Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Zealand not Epically Doomed, unlike Louisiana.

Phil Plait over at has been banging the drum about creationism and evolution for a long time now and I wholeheartedly agree with everything he has to say. If schools want to teach Intelligent Design or Creationism then it should be done in the correct forum, which is not the science class. Anyway, where am I going with this? Phil Plait has done a pretty good job on this argument so I am not going to go into the specifics here.
The governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindahl, has just signed has signed a new state bill called the academic freedom bill which will allow creationism to be taught alongside evolution. Evolution of course being a Theory that can be proved by scientific means and principles, creationism cannot. And now the whackjobs in NZ are having a go as well.

The floodgates have opened. in New Zealand reports that, “A Christian group promoting intelligent design over evolution has sent teaching material to schools that critics say is religious propaganda and sloppy pseudoscience.”
At least the critics have a voice. The NZ Education Ministry says:
“The unsanctioned material does not breach the Education Act and there are no plans to ban its distribution. But officials stress the theory of evolution underpins the science curriculum and schools have a responsibility to teach theories that are subject to accepted scientific scrutiny.”

A groups calling themselves “Focus on the Family” (meaning of course THEIR focus on YOUR family) sent Material to 400 high schools trying to get them to teach the hack pseudo-science in class.
Waikato University sciences senior lecturer Alison Campbell said:
“The material champions creationism - the belief that God created the world as described in the Book of Genesis - claiming the universe is too perfect to have been produced by chance so must be the work of an intelligent designer.
It represented a religious viewpoint, she said, not a scientific one, and had no place in science classrooms.”

Focus on the Family's executive director Tim Sisarich said the material was intended to expose pupils to an alterative theory of cosmology.
"We're a Christian organisation so we believe that God made the planet and God made the cosmos ... Science takes a theory and tries to establish it as the truth, and that's all this is."
Education Ministry senior manager Mary Chamberlain said parents had a right to withdraw children from religious instruction.

This is amazing. I knew that NZ had a large religious community and that is totally fine, I have no problem with that. I did not think we had the same type of minds here as in the US. I suppose we are lucky that we don't as yet seem to have those types of people in power that can make the crazy mistakes as Louisiana.

If you check the article on Stuff, you will see the standard religious morons coming out of the woodwork, making the same inane arguments. "Its just a theory", "we didn't evolve from monkeys", "teach the controversy", and "why is there no half monkey/ half human" is just a random sample of the horse shit the Committee for Lying for Jesus is posting. Always with the same crap that shows more about their lack of understanding, than their intelligence. I don't think it will ever get to the same level of stupidity that it does in America, with 40% of NZ subscribing to no religion, and another 30% subscribing to religions other than christian based ones, but its still worrying to see these knobs waving their flags every now and then.

Also interesting to see this kind of crap start surfacing just before the election, with Tim Sisarich and his cronies at the Destiny Church trying to get a seat in parliament to push their evangelical nonsense. Here's hoping come election time the same thing happens as every year, and they get laughed out of the polling booth.

Theres also a poll on the Stuff hompage about teaching ID in school. Go over there right now and give them the good news!


Sheri said...

I rather like my education to have meaning and use, I'm not sure creationism fits that bill except maybe in the area of humanities.

Spankermatic said...

Absolutely - I have no problem with people believing in creationism, as much as I think its total bollocks. Its their prerogative to believe a beardy weirdy sky god with the emotional temperament of a 5 year old created the world. But the counterpoint is true as well - just because they believe it, does not mean I have to, nor should my children be subjected to it in a science class.

If they want to teach religion, teach it outside of school in churches where it belongs. Would they prefer if we taught science in church?

alison said...

Thank you for sending folks over to 'warp' that poll on I was flabberghasted when I first went to look for the article (I'm that Alison) & found that it was so heavily weighted to the creo side at the beginning. Nice to see you over on Pharyngula as well :-)

Mr_Fett01 said...

I was incensed by this and had to speak out. I think it’s a disgrace that this can be taught in this day and age. We might as well be in the dark ages with this train of thought. Evolution is it, there is no alternative.
Alison, I take it you are from the uni in the article.

Spankermatic said...

No sweat Alison - its always a worry when you see nutjobs like the Destiny Church and their mate Tim Sisarich sending creationist psycho babble into public schools. Leave religion firmly in the domain of the beleivers, just like santa claus and the easter bunny.

Mooghead said...

But how many of us were taught religious education in school? I know I was. After school i read the bible with an adult mind and came to the conclusion that its all crap. In this day and age when religion isn't needed anymore surely more kids will think the same. Kids are read fairytales all the time.

Spankermatic said...

Yeah but why waste time teaching that crap if its not important? And you can't deny (as much as we disagree with it) that several religions have made a massive impact on our history, no matter what country you are from? Its important to understand religion from several points, even if you disagree with it.

Like a big "heres not what to do" guide.

My point is, teach the religious crap in religious studies classes, and teach the science in the science class.

Xenoba said...

What astonishes me is that of the 25000 people who voted on Stuff (by the time I voted no fcking way) one third agreed that religion should be taught in schools. Schools are a place for education, not religion. After all they don’t teach maths in churches eh?...

Spankermatic said...

You got it in one Xeno. But that poll was bombed by both sides from all over the world. Its the biggest response on a poll ever I reckon, except the one where they asked if Graham Henry should continue to coach the All Blacks.

alison said...

Hi Mr Fett - yes, I teach biology at Waikato & do a lot of education outreach on the side. Hence my extreme annoyance on seeing the latest lot of FoF drivel sent out to schools.