Sunday, March 23, 2008

Watch and Weep

ABC News follows a group of home-schooled Christian children on a museum tour. The tour leaders are interviewed. They attempt to defend the lies they are telling the children.

[HatTip: Friendly Atheist: How to Ruin a Trip to the Museuam.]


  1. At least it was a well-produced segment. Hopefully some of those kids will outgrow their parent's small-mindedness.

  2. Larry,
    Is it really worth worrying about?
    We aren't exactly living with a lack of biologists. So what, if the end result is we don't get a few US kids who grow up to enjoy science and go into research. As far as I can see the vast majority of homeschooled christians (who are above burger flipping) avoid science and go into business, law or some other 'safe' profession.
    Its the imposition of this sort of nonsense on public schools that should be the issue, not what they teach their own kids.

  3. But Mr. Chris Mooney and Prof. Matthew Nisbitt say we shouldn't be beastly to these people.

  4. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDSunday, March 23, 2008 1:07:00 PM

    So what, if the end result is we don't get a few US kids who grow up to enjoy science and go into research...

    If only that was the extent of it. However, you are overlooking some obvious implications. We live in a democracy. Those kids will grow and and be allowed to vote.

  5. Christianity and all other religions depend primarily on fear born of ignorance. The survival of Christianity therefore depends utterly on keeping the masses ignorant and fearful.

    When you convince someone that you have the key to their immortal soul, you have 'em by the balls.

    Therefore, these Christian fundies have as their main goal to raise ignorant, fearful, and obedient children who will grow up to be ignorant, fearful and obedient adults.

    These ignorant, fearful and ignorant adults then vote the way their pastors tell them.

    The bastards leading these tours want a world in which the police show up at your doorstep on Sunday morning to demand why you aren't in church . . . . .

  6. I look at this piece and I feel hope, not fear. After all, this is evidence that there are still people in the newsmedia doing their jobs -- rather than uncritically parroting talking points, this evening news clip features both sides of the issue, then provides pertinent facts. While a conservative might call that jab about radiocarbon dating "bias," it's actually part of a reporter's job, and that, more than a couple douchebags lying to children, is what will make or break the future of this country. As much as I enjoy reading blogs, they're far too disparate to reach very far; even you, Larry, or PZ can influence so many people's understanding of the issue and of the science, and just as many will be reached via a conservative blog filtering out the damning soundbites.

    As distressing as the actual news being reported is, it's a solid example of journalism. In fact, I encourage everyone to write a letter to the station that produced the piece to tell them exactly that.

  7. Ah. It was Nightline. I guess that's less surprising; I'd thought it was a local spot. Still, this gives me hope for that show at least, and that it's enough to influence the rest of the ABC news department, all the way down to the local level, and perhaps up to other news outlets owned by Disney.

    I'm still writing that letter.

  8. And when one of those kids finally figures out he has been duped, everyone will wonder what makes him so angry.

  9. Martinc,

    Sure, those kids will have minimal impact AS researchers and such. But they grow up, as you indicate, and go into law (Thomas Moore Law Center, ACLJ), business (AFA, etc.), run for school boards, enter public office, vote, etc.

    There is a bigger picture.

  10. This quotation by Isaac Asimov seems to sum up the video perfectly:
    “However much the creationist leaders might hammer away at their “scientific” and “philosophical“ points, they would be helpless and a laughing-stock if that were all they had. It is religion that recruits their squadrons. Tens of millions of Americans, who neither know nor understand the actual arguments for – or even against – evolution, march in the army of the night with their Bibles held high. And they are a strong and frightening force, impervious to, and immunized against, the feeble lance of mere reason.” Isaac Asimov, 1981; quoted in Futuyma, p. 175.
    [Futuyma, D. J. (1983): Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution. Pantheon Books, New York, 251 pp.

  11. I still don't see the reporter's point with 800 year old hobbits and the tour guides' biblical math that doesn't seem to add up. You can have dozens of generations of 1k-year-olds within a single millennium IF the reproductive age is still around 12-20 yrs old. Or am I just misunderstanding 'generation'?

    Are we making any headway at all? I'm content with foregoing ANY logical debate and just categorizing creationists as retards or robots, or retarded robots.

    These Zoloft withdrawals are a bitch.

  12. Two thoughts -

    1. Child abuse. Pure and simple. I feel sorry for those kids, and hope for their sake that they learn to think for themselves.

    2. For those who don't - well, in a few years, my kids will be competing with those kids for the seats in good college and for the good jobs. For that, I am grateful to the silly parents of these sadly abused children.

  13. Yes, if I were an atheist I too would be worried that people go to museums and don't get the standard evolutionary magical story told.



  14. Yea, but the important thing is that as we advance science research and promote science policy, that we don't annoy these creationists. We would not want to hurt their feelings by improperly framing our perspective as, say, RATIONAL.

  15. hey, anonymous above

    Your kids may very well end up at better colleges and become world renowned scientists, but those kids will go to college to. Despite suffering from an almost crippling pathological masturbation habit, they'll graduate from places like Regents or Liberty U, become high level republican party apparatchks and end up running the NIH and NASA as political appointees where they will totally fuck up everything for your kids.

  16. I love it when Mats favors us.

    Mats has shown in previous posts that his knowledge of science and of the scientific method hovers somewhere between clueless and pig ignorant.

    Yet, with the wave of his hand, he can overturn all of modern science.

    What a guy!

    As for the homeschooled kids . . .don't forget that our society needs an uneducated underclass to perform our menial tasks, and Christian homeschooled children are the foundation of the ignorance we need!

  17. I understand museums not wanting to throw them out. If I was curating, I'd be tempted to schedule a tour with a guide on a small speaker to drown them out.

    The same way we laud the journalists for not only showing both sides, but also for not misleading the public as Nekouken points out, I think that perhaps the museums have that responsibility also. However hard that would be to practice.

    Until the Royal Ontario Museum built the Crystal, I found much of it dumbed down. The Zoo in Toronto had more information about evolution. The new Crystal is placing science back at the heart of things.