View Poll Results: Should public school teachers be able to call creationism "superstitious nonsense"?

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  • Yes; they have freedom of speech and academic freedom

    33 56.90%
  • No; this amounts to the state picking sides on a religious matter

    14 24.14%
  • Other

    11 18.97%
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Thread: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

  1. #71
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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I thought this was an interesting ruling because it isn't specifically about evolution versus creationism. (On that issue, schools should obviously teach evolution and not creationism, because one is a matter of scientific fact and the other is a matter of religion.) But in this case, you have a teacher who specifically called creationism "superstitious nonsense." Some people had a problem with this and sued the school, on the grounds that the state should not establish a religion. The judge ruled that the teacher should be able to voice that opinion in the classroom if he wanted to.

    I'm actually on the plaintiff's side on this. While I think there is plenty of good reason to be hostile toward creationism, that's no reason for the teacher to make a statement like this. For those who disagree, ask yourself if you would be OK with a teacher saying the same thing about some other doctrine of religious faith: "Judaism is superstitious nonsense," or "the virgin birth is superstitious nonsense," or "not believing in God is superstitious nonsense." I think that whether one agrees with those statements or not, it's a bad precedent to allow government employees to express their personal religious views to a captive audience.

    What do you think?
    For me to know whether the ruling is the right one, I need to understand what "qualified immunity" means, since that is the basis for the ruling. I might look into that later, but right now I don't understand what is meant by that, and I bet most of the people answering don't know either, which begs the question of how did they make their determination if they don't understand the ruling.

    However: I would consider it inappropriate for a teacher to say things like that and the local school board should reprimand the teacher for the comment.
    We became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers - Lindsey Graham

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    I prefer the way it was handled when I was in school.

    In Freshman Biology in HS, my biology teacher said, "There are two main ideas about the origin of life; Creationism and Evolution. I am going to teach you the theory of evolution. It is a required part of biology, since it is the current working theory in science on the development of life. You don't have to believe it, but you do have to learn it because it is part of this course. Don't ask me which one I believe in, because I am not allowed to say: as an authority figure my opinion might have undue influence on you." When a couple of students pressed him to reveal his own belief, he flatly refused and proceeded to teach evolution without any expressions of bias.

    That sounds about right to me.



    This was a bad ruling; it will likely be overturned. Teachers should stick to teaching the curriculum and not comment on religious beliefs.
    Your HS teacher was incorrect. Evolution is not a theory on the origin of life, but evolution is the only "main idea" about how life got to it's current form. Creationism is a religion, not a science.
    We became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers - Lindsey Graham

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Perry View Post
    I'm just going to note something about the lecture.

    Corbett told his students that “real” scientists try to disprove the theory of evolution. “Contrast that with creationists,” he told his students. “They never try to disprove creationism. They’re all running around trying to prove it. That’s deduction. It’s not science. Scientifically, it’s nonsense.”

    So science is trying to disprove something as opposed to trying to determine scientific facts? Science is not the idea of trying to "disprove" something. IMO the guy has no business not only in not teaching religion, but also science.
    The teacher is actually correct. The process of science is to develop hypothesis based on observation, and then create experiments to disprove that hypothesis.
    We became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers - Lindsey Graham

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    The teacher is actually correct. The process of science is to develop hypothesis based on observation, and then create experiments to disprove that hypothesis.
    Or prove...

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by RiverDad View Post
    1.) This ruling came from the 9th Circuit. Enough said.
    2.) Try substituting Muslim references for religious creationist references and I can't see the court issuing the ruling.
    3.) Try substituting liberal creationist for religious creationist and again, I can't see the same ruling.
    4.) When you're an employee your freedom of speech is curtailed.
    My attitude is that likewise, the students should be allowed to drop the teacher's class. I came close to walking out on two classes with atheistic teachers myself. One of them referred to the Bible as a "book of fairy tales" and the other taught that "evolution shows that everything occured naturally and wasn't created by a bunch of hocus-pocus". Unfortunately the classes were required for me to graduate. I had one teacher that I really liked, though. He required that we bring the text book and a copy of the Bible to class. He taught both sides and we were allowed to decide what we wanted to believe.

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Perry View Post
    Or prove...
    Not how it works. You test it, that is attempt to disprove the hypothesis. If it passes the test, it does not make it proven, and more tests are designed to test it in other ways.
    We became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers - Lindsey Graham

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    Not how it works. You test it, that is attempt to disprove the hypothesis. If it passes the test, it does not make it proven, and more tests are designed to test it in other ways.
    Which is designed to either prove or disprove the theory.

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Perry View Post
    Which is designed to either prove or disprove the theory.
    No. You really don't prove theories. You check and ensure that they correctly predict experimental results.
    We became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers - Lindsey Graham

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Uh oh Megyn...your vagina witchcraft is about ready to be exposed.

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Perry View Post
    Which is designed to either prove or disprove the theory.
    No, "proving" a theory to be 100% true is impossible. What these experiments do is create the basis for a strong induction about the validity of the theory. i.e. if it has not been disproven after x number of attempts, one can reasonably accept the hypothesis as being correct. The higher x is, the more reasonable the acceptance becomes.

    I think that the reason why so many people are confused about the provability of a theory is because the difference between theory and Law is often portrayed inaccurately in school. Many people are under the flawed assumption that a law is what a "proven" theory becomes, but that is false. Laws describe the phenomena that occur, theories explain how and why the phenomena occur.

    Theories don't become laws, but it is possible that laws can be derived from theories when the theories are tested.

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    Re: Judges rule for teacher who called creationism "superstitious nonsense"

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Perry View Post
    I'm just going to note something about the lecture.

    Corbett told his students that “real” scientists try to disprove the theory of evolution. “Contrast that with creationists,” he told his students. “They never try to disprove creationism. They’re all running around trying to prove it. That’s deduction. It’s not science. Scientifically, it’s nonsense.”

    So science is trying to disprove something as opposed to trying to determine scientific facts? Science is not the idea of trying to "disprove" something. IMO the guy has no business not only in not teaching religion, but also science.
    This teacher is making an accurate but subtle point. He is exactly right. What he is doing is introducing his students to the concept of falsification. The way you test theories is to find circumstances in which they fail. Every time an experiment fails to bring down a theory the theory is strengthened.

    1Perry, you're wrong in reaching the conclusion that you did. This teacher's understanding of science is excellent, it's his judgement which is suspect.

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