Re: [asa] Anti-Creationist Psychobabble On the Web

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Fri Apr 03 2009 - 19:00:54 EDT

One more thing if I may?

How can anybody say I am a creationist if I hold my viewpoint?
I feel I probably come closer to PZ and Dawkins on public policy.
My original post was about people on the web calling me a creationist.

-Dave C
PS, I hope George is ok with allowing me to disagree with him? I'm fine
with him believing what he does, I just don't want TE in my kids classroom.
I don't want theism in my kids classroom. I don't want the school to have
ANY opinion. If this makes the whole ASA angry, so be it. Kick me out if
you must. But don't call me a creationist, please. ;)

On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 5:56 PM, David Clounch <>wrote:

> Hi Jon,
> I am attempting to take a purely liberal view.
> On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 3:34 PM, Jon Tandy <> wrote:
>> I think a useful comment here might be, MN is not necessarily a subject
>> that needs to be taught in school, per se. What needs to be taught in the
>> science class is how science is done. Take your two teachers, A and B.
>> Teacher A says that science can investigate objective reality in nature
>> using naturalistic assumptions, cause and effect, etc. Teacher B says the
>> same thing, and declares that this "method" of approaching science is
>> sometimes referred to as "methodological naturalism".
>> Both are teaching a particular philosophy concerning science and nature.
> Philosophy is a tricky subject. Sandra Day O'Conner said (or implied) in
> the Newdow case that philosophy is or should be protected. If the rest of
> the Court were to adapt that it would mean Newdow would prevail and all
> sorts of other beliefs might prevail because the status of philosophy would
> be elevated to the same level of protection as other beliefs (such as
> religion) currently enjoy. So one must be careful.
>> Do you agree it is an appropriate philosophy that belongs in the science
>> classroom, in order to make sense of the practice of science, *regardless*
>> of whether the term is mentioned? If so, what's the argument?
> Science doesn't really address issues of the ultimate and imponderable.
>> Maybe it is that if the term (MN) is used, a student might ask questions
>> about how a certain religious view might fit with, or differ from, this
>> assumption about nature.
> I don't think this is appropriate for a science classroom. That discussion
> belongs in comparative religion class or perhaps philosophy of science
> class. Who has time to address it in a real science class? And who would
> be qualified to lead that discussion?
> We have a school here in Minnesota that brings in Shamans, for example, to
> lecture in science class. I think thats inappropriate because it belongs in
> a religion class not a science class. What shamans think of science isn't
> relevant (no offense to shamans intended).
>> Maybe so, but this could happen with or without use of the phrase. It
>> would be a legal question whether the teacher can answer the question in any
>> way I personally believe the teacher could legally give a brief answer or
>> answers as their opinion or as a variety of opinions, as long as they didn't
>> spend any class time on it, to speak of.
> Maybe. But the teacher is acting as an agent of the state, and would that
> opinion be personal or represent the state's view? Or the board's view?
> And if the answer is YEC in nature? Or gives preference for or against
> YEC? Aha! We begin to see the problem.
> So shouldn't the answer really be "go ask your priest (or rabbi or immam
> or shaman, etc)??
> Why is that not sufficient? Why is anything else needed?
> In fact, I believe I read in Edwards the Court said the state must present
> all views on controversial areas, and that the law purported to teach only
> one view (creationism) but the law did a really poor job of presenting
> creationism or creationism versus non-creationism. One can ask then, what
> if the law being struck down had done a really really good job at presenting
> creationism versus non-creationism? Would the outcome have then been deemed
> to be secular in purpose (because it was only doing a comparison) and come
> out differently? I am sure this would not be popular on this list, right?
> I think the Court made the right decision because I cannot imagine how a
> curriculum could make that comparison accurately.
> This is why the constitution and the case law needs to be followed. And
> the reasoning of the Court does indeed apply to these situations. Am I
> making any sense?
> Is your concern that teacher A might tell your children that "nature is
>> all there is",
> That goes to the ultimate and imponderable and is off limits and outside
> the boundaries of science.
>> while teacher B might tell them "MN is a way to think of nature in a way
>> that is compatible with religion, Christianity, and/or the providence of
>> God"?
> I would object to a teacher addressing that, and so would a whole bunch of
> other folks.
> Its not the purvue of public schools to inform anybody what is or is
> not compatible with Christianity or any other religion. This actually
> happened in my daughters school, and I would very much like to sue.
>> Even though you might agree with teacher B's explanation, are you
>> concerned that they might get A instead, and you therefore wish to eliminate
>> any discussion on the subject whatsoever?
>> yes. Its not whether I agree or disagree. Its that the state cannot inform
> what is the "correct" or "preferred" aspect of an ultimate and
> imponderable issue is allowed.
> MN would probably be fine if it was guaranteed to do this in a 100% secular
> fashion, and wasn't so entangled with Christian theology. I myself think
> its too entangled. Well, lets let the courts mull it over and then we can
> see. Maybe they would rule against my views on this.
> But how does one erase the Wheaton College entanglement with MN? Awefully
> hard to do I suspect.
> I hope this helps, Jon.
> -Dave C
>> Jon Tandy
>> *From:* [] *On
>> Behalf Of *David Clounch
>> *Sent:* Friday, April 03, 2009 12:51 PM
>> *To:* D. F. Siemens, Jr.
>> *Cc:*;;;
>> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Anti-Creationist Psychobabble On the Web
>> On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 12:22 PM, D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
>> wrote:
>> Methodological naturalism is NOT metaphysical. It is the same for
>> atheists, deists, theists, panentheists, pantheists, and those who have
>> no idea what metaphysical position they embrace.
>> Dave,
>> One problem I have is I don't know what teacher A does differently by
>> teaching MN than teacher B who does not. It makes no difference.
>> Until you have a religious student to whom you feel the need to try to
>> explain something. BINGO! This trips over the Lemon test (and some other
>> things). IMHO. :)
>> To those who are completely secular there is nothing to talk about. To
>> those who are concerned with religion then MN is needed.
>> An analogy (all analogies are flawed of course):
>> If I go to the store and buy meat I don't need to know that its
>> "methodologically natural" (even though someone may believe it might be).
>> But if I go to the store and ask for Kosher meat, then religion comes into
>> it. MN is like that.
>> Perhaps the question really is whether these ideas are religious enough
>> that they have to be excluded.
> --
> =========================
> I often suffer from nostalgia, that fondness for something that never was.
> Pleasant memories have a tendency to expand.

I often suffer from nostalgia, that fondness for something that never was.
Pleasant memories have a tendency to expand.
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Received on Fri Apr 3 19:10:03 2009

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