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Re: yet again "creation science" rears its head in the classroom

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    ... Dear Eric, Interesting. What did they do? Climb Mount Olympus and say, Hello, Zeus, Athena, anybody home? ... The Catholic Church has been slow on some
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 14, 2003
      >Yes, I tend to think that it is suicidal in the long
      >run for religious people to tie their religious
      >doctrines to clearly unscientific teachings. Sooner
      >or later people will conclude that such nonsense is
      >nonsense and then draw the further conclusion that the
      >religious structure that bases itself on nonsense is
      >also nonsense.
      >From their perspective it is far more rational for
      >them to try to reconcile science and myth - something
      >that the Greeks started to do with their myths some
      >2,000 years ago. It didn't save Greek paganism in the
      >end, but it preserved it for hundreds of years until a
      >new myth displaced the old ones.

      Dear Eric,

      Interesting. What did they do? Climb Mount Olympus
      and say, "Hello, Zeus, Athena, anybody home?"

      >In the 20th century the Catholics seem to have been
      >far better at adapting their mythology to current
      >science than the Protestants have been - or at least
      >the more fundamentalist Protestant sects.

      The Catholic Church has been slow on some issues. It
      was the current pope, John Paul II, who publicly said
      that Galileo may have been mistreated by the Church,
      though in all fairness the Church did take his books off
      the Index Librorum (the Catholic index of forbidden
      books) in the 1750s. The index itself was abolished
      in 1966. Catholics are generally allowed to let their
      own consciences dictate what they may and may not read,
      though by general consensus hard core porn is frowned

      >people insist that seven days is seven days and all
      >quite literally. All the fossil evidence is, I
      >suppose, Satan's dysinformation or black propaganda or
      >In fact, at times I have heard Protestant extremists
      >cite the presence of fossilized sea creatures in the
      >rock of great mountains at high elevations as proof
      >that Noah's flood actually covered the earth. Since
      >science as regards natural history is taught so badly
      >in school a surprising number of people accept such
      >I remember my seventh-grade biology teacher refusing
      >to answer students' questions about evolution because,
      >he said frankly, he would get in trouble. At that
      >(1966-1967) time the Scopes trial verdict was still
      >operable in Tennessee and he quite literally would
      >have been committing a crime to teach evolution.
      >But at least in those days nobody ventured to teach
      >Biblical mythology instead. They left a gap in our
      >education; but they didn't try to stuff it with Hebrew

      In such an environment, one wonders how the students
      knew enough about evolution to ask questions.


    • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
      ... Dear Eric, Fascinating stuff! Thanks for explaining the concept of deities in the ancient world. I can imagine the creationists depicting Noah saying,
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 15, 2003
        >Dear Kevin,
        >Well, what I meant about the ancient Greeks trying to
        >reconcile science and myth was that as Greek society
        >moved into the slave mode of production and developed
        >more sophisticated thought, the old legdends and myths
        >- such as that of the gods on Olympus - were no longer
        >believable. Greek thinkers then turned the myths into
        >symbols. The later Greek thinkers, particularly in
        >the Hellenistic period (that is, after Alexander the
        >Great) turned philosophy itself into a very spiritual
        >set of doctrines, but they had to regard the old myths
        >as symbolism.
        >There was one, for example, who took the relationship
        >between Ares and Aphrodite (Mars and Venus, to use the
        >Roman names) as representing forces of repulsion
        >(Ares/Mars being the god of war) and attraction
        >(Aphrodite/Venus being the goddess of love).
        >I don't imagine that the sailors in the ports who
        >venerated Venus as the goddess of prostitutes thought
        >much about those philosophical interpretations, but by
        >giving the ancient religion some supposedly rational
        >meanings, the intellectuals of the Hellenistic and
        >Roman ages could continue to find ways to accept the
        >"truth" of the gods, at least in some sense or other.
        >Religion was an underpinning of the state (then as
        >now) and the ancients felt it was important to keep it
        >as a way to keep society "in order." Yet it's
        >difficult to do that if all the intellectuals are
        >atheists and just make hypocritical shows of
        >religiosity. It was probably not hard to pursuade
        >such upperclass intellectuals to adopt those
        >rationalized versions of mythology because they would
        >already be inclined to think that religion was good
        >for society.
        >I also wonder where the kids in my junior high school
        >would have heard of illegal and "sinful" doctrines
        >like evolution. Maybe they watched TV and got it
        >there. Also kids all seem to like dinosaur stories
        >and books and such things did exist and they might
        >excite questions about the origin of life. Many of
        >those childrens' books would also be written by
        >authors who had incorporated evolutionary theory into
        >their thought so perhaps the kids received glimpses of
        >it there. Finally, I'm sure that they were introduced
        >to the "evils of evolution" in their Sunday schools.
        >I admit that I was never impressed with the effects of
        >Sunday school indoctrination on my peers. For example
        >when I asked one Baptist acquaintance of mine how his
        >sect reconciled their ban on alcohol with the story of
        >Jesus turning water into wine. He explained (entirely
        >seriously) that THAT wine was non-alcoholic.
        >I'll have to admit, though, that in one sense he might
        >be closer to fact. That is, if the story has any
        >basis in fact whatever, the substance in question
        >probably was highly diluted wine, i.e., simply a small
        >amount of wine with a great deal of water added. The
        >ancients typically mixed water with their wine anyway
        >and one can keep on adding water indefinitely if the
        >crowd keeps getting bigger.
        >On the other hand, since I can perform such "miracles"
        >for all my guests (if they so desire) the
        >water-into-wine trick really loses its effect as a
        >sign of special divine favour.

        Dear Eric,

        Fascinating stuff! Thanks for explaining the concept of
        deities in the ancient world. I can imagine the creationists
        depicting Noah saying, "Well did you ever try getting a
        tyranosaurus rex into an ark?!" Still there were smaller
        and more managable dinosaurs.

        When I was on elementary school summer break, my parents
        for some strange reason sent me to a Protestant Bible camp
        near Prescott. As part of the indoctrination process, we
        were given a book called "Only Dopes Use Drugs" that
        described the various recreational drugs and their adverse
        consequences (ecstacy and crack cocaine were excluded as
        unknown substances is those days). One chapter "A liquid
        drug: alcohol", apart from discussing the adverse effects
        of alcohol, also asked the readers, "Would Jesus drink

        One of the young people said what was probably on all our
        minds, "The Bible said Jesus drank wine." Our counselor
        just sat in embarassed silence for a while, not knowing
        what to say and eventually changed the subject.

        Since Jesus is considered to have been a great prophet of
        Islam, indeed the penultimate prophet just before Muhammed,
        I am curious to know the Muslim take on the miracle of
        changing water into wine.


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