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The Fundamentalist Conspiracy to Replace Science with Religion

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posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 02:05 AM
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WARNING: THIS IS A VERY LONG OP. In fact, it’s more like an essay than a normal forum post. But please bear with me.

First of all, a bit of background may be necessary. I’m an undergraduate student at a large university in the U.S., studying Biology. This debate/controversy/conspiracy has the potential to affect me more than most others, which is why I’ve taken such notice of it. Please note, I am not anti-christian or anti-religious. I believe every person should have the right to practice whatever religion they want. I simply oppose the destruction of science by religion.

I also would like to stress that the majority of Christians are reasonable people, and that the people behind this movement represent a fundamentalist minority.

For over a century, ever since Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution by natural selection in the book “The Origin of Species,” there has been strong opposition to his ideas. The Church was the strongest of these opposing forces, believing in a literal interpretation of Genesis in which the Earth and all creatures were created separately in six days. The proposal that man was just another descendant species, sharing the same common ancestor as apes flew in the face of everything they believed- man was no longer “special,” nor was our creation.

Let’s fast-forward a bit to the 1920’s in the United States. Though evolution had become widely accepted among scientists (based on the mountains of supporting evidence that I’ll reference later), conservative Christian values were foremost in culture at that point. School boards and local legislators, ignoring the separation of Church and State, passed laws banning the teaching of evolution in schools. In 1925, a Tennessee biology teacher named John Scopes became the first teacher prosecuted for the violation of this law. Though the state won and fined him for his teachings, it was a PR loss. The media portrayed the prosecutors as crazy fundamentalists. Eventually logic prevailed, and such laws were struck down across the country.

The fundamentalists, however, were not content to let such a defeat become permanent. Enter “Creation Science.” Creation Science was the movement gaining strength in the 1970’s that attempted to push creationism back into science class. They claimed that there was scientific evidence backing the claims of a literal interpretation of Genesis- that is, that God created the Earth and all organisms less than 10,000 years ago. Though this assertion is not scientific (for a hypothesis to be scientific, it must be testable and falsifiable), anti-evolutionists were claiming that it must be presented to students as a scientific theory equal to evolution. School boards started creating policies mandating the teaching of creation science alongside evolution until, in 1982, a landmark court case (McLean v. Arkansas) ruled that creation science “simply is not science,” and deserves no time in science classrooms.

This marks the transition of political creationism from the activism of a few dedicated religious people to an organized, conspiratorial movement attempting to affect much more than school curricula. The Discovery Institute, formed in 1994, is the conservative think-tank championing “Intelligent Design,” the successor to the Creation Science movement. Following the ruling of McLean v. Arkansas that determined teaching “Creation Science” was illegal, authors of creationist textbooks (specifically one called “Of Pandas and People”) systematically replaced the words “creation science” with “Intelligent Design.” This was noted by in a court hearing (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District) in 2005, in the judge’s 139 page decision to ban the teaching of Intelligent Design in Schools. (continued in next post)

[edit on 21-9-2008 by SamuraiDrifter]




posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 02:06 AM
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By comparing the pre and post Edwards drafts of [Of Pandas and People], three astonishing points emerge: (1) the definition for creation science in early drafts is identical to the definition of Intelligent Design; (2) cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase Intelligent Design; and (3) the changes occurred shortly after the Supreme Court held that creation science is religious and cannot be taught in public school science classes…”


The main point here? After the creationists knew that “creation science” could no longer be taught in school, they systematically replaced the words “creation” and “creationism” with “Intelligent Design” in an effort to get it back into schools, and accepted as a legitimate theory!

The truth of this was further brought to light when an internal document of the Discovery Institute called “The Wedge Document” was discovered online. It describes in detail how the purpose of the “Intelligent Design” movement is to slowly introduce the scientific community to the idea of an intelligent creator, with the ultimate goal of making creationism and theism the dominating force in science:

Goals of the Intelligent Design Movement, as stated in the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Document:

“-To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies"
-To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"


Furthermore, the Wedge Document States:


"Alongside a focus on the influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidences that support the faith, as well as "popularize" our ideas in the broader culture.

"Five Year Objective: Spiritual & cultural renewal: Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialism; Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s); Darwinism Seminaries increasingly recognize & repudiate naturalistic presuppositions; Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and belief in God"


Their stated goal is to replace scientific naturalism; that is, the basic tenet of science that everything can be explained logically, without the addition of supernatural agents, with a theistic explanations of natural phenomena.

This would be absolutely disastrous to science. If the Discovery Institute was ever successful, all important scientific research would come to a halt. Researchers would no longer need to search for natural explanations for observations- the response would simply be “god created it- why try to explain it?” Science as we know it would be replaced with another form of religion whereby, instead of seeking evidence to determine the truth, scientists determine the truth and then search for evidence to support it.

Science cannot survive like this, and without science, there will be no technological advancement, no medicine, no discovery.

On top of the damage they are trying to do to science, they also are actively working to influence public opinion on other, political topics. ("Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and belief in God")

The bottom line is this: If the Discovery Institute and other Creationist organizations achieve their stated goals, science as we know it will be destroyed, and fundamentalist Christianity, a tool the Bush administration uses to influence the population, will be strengthened as the dominant mainline world view in the US.

[edit on 21-9-2008 by SamuraiDrifter]



posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 02:06 AM
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Now that Intelligent Design has been ruled unconstitutional, creationists are trying to attack evolution again by demanding that schools “teach the controversy.” Again, they are employing deceitful tactics- there is no controversy in the scientific community. Even among scientists who identify as religious, the scientific truth of evolution is not disputed (A perfect example is cell biologist Ken Miller, a devout Christian who’s been one of the most outspoken critics of Intelligent Design).

What action you take based on this information is totally up to you. All I’ve done is bring the organized attempt to attack science to light.

Following this post is something of an index- links to all sorts of useful information regarding the issue, including court decisions, scientist testimony, evidence supporting evolution, and further reading for the interested. This section is merely meant as a reference, so that those participating in the resulting discussion can be well-informed.

Thank you very much for your time and patience.


References and Further Information

Court Decision Terming Intelligent Design as “religious,” in which the Judge notes the systematic changing of terms to circumvent previous rulings.
en.wikisource.org...

Court Decision ruling the teaching of “Creation Science” as unconstitutional
en.wikipedia.org...

The Original Wedge Document, describing the movement's plan to fundamentally change science and culture in detail.
www.antievolution.org...

Discovery Institute Official Website
www.discovery.org...

Scientists Confront Creationism (Essays by scientists on the topic)
Petto, Andrew. Scientists Confront Creationism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007

[edit on 21-9-2008 by SamuraiDrifter]

[edit on 21-9-2008 by SamuraiDrifter]



posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 02:27 AM
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Very well written essay. But I am going to disagree with you.

I happen to think that not enough time has passed in order to evolve a single strand of working DNA, let alone a complex entity such as a human. It is not statistically possible to justify our existence purely as a product of random chance.

I also wonder if the Science of Evolution is not actually a type of religion, and this is just a philosophical discussion between two competing religious viewpoints?

Also, I think your suggestion that Fundamentalist religion wants to stop ALL SCIENCE is an overreach. Although you can find some fanatics (religious or otherwise) who oppose technology, you will find very few people who will reject something that is working -- such as a telephone or a vaccine.

Please take a look at this link below:

en.wikipedia.org...

The concept of panspermia / exogenesis, as an alternative to evolution, was proposed by no less a scientist than the Nobel prize winner Professor Francis Crick, who discovered DNA.

Tools need to "teach the controversy", as you say -- and the fact that most scientists don't want that simply means they are too heavily vested in Evolution to have it any other way.



posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 02:38 AM
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Originally posted by Buck Division
Very well written essay. But I am going to disagree with you.

I happen to think that not enough time has passed in order to evolve a single strand of working DNA, let alone a complex entity such as a human. It is not statistically possible to justify our existence purely as a product of random chance.

The idea that evolution occurred by random chance is a common misconception. Though the mutations which allow natural selection to work are random, the process itself occurs as a result of the conditions found in nature.

There was a famous experiment done at the Universe of Chicago in the 1950's, in which all of the elements common on the pre-biotic earth were combined and had electricity applied to them, in simulation of a lightning bolt. The result? Nucleic acids- the building blocks of DNA.


I also wonder if the Science of Evolution is not actually a type of religion, and this is just a philosophical discussion between two competing religious viewpoints?

Another common viewpoint... evolution is not a faith-based concept in the same way religion is. In fact, full fossil records exist documenting the evolution of several species, including horses. Furthermore, microevolution has been tested and observed literally hundreds of times in peer-reviewed, scientific journals. Evolutionary theory merely applies these observations to the larger problem of biodiversity.


Also, I think your suggestion that Fundamentalist religion wants to stop ALL SCIENCE is an overreach. Although you can find some fanatics (religious or otherwise) who oppose technology, you will find very few people who will reject something that is working -- such as a telephone or a vaccine.

Adding "god" to the list of scientific explanations- whether you believe in him or not- has the potential to stop new research. What reason do scientists have to continue research if god is used to fill in the gaps in knowledge?


Please take a look at this link below:

en.wikipedia.org...

The concept of panspermia / exogenesis, as an alternative to evolution, was proposed by no less a scientist than the Nobel prize winner Professor Francis Crick, who discovered DNA.

Francis Crick was a brilliant man, but his idea of Panspermia was far from the concept of Biblical creation. He extensively praised Ken Miller's 2008 book "Only a Theory" and has stated his belief that life on Earth was derived from a common ancestor. His ideas are more along the lines of directed evolution.


Tools need to "teach the controversy", as you say -- and the fact that most scientists don't want that simply means they are too heavily vested in Evolution to have it any other way.

There's nothing wrong with teaching design- provided it's not in a science class. Whether or not the universe was designed, in order for an idea to be a scientific hypothesis, it must be observable and testable. It simply does not qualify as science, and is therefore unrelated to the course material.

[edit on 21-9-2008 by SamuraiDrifter]

[edit on 21-9-2008 by SamuraiDrifter]



posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 02:45 AM
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reply to post by SamuraiDrifter
 


Well argued. I can tell you are passionate in your belief, which is very good.

It may be that -- one day -- all the pieces will be put together regarding evolution, and then the discussion will be over.



posted on Sep, 21 2008 @ 03:06 AM
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reply to post by SamuraiDrifter
 


A much welcomed and needed post SamuraiDrifter. You get a star from me! The problem for me has always been the Biblical "definition" of God and His (sorry, asexual references to God are difficult to come by) alleged activities portrayed within.

I would much rather we get closer to God by understanding the workings of the Universe as they can be observed and tested. Why do the fundamentalists not think that Gravity is a miracle, that evolution in itself is a miracle.

Science in no way denies the possibility of God, it simply demonstrates that a book written by authors some 1900 years ago is not the be all and end all of witness statements.

There will come a time in the future when we see the Universe for what it is, when we can revel in our knowledge of the natural world, when mankind finally realises that just being part of the greater evolution of all things doesn't mean that we are any less special. We become special because of our actions - not just because we are here.



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