Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fundamentalist America

It’s a bit after the fact, but I ran across an article by Observer/Guardian “political editor” Gaby Hinsliff from a couple of weeks ago, regarding the religious sponsorship of some soon-to-be introduced government schools here in the UK, and couldn't resist bringing it to your attention.

As many of you are no doubt aware, despite the near constant portrayal of America as a place of religious indoctrination, it is in fact the UK, not the US, where state schools are allowed to have religious affiliations and offer religious education. In the US the courts are quite nearly pathological about disallowing religious expression of any kind in tax-funded education. Unfortunately, Ms. Hinsliff is either shockingly ignorant of this fact or she simply doesn’t care about the truth.

Deep in her article, after warning of the “fears” about “radical evangelicals” grabbing the reins of education in the UK, she brings up the idea of creationism.
Creationism teaches that the story of Genesis is literally true, and that God really did create the world in seven days. Adherents believe the planet is only 6,000 years old.

In the US, the influence of creationism and its close cousin 'intelligent design' - the idea that humans are so complex they must have been generated by a conscious creator - on education is widespread.

In the UK, creationism remains a fringe movement…
This is a classic example of the way in which the UK media attempts to prejudice its audience with its own anti-American biases.

First of all, the reference to America is entirely gratuitous and unrelated to the rest of the article. The subject of the article is the UK’s government education system and its partnership with religious affiliations in the creation of new schools. Since, in the US, any association between publicly funded schools and religious organizations is strictly prohibited, it is difficult to understand how the US education system is at all relevant to this topic. Why the complete non-sequitur about the US? Who knows? Perhaps Hinsliff had yet to fill her anti-American slam quota that week.

But even if the reference to the US is oddly placed, one might hope it was at least factual. Regrettably, any such hope would be in vain.

Creationism, of course, is not a part of any state curriculum in the US. Again, unlike in the UK, religious education is not allowed in US public schools. Any public school that started teaching the story of Genesis from the Bible as part of its curriculum would immediately be stopped by the courts. Creationism, therefore, is strictly the domain of private schools. (A 1987 Supreme Court ruling against the ability of a state to mandate the teaching of creationism alongside evolution merely reinforced this long-standing reality.) According to the National Center for Education Statistics, of the approximately 53.5 million children enrolled in K-12 (aged 5-18) education in the US, only 5.3 million of them are enrolled in private schools. This means that, at most, creationism is formally taught to a mere 10% of US school children. But of course not all private schools are religiously affiliated, and of those that are, not all of them eschew evolution and embrace biblical literalism. So the true percentage is in fact significantly less than even 10%. So much for the "widespread" influence of creationism on US education.

It is also false to conflate, as Hinsliff does, intelligent design with creationism. While literal believers of Genesis may indeed champion intelligent design theory in the current political climate, it is not at all true that intelligent design theorists embrace creationism. They definitely do not. Characterizing ID as a "close cousin" to creationism is little more than a manipulative attempt to prejudice the audience against it without having to present any substantive reason why they should be. It is the cheap, rhetorical trick of an intellectual charlatan.

But it does allow Hinsliff to slyly plant the notion of America as a nation blinded by biblical literalism. Having taken a detour from her topic to brush aside the substantial differences between ID and creationism and then falsely proclaim that their “influence” over US education has been “widespread”, she segues back into the actual topic of her article by reassuring us that in the UK, creationism is still a “fringe movement”. Unlike, by implication, the US, where it apparently has captured the nation.

What utter rubbish.

It is difficult to believe that Hinsliff didn’t know precisely what she was doing when she added this deception to her story. But perhaps I give her too much credit. Perhaps she is too ignorant of the very thing she is writing about to know how ridiculous her claims are, and too lazy to inform herself. Ultimately, I’m not sure which is worse.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will not be surprised that also the BBC manages to shoehorn anti-US jibes into any possible article. Take this one


Does Lord Tebbitt have a point?

A former British government minister has just thrown the cat amongst the pigeons by suggesting that Muslim countries have offered the world few technological innovations in the last five centuries.

There follows a lengthy assessment of Islamic history & achievements. But for some reason this had to be thrown into the pot

And today, one wonders how much curiosity about evolution there might be in the American Bible Belt where evolution's scientific worth is denied.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, “Cracked” Pot:

Since you asked! Well…….

Deep in the heart of the US bible-belt - deep in the “Heart of Texas”, at the ultra-straight/conservative Christian loving Texas A&M University (in Aggieland) and its first associate company partner, Granada Corp, there has been, and is now no denial of "evolution’s scientific worth"

Far from it, Pot. Truly - it's become worth a great fortune there, Texas size $$$$$!

Perhaps your ingrained bias has prevented you from taking the slightest notice that for the past 25 years these two entities have pioneered and continue to lead the world (yes, even Northern Europe/UK's mechanical tinkerers) on the hottest evolution issue now on the high alter of Science - cloning!

Now that’s playing God, right, Pot? - a pretty damn big leap for a bunch of dullards and knuckle-draggers who still think the world sprang forth, right out the box, and ready to go in only 7 or 8 days, right?

You ain't been to Kansas City in long, long time, Pot - we're more than up to date - we lead the world in evolution-based science, and, somehow, without allowing our religious belief systems to thwart the research/results!

That's not just in curiosity about "theoretical" evolution, but in applied science. These two entities have been supplying their high dollar, selective breeds the world over, since 1980.

Check it out (www.factcheck.org) and you'll find it the truth - and also that it's you, that is in ignorant denial - not the USA, especially in the Bible-belt!

Pardon the tone, Pot, but we get awfully tired of the same old uninformed, bias driven smears - ad nausium! A pox on the twisted Zeropean

We're actually easy going folks with inquiring minds and routinely "wave to the neighbors". We enjoy a good laugh, a cold one or two, sports, movies, especially politics, and surely, we eat far to much for our own good.

Yes, occasionally, we have to don the Martial gear to go protect the world from itself (too many times to our liking to date, actually, only to then forgive billions in debt, as in lend-lease deals, or loans, etc., to those we save – see the Brits/French on this.)

And now those “Gourmet” former-world-empire-builder ingrates desecrate the graves of our heroes that saved their butts! Gee thanks, but don’t call on us again! Surrender next time, mes oui, et tout suit, again, and just be done with it! We’ll bust a gut watching, but we’ll just save our blood and treasure, if you please.

Think we like this rig? No. Got a better solution? Please. And don’t say the UN, it’s finished as a hope for protecting mankind from itself. Great place to line your pockets and get chummy with world-class scum in Tony NY restaurants, though.

But, we’re open to worthy ideas. I am sure you have some.

Name the war we’ve wagged for world conquest. And, if we started the current war in the world’s gas station just for it’s oil, why is the current price about $65/barrel, instead of maybe $20, which would benefit the West immensely.

Why haven’t we grabbed it all by now, right? We pay big-time (with about 60% of our oil coming from foreign sources), just like everybody else. We’re the science/techno dudes from the Bible-belt that found and developed islam’s oil, right? What gives here?

We don’t consider the USA as a new day Rome! Perhaps the greatest single reason that we continue to see ourselves as liberators, not conquers, is because we have a long tradition of Christian, bible reading, and morality based belief.

We have the longest running Democratic Republic show on Earth, for good reasons. Reflect for a moment on the history Europe or Asia since 1776.

Thank your stars for that “liberator” fact. And, speaking of stars, remember US astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and his first word back to Earth form the moon, “Houston, Tranquility base here, the Eagle has landed”?

Well, Houston ( & JSC) is located right there next to TXA&M in the Bible-belt, Pot. Did that stop NASA’s scientist from helping him further state: “That’s one small step for man, one giant step for mankind”? No.

Come on, Pot, they even read a line of the book of Genesis from the Moon at Christmas (not Xmass) – for the benefit of all mankind, not just the USA, but, they did not preach!

We also left an American flag, some scientific instruments, footprints, and a few golf balls on the Moon – but no bibles!

Of course, a few of the flat-earth society folks still think we faked the Moon shot. Well, Hollywood is very good – but NASA is better and for real, just look up at night!

Again, Houston is the global center for petroleum science/technology for the past 95 years, or so. And, it’s in the Bible-belt, but that didn’t abate its technological and scientific developments, that now benefit the entire world.

A review of the US patent office records will indicate just how inquiring our Christian, bible reading minds have been for the past 150 years.

If memory serves, the US holds the record on total world patents, and most assuredly, on those that are the most advanced, meaningful, and beneficial to humanity in almost every field of science, regardless of the Bible-belt. (I will not elaborate on these, except to say – the PC and the Internet! - “that’s just a little laugh”, Pot!)

Perhaps that's just the reason, or cause of the none-ending drone we hear, and the ever present smears we endure - Jealousy! We’re too good at it.

Kind of like “tour de Lance” Armstrong and the French today, right? He could whip French ass on their esteemed Tour for 15 more years, and they’ll still cry, “he cheated”. Really.

And he’s from Austin, TX, too! Yep, right there in the bible belt, again. What a whoop it would be to hear Lance tell France next week: “Excus’em moi. Non, mes aimes - drugs didn’t do it for me in the first 7 wins, it was my belief in God, it ain’t in the bike, it’s in my bible, n’est pas”? Mon dieu, how the frogs would croak! Do it Lance!

But, hey, we’re just trying to get by over here, Pot. Come get to know us a little better, we don’t bite our friends, even in the Bible-belt, please.

Oh yea, Pot, though not one myself, I lived for many years in Houston, and the Texans are fond of brashly saying, “if you done it, it ain’t bragging”.

Still, that’s a little too strong for me, and most of us here in the good ole USA, even in that bible-belt you’ve heard or read about - however erroneously!

PS: Bye the Bye - the latest religo-rage sweeping the USA just now is straight out of the ever-loving far left Hollywood studios and it settles the Creationists, Scopes Monkey trial, bible thumpers vr Science issue - for evermore!

Yes, the issue is now closed beyond argument, here.

Ever since Hollywood released the hit flick last year, “Alien vr Predator”, the vast majority of Americans now know and therefore, agree in the new theological paradigm, which goes:

“Humanity is derived from the Master Race – the Predators, who, from space, monitor and occasionally use mankind as it's incubators, only to breed it’s gruesome foes, the Alien reptilians, who are merely employed for right-of-passage sport for budding Predators, so as to prove their worthiness, and then go universe hopping to collect more trophies”!

(Sorry, but the first two Predator or several Alien releases neglected to reveal this gem of earth-shaking knowledge, thought each are riveting, blockbuster flicks in their own right.)

It’s true! Now we all know, because Hollywood is the final word for “Enquiring” US minds! Get it? We’re just a bunch of drooling, dopes, right? Soon, the whole world will know, and also agree.

(Except of course, islam. Just don’t think those imams will cotton to the idea of their allah looking like Hollywood’s Predator, though many of them do bare some slight resemblance, and, of course, his teachings promote just that - globe trotting predators employing stealth technology to confuse, then conquer/kill, er, that is, convert everything existing in the name of peace - for all who believe, of course!

Cool, real simple, no God vr Science confusion here with the imams-- just the believers in allah (moderates qualify) - and the dead! No more need for Multiculturalism either, with all its costly to alleviate perturbations and sub-set rights demands. Red Ken will love it

Sweet, end of story! No more ink wasted on that tired old God vr Science deal, or more wasted Papal decrees to search for how many total souls can be found in the scientist’s test tube, or angle accommodations on the old pin head.

Soon it will be – “Hail Predator, send down new technology, we’re out of fossil fuels here, dudes”! (or, in some quarters, “yhoe, allah, pass the dynamite, we ain’t finished with your work yet - and keep it quite”!)

Next movie sequel? It’s: “Predator/Alien vr allah”!

Can’t wait, what a bash! Put on the speed - Hollywood! Now, just who to cast as allah, hummm? James Earl Jones? Naw, he’s Darth Vader already.

Wait! Darth Vader and the Dark Side vr allah!

Yea, that’s the ticket, only a bad guy can win in this one! They’ll eat it up, both the West and islam! Big, Big, bucks here. Call a mosque, and get Jones on the horn!

Ain’t life here – just great, since we don’t have those silly old religious right hassles anymore - in the Bible-belt? Clone on, baby!

No, wait, imagine them cloning Rev Pat Robertson!!! God save us - from ourselves!

Next friggin issue!


8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clarification/Update: The "Cracked Pot" is, you guessed it, the beeb!

“And now, one wonders just how much curiosity about evolution-based scientific developments and their $$$ worth have actually been created and are now employed and enjoyed in the American Bible-belt there might be in the beeb where America’s true worth is constantly denied”

According to Evolution Science, beeb: those that evolve, survive! Those that atrophy, vanish.

Based on its Science, America is still headed for space and the frontiers of medicine from the Bible-belt – whilst the beeb/MSM, in all their self-anointed glory, based on ignorant, unflinching bias, are slipping inexorably toward obsolescence and oblivion! (check the historical subscription level trends – they’re all headed downhill, baby - read’em and weep!)

Bye, bye beeb/MSM! Hello, blogworld!


9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Characterizing ID as a "close cousin" to creationism is little more than a manipulative attempt to prejudice the audience against it without having to present any substantive reason why they should be."

ID is most certainly not science. It has no theories, and no peer reviewed papers. (Suggest googling "wedge strategy discovery institute"). ID and Creationism are the same dog but washed.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ID has been put out by people who were involved in "research" into creationism. They use false science and incorrect assumptions about the meaning of evolution to attack it. Creationism and ID are connected in the way implied.

10:17 AM  

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