The Year in Quotes: Science

With the new year approaching, it’s worthwhile to remember what we’ve heard from the religious right in 2009. We will start today where we began the year: with the religious right’s efforts to undermine science education by watering down instruction on evolution in public school science classrooms.

“Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution.’”

– The subject line of a widely circulated e-mail attacking the teaching of evolution in Texas public schools and suggesting that learning about evolution led Dahmer, an infamous serial murderer, to kill and cannibalize 17 boys, TFN Insider, February 2, 2009

“I disagree with these experts. Somebody’s gotta stand up to experts that are… I don’t know why they’re doing it.”

– Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, in a rambling defense of the creationist arguments he used to attack evolutionary theory during the final debate over new public school science curriculum standards, TFN Insider, March 27, 2009

“I pray for my three friends, Pat Hardy of Ft. Worth, Bob Craig of Lubbock, and Geraldine ‘Tincy’ Miller of Dallas. They voted against the Republican Party platform and allowed themselves to be constantly lobbied by prominent atheists and secular humanists. These three Republicans will now have to stand accountable before their constituents.”

– Texas State Board of Education Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, criticizing fellow Republicans on the state board who didn’t support watering down instruction on evolution in public school science classrooms, San Antonio Express-News, February 9, 2009

“Evolution has been jammed down our throats our whole lives. I’m glad of the opportunity to look at the other side of the coin.”

– Tim Smith, an Abilene resident who attended a church seminar designed to show how scientific evidence supports creationism, not the theory of evolution, Abilene Reporter-News, January 10, 2009

“While state legislatures haggle over the words science, theory, and weaknesses, American schoolchildren continue to rank poorly in science education among the nations of the world. Pouring more money into the status quo of evolution-based science education isn’t the answer. Teaching the truth is.”

– Henry Morris III, a prominent evolution denier and CEO of the Dallas- based Institute for Creation Research, which has sued the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for refusing to grant the organization approval to offer master’s of science education degrees in the state, U.S. News and world Report, February 2, 2009

“Personally, I don’t believe in evolution. I don’t believe I came from a salamander that came out of a pond.”

– State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, discussing his proposed legislation that would have exempted the Institute for Creation Research from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s rules, Austin American-Statesman, March 16, 2009

“When the Universe was smaller, the gravitational effect was huge and the time on Earth would have been a billion times slower.”

– Robert Carr, a retired chief executive and contributor to the Creation Museum in Kentucky, offering his thoughts about how God created the earth in six days, AFP, February 5, 2009

“The obvious problem here is that it is simply not possible to be a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word, and at the same time, embrace the tenets of atheistic evolution.”

“What kind of monster parents teach their children that they’re descended from rodents and reptiles?”

“What do these apostate morons celebrate at their Sunday services, the lies about humanity’s origins told by Moses, Jesus, and Paul?”

– Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., writing in his book Sowing Atheism: The National Academy of Sciences’ Sinister Scheme to Teach Our Children They’re Descended from Reptiles, which Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy heartily endorsed. TFN Insider, March 18, 2009

“The culture war over science education, the teaching of evolution, is going to be there, no matter what. Education is too important not to politicize.”

– State Board of Education member Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, finally being honest about turning public schools into political battlegrounds, Texas Tribune, November 3, 2009

“Am I a religious fanatic? Absolutely. You’d have to be to do what I do.”

– State Board of Education member Don McLeroy, R-Bryan, Texas Tribune, November 5, 2009

“It must have slipped these people’s minds that God created the heavens and the earth and has control over what’s going on. (Dear Lord Jesus … did I just open a new pandora’s box?) Yeah, I said it. Do you honestly believe God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created? Of course, if you don’t believe in God and creationism then I can see why you would easily buy into the whole global warming fanfare.”

– Chris Allen, a Kentucky TV weatherman who holds no college degree, listed in a report by U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., as a member of a list of 700 “prominent scientists” who object to the statement that the scientific community has reached a consensus about the effects of human activities on global warming, EthicsDaily, April 20, 2009

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28 Comments

  1. Charles
    Posted December 26, 2009 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Yeah. Tell me about it. My nephew was in from New York City (Manhattan), and he cooked up this macaroni and cheese with bacon casserole that was out of this world and several other planetary systems. For those of us who have plenty and ate too much, despite the widespread unemployment at my house, I think it would be right to think about those who may have had a more limited repaste this holiday season. I am going to gather some food items and take them to some place where they can get to such people. Jesus is my impetus. If the pasta monster or something else compells you to do the same, come on along with me this weekend.

  2. Ben
    Posted December 25, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    “Do not eat too much! ”

    Way too late for that.

  3. Aitor
    Posted December 25, 2009 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Ben,
    I agree entirely.
    I do not think (nor said) that lack of religion is required and sufficient prerequisite to “practice self-destructive nihilism”.
    I do say that stripping religion away from an uneducated person without emotional support is a recipe for disaster in many cases. Opium of the people and such…

    And I entirely agree that reason, science, and the world’s intrinsic beauty are far more rewarding than religion.
    My point being: give people these things BEFORE taking away religion.
    And in most cases, I expect they will shed religion of their own initiative.

    Do not eat too much! You know, there is this guy in Italy that thinks it is just evil. And you should care… =P

  4. Ben
    Posted December 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Aitor,

    I didn’t tell you that you were going off subject, I asked what your comment had to do with the conversation at hand.

    I know a whole bunch of non-religious folks, and none of them practice “selfdestructive nihilism.”

    As far as religion fulfilling a service for society, it performs at least as many disservices. If you can think of a disservice that reason delivers, let me know.

  5. Aitor
    Posted December 24, 2009 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    @Chris
    Point well taken, I know VERY few creationists. Somehow they do not show up at the selfish gene book discussions. =P
    But, I do think that it makes a huge difference. They already have self righteous people yelling at them what they should think and believe, every Sunday so to speak. I think it might take a few coats of paint for them to free themselves from their indoctrination; but in the end they should realize you do not need to yell quite as loud when you were right all along, and with evidence to boot.
    Either way, we can say the same content and be nice about it. Not “for” them, but for what it says about us, and for what it makes us.

    @Ben
    How can you ask me to explain, and tell me that I am going off the subject in the same line? =P
    I will be very brief because you are right, it is off subject.
    I think that religion fulfils a great (size wise) service for society and the people that compose it. Doing away with it without first enabling people with the proper substitute (reason, science, and ethics) makes for a huge messy transition. I come from a country that used to be massively Catholic and you would not believe the mess it is now. As a key indicator drug abuse is rampant, even the official figures are staggering.

    Merry Christmas, may the lord bless you all. *snicker*

  6. Ben
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Aitor, where exactly is this “selfdestructive nihilism ruling nowadays,” and what does that have to do with the conversation at hand?

  7. Charles
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it’s obvious that the posters above do not know much about me and have made a lot of assumptions that are not true. I was simply saying that science and religion exist on different planes because they address different things—or something approximately like that. Faith is not necessarily logical, and I have never said that it is. I am McCoy. I am not Spock, but I think Spock is an okay guy. So, what?

  8. Chris
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Aitor,
    It seams you have not tried to reason with people like creationists. It does not make a lick of diffrence if you are nice to them. The simple fact that you exist is insulting enough to them. Go to FSTDT.net and look at the quotes. Then go to the site the quote came from and try to be nice but informational. I hope you have thick skin because they will try to rip you apart.

    Plus, “They started it!!”

  9. Aitor
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Actually I think there are like 1.5 Billion Chinese. Which I guess it makes the creationist view that much better founded.
    Why are so many of the evolutionist comments so insulting though?
    I can not picture many creationists trying to read/learn their way out of the tales putting up with insults all the way through.
    And I sure hope that what we would like is for them to have the truth set them free rather than just have you guys make fun of them.
    And I think that Charles comment has been seriously taken out of context.
    I think he is trying to say that we use evidence and truth to guide our social environment and leave religion to our own selves.
    And that is by far a much better situation than we have now.

    Like the selfdestructive nihilism ruling nowadays is much better than religion… well, most of the time it is because religion has a very, very , very bad record. But still, we could and should do better.

  10. Ray Dobson
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    “Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution.”

    That’s especially dishonest considering that his father was Lionel Dahmer, a leading creationist.

    http://lippard.blogspot.com/2007/06/jeffrey-dahmer-and-answers-in-genesis.html

  11. Ash
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    “Affairs of the heart are meritorious in their own right. Ask your wife.”

    I find this comment rather condescending towards both sexes. Yes, we humans are emotional creatures, but I have observed that it is those that rely on intuition and feelings untempered by or regardless of logic and reason (both men and women), that become most hurt and manipulated by others – be that by religion, conmen, partners, or by any other circumstance. Just ask anyone who has stayed in a relationship because they were in love when everyone else could see the other partner couldn’t care less.

    It is foolish to let ‘affairs of the heart’ (in this case, wanting to believe creationism is true because one wants it to be true) outweigh and overrule demonstratable fact. And then trying to teach the falsehood of literal Creation to others to bolster ones own wrong position (Don’t like rice? How could a million Chinese people be wrong?!).

  12. Jag
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Grafitti I saw at a Austin truck stop:
    “Here I sit, buns a flexing, giving birth to another Texan”

  13. Posted December 23, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    These are priceless. Great collection, and great commentary. Keep up the good work. (Saw the the link on Twitter.)

  14. Tavisk
    Posted December 23, 2009 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Arrrggggh! I hate when people say “descended from reptiles”. In no way has any mammal that ever existed ever had a decedent that was a reptile. Mammals and reptiles are on separate forks in the evolutionary tree. Birds are decedents of reptiles, mammals are not. When people make statements like this it is suddenly so obvious why they refuse to believe the fact of evolution. They have absolutely no understanding of how evolution works.

  15. Posted December 23, 2009 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    No offence to you intelligent Americans, but your country scares the hell out of me.
    You have the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, are known to attack countries for made up reasons or simply because they aren’t “like you”, and so many of your leaders truly believe that this God-character will prevent them from doing anything wrong or destroying the planet.
    I’m just waiting for the first president to say “Heck, let’s just nuke everybody. If a country is innocent, God will stop the missile”.

  16. fuman
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Evolution theory teaches that species have evolved over hundreds of millions of years.
    The “theory” here is the process of taking millions of “facts” and attempting to connect them.

    Creationism just takes the word of 1st century herders. There are NO facts involved.

    There is no controversy.

  17. Posted December 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    @Charles December 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm
    It’s all chemistry in your brain. Your heart doesn’t anything else but make blood circulation possible.

    Something that isn’t logic is illogic. A god creating everything out of nothing, nowhere and never is illogic. No ‘god’ can have created the habitat he lives in and no ‘god’ can deny laws of mathematics that would even be valid in a completely void multi-verse, so no ‘god’ created everything -including itself- and any ‘god’ would be extremely limited in power. Magic is nonsense.

    Religious stories are anecdotes that nobody would believe nowadays, or even worse. Hearing voices? Go see a shrink. Ready to stab your child? Say hello to the police. Dead people walking? You’ve seen too many zombie movies. A guy turning water in wine? I’ve seen better tricks. An invisible man who is talking with billions of people simultaneously and interfering with their lives? Sounds like Santa being everywhere on Christmas eve. A lot of proof if you ask the children about him, but scientists would have a hard time finding even the smallest piece of evidence of him being real. Most probably scientists will reach the consensus that it is most probably a mix of child psychology, illusions and helpful adults keeping a nice myth alive to enjoy the young ones and maybe even make them listen better.

    Serious religion is dangerous. Adult people who are healthy of mind supporting bronze age myths provide room for mentally ill people who take fairytales serious and harm themselves, other people and the environment, where in a secular society they would be spotted immediately and could be treated for their issues that most probably make their lives miserable.

    It’s no coincidence that religion only survives by a. indoctrinating children, where Muslims raise Muslims, Christians raise Christians and so on without exception, b. acceptance in later life by mentally ill or otherwise unstable people, people with a trauma and desperate people, and c. by brute force, group punishment and threatening.

    And all religions are basically alike: the universe is some kind of a Virtual Reality environment made up in a brilliant mind of an invisible wizard and life is a temporary magical mystery tour before you become a meaningless mindless zombie for eternity in some kind of Disney World where nothing is really real and where there is no need for anything. Wow. A sound person would go insane in a second if he wouldn’t immediately question the fundamental illogic and flaws in the make-believe situation and find the most probable exit of the nifty mind game in an instance: he is drugged and/or hallucinating or dreaming, but still very alive.

    Religion makes no sense. I do not need a religion to live a life where people are happy that I am around because I help them with anything, even complete strangers, or just because I am around. Most people I know do, no, everybody I know does. And most of them are not a bit religious. However, I’ve found that people who are openly religious -and I am not talking about your comment- can be quite arrogant and not very helpful at all. They are better than you, they know better than you. Very annoying. I’ve even met a religious guy who was extremely rude and hostile for no reason, except for me being who I am. Well, I still wish him good luck in eternity with other insecure X-holes and lunatics. I could become rich writing religious books for desperate people who truly believe in illogic anecdotes but I don’t have the heart, no, mindset to do that. And I am 100% positive that there are quite some people who are not like me. Those people keep myths alive for personal gain -read money and power- in the now and here.

  18. Brownian
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    “Affairs of the heart are meritorious in their own right. Ask your wife.”

    Ask my wife what? If gods exist? Pi to the billionth decimal place? The physics behind the Magnus effect? How do affairs of the heart have anything to do with the reality of evolution?

    Religion is “a different way of knowing” only if you consider being wrong “a different kind of right”.

  19. Lola
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    “What kind of monster parents teach their children that they’re descended from rodents and reptiles?”

    What kind of monster parents teach their children that they were born deserving an eternity of torture because some supposed ancestor ate a piece of fruit?

  20. Posted December 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.” –Sherry Melby, public school teacher, Sedalia, Missouri. 2009.

  21. Michael
    Posted December 22, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Chris Allen said: Do you honestly believe God would allow humans to destroy the earth He created?

    No, that’s something he does all by himself.

    (I hear he’s pretty good at floods)

  22. Posted December 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Sheesh! It would be nice if the evolution deniers could read biologist Richard Dawkins’ new book “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution” (Free Press, 2009). The book is designed for the reasonably well educated lay person. It not only explores every imaginable facet of evolution and the science behind it, but also offers an interesting explanation for some of the reticence to accept evolution. Our language itself throws up a barrier. Our languages “reify” or label everything. A reptile or fish or whatever is called a “this” of a “that” and seem to steer us linguistically away from recognizing transitions or evolution. As in “Where are the transitional forms?” In the real world all of the thises and thats are transitional, some rapidly (like the domestication of foxes in 35 generations) or glacially slow (like the natural selection cum guided selection of various breeds of dog over 10,000 years or so). Maybe science education should deal with the semantic problems that obstruct comprehension of evolution. Meanwhile, we can all be grateful for the very existence of the Texas Freedom Network. — Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty, http://www.arlinc.org

  23. Charles
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Dr. James Corbett says “Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” Oh, I wouldn’t say that. There are many religious people that I would not consider to be fools—including me. I think they only become foolish when they conclude that faith is a purely matter of reason and logic rather than an affair of the heart. Affairs of the heart are meritorious in their own right. Ask your wife.

  24. Posted December 21, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    The members of the board who are evangelicals conservatives are not Christians each of them professes one or more heresies. Not any of them have the theological authority to speak for Christendom because they do not represent Christian Orthodoxy. They represent heretical cults who do not properly follow Christian Doctrine nor beliefs. This is precisely why the early church leaders discouraged the primitive ignorant masses from reading the Approved Bible. Not much has changed. We are seeing the result of improperly educated and woefully primitive people trying to ram their heresies down the throat of true believers. The Bible is not considered inerrant in the Roman Catholic Church nor the Easter Orthodosies. Who do these moronic cretins think they are.

  25. Donald M
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    When a religious answer is used in place of science its lack of evidence is exposed as well as it user. Dr. James Corbett says “Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” This describes Mcleroy and his ilk who could be the fools’ descendants. They chose a pit batlle defending creationism(for which there is no hard evidence) against evolution( where the evidence is massive and agreement among scientists is profound). Entering a debate with no real ammunition except religious fervor, the creationist is either extremely brave, without merit, or very foolish and assured of defeat. These are not the qualities needed for a member of the TSOBE.These science deniers havevictimized the Board and the students they are pledged to defend against falsity; they must be replaced.

  26. David
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    That’s “munkeahh.”

  27. JNew
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    These idiots and fools make me tired. I am sure they make the various gods tired, too. Amen.

  28. Charles
    Posted December 21, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    “What kind of monster parents teach their children that they’re descended from rodents and reptiles?”

    Probably the same kind of monster parents that see certain members of the SBOE behaving as if their brains have a primitive reptile or rodent component. Of course, my all time favorite quote from outside of Texas is:

    “Yoo ain’ta goena tail may that ahma deesended from no Monkey” Insert banana. Chew. Photograph.

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