported by a population that knows how to think. >>I believe that the creationist movement in this country is not just >>anti-evolution, it is anti-rational and anti-science. The real goal is not >>to teach biblical creationism in school, it is to destroy your capacity >>for critical thinking and independent thought. > Actually, I'll go one step further. The goals of the people who >back Creationism is political. They do wish to turn off the mental skills >that led to the modern secular and technocratic state, but there are alot >of people around the country who were never turned on to this and who crave >a simpiler and more certian life than modern society offeres. These people >turned to the shelter of the Bible oriented congregtions of the Southern >Baptists, then dominated by Biblical Fundementalissm who assured them, as >they were already susseceptable to the message, that if they slavishly >followed the notions in that one book and opposed all that contradicted it >that they would have the peace and quite they so seek. Creationism is part >of a reactionary trend that is very much part of the American scene. Despite >the strong sense of religious toleration and disestsablishmentarianism in >the U.S., there is a strong undercurrent of utopian religious communities >and theocratic enclaves. In this sense Creationism has always been with us. > > The thought just occured to me that the timming of the rise of >Creationism, c. 1980 may be timmed with the intrusion of federal education >guidelines into places where Church oriented values had been quietly taught >or at least catered to in the Public Schools. When it became clear that >out of state administrators and auditors were going to mandate curricula >in places like Little Rock Arkansas and Fredericksburg Virginia, that is >the time when the Creationism ploy could become a movement that would ride >on the coattails of conservatives into national prominance in the Reagan >landslide of 1980. > >Bruce Salem There is a definite political agenda involved in the creationist movement. I don't know how much this is a result of politicians and demagogues exploiting the beliefs of a group of people but I think that plays into the mix also. I would also say that there are a lot of people who are innocently drawn into the creationist movement. These are the people who were taught virtually nothing about evolution in high school, went into non-biological fields in college (or right out of high school in jobs), and either had always been christians or became christians at some point. In this position if someone they trust in their church exposes them to a great deal of creationist literature they can easily be mislead into thinking that there really is no basis for evolution and that evolution is anathema to their religious beliefs. I speak from experience, this has happened to my brother-in-law. I am not worried for him as much as I am for his children. I am in the process of trying to expose him to the real evidence. In fact, if anyone has any advice for me in this situation I would appreciate it. He really is an intelligent and thoughtful person, he is just completely ignorant of biology and related disciplines. Scott

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