Texas Freedom Network promotes creationism hysteria and bigotry

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) is a curious group. On the one hand, they print articles claiming that some groups and individuals are promoting anti-Muslim “Sharia hysteria“. TFN considers such people “bigots”, people who are utterly intolerant of beliefs and opinions that are different from theirs. On the other hand, TFN is a big promoter of “creationism hysteria”, and they are quite intolerant, or bigoted, towards creationists, who might also happen to be Muslims! TFN frequently paints creationists as “anti-science“. In a recent press release, TFN, along with the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), “warned” Texans about some creationist materials that could possibly be used in Texas’ public schools. Here is a quote from the press release:

Science in Texas public schools would take a shocking leap backward if the State Board of Education approves newly proposed instructional materials that promote creationism and reject established, mainstream science on evolution, spokespeople for the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) said today. In addition, public schools using those creationism-based materials could face expensive legal challenges even as they struggle with massive budget cuts at state and local levels.

“Two years ago State Board of Education members thumbed their noses at the science community and approved new curriculum standards that opened the door to creationism and junk science,” said TFN President Kathy Miller. “Now they are getting exactly what they wanted — the chance to make Texas the poster child for the creationist movement. The state board would be aiding and abetting wholesale academic fraud and dumbing down the education of millions of Texas kids if it doesn’t reject these materials.”

If you are on TFN’s bandwagon of promoting “creationist hysteria”, I want you to please STOP for a minute and THINK about this. The concerns TFN and NCSE have are about this proposed curriculum’s treatment of origins. And origins research is not real science, but is speculation about natural history. The American philosopher Mortimer Adler made this distinction a long time ago, but some choose to ignore it. The only thing that will “dumb down” science education in Texas is if groups like TFN and NCSE continue to overemphasize questions about origins while neglecting the importance of teaching real science and math. The NCSE exists for the sole purpose of defending the teaching of evolutionism, not science. Their purpose is not to defend the teaching of science, or its language, mathematics. And by the way, Texas is one of many states that suffers from a longstanding shortage of math and science teachers. According to University of Texas researchers:

“The number of non-certified teachers covering math and science can rise to as much as 50 percent for some classes of students,” said Dr. Michael P. Marder, a physics professor who co-directs the UTeach initiative in Natural Sciences. “And in computer sciences, nearly 75 percent of the teachers are not appropriately certified.”  

A biblical, Christian worldview does not promote the dumbing down of science, it promotes the advancement of it. There is no conflict between a person’s faith in God’s word and their ability to understand the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, supercritical fluids, proteomes, etc. A proper reading and application of Scripture actually promotes science. Groups like NCSE and TFN promote bigotry and creationist hysteria when they say people with creationist beliefs are “anti-science,” and that a curriculum that dares to make the connection that things that look like they were designed might indeed have a Designer could “dumb down” Texas science education. The idea of intelligent causes is taught in the curriculum created by International Databases, LLC. As this International Business Times article describes, the curriculum uses a “null hypothesis” that intelligence was behind the origin of life. In other words, the null hypothesis is that things that look designed were in fact, designed. The alternative hypothesis is that things that look designed were in fact, not designed! Now honestly, how reasonable is that? Well, it is not reasonable at all, and the null-hypothesis is about as close as you can get to a self-evident truth.

Something else to consider about the supplementary curriculum proposed by International Databases is that when they talk about “intelligence,” they are not necessarily talking about the God of the Bible, but as author Stephen Sample says in the International Business Times article, the intelligence could be aliens. And some biology textbooks have already included chapters about aliens.

Later on in the press release, TFN and NCSE state:

Mainstream scientists have repeatedly shown that those arguments [about intelligent design] lack scientific merit. Moreover, in 2005 a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled in Kitzmiller v. Dover that teaching intelligent design in public schools unconstitutionally promotes creationism.

Actually, what mainstream scientists have shown us is that there are limits to genetic change. An honest evolutionist will tell you that evolution theory cannot predict future results, which makes it the most un-scientific theory currently in existence. I cannot think of any other theories that claim to be scientific but have zero ability to predict future trends.

Regarding the TFN press release statement on Kitzmiller v. Dover, this is correct. The trial concluded that teaching creationism is unconstitutional. The trial did not show that evolution was scientific and creation/intelligent design was not. The PBS program NOVA made a documentary of the trial titled Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. Although the documentary was biased towards evolutionism, they did a fairly good job of showing both sides, acting out the trial using direct quotes from individuals involved. Watch the documentary, and at about 1:17 to 1:22, you can see how the scientific case for evolution did not win out over intelligent design, so the plaintiffs switched to the “religious argument”.

So, the Dover v. Kitzmiller case declares creationism is unconstitutional, and a violation of the First Amendment, where the American government is to “make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” But what is creationism? Ultimately, it is an idea used to explain origins. But wait, that’s what evolution is as well! Evolution is an idea used by some to explain how God brought about life. People who believe this are called theistic evolutionists. Others who simply “believe” evolution explains life’s origins are also being religious, because there is no way to prove evolution, so to believe it and promote it at the exclusion of other ideas about origins is a faith-based, but bigoted, way to think.

So, while TFN and NCSE promote creationism hysteria and warn about impending lawsuits, what might well happen is that they will be on the losing end of any legal battles they initiate. Dover v. Kitzmiller could be overturned. Proclaiming that people who believe God created are “anti-science” is unreasonable. Saying evolutionary explanations about origins are “scientific” is also unreasonable, because answering questions about origins is outside the limits of science. The Texas Freedom Network and NCSE are not about the advancement of science and math education, but they are about promoting creationism hysteria. Whether you are a creationist or not, please think carefully about the fact that what these two groups promote will actually damage science education instead of advance it. When groups like TFN and NCSE tell someone they are being “anti-science” because they believe that a thing that looks designed might in fact, have a designer, they are discouraging students from diving deeper into math and science. I wonder what would happen to Texas’ math and science teacher shortage if groups like TFN and NCSE actually encouraged people who believe in a Designer instead of discouraging them by labeling them “anti-science”? Since polls consistently reveal that most people believe in an Intelligent Designer, I would say TFN’s and NCSE’s current mantra discourages a lot of rational people from pursuing math and science careers.

Explore posts in the same categories: Creation/Evolution

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Comments on “Texas Freedom Network promotes creationism hysteria and bigotry”

  1. Scott Hander Says:

    The TFN article was on Digg and reading the TFN article ultimately brought me to your blog. I am just wondering, in reference to your statement “I cannot think of any other theories that claim to be scientific but have zero ability to predict future trends” does ID have the ability to predict future trends? Since the effort to have ID taught along side science would in my mind make it “scientific theory”, if ID could not predict future trends wouldn’t that qualify it in the same category as evolution?

    • gensci Says:

      Hi Scott,
      First, I don’t think the real argument here is about real, repeatable science, but instead is about differences in opinion regarding origins, which nobody can prove. ID is testable and repeatable. I could hypothesize that if I removed “gene A” form organism X, then I would get such and such results. I could test that, and I could repeat that, which is what happens in real, operational science. Such an experiment could validate (or invalidate) the ID premise of irreducible complexity, and show that it is predictable. However, this is not part of the Texas Biology standards right now, so I don’t think this could be taught in public schools right now.

      If ID could not predict future trends, then yes, it would qualify it in the same category as evolution, and it would be just another speculative idea used to explain life’s origins. It could be considered an idea about natural history, or a “historical science”, but not real science.

  2. Brad Jones Says:

    gensci,
    The Behe hypothesis of irreducible complexity has been discredited by scientists (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html) a few years ago (shortly after Behe published his book). When a hypothesis is discredited, that means it doesn’t even graduate to the level of a theory. I support ID scientists to try and come up with credible evidence to discredit the evolution paradigm since true science is about challenging and validating. So far, there is a long list of validations and an empty list to discredit the general theory of evolution. Read the book “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry A. Coyne if you want to be wowed by the product of years and years of scientific exploration. The truth of evolutionary science is so much more interesting than explanation through magic.

    Sincerely,
    Reasonnotmagic

    • gensci Says:

      Hi Brad,
      A principle of ID Theory is specified complexity, which is a criterion astrobiologists have to use to search for supposed life on other planets. I assume you oppose astrobiology because it is a form of creationism?

      On page three of “Why Evolution is True”, Coyne defines evolution as “genetic change over time.” That also means that a population which, because of genetic change over time, becomes more susceptible to cancer, has “evolved”. Correct?

      On page 17 Coyne states (correctly) that Darwinism can’t tell us how things will evolve in the future. That is like the weatherman saying “I can’t predict how the weather will change between now and tomorrow. All I can predict is that it will change.” Real science makes predictions that are testable, repeatable, and verifiable.

      True science is about doing experiments that don’t involve a time machine or a crystal ball. Millions of years evolution requires such instruments. Call it natural history research, but don’t call it real science.

      This post is about “creationism hysteria.” What do you think about that? Is it bigoted or biased to call people “anti-science” because of their faith?


Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: