Tuesday, September 05, 2006

This has absolutely nothing to do with the strip club

Seriously, nothing to do with it. Please stop reading if you're going to get upset that it has nothing to do with the strip club.

I am not sure if this is a nation-wide problem, or just something that is going on in my state, I am in the Bible Belt, let's not forget, but it is something that is really upsetting me. Apparently, we are having a large hubbub of legislation about whether or not we should teach Creationism in our classrooms. I, being a staunch Liberal (and Jewish) am appalled at the thought of teaching a Judo-Christian philosophy to the "melting pot" of formative youths in our country.

At what point in time does religious education cease to be taught in the home and begin to be shoved down the throats of our impressionable public school children? And here I thought that freedom of religion also meant freedom FROM religion. Before long we will be dividing classes up not by age, but by religious choice. I can see it now...

"Attention students, today's science lesson will be held in different classrooms. Can I have all the Christian children please report to room 3, all the Jewish children, report to room 1--oh wait, it seems the Muslim children have already taken that room for their own, the Athiest children can go to room 6, and as for the Agnostic children, we haven't really figured out where to put you yet, so why don't you just wander around until you find a place that you feel comfortable in."

Seriously, though, soon public schools will cease to become public and instead become sectioned-off private schools where different children obtain different educations based on prior religious decisions made by parents who, as it would seem, are much happier fighting over what is or isn't taught to their children rather than fulfilling their obligation as parents and teaching it to them themselves.

I leave you today with a fitting quote from Graham Nash:

Teach your children well
Their father's hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks the one you'll know by.

Again, terribly sorry that it's not about the titty bar. Please remember that I am working on my degree in Sociology, and from time to time I might become so fired up about something that I need to post it on here to get it out of my system. Thank you all, and I wish you a wonderful day.



Blogger Thy said...

i'm buddhist. i grew up learning that as long as people are kind and good natured (but didnt commit any major sins) then they'd be reincarnated into something happy.

then in fourth grade, some girl told me i'd go to hell. god didnt love me. (like i gave a fuck, buddhists dont believe in hell.)

i hate it when people preach to me.
as much as i respect other people's religions and keep my opinions to myself ...

my line is drawn somewhere. i stop respecting peoples religions when they try to shove it in my face. or when they try using it to get what they want (poor homosexuals).

i've got nothing against christians. its just i find it far too hard to follow.

10:41 PM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

v-i have a mezuzah on my door, and i came home from class the other day and someone had stuck a "repent and accept christ or burn in everlasting hell" flyer behind it. VERY disrespectful.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Lobster Boy said...

I do think schools can teach intelligent design without being creationist about it. There is an ever increasing number of scientist who are falling into the intelligent design camp, without (and with) embracing religious underpinnings. This is not isolated to the USA.

I think we do a disservice to not teach intelligent design as an option (not as the only option). It is an equally valid theory at this point. The thing is that many people forget that the Big Bang and Evolution are also theories. While they have been the predominantly taught theories for 150 years, it doesn't give them the corner on the theory market.

Intelligent design camps extend far beyond the Judeo-Christians, though many fall into that group of course by being Jewish or Christian (or Muslim too).

And freedom of religion is far different than freedom from religion. I'm pretty sure you know enough to understand that. I'd be the first to stand up for someone's religious rights, but I'd also be the first to stand up against a state sponsored religion for our great country.

I actually think public schools should require students to take courses on the major world religions. I think it would go a long way to breaking down barriers between people of faith (meaning most of the world) and would create a more informed population who would be far less fear-driven and reactive.

Lobster Boy

12:11 AM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

RL boy- thank you for your comments darling, i never hear from you often enough!
There is a difference between teaching something as fact, and teaching something as theory and I do not believe that children in elementary school/junior high (and even some in high school) are mature enough to separate the two. If we were to start teaching intelligent design (and I am also not advocating teaching evolution either, i just don't agree with teaching the old testament or any bible for that matter in class) we would need to teach other views as well, and then where does it stop? Are we going to start teaching Scientology's views on creation (i.e. the aliens in the space ship) to be "fair" to the school of scientology? Once you open this door it will be very difficult to close... I'm not sure the public school system is ready/equipped for such a challenge

12:50 AM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:50 AM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

in case anyone is curious, i double commented accidentally, hence the deletion...

12:51 AM  
Anonymous The Pensive Penguin said...

Unfortunately, there are those (particularly in the bible belt) who believe that what the founding fathers of this great nation meant by "freedom of religion" was more like freedom from the Church of England, or the freedom to choose protestantism. I got into an epic argument with an acquantance last december over stores having "holiday" sales instead of "christmas" sales because, as he said, they were trying to take jesus out of christmas and if people don't want jesus, then they can move to another country. Needless to say, I haven't seen this acquantance since, and I don't care to associate with such a close-minded person, but they are out there, and there are many of them.

Having been raised catholic and mostly given that up in favor of a mostly buddhist philosophy with a few christian ideas mixed in, I would have to say that I wouldn't mind my children being taught about religion in school, as long as they weren't being preached to. Unfortunately, for that to happen on a large scale would be impossible with the public school system in the state that it's in. (I mean the illiteracy rates are going up, how could we expect our teachers to educate about such a touchy subject in an unbiased way?)

What I'm getting at is that I agree that it is important for a well-rounded person to have a wide-based knowledge of different religions in order to fully understand the religious beliefs they choose for themselves, and that it is entirely unrealistic to expect anything along those lines to be taught in public schools in america, but I would take it one step further to say that even most parents aren't properly equipped to teach their children impartially about an array of world religions. I think a lot of this country's problems (particularly the rash of white-collar crimes) would be solved by people getting a firmer grasp on the world we live in and what that means through having an actual connection with their religious beliefs (whatever they may be) and that schools, the home, and church are not the place for that to happen. Don't ask me where, I haven't thought that far ahead.

Sorry to go on like that, but I had to get back at you for posting about something other than the titty bar ;)

The Pensive Penguin

3:33 AM  
Blogger Film Aficionado said...

The separation between Church and State was always a myth. The Democrats and Republicans are just taking it to the next level.

By the way, what is a Jew doing in the bible belt? I thought that that was an oxymoron. Jews tend to congregate on west coast and northern east coast (especially L.A. and NYC).

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Gypsy_Jo said...

Teaching kids how to balance a check book would be nice, but "we dont teach that, thats business math!" or geography ("that countries ben freed now its blahblahstan...

just once I wantto go to the grocery store and watch these kids have to COUNT change, which is beyond them. but ask them about how the earth came to be? BAHAHAHAHA
how many "theories are there? lets list them:

evolutionism (which has the most facts to support it)
big bang
Darwinism (which I understand is slightly different than evolution)

how many more?

what I fearis this stuff actually MAKING it to our classrooms. I for one DO NOT think these stories made up by man some 3 thousand years ago
more later....

7:50 AM  
Blogger Alessandra said...

I'm not even american and I think this whole teach creationism issue is a bit scary. I mean, sorry Lobster Boy, but it's really very scientific. Evolution is a proofed fact, that can be observed in a lab. The part that still got scientists scratching their heads is the origin of life and how mutation+evolution account for life forms existing today.

It seems to me that the only argument ID people have is "your theory is not totally profeed and ours is not impossible". I don't consider that very scientific.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Jedi Jaz said...

hey, it's your blog, talk about what you want. No fair apologizing as the things that make you passionate are the things that make you YOU. They also color how the titty bar is displayed in your blog, so 's all good. :)

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Jedi_Jaz said...

That said: these guys all have some valid points, but to weigh in, I find it scary that people's beliefs are deemed inappropirate to share with others by the government, unless it's a certain few brought on by the minority. Case in point: the one atheist person who protested about 'one nation under God' in the pledge of allegiance. Isn't that doing the opposite: teaching that atheism is appropriate, especially to share, whereas the rest of the ideas out there aren't? Why are they debating teaching creationsim, when it's only one interpretation? Shouldn't they really should lump it with all other ideas into a class starting off with "we have not even the foggiest notion of how the universe came about, but here are some theories..."? Teachers aren't really equipped to answer theological questions unless they're scholars on religion; and then they're going to be biased in some way. Public schools aren't capeable of handling this kind of thing, and a class unable to ask questions isn't teaching anything. As a subject to be touched on, I think creationism should be mentioned. It shouldn't be discarded out of hand, but it shouldn't be shoved down the throats of those who can't manage to take things on faith. In a world that cannot manage being black or white, isn't there a happy medium? That said; I'm Lutheran, by the way.

11:36 AM  
Blogger jenni said...

church lessons belong in church. if school want to have a responsible theology class that teaches children about ALL major religions, i have no problem with that. but creationists are NOT interested in seeing religion in general or intelligent design taught in school. they are interested in seeing CHRISTIANITY taught in school. as an atheist, it infuriates me. I don't want my future children to be taught about supernatural forces in school. to me, that would be like the local public school requiring tarot classes and crystal ball readings.
absolutely ridiculous.

12:04 PM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

jo! sweetie i have missed you! you haven't been commenting as much lately and i felt for sure i'd hear something from you on the previous post!

4:16 PM  
Anonymous The Pensive Penguin said...

"Evolution is a proven fact, that can be observed in a lab. The part that still got scientists scratching their heads is the origin of life"
That's exactly what the discussion is about, the origin of life. Yes it has been proven that life evolves, but nobody has even come close to saying what it originally evolved from.

"It seems to me that the only argument ID people have is "your theory is not totally proven and ours is not impossible". I don't consider that very scientific."
Ask any scientist and they'll agree that the most scientifically proper way to look at a situation is to say that nothing is certain until ALL other possibilities have been COMPLETELY ruled out.

I left this out before, but even Stephen Hawking promotes the idea of creationism. I won't really get into the physics of it, but the way he describes the beginning of the universe (and he even says this in "A Brief History of Time") suggests the possibility of some sort of external creator. I won't say whether I agree or disagree (mostly because I haven't decided whether or not I agree), but if a man of science (possibly the most intelligent person alive today) can keep an open mind about something shouldn't you and I be able to also?

4:40 PM  
Blogger Lobster Boy said...

In response to teaching Intelligent Design in schools and bowing to Scientolonuts you are actually covered. ID includes those who believe that aliens may have "spread a seed" throughout the universe. It's just one of the components of the non-religious believers of the theory of intelligent design.

Alessandra: I'm honestly not an expert on Intelligent design, though it is something I know something about from popular media and a few books I have read (Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe being one of them). There are a good number of issues with Evolution. To properly talk about the subject one must differentiate between micro and macro evolution. There is the issue of transitory fossils, which to date, have not been found, anywhere, the world over. There are a number of other "issues" that are raised by the ID camp that warrent consideration, whether or not they are right/wrong in the end. Few who fall into the evolutionist camp are willing to hear this though, and rather than respond to the valid critiques they redirect and attack back. So I think it goes a considerable distance beyond evolution simply not being proofed. It is likely it never will be, as returning to the origin of the universe is highly unlikely.

Jenni: My experience with Christians informs me quite differently than your's apparently does. The Christians I know would openly oppose the government "teaching" their religion in schools. First, they would not trust the government to do this, second which denomination would the government endorse, third, it would remove one of the fundimental things for which churches exist. So in my opinion your categorization of Christians is pretty far off based and possibly jaded by a bad experience or two. We all carry that baggage.

Penguin: I've read some Hawking, and when I understand it, I find it interesting. I've read "Breif History of Time" and pulled the same thing from it as you seem to be pointing.

This might be the longest "comment" I've ever made. It's longer than a good number of my posts to my own blog!

Lobster Boy

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Gypsy_Jo said...

I'm here waitress... I'm here. I read it all, sometimes I just dont have the time to post!
I live in small town USA, and jesus is heavily promotoed IN SCHOOL, complete with crosses and whatnot. I DESPISE THIS. it bites my ass, to put it bluntly.
SCIENCE should be taught at school, not "beleif systems".
you want your kid to learn about adam and eve? take em to church.

...sings thomas dolby tune...she blinded me with science!


8:07 AM  
Blogger jaymichaelrivera said...

"I, being a staunch Liberal (and Jewish) am appalled at the thought of teaching a Judo-Christian philosophy to the "melting pot" of formative youths in our country."

Creation science and self defense. Now there's a curriculum I can support.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gotta tell you, this is my first visit to your blog and I like what I see so far. To respond to this entry I agree with lobster boy, no matter what schools teach they have to make it clear that nobody knows for sure what happened. I'm a Southern Baptist but I don't feel that creationism should be taught in school unless it is presented as one of many possibilities. We should encourage our kids to research and discover for themselves, not program them.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Dominic Ebacher said...

You interest me, I am glad to wish you happiness this day! Be well!

Peace and Love.

Dominic Ebacher

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Lisahhh36 said...

Wow. Just WOW.

I ran across your site during a rare moment of peace at work, while persuing Waiter Rant.

I love your site for a bazillion reasons. I've already bookmarked it as a favorite.

I've had several laugh-out-loud moments just reading your most recent posts. Thanks, I need that! But to come across a thread like this truly raised the bar. What a fantastic community you have created here; so many thoughtful and right on comments! Again, thank you.

That said, I really appreciate that I live where I do and have the "luxury" of living in a community that supports alternative education (charter schools) so that my children can be educated in a way that meshes with our family's belief system, which I can only best describe as humanistic/spititual/respectful of all. BTW, my kids both attend a Waldorf methods inspired school.

Anyway, I love what I've written and vow to check in regularly. You totally rock!

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Lisahhh36 said...

Oh, man... I should proofread before posting...

Also, I do not "pursue" Waiter Rant, I "peruise" it... Duh. I'm not a stalker.

I also meant to say, "I love what YOU have written and vow to check in regularly..."

Peace and Love

8:52 PM  
Anonymous jeweledsunshine said...

I have a brilliant idea. How about in science class, they teach about science as it is now. When it comes to the part of "how it all came to be", point out there are several theories, briefly (by which I actually mean "briefly", one class period . . . ) summarize the theories and move on. I mean, seriously, nothing will ever be proven when it comes to the origin of life. No need to waste time arguing about it or whatnot. If the curiosity of the kids is sparked by Evolution and they decide they want to read up on it, more power to them. If other kids are intrigued by Intelligent Design or Creationism or Darwinism or whateverism, more power to them too. The idea is to teach them the basics, how to find out more information, and how to get along in the world. Oh, and because I know someone will be wondering: I am a Christian and I believe in Creationism, but I do not debate/argue about it.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Michael Hutchison said...

I'm not sure if you were just kidding, but no, "freedom of religion" is NOT "freedom from religion." You should probably know that much before graduating college. There are way too many people thinking that the Constitution guarantees that they shall be able to go through life never encountering the word God, the Ten Commandments or a prayer in public. So, just in case you were serious, I thought I should speak to that part of your post.

On the general question of teaching creation/evolution, it all goes back to a much bigger problem: our one-size fits-all public school system. I don't believe that non-Christians of all stripes should be made to go to a school which teaches creationism, starts the school day with a prayer, etc. However, I also believe Christian parents should have the option of picking a school where that is possible. A voucher system would take care of that (as well as most other debates that cause such a ruckus because we have a one-size-fits-all system).

1:13 AM  

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