Just shoot me now.
A column in the Arizona Republic newspaper reports that the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction has added a member to that state’s panel charged with reviewing science instruction in Arizona’s public schools.
And what eminent scientist or respected academic has been chosen for this important panel?
Here is a bit of instruction from a guy Superintendent Diane Douglas tapped to help review Arizona’s standards on how to teach evolution in science class:
The earth is just 6,000 years old and dinosaurs were present on Noah’s Ark. But only the young ones. The adult ones were too big to fit, don’t you know.
“Plenty of space on the Ark for dinosaurs – no problem,” Joseph Kezele explained to Phoenix New Times’Joseph Flaherty.
Flaherty reports that in August, Arizona’s soon-to-be ex-superintendent appointed Kezele to a working group charged with reviewing and editing the state’s proposed new state science standards on evolution.
Joseph Kezele, it turns out, teaches (his version of) biology at Arizona Christian University, and serves as president of the Arizona Origin Science Association. The article describes him as “a staunch believer in the idea that enough scientific evidence exists to back up the biblical story of creation.”
Douglas has been working for awhile now to bring a little Sunday school into science class. This spring she took a red pen to the proposed new science standards, striking or qualifying the word “evolution” wherever it occurred.
Douglas wants the theory of Intelligent Design taught alongside the “theory” of evolution–a desire that confirms her total lack of understanding of the scientific method and scientific terminology.
A scientific theory is not the equivalent of a wild-ass guess. Scientific theories grow out of and are based upon groups of hypotheses that have been repeatedly and successfully empirically tested. Only after sufficient evidence has been gathered in support of those hypotheses will a theory be developed to explain the phenomenon in question.
Even then, scientific theories (unlike religious beliefs) remain subject to falsification–continued empirical testing to support or disprove the hypotheses upon which the theory depends. If a theory cannot be rejected, modified or confirmed by such empirical testing, it isn’t science.
Other beliefs may or may not be true (that sunset is beautiful!), but that doesn’t make them science.
Meanwhile, the new appointee to the panel reviewing Arizona’s science standards has already convinced the others to change the description of evolution from “the explanation for the unity and diversity of organisms, living and extinct” to “an” explanation–in other words, one “theory” among others.
As the columnist concluded,
So much for long-established scientific theory.
Kezele told Flaherty that there is enough scientific evidence to back up the biblical account of creation. He says students should be exposed to that evidence. For example, scientific stuff about the human appendix and the Earth’s magnetic field.
“I’m not saying to put the Bible into the classroom, although the real science will confirm the Bible,” Kezele told Flaherty. “Students can draw their own conclusions when they see what the real science actually shows.”
Because, hey, Barney floating around on Noah’s Ark.
Kezele told Flaherty that all land animals – humans and dinosaurs alike — were created on the Sixth Day.
And there was light and the light was, well, a little dim for science class, if you ask me.
The only good news here is that Douglas initially won the Superintendent’s office by a single percentage point, barely survived a recall effort, and decisively lost the 2018 Republican primary.
The bad news is, there were people in Arizona who voted for her.
23 thoughts on “The Dinosaurs On Noah’s ark”
Maybe Kezele will finally explain why Noah didn’t swat those two mosquitoes and save us much discomfort and disease.
What’s really crazy about science is the results that some dinosaur remains have soft tissue and C14 in fossilized bones. Or the probability of the DNA strand being calculated as being one in 10 to the 342 in exponential terms as coming from organic material. Theories provide guidance for us to teach students facts that point us in a direction but if we throw out data that exists to lean opposite of a long existing theory then the theory becomes no better than a belief system.
Those 2 facts came out in the last 20 years and the theory of evolution has been around longer but the Bible has been around even longer. So what do we teach? Facts.
There are many disciplines to teach about our existence. Some come from sociology, anthropology, astronomy, history, etc. we dare not base love on the theory of evolution and how we endure relationships. If we do then it’s survival of the fittest.
Teach facts that go against other facts and probabilities that stretch the imagination.
Each discipline should be taught separate from each other and not based upon certain theories provided by one discipline.
My sociologist professor said if we throw out religious perspectives in Education then we eliminate truths about our spiritual and emotional experiences.
Teach facts. And by the way anything beyond 1 in 10 to the 50 power according to some is mathematically absurd.
Perhaps the mosquito is one of tools God uses to to keep us in line.?
In a bit of irony, the same people who want to teach “Creationism” in science class are posting items on Facebook warning us about the number of “Sharia” practicing Muslims running for office this year. Let’s crank up the Crusades once again. We can subsequently do an Inquisition, even if the Hispanics aren’t on our side.
I came to the conclusion as I read through parts of this blog three times, seeking some level of reason, that Joseph Kezele is the same caliber of men who wrote the original Bible, book by book. And those who came later who rewrote portions to fit their personal religious denominations. What I still question is; who appointed them to that job or were they all self-appointed? His students will be “drawing their own conclusions” from his conclusions as he teaches Bible classes as accepted science – HIS accepted science. For some reason; Dr. Spock and his books on acceptable child-rearing came to mind, often resulting in the “me generation” still in evidence. I see it in the Republican party as we move closer to this country becoming a caste system due to their current questionable leadership and the enactment of Citizens United supporting them. The evangelical right-wingers passing laws upholding their religious beliefs while denying others that right is gaining ground…beware of Pence and DeVos who will seek out more Kezeles to add to their “God’s Kingdom” education system.
Jerry; you could be right, those mosquitoes keep me inside after dark on summer nights.
Without the unifying power of myth (right or wrong or silly or profound), groups of homo sapiens larger in number than 25 could not be organized and/or mobilized to achieve group missions. Myths are the most powerful unifying tool on earth. Democracy, Freedom, Communism, Equal Rights, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and, yes, the profound concept of scientific method are all useful myths. “Sapiens” a best-selling book by Yuval Noah Harari explains the above in 300-plus pages of fascinating detail. The concepts in Harari’s book attempt to provide a plausible explanation for the great conflicts of the world growing almost organically out of the great myths. I find it helpful in understanding the inevitability of the conflicts clashing around us this very moment.
The statement “The sunset is beautiful” is not science, but the explanation of why it exists (Rayleigh Scattering) certainly is science. Explaining things like that is what scientists do, without the need to reconcile them with the mythology of a tribe of Mid-Eastern Bedouin.
These religious nutballs think we need religion to teach us morality since lack of morality is why we have some many problems today. Yet, they cannot see the lack of morality occurring within their own churches.
Grown men come forward about sexual abuse 20 years later and society is aghast.
Grown women come forward about sexual abuse 20 years later and she must be making it up or deserved it.
Sorry, I digress.
Anybody with a bible in their hand can claim to be an expert. Ask them what a parable, allegory or metaphor means and they look at you with a blank stare.
I know several people who have joined the cult called Christianity. They all perceive me as the Devil and someone who needs to be converted. The Pilgrims used the same theory to justify the genocide of our Native American population.
Most reasonably intelligent people reject such nonsense and can the hidden meanings within the text. It was never meant to be taken literally. The authors didn’t have access to Hubble Telescopes.
Their acting out is a form of self-righteousness. They are happy with life since they’ve found Jesus and God so they want everyone to enjoy the same bliss.
Thus the need to place them in a position of power over the public realm. “They must pass laws and policies which make people adhere to religion so they can be saved. These poor people are too smart for their own good.”
For some, living in the 21st century is confusing so they cling to a more simplified version of reality where it all makes sense. Televangelists know how to con these folks so they’ll send money guaranteeing eternal bliss. 😉
It is a sad but simple truth: “Good” Christians who claim to take the bible literally don’t. They cherry pick. In fact they either lie or recoil in horror at the text. Imagine their reaction to this–which the must either obfusticate or ignore:
Leviticus 19: 33-34 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (NRSV)
or, perhaps my most favorite of all;
Leviticus 20:10: “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” (NRSV)
I could go on, and on, and on, and on, but you get the drift.
These “literal” believers are at best gullible, at worst hate-filled liars and hypocrites. Dinosaurs on the ark–hell why not? They will say anything to prop up their bigotry. I know. I dwelt among them for 17 years as a lay pastor until “good Christians” made me so sick I had to quit.
John S., you say, “Each discipline should be taught separate from each other and not based upon certain theories provided by one discipline…..Teach facts.”
If this is what you believe, then you certainly don’t want the Bible, and creationism taught as Science. It’s Faith.
Every time I read or hear something like this, my blood starts to boil. Institutionalized ignorance is neither religion or science. It is pure bigotry toward one’s own, or the group’s self-centered arrogance. To foist this nonsense on our children is truly child abuse. These uninformed true-believers are inculcating confusion and doubt so that their pathetic fairy tales will be heard.
I taught evolutionary biology for 12 years and always had to overcome the nonsense coming from churches and into the minds of the children, the innocents. EVOLUTION IS NOT A THEORY! It is a proven fact. Read the literature on bacterial colonies, fruit fly experiments and a host of other organisms that reproduce rapidly and in great numbers. These studies also show that evolution is not a matter of survival of the fittest, but changes and adaptations in breeding populations over long periods of time. As environment changes, those organisms that are PRE-ADAPTED to those changes do better than others at reproducing in that changing environment.
Similar ignorance is being injected into Texas’ curriculum in social science. People like Gahndi, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and Thomas Jefferson are being expunged by the right-wing idiots running their school board.
As a former teacher, I had to accept being labeled as a spawn of Satan because I taught science. I just laughed and maintained the adherence to the scientific method we used in class. It was the study of facts and the testing of theories that mattered.
By the way, carbon 14 dating is really good for about 5,000 years. Potassium-Argon and Uranium-Lead have much longer half-lives, so dinosaurs are quite accurately dated to within a few thousand years. Not bad when you’re talking about 150 MILLION years.
Oh, but I don’t have to convince readers on this page. You all actually think and reason. Read any of Stephen J. Gould’s books, Alfred Sherman Romer’s books on vertebrate evolution or Philip Whitfield’s excellent tome, “The Natural History of Evolution”.
BTW, Charles Darwin never used the word “evolution” in his “The Origin of Species”. The church-ties needed somebody to attach to their wild, unfounded fantasies. They still do it. Pitiful.
IMO, both faith and science are necessary for humans. Faith are the assumptions we make on topics for which no proof exists or has been found or is known to us individually. For instance, what happens when we die? Do we cease to exist as life and return the chemicals that biologists know we are comprised of and the energy we have absorbed to the earth’s inventory? I assume that. Others are comforted by different assumptions. I personally never challenge anyone’s right to do that because their choice makes them more comfortable, a good thing.
But, science has been underway for a long time and there is a huge body of knowledge accumulated for which the evidence is overwhelming. We add to that body of knowledge significantly every day so we are, every one of us, to some degree scientifically ignorant and obsolete. Fortunately we have diversity. My ignorance is not yours and vice versa so we have a handle on that ever expanding body of knowlege collectively but not individually.
Therefore every day what we have to explain by faith in the absence of evidence gets smaller. Where will that end? Nobody has any idea. Will it end at what happens when we die? That’s a possibility.
All of that I believe can be taught as part of early life education. Everyone can walk out of that class satisfied with their faith and curious about all of the science left to be learned.
However in a theocracy that’s not possible. Theocracy requires those with one set of assumptions to impose them on everyone so that they can go to heaven when they die.
That’s why the founders informed by the Era of Enlightenment chose liberal democracy instead of theocracy and our freedom was established.
Unfortunately, our political system attaches a false equivalency between religious belief and Science. I have been re-reading Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos. Cosmos is a bit dated in places as it was written in 1980 and since then numerous scientific explorations have taken place in our solar system.
Sagan and others have written there was no room for science, when it challenged Religious Belief. During the time of Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), the Catholic Church not only had religious authority it extended into what we would now call the Secular Realm. Galileo was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
Heresy is till punishable by death in some places of our world.
The “Young Earth” lacks any scientific support. However, let’s face it science is far more complex in all it’s disciplines, then the fairy tale of genesis. I have met these people who believe in the “Young Earth”. The Young Earther’s have been told to reject any science, geology, astronomy, astro-physics, archeology, etc., that challenges the “Young Earth”.
A few months ago, I read an article. The author, who had been brought up as a bible thumper, related that the bible thumper parents wanted their children to learn to read and write, etc. The education had to stop at thoughtful reasoning, freedom to challenge, or critical thinking. Authoritarianism, must at some point over rule, independent thought. I suspect this why the 1960’s are often considered by the bible thumper’s to be the beginning of the cultural Dark Ages.
Every one of us suffers from scientific ignorance but are saved by diversity. My ignorance is different than yours so if we collaborate we have a chance of getting everything that we need to to work.
Authoritarians of course can’t be functional because they have no desire to collaborate. They dismiss their ignorance instead.
None of that is new but what is is that the rate that entertainment media pursuing make more money regardless of the impact on others is creating authoritarians faster than they are dying.
There are two physical forces in this world as observed not by priest, pope, rabbi or iman, but rather by Newton and Einstein – gravity and electromagnetism – the rest is fluff in the physical world and an attempt to combine faith and physics, like oil and water, is a fool’s mission.
Recorded stories of the success of a Palestinian Jew who cheated death have a lot to do with myth and faith and nothing to do with gravity and electromagnetism and vice versa. Both atheists and believers could better spend their time and energy on relieving the human condition on this planet as well as the latter’s health rather than constantly arguing an unknowable and unreplicable history of how and why we arrived at this point, as in, what’s the difference whether we are here via Darwinian theory, lightning, mitosis or magic wand? Here we are, so now what? Let’s move on.
Great comments by Vernon and Pete. Vernon, I once heard one of these tel-evangelists dismissing the science of carbon 14 dating, etc., and also the idea that light from distant galaxies millions or billions of light years away, was the devil’s traps. Silly me, I thought god confined the devil to the escape proof hell.
To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven
Science pushes the boundary of what cannot be understood. It is a physical boundary , not spiritual.
Religion tries to answer the spiritual- Why do good things happen to Bad People, or the reverse – Why do bad things happen to good people? All sorts of supernatural explanations and constructs must be introduced:
There is sin in the World, God works in mysterious ways, God has a plan. These people are broken on the lathe of heaven, since they must now construct a rigid set of rules and dogma to follow god’s will as “they” believe it- Don’t eat Pork, or Cattle, or eat no meat on Friday.
“Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the function of a galaxy? I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven
“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”
“I don’t like to commit myself about heaven and hell – you see, I have friends in both places.”
As a born and raised lifelong Hoosier, until moving to Arizona in 2011 after retiring (my wife and I had had enough of Indiana winters), I can say with some authority that:
“Yep, our current Superintendent of Public Instruction is a typical Arizona Republican officeholder,” i.e., facts and science are not something that come into play whatsoever.
Politically, Indiana and Arizona are doppelgangers.
Koch Brothers’ owned Governor (who unfortunately appears will be re-elected with the aid of a ton of Koch “dark money” over a Democrat who appears to be unable to mount much of a campaign).
Republican Super-majorities in both houses of the Legislature. Virtually all state officeholders also Republicans Almost all firmly on the Trump train and agenda. Even leaving out former Sheriff — and convicted felon — Joe Arpaio as somewhat of an outlier.
Then there are several completely wacko Tea Party/Trump Republican Congress members. How about Congressman Paul Gosar for one example? Gosar is such a wacko that he just gained a bit of national notoriety after all 6 of his siblings publicly endorsed his Democratic opponent in the upcoming election, and are now featured in his opponent’s TV ads. Don’t often see that.
Unfortunately just like all of you here who are back in Indiana, the above examples are just the tip of the iceberg, and I could go on and on with other examples of the idiots who the good people of Arizona have elected to represent them. I probably could write a complete essay alone on Congressman Martha (“Let’s get this fucking done.” “I used to fly fighter jets.”) McSally, who is running for (coward) Jeff Flake’s Senate seat.
And unfortunately IMO, seemingly like many Democrats who are currently running in Indiana, it appears most of the Democrats here are running on platforms that they will be able to reach across the aisle, and work and compromise with the crazy Republicans. I call them”Republican lites” without the all the drama.
In the Demos here defense, I should add that of those registered to vote in Arizona, registered Independents (an option here) actually slightly outnumber the registered Democrats, and aren’t too far behind registered Republicans. So conventional political wisdom would be for a Democrat in Arizona to run to the middle to get those Independent voters who might be turned off by the worst of the Tea Party/Trump ugliness and excesses. Guess we will see in a very short time how that works out for them.
I recently visited Indianapolis to see friends. There I got exposed to Donnelly campaign adds and got confused by what sounded like a Democrat running in a Republican stronghold astride the fence.
My senior pastor gave a courageous sermon earlier this year, saying Jesus’ story about the “Good Samaritan” – like many of his stories – wasn’t a true story but a parable to help us understand the point he was trying to make. (For the unfamiliar, the point was to care for those in need, even if they are from a group or religion or community which you’ve been taught to avoid or even shun.)
My father was a Sunday school teacher who taught the details but FOCUSED on the larger messages. He cautioned not to miss the forest for the trees. Reasonable people can differ on interpretation of the details, but don’t get bogged down in minutia and miss the message.
So, for as long as I can remember, I’ve have disagreements with biblical literalists. For instance, the details of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden should not miss the message about resisting temptation and the sins of immediate gratification, lest we suffer the continuing consequences.
Our public schools teach those messages in a hundred ways every day. Don’t cheat; don’t take things that aren’t yours; tell the truth; do your best; share; help and be kind to others; and so many more. All those values our kindergarten and other teachers taught us are the same values taught in Sunday school and other houses of worship.
Nancy Papas; years ago, still a believer in organized religion, while taking Bible study in an Indianapolis Baptist Church, all white congregation, every lesson stated the Bible is to believed as truth, every word. One day I asked, if that is true, what about the 12th Chapter of Numbers; the answer was, that is a parable. How convenient for a racist church to recognize the only parable in their Bible.
For those of you with problems in your lives; problems of all matter and means, Google Peter Popoff for the address to order a packet of his Miracle Spring Water…per those who swore to the validity of Popoff’s promises from cured diseases to finding a job…Holy Cow the stuff works.
Every time I read or hear of a bible-thumping, anti-science, biblical-literalist, I think back to my late cousin, an Orthodox Rabbi. He was extremely proud of his undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in physics. He didn’t see any reason to denigrate science.
Gerald – just a note – Palestinian Jew is an anachronism. At that time, the Roman province was called Judea and the inhabitants were called Judeans — or Jews. It was after the second Jewish revolt ended in 135 C.E. that the Romans renamed the province (using the name of a colonial power) to deny that Jews ever had a homeland. Otherwise, I see your point.
My name is Manuel Colunga-Hernandez, for the past 21 years my focus of study has been the Hebrew Torah – the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. I am willing to state here, and to anyone: that given 2 hours I can teach the vast majority of thinking human beings some information that has been left out of our reading of that section of the Bible. Ladies and Gentlemen if what I have found is not made known – we are going to see this continue in SPADES. The Retards are retarding the process of evolution and are quickly devolving! That set of books is beyond the mindset of these fools. There is in fact an entire set of books with in those five books – which, I can prove in the text – are actually one book, and there is something in there that we have to learn: the real purpose of humanity. Sound crazy? Well tell me something – which is crazier? to believe that dinosaurs were here when humans came about? or to find out that there is in fact a whole other story told within the text of the Torah? – because there is. ‘www.colunga-hernandez.com’ – I am sick and tired of seeing my fellow humans arguing ‘yes there is!’ – ‘no there isn’t’ – well there is a way to answer it all, and it sets within the books themselves. Now you can decide for yourself – but don’t take too much time – this world is in a world of hurt – we need to end this aggressive ignorance NOW. I am not joking, or preaching – I am stating fact. There isn’t any ‘Jesus’ going to come and take a bunch of idiots away! There is a ‘God’ – I just hope you can deal with it once the realization hits you. I have had to deal with it almost all my life. I wish you all well: and please, take a look at the page and decide for yourself. P.S. Yes there was a Flood, there were a couple of them and the best example of the Ark can be found in a book by Dr. Irving Finkel, titled “The Ark Before Noah.” Find it – read it, The Ark as it appears in the image set within the Torah, matches Dr. Finkels translation of the cuneiform tablet he was literally ‘given’.
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