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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. clearfog

    Next. Mixing voodoo and brain surgery.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Sandy

      Best reply yet! Made me laugh out loud.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  2. Shelley

    The fact that teaching biology students about evolution could be considered "controversial" shows what a country of complete dolts we have become. And the so-called theory of evolution is supported by mountains of physical evidence, and is borne out by genetics. I've yet to see any evidence for talking snakes, T-Rexes and humans getting along just swimmingly on an ark while the entire world was flooded, virgin births, or an 8,000 year old planet Earth. This is precisely the reason I sent my kids to a rigorous private high school - so they wouldn't be subjeced to teachers being afraid to teach science or school boards injecting fairy tales into the curriculum.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • SSG101

      To anybody with a grasp on science, you appear to be not very bright

      December 16, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • clearfog

      Shelley. I've had stupid people call me not too bright too.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • kingnpriest

      Shelley, I agree that you can't teach religion. You can't reproduce a born again Christian in a class room. However, your views of science as your "God" are unnverving. I feel sorry for children that are taught to believe in nothing and are given no hope but an empty grave upon death. How would you want your kids to react if you suddenly came down with cancer and were given 2 months to live? It would be nice to have hope in a resurrection and eternal life!! would it not? Why live your life with the expectation of nothing but living a life of death while you live and a hope of nothing when you die? Jesus Christ gives true life! Get to know Him, as Him into your heart and He will fill you!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Shelley

      @kingnpriest. Explain to me how not believing in the supernatural equates to "living a life of death". What nonsense. Religious people sure do love to tell atheists they don't even know what they're life is all about. Well, I'll tell you about mine. I have been married to my best friend for almost 30 years. I have two grown children who I adore. I have a job I enjoy. I have friends who I love spending time with. These are the things that give my life meaning, BECAUSE THEY ARE REAL. Family, friends, work, community. If I got cancer or died, I'm sure my family would be devastated. News flash for you. You don't need to believe in things that don't exist in order to love your family, and to have a rich, meaningful life. I believe we have one life. We should make the best of it. That's what I try to do. If you think that means I live a life of death or have no hope, then there is no reasoning with you. Your arrogance and ignorance speak for themselves.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Sandy

      kingnpriest, How come when jesus talks to you'all it's OK but say if you hear other voices you are insane? hmmmm. Don't think too hard it might hurt.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  3. Nate W

    Science=facts God=faith....No.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Nate

      Agreed.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • kingnpriest

      Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books." -----–unfortunately you who reject the Lord Jesus will not have the chance, because your rejection of Him has condemned you already, for all who choose not to believe are damned. Mark 16:16 BE BORN AGAIN!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • Sandy

      Geez you are simply quoting a book written a few thousand years ago by dudes walking around under a hot sun in desert. What in the year 5000 are we going to be quoting Harry Potter? Can you not just use your brain to tell you right from wrong???!!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  4. MattS

    religious education = oxymoron

    December 16, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  5. Aaron Marshall

    If true science is based upon observable facts then evolution cannot be proven, either. Believing in the Big Bang, whether it's the Closed (eventually contracting universe which "Big Bangs" again and again) or Open (ever-expanding) Universe theory, requires that you either A) believe the matter involved in its origin came from nothing or B) that it has always existed. Either belief requires faith in something that categorically can't be proven, and yet people embrace it blindly. So much depends upon one's worldview as to how they interpret findings and learn about the world around them; if your ears are closed to one side or the other then you'll always be missing pieces of the whole truth, so I agree with the article. At least if creation and evolution are examined and discussed equally and openly, students can make their own decisions.

    Consider that if you believe the Bible (and I do) and have truly researched then you already understand a remarkable truth; whatever realms, dimensions or other planes may be out there in the spiritual realms (if 87 % of the universe is hypothetical Dark Matter, as secular science says, who's to say the unseen forces that bind our universe together aren't in fact one and the same as those spiritual planes), ours is the only one that requires the element of FAITH. The angels, the cherubim, the demons; they can all physically see God and what we can only read about in Scripture, so faith is unnecessary for them or anyone who has crossed the veil of death. Nothing about currently accepted secular science offers mankind any true hope, either for the individual or as a species, despite our best aspirations. Faith in something unseen is the only way out, which is probably what the whole thing is about to begin with; ironically it's the one concept the human mind and heart can grasp that is so readily dismissed by the secular powers-that-be.

    In short, if secular and Christian people are truly confident and grounded in their belief AND understanding, they will form their own opinions and will not feel threatened by the inclusion of one or the other worldview in our education system.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • ArthurP

      Evolution can be proven, it is observable you just have to research it properly. Like not using the terms 'bible,god,creationism, intelligent design' when doing a web search regarding evolution.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • WHat?

      No, one uses evidence and one does not. There is a difference between faith and theory, a big one.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Abolish All Religion

      Another failed product of the educationally deprived South.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Damo

      Actually it's very easy to see evolution at work, especially when dealing with very simple quickly-reproducing organisms. The thing that you claim can't be verified is something I see every single day when I go in to work.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Q

      Proof is not a scientific term. It's only applicable in mathematics and formal logic. Science involves empirical, replicable physical evidence. Evolution is both a scientific theory (i.e. the process leading to extinct and extant biodiversity) and a fact (i.e. genetic changes in populations overtime). The evidence of evolution is independent of where, why or how matter came into being. One can retreat to the "interpretation" argument, however, when the interpretation contradicts other concordant evidence as literal creationism does, the interpretation is certainly not reasonable, e.g. Newton's apple falling can be explained equally by gravity or by angels pushing it down, but only one "interpretation" provides predictable application...

      December 16, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Rach

      Well said, Aaron!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Rach

      Well argued, Q! Brilliant points here fellas!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • ArthurP

      Evolution happens every day even in people. We call them birth defects. Some you can survive with others you cant.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • SSG101

      Evolution obviously is alive and well. The problem is that so many that think they are so smart because they believe in evolution, but they're to dim to realize what even Darwin knew.... it doesn't address the origin of life. Period. When evolution is let's start by teaching evolution for what it is know to be. The debate of creation vs evolution will continue to thrive among duh masses.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • HellBent

      "If true science is based upon observable facts then evolution cannot be proven, either."
      I suppose not, in the same way that gravity cannot be 'proven'. I mean, we don't know how gravity works, and we don't know how it works at extreme conditions either, so I guess gravity might not be real. Either that or you don't really understand what science is.

      "Either belief requires faith in something that categorically can't be proven, and yet people embrace it blindly."
      Absolutely not. People might lean one way or the other, but I dare you to find any scientist that says it must be one way and cannot be the other – such absolutes are reserved for the militant religious. Science, by its very nature, demands a skeptical and open mind. Again, you fail to understand either the scientific process or the scientific mind.

      "At least if creation and evolution are examined and discussed equally and openly, students can make their own decisions."
      How do you intend to do this in a science class. Science requires a falsifiable hypothesis, which intelligent design lacks.

      "if 87 % of the universe is hypothetical Dark Matter, as secular science says, who's to say the unseen forces that bind our universe together aren't in fact one and the same as those spiritual planes"
      -Or maybe it's just invisible pink unicorns – such speculation is absurd and does not belong in any reasonable science class. Stick to the observable evidence.

      "The angels, the cherubim, the demons; they can all physically see God and what we can only read about in Scripture, so faith is unnecessary for them or anyone who has crossed the veil of death."
      Is that similar to how only people like Harry Potter can communicate with snakes?

      "Nothing about currently accepted secular science offers mankind any true hope, either for the individual or as a species, despite our best aspirations"
      Yup – modern medicine, advances in argiculture, etc, offer no hope. When one gets cancer, or in the event of a global pandemic, or when faced with famine, just pray. Don't bother actually trying to do anything about it.

      "Faith in something unseen is the only way out,"
      -What a pessimistic view of your fellow humans. I find that to be incredibly sad. I also disagree wholeheartedly – see the above response.

      "they will form their own opinions and will not feel threatened by the inclusion of one or the other worldview in our education system."
      So you're cool with teaching sharia law to middle school students?

      December 16, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • ArthurP

      SSG101: Origin of life is not evolution. Origin of life is abiogenesis. Research it and you will see they are two different things.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      You get off to a bad start Aaron when you seem to think that evolution and the big bang are the same subject.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Dr.K.

      No, SSG101, it doesn't explain the origins of life. The theory of evolution explains changes in traits in populations of living things. The fact that it does not explain the origin of life is not a weakness. Atomic theory doesn't explain the origin of life either, but that doesn't invalid it.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • Dr.K.

      sorry, "invalidate"

      December 16, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • kingnpriest

      I do not feel threatened at all by science. I am firm in my belief of the scripture, and of the fact that the times and places spoken of in the Bible are accurate and able to be unearthed by archeology. I am also aware that the vast majority of people will never believe in God, due to being blinded by the devil. Jesus Himself said that there were few who would believe. Most would choose not to. Science offers no hope. period. I don't need a crutch to lean on, and do not fear death. Please don't try and stereotype believers! We will live forever! Glory to the Lamb of God!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Aaron Marshall

      Evolution and the Big Bang theory are two different scientific topics, yes, but they both are based on unobservable hypotheses. A lot of you replied to my post stating the evolution is indeed observable (seriously, BIRTH DEFECTS???). Okay, answer me this: evolution stands on the idea that a chance combination of proteins and amino acids under ideal conditions sparked all life as we know it today. So tell me why our "advanced" science has yet to reproduce these conditions and has never A) created life or B) reanimated dead organisms? These are perfectly reasonable questions, but your blind faith in evolutionary theory won't let you acknowledge that.

      December 16, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Primewonk

      @Aaron – Your first statement that "evolution cannot be proven" is right – but for the reason you think. Science does not prove things. Science explains things. Thus your whole post is based on a fallacy.

      You then went and confounded evolution and cosmology. Totally different fields in totally different domains.

      You then said that evolutions stands on the idea that a chance combination of amino acids and proteins resulted in spark of life. Here you went and confounded abiogenesis with evolution. Again, separate fields in different domains.

      I guess my (continuing) question is – why do folks who purposefully choose to be ignorant about science come onto message boards and demonstrate that ignorance?

      Perhaps if you would get your science information from real science sources, instead of the "Pastor Dave's" of the world, you wouldn't make these glaring mistakes. The problem is that _Pastor Dave" is just as ignorant about science as his minions.

      December 16, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  6. thes33k3r

    Religion and science are not friends. Fortunately, religion is on the way out...albeit slowly.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • Rach

      over my dead body, bro...

      December 16, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Timetraveler

      @Rach: That can be arranged. And with pleasure.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  7. zakr12

    I understand that santa claus or the easter bunny may be as ridiculous to some as religion, but the reality is that it dominates our cultural and political interactions in this country so to ignore its implications, leaves scientific findings on the fringe. I'm not suggesting that we teach creationism, but social and ethical implications should be part of the course work. This facilitates discussion and prevents science from being stigmatized so that we can actually do something with new scientific findings i.e. climate change.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  8. Rach

    Oh man will the fun never stop. There are so many of us that love to hop around on these things. I find it interesting that Christians and Atheists LOVE arguing about this stuff. So here goes, I am a Christian. I have Atheist friends, even two brother in laws. I was thinking how this country got founded. BOTH types of folks were there. Atheists and Christians are the greatest country ever formed became. Now, if they could get along and accomplish such a wonderful government, what in the world are we so divided about! You all do realize the entire world thinks we are retarded because of our trivial differences. They see our weakness, and any moment one of them could seize our country but we'd be too busy FIGHTING with one another to notice the bomb's at our back door. Here's my solution. QUIT BEING SO INSECURE! Believe what you believe and be convinced! DON'T WORRY IF EVERYBODY DOESN'T AGREE; JUST BE YOUR STINKIN' SELF for crying out loud. See... problem solved 🙂 🙂 🙂

    December 16, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  9. 1man

    Religion should never be taught in schools or anywhere else for that matter. ALL religions !! It is the fundamental problem in the world today. It has caused (and continues to cause) more deaths than anything in history (except for mosquitos maybe ) and will do so apparently for some time to come. I cannot understand why people continue to believe in fairy tales that deep down they know can't be true. It divides people , it punishes people, it falsely accuses people, it is used as an excuse to murder people , it is used to incite wars. C'mon world grow up evolution is true and real. It does not "line up" with the bible. I wish people never started calling it the "theory " of evolution. It's no theory, it is scientific fact. Truth and fact are not the same.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Ryan

      religion doesn't kill people. people kill people.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • kingnpriest

      1man, please share with us a piece of indisputable evolutionary evidence. While you are at it can you explain the existence of coal, and the petrified forests of yellowstone?

      December 16, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Rach

      Lol@ Jason, so now all peoples are to come to you as the ultimate authority on things unknown. Ah ha, you and your coherts, I get it, but... no thanks. I'd rather take my chances with the spaghetti monster after all, a chance is a chance 😛

      December 16, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • jesduke1102

      ok if you insist. Coal is a byproduct of bio matter being buried millions of years ago and then becoming subject to crushing pressures. Most of it made up of small plants and early tees (more like ferns).

      now for the petrified forests. they were covered with ash and over time they soaked up the minerals in the ash like a sponge. as time went on the cellulose ( the woody part) was completely replaced with minerals.

      God did not make coal for us, cause he did he should be sued it is nasty dirty stuff. some how I don't think a divine plan should include death by coal dust. and as for the petrified forest they primarily are caused by massive volcanic eruptions also cause lots of death.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • kingnpriest

      YEE HAW, you are correct my friend. The forests were turned under during the floods of Lucifer and Noah.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • jesduke1102

      Again if you insist I will explain another thing to you. the great flood stories have been explained with science. The water mass that we call the black sea was once a low lying area land that was below sea level and had a rich land, a very large valley. It was populated by many people. As the earth warmed, (it does this from time to time) the ice packs melted and the sea level rose. it eventually creasted over the lowest point in this valley wall and started to flow over. This low point is now called the Bosphorus straight. With the force of trillions of gallons of water this wall was eroded. The valley filled with water in days. And I know you are going to ask for proof. 1) There are remains of villages under the black sea. 2) there is evidence of huge erosive forces in the straight. 3) All of the major flood myths originate from cultures that encircle the Black sea. next stupid comment please

      December 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  10. you dont get it

    I totally agree with the religious folks on this one guys. They do need their views represented in our public schools. Since humans defined science as a general knowledge of proven and unproven theories, this information can be listed in the text books. However, just like the big bang theory, creationism needs to be listed as an unproven theory, with no fact. If religion wants to play in the NFL(aka Science), you will need to admit that you may be wrong because it is only theory. The NFL has its own set of rules everyone has agreed upon and everyone will follow them. If you do not want to play by the rules, be prepared to get kicked off the field.

    Religions will need to admit their theories are neither true or false. This is the problem for the pious as they aren't aloud to do this. To say this goes against the word of the Bible. To not address this issue only shows the purpose of adding religion to the textbooks is to say religion is correct, and science is not.

    On a side note, lets inject physical science to the bible. If science needs to help the other side out, so does religion.

    Who wants to continue to say the current setup is unfair and needs to be integrated in our public school systems?

    December 16, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Jason

      One word: No!

      Religion belongs in church, and-if anywhere in academia-creationism belongs in MYTHOLOGY with the rest of the myths that came before. There is NOTHING SCIENTIFIC ABOUT CREATIONISM! And, that is not an opinion.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Ryan

      Then have classes on theology in school. I think that would be very reasonable.

      However, creationism is not a scientific theory because it is not testable in principle. While it is exceedingly difficult to test evolution, one can conceptualize strategies to do so. Sure, they may fail and indeed not every experiment will yield answers, but the questions at hand deal with the physical universe. Theological understanding and concepts are fundamentally untestable because they are based on principles of faith, not empirical understanding. The funny thing is no one would argue the other way and say that science has to be taught in a class on theology. The reason people continually push this idea is not because they want their "theory" discussed, but they want their faith taken seriously... or more precisely they want the strength and value associated with scientific theories to be applied to their faith. They want theological explanation for the world to be put on the same pedestal as scientific theories like evolution. In social circles, this it totally reasonable. The problem is, we are not talking about social circles, we are talking about science class. theological ideas are NOT held to the same scientific standard as scientific theories. They shouldn't be viewed by science the same way, and thus should not be discussed as if they are in a science class. In fact, they are fundamentally not science. Science is not about faith. It is about asking questions and posing testable theories about the physical universe. These concepts are not scientific in nature, and belong elsewhere.

      I agree that perhaps lessons in theology are needed, but this is not a solution.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  11. SciGuy

    My take...
    Include science in church.
    Preach the facts about evolution and the big bang.
    Quid pro quo, Clarice. Quid pro quo.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  12. Damo

    How about including Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? Or ghosts? Let's teach kids about ghosts!

    You call yourself a scientist and recommend teaching students in a SCIENCE class about things that have NO scientific basis? I think you need to go back to school as a student. You appear to have failed to learn the scientific method.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  13. ArthurP

    If the Bible was such an important work you would have though God would have paid more attention to the chaps transcribing and translating it so that it would not contain so may contradictions, it would be unambiguous, not open to interpretation and not require years of study in order to under stand it. As it stands, it is all those things so most likely God does not really think the Bible is that important a book.

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

      ArthurP, please share with us a biblical contradiction. Since you are a bible expert, I would like to hear one. Thanks

      December 16, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • ArthurP

      Well for starters her is a list of several:

      http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

      December 16, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • kingnpriest

      Arthur, I asked you for something that YOU know, not something copied and pasted, anyone can do that! ARE YOU preapared to die? Why would you copy and paste information to try and justify your unbelief in the Christ who died for you? One day your corpse will be called from the grave by the Christ you didn't believe in. Where will you be then, you who desire to mock the living God!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • ArthurP

      kingnpriest. I notice you are not disputing the facts you are only attacking the messenger. Typical Christian response.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  14. Icannotknow

    Judging by the religious devotion to science in the comments here, perhaps we should start by teaching epistemology (the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of knowing and truth). We should all strive to be humble in proclaiming truth. Per Descartes, I think, therefore I am. Beyond that, things get much more complicated.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  15. Bernice

    Amanda, it seems like you're the one with the panty twists, and you can get a lot of them in with that grossly fat sagging bu.tt of yours. I bet the twists get stuck in your fat folds, miss saggymanda.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  16. ArthurP

    So long as we teach science in church.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Homerfinn

      Well said!!!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • JC

      LOL. Well said Arthur.

      Keep religion out of the schools, please!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • sharoom

      Yes, can we please debate the virgin birth in church? Pretty please?

      December 16, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • ArthurP

      Sharks do the virgin birth thing. Does that make them divine?

      December 16, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  17. Sandy

    What? Ok I can see it being added to History Class or nap time. I wish i could live to see the day when the bible goes the way of every other fairy tale..to a dusty book shelf in the fiction section.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Sandy

      LOL omgawd NON fiction!!! lmfao

      December 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • kingnpriest

      Sandy, I feel sorry for you. If you die tomorrow do you have hope of anything? There is nothing more scary than a judgement before a God you refused to believe in! I am not willing to take a chance on that. The evidence for the resurrection of Christ is huge, so is the historical accuracy of what happened to the apostles, the blood of the martyrs cries out to you, repent of your unbelief and be converted!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • HellBent

      "There is nothing more scary than a judgement before a God you refused to believe in!"

      Well, then let's hope that you believe in the correct god.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  18. Amanda

    LOL I see a lot of angry atheists here... YHBT You get your panties in a twist over the dumbest things. If Religion is SO BAD, then why have most of the worlds best and brightest scientists been religious? In fact more people on the higher end of science believe in God then not. Science and theology are only mutually exclusive if you don't ask enough questions. I have known many people who go into science to better understand who we are and why we are here, and how it all fits together, and they had these questions BECAUSE their faith encouraged them to ask and to seek knowledge. If your religion isn't ok with seeking knowledge, and finding out for yourself... get a new religion. But don't blame ALL of religion for the human failings of some religions.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Physics

      Not true Amanda, that's false propaganda. The vast majority don't, and it's more apparent near the top. Stop trying to spread a falsehood.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Matt

      The majority of evolutionary scientists are not religious, because they, unlike yourself, can read a book other than the bible. (bible = state propaganda to get you to vote and live a certain way)

      December 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Bernice

      Seems like you're the one with the panty twists, and you can get a lot of them in with that grossly fat bu.tt of yours. I bet the twists get stuck in your fat folds, miss saggymanda.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Bernice

      Amanda, it seems like you're the one with the panty twisties, and you can get a lot of them in with that grossly fat sagging bu.tt of yours. I bet the twists get stuck in your fat folds, miss saggymanda.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Tim

      Amanda, the majority of the more highly ranked modern scientists are atheists. See the study Leading Scientists Still Reject God

      Further, the reason many historical scientists were theists is because religion was a means of exclusion, imposed throughout Europe and the US at the point of the sword, the gun and by laws saying that if you didn't believe, then you could not own property, engage in contracts, vote and so on.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Sandy

      Amanda, Religion is man-made. Humans were here on earth long before religion came along. Religion is/was just a bunch of rules to keep the sheeple in line. How can someon tell me I'm going to hell or anywhere else when they have no idea if 'god' even exist for a FACT. The hatred that is spewed from some religious people is astounding. I live and let live and do not believe in a god or any religion, simple.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Demanda

      Actually, Amanda, you've got it backwards. Taking things on faith means that you've given up looking for answers, definitively.

      So open wide and start eating your twisted panties words, oh chubby one.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Damo

      Yes, many great scientists in the past have been religious.
      You leave out the part where they've belonged to different religions.
      Hero of Alexandria was one of the greatest minds the world has ever seen, he invented the steam engine in 1AD, and he believed in a variety of pagan gods.
      Therefore those pagan gods MUST be real, right? Let's teach about them in the science classroom!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • BP

      Most scientist are non religious (and most do not believe in god), there have been several survey's done in this regard.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • kingnpriest

      Whoever is telling people that religion is a set of rules is correct, however, Biblical Christianity is freedom from rules! The law has been fulfilled by love, and in Christ, a new birth is available to all. Your sin and guilt can be forgiven! Why place your eternal destiny in a bunch of scientific theories? There is no hope there, but in Christ is the hope of the resurrection of the dead and eternal life! I'd rather believe that than try and justify a belief system that leads to an ending of existance!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • HellBent

      "In fact more people on the higher end of science believe in God then not."

      Is that why 90% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences is atheist?

      Do you enjoy making up your own "facts", or do you just like lying?

      December 16, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  19. kingnpriest

    True Bible belief systems always back up science. Scientific theory, such as evolution, is another matter. That's why they call it a theory. The Bible always lines up with science, way back when Job recorded that the earth was hung upon nothing. Scientists of the world took a long time to figure that one out, and it was right there in the scripture. The fact remains most of you "scientists" on here have no idea what you are talking about! BELIEVE John 14:6

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

      lol, you christian taliban members have no pull left in this country. Give up, nobody wants a theocracy.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      You have obviously never read the bible. I mean the whole damn thing, cover to cover, not just the usual few pieces of turd they feed you in church every Sunday. If you had you would never be able to say the garbage you just spewed here. Typical believer sheep.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Q

      Literal creationism contradicts virtually every relevant discipline, from astronomy to molecular biology. A scientific theory is the highest level a scientific explanation can reach (yes, it's even higher than a "law").

      December 16, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Abolish All Religion

      Do you have any understanding of science whatsoever? Clearly not. Do you know what a scientific theory is? No, you don't. Here's a newsflash: ALL OF SCIENCE IS THEORY. There no proofs in science. Proofs only exist in mathematics. A scientific theory the highest status an idea can achieve. A scientific theory is not a guess or a hunch or a gut feel. It is, for all intents and purposes, a fact. Gravitation is a THEORY. Not a single observation has ever been made to disprove it. But it doesn't change the fact that it is a theory. Take a science 101 class at the local adult school sometime. If there is such a thing near where you live.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • kingnpriest

      You guys are laughable. Timetraveler, I have read the Bible cover to cover numerous times! You offer nothing but unspecified criticism. The rest of you, the same. What is your hope when you breathe your last? A hole in the ground?

      December 16, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "The Bible always lines up with science, way back when Job recorded that the earth was hung upon nothing. "

      except its not 'hung' period, hung suggests 'fixed'. Its flying through space, with the force of gravity keeping it going around the sun.
      next you will try to tell us that when they said the earth is a circle, they meant it was a sphere, I love that one when its brought up. better yet, tell us how the bible talks about germs by telling the folks that god is coming to camp and so they need to poop outside it., thats a classic.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • 1man

      I don't understand?? Is there some sort of controversy over how petrified wood is made? How coal is formed? Dna is concrete evidence that we evolved.... And your Concrete evidence that God exists? Remember a fact is a fact no matter where or when. for instance; 4+4 = 8 it equals eight here it equals 8 on jupiter it equals eight way out in space or even on another galaxy In a billion years 4+4 will still equal 8 it is a fact. I am eight and a half feet tall is a truth because I believe it. Jesus lived is a belief. God is alive is a truth (not to me but to many) Where are your FACTS? Let see one.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • 1man

      Oh so I get it now Kingpin is afraid of death. It's the same old story, people in fear of things that are a part of life believing in and making up fairy tales in the hope that they will cheat death. "I don't want to face the reality that I am going to one day die so if I believe strong enough I won't ever die" Not very good reasoning. Fact; we all owe the house, we all will die . Truth ; God will come along and save me if I give my money to a priest and church. What stupendous reasoning!!!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • 1man

      Ah dude.... DNA has been around on this earth way before people decided to invent God , even before they decided to invent Zeus and Apollo. So the Bible really doesn't have DNA's story folded into it. It's another attempt to stifle real knowledge in leu of fairy tales. If your gonna tell fairy tales at least make em fun. Instead brimstone n fire!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • kingnpriest

      So ya know, don't confuse religion with Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with obeying rules or giving money to a priest. That sounds like Mormonism or Catholic or whatever. The gospel of Jesus Christ is based upon grace, and the free gift of eternal life to those who believe. You will know this when you are called from the grave to answer for yourself. Sodom and Gomorrah will rise in judgement against this generation, because you have so much information about God but choose not to believe! REPENT

      December 16, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Primewonk

      " True Bible belief systems always back up science. Scientific theory, such as evolution, is another matter. That's why they call it a theory"

      You don't even understand the scientific definition of theory. Thus the inane anti-science drivel you spew is irrelevant.

      It's like trying to debate someone who says, "Auto mechanics is wrong because ice cream is purple jazz."

      December 16, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  20. coyote123

    Even a little piece of crap smells bad. Keep the crap out of school.

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

      I agree, keep the "theory" of evolution out of school. Good idea coyote!

      December 15, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Demanda

      kingnpriest clearly has been eating religious cr@p for years, and has been loving the taste. Religion: having sh1t dumped on you and eating it too.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • kingnpriest

      I believe it is you who have swallowed the lie. This life is not about the here and now, but about the here after! I look forward to a resurrection body like the one Jesus has! You men and women of science hope for what? Upon death, you have no hope! If I am wrong, nothing lost! If you are wrong, you have lost eternity. BELIEVE

      December 16, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • Jason

      Seriously, kingnpriest. It hasn't been a "theory" for many decades. See, if you actually read science and keep up with it you will find out that scientific theories (like evolution) sometimes become scientific fact. There's this little thing called evidence they have been working on, both by digging up old ancestors of ours and decoding DNA. If nothing else, our DNA proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt that we evolved over millions of years from lesser animals. Sorry if that doesn't jive with your dogma. That's reality for you, but you just keep living in you mythical world.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Q

      @kingnpriest – What if you picked the wrong belief? And what if the deity actually favors an honest "I don't know" over the self-serving theological rear end kiss? Pascal's Wager is not a strong argument...

      December 16, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • kingnpriest

      Jason, DNA does not disprove the bible, rather it proves it. Each creature does what it does because God has written it's DNA to tell it what to do. Check out Job 38-41 An ancient description of why animals behave as they do. The fact remains that you have chosen not to believe in the God who created you. You can try and make any belief system plausible. I choose life! You have chosen death. BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST!!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Q

      @kingnpriest – Why did God insert a broken gene for egg yolk into humans?

      December 16, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • HellBent

      @kingnpriest,

      Should we keep the "theory" of gravity out, too? It's clear that you flunked high school science.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:59 am |
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About this blog

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.