Intelligent Design

COPE: Teaching Science Violates Rights Of Christians; Courts Must Block Science Curriculum

Last week, we reported that an organization called Citizens for Objective Public Education filed a lawsuit contesting science standards in Kansas schools, arguing that lessons on evolution represent an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network, an attorney involved in the lawsuit, told conservative talk radio host Janet Mefferd today that lessons on evolution are “religious education” in violation of the rights of parents, children and taxpayers. Mefferd replied that it is “crazy” to think that public schools could teach evolution to Christian students.

The religious rights that are being promoted here are the religious rights of parents to direct the religious education of their children and a state interferes with that when it seeks to promote an atheistic worldview. The second right is the child’s right, the child has a right not to be indoctrinated by the state to accept a particular religious viewpoint, that right is being taken by the framework. The last right is the taxpayer has a right, you know I pay taxes to Kansas, real estate taxes, a good part of my real estate taxes go to fund Kansas public education and I don’t want the taxes used to promote a nontheistic worldview.

“This really is a case about the establishment of a complete worldview,” Calvert said, arguing that public schools violate the Constitution by teaching “materialistic science” and therefore courts should block the curriculum and instruction on evolution.

“We’ve asked the court to enjoin the whole package, they just need to go back to the drawing board,” Calvert told Mefferd. “In the alternative, if the court is not willing to do that, the court should at least enjoin the teaching of origin science in the primary school grades from kindergarten through the 8th grade.”

Calvert and Mefferd claimed it is only fair to teach creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. Otherwise, Calvert claimed, schools would be teaching atheism.

“It’s clear that there are lots and lots of people who hold to the biblical account of creation or at the very least a view of intelligent design, share it as a perspective, evolution is not the only perspective out there,” Mefferd said.

Well, there are also “lots and lots of people” who believe that the sun revolves around the earth (one out of five Americans), so is it really settled science that the earth revolves around the sun and schools should teach both points of view?

Must schools also incorporate the claims that the earth is flat into lessons regarding the shape of the earth?

After all, we must keep the curriculum balanced and respect flat-earth proponents who think religion and science back up their beliefs.

Arizona Republicans Propose Anti-Evolution Education Bill

A group of Arizona Republicans are out with a new bill to undermine the teaching of evolution and subjects such as climate change and cloning in the classroom. The National Center for Science Education called the legislation another “instance of the ‘academic freedom’ strategy for undermining the teaching of evolution and climate change.”

The proposed “teach the controversy” bill is a stealthy attack on evolution as it tries to make science classes give equal weight to nonscientific beliefs and theologies. It’s the equivalent of including claims made by the Flat Earth Society in a geology class, all for the sake of “balance.”

A. THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS, SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARDS, SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENTS, SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS SHALL ENDEAVOR TO:

1. CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT IN SCHOOLS THAT ENCOURAGES PUPILS TO EXPLORE SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, LEARN ABOUT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, DEVELOP CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS AND RESPOND APPROPRIATELY AND RESPECTFULLY TO DIFFERENCES OF OPINION ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES.

2. ASSIST TEACHERS TO FIND EFFECTIVE WAYS TO PRESENT THE SCIENCE CURRICULUM AS IT ADDRESSES SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSIES. TEACHERS SHALL BE ALLOWED TO HELP PUPILS UNDERSTAND, ANALYZE, CRITIQUE AND REVIEW IN AN OBJECTIVE MANNER THE SCIENTIFIC STRENGTHS AND SCIENTIFIC WEAKNESSES OF EXISTING SCIENTIFIC THEORIES COVERED IN THE COURSE BEING TAUGHT.

B. THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS, SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARDS, SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENTS, SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS SHALL NOT PROHIBIT ANY TEACHER IN THIS STATE FROM HELPING PUPILS UNDERSTAND, ANALYZE, CRITIQUE AND REVIEW IN AN OBJECTIVE MANNER THE SCIENTIFIC STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF EXISTING SCIENTIFIC THEORIES COVERED IN THE COURSE BEING TAUGHT.

C. THIS SECTION PROTECTS ONLY THE TEACHING OF SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION AND DOES NOT PROMOTE ANY RELIGIOUS OR NONRELIGIOUS DOCTRINE, PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION FOR OR AGAINST A PARTICULAR SET OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OR NONBELIEFS OR PROMOTE DISCRIMINATION FOR OR AGAINST RELIGION OR NONRELIGION.

Sec. 2. Intent

The legislature finds and declares that:

1. An important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary to becoming intelligent, productive and scientifically informed citizens.

2. The teaching of some scientific subjects, including biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning, can cause controversy.

3. Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects.

Creationism Advocate Bobby Jindal Warns GOP Against Becoming 'the Stupid Party'

At a Republican National Committee winter summit yesterday, Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal scolded his fellow Republicans for acting like “the stupid party,” which he said damaged their credibility in the last election:

In his remarks to the gathering, he also offered some tough medicine for the GOP, including this piece of advice: “We must stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and visions for America in real terms. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We’ve had enough of that.” Whether or not Jindal ultimately emerges as a top presidential contender, look for him to be a major presence, not just in Louisiana, but around the country as well as a key figure in helping the party chart its course forward.

Of course, this is the same Bobby Jindal who is literally dumbing down Louisiana’s education system by advocating the teaching of creationism in taxpayer-funded schools.

Jindal signed into law and vocally supported the ironically-named Louisiana Science Education Act, which has been described as a “thinly veiled attempt to allow creationism into the science classrooms of his state.”

Last year, Jindal established a private school voucher program that will bring taxpayer dollars to schools that explicitly teach creationism:

Whatever the merits of this program might be, observers in the state were stunned when they saw some of the schools on the list of those eligible to accept the vouchers. They include a school whose students will be taught to “discern and refute the lies commonly found in textbooks,” including, of course, evolution. Another school prepares students to “defend creationism through evidence presented by the Bible,” and yet another assures students that no instruction is included in its textbooks “that would conflict with young earth creationism.”

One of the schools funded by Jindal’s program teaches that the alleged existence of the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution:

This 2012-2013 school year, thanks to a bill pushed through by governor Bobby Jindal, thousands of students in Louisiana will receive state voucher money, transferred from public school funding, to attend private religious schools, some of which teach from a Christian curriculum that suggests the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution and states that the alleged creature, which has never been demonstrated to even exist, has been tracked by submarine and is probably a plesiosaur. The curriculum also claims that a Japanese fishing boat caught a dinosaur.

Since Jindal is trying to portray himself as the intellectual savior of the GOP – and thanks to politicians like Rick Perry and Todd Akin it’s a pretty low bar – maybe he can start by repealing the laws that encourage the teaching of pseudo-science in Louisiana’s schools.

The Religious Right's Spin On Science

The mainstream scientific community rejects the Religious Right’s assertion that gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation to become heterosexual: the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychiatric Association all deny the effectiveness, safety and ethics of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy.

But that doesn’t stop right-wing activists from citing and exaggerating the claims of small, fringe organizations in order to bolster their support of reparative therapy and claim that such “therapy” has extensive backing in the medical community.

Today, Liberty Counsel heads Mat Staver and Matt Barber, who according to their official biographies have no background in psychology, dedicated their Faith & Freedom radio show to assailing the American Psychological Association, arguing that they have more psychological expertise than the APA. Staver pointed to a small, Christians-only psychological group has “the most definitive, most recent research that’s come out that says change is possible” for gays and lesbians:

Liberty Counsel even declared that the American Association of Christian Counselors is “larger than American Psychological Assn”:

 

In reality, the AACC has just one-third of the membership of the APA, which has 154,000 members.

Staver and Barber are far from the only anti-gay figures to promote the findings of tiny, religious groups over the claims of more reputable and mainstream organizations.

As reported on RWW, David Barton on WallBuilders Live last week falsely described the American College of Pediatricians as “the leading pediatric association in America” as he cited a memo from the group claiming that “most students will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged.” Barton used the ACP’s memo as evidence to show that all children will “end up being heterosexual unless [schools] force them to be homosexual”:

The ACP is not “the leading pediatric association in America,” but a far-right offshoot of the real leading pediatric group, the American Academy of Pediatricians, which vigorously condemned the ACP’s memo. Barton’s co-host Rick Green tried to defend his dishonest representation of the ACP, but as Warren Throckmorton points out, while the ACP has “probably less than 200” members, the AAP has around 60,000.

Moreover, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America frequently cite the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality as a reliable source of information on reparative therapy despite the group’s history of fraud and promotion of anti-gay and racist views.

The argument over the efficacy of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy mirrors the fight over teaching Creationism and Creationist-influenced Intelligent Design in public schools. Religious Right figures have a tendency to call any study from a leading and mainstream scientific associations biased if it doesn’t reflect their views, and then find (or create) small, non-credible organizations to reflect their viewpoints. Desperate to reject the consensus of the scientific community, like clockwork Religious Right activists try to pass off these tiny groups as large, credible, and legitimate institutions in an effort to lend authority to their foundering arguments.

Kern Introduces Creationist Bill So Science Teachers Can Teach "Pure Science"

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern wants to make it clear that her new legislation protecting the rights of science teachers to "teach all science instead of just the Darwin model" is in no way an attempt to introduce creationism or Intelligent Design into the classroom.

It is, in fact, just an attempt to let teachers teach "pure science" about "all of evolution" ... and apparently Kern just wants the teaching of "all of evolution" to include the religious theories about how evolution is utterly false

"It stays 100 miles away from creationism and ID. It's not in any way trying to get those in there," said Rep. Sally Kern, (R) Oklahoma City.

Representative Sally Kern said her bill doesn't change any current science curriculum or textbook and doesn't alter Oklahoma's past standards for science education. The bill simply protects teachers who feel they don't have the freedom to fully explore controversial science topics.

"Some people say there's no problem. Yes, there is. I have some surveys that show that many teachers fear for their jobs. That they will be reprimanded or lose their jobs if they teach just pure science. If they teach all of science instead of just the Darwin model," said Rep. Kern.

...

"This bill is not anti-evolution. This bill is ‘Let's teach all of evolution.' Let's teach our children how to have inquiring minds. Let's teach them how to be critical thinkers, to look at both sides of an issue, scientific issue, and be able to examine what is the plausible thing there," said Kern.

Kern Introduces Creationist Bill So Science Teachers Can Teach "Pure Science"

Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern wants to make it clear that her new legislation protecting the rights of science teachers to "teach all science instead of just the Darwin model" is in no way an attempt to introduce creationism or Intelligent Design into the classroom.

It is, in fact, just an attempt to let teachers teach "pure science" about "all of evolution" ... and apparently Kern just wants the teaching of "all of evolution" to include the religious theories about how evolution is utterly false

"It stays 100 miles away from creationism and ID. It's not in any way trying to get those in there," said Rep. Sally Kern, (R) Oklahoma City.

Representative Sally Kern said her bill doesn't change any current science curriculum or textbook and doesn't alter Oklahoma's past standards for science education. The bill simply protects teachers who feel they don't have the freedom to fully explore controversial science topics.

"Some people say there's no problem. Yes, there is. I have some surveys that show that many teachers fear for their jobs. That they will be reprimanded or lose their jobs if they teach just pure science. If they teach all of science instead of just the Darwin model," said Rep. Kern.

...

"This bill is not anti-evolution. This bill is ‘Let's teach all of evolution.' Let's teach our children how to have inquiring minds. Let's teach them how to be critical thinkers, to look at both sides of an issue, scientific issue, and be able to examine what is the plausible thing there," said Kern.

Religious Right “Intellectual” Claims Marriage Equality “Opens the Door to Unlimited Statism”

Nancy Pearcey has made a name for herself in the Religious Right as a chief advocate for intelligent design, which emerged as the leading anti-evolution 'science' following the Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard that public schools can’t teach Creationism. She is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute, the leading propagandist of intelligent design, and scientist and evolution-defender Jeffrey Shallit called Pearcey the “Creationists’ Miss Information.” But Pearcey, who has no scientific credentials, appears to have replaced evolution with the LGBT community as her latest target.

Having previously called homosexuality the “denigration of physical anatomy,” Pearcey is now attacking the claim that sexual orientation is not a lifestyle choice. Writing for The Daily Caller, Pearcey defends the organizations boycotting CPAC over GOProud’s involvement because she believes that once sexual orientations other than heterosexuality are respected, affirmed, and considered equal, the U.S. will subside into government oppression and lose “the foundation of the American republic”:

By voting with their feet, however, social conservatives are not giving up, they are taking a public stand — which creates a forum to make their case more effectively. They should take this opportunity to argue that the practice of homosexuality has a negative impact not just on the family but also on individuals — that it expresses a profound disrespect for a person’s biological identity.

Biologically, physiologically, males and females are clearly counterparts to one another. The male sexual and reproductive anatomy is obviously designed for a relationship with a female, and vice versa.

Homosexual practice thus requires individuals to contradict their own biology. It disconnects a person’s sexuality from his or her biological identity as male or female — which exerts a self-alienating and fragmenting effect on the human personality.

And the logic of alienation will not stop there. Already the acceptance of same-sex relationships is metastasizing into a postmodern notion of sexuality as fluid and changing over time.



In other words, yesterday I was straight, today I may be homosexual, and tomorrow I could be bisexual. One’s psychosexual identity is said to be in constant flux.

In the past, homosexuals employed the defense that they were born that way. But now they are beginning to embrace the postmodern idea that you can be anything you want to be along a sexual continuum.



The CPAC walkout is a chance to highlight what is at stake. Jesse Hathaway at NewsReal Blog defends CPAC, saying “I’m a bit fuzzy on why it matters what a person does in the privacy of his or her bedroom, as long as it doesn’t affect me.”

But it does affect him — and everyone else. Every social practice is the expression of fundamental assumptions about what it means to be human. When a society accepts and approves the practice, it implicitly commits itself to the worldview that supports it — all the more so if the practice is enshrined in law.

If America accepts practices such as same-sex “marriage,” in the process it will absorb the accompanying worldview — the redefinition of human personhood as a purely social construction — which opens the door to unlimited statism, because there is no human nature that an oppressive state could possibly offend.

Those who resist will be compelled by the state to go along, or face penalties for “discrimination.”

Margaret Thatcher used to say, “First you win the argument, then you win the vote.” Instead of caving on this issue, the leaders of CPAC should be vigorously advancing the core arguments of conservatism. Not just to win the vote but to preserve the foundation of the American republic.

Random Book Blogging: Money, Greed and God

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Jim Garlow had been promoting the book "Money, Greed, and God" to anyone who would listen for the last several months and that finally the Family Research Council had gotten on board and scheduled an event with its author, Jay Richards, for December.

As such, I decided to give it a read ... and I was decidedly unimpressed.

For years, there has been a tension within the conservative movement between the social conservatives, who care mainly about fighting abortion and gays, and fiscal conservatives, who care mostly about cutting taxes and shrinking government.  Now obviously there is a lot of overlap between the two groups, but Richards' book seems designed to merge the two by giving the right-wing deregulatory, free market free-for-all agenda the Biblical seal of approval. 

It will comes as no surprise to discover that Richards is a climate change-denying, Intelligent Design-promoting Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, so that ought to give you some sense of just where he is coming from when he lays out the Biblical case for unfettered free market deregulation. 

In the book, Richards claims that minimum wage laws, fare trade practices, and foreign aid are all unbiblical, praises factory farming and big box stores, and completely dismisses concerns about global warming and natural resource depletion.   He also offers some useful advice like "even if you get food by begging, it's degrading.  You should avoid it if you can" and "there's no biblical rule that requires us to consume only what we need to survive."

In Richards' view, it was God who created the free market system and therefore, every result of that free market system is "a stunning example of God's providence over a fallen world." As such, there is nothing wrong with inequality because, as Richards puts it "Is God obliged to distribute his blessing equally?":

Think of another parable, of a landowner who goes out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. The landowner agrees to pay the going rate - a denarius - to the first workers he hires in the morning. But he ends up hiring more workers at nine o'clock, then again at noon and three o'clock. He even hires a few stragglers at five o'clock. At the end of the day, the landowner pays all the workers the same amount. The ones who work only one hour get the same as the workers who labor all day. Ah-hah! Everyone is treated equally, right? But the early birds in the parable don't see it that way. When they get wind of this, they grumble that they didn't get more. But the landowner rebuffs one of them: "Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? That what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?" (Matt. 20:13-15)

Of course, this parable isn't primarily an economic lesson. Jesus begins the parable by saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like ..." He's illustrating a mystery about the kingdom of God: when it comes to its fullness, "the last shall be first, and the first will be last." But that doesn't make the parable any less relevant to our question. The landowner represents God, so clearly Jesus see his actions as just. If the landowner had not paid the first workers what he promised, he would have been guilty of theft. That's injustice. As it is, the landowner keeps his promises. He just pays each a different rate per hour. But so what? That's his choice to make. Instead of being pleased for receiving what they were promised, the early risers envy the others for what they have received. We all tend to do that - to link inequality of outcome or opportunity with injustice. But they're not the same thing.

Richards' view is that so long as nobody is coerced, lied to, or stolen from, there is nothing wrong with any market transaction that occurs between free actors. 

So it only stands to reason that if an employer wanted to pay male workers twice what was paid to female workers, well there is nothing wrong with that because "that's his choice to make."  And if minority workers get paid less, well there is nothing wrong with that either because "absolute equality doesn't apply in God's kingdom [so] why do we think it should apply to human society?"

As Richards explains, any inequality that results from unrestricted, deregulated free trade is part of God's will because the entire system of free market capitalism is God's means of working his will in the world:

Just as God could work his will through the sinful choices of Joseph's brothers, so too can he work his will through the free market, which involves countless trillions of individual choices, whether they be good, bad, or indifferent. No mere human can plan an economy, because no human can know all the value judgments made by the actors in an economy. But that's a limit on what we can know, not on what God can know.

Rather than despising the market order, Christians should see it as God's way of providentially governing the actions of billions of free agenda in the fallen world.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • FRC is now officially on the record as calling for Elena Kagan's defeat, mainly because she's not anti-gay.
  • According to The Hill, Democrats are turning to the Religious Right in an effort to pass immigration reform and climate change legislation.
  • 800 Virginia scientists and professors have signed a letter asking Ken Cuccinelli to drop his subpoena for documents related to the work of climate scientist Michael Mann.
  • You know how not to teach a geometry lesson on angles? By using an example involving the assassination of the President of the United States.
  • Richard Land has received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from "Biola University during an event that focused on the future of the Intelligent Design movement." That is quite an impressive honor.
  • Finally, Andrew Breitbart calls Rep. Michele Bachmann a "warrior for Judeo-Christian and foundational American values." I have nothing to add to that.

Rep. Souder Resigning Over Reported Affair ... With Woman In Abstinence Video

Anti-gay "family values" Congressman Mark Souder (R-IN) will be resigning from Congress after it was revealed that he'd been having an affair with a staff member:

Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), a champion of abstinence education and traditional family values, will resign effective Friday after an affair with a female staffer in his district office, he announced today.

He said in a statement that he "sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff." And he blamed the atmosphere in Washington for forcing him to make the move:

"In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain. I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process."

I wasn't even planning on writing about this because Souder was mostly unknown ... plus, finding out that a self-proclaimed "family values" Republican congressmen has been having an affair barely even qualifies as news these days.

But in this case, the hypocrisy is especially glaring as last year Souder produced a video on the importance of abstinence education ... with the very woman with whom he was reportedly having the affair

Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) had an affair with a part-time staffer named Tracy Jackson, Fox is reporting. Jackson played the role of interviewer for a Souder Web video show on the issues of the day -- including one on the value of abstinence.

Dubbed "Congressional Update with Congressman Mark Souder," the show hit on issues like intelligent design and fencing the border.

In the November 2009 abstinence video, Jackson introduces Souder this way: "You've been a longtime advocate for abstinence education and in 2006 you had your staff conduct a report entitled 'Abstinence and its Critics' which discredits many claims purveyed by those who oppose abstinence education."

Scarborough Grills Candidates and Hopefuls Behind Closed Doors: "We're Trying to Mix Church and State God's Way"

I have to say that this does not seem promising at all:

Renowned social conservative and self-proclaimed "Christocrat," the Rev. Rick Scarborough of the Harvest Point Church in Nacogdoches led 15 pastors from multiple denominations in a candidate forum on Tuesday.

Behind closed doors of the fellowship hall of the First Christian Church, the church leaders interviewed dozens of elected state officials and dozens more local candidates, all seeking to be elected or re-elected to office this year.

"This is the first time we've ever gotten involved in the primaries, so because of the wide range of candidates from supreme court justices to the lone candidate for county surveyor, we had to divide them up into three groups and issue them our questions," Scarborough said. "We first compiled the questionnaire that we had them fill out for us that covered a range of things, including the Mandate to Save America'"

Scarborough and other culturally conservative leaders from around the nation helped draft the Mandate to Save America, which is a 10-point list of ideals that they believe elected leaders should commit to in order to "break the bonds of tyranny and give birth to a new nation of freedom, justice and hope."

The mandate calls for the nation to oppose same-sex marriages, give parents control over their child's education and demands the right to publicly acknowledge the existence of God.

After the candidates turned in their various questionnaires, they were then presented with several more questions from the pastor groups.

"We had them answer eight questions personally on issues ranging from taxes, a couple of social issues, and we discussed their feelings about allowing Intelligent Design to be taught alongside evolution in public schools," Scarborough said. "This is a way for us to ascertain their positions on not only specific issues, but more importantly character issues. We encourage people to vote their values."

...

"We believe Christians have a real responsibility, and we pastors especially, to find out where the candidates stand and what they believe, and then give those answers to the people," he said. "We want them to vote not as Republicans or Democrats, but as we like to say, followers of Jesus Christ. We're trying to mix church and state God's way."

Scarborough will reportedly make the findings public before primary election day next week and has plans, though this newly created Nacogdoches County Pastors Roundtable, to host a debate in September and is also launching an effort to "register a record number of Christians in Nacogdoches County to vote in the November elections."

Pawlenty in 2012: I Support Creationism, But Not Gay Rights

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has been busy quietly working to impress the Religious Right has he contemplates a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, which goes a long way toward explaining his views as revealed in this Newsweek interview, including his belief in creationism and the revelation that while he once may have supported equality, he doesn't any more, going so far as to recant for a past vote in support of anti-discrimination legislation.

Let me ask you about social issues your party has been dealing with. In her book, Palin claims that McCain's handlers wanted her to be silent about her belief in creationism. How would you describe your view?

I can tell you how we handle it in Minnesota. We leave it to the local school districts. We don't mandate a curriculum or an approach. We allow for something called "intelligent design" to be discussed as a comparative theory. It doesn't have to be in science class.

Where are you personally?

Well, you know I'm an evangelical Christian. I believe that God created everything and that he is who he says he was. The Bible says that he created man and woman; it doesn't say that he created an amoeba and then they evolved into man and woman. But there are a lot of theologians who say that the ideas of evolution and creationism aren't necessarily inconsistent; that he could have "created" human beings over time.

I know you are opposed to gay marriage, but what about medical benefits for same-sex couples?

I have not supported that.

Why not?

My general view on all of this is that marriage is to be defined as being a union of a man and a woman. Marriage should be elevated in our society at a special level. I don't think all domestic relationships are the equivalent of traditional marriage. Early on we decided as a country and as a state that there was value in a man and a woman being married in terms of impact on children and the like, and we want to encourage that.

To borrow a phrase, have your views evolved over time?

In 1993 I voted for a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodation, housing, and employment. That was 16 years ago.

Yes, gay-rights activists regarded you as a pretty cool guy at the time.

We overbaked that statute, for a couple of reasons. If I had to do it over again I would have changed some things.

Overbaked?

That statute is not worded the way it should be. I said I regretted the vote later because it included things like cross-dressing, and a variety of other people involved in behaviors that weren't based on sexual orientation, just a preference for the way they dressed and behaved. So it was overly broad. So if you are a third-grade teacher and you are a man and you show up on Monday as Mr. Johnson and you show up on Tuesday as Mrs. Johnson, that is a little confusing to the kids. So I don't like that.

Has the law been changed?

No. It should be, though.

So you want to protect kids against cross-dressing elementary-school teachers. Do you have any in Minnesota?

Probably. We've had a few instances, not exactly like that, but similar.

Creationists boost Islamic Fundamentalists in Turkey

Fundamentalist Christians are not generally big boosters of Islamic fundamentalism. But it appears that American creationists hate Darwin and the science of evolution even more, and are aggressively helping Islamic fundamentalists undermine both science and the secular governmental traditions in Turkey. According to an article in the Washington Post, the teaching of evolution is under attack by Islamic fundamentalists armed with materials created by American creationists. The article opens with an anecdote that, with one exception, will be all too familiar to U.S. science educators:

Sema Ergezen teaches biology to Turkish students interested in teaching science themselves, and she has long struggled with her students' ignorance of, and sometimes hostility to, the notion of evolution.

But she was taken aback when several of her Marmara University students recently accused her of being an atheist, or worse, for teaching anything but the doctrine that God created the Earth and everything on it.

"They said I was a liar if I called myself a Muslim because I also accepted evolution," she said.

Anti-evolution forces are blossoming, according to the article, thanks to American backers of creationism and intelligent design:

Translated and adapted for a Muslim society, the purported proofs that Darwinism and evolution were wrong came directly from American proponents of Christian creationism and its less overtly religious offshoot, intelligent design.

Ergezen's experience has become increasingly common. While creationism and intelligent design appear to be in some retreat in the United States, they have blossomed within Muslim Turkey. With direct and indirect help from American foes of evolution, similarly-minded Turks have aggressively made the case that Charles Darwin's theory is scientifically wrong and is the underlying source of most of the world's conflicts because it excludes God from human affairs.

"Darwin is the worst Fascist there has ever been, and the worst racist history has ever witnessed," writes Harun Yahya, the most assertive and best-known critic of evolution in Turkey, and long a favorite of more conservative American creationists.

The article notes that Turkey, with it secular government traditions, has been more open to scientific understandings of evolution than other Muslim countries, but that's changing with the help of American institutions like Seattle's Discovery Institute and The Institute for Creation Research in Dallas.

To many Turkish scientists and educators, this is a worrisome development. The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was an advocate of science, education and, some say, even evolution. Turkish science has been especially strong in the Muslim world. If Turks close their minds to evolutionary thinking, advocates say, it won't be long before religion and politics shut off other scientific pursuits.

To John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, however, the news could hardly be more encouraging.

"Why I'm so interested in seeing creationism succeed in Turkey is that evolution is an evil concept that has done such damage to society," said Morris, a Christian who has led several searches for Noah's Ark in eastern Turkey. Members of his group have addressed Turkish conferences numerous times.

The Discovery Institute of Seattle, which researches and promotes intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution, also sent speakers to Turkey after being invited by the Istanbul municipal government in 2007. President Bruce Chapman said the institute helped bring Turkish evolution critic Mustafa Akyol to a 2005 Kansas school board hearing on teaching critiques of evolution.

The Post quotes Aykut Kence, an American-trained scientist with a doctorate in evolutionary biology, who has been targeted by local creationists circulating leaflets with pictures of him and Mao, equating the teaching of evolution with communism. Where have we heard that before?

After a decade in the trenches, Kence said he believes aggressive creationism "is part of a larger plan to convert people to a more conservative Islam."

The Islamic-oriented government, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2007, has telegraphed its views on evolution by adding doses of creationism to a required public school course on "Religion and Morals," proponents of evolution say. This year, the editor of one of the nation's prominent science journals, Science and Technology, was fired by government officials over her magazine's plans to put Darwin on its cover.

Major Religious Right conferences like the Values Voter Summit have devoted many hours in recent years to talking about the threats posed by radical Islam. Will they now add the Discovery Institute and the Institute for Creation Science to their list of those aiding and abetting the nation's enemies? Or is their hatred for Darwin and secularism so strong that they're willing help those pushing for a more theocratic Islamic government in Turkey?

Opposing Right Wing Legislation for All the Wrong Reasons

I came across an article yesterday about a piece of legislation co-authored by Oklahoma’s favorite militantly anti-gay legislator Sally Kern called the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act but didn’t write about it because, when it passed the legislature this summer, it was vetoed by Gov. Brad Henry

The bill is a typical piece of right-wing claptrap whereby the authors pretend that they are just trying to protect religious freedom when, in reality, they are just trying to make sure that Intelligent Design proponents won’t fail their science classes when they write papers claiming that the Earth is only 6000 years old.

It seems that Kern’s bill has been re-introduced in the 2009 legislative session but doesn’t seem to have been changed in any way that would help it avoid the Governor’s veto pen, should it end up on his desk again.  

The only reason I am even posting on this is because I was caught a bit off guard by this explanation from Rep. Ed Cannaday about why he opposes the bill:

But some lawmakers, including Rep. Ed Cannaday, a former teacher and school administrator in eastern Oklahoma, described the measure as a “cotton candy bill.”

“It’s tasteful and you enjoy it, but it does nothing for you,” said Cannaday, D-Porum.

From reading that, you’d think Cannaday opposed it because it was a attempt by right-wing legislators to inject religion into the public school system in ways that are both unnecessary and harmful.  But you’d be wrong:

Cannaday said the bill also could open the door for radical religious groups to demand equal time in Oklahoma schools.

“What’s more dangerous is that this cotton candy has been laced with arsenic,” Cannaday said. “The radical, non-Christian fringe groups who want to undermine our faith will use this to disrupt and to distract from our spiritual base.”

While it is nice that Cannaday opposes the bill, it would be nicer if he was opposing it because it was unnecessary rather than because it might allow “non-Christian fringe groups" access to public schools from which they would undermine “our spiritual base.”

Sarah Palin: the "Ultimate Religious Right Success Story"

Michelle Goldberg has an excellent article in The Nation that traces the rise of Sarah Palin back to Pat Robertson’s failed 1988 presidential bid. The campaign’s grassroots machinery was reorganized as the Christian Coalition and began “building power from the ground up, turning conservative churches into little political machines.” Palin owes her entire career to that effort, which continues to this day.

Palin, “who got her start in a local church-backed political struggle,” followed the Religious Right playbook in her run for mayor by politicizing religion and focusing on social issues that were far removed from the duties of a small town mayor. She also received crucial support from culture warriors near and far:

When Palin ran for mayor in 1996, she leveraged the support of the religious conservatives. Wasilla mayoral races are nonpartisan and in the past had been focused on local issues like taxes and policing. In her challenge to Republican mayor John Stein, Palin changed that, touting her opposition to abortion, her religion and her support for gun rights. "She got a lot of help from the Christian groups," said Curt Menard, mayor of Mat-Su Borough (which includes Wasilla). […]

According to Stein, a national antiabortion organization sent out postcards to Wasilla voters on Palin's behalf. There was a whisper campaign that Stein, a Lutheran, was actually Jewish. Some Palin supporters suggested that Stein and his wife, Karen Marie, weren't really married because they didn't have the same last name.

Palin likewise depended on the Religious Right in her run for governor: the “Alaska Family Council, a group that formed that year and is loosely affiliated with Focus on the Family, distributed a voter guide showing Palin's alignment with its ideology.” And when a GOP state representative prematurely left office last year, Palin used the opportunity to shore up her base:

Sarah Palin appointed Wes Keller, an elder in her church, to replace him. He introduced a bill to make the performance of intact dilation and extraction abortions – so-called “partial-birth abortions” – a felony, and…plans to introduce legislation mandating the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.

Palin’s rise from a small right-wing church in Alaska to a slot on a major party ticket gives lie to the notion that the Religious Right is fading away. Or as Goldberg puts it, “the Christian right often has its greatest triumphs just after it's been pronounced moribund.”

The Many Sides of Sarah Palin

Ever since John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate, the central question has been “Who is Sarah Palin?”  The fact of that matter is that nobody really seems to know, especially Palin herself.

When the announcement came down, politicos of every stripe began scrambling to examine her thin record in an attempt to figure out just what McCain thought that she could bring to the ticket beyond crass electoral benefits.    Everyone, that is, except the Religious Right, which hailed the decision with a staggeringly over-the-top fervor considering that McCain had just named a one-term, relative unknown to fill out his ticket.

But as more becomes known about Palin, it is becoming increasingly clear just why the Right was so overjoyed.

Her militant opposition to abortion, going so far as to even refuse to support her own mother-in-law’s candidacy for Mayor because she was pro-choice; her efforts to oppose equality for gays and lesbians; her apparent affiliation with the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party; her support for teaching Intelligent Design; her reported efforts to censor library books and fire the town librarian – on and on it goes, with new details seemingly emerging by the hour, all suggesting that Palin is indeed the dream candidate the Right has been praying for.

Lost in all of this is Palin’s apparent willingness to utilize right-wing wedge issues when they suit her political needs and then downplay them when they don’t.

As John Stein, whom Palin defeated to become mayor of Wasilla, Alaska in 1996, recently told KCAW, Palin worked to inject the issue of abortion into the traditionally non-partisan mayor’s race and helped her pave the way for her own political aspirations: “The fundamental Christian values were very much a part of her background and the election, interestingly enough, tended to turn around the abortion issue.  John Stein: pro-choice.  Sarah Palin: anti-abortion.  That was heavily promoted by local, state, and I think even national anti-choice groups.”

When she ran for Governor in 2006, Palin was only one of two candidate to respond to the Eagle Forum of Alaska’s Questionnaire – a questionnaire that the organization is now trying to hide by taking it off of their website – in which she explained her opposition to abortion, providing benefits to same-sex couples, to sex-ed and contraception distribution in schools, to hate crimes legislation, and declaring that “Preserving the definition of ‘marriage’ as defined in our constitution” would be among her top priorities if elected.

So while Palin is clearly willing to exploit wedge issues when they serve her needs, she seems to prefer to do so on the down-low and somewhat away from the public eye.  When her opponent for Governor in 2006 tried to make an issue of her staunch anti-abortion views, Palin dismissed the issue, saying “I think it's a shame ... that anyone would try to make this issue a headline, banner issue in the campaign when it's not” and saying that she wouldn’t push for state constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion because “there is no law that I could sign in office that could ever supersede the Supreme Court's ruling.”  While standing by her militant views, she insisted that "I am not one to be out there preaching and forcing my views on anyone else."

When she was criticized for her views that creationism should be taught in science class, she backed off, saying that she wouldn’t "have religion as a litmus test, or anybody's personal opinion on evolution or creationism" for members of the state school board.

In fact, it seems that when ever anyone tried to actually pin Palin down on her right-wing positions, her response was to dismiss the efforts as divisive and hypothetical:

A significant part of Palin’s base of support lies among social and Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed), physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and supports a constitutional amendment to bar them).

Palin and her staff complained that efforts to raise these issues in public were divisive and hypothetical. The normally unflappable candidate seemed put-upon when she faced a string of such questions in the last debate, on public television and radio Thursday night.

“It’s interesting that so many questions do resolve around that centeredness that I have,” she said with a half-smile.

Palin said her reading of the Bible would not “bleed over into policy.”

In fact, Time Magazine suggests that central operating principle of Palin’s political career is the willingness to adopt a “new political identity” that suits her needs at any given moment:

By the time Sarah Palin was entering state politics, the hottest issue in Alaska wasn't gay marriage or even abortion. It was corruption and cronyism. … She needed a new political identity to make it to the next level, so ethics reform became her calling card. "She's a very savvy politician," says Halcro. "So wedge issues were not part of the portfolio."

"If anything," he says, "she got tired of answering questions about them." Halcro recalls one debate in October 2006 in which, after repeated questions about her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest, she looked at the moderator with exasperation and asked if they were going to talk about anything besides abortion. It was detracting from her new message: cleaning up the capitol.

In the end, her political journey from banner-waving GOP social conservative to maverick reformer may simply be about good timing. It's what former journalist Bill McAllister, who now works for Palin's press staff, used to call "Sarah-dipity" — that uncanny gift of knowing exactly what voters are looking for at a particular moment. And, of course, the political will to give them what they want.

This ploy might have worked on the state-level, but Palin is now in the national spotlight and her “I’m-a-right-winger/I’m-a-moderate-independent-maverick” shtick is no longer going to fly.

While the McCain campaign is obviously pushing the narrative that Palin is a “co-maverick”, the GOP’s right-wing base is screaming that she is their dream come true and, it goes without saying, that both of those things cannot be true.  And considering that Palin had been scheduled to be honored by Phyllis Schlafly and Republican National Coalition for Life today at the convention but cancelled at the last minute, it looks like the McCain campaign hasn’t quite been able to figure out which way it wants to go.

How To Be a Right-Winger in 25 Easy Steps

All of those potential right-wing candidates out there who are searching for a ready-made agenda to run on are in luck, because today the Family Research Council unveiled a report entitled "25 Pro-Family Policy Goals for the Nation." As FRC explains, the report is designed to serve as a blueprint for candidates, though it'll work for pastors, voters, and plain-old citizens as well:

The document you hold in your hands can serve as a model for the platforms the Republican and Democratic parties will write this summer. It can also serve as a blueprint for how those we elect can promote and protect the family and its values in 2009 and in the years to come. The 25 goals we put forth here are grouped into eight main subject areas, ranging from Human Life to Marriage and Family to Religious Liberty to Culture and Media. Each page features a brief analysis of the issue, followed by one or more specific policy proposals which can help America meet that individual goal. Some involve action by Congress, some by the president, and some by state legislators or executive officials. If you are a candidate for office or an elected official, please consider adopting these proposals as your own. If you are a values voter, challenge those running for office as to their position on these issues, and weigh their response as you consider your vote. If you are a pastor or leader of an organization, consider making copies of this booklet available to your members. If you are simply a citizen who cares about the family in America, write to your elected officials and urge them to pursue these goals with vigor.

As one would expect, the FRC then proceeds to lay out its policy priorities on everything from marriage to abortion to judges. If you are looking for a concise collection of the issues that make up the Right's current political agenda, this new FRC report is one-stop shopping:

Marriage/Anti-Gay The definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman should be enshrined in state constitutions. Ideally, such amendments should reserve the benefits granted to marriage for married couples only. Congress should oppose, and the president should veto, any effort to dilute, weaken, or repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Congress should pass, and the states should ratify, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman nationwide. Until the Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted, Congress should consider measures which would withhold certain related federal funding from any state that fails to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. For example, federal “family planning” funds could be withheld from any state that fails to recognize authentic marriage as the foundation of the healthy “family.” Improve understanding and enforcement of the 1993 statute affirming that homosexuals are ineligible to serve in the military, and oppose congressional efforts to repeal the law. Congress should reject (or the president should veto) the “Employment Non-Discrimination Act.” Congress should reject (or the president should veto) any federal “hate crimes” legislation including sexual orientation. State legislatures and governors should reject similar bills. Congress should pass legislation that affirms and strengthens the religious freedom of Americans as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and rooted in the nation’s history. A “Freedom of Conscience Protection” law should protect the right of individuals, businesses, and religious institutions to express and carry out their moral views regarding homosexuality in the schools, in the workplace, or in the public square without fear of legal retribution. Judges Congress should exercise its power under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution to limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts. When judges violate their oat by engaging in egregious judicial activism, Congress, state legislators, and the people should exercise their power to impeach and remove them from office. Anti-Abortion Congress should prohibit distribution of federal funds to institutions or organizations that provide abortions, in light of American taxpayers’ conscientious objections to abortion. State and local governments should likewise cut off all funding for abortion providers. The ‘pro-life riders” that have been added to annual appropriations bills should be made permanent. These include restrictions on federal funds for any and all services and items pertaining to abortion, whether the funds are for domestic or international organizations; restrictions on federal funds for human embryo research and destruction, including cloning; restrictions on patenting of human organisms; and restrictions on destruction of human life through euthanasia or assisted suicide. Abstinence Within federally funded abstinence programs, abstinence-until-marriage messages must be tied together with healthy marriage education. States should pass laws requiring that existing family life education with state law contain a predominantly abstinence-centered message The definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman should be enshrined in state constitutions. Ideally, such amendments should reserve the benefits granted to marriage for married couples only. Teaching Intelligent Design Protect faculty member from being fired, denied tenure, or otherwise professionally punished or disadvantaged for sharing with students evidence critical of existing scientific theories.

The Conservative Way of Knowing

The rise in popularity of the online, collaborative reference Wikipedia has posed a challenge to librarians and teachers who are trying to teach rigorous research methods to high school students. But while these educators have directed their students to use more traditional sources or, at least, to read Wikipedia with skepticism, one teacher decided the solution was to let his students write their own encyclopedia.

That teacher was Andy Schlafly—son of the famous culture warrior Phyllis Schlafly—the class was a group of home-school students, and the result, Conservapedia, immediately become the Internet equivalent of a laughingstock. The problem according to Schlafly was not Wikipedia’s fundamental unreliability—by design, there is no authoritative editing and factual inaccuracies may creep in despite a vigilant volunteer base—but its supposed bias against America and Christianity. Thus, Conservapedia’s obsession with right-wing politics, evolution, and homosexuality.

In spite of the ridicule, Schlafly and his young followers soldiered on, and they are still at it today. Eagle Forum just released a video promoting Conservapedia as an affirming alternative to the Wikipedia world:

STUDENT: They have an article about evolution, and when conservative or Christian editors tried to add information to that about the other side of the argument and the argument for creationism or Intelligent Design, it was censored or taken out of there.

SCHLAFLY: On Conservapedia, you’re going to get the other side of that. You’re going to get evidence against evolution. Same thing for homosexuality. We bring in all the health harm that’s caused by homosexuality, all the biblical quotes against it—you get that on Conservapedia. You’re not going to get that sort of fair treatment on the Wikipedia entries.

“I don’t have to live with what’s printed in the newspaper. I don’t have to take what’s written in Wikipedia,” said Schlafly. “We’ve got our own way to express knowledge.” Whether it’s the use of “A.D.” instead of “A.C.E.” to mark dates, or anti-gay propaganda instead of science, Schlafly’s “way of knowing” offers the Religious Right familiarity, and a respite from the oppressive world of newspapers and reference works. Or, as Stephen Colbert termed it, their own Wikiality.

'Expelled' Inspires Anti-Evolution Legislation

After a month, “Expelled”—the anti-evolution film starring Ben Stein—is fading from the scene with disappointing sales (although associate producer Mark Mathis says he’s pleased). The movie’s efforts to portray Intelligent Design creationism as a valid scientific field being persecuted by the authorities probably never had a chance with academics familiar with these dubious creationist arguments, but then again, it probably wasn’t the movie’s intention to convince scientists that ID was a legitimate scientific theory. Instead, “Expelled” took its battle against evolution to the political arena.

This was apparent in the film’s marketing strategy of reaching out to right-wing media outlets and activists, who embraced the half-baked Darwin-Hitler connection at the center of “Expelled.”

And—regarding the strange subplot of Yoko Ono suing over the film’s use of John Lennon’s song “Imagine” without getting the rights—a lawyer for the movie recently argued that the film’s message is pegged toward influencing this year’s presidential election, according to the AP:

A lawyer for the movie's distributors has warned that the litigation could wreck the movie's political message by preventing it from impacting viewers in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential campaign.

While it’s too early to say how creationism will figure into the presidential race, the political impact of “Expelled” can be seen more directly in state legislatures, with a rash of new legislation challenging science education in public high schools. “I think Expelled definitely has played a role,” said ID-advocate Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute.

According to the National Center for Science Education, anti-evolution bills were recently introduced in Florida, Missouri, and Alabama, but the legislative sessions in those states ended before the bills could pass. Versions in South Carolina and Michigan also appear to be stalled for now. But a bill in Louisiana to undermine classroom teaching on the topics of “evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” was passed unanimously in the state Senate and has already passed through a committee in the House.

The major claim of “Expelled” is that scientists working to provide some—any—legitimacy to Intelligent Design are facing persecution. The stories told in the movie don’t seem to pan out, but as Stein and company are surely aware, the debate over creationism is not taking place at research universities but at school boards, state legislatures, and public high school science classes. A newly published survey of high school teachers found that 25 percent address creationism or Intelligent Design in the classroom, and 12 percent call creationism a “valid scientific alternative” to evolution. Ben Stein’s rants about Nazis seem unlikely to chance the basic course of scientific inquiry into the natural world, but the legacy of “Expelled” may be bills, like Louisiana’s, to put the supernatural world into the science classroom.

Expulsion: Far Right Loves Ben Stein

Ben Stein’s anti-evolution attack film, “Expelled,” has finally arrived, grossing $3 million over the weekend, thanks to a church-based roll-out by the marketers that brought you “The Passion of the Christ.” Critics have savaged the documentary—which claims widespread persecution of creationists in academia and warns of a direct link between the theory of evolution and the Holocaust—as a dishonest work of propaganda, but, not surprisingly, the movie has a lot of fans among the Religious Right.

“Expelled” has been promoted heavily in right-wing media this month. Stein appeared on Focus on the Family radio, where the movie received the “enthusiastic” endorsement of James Dobson. Producer Mark Mathis appeared on WallBuilders Live, the radio show of premier church-state integrationist David Barton, to discuss “the persecution of the many by an elite few.” Rush Limbaugh exuberantly promoted it on his show; apparently, the movie taught him that “Darwinism, of course, does not permit for the existence of a supreme being, a higher power, or a God.”

Stein was also interviewed by the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, while executive producer Logan Craft hit WorldNetDaily. Baptist Press, the official outlet of the Southern Baptist Convention, featured an op-ed by Stein and a series of articles pushing the film. The producers gave a private screening to Brent Bozell of the far-right Media Research Center. (He loved it.)

“Expelled” is also featured by the late D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries, which offers its own product line equating Darwin and Hitler. While some “Expelled” cheerleaders express sympathy for the “Intelligent Design” advocates who have been “persecuted” supposedly (the National Center for Science Education has their realistic back-stories here), most on the Right seem to be especially enchanted by the film’s reliance on a half-baked linking of evolution to Nazism and Stalinism.

Expelled,” wrote World magazine editor and faith-based initiatives architect Marvin Olasky, “rightly equates Darwinian stifling of free speech with the Communist attempt to enslave millions behind the Berlin Wall.”

The real question is: Did Darwinism bulwark Hitlerian hatred by providing a scientific rationale for killing those considered less fit in the struggle for survival?

The answer to that question is an unambiguous yes.

Richard Weikart of the “Intelligent Design” group, the Discovery Institute, defended the Darwin-Hitler connection as critical: “[W]hat is most objectionable about the Nazis' worldview? Isn't it that they had no respect for human life?” Weikart, who wrote a book entitled “From Darwin to Hitler,” added, “the Nazis' devaluing of human life derived from Darwinian ideology....”

Gary DeMar of American Vision was so inspired he branched out on his own, linking evolution to the fundamentalist polygamist cult that’s been in the news recently.

Given the worldview shift that has taken place in America, none of this is of any consequence. Evolutionary and atheistic assumptions are standard worldview thinking in every public school classroom in America. So then, why is it wrong with having forced sex with young girls? It’s evolution in action. …

The secularists should be proud of what these polygamists are doing. They are confirming the evolutionary thesis of Dawkins and his selfish gene hypothesis.

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Intelligent Design Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Friday 10/04/2013, 2:00pm
Last week, we reported that an organization called Citizens for Objective Public Education filed a lawsuit contesting science standards in Kansas schools, arguing that lessons on evolution represent an unconstitutional establishment of religion. John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network, an attorney involved in the lawsuit, told conservative talk radio host Janet Mefferd today that lessons on evolution are “religious education” in violation of the rights of parents, children and taxpayers. Mefferd replied that it is “crazy” to think that public schools could teach... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 01/28/2013, 4:00pm
A group of Arizona Republicans are out with a new bill to undermine the teaching of evolution and subjects such as climate change and cloning in the classroom. The National Center for Science Education called the legislation another “instance of the ‘academic freedom’ strategy for undermining the teaching of evolution and climate change.” The proposed “teach the controversy” bill is a stealthy attack on evolution as it tries to make science classes give equal weight to nonscientific beliefs and theologies. It’s the equivalent of including claims made... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 01/25/2013, 11:15am
At a Republican National Committee winter summit yesterday, Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal scolded his fellow Republicans for acting like “the stupid party,” which he said damaged their credibility in the last election: In his remarks to the gathering, he also offered some tough medicine for the GOP, including this piece of advice: “We must stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and visions for America in real terms. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/17/2011, 5:50pm
The mainstream scientific community rejects the Religious Right’s assertion that gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation to become heterosexual: the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychiatric Association all deny the effectiveness, safety and ethics of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy. But that doesn’t stop right-wing activists from citing and exaggerating the claims of small, fringe organizations in order to bolster their... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/16/2011, 5:21pm
Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern wants to make it clear that her new legislation protecting the rights of science teachers to "teach all science instead of just the Darwin model" is in no way an attempt to introduce creationism or Intelligent Design into the classroom. It is, in fact, just an attempt to let teachers teach "pure science" about "all of evolution" ... and apparently Kern just wants the teaching of "all of evolution" to include the religious theories about how evolution is utterly false:  "It stays 100 miles away from creationism... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/16/2011, 5:21pm
Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern wants to make it clear that her new legislation protecting the rights of science teachers to "teach all science instead of just the Darwin model" is in no way an attempt to introduce creationism or Intelligent Design into the classroom. It is, in fact, just an attempt to let teachers teach "pure science" about "all of evolution" ... and apparently Kern just wants the teaching of "all of evolution" to include the religious theories about how evolution is utterly false:  "It stays 100 miles away from creationism... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 01/07/2011, 12:32pm
Nancy Pearcey has made a name for herself in the Religious Right as a chief advocate for intelligent design, which emerged as the leading anti-evolution 'science' following the Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard that public schools can’t teach Creationism. She is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute, the leading propagandist of intelligent design, and scientist and evolution-defender Jeffrey Shallit called Pearcey the “Creationists’ Miss Information.” But Pearcey, who has no scientific credentials, appears to have replaced evolution with the LGBT... MORE