The Naked Green

2005.1.13 Thursday

Sticker goes Extinct

Filed under: News, Obsessions — Mr. Green @ 4.48 pm

From the MSNBC article, Judge nixes evolution textbook stickers:

Granted, the sticker put into science text books in Cobb County Atlanta are probably not on the top of the evolutionary chain. In my opinion, the same sort of message should have been evolved much further down the same line, but it was a good start. The idea was killed off by a federal judge last November. So, was it just a case of “natural selection”? I think it was just another example of the stupidity of evolution.

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be judgmental, but this is absurd. Let’s put aside the long debate between the religion of evolution and others like Christianity. Let’s ignore for a minute what the intent of Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” was. This is what the sticker said:

…Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. The material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

This is what U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said:

…the sticker conveys an impermissible message of endorsement and tells some citizens that they are political outsiders while telling others they are political insiders

Excuse me? What is the sticker endorsing exactly? That evolution may not be true? That’s hardly an endorsement, in my opinion.

This, considering the fact that the sticker has nothing to do with religion, is just religious persecution:

“This is a great day for Cobb County students,” said attorney Michael Manely, who represented parents who brought the suit. “They’re going to be permitted to learn science unadulterated by religious dogma.”

Once again, I think that the sticker is not a big deal and really a poor attempt to set some things right, but the fact that people have gone out of their way to fight it tells you something. Merely calling into question the theory these people must hold on to so dearly to escape God, results in an outright attack on religion. This isn’t surprising to me, but it certainly is frustrating.

If you, my dear reader, believe in evolution, please tell me what you think. I really want to know how a majority of people out there can really think this is not absurd. I won’t flame you, I just really want to understand what’s going on.

Update (2005.01.14): Gervase Markham at Hacking for Christ has some more in-depth ideas and discussion on the evolving sticker. This is great stuff:

“Make no law respecting an establishment of religion” seems to have been replaced by the nebulous concept of “separation of Church and State”, which has then been broadened into “anything any government or state body does which is even concerned with religion is unconstitutional”, and then on to “anything any government, state or otherwise publicly-elected body does which might even be perceived as having something to do with religion is unconstitutional”.

Reading the many comments on the article has got me all riled up.


  1. First of all, in the scientific community, the word “theory” is used to describe a careful and rational examination of the facts. I wish that all discussing this topic would be forced to look up this definition. Unfortunately, this word has been distorted in the public discourse by those who would like for it to convey ideas that are unreliable. This is very far from the truth. The truth is that the theory of evolution has so far been supported by a preponderance of evidence, which is far more than can be said for creationism. Whereas science uses research and critical investigation to arrive at its theories, faith-based theories use only just that - faith. You are just to believe and not question. In this most obvious distinction, science must be given a much higher level of respect.

    It is for these reasons that I was absolutely appalled at hearing that these stickers were being placed in science textbooks - there is absolutely no reason to single the theory of evolution out as something that “should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.” ALL ideas should be approached in this way - especially those that we are asked to take on faith.

    I’m absolutely thrilled that this misuse of religous power to thwart the real and true scientific search for truth has been overturned. I would hope that it is the intent of most parents for their children to be taught how humans are seeking the truth in a critical manner and not just accepting what their understandably less-informed predecessors may have incorrectly believed.

    Comment by bwells — 2005.1.13 Thursday @ 10.44 pm

  2. bwells: Thanks for taking the time to express you thoughts! I have a few more questions and comments:

    I was aware of the meaning of the word “theory” and don’t consider evolution to be one. I believe it takes more faith to believe in evolution than Christianity. I won’t go into all my arguments and proofs, though as that was not the point of my post and I’m no expert.

    I thank you again for responding with your answer to my question, but I must admit that I’m still floundering. You said, “ALL ideas should be approached in this way - especially those that we are asked to take on faith.” which I agree with wholeheartedly. I think children must be taught to think for themselves to help them determine the truth of what they’re being told and especially reading. As I mentioned, I think the sticker was a poor attempt in calling evolution into question (though it’s a start). Why the attack against it then? It’s merely stating something that you agree with. It singles out evolution because there is a controversy over the idea (among secular science as well as religion) and “creationism”, as you call it, is not in the book to be questioned.

    You also mentioned that you are “absolutely thrilled that this misuse of religious power to thwart the real and true scientific search for truth has been overturned.” [Keep in mind that I’m trying hard to stay on topic here]. I still don’t get what is “religious” about the sticker. It was suggested by a religious group? As far as I know, in America, any person has the “freedom of speech” to express their opinion and not be persecuted for what their beliefs happen to be when saying it. “Well, this ‘opinion’ should not be expressed in a scientific textbook”, you may say. That’s the thing, I don’t see any opinion expressed in the sticker (religious or secular). There are lot’s of scientific questions left unanswered as far as “origins” are concerned and the sticker is merely cautioning children to take that into consideration. I guess it does express the opinion that kids should think for themselves, but you already agree with that.

    Whom it may concern:
    Does this “theory” of evolution need such blind obedience and faith that it can’t even be questioned? It’s no secret that I’m a Christian, but I don’t even accept that type of bigotry from the Christian Church. I would expect more from the “open-minded” secular populace.

    Comment by Mr. Green — 2005.1.14 Friday @ 9.16 am

  3. Okay, maybe the sticker should have said, “Evolution is a theory, not a law…” The word “theory” may be misunderstood, but it’s not “law” which is what I think the makers of the sticker were trying to make known. Just pointing out the obvious, really. I agree that this seems unnecessary, but it is certainly taught as “law”.

    Comment by Mr. Green — 2005.1.14 Friday @ 9.36 am

  4. “but it is certainly taught as ‘law’”

    I don’t know what school you went to, but evolution was never, ever, taught as a law at any of the schools that I’ve attended. There are plenty of laws that were taught to us, such as the Law of Gravity, Laws of Conservation of Energy, etc., but evolution was always taught as a theory. It’s right in the name, the “Theory of Evolution”.

    Which, frankly, is why I don’t understand why anyone felt these stickers were necessary. If you ask me, it’s just more attempts at forcing religious theories.

    Comment by Mike — 2005.1.14 Friday @ 1.06 pm

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