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My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class
Science teachers must make their subject relevant to students' lives by tackling religion and ethics, argues Arri Eisen.
December 15th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology, and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

A referendum that would have restricted in vitro fertilization in Mississippi, disagreements on the causes of global warming, the question of how to allot health care resources for desperate cases at the beginning or end of life.

Many of today's headlines and hyper-polarized political debates happen at the borders of science and society, especially where science meets ethics and religion.

At the same time, in at what first appears to be in an unrelated domain, President Barack Obama and others call for more and better science education in America to compete in innovation with rising giants India and China. This at a time when American science literacy appears to be decreasing, and even students who like science drop like flies from that pursuit once they hit college and its huge introductory lecture courses.

Is it possible that rethinking the ethical calculus of how we teach science could enhance the pool of future scientists and enrich the quality of conversation around controversial issues?

What’s the connection? Well, from kindergarten on we often teach science as a body of information not relevant to anything going on in the world. This is a cell and these are its parts; memorize them and their functions. This is the human body and these are the different systems of which it is composed.

Such facts are important, but without a meaningful context (cell functions gone awry can cause cancer; all the body systems talk to each other, so depression can affect your cardiovascular system) such information has little real substance and is poorly retained.

This approach violates the first rule of good teaching: Integrate the information into your students’ lives and worldviews, including those based in religion or ethical systems, and translate it into something they can connect with and use. Science has an especially rich and often fraught role to play in society; if we don’t at least acknowledge this we imply it is unimportant.

Not surprisingly, studies show that when teachers do integrate science knowledge into students' lives, the students learn the science better.

But rather than incentivize teaching innovation that would allow science educators to discuss religion and ethics –- for example, creationism in light of evolution and vice versa, or the scientific and ethical implications of stem cells and in vitro fertilization – many teachers are afraid to even mention these issues, despite their importance, for fear of losing their jobs.

The classic example is the public school biology teacher without tenure who, understandably, finds it much easier to skip any discussion of evolution because of its potential controversial nature. This would be OK except for the small detail that evolution is the fundamental, underlying principle of all biology.

I teach biology at a private university. When I ask students in my cell biology course, “How many of you believe in evolution?” almost all of them raise their hands. When I ask them, “How many of you think something in addition to evolution accounts for humans being on earth as we now exist?” almost all of them raise their hands.

Two inconsistent thoughts coexist without an attempt to reconcile or integrate them. It is this kind of dissonance of fundamental beliefs and science that good education should address and help explore, and certainly not ignore. Only when science educators can proactively engage all societal elephants in the room and illustrate science's relatively limited power will two vitally important things happen:

First, as they are forming their beliefs — whatever they may be — students will be aware of the nature of science and its relation to complex ethical and religious issues. That means they’ll better appreciate different types of evidence and will be more likely to argue from and about that evidence rather than from emotion. Second, more students initially interested in science will continue to pursue it through college because they will better see its value and importance to the big issues and will learn science better.

How to accomplish this? How to break the vicious circle? One way is to frame the benefits differently — economic competition and innovation, national security, improved learning, or more substantial political debate — for different constituencies. For example, perhaps a politically conservative, religious audience might appreciate the importance of good science education through the lens of its importance to the economy or national security.

Another break in the circle is to help teachers learn how to teach science in context more effectively. I often find that simply acknowledging the ethical or religious issue relaxes students; a few others  have explored approaches for better integration of these issues.

In my cell biology course, we investigate the biology and chemistry of a cell surface receptor that helps induce good feelings in us when it binds to a chemical compound found in incense; this may help explain why so many different cultures and religions have independently evolved the use of incense in their ceremonies and rituals.

We discuss the detailed cellular and molecular biology of the research in the context of ritual; the students report this opens a door that’s usually closed between those two sides of their minds. Religious students, who say they often feel their beliefs are ignored or belittled on campus, find this discussion especially welcome and thought-provoking.

High school educators in Wisconsin showed that students who read original texts from Darwin and intelligent-design scholars, and discussing those texts, critically learned evolution better (without rejection of other worldviews) than those taught it in the traditional didactic manner. Teaching potentially controversial science can work if done in an interactive, engaging fashion and in a rich historical and societal context.

Clearly, there are a multitude of reasons for America’s polarized politics and decreasing science literacy and innovation that go beyond just teaching science better. But sometimes a little creative wrestling with and engagement in systems and programs that already exist can make a difference.

Once I offered the opportunity for anyone in the cell biology course to simultaneously take a seminar course focusing on the societal and ethical implications of the biology discussed in the cell course. Half the biology class wanted to enroll in the seminar.

A dozen students — all future scientists and health care workers — wound up in the course, representing seven different religions and traditions, from Christianity to Jainism to Judaism.

Students were amazed so many of their peers took religion seriously, and those students tell me that the conversations and debates we had in the course, together with the seminar, resonate to this day. Many say science is now woven together with ethics and religion in their minds; they can’t think about biology without thinking about its meaning in the greater context.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Arri Eisen.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Education • Opinion

soundoff (2,297 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    No. Religion isn't science, and neither is ethics. The one belongs in a religion class, the other in philosophy, Teach science in science classes.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • thatrix

      I agree. Science and technology has been going downhill in this country for a few years now.
      This push to get religion into science class is rather disturbing.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • ScienceTeacher

      It is easy to claim each subject should be taught separately, but ultimately there is only one overall reality, and when we separate everything into discrete boxes we often do students the disservice to which the author refers. Having actually taught evolution in more than one school with mostly conservative students, it is definitely possible, but quite challenging, to engage these students in serious thinking about evolution. Many students have been taught outside of the school to fear or resent the concept of evolution. There needs to be some sort of positive interface that welcomes these students to engage in deeper thinking. They are not brainwashed, but they come in with strong viewpoints that inhibit learning about evolution. While I am hesitant to adopt the author's strategy, I also would love productive ways to address "the elephant in the living room" and not have the majority of my conservative students put science in its own entirely separate little mental box that in no way interacts with their religious thinking. Atheists sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring that most of America is Christian, is to ignore the sometimes untapped opportunities to engage intelligent Christian students in thinking more deeply about science as well as religion.

      December 16, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  2. Peter

    Should evolution be taught in the church?

    December 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Brandon

      Peter, you posed the question whether the theory of evolution should be taught in the church. It is a common misconception that the debate between Evolution and Intelligent Design (Creationism) is one of Science vs. Religion. It is not. Both Evolution and Creationism are worldviews that provide context for our scientific observations of the world around us. The orgin of life unfortunately cannot be fully answered by science, because it was not observed by any man. Science is limited to observation and experimentation. As a result, we must interpret scientific evidence in the context of our worldview. Some believe that Evolution makes more sense. Others feel that Creationism is a better explanation for the world we find ourselves in. BOTH require faith. Personally, I feel that Evolution actually requires more faith than Creationism.

      Besides, the author wasn't advocating Creationism over Evolution (he actually seemed to be in favor of Evolution). He was simply acknowledging the fact that science is meaningless without context. Science is the WHAT. Your worldview provides the WHY.

      December 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Dustin

      Brandon, evolution does not require a leap of faith, it requires reading and studying the world around you. I promise that if you took a class on molecular biology you would understand what I am posing to you.

      Creationism has no basis in fact. It is a man made idea out of an age when science and methodology did not exist.

      Your argument that both are based on faith is nonsense (no offense). I just want you to research the opposition as I have done over and over again.

      It shows mutual respect to study an idea before you throw it out as faith.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Bozobub

      Brandon, your argument fails miserably. Why? Here's some things NEVER directly observed by any person:
      – Atoms.
      – Molecules.
      – Every astronomical object too far away and/or too faint to observe with the unaided eye.
      – The Earth's interior below the outermost layer of the crust.
      Every mathematical concept. Don't believe me, Show me an infinite set. The real numbers will do.
      – And so on, ad absurdium.

      All of those things, however, DO have significant evidence for their existence as science believes them to be. Your evidence for Creationism? A single book.

      Evolution HAS BEEN OBSERVED, at a small scale, many times, starting with Darwin himself in the Galapagos. No one has ever observed ANY evidence for Creationism. Not one iota. You badly need to google the meaning of "Scientific theory", and how ithe word "theory" differs from "hypothesis"; you quite obviously have no clue.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Keith

      Brandon, evolution and creationism are not worldviews.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Brandon

      Dustin, thank you for the respectful response. I also respect your view and hope we can agree to disagree. I am not a scientist, but I don't need to delve deeply into a molecular biology class to learn that the world is INFINITELY complex. I am convinced that such incalculable complexity MUST have a designer. The odds of such complexity coming into existence from nothing by chance is so unlikely as to be unbelievable. That is why I belive Evolution requires faith. We can arrive at conclusions based on scientific experimentation and observation, but our observations are often incorrect, and rely on assumptions that we must make since none of us has witnessed an evolutionary process to a scale that would reasonably explain the complexity in our world. Besides, what about the concept of Entropy? Doesn't nature tend to go from order to disorder if left on it's own? It seems that Evolution would require the opposite to be true.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Brandon

      Keith, what is your definition of a worldview?

      December 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • HellBent

      " I am not a scientist, but I don't need to delve deeply into a molecular biology class to learn that the world is INFINITELY complex."

      The first part is obvious and the second part is disengenuous. The universe has an unknown complexity, but that does not mean we cannot derive models to describe it to a sufficient degree. Simply looking at a phenomenon and saying "it's too complex, I don't understand it" is intellectually lazy. It's the equivalents of our ancients blaming floods – a phenomenon they didn't understand – on the gods. It was short-sighted and ignorant. We should try to actually learn from our past.

      And creationism isn't science. It postulates no falsifiable hypothesis – thus cannot be science by definition.

      December 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Greg

      "The odds of such complexity coming into existence from nothing by chance is so unlikely as to be unbelievable"

      ... So... the natural response to these "unbelievable" odds is to refer to a God that created the earth 6,000 years ago, spawned women from the rib of a man..

      ... Talking snakes..

      .. Noah..

      ..Aslan..

      December 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Brandon

      @Hellbent I apologize if I sounded disengenuous. I did not mean to be. I was not suggesting that I would not benefit from the course. I was only saying that my taking a Microbiology course was unlikely to change my viewpoint, because the only possible outcome would be that I would have an even greater understanding of the amazing complexity of microorganisms. I already believe this to be true, based on reports by people far more educated than me. And my whole point was that the complexity points to a designer.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Brandon

      @Greg
      Absolutely. Except for Aslan. 😀

      Do you mind if I ask why you find those things hard to believe?

      December 15, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Greg

      "Do you mind if I ask why you find those things hard to believe?"

      For me personally, I believe they are in the realm of fantasy... I believe it comes down to a reliance on faith.

      I don't see complexity in nature and science's inability to explain every aspect of it at this time as proof that any of the previously mentioned events are any more factual than Aslan is in a fictional story.

      I honestly have no problem with differences of opinions - I do however personally believe that combining science, which uses facts and theories that are reinforced by visible observations should not be combined with again.. something that comes down to faith.

      But to each their own.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Brandon

      @Greg
      Don't the concepts of Evolution seem equally "miraculous," if you really think about it? The chances of matter popping into existence suddenly and without reason, and then, also for no reason, developing and progressing and IMPROVING until we arrive at this perfectly intricate and wonderful system of life as we know it today? Even describing it this way almost implies purpose. It is almost as if these random events PURPOSED for life to exist–and order, and complexity. But accidents don't have purpose. Only individuals have purpose. I would venture that it requires even greater faith to believe in evolution.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • Q

      ID is akin to looking at a puddle of water in a pothole and then proclaiming the pothole was designed to contain that precise volume and shape of water (or that the water was designed to precisely fill the pot hole) because the "perfection" and "complexity" of the fit is too improbable to have occurred by chance. ID = apophenia.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  3. vel

    whose ethics? Whose religion? Give each equal time and where's the science going to fit in? All religions fail in one thing: having any evidence that any of them are based on reality. Most, if not all religions, claim that they have the "truth" and to not question their god or their holy book. They are based on willful ignorance and if one actually looks at the morals truly advocated in them, they are primitive and violent, only cleaned up in the 20th century to be acceptable. As always religion follows behind a thinking mind, always playing catchup and lying about how they "really meant" that all along.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • tozzie

      There is no scientific evidence to support religion. Not a bit. Actually, science debunks religion on Creation, the age of the planet, etc. etc. You teach about cancer cells and just about every kid in class can relate because a member of the family has had cancer, or someone they know has cancer. You teach Christianity and you are putting down every other religion in the school. It's ridiculous. Teach science in school, teach the Bible in church.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  4. Pete

    I don't see why ethics applied to maximizing the public good couldn't be taught without bringing in fictional 2,000-year-old stories about people in the Middle East.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Keith

      Precisely. The whole "ethics requires god" idea is ridiculous. And why we're at it, we can teach those ethics in philosophy class and not science class...

      December 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  5. Astra Navigo

    "Include Religion in Science Class"

    Sure. Why not?

    Texas rewrote history in its textbooks; we might as well teach voodoo, for all it matters.....

    December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  6. Portland tony

    I don't know. The author may have a point. When your parents and the man in the robe tells you the same thing every Sunday, and it's a big Mega church with people all hyped etc, it's very hard to put all that indoctrination aside when looking at science. So letting the student sort out science facts and creationism using scientific research methodology might help her figure out the reasons for the conflicting viewpoints.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Diane

      Religion should not be taught in science class. It is not science. Period. End of story. If you want religion to be taught in your children's schools, send them to a private school.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • thatrix

      You're way off on this one.
      If someone wants to "sort out" the difference they can do it on their own time.
      I don't want my children's heads filled with that mindless religious garbage.
      I'd like them to be able to think on their own. Science is not a religion. Stop trying to make it into one.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I don't know, many seemed to be able to set aside the whole love thy neighbor bit fairly easily.

      December 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  7. SOMEONE

    @everyone
    Really? So i can be taught all things science (non biblical, etc..) while in class but "non-believers" can dismiss having a simple debate about different theorys on "the begining." Its called critical thinking. And in my oppinion this is one of the best ways to do it. Grow some thicker skin and learn how to debate (intelligently). Also, any class you attend will have a plethora of beliefs and I do not believe it is ok to dismiss some and welcome other "theorys." Not everything your going to learn in class (science, history, music, whatever) is going to be something you agree on. Plus, not all Christians give two sh%^s about whether you believe in the same thing they do or not. vice versa. So stop with the whole "im tired of "Christians" trying to push their beliefs on me. Eww.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @SOMEONE

      Ok, lets have a debate shall we? First off, if genesis is supposed to be a true account of the beginning then why does it say the earth was created before the sun? How is it possible to have light before the sun? The bible dates the earth to be around 6,000 years old, but we have scientifically proven it to be about 4 billion years old, why is there inconsistancy?

      December 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Until you can learn to spell the word "theories" properly, I'll choose to decline to consider your suggestions on what should be discussed in the science classes of publicly-funded schools.

      I don't normally play "spelling nazi," but it's perfectly relevant in this case.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • SOMEONE

      @SeanNJ stop it. your not worth my time. find something better to pick at then my spelling. This article is about science and religion its not a freakin spelling B. Now onto the next.

      @Chuckles What bible are you reading? Cause it doesn't say that. First off, it says the earth prove to be formless not that he created it and then Bam there was the rest of the universe. What you should do is get a bible that is known for its close translation to the original scriptures and then show me where it says the earth is 6000 thousand years old. And then you can show me the part where it says that the sun was created after the earth was. Get your S^&(t right.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @SOMEONE: Yes, you clearly won that exchange. Well played. I'll leave you to Chuckles. I think he enjoys toying with you folks.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Observer

      Supposedly, if you link the "A begot B who begot C who begot D, etc" from the Bible and approximate the number of years, you get MUCH closer to 6,000 years than the millions of years in actual science.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Ahhh I see, we're going to take the "mistranslation" tack then are we? Ok, well here's the translation I've been usuing along with pretty much the rest of the western world:
      " In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep,
      and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
      3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
      4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.
      5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night."
      And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day. "
      6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day.

      9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning – the third day.

      14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning – the fourth day.

      20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." 23 And there was evening, and there was morning – the fifth day.

      24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

      26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,
      and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air,
      over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

      27 So God created man in his own image,
      in the image of God he created him;
      male and female he created them.

      28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply,
      and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."

      29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning a sixth day. "

      So now we have a bunch of problems here. First, where did god come from? Shouldn't he have a creator as well? I mean, heck, something as mind-numblingly complex as god needs to have been created because something just can't come from nothing right?

      So now we have light and the earth, but no sun yet.... hmmmm wherever does this light come from? It isn't coming from god, he had to specifically create it, so where is it @Someone?

      Not to mention, there was all that vegetation and fruit that got created, how did that happen without a sun? As far as science has taught me, flora needs sunlight to photosynthesize and grow, yet the sun did not exist yet..... wait, what?

      And now we reach the end @Someone wher god has created man in his own image to rule over the earth, which is pretty neat and we now see, god did it in only 6 days! WOW!

      As for how old the earth is supposedly according to the bible, well us jews have a calander you see, this year it's 5772, which actually dates to the year BEFORE the creation, according to doctrine. So forgive me, I guess the earth is approximately 5772 years old, even those we have fossils from millions of years ago.... care to explain or did you ask to debate for shi.ts because you realized you wouldn't be able to put your money where your mouth is?

      December 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @SeanNJ

      Thanks!

      Add anything to the above post if you feel the need!

      December 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • J.W

      It may just be the Jewish calender. It is just the Jews that are wrong.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @JW

      Impossible. Jews are never wrong. Because of this I know brand you with my jew powers part of the Roman Greek Egyptian Nazi's (Basically all our ancetral enemies).... shoot I forgot to add Russians and christians and muslims in there. Just know, you are all of those and branded eternal enemy of all the jews for even THINKING that jews could ever be wrong. Fool.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Melih A. Frotha

      Good post, Chuckles! I think you can expect the original poster to now change tactics and say it is just a matter of "interpretation" of that "translation". At least that's usually how these play out. And then say the "god"-inspired, "misunderstood" part –of the "mistranslated holy text" no less - is being "misinterpreted" and misunderstood and maybe say something about needing the proper "context" against which to frame one's understanding - and then they can mention how your lack of faith "blinds" you to any holy "accuracy" or "understanding" of what you would know in your "heart" if only you had a "real relationship" with their "god".
      I mean, why bother wasting your time? Bored? Wanted to spar even if it was with someone who lacks knowledge?

      December 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Evan B

      A response to the video:

      "Cause and Effect" is a straw man.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7976594/Stephen-Hawking-God-was-not-needed-to-create-the-Universe.html

      December 16, 2011 at 1:27 am |
  8. Paul Ron

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=z0DT6uljSbg

    December 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Matt

      Can your God give me back the 1:34 that I made it through?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Hoisted by our own petard!

      That video was comical and totally true! Paul, how did you just come across this and not share it earlier! By getting an atheist to say the dreaded words, "I don't know" you have successfully argued your case that god, specifically the god of christianity, and I'm going out on a limb here, but the god of christianity that is your specific sect exists, is real and has done every thing that people claim he's done! Good work Paul Ron! Now go! Spread the Good News!

      December 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Gamma Rays

      Must have gone way over the head of that atheist. LOL!!!

      December 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Observer

      Believer's Hypocrisy:

      (1) Atheists are wrong because for something to exist, something must have created it.
      (2) God exists
      (3) Nothing created God.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Katie

      You're obviously not familiar with science at all. If you were, you'd know about theories like that from Steven Hawking the says yes, in fact, matter can be created from nothing. Silly little cartoons are just that... silly.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Bob B.

      Sigh, epic logical fallacy.

      God has supposedly existed since the beginning of time. But who created god?

      December 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Bozobub

      Right back at'cha. I'll be waiting for the time I hear a religious zealotutter the words: "I don't know". It hasn't happened yet, in my experience.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Godfrey

      I was an atheist until I saw this video. But then I realized that the vengeful tribal war god of the ancient, mostly illiterate Hebrew sheepherders MUST have blinked the entire universe into existence about 6000 years ago. How could it be otherwise?

      Furthermore, I decided to consult their haphazardly collected, occasionally redacted, loosely translated mystical writings for answers to all my moral questions. What could go wrong?

      December 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Roman

      @Paul Ron-that was really neat, did you really expect a person with basic cognitive skills to hang around this blog to even understand what this clip is about?

      December 15, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Clayton

      I think even Hawking knows that some sort of dimensional energy is required to form proton/anti-proton pairs in what appears to be empty space-time.
      He is also assuming that these pairs are going to cluster around an event horizon correlating, mathematically, to the loss of energy from the black hole's event horizon, yet I do not recall that he ever explained why they would cluster their appearances in such an extreme gravity gradient in the first place.
      Perhaps it is in his math somewhere and I've misremembered how he wrote about it.
      But it would have to define the reasons why such things arise in the first place as they would indeed need some sort of dimensional cause requiring dimensional energy. That part I feel pretty solid on.
      So mass doesn't appear from nothing.
      The universe is made of dimensional energy.
      Just think if you could tap into that.
      With such a device, one could possibly "suck" the expansion of space-time right into your "device" and create a gravity gradient.
      Maybe to the point of a black hole if you did it in a strong enough manner.
      The four forces need to be understood in all ways possible. They are very important.
      We need a quantum theory of gravity as one of the missing pieces of a Grand Unified Theory that covers the whole range of scalar events – from below the Planck scale to the un-calculated radius of the universe – and explains the extra dimensions we do not see and how they fit in with everything.
      But "God"?
      With all the fancy equipment we now have, everyone's "god" has yet to contact the human race using anything as small as a quantum probability wave, simple electrons, or any scalar event known to man at ANY scale!

      So – no gods exist with the power or ability or willingness to make simple contact to anyone with any definite method, clarity, consistency, or unequivocally.

      Might as well hang a crystal ball from your rearview mirror and drive off a cliff to make it work for "sure", because nothing "mystical", not even prayers, work under examination anywhere throughout history and in every branch of modern science.

      Not that scientists are trying to disprove anyone's "god", it just happens that throughout all the data gathered in history, and in the use of all devices in science, all any god had to do would be to exist and interact with humans the way humans say (without any "god" appearing to back them up on this) and it would be an unassailable fact of science.

      But what do we have instead? No gods. No prayers work. No miracles but hoaxes all over the place. No clear conversations with any "gods".
      No clear communications of any sort. In fact, no provable interactions or communications ANYWHERE.
      No gods. Not even one.
      No demands for worship anywhere modern, just in a book. No gods exist.
      If these gods demand worship, where the hell are they? Busy with their multiple heads up their multiple asses?
      I mean, really, people! COME ON!!!!

      December 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Brandon

      @Observer
      Not exactly...
      1) For things to exist, they must have been created by someONE (God is a Spirit. He is not made up of physical matter. His existence precedes and SUPERcedes the physical universe). It's not a question of MATTER creating MATTER.
      2) It is impossible to completely comprehend #1. But that is why He is God and we are not.
      Utlimately, there are things that neither the Christian or the Evolutionist can fully explain. I find it easier to belive in a God that encapsulates all of that enigma, rather than to try and find SOME way that it could have happend WITHOUT God...

      December 15, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Godfrey

      Brandon: please explain your assertion that a thing which exists must have been created by "someONE". You'd need to show evidence for that beyond, say, Behe's absurd (and oft-debunked) watch analogy.

      As for point number two, well, please look up the phrase "God of the Gaps". You'll see why that argument is not an argument at all, but merely an admission of ignorance. Not that anything but ignorance can be expected when we're talking about the vastness of the universe–we do know very little–but such an admission does not qualify as epistemology.

      December 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The only thing this video has to say is that your god "can" exist. The fact that something "can" exist does not prove that it "does" exist.

      December 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Brandon

      @Godfrey, thank you for your comments. My short post cannot fully encapsulate the reasons for my belief in God. Books could be written with support for or against the existence of God. This forum is pretty inadequate for such an in-depth debate. Anyway, you are right, my first point does need further support. And actually I would have used the watch analogy or something similar. I do believe that the best explanation for the astounding complexity we observe in the universe (and down to the smallest cell) is that it was intentionally designed, rather than arrived at by accident.
      As for point number two, what I MEANT was that it is impossible to completely comprehend the PREEXISTENCE of God, not that it is impossible to completely comprehend my entire first point. I should have communicated that more clearly. The point I was trying to communicate in #2 is that the question of the origin and purpose of life is ultimately BEYOND science. Scientific observations can be used to support particular viewpoints (Evolution, Creation, Intelligent Design), but the question itself is not really a scientific one. It is more of a historical and philisophical question (WHAT happend in the past? WHY did it happen?) The only way to truly KNOW what happened is to have witnessed the entire process from the beginning. But of course we cannot. Creation or Evolution are simply conclusions drawn BASED on the evidence. Neither is more "scientific" than the other.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Greg

      "Scientific observations can be used to support particular viewpoints (Evolution, Creation, Intelligent Design)"

      Scientific observations ... Creation

      Scientific ... Creation

      ..Heh, good one.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Godfrey

      Brandon: we obviously differ, and I could probably write a book on what I find to be errors in your thinking. But as you point out, this is hardly the place.

      I would like to address one thing, however: you seem fond of drawing parallels between evolution and creationism, as if they were sister disciplines. They are not. The are no more related than granite and tofu.

      This is a trick used constantly in creationist literature. The goal is to get people to believe that creationism is valid as a form of science, that it is supported by observable fact. If you take nothing else from this exchange, I hope you will look more closely at the dishonesty inherent in the claims that creationism is scientific and should be considered an alternate hypothesis to evolution. That evolution is "just a theory", as if the word "theory" as applied to science is the same thing as the word "theory" in everyday parlance.

      This is a false parallel. Creationism breaks down immediately when the scientific method is applied to it. Keep that in the back of your head as you read the claims of the Intelligent Design crowd, and understand that their arguments are dishonest–even if you believe their intentions are noble.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  9. imamccon

    The Four Pillars of the Kingdom
    As a Christian, what makes your faith different than that of a Muslim, a Hindu, or even the “non-faith” of an atheist? Are we able to properly explain our faith to each other, let alone someone who is desperately in need of the healing power of the forgiveness of Jesus Christ? The Four Pillars of the Kingdom is an attempt to help us do just that by laying the groundwork, in an accessible manner, of what it means to be a Christian. The pillar of belief: why do we believe as we do? The pillar of knowledge: how we obtain our knowledge through scripture, prayer and even praise. The pillar of life: what is the proper Christian life and how our actions represent Christ to the rest of the world. And the pillar of love: how all love comes from God and should flow from us to those around us. The Four Pillars of the Kingdom will challenge your relationship with Jesus but, in doing so; make it stronger and closer than you ever thought possible
    .
    Available now on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.

    http://bit.ly/joesbookshelf

    December 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Tom

      Wrong. But it will likely further me convince just how delusional Xians are.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  10. hippypoet

    heres a thought – the new definition of delusional – the belief that someone 2000 years ago who was clearly a delusional schizophrenic by all modern understandings of the illiness and has the answers to modern problems while holding the keys to morals and ethics!

    whats funny and sad is this isn't even the new definition, its the exact same as the old one, just very direct!

    lets take a look at what really makes a person delusional by the true definition shall we...
    The delusions definition states that when a person fixates upon a specific thought that is clearly false as being true, then they are in a state of delusion. The vast majority of delusions are found in patients with mental disorders or pathological conditions. The most frequent of these conditions are schizophrenia, paraphrenia, bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression. There are a number of common manifestations of this condition and certain terms have been coined to identify the various underlying conditions.

    To be considered a real delusion, the problem must fit established delusions definition criteria. These were outlined by Karl Jaspers, a noted psychiatrist, in the year of 1917. His delusions definition is still used to this day by most specialists around the globe. In his definition, there are three specific criteria that must be met. The first is that the false beliefs are certain within the mind of the affected patient. The second condition is that the patient's opinion of the matter cannot be changed when giving proof that the belief is untrue. The last condition is that the belief must be false or impossible in nature. These beliefs often are centered around a strange or bizarre subject matter. The one problem with this definition is that it works on the assumption that the beliefs of the majority of people are the correct beliefs while, in fact, there are many examples in history of situations where the majority of the people were clearly wrong.

    the truth hurts, but it will only last a lifetime so don't fret!

    December 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Will

      I know you are but a troll. however you do realize that for most Christians, if you try to find a passage where Jesus states he is the Son of God, you will not find it directly. There is alot implied espcially in John. The teachings though of Jesus is not the same as what Christians follow, if we did it would be a very different world. Christians have taken his word and warped it over time to fit them. I will only say that he was not mental, unless you believe that everyone who wants to find the good in all and be better to each other is insane. If so, then maby you should apply your logic on the definition of Insanity to yourself and your logic. See if they fit.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Clayton

      Anything that affects the hypothalamus, like LSD, has been shown to distort a person's perception of reality. Flashbacks are not unknown to some users of LSD.
      Some of these distortions are exactly like the religious "feelings" a religious believer has. A feeling of "holy happiness and peace" can go back and forth with a feeling of "total horror of being in a twisted "hell", and they are very contagious to other LSD users when used in a group.
      LSD also can give users euphoria, contagious fits of giggles, and it can distort the very perception of one's perception and self-awareness.
      In large doses it can cause severe psychosis and death and everything in between.
      Just like religion.

      Imagine all those people in the old days eating rye bread made from tainted rye grain. They would definitely suffer some effects. To such primitive and superst.tious people, they would make the easiest assumption of thinking it was their "gods" speaking to them, guiding them, speaking to them. Their stories would be somewhat similar to reports of people being "probed" by aliens in their UFOs.
      Walk in the dark a while. Sometimes you might feel stuff like flashes of light permeating your whole being. That is your hypothalamus acting up with a chemical imbalance. It is not proof of a god. It can be bewildering to have this happen at random, so the instinctual reaction of people to this sort of thing is to ascribe a mysterious "meaning" to the event that fits in with what they believe to be true but have no real definite proof or knowledge of that such a belief is truly factual as opposed to being something perceived through a pre-determined filter.
      Your world-view, if it contains religion and belief in the supernatural, will always interpret random events to coincide with that world-view instead of examining and testing all the natural and logical extensions of such a distorted world-view.
      Ah, that was fun. Anyone up for some cricket?

      December 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  11. TheRationale

    The "problem" is that science doesn't care about your opinion. Reality is true whether you believe it or not. Any scientific discussion on Intelligent Design would be on how it does not even qualify as a scientific theory and has no iota of evidence in favor of it.

    If we really wanted to kick this country's science curriculum into gear, we'd say that you have to explain why pseudoscience like ID is not true. Right now it's sort of don't ask don't tell.

    Right now people when science classes avoid talking about evolution its because they don't want to have to say "Look, your religion is completely false on this one."

    December 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  12. warmesTghosT

    Religion should be taught in either History or Theology class. It has absolutely no place in any science classroom.

    It's funny, the difference between science and religion. All science is the same truth – American science, Russian science, British science, Chinese science...the same science being taught all over the world, because science is demonstrably TRUE. It doesn't matter if you believe in it or not – it's still true. Religion differs by region, country, ethnicity, gender...you name it. There are 38,000 or so sects of Christianity alone and two entire other religions devoted to the same god. Weird how the Allmighty left such a confusing and patently flawed Word.

    If there is a God, science is his religion.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • jwas1914

      Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves. So I take it science class should refrain from studying physics?
      No doubt that false religion is to blame for the up rise in the belief of atheism; but that should not overshadow the truth written in the Bible. The reason why there is so much confusion is because many people find it easy to believe what they hear from a pastor and do not take upon themselves to do their own research. God’s name is Jehovah and it is expected that we do our research and prove that this is true once we have read it. (Psalms 83:18) One of the problems of today is that many of are lazy to pick up a Bible and read it, it’s easy to sit and listen to pastor and have him tell you what is written in the Bible. If we would treat Bible conversations just like a judicial case where we would need to know the “who, what, where and why” and begin to scrutinize it we would see things in a different perspective. Sadly; many atheist that bash the Bible and dare to say that God does not exist are the ones that never read the Bible. Haven’t we heard many times “do not judge a book by its cover”? Religion is not the Bible, religion is a group formed to be guided by Bible principles. Unfortunately many religions are not following the laws of the Bible and give a false pretence that they are doing so. Their actions and reputation are proving that they are whom Jesus Christ called “ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). It is why Jehovah God has warned us to stay away from false religion. (Revelation 18:4, 5) If you desire to know more about the truth my recommendation is to scrutinize the Holy Scriptures daily under prayer and ask for guidance. You never know; someday you might be surprised and receive a personal visit at your door. Please read your Bible daily.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Observer

      jwas1914,

      Please encourage Christians to actually read the Bible. As a recent poll/test showed, the average agnostic or atheist knows more about the Bible than the average Christian.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      That's a whole lot of crazy in one post jwas.

      I have read the Bible. It's a huge reason why I'm an atheist.

      Your Bible is wrong. The story of Genesis is wrong, as evinced by Darwin's theory of Evolution. The story of the Flood is wrong, as evinced by the archaeological and historical evidence of the region. Hell, I could go on, but people like you are either too indoctrinated or just too plain stupid to be swayed.

      Bottom line – The Bible proves that the Bible is not the Word of God.

      Hilarious.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • want2believe

      @jwas1914 I fully respect your beliefs but have a problem with some of your statements. I am an atheist, I've read the bible, and I've even taken a class on the new testament as I enjoy studying religions. From the atheists I know, we all group up in christian homes, but then we began to learn about the sciences and were overwhelmed with all of this evidence contradicting everything we had been taught in sunday school and at mass. So we did our research and came to our conclusions. So before you generalize atheists into a group of people who do not believe because they are too lazy to find your god, please look into Observer's comment. I respect your beliefs...I expect the same, Thank you.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Observer

      Why does every major culture have a story about a flood. Greeks, Native Americans, various African tribes.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  13. lunchbreaker

    I think intellegent design could easily be mixed in. Here's how I would teach the class: There are 2 theories about the origin of the universe. The firstt is that it was created by God. Now for the rest of the semester we will discuss the second.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • o.k.

      @lunchbreaker...as a Christian, I couldn't agree more. Frankly, I wouldn't want someone who would otherwise scoff at religion or God even attempting to explain God's role in the process. More to the point, however, we don't know, nor could we possibly know, the process God undertook to establish his creation other than to look at what actually occurred that we can discern through the scientific method. Whether as a believer, I want to place credit to God for that process, or whether nonbelievers want to credit something else entirely–that's a discussion for another class.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I'm not certain what you're trying to point out, but one is a theory and the other is just a concept without evidence.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  14. Brad

    I would go a bit further than trying to integrate science education with religion and ethics as we find them. We should inform and educate students in philosophy, ethics and comparative religion from the beginning of their school years. Science, art, literature, most things we have wanted to teach should be taught in this intellectual context. Ideas emerge from something. Students have some glimmer of what that is. I asked a young technician "What do you suppose are the limits of reason?" Answer: default = . We can do better.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Clayton

      Anyone like you who would ask such a badly-formed question as that should be forced to define what you mean by "limits" and "reason" with a cattle-prod and then zapped for being such a pompous and pretentious fool.

      December 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  15. HotAirAce

    I think it would be great to discuss religion in science classes except that I don't think we could trust the believers to allow unbiased text books and lesson plans. If the believers stick to facts, and are not allowed to fall back on "'cause The Babble says so," I can't imagine a situation where the believer point of view wins. If the data is presented fairly, and the children are not already indoctrinated, I'm confident that the students will conclude that The Babble is junk science and that the probability of there being any gods is virtually zero.

    So, I say bring it on – let's have a public showdown of science vs. religion!

    December 15, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  16. EnjaySea

    Just another in a long series of attempts by conservative christians to inject their subjective beliefs into an objective field of study. They believe each new ploy to be even more cleverly shrouded than the last, but their clumsy, plodding strategies are always completely obvious, and should never, and will never succeed in a civilized society.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  17. David Johnson

    The Religious Right wants to control science. What can be explored and what can't. It is their desire to decide which branches of science get funding and which do not. They want, by reading their bibles, to declare the sun circles the earth and that god created the universe.

    Science is far more awesome than any imaginary god. Vote for the Dems in 2012.

    Cheers!

    December 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      While we are at it, can put the whole GOP freak show and all the evangalists on a rocket and send them to the sun?

      December 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Troy

      Tell them we'll send them at night, so they won't burn up.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Troy,
      LOL, love it.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  18. Chuckles

    I stopped reading after the first couple of paragraphs. This guy, supposedly using va.gue "studies" and his own experience believes that if you insert your own opinion on a given scientific subject it will help students learn science? That's very sad to think that this guy really believes that by teaching creationism next to evolution it will somehow teach students better. Let's ignore the violation of church and state for a second and just look at the two ideas and what happens when you teach them side by side. You present both sides nad hopefully everyone understands the principles of evolution and can move forward in biology because of that, but oh wait! Creationism has to be taught to, so that people know about the religious aspect, specifically the christian religious aspect (For some reason) which would deter MORE people from studying science as well as drag in just about every parents of all religions demanding that school teach their own agenda.

    This is an incredibly short sighted article, if he really wants to "weave" science and religion together, teach a biological philosophy class instead of trying to integrate religion into a place it doesn't belong.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Why don't we have well-educated scientists in different fields, go to churches on Sunday and "weave" Science in with Religion. The bottom fall out of "sermon" and a bunch of really confused indicrinated morons would just be sitting dumbfouned clutching there bibles and praying to...no one.

      December 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      One more time cuz I can't type today:

      Why don't we have well-educated scientists in different fields, go to churches on Sunday and "weave" Science in with Religion. The bottom will quickly fall out of the "sermon" and a bunch of really confused indicrinated morons would just be sitting there dumbfouned, clutching there bibles and praying to...no one.

      December 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Ungodly

      Love it! Care to join me? I'll be roaming around DC on Sunday walking into churches and demanding that I teach 1/2 segment on the pulpit every sunday on evolution, or the big bang. If the believers want religion in schools then perhaps we also insert school into religion as well, yes?

      December 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story.

      If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye.

      How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who or what did?

      Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the pathogens and the parasites that have caused so much human death and misery.

      If the Creation Story is a fable, then Adam and Eve did not exist.

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.

      If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world. Instead, there are natural causes for earthquakes and floods and other disasters.
      If there was no original sin, then there was no need for a redeemer.

      If there was no redeemer, then Christianity is a based on a false premise.

      "If we cannot believe in the First Adam, why believe in the Last [Christ]?" 1 Corinthians15:45

      If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.

      If we evolved, there is no soul –> no afterlife –> no need of a heaven or hell.

      LOL, which is why the Evangelicals fight so hard against evolution.

      The whole Christian religion is built on a house of cards.

      Cheers!

      December 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • hippypoet

      chuckles – "If the believers want religion in schools then perhaps we also insert school into religion"
      As an englishmen might say "oh capitol! Thats a noval idea!" me- "that is a friggin grand idea!" lol

      December 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Time to ride cowboys!

      December 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • rm

      You should have kept reading past the first two paragraphs, since his point was the opposite of your posts. He did not want creationism to be taught, he wanted discussion to occur about why there are different approachs to the same subject matter instead of ignoring it completely.

      The entire article summarized: A student who makes the contrast between the science they are learning and their beliefs is more likely to think critically and be accepting of the science, such as evolution, as opposed to simply dismissing evidence because it is does not fit their religion.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @rm

      My point still stands. Why should there be any discussion on the matter at all other than perhaps the most cosmetic of discussions like after the evolution unit is finished being taught you have a 10 minute discussion saying "and christianity beleives that god zapped the earth full of life 6000 years ago in a different order than what you just learned and all of the fossil evidence, dna evidence, etc... is nulled by this theory" – from this you'll either a) get a teacher like me who will speak his own view on gensis and then have parents and students howling about degrading their faith and blah blah blah or you'll have a religious teacher who spends too much time on the subject when they could be teaching something more worthwhile and then you'll have students and parents howling about separation of church and state and christian bias.

      Unless you know of a way to present a religion's creation story as objective and logical and inclusive of all religions. Please, enlighten me.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      People actually read these articles?

      December 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Ungodly Discipline,
      Excellent idea. Kind of a science outreach program.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  19. tan theta

    "Many say science is now woven together with ethics and religion in their minds; they can’t think about biology without thinking about its meaning in the greater context."

    Agree, well stated!

    December 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • hippypoet

      its the enablity to separate science, ethics, biology, and religion by the average person that scares me! You can say whatever you want and make it sound as grand as you wish, that will never change the truth of the issue – people need to learn how to separate them or else they can never make a truly informed decision on anything without thinking about the "god consequence"...truly scary!

      December 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      I can think about biology without thinking about its meaning in the greater context. Unless that great context is a greater understanding of biology. The truth is always interesting.

      December 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  20. hippypoet

    i see no reason why religion should be a mention is this article – if you take that out it becomes a great article which highlights the decrease in intellect in our country due to a number a reasons – most are religious in nature!

    Can anyone tell me anything good that comes ONLY from religion and CAN'T be found in other aspects of life?

    December 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I have been thinking on this... and no, I can't think of a thing.

      Cheers!

      December 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Patrick Ogbonya

      @hippy – Can you tell me one good thing that comes from atheism and can't be found in any other aspects of life? What a dumb question, you can fill in the blank and insert almost anything. Nice try troll.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      I found myself wishing he'd used the word "philosophy" instead of religion, because that's really what he's getting at. No scientist in their right mind would even attempt to teach young-Earth creationism as a serious scientific alternative to evolution. However, there are very interesting philosophical points that can be supported or weakened through scientific evidence. He wants to inject "religion" (read: philosophy) in the context of integrating science education into real life, the same way a civics class integrates history by looking at precedents for modern events. For example, a discussion of cellular machinery lends itself naturally to a discussion about cloning, which has an important ethical/philosophical side to it regardless of which (if any) sky fairy you subscribe to.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @Patrick Ogbonya, you are dumb and are completely wide of the point!!! funny as it is, you are also not dumb and are completely grasping the point i was making... the sad part is you think your smart for it and by calling me anything lose the point once held so close...too bad, i had high hopes for humanity, well sh!t happens!

      the overall point – take my original statement and do a vice versa on it – religion teaches nothing that can't be taught by other means and therefore by default it is not as important as people make it seem but rather as important as many other things which are left out because of the idiotic dogma that religion preaches not teaches!

      @Shadowflash1522 – you sir, are correct – the proper word is philosophy not religion becuase having a philosophy is the same as religion but having a religion is different then having a philosophy!

      December 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.