Onward Christian Bloggers

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We have many times noted (one example) disingenuous claims by creationists that their attacks on teaching about evolution in public school science classrooms have nothing to do with religion. Now anti-evolution pooh-bah William Dembski offers more evidence that those claims are little more than misleading propaganda.

Writing on his blog Cultural Noise, Paul Murray notes descriptions offered for courses Dembski teaches at the North Carolina-based Southern Evangelical Seminary. (Dembski is listed as a non-resident faculty member there. He is a full-time faculty member at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.) The courses on “Intelligent Design” (creationism dressed up in a lab coat) have some interesting requirements:

–  One course requires “a 3,000-word essay on the theological significance of intelligent design (worth 30% of your grade).”
– The same course also requires students to “develop a Sunday-school lesson plan based on the book Understanding Intelligent Design (worth 20% of your grade).”
– At least two courses require students to make “at least 10 posts defending ID” on “hostile” Web sites (worth 20 percent of the students’ grades).

So a significant requirement to pass Dembski’s classes is to engage in a propaganda campaign to “prove” that “intelligent design” is based in science and not religion. Never mind that Dembski’s classes themselves prove that this propaganda campaign is simply a lie.

Paul writes:

These are courses in Christian apologetics, a term which means the philosophical defense of a religious viewpoint. Here is perhaps the most blatant admission you will ever see (by one of the preeminent “scientific” thinkers on ID) that Intelligent Design is, in fact, a religious concept and NOT a scientific one. Why else would it be taught in a class on apologetics? Why are there no other courses in apologetics that have an (allegedly) scientific idea as the core concept of the course?

Kudos to Paul for his work here.

We say it again: everyone has the right to his or her own religious beliefs about creation and any other topic, and Texas Freedom Network will continue to defend the right of all people to practice their faith as they see fit. But public schools have no business deciding whose religious beliefs to teach in science classrooms. Dembski and his fellow travelers don’t agree. They want to use public schools as tools to promote their religious beliefs over those of everyone else. TFN will continue to stand firmly against that.

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12 Responses to “Onward Christian Bloggers”

  1. Ben Says:

    TFN, have you seen that horrible video of a Diamond Rio song that’s making the rounds? It completely advocates tearing down the wall of separation. If you want me to send it to you, let me know. I would be interested in hearing other commenters’ opinions about it. I received the video from a friend who appears to think that separation of church and state is something that has only recently begun.

  2. Charles Says:

    Actually, what happened is that the founding fathers separated church and state east of the Appalachian Mountains in the late 1700s, the Scots-Irish frontiersman flowed through Cumberland Gap to settle the West (and either never knew about separation or ignored it and no one bothered to point that out), and the U.S. Supreme Court restored it to what the founding fathers originally intended in 1962. I have said it before here and will do so again. A very large part of the so-called “conservative movement” today is about restoring Scots-Irish subculture. If you will recall your American history, the mantle of power was passed from a failed John Quincy Adams administration (old eastern colonial establishment) to Andrew Jackson (representative of the common man rabble in the west). Read that as Scots-Irish rabble in the west, even if some Germans, French, etc. were mixed in with them.

    Scots-Irish do not like Catholics because of religious strife back home in the old country.

    Scots-Irish do not like black people because there are no black Scots-Irish.

    Scots-Irish do not like Mexicans because … Scots-Irish do not like anyone except the Scots-Irish.

    Scots-Irish do not like American Indians because … Scots-Irish do not like anyone except the Scots-Irish …and besides they were occupying the land I wanted to settle.

    Scots-Irish like fighting, guns, and violence.

    Scots-Irish liked heavy drinking until the Great Awakening.

    Scots-Irish value freedom above all else. However, you have to understand their definition of freedom and where it formed. The Scots-Irish ancestors who flowed through the Cumberland Gap were entering a vast and essentially pristine wilderness. When your nearest neighbor lives 50 or 100 miles away in a wilderness, you have a kind of freedom that few humans have ever experienced. That is the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and wherever you want—with no people around to criticize, no law enforcement, no nothing—we are talking total freedom here. The problem is that they passed this “ideal of freedom” along to their descendants without realizing that their descendants’ nearest neighbor was going to be 1 foot away now rather than 100 miles away.

    At these rowdy health care meetings, one of the recurrent themes is, “You people in Washington are trying to take away the last of our basic human freedoms.” You need to read that whine as:

    “I have lost a large part of my ability to do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want—without having to take into account whether my action will hurt anyone else.”

    They long for total, complete, and final unbridled freedom like their frontier ancestors had. What they do not understand is that this kind of freedom has become IMPOSSIBLE because we are crowded around by so many other people and so closely today. It is long dead and buried—with no resurrection possible. Unless you want to adopt Charles Manson’s values as a personal lifestyle, you have to take into account how your actions affect your neighbor and vice versa. Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Why did he do that? Israel and Jerusalem were the trade crossroads of the Middle East in the 1st century A.D. Talk about a Heinz 57 multi-cultural mix!!!! People lived in close proximity too. People had to either learn to live together or turned and rend each other like overpopulated rats.

    And that is part of what you are seeing at the health care town halls. You have people of Scots-Irish descent and other people of like mind who have an old historical American definition of freedom that will no longer work. They are angry about the fact that it will no longer work—very angry. “Why should I have to pay for another man’s health care!!!!!?????” I hear that one frequently. Read that as, “I would like to be so totally free and released from responsibility that I do not have to care about anyone else or anything else but myself.” Sorry. That was possible in 1795 when your nearest neighbor was 100 miles away, but it is not possible today. EVERYTHING has changed. The only thing that would change that again now is colonizaton of other planets where a person could still establish a home 100 miles from their nearest neighbor.

  3. PHarvey Says:

    Ben, post a link.

  4. LRA Says:

    Here is one of Dembski’s final exam questions:

    “Trace the *connections* between Darwinian evolution, eugenics, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Why are materialists so ready to embrace these as a package deal? What view of humanity and reality is required to resist them?”

    Presumptuous? Ignorant? Intellectually dishonest? Lacking in critical thinking?

    Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

  5. Charles Says:

    I like this question:

    “Trace the *connections* between Darwinian evolution and the whole-hearted Christian Neo-Fundamentalist embracement of free market economics where the entire operative principle is “survival of the fittest business,” all businesses that are too weak to survive must die, and when they do die (no matter who gets hurt) it is a good thing. Why are they so ready to embrace whole-hearted Darwinism in this realm and reject it in all other realms? What view of humanity and reality is required to support this Christian/Darwinist view of economics, and how does that view relate to fair and loving treatment of our fellow man.”

    What was that? I just saw a blur of theology students rushing towards the doorway!!!

    I remember a fundamentalist dead aunt of mine, a really nice person, who said something when I was a child, and it has stuck with me all of my life. We had been discussing some sort of moral issue, and the upshot of it was that our Christian faith was supposed to inform EVERY ASPECT of our lives. Then we moved on to another issue that involved business and money—-and (from my perspective at least, an embedded moral issue ). I remember that she snapped at me rather suddenly and said something like, “Never mind about that!!! This is about business and money. It’s different.”

    As a child, the message I took away from that session is that Jesus should inform every tiny aspect of our lives. However, if Jesus gets in the way of business and money, the right thing to do is toss him out the window.”

    I think the Christian Neo-Fundamentalists do a version of this with economics and Darwinism—whatever Darwinism is. By the way, I rejected that lesson from that session with my aunt.

  6. Cytocop Says:

    Dumbski (name mispelled intentionally) is requiring students of like mind to his own to “easy A” assignments. What is he offering of comparable course points to his students of an opposing viewpoint? Nothing. That’s discrimination plain & simple. I suppose he can get away with this since he’s teaching at a Christian university where Christians are supposed to all think alike like robots.

    Charles is correct to point out that most of the people at these townhall shoutfests are white. But whether they are of Scots-Irish descent isn’t as clear to me. Not all white people are of Scots-Irish descent. White people (or those of Eurasian descent) originate from all over Europe and western Asia and include people whom others don’t consider “white;” people such as Jews.

    What jumps out to me as well is that not only is the vast majority of protestors white, there are noticeably hardly any blacks among them. Just like the tea parties of this spring. Very interesting….

    The other detail I’d like to mention is that courteous behavior toward our neighbors began long before Jesus’ time. Look in what Christians call the “Old Testament” to find it stressed over and over again: Treat the stranger as a neighbor, for you (meaning Jews) were strangers in Egypt.” It may be worded a little differently in the different places where it appears but the general theme is repeated in many verses throughout the “Old Testament”: “You shall not taunt or oppress a stranger (ger), for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” And so on…. (Never mind that we Jews have not always obeyed this commandment. The commandment still stands nonetheless!)

    I bet most of these folks who are screaming NO GOVERNMENT IN MY LIFE are also the same ones who want government to govern a woman’s uterus. And where were they when our government invaded a country that DID NOT ATTACK THE UNITED STATES? (Actually, two countries recently fit that description: Iraq and Vietnam.) They were nowhere to be found. Now THAT was a government activity they supported!! They must have had lots of stock in companies who made big profits out of war. Just as the loudest townhall protestors must have lots of stock in insurance companies and Wall Street insurance investors. PROFIT is king.

    Well, Mr. & Mrs. U.S. Senior Citizen: If you are so oppressed with your “government-run” Social Security checks and your “government-run” Medicare benefits, why not give them all to an unemployed, uninsured person? I’m sure that person would be very happy to take on the yoke of such a heavy socialist burden, you sick scumbags. SCREW YOU!

  7. Ben Says:

    Here’s that Diamond Rio video I was talking about:

    I’ve since learned that it came out about three years ago.

    When I received it via email the other day, the email said this:

    “The song you are about to listen to is from a Las Vegas Diamond Rio concert. They received an immediate resounding standing ovation, and continue to do so every time they perform it! Sadly, major radio stations wouldn’t play it because it was considered ‘politically incorrect’.. Consequently, the song was never released to the public. So America , see what you think… If this offering speaks to your heart and you feel you want to share it with friends and loved ones, please do.”

    Of course, snopes debunked the politically correct angle:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/diamondrio.asp

    The video was painful for me to watch. It still staggers my mind to think some people don’t understand that the wall of separation is fundamental to our success as a nation.

    My friend (yes, really, he is a friend) then followed that up with another email that purported to illustrate how our government and some of the founding fathers embraced religious symbols (and Christianity within government) over the years. Again, snopes debunked it, including some fake quotes from James Madison and Patrick Henry.

    That debunking is here:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/capital.asp

  8. Ben Says:

    One other thing I want to mention:

    When those fake quotes get created, they spread like wildfire around the Net. If you search for that James Madison quote, you’ll find hundreds of sites repeating it as if it were an authentic quote, and only a handful of sites that point out that the quote can’t be found in primary sources and is almost certainly false.

    Even when idiots like David Barton are forced to admit the quotes are unconfirmed, he hems and haws in a manner to say, “Well, they would’ve said those things.” We saw that behavior recently with the George Washington quote. Meanwhile, real scholars and historians completely disagree. In other words, Barton lies.

    I hate to link to the WallBuilders page, but you’ve got to see the waffling:

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=126

    And the ignorance gallops along…

  9. Cytocop Says:

    OK, I admit it: intentionally mis-spelling a person’s name is immature and below-the-belt.

  10. Charles Says:

    Sorry Ben. I cannot bring myself to go to that Wall Builder website, a place I have been before on several occasions. I try to avoid bigfoot, Atlantis, and Lost Continent of Mu sites too.

  11. Jenn Says:

    First of all, separation of church and state was instituted to PROTECT the right for Americans to practice religion. The government was not to tell Americans they could not worship. It is not what the ACLU has defined it to be.
    People are not just Scottish who are standing up in town halls. People are upset because the constitution is being used like toilet paper! We are not living in a socialist society. Are we? Not yet anyway. This country was built on the principles of independence, hard work, ingenuity, and FREEDOM. Study history. Socialistic ideas lead to impoverishment and war. I work in a field where I see how accustomed people have become of taking advantage of this system that so many uphold as so helpful. People are buying groceries and going to the doctor with the tax money that comes from our pay checks. If the current administration was to have it’s way, taxes would increase significantly. The value of money would plummet even more. We would have to get a wheel barrow to carry our money to the store to get a loaf of bread. It happened in Germany.
    As for the video, I do believe in the resurrection of Christ, the Trinity, and second coming. I do believe that our forefathers did not merely embrace religious symbols. I believe they revered God in a way that made them live dignified lives. Therefore, I find it disrespectful to put down an expression of gratitude to them, those that have died for this country, and the God that is sung about. Although I do not share the same beliefs as some people I know, I would never show such disrespect by insulting their God. I suppose it is easier to do that on the internet though.

  12. Ben Says:

    Jenn, you’re right–the government was not to tell Americans who they could not worship. As individuals, we can worship Yahweh or Vishnu or Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or no gods at all. None of these gods have any place in government, including your god. Are you aware that many of the founding fathers were deists, not Christians? They made it very clear that they didn’t want religion intertwined with government. Maybe you’re the one who needs to study history.

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