‘Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution’

by

The header above is from the subject line of a wild-eyed screed sent circulating around the Internets this past weekend by Donna Garner, a former language arts teacher in Central Texas. Social conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education seem to think Ms. Garner is some kind of curriculum guru. (Never mind that most other folks see her as little more than a right-wing gadfly with an e-mail list.)

Last year Ms. Garner helped the board’s far-right faction (led by board chairman Don McLeroy) derail a more than two-year process revising the state’s language arts curriculum standards. (See here and here.) Now she seems to have turned her attention to evolution and proposed science curriculum standards. The e-mail criticizes the state board for giving tentative approval last month to new standards that don’t require students to learn phony “weaknesses” of evolution. It mocks three Republican board members, in particular, each of whom voted to keep the “weaknesses” requirement out of the standards. They “all claim to be conservative Republicans,” the e-mail sneeringly states. One of the three, Bob Craig of Lubbock, the e-mail notes, “says he’s a ‘strong Christian.'” And on it goes. (Will any of Ms. Garner’s far-right friends on the board denounce these snide remarks about their fellow board members? We’re not holding our breath.)

Ms. Garner also pretends to know something about science, going on about the difference between “micro-evolution” and “macro-evolution” and listing “weaknesses” of evolution (the Cambrian explosion, gaps in the fossil record, yadda yadda yadda). It’s all standard pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo that evolution deniers have been using to try to water down science education in our kids’ classrooms.

But the real kicker comes at the end, when the depth of loathing for evolution and science becomes crystal clear:

Jeffrey Dahmer, one of America’s most infamous serial killers who cannibalized more than 17 boys before being captured, gave an [sic] last interview with Dateline NBC nine months before his death, and he said the following about why he acted as he did:  “If a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?  That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime.  When we died, you know, that was it, there was nothing….” (Dateline NBC, The Final Interview, Nov. 29, 1994).

This quote has been making the rounds for years in evangelical circles. In fact, Dahmer seems to have proclaimed himself a born-again Christian after his father sent him evangelical materials in prison.

In any case, the e-mail clearly suggests that people who accept the science of evolution are atheists: “The atheists are winning in Texas.” That’s insulting enough for people of faith who see no conflict with science. But what else is Ms. Garner trying to say here with the story about Dahmer? That we’re responsible for serial murderers like him? Or worse, that we’re all potential cannibalistic murderers ourselves because we accept the science of evolution?

This is repulsive stuff. So what else is new? Remember what Ben Stein (of the anti-evolution movie Expelled) said last year:

Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

Sickening, yes?

It’s time for Chairman McLeroy and his fellow board members to come clean. Do they agree with Ms. Garner and approve of the kind of repulsive and shameful rhetoric being used to attack those who don’t share her particular religious views? We really want to know.

UPDATE: Correction. Ms. Garner forwarded the original e-mail referenced above, with her own apparent additions marked in red (including the quote from Dahmer). Who signed and apparently wrote the original? Kelly Coghlan, a Houston attorney who wrote the so-called “Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act” that the Texas Legislature passed in 2007. That legislation, HB 3678, allows students to turn public school events into opportunities to evangelize. Read more about it here and here. Coghlan’s e-mail includes information and links from the creationist Texans for Better Science Education. In any case, whether or not Garner wrote the original e-mail, she amended and forwarded it to her list. Now what do board members have to say?

UPDATE II: Donna Garner’s e-mail is here.

58 Responses to “‘Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution’”

  1. Ben Says:

    Yeah, she’s pretty disgusting and illogical, and she seems to forget about the millions of people who have been killed in the name of various gods, including Yahweh.

  2. James F Says:

    The sad irony is, what people like Garner truly loathe is atheism, and teaching evolution has nothing to do with teaching atheism (or any religious belief). It’s an irrational fear of the “other” that has plagued so many chapters of our history.

  3. Ad Hominid Says:

    Cannibalism indeed. That’s why we commie atheist Evil-utionists get together once a week and have a ritual in which we consume bread and wine and claim it is magically transformed into the actual flesh and blood of some super-being.

    Oh, wait a minute.

  4. Tasman Walker Says:

    Yes, TFN. You are right. Ideas do not have any consequences so it is a waste of time discussing ideas, even on a blog

    Have you seen what Jeffery Dahma actually said himself about how evolution affected him:
    “If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s—what’s the point of—of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought, anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth that we all just came from the slime. When we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing…”

    Dateline NBC interview with Jeffrey Dahmer and Stone Phillips, Aired November 29, 1994.

  5. Brian Says:

    I was really hoping we wouldn’t be fighting battles like this in the 21st Century.

  6. CriticalThanking Says:

    @Tasman,

    Are you directly claiming that teaching evolution teaches students that murder is ok? If I follow your logic correctly, would that not mean that because the Atlanta Olympics bomber was motivated by his Christian faith that 1) Christianity has causal consequences such as murder, and 2) we should start teaching about the “strengths and weaknesses” of Christianity in school? Evolution has nothing to do with existence or non-existence of a deity. It simply shows an explanatory framework and (thanks to genetics and DNA research) a natural mechanism for changes in species over time. It make no comment on prime cause or divine guidance. It is only subsets of some religions that have an issue with it. Others accept evolution as compatible with religion. Others find atheism compatible with evolution and still find time to not murder people. Please don’t force your religion (or lack of reasoning skills) on others in a school curriculum.

  7. Ben Says:

    What’s your point, Tasman?

    If you’re trying to blame Dahmer’s behavior on the theory of evolution rather than on psychosis, you are one sick puppy, too.

  8. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    UPDATE: Correction. Ms. Garner forwarded the original e-mail referenced above>>

    What were those amendments in red? Did she say “This is B***S***”? Of course, if she did say that, it wouldn’t help the evolutionists, would it? So into the memory hole it goes. Context is everything. (For the record, I am all for teaching evolution, not “intelligent design”; anti-evolutionism is linked to the desire to keep the Bible ‘fundamentally true,’ which it ain’t. (This is why we Catholics know fundamentalism is a heresy.)

    But. Do not worship unalloyed science, it is indeed deadly by itself. Science doesn’t lead to death. Science unalloyed with the love of the divine and fear of damnation leads to death. The recipes to Zyklon-B and chemical abortifascents are not found in the Bible, but rather in a scientific chemist’s book; the absence of any belief in God makes ignoring the ‘not safe for human use’ label both thinkable and possible.

    I’ve seen mass graves and death camps all over Europe. None of them were built by the Church, for the record.

    In the death game (i.e, ,competing number of corpses) between unalloyed science (linked to socialism in its various forms) on the one hand, and Christianity on the other, unalloyed science has already won, 100-1. Maybe it should forfeit the game.

  9. The Atheist Jew Says:

    There are over 40 million atheists in the USA and Canada alone. How many are are serial killing cannibals? C’mon, what is holding us all back?

  10. Ben Says:

    Atheist Jew, that’s a good question.

    Just don’t become a fan of “unalloyed science,” as Richard Kent mentions, or you’ll possibly turn into a murderer. Better keep away from “unalloyed physics” and “unalloyed math,” too.

  11. nunyer Says:

    The recipes to Zyklon-B and chemical abortifascents are not found in the Bible, but rather in a scientific chemist’s book;

    Same with penicillin, smallpox vaccine, synthesized insulin, semiconductors, and alternating current. Try living without those, then we’ll talk.

  12. bob Says:

    Stupid alert. Jeffrey Dahmer probably also believe in the “theory” of gravity. so what?

  13. michel Says:

    well put, nunyer! and don’t forget that the recipe how to treat homosexuals is in the bible.

    not that i care. good and bad things can come from both science and religion. i think dogma is the more likely culprit.

  14. Der Rot Baron Says:

    Why yes, my little chickadee, I can see it all now, a digital three-D movie of “Donna vs Hannibal” (the Cannibal) starring Anthony Hopkins and a cast of local befuddled buffoons, including Donna Garner portraying herself. Imagine the spectacle of it all! We’ll all make a fortune! And, all you have to do to get in free is show up at your local SBOE meeting, and/or click on to the appropriate site.

    When will the adults stand up? Our public education system is so far behind the rest of the world. And all these people strutting around professing to know so much about the ineffable. Children please, lets get back to the business at hand. We need competent and rigorous curriculum for competent teachers, with supports for the classroom, that produce measurable improvements in students skills and knowledge.

  15. rickflick Says:

    Hmmmm….ethics and morality….who shall I consult?
    Ah yes. Find me a psychopathic killer.

  16. Curt Cameron Says:

    So I just looked up a little info about Dahmer. That quote was from an interview just before his death (he died Nov 28, 1994, and Dateline broadcast that interview one day later). We also know that he adopted the born-again Christian label in prison, based on persuasion from his father. Here’s the extra tidbit – Dahmer’s father, Lionel, is cited by the Answers In Genesis organization (http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/) as a “modern scientist” who has accepted the biblical account of creation. AIG is Ken Ham’s organization, who has the infamous Creation Museum in Kentucky.

    Put all this together, and it’s clear that Dahmer post-hoc rationalized his crimes by blaming them on his father’s bogeyman, evolution.

  17. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    There are over 40 million atheists in the USA and Canada alone. How many are are serial killing cannibals? C’mon, what is holding us all back?>>

    Leaving aside the cannibal question, what keeps you from becoming serial killers?

    Judging from history, the fact that you are not in absolute power and haven’t crushed all competition.

  18. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    Same with penicillin, smallpox vaccine, synthesized insulin, semiconductors, and alternating current. Try living without those, then we’ll talk.>>

    Believe it or not, I’m on your side. I’m not interested in living in a world without science.

    However I’m even more uninterested in living in a world where people who make decisions use science, ALONE, without more, as a standard of justice. Use that as your standard, and the neighbor that God commands you to love becomes nothing more than a resource for the production of bone meal and lye soap.

  19. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    PS. How can you be an atheist Jew? Isn’t that kind of like being a flat-earthist astronomer?

  20. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    For the record–I’m equating the atheist with the flat-earthist, as both believe in something objectively untrue.

  21. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    Why does anybody quote or cite Jeffrey Dahmer for any purpose whatsoever? It’s like citing Charlie Manson. Geez.

  22. John B. Sandlin Says:

    Richard,

    You said:
    >> “Leaving aside the cannibal question, what keeps you from becoming serial killers?”
    >Judging from history, the fact that you are not in absolute power and haven’t crushed all competition.

    I’d like to point out that it isn’t just atheists in power that lead to death and mayhem. Religious people in power are just as able and likely to abuse their power. That little saying that says “Power corrupts. Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.” doesn’t say anything about an exemption for religious people with absolute power.

    What stops most of us from rampaging, raping and murdering is what we’ve been taught by society. It is our socialization that inculcates our sense of right and wrong and the desire to do right. For some of us that include indoctrination into a religion. For others of us it doesn’t. Regardless, our sense of right and wrong is a matter of what our society expects and teaches. Would you be surprised that a secular society could teach a sense of right and wrong?

    Over history, many religious societies have taught it’s citizens it’s OK to hurt, maim, or kill the “other,” the unbeliever. Basing a society on religion is no more likely to make a moral society than a secular basis will result in an immoral society.

    John B. Sandlin

  23. Aquaria Says:

    Richard L. Kent, you are clearly deranged to say that atheists are like flat earthists in believing in something objectively untrue.

    It’s like saying that a-leprechaunists believe in something objectively untrue.

    Provide ONE SHRED of bona fide evidence of any deity, and atheists will become believers (worhippers is another story).

    The problem is that you have as much evidence as believers of leprechauns do. Which is zero.

    Sort of like the flat earthists.

    So, please, take your ignorance and EPIC logical FAIL somewhere else.

  24. John B. Sandlin Says:

    Richard L. Kent, Esq.
    >For the record–I’m equating the atheist with the flat-earthist, as both believe in something objectively untrue.

    Now you’re just being silly. What exactly are you accusing atheists of believing that is untrue? How is it objectively untrue?

    I believe the point of the original post here is that Jeffrey Dahmer’s assertion that he behaved badly because of his belief in evolution is not credible because at the time he said that he was a Born-Again believer, and that is the belief a Born-Again believer is likely to hold (that acceptance of evolution causes evil), regardless of their past beliefs.

    It is easy to blame your past beliefs for your past behavior – and it may even be true. However, considering that so many people accept evolution as fact yet never behave badly, it seems unlikely that that would be the cause of Dahmer’s behavior.

    How do we get to atheism from a conversation about evolution, anyway?

    John B. Sandlin

  25. Cytocop Says:

    How do we get to atheism from a conversation about evolution, anyway?

    Easy. Creationists live in such a tiny airtight box that they just can’t imagine a theist or deist or Christian – or what-have-you – could also accept evolution. They are so ignorant that they’ve never heard of a Dr. Francis Collins or a Kenneth Miller, both Christians and scientists and evolutionists.

  26. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    Provide ONE SHRED of bona fide evidence of any deity, and atheists will become believers (worhippers is another story).>>

    Just for starters…. If Thomas Aquinas wrote do-wop music, he’d put the obvious evidence this way:

    “Who put the bang in the bang-she-bang-big-bang?”

    The Prime Mover: all actions have a cause. Nothing is spontaneous; every physical action derives itself from a previous action. Science has pretty definitively shown that all physical actions ultimately derive from the action of The Big Bang, an immense explosion of EVERYTHING, reduced to the status of a single blob about the size of a walnut (or, as I like to think, an M-80 firecracker of the sort I used to blow up model airplanes in my early adolescence).

    Ask the scientists what made the Horrendous Space Kablooie and they shrug. Ask them what reality was like prior to same and they shrug–‘That’s outside of science. We don’t know.’ Bingo. Science admits that there has to have been a state of existence completely outside the realm of science. There it is….

    “And God said, let there be light.” And light there was, ….on the metaphorical end of that metaphorical Cozmik Fuze, one fine morning and evening, the First Day. Which could have lasted 24 hours or 24 bazillion years, who cares? Just because Genesis is poetry (and damned good poetry at that: try reconciling the Big Bang with Hindu or Buddhist creationism sometime) doesn’t mean it ain’t true in essence.

    Something set a light to the M-80’s fuse. We Christians refer to that Something by name, and take comfort in the idea that it really cares about us for some reason. That’s the good news: He is just. (The bad news is, He is just. Be warned.)

  27. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    Again, lemme repeat: I’m an evolutionist myself. In the words of St. Mothersbaugh, “God made man, but he used the monkey to do it / apes in the plan / we’re all here / to prove it / i can walk like an ape / talk like an ape / i can do what a
    monkey can do / God made man /but the monkey supplied the glue.”

    Booji Boy. Smart man. (Shot in the back. Very sad.)

  28. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    I’d like to point out that it isn’t just atheists in power that lead to death and mayhem. >>

    I’d like to point out that for the last 100 years, the opposite is true. Atheists inpower have, inevitably, led to: gulags, death camps, laogai, killing fields, “reeducation camps”, abortion clinics, and nursing homes where the inhabitants are put to sleep like dogs*. China: 50-75 million dead. Russia: 60 million dead. Nazi Germany: 45 million dead. Yugoslavia: .5 million dead out of 20 million, 1945-1950. Cambodia, 25% of the population (1975-1980).

    (*In the Netherlands, they have 1/5 per capita the number of old folk in nursing homes that we do; that’s because they tend to kill them when they get too ‘spensive. Wake up, Fido, that’s YOU in 30 years.)

    Yes, Christian countries have occasionally acted in hideously barbarous ways. There is no excusing Tsarist ‘pogroms’. There is no excusing the barbarious behavior of Christian knights against Jews and others during the Crusades. There’s no excusing the Inquisition or its Protestant equivalents. There is no excusing the manufactured Irish potato famine of 1845-8 (manufactured by the shipment of non-potatoes out of the country to cheaply feed England).

    But none of that evil can hold a finger even to Cambodia, much less than the rest I’ve listed. The inquisition burned about 4000 people–over 150 years. Compare that to a good week under Stalin.

    And all brought to you by Atheism: Your Universal Excuse For Doing Whatever the Hell (Literally) You Want To Do Without Limit.

    And how did a discussion of evolution get turned into a discussion of atheism? That’s because evolution in an atheist vacuum leads precisely to the events I’ve listed herein.

  29. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    Creationists live in such a tiny airtight box >>

    Well, atheists tend to make the likes of us get buried in tiny airtight boxes (okay, not tiny, about 6′ x 3′). I for one object.

  30. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    I believe the point of the original post here is that Jeffrey Dahmer’s assertion that he behaved badly because of his belief in evolution is not credible because at the time he said that he was a Born-Again believer, and that is the belief a Born-Again believer is likely to hold (that acceptance of evolution causes evil), regardless of their past beliefs.>>

    The point of the original post is that All Creationists Are Stupid Because One Clown Made A Stupid Statement In An Email.

    Who gives a spit what Jeffrey Dahmer said anyway? We locked him in a garbage bin because he killed a bunch of people. Please.

  31. Richard L. Kent, Esq. Says:

    Before you ask me who I’m jivin’ with that cozmik debris**….

    …a second example of Signs That There Is A God.

    Why does beauty move us?

    Our noses are twitched by the smell of cooking food. Our mouths water at the sight of cooked food. Our bodies are moved** in the presence of Kirsten Dunst on the big screen. All of these can be explained by evolution: we are evolved to enjoy eating and that which propagates the species.

    But does it explain our astonishment at the Mona Lisa? The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? The sound of Beethoven’s 9th? Or even the cosmic cosmicness of the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day?

    The perception of Beauty–not merely T&A, but BEAUTY–is not and cannot be derived solely from the needs of evolution. This entire planet is filled with creatures–plankton, whales, bonoboes, three toed sloths, etc.–to whom Beethoven’s 9th is naught but noise. Yet we perceive a cosmic beauty in those sounds.

    Does that not bespeak of a need for us to have that skill coming from something outside of evolution? And whoat is that Something?

    *Frank Zappa, 1974. I should mention in passing that I’m far more impressed with a God that can cook me out of His Primordial Soup over the course of 17 billion years than 6000 years. It shows, for starters, that He is patient. (Which is a good thing, otherwise I’d be toast….literally.)

    **Okay, tovarishch, I don’t know about YOU, but MINE is! :0)

  32. Ben Says:

    Richard,

    You are regurgitating the same BS that apologists have been spewing for years. “I don’t understand, so God did it!” Yet you seem to think you’re clever and insightful. What a joke.

    And Nazis? Really? You truly are a bit of an idiot to argue that angle.

    It’s obvious you are only here to inflame. Getting your jollies that way?

  33. Ben Says:

    Richard, I’m guessing you’re a Ben Stein fan, right?

    http://belowthebeltway.com/2008/04/30/ben-stein-science-kills-people/

    Congratulations. You appear every bit as ignorant as he does.

  34. truth alone Says:

    of course this is true. everyone has forgot about world war 2? Hitler did what Darwin taught him.
    wake up you idiots – if you believe your life is over when you die – you HAVE NOTHING to live for.
    so of course you would love death.
    What does survival of the fittest mean????????
    Darwin was a racist – he believed blacks would become extinct.
    Open your eyes

  35. Ben Says:

    truth alone,

    Instead of remaining ignorant, why don’t you educate yourself?

    Start here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/list_of_hitler_quotes_he_was_q.php

  36. Donna Garner Says:

    From Donna Garner: Whenever I add comments to an e-mail, I use the [ ] and add my name right after my comment so that people know what I have added to someone else’s discourse. For instance, to Kelly Coghlan’s commentary, I added the following at the top:

    [It is not enough for you to contact your SBOE members; please tell your friends to do the same. — Donna Garner]

    Notice that the [ ] clearly indicates my addition, and then I put my name right after the comment for clarity.

    It was with much pleasure that I sent out Kelly Coghlan’s commentary because I totally support what he has said. Since his signature was clearly seen at the end of the commentary, it is obvious to any educated person that he wrote the article, not I.

    For the record, I consider it a great honor to be so slanderously criticized by Texas Freedom Network. This tells me that I have done something right with my life. Thank you very much.

    By the way, I am going to send the TFN post to Kelly Coghlan so that he can examine it for possible slander. Kelly Coghlan is a practicing Texas attorney, a Constitutional expert, and has impeccable credentials.

    Donna Garner
    wgarner1@hot.rr.com

  37. Leroy Says:

    Help me out on this, but what does this issue have to do with religion? Nothing. The question is whether or not the strengths and weaknesses of the Theory of Evolution should be taught to Texas schoolchildren. Is there ever a rational reason for failing to teach both the strengths and weaknesses of any scientific proposition in Texas schools? Are you really saying that there are ARE no actual weaknesses in the Theory of Evolution? You can’t be serious. I can’t imagine that any part of science is so advanced that there are no weaknesses in it. There either ARE or ARE NOT weaknesses in the Theory of Evolution. If there ARE weaknesses, then present them to Texas schoolchildren. There better be a doggone good reason for failing to teach total science, rather than partial science. If Evolution has weaknesses, and the kids never learn that, then they are ill-equipped to move forward and perhaps come up with other scientific theories to answer those weaknesses. It’s simple: What is the rationale for FAILING to teach the weaknesses of the Theory of Evolution to Texas schoolchildren, and is it not negligence to fail to do so? This question has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion.

  38. TFN Says:

    TFN is grateful for Ms. Garner’s comment clarifying the full authorship of the message she circulated by e-mail. We hereby acknowledge Ms. Garner’s statement that she did not write the e-mail but that she “totally supports” what it says. Our criticisms stand. We continue to call on all members of the State Board of Education to join us in denouncing the disgraceful and insulting rhetoric contained in that e-mail.

  39. Ben Says:

    Donna Garner,

    The email you forwarded was despicable, offensive, and just plain wrong in many different ways. I could make an attempt to educate you, but I realize it wouldn’t do any good.

    Don’t you find it strange that you and your friends share a twisted sense of logic with a serial killer? Aren’t you proud you can say, “Hey, my mind works just like Jeffrey Dahmer’s!”

    By the way, you might want to look up the definition of “slander” versus “libel.” Appears you need an education there, too.

  40. Ben Says:

    Leroy, there are no weaknesses, despite what the creationists claim. They see the theory of evolution as a threat to their religion, and they will do anything to discredit it, including Lying for Jesus™.

    If you honestly want to know more, follow this link:

    http://toarchive.org/indexcc/CA/CA041.html

    Or watch this excellent series of short videos featuring internationally respected scientists:

  41. Ben Says:

    Let’s have a little fun and use Coughlan’s own logic against him…

    If he thinks Dahmer’s behavior is a result of a belief in evolution, then what sort of people DON’T believe in evolution?

    How about some members of the KKK, for starters?

    Here’s a website you should visit:

    http://www.kkk.bz/shocking_story_of_real_slavery_i.htm

    Here’s a snippet from that page:

    “We DO NOT believe in evolution. We believe that God created each race as we see it today and that NO race evolved from any animal. Each race is unique and has different talents and capabilities. Furthermore, while the scientific data does show a difference in white and black brains – we also recognize that there are some very intelligent blacks and some lesser intelligent whites. However, as a whole, the scientific community has found that blacks as a group – and across the entire spectrum are less capable than whites in the areas of logic, math, and science. This is not meant to denigrate their position, but rather to point out the world wide devastation that would occur should the white race cease to control its own destiny and compromise its gene pool through miscegenation.”

    Lovely, isn’t it? Coughlan and Garner appear to share a common belief with the KKK. I’ll let that speak for itself.

  42. Robert Says:

    Richard L. Kent: There is a fairly obvious problem with the prime mover argument. The premise is that nothing can exist uncaused, and therefore the universe must’ve been caused. But then what of God? If you say that God always existed or caused himself, then you’ve violated the premise, and in keeping with that logic one could also say that the universe caused itself or exists uncaused. Which is more parsimonious?

    Here are two excellent links explaining new evidence for natural causation of the big bang. It’s a bit much to wrap your head around, but you seem like a bright fellow, so I have high hopes that you won’t simply dismiss it all.

    http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090112/FRONTIERS/275080543/1036/FRONTIERS

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16095-its-confirmed-matter-is-merely-vacuum-fluctuations.html

  43. Sam Lowry Says:

    So Dahmer knew about evolution? Wow… that’s damning evidence. I bet he also knew that a ball will roll down a hill and that water will take the shape of any object into which it’s poured.

    Does anyone question gravity? Or the nature of how liquids behave? We know a lot about each. We know that a mass in space creates a gravitational pull but do we know everything? No. Black holes are so strong they can consume light and we have little idea of what lies behind them. So do we question if gravity exists? Or if there is some other cause for it to be easier to walk down a hill than up it? We know it’s gravity. Having an incomplete picture of a scientific arena doesn’t tarnish the voracity of data we know. Gravity just is. Water just is. They do what they do.

    Scientists teach evolution because its a huge field of study with more and more information being unveiled with each passing year. No scientist with any credibility questions if evolution occurred — they know IT IS occurring all the time, right now, all around us, and they are striving to learn how it does what it does. Why would a species of bird or fish have different features now than it did just a few generations ago? Did a change in climate occur? Was there a change in the food chain? Scientists seek the individual answers to very narrow questions in hopes of completely huge pictures. Biology is as vast as astronomy. An incomplete picture means simply that there is more work to be done, more data to collect, but a lack of information doesn’t undermine the undeniable evidence. Let me tell you what all scientists with any capacity for analytical thought will tell you. Evolution is. It’s here. Happening every day. And it has been for millions of years.

    NONE of this means that God doesn’t exist. God is alive and well in the hearts and minds of millions of humans this very moment, including my own. I feel it. I hope you feel it too. But you can’t teach about faith — ANY faith — in biology class. First of all, its illegal, but secondly and more importantly, it’s just f***ing stupid. Are you really white-knuckling your faith so severely that you have to ram it down everyone’s throat? Intelligent design is a shame, a term conjured SOLELY for the purpose of picking this fight. This is not about “teaching varying opinions” or in being “fair-minded” but is instead about handicapping millions of kids with pedestrian viewpoints that even THEY think are nonsensical. You can’t rectify in your mind that evolution is in conflict with your restrict religious views. Fine. But how is this the problem of our nations’ schoolchildren?

    And I don’t get the Dahmer/Evolution connection. Hitler was Christian after all and perhaps excoriated Darwin — I don’t know. Are all Christians guilty by association because of Hitler’s atrocities? We’re all only as strong as our weakest link I suppose. It’s beneath you, Ms. Garner, to draw this parallel and is, frankly, not fair, logical or Christian of you.

  44. Burt Humburg Says:

    If Jeffrey Dahmer thought that 2 + 2 = 4, we should probably start revising our math books then.

    Oy.

    BCH

  45. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams Says:

    Touche, Burt!

  46. Ritchie Annand Says:

    Leroy – this has everything to do with religion, because the backers of legislation like this – nearly without exception – have a religious purpose in pushing through the legislation. They are not interested in teaching legitimate controversies about evolution. Even the legitimate controversies are hijacked merely to tarnish evolution. For example, the importance of lateral gene transfer is not shown as an interesting complication of the tree of life, but rather, because it makes cross-branches on the tree of life, the tree of life is false, and therefore, because Darwin said it was a tree, evolution is wrong.

    There is a ready-made manure pile of “controversies” about evolution that these folks have been using since the 70s – you can read about the court cases and papers in this regard – everything from deliberate misunderstandings of the second law of thermodynamics to disproved irreducible complexity claims to pretending that a handful of hoaxes are actually the only evidence in favor of evolution to believing in Cretaceous human footprint hoaxes that tell them that dinosaurs and men walked together.

    They can and will use any single damnable thing listed on the Index of Creationist Claims.

    They can and will misquote scientists, or use the misquotations of others. (Look for the ever-favorite “I freely confess” paragraph about the development of the eye that these folks love to quote-mine)

    They have no legitimate scientific interest in this regard. Any time it goes to court it has been verified. Even just catching the backers of the legislation stating as much is common.

    Why evolution, anyhow? Why aren’t they getting up in arms to have people teach the controversies about molecular orbital theory in grade 12 Chemistry?

    Find us an example of such legislation you think is being put together without a religious purpose.

    If you think the religious purpose “doesn’t matter” since the text of the legislation isn’t religious on its face, then you have been avoiding researching the history of such legislation and what they do while it’s in place before someone challenges it.

  47. Ben Says:

    This article suggests that belief in gods is likely something that is simply hardwired into humans’ brains. Well worth reading (with an open mind):

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126941.700-born-believers-how-your-brain-creates-god.html

  48. jdg Says:

    Strenghts and Weaknesses won’t be taught. Period.

  49. John B. Sandlin Says:

    jdg,

    What would the strengths and weaknesses of evolution be?

    Strength: The Modern Synthesis theory of Evolution is the most accurate and likely true model for how the species as we known them came to be.

    Weakness: Doesn’t require God.

    John B. Sandlin

  50. Biology Teacher Says:

    I’ll post this anonymously to protect the guilty. I had a chance to sit in briefly yesterday and today on two different biology classes in the high school where I teach biology. I was shocked and appalled to hear two different coaches preface their introductions to the evolution unit we are just into by apologizing for having to even mention it. Instead of taking religious objections head on and deflecting them appropriately, they frame it up as something (that we know isn’t true, because it’s just a theory) minimally important and only covered because it’s required on the TAKS test.

    Sheesh!

    If the teachers won’t teach properly, are we surprised the students continue to stream out of our schools still ignorant? If the science teachers don’t teach science now, what would happen if the standards get watered down further??

  51. Down South Says:

    Curious fact – Jeffrey Dahmer killed his first victim about the time he graduated from high school and while he still lived in the christian environment provided by his father and paternal grandmother. Obviously the devil, oops, darwin stalked him to make him bad. Without joking, and not making excuses for Dahmer, it must have been hell when growing up.

  52. jdg Says:

    # John B. Sandlin Says:
    February 6, 2009 at 12:52 am

    jdg,

    What would the strengths and weaknesses of evolution be?

    Strength: The Modern Synthesis theory of Evolution is the most accurate and likely true model for how the species as we known them came to be.

    Weakness: Doesn’t require God.

    John B. Sandlin

    As a science teacher, I want to teach good science. What I mean is that I would not teach so called “alternatives” to evolution. There are none. Even if the SBOE forces me too.

  53. jdg Says:

    Donna Garner,

    As a current Biology teacher I want you to know that I will NOT teach any of your so called “weaknesses” of evolution. I am aware that you try to discredit evolution because you are a creationist. Also, the whole science faculty of my High School feels the same way in terms of evolution, geology and space science. We will not mislead our students even if somehow “strengths and weaknesses” gets passed in March. Passing this anti-science rule is one thing but enforcing it is another. Good luck in enforcing it!!!!!

  54. John B. Sandlin Says:

    jdg,

    I used your post as a stepping stone to the strengths and weaknesses argument. I believed you did not support any such alternatives – and I apologize for not being clear, there. There are, of course, real strengths and weaknesses for any theory, including evolution. The strengths of evolution are its predictive abilities, the great degree the model fits our observations, and how well it has survived all the challenges placed against it.

    My weaknesses claim was, hopefully obviously, tongue-in-cheek – though I firmly believe that is at the heart for those that oppose teaching evolution. Once you weed through and get all the sophistry out of the way, the argument against evolution boils down to – it doesn’t say “God Did It.”

    JBS

  55. b. j. edwards Says:

    In an e-mail to me yesterday, April 2, 2009, Kelly Coghlan says his e-mail “has been altered,” although he did not say what was altered.

  56. TFN Says:

    We removed from Mr. Coghlan’s e-mail contact information listed for board members. Otherwise the message appears as we received it. In her own reply to the post, Ms. Garner indicates that she made no alterations when she forwarded it to her list other than adding the sentence at the top enclosed in brackets. If Mr. Coghlan is suggesting that his e-mail was altered in additional ways, we invite him to send us the original version. We will gladly post it.

  57. Amanda de la Fuente Says:

    Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people

    this is truth.
    to be aware that you are a soul in a human shell on this earth of creation
    and that all are equal creations of gods love

    creation = love = god = exsistence

    is refreshing! it dissolves all man-made false from the mind
    and lets a solo soul LIVE IN HARMONY WITH ALL OF CREATION:
    nature, animal, human, earth, universe, cosmos

    AQUI Y AHORA
    HERE AN NOW
    AWARE

  58. me Says:

    how ignorant..Have you ever seen jesus? ..Ive certainly seen fossils and dinosaur bones. You dont need all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to see ..itsa boat

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