NOVA Steps Over the Line

The DI is calling out the PBS program NOVA for injecting religion into the classroom. I can’t say that I blame them. I went over to the PBS site and checked out their briefing packet and learned all about how certain denominations agree with evolution and how we should believe in evolution because it’s how we are supposed to believe according to our religion, etc. etc. etc. It’s shameless how Darwinists try to have it both ways, where if an ID advocate says anything about religion, then person is trying to sneak creationism in the back door and poison the minds of our students. Yet, Darwinists trumpet their theology openly and try to make others believe in their interpretations of scripture. For my part, I don’t care what Darwinists believe in their private homes, so long as they stick to the science. Unfortunately for them, they don’t stick to the science and consequently they are forced to try and indoctrinate all others to their beliefs because they can’t win the science debate. It’s sad, disheartening, and sickening all at once.

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27 responses to “NOVA Steps Over the Line

  1. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    I have read the Briefing Packet for Educators and I don’t quite agree with your harsh assessment of it.

    In particular, I fail to see how it tells you to “believe in evolution because it’s how we are supposed to believe according to our religion, etc. etc. etc.” That isn’t the reason to accept the theory of evolution, not according to the briefing packet. The most compelling reason is the agreement of this theory with numerous observations and experiments. And that reason is discussed in the briefing packet at some length: see pages 5, 6, 11, 12 and 16.

    And yes, they quote statements from religious organizations like “acceptance of evolution is entirely compatible with an authentic and living Christian faith,” but that isn’t presented as the reason for accepting evolution. And those statements occupy a (by far) smaller space (one page) than the discussion of scientific evidence for evolution.

    If you think I am mistaken, please provide specific examples from the briefing packet.

  2. professorsmith

    I’d like to see you defend the idea of having quotes from specific denominations telling kids how their believers are allowed to accept evolution, while other denominations are not represented. Go ahead and think about it, I’ll wait.

  3. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    I’d like to see you first concede that the packet does not say “believe in evolution because it’s how we are supposed to believe according to our religion.” Then we can move the goal posts.

  4. Lemmee see if I understand you, professorsmith. You’re ticked off because WGBH isn’t giving its viewers a list of statements from people who say in essence “Darwin or Jesus, no compromise or middle ground!”.

    Is that right?

  5. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    In fairness, Art, professorsmith has a point. There are a few glaring omissions. No statement from the Dalai Lama, mormons, scientologists, or the Church of the FSM. I am shocked!

  6. professorsmith

    Oh please Mr. Tchernyshyov, do you really think that’s not the idea? Of course the evolutionists want to indoctrinate children with evolutionism, and a good way to do it is through their respective religions. They can’t do it through science, so they seek to do it through religion. Also, I’m giving you a warning due to your reply to Art. You’ve been mostly civil up to this point – not taking into account your stubborn refusal to see beyond your worldview and your inability to back up your endless assertions – but this last comment of yours is over the line. Tone it down.

    Art,
    What a ridiculous thing to say. I’m ticked off because they are trying to preach their worldview from the pews and dressing it up as science. This is the same thing that ID is often accused of, yet it is the Darwinists that are really guilty as we see from this example. It’s a classic case of projection. If you can’t argue through scientific means, then get out of the game, but don’t try to co-opt children through their religions. Shame on you.

    And shame on your both for your “ends justify the means” willingness to throw out the first amendment. When little Jimmy comes home to tell his parents that he believes in evolution now because his teacher said that his church said it’s OK, I guess that’s fine with you? How about when little Susie comes home to tell mom and dad that they don’t have to be atheists anymore because some churches said it is OK to believe in evolution now and teacher told her about it? Or how about little Billy who happens to be Muslim and didn’t hear from the teacher that his faith says it’s OK to believe in evolution and goes home understanding the differences that divide us and keep us divided and continues to repeat history because he’s now different from all the others in one more way? Teachers have no business telling children what they should believe in their religious faiths, nor what some faiths (by name) believe as doctrine for some political points. The two of you should be ashamed of yourselves. There’s a reason that we have a separation of church and state in this country and you would do well to remember it. If you truly want your worldview to rule, then I suggest you take a look at other countries where they don’t separate church and state and see how good it looks to you. There are tons of them in the Middle East.

  7. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    I do not see how the First Amendment applies in this case. PBS is a private, non-profit corporation. It isn’t part of the US Government. So this argument won’t fly on purely formal grounds.

    And since when are teachers not allowed to discuss religious doctrines and choose which ones? What else do they do in Comparative Religion classes?

    Finally, if you read the packet carefully, you’ll see that the points addressed in it are not meant for teaching. Little Jimmy, Susie, and Billy are not going to be lectured on their respective religious doctrines. Right at the beginning (p. 2) we read:

    When the National Science Teachers Association recently surveyed its members, 30 percent said they experienced pressure to omit or downplay evolution and related topics in their science curriculum.

    What would you do if someone objected to the teaching of evolution in your school or district? Could you defend the teaching of evolution and explain why teaching intelligent design or any other form of creationism in the science classroom is unacceptable? These materials provide clear, easily digestible information to guide and support you in facing challenges to evolution.

    So take the children out of it.

    As to the “other countries,” let’s mention a few of them. The British Monarch holds the title of the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Denmark, Iceland and Norway recognize a Lutheran Church as their state religion. And how about Israel? I know you probably meant other “other countries,” but it doesn’t hurt to know about these, too.

  8. professorsmith

    Mr. Tchernyshyov,
    I don’t care what PBS is, if they are giving out these packets to public school teachers. It violates the constitution the moment a teacher acts on the advice in the packet. That PBS is pushing teachers in that direction is bad enough. And, when’s the last time you saw a comparative religion class in a public school below university level? Give me a break.

    And, finally why in the world would I, “take the children out of it?” The whole point is to give the teachers ammunition to use in the classroom for indoctrinating children.

    And, are you really going to try and say that England, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Israel don’t have separation of church and state, or that it’s fine that they don’t? So, I guess I can take it from this that you don’t think the first amendment is all that important? It’s good to know where you stand on that. Apparently, when you think you have the upper hand, you are willing to throw out the laws of this country – although to be fair, maybe you’ve always been willing to cast away the laws of our country. I’m not so cavalier about this, however. I think the laws of this country help make it great, and I will not stand idly by while people like you hack away at my civil rights.

  9. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    You’re being a little coy, aren’t you?

    The packet does not tell teachers what to do with kids. It tells them how to answer those adults who interfere with the teaching of evolution (which is included in high-school science curriculum).

    Nowhere in my post have I advocated throwing out the constitution of this country. I only pointed out that the First Amendment does not apply to PBS and that public-school teachers are not being asked to violate it either. Your outrage seems a bit misplaced.

    And on a technical note, the last time I saw Comparative Religion taught in high school was 5 minutes ago. Google the website of the Montgomery Blair High School, a public school in Maryland. Go to Departments and from there to Social Studies. The course is listed as an 11/12th grade elective. Will one example suffice or will you need more?

  10. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Cornelia Dean reviewed Judgment Day in the New York Times.

  11. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    And here is a review in Nature.

    Adam Rutherford, Television: Dover trial documentary screens, Nature 450, 170 (2007); doi:10.1038/450170a.

    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

  12. and PBS does take government money.

  13. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    HucksPhin,

    Technically, PBS receives money from the Corporation from Public Broadcasting, which in turn is subsidized by the Feds. That still does not make PBS part of the Federal Government. PBS personnel are not federal employees.

    To help you understand this, let me give you a simple example. Farmers take government money in the form of subsidies. Are they barred from proselytizing?

  14. professorsmith

    Sorry Mr. Tchernyshyov, but PBS is on the government payroll. Your farmer example doesn’t hold up because farmers are for profit entities that sell crops, while PBS is a government funded tv station. Good try though.

    And, no I’m not being coy. You can lie and say that the packet is benign, but I’m not falling for it (and I say it’s a lie because I think you know good and well that you are being dishonest).

    I will review the broadcast after I see it, but I won’t be able to watch it tomorrow night. I’ll tape it and view it later, at which time I had planned on reviewing it.

    Finally, I give you points for finding a comparative religion class. Good for you. I was not aware that high schools had those types of classes now-a-days. That said, if the PBS brochure talked about what to say in a comparative religion class, then you might have a point. Alas, for you, it doesn’t.

  15. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    professorsmith,

    I’m frankly not pleased. You haven’t seen the packet and yet you accuse me of dishonesty. That’s a pretty strong charge and I don’t take such accusations lightly. You might want to apologize.

  16. professorsmith

    What makes you think I didn’t look at the packet?

  17. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    My mistake, I meant the documentary.

    Now, you have accused me of dishonesty. I demand a retraction of that statement and an apology.

  18. professorsmith

    Of course I haven’t seen the documentary, it hasn’t aired yet. The documentary, however, is not what is in question. It’s the packet that is in question.

    Also, I don’t think I need to apologize, because it’s pretty obvious that you are smarter than you are letting on. You can’t possible be so naive as to think that these packets are somehow only to be distributed to teachers and not for use in class or whatever else you think they are for, especially since the packets are not marketed that way. Since you’ve read the packet (you have haven’t you?) then you surely must know that, hence your feeble defences amount to nothing more than lying.

  19. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    professorsmith,

    Let me explain to you why I find your position extremely offensive.

    Here are your exact words: You can lie and say that the packet is benign, but I’m not falling for it (and I say it’s a lie because I think you know good and well that you are being dishonest).

    1. Whether the packet is benign or harmful is a judgment call. Two reasonable people may hold different views on that. You have no idea what goes on inside my head. You think that I secretly view the matter in the same way you do and on the basis of that projection you draw a conclusion that I am telling a lie. You have no way of verifying it, yet you feel free to slander me in this way. That’s simplistic and unbecoming of anyone, let alone a professor.

    2. An accusation of dishonesty is the worst charge you can throw at a scientist. Since you pass yourself as a scientist on this blog, I would think that you understand that and would not make such a grave accusation as lightly as you did. Apparently you don’t, so I’ll have to explain it to you.

    Science strongly relies on trust. When an article is submitted to a journal, reviewers cannot verify all of the claims made in it: they’d have to do the same experiment or repeat theoretical calculations and they have neither time, nor resources to do that to every paper that comes to their desk. So, a paper is accepted and eventually published on the implicit assumption that the authors are honest in their claims. The readers trust the author as well. And if the author cheats, that hurts science.

    Fortunately, science is not based on a blind trust: experiments are repeated by other groups. If you cheat, you will eventually be found out and effectively excommunicated. A label of dishonesty is essentially a death sentence: you won’t be able to practice science from then on.

    Google these gentlemen and find out what happened to them: Hwang Woo-Suk and Hendrik Schoen.

    And if you are still not sure whether scientists take such accusations seriously, you might want to take a look at a recent example involving people you know: Tying up loose ends: ReMine, Behe, ERV, Illustra Media, Botnik.

    To summarize, you have leveled a gravely serious accusation of dishonesty against me based on nothing but projection. I have given you two chances to realize how bad it looks, assuming that you are indeed who you say you are. You don’t seem to get it. This is your third and final chance.

  20. professorsmith

    Mr. Tchernyshyov,
    I chose bad words, but I do think you are lying in your flippant dismissals of the severity of the packet and who it’s aimed at and what it sets out to do. And, yes I do understand science and why it matters to be trustworthy, and I find your claims that this will somehow damage your credibility to be so overblown as to not be worth thinking about. I’m sure that your Darwinist colleagues will care that a creationist – before you get excited, I’m being facetious – from some pro ID blog said that you are lying about the PBS packet and excommunicate you. It’s not like they don’t lie about evolution.

    And, this is my third and final chance for what, or else? Please. If you continue in this vein of threatening behavior, you will be moderated. I do not have to tolerate threats against me.

  21. Just like a darwinist. First sling bull. Then cry and yell when somebody doesn’t buys it. Then threaten. Typical.

  22. Oleg said:

    “HucksPhin,

    Technically, PBS receives money from the Corporation from Public Broadcasting, which in turn is subsidized by the Feds. That still does not make PBS part of the Federal Government. PBS personnel are not federal employees.

    To help you understand this, let me give you a simple example. Farmers take government money in the form of subsidies. Are they barred from proselytizing?”

    Wait a minute, arent you Darwinists the ones that are always crying like little girls about government money being used for ID because ID might have religious implications? Now you cry like little girls because somebody demands fair play and that government money not get used for preaching atheism. You are all liars and hypocrites.

  23. ps, I think I’m done with you. Don’t bother talking to me any more. I don’t talk to liars.

  24. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    professorsmith,

    You got it right: I don’t take your accusations seriously. It’s rather obvious to me that you aren’t a professor, you just play one on the web. Rather clumsily, I might add.

    I had many reasons to disbelieve your story (I’ll detail them elsewhere), but this confrontation showed that you were totally clueless about your role. On an off chance that you just might indeed be a faculty member, I gave you the first warning, which essentially meant to say: “Dear colleague, do you realize what you have just said?” Your reaction showed that you had no idea. So I had to explain it to you—and you still didn’t get it! LOL!

    Maybe I should try one more time. An accusation of dishonesty isn’t made on a whim in academia. You can’t tell a colleague “You’re dishonest, Dr. A” and then blame poor wording. It’s the ultimate weapon, even more serious than a charge of incompetence. If people use it, they take it seriously—on both sides. It’s not that I was appalled by your charge, I was amazed that you did it in a completely nonchalant way. That just doesn’t happen, my friend.

    Well, there you go. You had three chances to learn on the fly and redeem your bad acting. You blew them. Study the examples I gave you, you might learn something about how science actually works. It’s never too late to learn.

  25. professorsmith

    Mr. Tchernyshyov,
    I am indeed a professor. Of course, you can’t accept that, because it would damage your preconceived notions that no serious scholar can support ID. Too bad for you that reality doesn’t alter itself to fit your worldview. Further, considering that I’ve whipped your butt up and down on this forum, I’m not surprised that you are running away from the issues and now simply shouting out paranoid delusions.

    On an off chance that you just might indeed be a faculty member, I gave you the first warning, which essentially meant to say: “Dear colleague, do you realize what you have just said?” Your reaction showed that you had no idea. So I had to explain it to you—and you still didn’t get it! LOL!

    You are acting like an idiot. I didn’t need any explanation from you for anything. That you expounded, at length, about a topic of which I was already familiar makes you nothing more than a bore, not an explainer.

    Maybe I should try one more time. An accusation of dishonesty isn’t made on a whim in academia. You can’t tell a colleague “You’re dishonest, Dr. A” and then blame poor wording.

    I blamed poor wording for your misconstual of what I was accusing you of lying about, not the accusation. I still hold to it. I think you are dishonest, as I’ve noted, and I can note other times where you have argued dishonestly on this blog.

    It’s not that I was appalled by your charge, I was amazed that you did it in a completely nonchalant way.

    Who says it was nonchalant? I meant it. I do think that you are lying about the packet and what it says. Take that back, I know you are lying, because I’ve seen the packet, even though you tried to argue that I hadn’t, with no proof I will add.

    Finally, my “three chances” as you call them is nothing more than grandstanding from you. How about this. You have one chance to back up your assertions or find yourself moderated. It’s one thing to disagree with another, it happens quite frequently. It’s another to throw around threats, insults, paranoid insinuations, accusations, etc. Is this how you conduct debate on scientific topics? Well, if so, it’s no wonder that Darwinism is intellectually bankrupt. You have nothing except underhanded tactics and logical fallacy. I’ve whipped your butt up and down this forum and reduced you to a quivering mass of paranoia.

  26. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Is this how you conduct debate on scientific topics?

    professorsmith, I have told you several times that scientists don’t conduct debates. Debates belong in politics, philosophy and maybe social sciences where it’s your word vs mine. A scientist is up against Nature. You can’t debate her, you can only ask questions (i.e. do experiments) and if she is kind enough she will provide answers. Are we clear on that? And remember that expressions intellectually bankrupt and logical fallacy aren’t exactly scientific terms.

    How about this. You have one chance to back up your assertions or find yourself moderated.

    I’ll take the challenge. To keep everything in one place, I’ll be commenting on the Dog Day Sunday thread.

  27. professorsmith

    Scientists don’t debate things? You are even more incoherent than normal today. Perhaps you mean that science is not done by debate? Fine, I’ve already said that and you’ve obviously ignored it. But, what we are doing is debating, and we are debating the nature of the clues that nature provides us, and the inferences we can make from those clues. That you are trying to deny that now only speaks to the fact that you know you are getting whupped.

    Now, since you claim you’ve taken the challenge and you didn’t back anything up in the other thread, I should moderate you. I might give you a chance, however, since you are so adept at showing how ridiculous your position is.

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