Re: [asa] Issues in physics

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Mon Oct 26 2009 - 14:37:46 EDT


Sorry to get so long winded here.

I understand what you are saying, but ...seems to me TE's are doing the
opposite of what someone would do if they believed that science and religion
are not in conflict.

 ... tell me if this happens in public schools where you my
school district every scrap of paper has been declared "curriculum",
therefore if it isn't deemed "approved" then it cannot even be there. This
forms the legal basis for why Behe's and other's books are banned from the
libraries - because all materials in the library ARE CURRICULUM. I mean
are defined as being curriculum. This eliminates even Francis Collin's
books (I'll explain why in a second).

I would suggest that either your definition of curriculum is too narrow, or
in my district the definition of curriculum has been broadened too widely
(and subverted) because it is a weapon in an ideological war. But, the
fact that this ideological war is being waged by religious people,
(essentially TE's - there is not a materialist or atheist among them), to
me this is a problem of proper separation of church and state.

Now, the physics materials aren't (yet) banned. But if the school board
members aren't inconsistent hypocrites they will be banning physics if
anyone detects that the physics has theistic implications. That is what
the real problem is - the perception that some area of science is in any way
compatible with any version of theism.

Let me tell you the basis of why they say they do this banning - their
words, not mine. "Materials that explain a Christian world view cannot be
allowed". This is what must be banned at all costs. Connie O'Sullivan
stated that in a public meeting and the board backed it up.

It is her version of neutrality.

So, using that criteria, Francis Collin's book, because it has a purpose of
explaining a Christian world view, is no more acceptable than Phillip
Johnson's book. Or any other book by a Christian author that attempts to
explain something about the relationship between science and Christian
thinking. My district, from top to bottom, holds the position if they
allow such a thing in a media center they are (illegally) endorsing that
religion. Do they really believe this or is it an excuse? It doesn't
matter. It is the effect that matters to the law.

As I said, the idiots running my board haven't yet detected that physics
might allow theism and souls and maybe even design. As soon as they do, if
they are consistent, they will attempt to ban physics. Why? Because their
religious beliefs are what they really are protecting. (I claim their
religious beliefs are TE - let them deny it).

To me they are the equivalent of the school board in Dover. I am as alarmed
by this shredding of the constitution as Sam Harris would be by schools
that allow only YEC doctrine. The reason is simple - the principle is the
same. You start with religion and construct a science curriculum that is
compatible with your religious ideas. Thats what the YECs want government
to do. Thats just plain wrong. But it is just as wrong if TE's do it.
Please note, Merv, I claim I hold a liberal position on this.

How about this, Merv: If public school teachers are going to say anything
at all, have teachers DESCRIBE what TE is. Have them describe materialism
too, and the views of Sam Harris. Have them describe ID (if you can figure
out what it is). Have them describe YEC. Have them describe how evolution is
compatible with the religion of secular humanism. Etc. Etc. Make all
that description available, but don't take any position on it. Don't
endorse any option, don't denigrate any option. Let the students decide what
their personal views are. Don't tell students options A,B, and C are
irrational, and only option D is rational. don't have to take up
classroom time - just put all the descriptive material in the media centers
and make it available.

My thesis is , and I'll put it in bold characters, THIS HELPS MAKE

But from everything I have been able to detect, the TE Movement doesn't
want government neutrality in this sense. At the risk of making a sweeping
generalization, the TEM seems to want options A,B,C,D denigrated and
excluded by government, but wants option E, the TE viewpoint, endorsed and
accepted by government as the only proper viewpoint.

The more militant you get about this the more warfare you get. The TE
movement is actually promoting warfare.

And it seems, listening to many on this list, that the TEM is rather dog in
the manger about this; if the TEM cannot get government to endorse it's
viewpoint then it acts like it wants all Christian worldviews banned.
That seems short sighted because the effect is to leave one world view
standing - that of Sam Harris. Reading what some on the list are saying
about how Sam Harris' views hold no water, and are intellectually bankrupt,
it amazes me anyone would be happy letting those views be the default
government endorsed "secular" option. Wouldn't it would be better to put
Sam Harris's views in the media center and put Christian rebuttals right
next to them? That would be neutral. But you cannot do that if you are
banning Christian viewpoints!!!!!!!!! School districts that try to solve
the problem of neutrality by banning will always trip across this type of
dilemma. Viewpoint banning doesn't promote neutrality, it does promote
excessive entanglement. It therefore has no valid secular purpose.

The TE movement would be far better off if it tried to promote valid
secular purpose. But you cannot do that by pitting one religion against
another as the proper religious option.

Dave C

On Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 1:23 PM, <> wrote:

> Quoting David Clounch <>:
> >
> > It seems to me TE's would be very very vested in making sure all these
> ideas
> > can be discussed in public schools because after all, they are the guys
> > saying religion and science are not in any conflict whatsoever.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Dave C
> >
> If it is simply secondary (high school level) public education you are
> referring to then these kinds of (advanced physics) topics are given very
> little attention in science classes. We love to "process" them as students
> inevitably ask (or a teacher invites) great questions, but as a formal part
> of
> the curriculum, they will be at the end of the year's list of topics which
> a
> class may or may not get to. That is because we are too busy trying to
> give
> them an appreciation of the much more basic classic Newtonian universe that
> they haven't yet grasped, let alone the modern physics that goes beyond all
> that. If a student doesn't have a foundation in classical physics, he or
> she
> isn't yet in a position to appreciate the conundra of modern physics.
> If it is the religious aspect of tough questions you were referring to -by
> all
> means. Bring it on (but again, not at the expense of not teaching them
> basic
> physics in physics class). I have the luxury of teaching at a Christian
> school
> where I don't need to worry about staying away from such topics.)
> --Merv

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Received on Mon Oct 26 14:38:16 2009

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