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Following Up from Last Time

My last post certainly brought out some passionate if occasionally odd responses. Usually I don’t respond to comments in depth. Other commenters are often more than willing to call people on the odd responses, but I’d like to try to figure out just where we all stand. We’re librarians. We’re supposed to be able to read and evaluate information.

First, there’s the “theory” of young earth creationism, which is the belief that the earth is 6,000 years old. I don’t think any of the commenters were defending this belief as such, but it was hard to tell. But let’s be clear. Young earth creationism is baloney, and if you actually believe the earth is 6,000 years old you’re hopelessly ignorant. Don’t bother commenting. Get ye to a library as soon as possible and read up on geology.

Even though no one was defending young earth creationism as a belief, one misguided commenter claimed that I didn’t know the “difference between a scientific law and a scientific theory” and that I “may not like the idea that some people think the Earth is 6000 years old but they are free to theorize as much as people that think one species can, over time, morph into another.”

Woo boy, where to start with that one. Other commenters did a pretty good job of setting the record straight, but I’ll have a go as well. Young earth creationism might be a “theory” in the way that laypersons use the word theory, but young earth creationism isn’t a scientific theory. Period.

To be very simplistic for beginners, science at a basic level works inductively, starting with empirically demonstrable facts and then trying to find explanations to fit those facts. Sometimes it posits hypotheses and then runs experiments to test these hypotheses. Both practices lead to scientific theories.

A scientific theory is the best plausible explanation of a set of given facts that scientists can come up with at the time, and many of them are problematic and full of gaps. They change over time as new facts or new interpretation of facts emerge. They’re just explanations, but explanations that try to be coherent and fit the facts as they are currently understood.

Scientific theories are also falsifiable or they’re not scientific. There has to be a fact or set of facts that, if proven, would upset the theory.

For example, we think the earth is a molten rock hurtling through space that developed over billions of years. Astronomers, geologists, cosmologists, are all pretty sure of this based on all kinds of evidence. However, if we were to find incontrovertible evidence that it was a giant machine designed by white mice to run experiments on human beings, we would have to change our theory.

Young earth creationism works the exact opposite of science. It begins with a claim about creation that isn’t empirically demonstrable at all and ignores or tries to explain away what facts are demonstrable about geology, biology, etc. And it’s not falsifiable. Young earth creationists will always believe God created the earth 6,000 years ago and there’s no possible evidence that can dissuade them from that belief. That’s not science, it’s faith.

If your faith forces you to believe things that are demonstrably false, then your faith is inadequate, but there’s no reason why any religious believer, Christian or otherwise, has to believe the earth is literally 6,000 years old.

The same commenter, in the same comment, also felt compelled to lambast my understanding of the homeschooling movement. I’d opined that some percentage of homeschooling parents weren’t really interested in education, but in protecting their children from things like science and ideas they didn’t already believe.

If you’ve seen the documentary Jesus Camp, or read about the Quiverfull movement, or seen examples of fundamentalist Christian homeschooling science textbooks, or talked to the survivors of far right-wing fundamentalist Christian homeschooling efforts, as I have, then you’d know there’s some scary, anti-science, anti-education homeschooling going on out there that’s basically cultish indoctrination. In addition to indoctrinating their children to believe that people who don’t participate in their cult are evil, they’re also teaching their children young earth creationism.

Again, there’s nothing particularly Christian about it, and I find a lot of the teaching coming out of this movement about as unChristian as it can be.

The response? “Home-schooled children routinely score higher on college entrance exams and in standardize testing. IQ tests also show them achieving high marks.”

That’s dandy, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my claim whatsoever. That there are plenty, or even the vast majority, of homeschooling parents successfully homeschooling their children neither refutes nor even addresses my assertion. I assume that’s not the sort of logical training the successful homeschoolers are getting.

Supposedly, making fun of people who don’t know anything about science trying to teach science to kids is “nasty bashing of anything conservative and Christian.” That’s only true if you equate conservative and Christian with stupid and ignorant, which I don’t. There’s nothing particularly conservative nor Christian about teaching children balderdash science.

I’m a product of Catholic schools myself, and I was never taught that gobbledygook. Of course, the cults who teach this junk often don’t think Catholics are Christians, and there’s a slew of fundamentalist gibberish along those lines. Just shows they don’t know any more about Christianity than they do about science.

Apparently I failed to be fair and balanced, but then again I’m not Fox News, so I don’t have that obligation. For certain people, “balanced” means presenting one side, then presenting the other side as if they had equal weight. But they don’t. Young earth creationism is ridiculous in light of known facts, and pretending it has equal weight to any scientific theory which tries to explain the changing of the earth or species over time is absurd.

As for the commenter who claimed that “biological evolution is idiotic” because “One animal turning into another animal belongs in the Odyssey, not serious science,” that’s certainly quite a comment.  I’ll just say, I think you meant Ovid’s Metamorphoses, not the Odyssey, and leave it at that.

Anyway, I think my point still stands. Skip the textbooks and the indoctrination. Give kids freedom in a library and let them read all sorts of books, not just the ones their parents agree with. They’ll be better off.

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Comments

  1. Wow! Someone really got to the AL! You go, AL!

    • TerroristFriendly says:

      Given your record of making accusations lacking supporting evidence or withholding evidence with the promise of publishing it ‘someday’, you should be taking notes about fact based blog posts. You could learn something.

    • not a hipster librarian says:

      Yes, you go, AL! I especially like this line, “Give kids freedom in a library and let them read all sorts of books, not just the ones their parents agree with. They’ll be better off.”

    • @TerroristFriendly, you’ll love my next blog post making accusations lacking supporting evidence or withholding evidence with the promise of publishing it ’someday.’ It will be about the ALA’s opposition to the Obama Administration related to FISA reauthorization. I guess national security is now part of the ALA mission, at least now that George Soros is providing the funding to recruit a pretty face to carry his water. But don’t worry, I’ll just be making accusations lacking supporting evidence or withholding evidence.

      @not a hipster librarian, thank you. And I agree with your statement. And that’s what I do.

    • not a hipster librarian says:

      Dan — What about Mangaboom?

    • @not a hipster librarian, that was in kindergarten. That’s the singular moment when I started my advocacy efforts. Now I trust her to make the right decisions for herself. Further, in the Mangaboom case, it was the public school principal who said the book was twice as bad as I reported, and she removed it from the school despite an ALA school librarian using an ALA list having made the selection. I did not request that it be removed.

      That said, I’m impressed you remembered/cared. Thank you.

    • @TerroristFriendly, here you go, right up your alley, and in response to your trolling about me:

      “Opposing FISA is the American Library Association’s Latest Directive, on September 11, No Less”

      http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2012/09/ALAOpposesFISA.html

    • TerroristFriendly says:

      Dan, you’re in favor of domestic spying? Your position of “I defend the right to privacy except for the people who don’t deserve it” is untenable, unethical, and un-American. Islamophobia is nothing to be proud of, Dan. You can deny it but your primary ‘news’ sources (hint: these are not links to yourself) embrace it like The World News Daily.

      If this means that the ALA is terrorist friendly for demanding greater individual liberties, then that puts them equal with the Founding Fathers.

    • Joneser says:

      Oh yes, George Soros the boogeyman, who escaped from Communist Hungary – unlike Daddy Koch Sr. who made the family fortune dealing in Soviet Union oil. ooooh, scary!!!

      And this has SO much to do with 99% of the issues facing public libraries today.

    • @TerroristFriendly,

      I know I am being effective when you troll here solely to attack me. I merely had to be part of this community and say, “Wow! Someone really got to the AL! You go, AL!,” something others have said because we know and love the AL, and you commented here to attack me.

      Now you have gone from troll to defamer. You called me essentially the r word, racist, in your case “Islamophobe,” though that is evident nowhere in anything I said. Frankly, it is you who are the racist one for seeing the issue as being racist. Opposing terrorism and/or terrorists does not make one an “Islamophobe.” You own racism makes you think all terrorists are of a single religion, Islam. That’s your problem, not mine.

      And you called me “un-American.” You realize, of course, that the House voted to extend the law by five years, the exact opposite of what the ALA called for? You realize it is not “domestic spying”? You realize you just called everyone who voted for the law, the majority, “un-American’?

      And you are dishonest–you quote me, using actual quotation marks, only I did not say what you quoted and I never would say that.

      The dishonesty continues with the claim I provided a link from WND. I provided many links from many sources. The most important quote I left was from the New York Times, shown below, and it quotes the ACLU leader Judith Krug who changed the ALA from within as saying she supported the library privacy rights of an actual 9/11 terrorist. And you wrote, “If this means that the ALA is terrorist friendly for demanding greater individual liberties, then that puts them equal with the Founding Fathers.” There is no Founding Father or Mother who would approve library patron privacy laws taking precedence over national security regarding a terrorist who killed thousands. What Krug said is shocking in its terror friendliness, she was the de facto leader of the ALA for about 40 years, and this terrorist-supporting ALA leader’s policies have sway in a third of American libraries, according to the author of the Children’s Internet Protection Act, Ernest Istook.

      @TerroristFriendly, I did not give you that name. You did. And now you have earned it. Just like Judith Krug and the ALA:

      “A Nation Challenged: Questions of Confidentiality; Competing Principles Leave Some Professionals Debating Responsibility to Government,” by David E. Rosenbaum, The New York Times, 23 November 2001:

      When the names and photographs were first released, Kathleen Hensman, a public librarian in Delray Beach, Fla., recognized some of the suspected hijackers in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as men who had used the computers in her small library.

      She immediately called the police.

      That broke a Florida law that guarantees confidentiality to library patrons. It also violated a cardinal principle of librarians never to tell the police, in absence of a court order, about who uses their rooms and what books they check out.

      But almost no one thinks Ms. Hensman did the wrong thing. Of course, she will not be prosecuted.

      ….

      Judith Krug, director of the American Library Association’s office of intellectual freedom, said, “I would have felt better if she had followed the Florida law.”

    • TerroristFriendly says:

      Oh, Dan, you’re right. You’re not an Islamophobe. Just because all of the ‘evidence’ that you point to is all related to Islam doesn’t make you a racist. You probably left out ways that the ALA supports other kinds of home based terrorist groups like domestic anti-government “Patriot” militias and race hate groups like the KKK or Neo Nazis. It’s just an accident that you focus entirely on the Islamic ones, right?

      Please.

      Trading freedoms for security is not patriotic, it’s pathetic. Just as you would trade away the freedom for people to read what they want so that they could be ‘protected’ from content that *YOU* and your fellow moral crusaders find offensive. You embody the phrase, “they hate us for our freedom”. People free to make choices about their reading materials? That must piss you off.

    • @TerroristFriendly said, “Just because all of the ‘evidence’ that you point to is all related to Islam doesn’t make you a racist.”

      That is simply because I am reporting on what the ALA has done, not on the state of the world. For example, ALA has, as the New York Times shows, supported the library patron privacy rights of a 9/11 terrorist over his being reported to the police.

      I take the evidence as it comes. In the ALA’s case, it the ALA’s affinity that focuses on a single brand of terrorists, not mine. You can continue to attack me here, to troll and defame, but it does not change the history of ALA’s support for terrorists.

      When people hear ALA supported the 9/11 terrorist, they are shocked. Of course you, @TerroristFriendly, are not. What a surprise.

      You might also like these:

      American Troops Defamed by ALA Councilor Peter McDonald
      http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2008/06/american-troops-defamed-by-ala.html

      ALA Defends Book Confiscation Worldwide by Communist/Terrorist Regimes? SafeLibraries Asks ALA Councilor James Casey to Clarify Anti-American Stand
      http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2008/06/ala-defends-book-confiscation-worldwide.html

      Occupied ALA Ignored Cuban Librarians; OWSLibrary is Not a Real Library and People Knew It Would Be Removed
      http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2011/11/occupied-ala-ignored-cuban-librarians.html

      ALA Joins CAIR to Oppose Radicalization Hearings Sponsored by Congressman Pete King
      http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2011/03/ala-joins-cair-to-oppose-radicalization.html

    • TerroristFriendly says:

      First, link to primary sources, not your blog. Your blog is not a primary source. It is not held to any recognizable standard.

      Second, the “don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger” is tiring. Own your words if you really believe in them.

      Third, your research into this ‘terrorist link’ is not exhaustive in the slightest. As you tirelessly link the ACLU and ALA together, then it would follow that the ALA would support the free speech rights of hate and racist home grown terrorist groups as well. You just go with the politically convenient Islamophobia. That’s reprehensible.

      Your civil rights are yours to keep, not just when they are convenient to have. When you abdicate such freedoms for the specter of security, you betray the ideals of the Founding Fathers. You wrap yourself in the American flag, but you sully it with your words and actions.

      SafeLibraries: Making Decisions for You about What is Safe.

    • @TerroristFriendly, clearly you continue calling me racist because you are and that’s how you think and because you are defending the ALA for being terrorist friendly, as reported in the New York Times, no less, not my blog where I merely referenced the NYT.

      “Third, your research into this ‘terrorist link’ is not exhaustive in the slightest.” Perhaps, but ALA’s Judith Krug admitting to the NYT that she wished the Florida librarian had not called the police on the 9/11 terrorist because it broke his patron privacy rights is pretty telling right there. People hear that and they are shocked. To this very day the ALA advises community libraries to wipe computer records to prevent authorities from obtaining information under the USA PATRIOT Act designed to prevent terrorism. One library director even used the ALA directive to cover the tracks of a guy viewing child porn in the Holyoke Public Library. To me, that makes her an accessory to the crime.

      “As you tirelessly link the ACLU and ALA together, then it would follow that the ALA would support the free speech rights of hate and racist home grown terrorist groups as well. You just go with the politically convenient Islamophobia. That’s reprehensible.” The 9/11 terrorist who killed about 3,000 people was not a “home grown terrorist group.” Further, my pointing out that Judith Krug, the de facto leader of the ALA for four decades, sought to protect the terrorist’s rights has nothing to do whatsoever with “politically convenient Islamophobia.” You obviously keep repeating that defamation for a reason, namely, to cover up the ALA’s support for the 9/11 terrorist. Should I ever figure out who you are, I may bring defamation of character charges against you.

      “When you abdicate such freedoms for the specter of security, you betray the ideals of the Founding Fathers. You wrap yourself in the American flag, but you sully it with your words and actions.” As the NYT article pointed out, no one blames the Florida librarian for turning in the 9/11 terrorist, except Judith Krug speaking on behalf of the ALA and not as an individual. So apparently to you, everyone in the USA except Judith Krug wraps themselves in the American flag only to sully it.

      @TerroristFriendly, if you are going to troll and defame me, at least do it on my blog and stop using the AL’s LJ blog for that purpose. For my part, I will not respond to you further here, even if you repeat the same defamation for the fourth time.

    • TerroristFriendly says:

      You’re right, Dan. You can defame your own character without my help. I apologize for getting your way. I don’t think you want to open the defamation of character charge since you engage in it openly on your blog.

      If all you have is a single instance, that’s a pretty broad brush to paint an entire organization. That’s like saying since you got bad service at Walmart that the entire corporation hates customers. It’s a smear, it’s a libel, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

      I hope AL is enjoying this conversation with a martini.

    • Way Barra says:

      “George Soros”

      “I know I am being effective when you troll here solely to attack me.”

      5+ links to the SafeLibraries blog

      “I take the evidence as it comes.”

      “Should I ever figure out who you are, I may bring defamation of character charges against you.”

      Conspiracy theories, I’m-rubber-you’re-glue-defensiveness, blog pimping, claims of objectivity, and legal threats. That’s a SafeLibraries bingo!

  2. The Librarian With No Name says:

    I have to say, I did not expect the comments section on the last post to devolve (or creatively undesign, I guess) into a heated debate on creationism. I guess I don’t fully understand how someone can take the distribution of information seriously enough to want to be a librarian, while at the same time rejecting the most basic logical underpinnings of the system which produces that information.

    It does make me feel better about taking a nonjudgmental stance towards the material on my own shelves, though. Since becoming a librarian, I’ve struggled with the fact that my library has a whole section dedicated to letting Jenny McCarthy convince my patrons to let their babies die of gold rush-era diseases. After reading some of those comments, I think I’m prepared to accept a few cases of scarlet fever if it means keeping librarians from tossing out books on science and replacing them with Kirk Cameron’s World Encyclopedia.

  3. Snoozy says:

    I think you are completely right on almost everything you said. However, you do see one animal turning in to another in the Odyssey, Circe changes Odysseus’ friends into swine. And yes I am aware that has nothing to do with the crux of your argument!

  4. Cristy says:

    You didn’t write “some percentage of homeschoolers.” You wrote “some LARGE percentage of homeschoolers.” That is an assumption, not fact; no evidence required.

    You also wrote in this article that homeschooled students are not getting logic training. Assumption, not fact; no evidence required.

    Lastly, you wrote that all homeschoolers prevent their children from “reading all sorts of books, not just the ones their parents agree with.” Again, not fact.

    With all this librarian emphasis on access and freedom of information, evolution v. creationism blah blah blah … there seems to be a series of FACTS missing in this debate, and most I read about homeschooling:

    Any study proving that any of your (very general) allegations about homeschoolers are true. Substitute any other group where you read “homeschoolers,” and we’d have a raging argument about stereotypes.

    WRT to Texas, I have no opinion. It is entirely up to TEXAS what they do there. But what I do see here is “opinion,” simply because it has been perpetuated as “fact,” being argued without evidence.

    Proof? Not needed, apparently.

  5. I just assumed he meant the scenes with Circe when he discussed the Odyssey.

    • MD says:

      I did mean Circe. And thank you so much for sharing that MSU study. I’m still digesting the implications of it, and am looking forward to reading more about it from their publication list.

      I’m inclined to think that it says more about breeding differences, which we have a lot of experience with – at least, breeding dogs to be better guards, breeding cows to have more meat, breeding pigs to be light skinned (for some reason, we don’t like eating dark skinned pigs). What’s really interesting to me about this experiment, though, is that this allows us to observe these kinds of changes without any human purpose in the selective breeding. I imagine that this type of research could eventually unlock doors into understanding, for example, the development racial diversity. Regardless, it’s really exciting stuff.

      So, while I don’t necessarily think this yet offers proof for evolution (of course, it’s only been a few tens of thousands of generations), I think it does offer a lot of crucial information on natural changes within populations. These scientists should be proud of what they’re accomplishing. And, of course, if the bacteria ever mutates to the point where it can no longer be classed as E. coli, that will be a paradigm shift in proving biological evolution.

    • Andrew says:

      Huh. I’ll have to go tell my mom’s American Hairless Terriers that they shouldn’t exist since gradual speciation is the realm of magic and fairytales.

  6. Michelle Sellars says:

    Thank you, AL, for going on about this. I could not believe the commenters who were ignorant of the very basics of the science they were arguing against. Not only the fact that a scientific theory is very different from the way a layman uses the term “theory,” but also the commenter who claimed that we can’t prove that humans evolved from monkeys. That’s because they didn’t– evolution claims we evolved from a common ancestor of apes. That people are arguing not with science, but with the idea of science they have in their heads… ridiculous. Please keep rooting for facts to win out!
    In addition, I’m a fan of certain types of home schooling, and had no issue with your comments. You were obviously talking about the specific quiverfull/anti-science “christian”-based subset of homeschoolers (of which there are many). I don’t always agree with you 100% AL, but I’m certainly glad you’re writing!

  7. Janson says:

    A completely nonsense response that completely dodged the points we were making yesterday.

    Your whole rant WAS a condemnation of homeschoolers as being taught by the typical elitist created stereotype of some backwoods freak that doesn’t believe in any of that “fan-say book redi’n stuff” who must also be racist or something.

    From yesterday:
    “I know some large percentage of homeschooling parents aren’t interested in education so much as making sure their children aren’t exposed to any people or ideas the parents find threatening (e.g., science or any beliefs they don’t happen to have), but some of them do have a point.”

    You try to defend that today by saying:
    “If you’ve seen the documentary Jesus Camp, or read about the Quiverfull movement, or seen examples of fundamentalist Christian homeschooling science textbooks, or talked to the survivors of far right-wing fundamentalist Christian homeschooling efforts, as I have, then you’d know there’s some scary, anti-science, anti-education homeschooling going on out there that’s basically cultish indoctrination”

    So where does this come out to “large percentage”? You watched a documentary and read one book and BAM!?

    And you have the nerve to knock on creationists? They are basically reaching conclusions using more than what you did here!

    And what about the atheist, left-orientated homeschoolers? Are you concerned about them, or do you just assume all homeschoolers are Christian fundamentalists? Are those kids learning “correctly”, or do they not make a convenient target?

    Point #2

    “A scientific theory is the best plausible explanation of a set of given facts that scientists can come up with at the time, and many of them are problematic and full of gaps. They change over time as new facts or new interpretation of facts emerge. They’re just explanations, but explanations that try to be coherent and fit the facts as they are currently understood.”

    In other words, what some of us told you yesterday!

    Evolution is a THEORY. Not a Law. You can apply whatever brand of definition of theory you want to try to enshrine it in a protective bubble above stuff like creationism or whatever, the conclusion is still the same. You being offended by it being grouped in is of no relevance.

    Not one of the comments supposedly countering what some of wrote even remotely touched on that. They did their knee-jerk anti-anything that may be construed as Christian and thus “non-scientific” act of condemning anyone that just doesn’t shut up and go with it. Despite “problematic gaps” in evolution.

    It’s not our problem if the theory isn’t completely fleshed out so it can be LAW. I’m no more going to demand anyone believe in Evolution then I would, if I was a fundamentalist, Demand that you believe that it all happened 6 thousand years ago.

    There are physicists today that doubt parts of the THEORY of Relativity. What must you think of them?

    Carl Sagan (as far from religious as you can get) said it perfectly.

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”

    That goes for BOTH sides. You think the Earth is that young? Then prove it!

    You think we evolved from a common ancestor (Sorry if from “monkeys” was offensive)? Then prove it!

    Both sides take to the issue like religious zealots.

    • roymacIII says:

      Evolution is a THEORY. Not a Law. You can apply whatever brand of definition of theory you want to try to enshrine it in a protective bubble above stuff like creationism or whatever, the conclusion is still the same. You being offended by it being grouped in is of no relevance.

      Nobody was arguing that evolution isn’t a theory.
      The point was that creationism is not actually a theory. At best, creationism is what is known as a hypothesis. I say “at best” because creationism is generally regarded as not being something that one can test. So, yes: Evolution is, scientifically, “above stuff like creationism.”

      It’s not our problem if the theory isn’t completely fleshed out so it can be LAW.

      This betrays a pretty serious misunderstanding of how science works. Soemthing doesn’t become a scientific law just because it’s really fleshed out. Nor does the fact that something isn’t a scientific law mean that there’s serious disagreement about *what* is happening.

      The Law of Gravity says that “Every point mass attracts every single point mass by a force pointing along the line intersecting both points. The force is directly proportional to the product of the two masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the point masses.” That’s *what* happens. If you want to know *why*, you turn to theory.

      The “what” of Evolution–the idea that the creatures that are alive today have ancesters who are not of the same species–isn’t really under serious debate. That’s pretty widely accepted as *what* happened. *How* that happens is under debate. The evidence we have says that there used to be Xs but now there are Zs, and that somewhere in between there were Ys. How that happened is what people are arguing about, not *whether* it happened.

      There are physicists today that doubt parts of the THEORY of Relativity. What must you think of them?

      Theories change over time, and that’s great. That’s how science works. If theories *didn’t* change, that would be a problem. The mistake is in thinking that because people have disagreement about the mechanisms of evolutionary change, that there’s some serious doubt about whether evolutionary changes happen. There’s not.

      There is a tremendous body of evidence that shows how creatures have changed over time. The mechanism of those changes isn’t yet fully understood, but that doesn’t cast doubt on whether human beings and modern apes shared a common ancester in the distant past.

  8. Herman Cummings says:

    If pastors, priests. rabbis, and “so called” Christians would stop their false (old Earth) and foolish (young

    Earth) teachings, and start promoting the truth of Genesis (Observations of Moses), then there would hardly be any

    room for the ridiculous teaching of evolution.

    Collectively, Bible believers are so “blind”, that their approach to Genesis is a joke. Instead of seeking the

    truth, they continue to support the current lies and foolishness of Creationism. Genesis does not have any

    “Creation accounts”. When you keep telling a person that their car is running out of gas, and they refuse to look

    at the fuel gauge and go to the gas station, you begin to wonder how “dumb” they are.

    Perhaps they are just like the Jews, who value tradition over the truth of scripture.

    Is it strange that Atheists want the cram their false beliefs down everyone else’s throats, without allowing a

    (valid) opposing view?

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com

    • Lola says:

      Which rabbis believe in young earth Creationism? Also, which scripture are you referring to when talking about Jews? The one that we don’t believe in? 0-o

    • Get A Clue says:

      So teaching evolution is ridiculous, but YOUR interpretation of Genesis is valid as scientific truth? And you want to insult the intelligence and beliefs of Jews, atheists and Christians with differing beliefs with this argument?

      Being a religious fanatic who “sees” the truth doesn’t make your argument valid. Please provide SCIENTIFIC support for your (strange) argument.

  9. J says:

    I do not remember who said this first but the easiest argument for those who think a scientific theory means “open for debate” is to drop a rock on their foot and say gravity is a theory and actually nobody knows what causes it yet, there is your foot with a large dent in it.

  10. Randal Powell says:

    For anyone who is confused, here is the Scientific Method:

    1) Gather evidence
    2) Make a hypothesis
    3) Test the Hypothesis –> Back to Step 1

    That’s all. It’s just a process of continuous improvement based on observable phenomena (i.e., empirical senses). The process can be used for anything. It is simple and easy. No one should be confused by it.

    As for homeschooling, I agree with AL’s last post that:

    “For the parents who really wanted their children to be educated, maybe it would be better to avoid the schools completely. For most parents, that’s not possible, so maybe supplementing the schools would be a better suggestion.”

    I think that the many free, high quality online resources available today make homeschooling and supplemental learning much easier than it was previously. KhanAcademy.org, Udacity.com, and Coursera.org are good places to start.

  11. Annoyed Librarian says:

    One of the occasional malicious joys of being a blogger is feeding the gremlins after midnight and seeing what happens.

  12. ScienceGun says:

    Mmm. I’ve only recently started following you, but I like you much better now. XD

  13. Mr. West says:

    AL….”We’re librarians. We’re supposed to be able to read and evaluate information”…..that is a joke…right?? Librarians “find” information, they do not have the academic background to “evaluate” information (or even read it for that matter)! Don’t forget your place in the universe….and it is a low one!

    • @Mr. West:

      When cometh the day we lowly ones
      Through quiet reflection and great dedication
      Master the art of karate
      Lo, we shall rise up
      And then we’ll make the bugger’s eyes water.

    • Mr. West says:

      Ha Ha! I like that Dan!!

    • Michelle S. says:

      Actually we are supposed to be able to evaluate information based on the source. That is a pretty important part of information literacy.

    • thelibrarina says:

      A reference librarian’s job cultivates a high degree of information literacy. Information literacy actually requires us to be able to evaluate an information resource. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to tell a peer-reviewed resource on the Spanish Inquisition from a Monty Python sketch.

      In an academic setting, a librarian is not going to be able to fully grok, if you will, every subject in the collection. I don’t know anything about molecular biology, but information literacy will help me choose relevant and incisive works on everything from molecular biology to nuclear physics to underwater basketweaving. (Note: To date, there are no seminal works in the field of underwater basketweaving.)

      However, since you’ve also implied that we’re illiterate (“or even read it for that matter”), and insulted us in your closing sentence, I doubt you’re actually interested in the qualifications of librarianship. So feel free to ignore me and have a good day.

    • Cristy says:

      @thelibrarina: I actually agree with you. I guess I’m wondering why librarians are exempt from insult and stereotypes, but certain groups of patrons are not, as evidenced by the subject of AL’s last two posts?

      My problem lies with how only SOME material is deemed acceptable, and some patrons’ rights are to be upheld, but not all.

      And that is pretty much “par for the course.”

    • me says:

      Librarian’s are exempt from stereotype and insult? What world do you live in? Mr. West if you haven’t been evaluating information based on its source when providing it to patrons your place in the universe is even lower than the rest of us.

  14. noutopianlibrarian says:

    I don’t expect every word that AL posts to have citations behind it. The general assertion concerning a “large percentage” seems accurate enough given my exposure to the homeschooling movement via some of the same media that AL based her comments on. Furthermore, if the most common reason for homeschooling, as cited by a home-schooling survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2007, is “a desire to provide religious or moral instruction,” this would provide additional support for AL’s assertion, with the caveat that not all of these refugees from the evils of public school education are the ignorant who reject evolutionary biology, among other interesting perspectives. Still, a large percentage rings true to these ears. Still, it is not just these homeschoolers – an astoundingly large percentage of people in the U.S. share this ignorance – 68% of Republicans according to a 2007 Gallup poll. How many of these are Christian extremists and supporters of religious-based homeschooling is unknown, but I wouldn’t reject a “large percentage” out of hand. Just saying.

    • Cristy says:

      Excellent start, thank you! The report (brief) you mention is here:

      http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009030.pdf

      and states that “The reason reported by the highest percentage of homeschoolers’ parents as being most important was to provide religious or moral instruction (36 percent). For an additional 21 percent, the most important reason was concern about the school environment, and for 17 percent it was dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools.”

      Only 1/3 of the homeschoolers cited religious OR moral instruction as their reason for homeschooling; they were the highest percentage, not the majority. By my now limited math skiss, a full 64% do NOT homeschool for primarily a religious or moral reason.

      Actually reading a little deeper than what we are “spoon-fed” helps to educate us better.

      Back to stereotypes, so much easier, eh?

    • Cristy says:

      That’s SKILLS, not skiss. Sorry for the typo. (I’m between indoctrinating my child against the wrongful labeling of pandas as near extinction and teaching her how to bash infidels over the head with a NT.)

    • me says:

      A large percentage does not equal a majority. Greater than 1/3 of a particular population does equal a large percentage.

    • Cristy says:

      LARGER are those that DO NOT. But that wasn’t the slant of the post.

      I’ll leave this to the “smarter folk” who send their kids to public schools. I have to go find my child, who not being in one of those public schools MUST be running around trying to figure out how to read all alone. For surely, I do no educating.

    • me says:

      Your over sensitivity on this subject is clearly clouding your mind from being able to make a coherent argument on this subject. You’re just resorting to useless sarcasm.

      There are quite a few (sorry I don’t have a hard figure to justify that term) homeschooler’s that are a joy to work with because they have a much greater understanding of using the library. That doesn’t change the fact that 36% is still a hefty percentage.

    • Cristy says:

      The entire argument is useless as is your correction here.

      What AL and the other librarians that have argued so vehemently for is simply another way to exclude a group of patrons because they don’t agree with their ideology, which flies in the face of what librarianship is supposed to be about. I’ve discarded the argument before it even gets started because it is based on stereotypes. Sorry it’s not to your liking. You’ll get over it. And the sarcasm is hardly useless when it points out how absolutely stupid someone else’s stereotype is.

      It is difficult to lend credence to someone’s opinion when they begin their argument with ridiculous exaggerations. It is even more so when others defend the stereotype. In all, this has been a colossal waste of time over something that no one but Texas can resolve (in spite of all these librarians thinking that by stating their opinions loudly enough, it is somehow going to impact anyone outside of their own sphere of belief.)

      Glad, by the way, that you’ve found a few homeschoolers a ‘joy to work with.’ Most of the librarians that have commented here would be a nightmare for the homeschooling patrons that I know. And that’s wrong.

      Best wishes.

  15. Solo Boy says:

    Ah! To paraphrase Wendy in the movie Hook: “So, AL, you’ve become an ALA advocate.”

    Just like the ALA, you are using stereotypes and “collection development policy” ‘logic’ to whack groups and individuals you disagree with…

    I hear that the ALA has an opening for a director in their newly created Department of Political Affairs. Only qualifications are ability to hurl elephants and come up with clever stereotypes of the ALA’s enemies list.

    Nice going AL!

    SB

    • Annoyed Librarian says:

      I considered responding to this comment, but since there’s nothing about either the ALA or politics in the post, I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.

  16. About the theory/law dispute:

    “Law” does not mean the same thing in science as it does in general discussions, just as “theory” does not. A scientific law has to have exact numbers attached to it; an equation with which exact, testable results can be derived that are always true for a given set of conditions.

    A scientific theory does not need such numbers, only a general basis which is consistently testable and is reasonably consistently (though not necessarily) true for a given set of conditions.

    With enough of the right sort of testing, a true scientific theory can be given an equation and numbers and thus be promoted to a scientific law.

    It just so happens that early 21st-century science is not ready to put the numbers on evolution to be able to assess whether it is a scientific law and, if so, what the relevant equations would involve. We have some idea of what the structure of the equation would be (X change in an organism will happen in Y time given an alteration of conditions between extents A and B) but nobody is yet in a position to state what X, Y, A and B are. Until then, and provided it is not disproven or superceded by a competing theory, evolution is definitely a theory rather than a law, hypothesis or anything else.

    By saying the Earth is 6000 years old (or, depending on who you speak to, some other precise number), the young earth creationism idea cannot, by definition, be a theory. Either it is true (in which case it’s a law thanks to the exact number already being provided) or it’s false (in which case calling it a hypothesis is more of a compliment than it deserves).

  17. FinallyaLibrarian says:

    One reason many educated and intelligent people have issues with classic geology is it’s dependence on radio carbon dating. The established theory is based on facts related to measurements. However, the speed of light may not have been constand over time, thus “thowing off” the measurements. Not too hard to find references on this!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_speed_of_light#References

    This underscores the validity of comments about the zealous nature of both religion and science.

    Basically, neither side can claim full knowledge (if they are honest with themselves). From my perspective, the Creationists I have met were generally more open to hearing other ideas than evolutionists.

    BTW, moral education has nothing to do with science education so those that confuse the two are not really thinking hard enough about this topic.

    We sent out children to private Christain schools mainly for the MORAL aspect of their education. They were taught all concepts relating to the age of the earth and human development, not just the Biblical one. We wanted our children EDUCATED not indoctrinated!

    A truly interesting study would be to survey Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Atheistic private primary schools in the U.S. to see how each teach these topics. My personal guess is that Christian schools would (overall) be the most balanced.

  18. Morse says:

    Since the thread has gotten somewhat off topic, I have a question about how this relates to library service, since some librarians appear to argue that disagreeing with young earth creationism–for which there is absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever–or believing that at least some percentage of homeschoolers are taught young earth creationism as science and that this is harmful to their science education, is somehow “excluding” some group of library users.

    Which group is excluded? Who wouldn’t be able to use libraries and get help? The only group I could see who would be excluded would be those who wanted libraries to buy young earth creationist books and then put them in the science section of the library rather than the religion section. Would any librarians really do that?

    This isn’t a matter of politics or ideology, which is what seems to be loading the conversation on every side. Arguing against the problems with evolutionary theory or radiocarbon dating is one thing, whereas presenting any scientific evidence that the earth is 6000 years old is quite another.

    Librarians have an educational role in acquiring and classifying information and in providing reference help. Since there is no truly neutral access to information, should we classify books about a belief based on religious faith with the religion books, or with the science books because the people writing them claim they are science or adhere to scientific standards?

  19. I Like Books says:

    Nobody is going to read this because I’m late to the party. But anyway…

    A scientific law is not a theory that graduated. Think of it as a curve that was fitted to a set of data points. Why is the pressure of a gas inversely related to its volume? Boyle didn’t know, but he made some measurements, and that’s what it was. Why is the gravitational attraction of two bodies inversely proportional to the
    square of their separation? Newton didn’t know– he said so himself. But, from astronomical measurement made by others, it seemed to be the case.

    A theory is a deductive (not inductive) system that consists of a set of principles or postulates, plus definitions and constraints. From those, one can predict measurable phenomena in such a way that if the measurement is attempted and the prediction was wrong, the theory has been disproven. It can’t be proven, but it might be disproven. It’s not necessarily THE best explanation– there might be many possible explanations. For an example, physicists abandoned Newtonian gravity for Einstein’s theory long before Newtonian gravity had really been played out. A theory is preferred if it’s simple, beautiful, has a wide scope and predicts diverse things, and especially if it prompts experiments that would have been meaningless without the theory to interpret them– general relativity and the speeds of clocks at different heights is one example, a matter that Newton’s contemporaries never even thought was in question.

    As for young earth creationism, I’ll just say that at the high school level the students should be taught mainstream science– the stuff that is generally practiced by the majority of scientists. High school is not the place for fringe theories, or even to present unresolved scientific questions so that “the students can decide for themselves”. Or we could save a lot of time by asking the high school kids if supersymmetry is the correct successor to the standard model of particle physics?

  20. Amused says:

    http://i.imgur.com/xRCJN.jpg

    Now, I’m not saying this article is not a teenage troll making fun of homeschooled Christian kids in New Zealand…but I am saying it has the potential to illustrate the point quite effectively.

    It’s from the October 3 edition of Northern Outlook, a New Zealand paper. Available online here: http://www.fairfaxmedia.co.nz/ad-centre/newspaper-details.dot?id=10760 and you can view the published article with a free 7 day trial.