back to article US judge says University can ignore Christian course credits

A federal judge has told the University of California that when considering applicants, it has the constitutional right to ignore high school course work grounded in the notion that the Bible is infallible. On Friday, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Judge James Otero denied claims from a group of Christian high …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Boffin

    Hurrah! Sanity prevails!

    What did these people expect from the judge? Let's try religion in maths, shall we: "Professor, I cannot solve this equations because the answer may be 666, which is against my religious beliefs"

    (Yes, I know, Calvin tried it)

    However, given the lack of self-scrutiny these people have, will they appeal?

  2. Gordon Pryra
    Pirate

    It scares me so much

    That the big red button rests in the hands of a bunch of people with such a medieval mindset. (lets just ignore the way that their leaders are elected)

    Anyone who believes in any deity is suspect, but to enforce your irrational views on an education system, just perpetuates this childlike view of the world and creates yet enough generation who fail to take responsibility for their own actions.

    Wankers tbh

  3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Joke

    Ahh, these American judges......!!

    Truly it is said that the Brits and the Yanks are one nation seperated by a common language.

    Looking through the 'fun' edition of the Wackypedia produces this definition of 'animus', a word which Jung invented:

    "...It is the personification of the masculine qualities in a woman's psyche. These qualities may include rationality, authority, objectivity, initiative, courage, conviction, action, aggression, and brutality..."

    Do you think the 'learned' judge means 'animosity'? Of course, I could just go and alter the wacky definition....

  4. Dark Hippo
    Thumb Up

    At last...

    someone over there sees some sense!

  5. Ferry Boat

    Remember me on this computer

    "failed to adequately teach critical thinking and modern historical analytic methods."

    Critical thinking is what is currently missing in a vast majority of the population.

    I believe homoeopathy works.

    I believe mobile phone masts will make my children thick.

    I believe wi-fi will give me cancer.

    I believe MS Vista will make my computer faster.

    I believe the earth is 6,000 years old.

    No no no. Please think. Please teach your children to think. Don't just gobble down this mumbo jumbo and spurt it out. Gits.

    Anyway, Jennifer Monk, good name/job link.

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Go

    Intelligent Design takes an early bath again!

    Good to see the sneaky machinations of the anti-Darwinistas defeated again. I just hope the same backbone continues to be shown by our judicary here in the UK. Religion has no place in schools, other than as a historic look into social control and exploitation, maybe psychiatric studies into non-logical group thought thinking, and legal studies of such conmen as Jimmy Swaggert. Sorry if that offends the religeous out there, but you can take your social crutch and shove it somewhere it's not going to distract my children from real education.

  7. Naadir Jeewa
    Boffin

    Public faith schools

    More evidence methinks that publicly funded faith schools do more for kids than forcing religiously conservative parents to resort to private schools whose curriculum can't be standardized.

  8. Mark

    hmmm

    "It appears the UC is attempting to secularize private religious schools," said their attorney, Jennifer Monk of Advocates for Faith and Freedom.

    And that's a bad thing?

  9. dervheid
    Joke

    Their attorney's name is MONK?

    Coincidence?

  10. Mark
    Coat

    @Ahh, these American judges......!!

    Actually "animus" is exactly what he means - it describes a feeling of animosity...

    Mine is the one with the dictionary in the pocket!

  11. Neil

    @Dodgy Geezer

    Still better than the NBC reporter who yesterday described Phelps as the most 'winningest' Olympian ever.

  12. Jonathan Adams
    Happy

    RE: Gordon Pryra

    "Anyone who believes in any deity is suspect, but to enforce your irrational views on an education system, just perpetuates this childlike view of the world and creates yet enough generation who fail to take responsibility for their own actions."

    How strongly do you believe that?

    Belief with no room for compromise _ON EITHER SIDE_ of the argument is irrational.

  13. dervheid
    Stop

    Oh and BTW...

    If these 'students' already believe that the contents of the Bible are "absolute and infallible", then their 'studies' are clearly complete, and they can have no use for any further 'education' of any sort. Clearly a university place would be wasted on them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    "Rights"

    The way I see it, the Universities have the right to refuse entry to candidates that they deem to have insufficient or irrelevant qualifications, in the same way that the parents of these children have the right to send them to whichever school they feel fits with their particular (albeit backward) world view.

    Anyway, what are they complaining about? If this Bob Jones University that wrote the text book is so great, why don't they send their kids there? Oh wait, you mean employers would laugh them out of the interview room? Oh dear, better get on the phone to your lawyer again...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    American Legal System in Rational Decision Shocker!!1

    It truly highlights the shocking situation that both of our mature democracy's find themselves in, when we have to celebrate a decision that to any sane person seems obvious.

    I despair that people even still read "Jesus's Bumper Book of Blags" but it to try and be passed of in a court of law, as anything other than a work of fiction with vague historical references really troubles me.

    The sooner we can get Steve Jobs elevated to deity status and we can put the whole organised religion thing to bed.

  16. Tony Hoyle

    Anuimus?

    So the judge is saying it's OK to reject credits (meaning qualifications?? that language thing again) provided you can prove the course didn't appeal to the male side of your nature.

    You're screwed if you're on a cookery course then.

    Of course the law is equal to all.. so it's OK for christian universities to ignore secular qualifications too, and black universities to ignore white qualifications, etc. etc.... what a mess the US has become..

  17. Joel Stobart
    Joke

    @Dodgy Geezer

    I think the judge was right

    "an Animus is an undead monster created through the use of both arcane and divine magic. They are unique to the Great Kingdom and its successor states. "

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animus+(Dungeons+%26+Dragons)

    And the judge was right, the university was not acting like an undead monster.

    - Joel

  18. Joe K

    Wait till Bush hears about this

    He'll soon veto or undo it somehow, retarded bible-muppet that he is.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dodgy Geezer

    From www.merriamwebster.com (An American dictionary)

    Main Entry: an·i·mus Listen to the pronunciation of animus

    Pronunciation: \ˈa-nə-məs\

    Function: noun

    Etymology: Latin, spirit, mind, courage, anger

    Date: 1816

    1 : basic attitude or governing spirit : disposition, intention

    2 : a usually prejudiced and often spiteful or malevolent ill will

    3 : an inner masculine part of the female personality in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung — compare anima

    An encyclopaedia will only cover def. 3 because the others are purely linguistic and are dictionary entries.

    Jung didn't "invent" the word, as you can see it was around in 1816. 59 years before his birth and roughly 100 years before his use in this context.

    I don't know if you're taking a swipe at the judge, Americans or wikipedia. However you miss on all three.

    I think the learned judge meant 'animus' as that is what he said.

  20. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Boffin

    @Dodgy Geezer

    Go look in the Concise Oxford Dictionary: animus: animosity in speech or action (second meaning)

    </pedantry>

  21. A J Stiles
    Coat

    "failed to adequately teach ....."

    Dunno about Bob Jones University, but there's apparently some secondary school out there who failed to adequately teach about not splitting infinitives!

  22. milan
    Thumb Up

    @ Dodgy Geezer

    Excuse me while I have a chuckle about the use of wikipedia as a reliable source.

    Jung did not invent the word, unless of course he was around when the original Latin word was dreamed up, in Latin it means an intense dislike or hatred.

    Good on the judge though, it should be up to the university about what they accept and don't.

  23. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    Wafflypedia.

    There's a 'fun" edition? Where do I find this and exactly how does it differ from the better-known "turgid inaccurate crap" edition?

  24. Mark
    Coat

    Wow!!

    I am amazed, a victory for common sense! I merely await the flames of religious wrath that are sure to imminently appear. I will therefore pre-emptively submit a riposte.

    A US judge says a University can ignore a course that isn't academically rigorous and balanced. As far as I can tell he is not saying it can be rejected because it is religious. I think this is a good thing, the University should be allowed to decide what courses they consider are sufficiently balanced and rigorous to count towards their entry requirements.

    Cheers... mine is the fireproof one...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Hurray

    Now, let's see if Oxford and Cambridge will have the guts to reject some of the stuff taught in some "acedemies" sponsored by the Taleban elder friends of Antonio Bliar.

    After all it is not just the US where fanatic drivel is being used to brainwash kids. Thanks to Antonio Bliar we now got that too. Granted, it is not in such a blatant form, it is much more subtle, but we got it none the less.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    What happened to science in the US

    "It appears the UC is attempting to secularize private religious schools,"

    Not at all, if you wish to lie to your children you're welcome to, Just don't expect a university to take into account a student's excellent knowledge of Humpty Dumpty's moving personal story when applying for a veterinary course on poultry.

  27. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Flame

    Hypocrites.

    "It appears the UC is attempting to secularize private religious schools."

    Yes Jennifer Monk, you are part right - but it does only APPEAR that way. To the rest of us educated mortals this is a very sensible decision and is to be applauded. These fervent christian egos would try to block the use of the scientific method at all costs if they could, but then without shame try to accuse UC of secularisation when they make a decision to quite rightly denouce christian dogma as "truth".

    When the revolution comes there won't be a wall long enough for these hypocrite idiots.

  28. James Bassett
    Thumb Up

    Maybe there is hope for America after all

    Clearly, not having even the most basic academic understanding necessary to complete the course, these students were intent on disrupting the teaching with constant interuptions and contradictory statements so this is a victory for common sense. It's just surprising that it has come from the US.

    You do wonder whether we would have had the same outcome in the UK?

    I did find the title of the book amusing. "A US History...". If, as the article suggests, it is based solely on the Bible, I don't recall the US getting much of a mention!

  29. Roger Pearse

    US courts worthless

    It's a reminder of how politicised the US court system is. After all, if the course is properly accredited, to ignore it merely because it's taught from a religious point of view is merely discrimination. The purpose of the judgement is to make it impossible to run (e.g.) Roman Catholic universities by derecognising their courses. That doesn't sound to me like something that a judge should be deciding; or, indeed, a politician.

    Somehow I don't think that Moslem courses would get that treatment. So all we're dealing with is more politically correct hate against those they dislike. We really need a campaign to root out political correctness, it seems to me - the source of nearly all the bile, discrimination and interference with our rights in our days.

  30. Anony mouse
    Joke

    Pfffft

    haha

    bwahahaha

    ahaha

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA

    "What do you mean all my course work isn't worth the paper it's printed on"

    Reg Vardy, take note

  31. Adrian Jackson
    Stop

    Objection!

    This ruling clearly contradicts the evidence of the Bible, and is therefore unenforceable.

  32. Jonathan McCulloch
    Thumb Up

    At last! Some sign of sanity

    I was most pleased to read this. It's good to see even in the teeth of sweeping fundamentalism the courts can at least act rationally.

    -- Jon

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Yay!

    <- Flames for the fires we shall all surely burn in!

  34. P. Lee Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "...failed to adequately teach critical thinking and modern historical analytic methods."

    ... and this would be different from a secular US university in what way?

    My middle year at a UK uni I went on an exchange to the US. I cleaned out their 300/400 level CompSci classes but the exams were multiple-choice. The correct answer was always the one lifted verbatim from the textbook written by the incumbent professor - all other answers which said the same thing were "wrong". At best it was knowledge accumulation - critical thinking didn't come into it.

    Don't even get me started on how Americans deal with history!

    Paris, because one US history major (university senior year) thought Paris was the capital of Europe

  35. Rachel Greenham
    Happy

    trying to hold my feeling in but... can't...

    Aaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    -breathe-

    hahahahahahahahahahaha

  36. dervheid
    Thumb Up

    Advocates for Faith and Freedom.

    It would seem to be from their title that 'faith' comes before 'freedom' in their philosophy.

    Tells you all you need to know.

    Good decision by the Judge, IMHO.

  37. Pastor Pasta

    Some tolerance of us religious fanatics, please!

    We of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster abhor the intolerance of all who seek to prevent anybody from holding religious views, however ridiculous.

    We are one in brother- and sister-hood with those cruelly persecuted by the university in this way.

  38. Matthew Ellen
    Happy

    :D

    News like this makes me smile.

    The thought that people believe the Bible is 100% true makes me laugh aloud.

  39. Liam

    no different

    from me writing a thesis stating star wars is real...

    seriously - when is the bible belt going to realise everyone else thinks they are nuts? surely higher education and fairy tales dont go hand in hand. higher education is about learning yourself not being told to believe all this make believe rubbish

  40. Graham Dawson

    Infallibility of scripture

    No kidding. Only idiots claim the bible is absolutely infallible. This is why christian creeds since the very first have called the Bible "inspired by god" - and made sure to point out that it was written by imperfect men. The perfectly inspired word of god is infallible, but we aren't.

    No comment on the court case though. I don't have enough information to judge and when it comes to christians (or any religious people) in court, there's always more detail tot he arguments than the media lets on.

    Also, where's the Paris and IT angles? I see neither!

  41. NB
    Flame

    oh lol

    Bunch of religious nutcases are being told they're idiots. Which they clearly are. Religion and Education should never mix, in fact, the sooner we abolish that bloody awful culturally perpetuated mental illness that is religion the better.

    Face it. It's bollocks, complete and utter bollocks.

    "Hello Mr Skyfairy! Save me from my so-called sins, defined by 2000 year old text written by a bunch of misogynists who clearly needed to take some drugs and get laid, because you know, like, something... ummm yes all the problems that faced them and their ideas on sexuality and critical thinking are SOOO FUCKING RELEVANT to the world today..."

    I think not. Religion == Bullshit. It's a fact, get over it. You may stop your internal dialogue. Grow the fuck up and put your pathetic psychological crutch down.

    To quote the wisdom of the internet:

    "Christianity:

    The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force for your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    Makes perfect sense."

    The same basically applies to all religions, so let's have a little rationality here and stop polluting childrens minds with this steaming pile of guilt ridden social control-oriented horse shit.

    Thank you, now here's Tom with the weather.

  42. Bad Beaver
    Thumb Up

    Reason prevails

    in California, of all places.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    IT astounds me..

    ..everytime i read crap like this, how the hell this shit can happen in one of the most wealthy countries of the world. We humans are truely one fucked up bunch.

    After i grab my coat, i shall go start working on launching my own suicide cult. It's the white, robelike one. Thanks.

  44. Edwin
    Coat

    *sigh*

    Do I correctly interpret Ms. Monk's comment to mean that my coursework in Afghanistan on applied chemistry at the Taliban High School should also be recognised?

    Mine's the one with the copy of 'Practical applications of unstable compounds' by Prof. bin Laden in the pocket

  45. Reg Varney
    Thumb Up

    Kinda inappropriate, but ...

    ... it makes me want to shout "hallelujah!" ;-)

    Maybe the yanks are finally starting the long march away from godbotherdom

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Amen

    Amen to that!

    Mine's the one with the spear hole in the side

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Not recognising is not the same as forcing a change

    The fact is simply that people can still learn whatever they want, however a state institution does not have to recognise courses that don't meet minimum standards. This is by the way not restricted to "Christian versions" of courses, since substandard courses from regular colleges also get ignored.

  48. Robert Hill
    Stop

    Silly judges...don't they know better??

    Oh come ON people, don't you know that you have to accept any faith-based silliness that comes masquerading as "teaching" these days? So please judges, please accept these teachings that religions motivations matter more than personal will and inventiveness, please accept the teaching of religious dogma pretending to be factual and historical, and please pretend that these 5 students got some edukatun while at their Christian-themed worship sessions, er, high school.

    And then while you are at it, please accept MY children's high-school classwork in black-magic, spells and potions, Druid culture and history, and the physics of levitation as real qualifying coursework for transfer credits. They are just as well based in historical facts as any Christian-themed teachings, and have actually been around longer...

    Was going to use the "IT?" symbol, but frankly this kind of stuff impacts the US's ability to produce thinking, educated students that will populate our industry, so I guess it is very important in the long run...

  49. Richard Scratcher
    Jobs Halo

    Mythjudgment

    How dare this university ignore course credits from the BJU. I bet they recognise and give credit to the diligent study of other mythologies, such as Greek, Hindu, Norse, Chinese, etc.

    Why pick on the Christians?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advocates for Faith and Freedom

    Faith and Freedom; An oxymoron surely?

  51. Bill Fresher

    @Gordon Prya

    "Wankers tbh"

    That's a very aggresive stance to take against people, who aren't harming anyone as far as I can tell, simply because they have different beliefs than you.

  52. Joe

    @ Richard Scratcher

    "I bet they recognise and give credit to the diligent study of other mythologies, such as Greek, Hindu, Norse, Chinese, etc."

    How much do you want to bet? Have you researched this? Or is it just a hunch?

    Also: hurrah for common sense! As a child I didn't know what to believe, but the older I get the more I'm convinced that religion is hogwash and I don't know how any sane adult could fall for it.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    A gentle reminder

    For all who were left behind in the eastern islands of the Atlantic and who still support monarchy, this decision came from the Ninth CIrcus (Circuit), whose decisions are the most frequently overturned of all federal court districts in US.

  54. Daniel

    More than Just the Christian Schools

    "...failed to adequately teach critical thinking and modern historical analytic methods."

    Unfortunately, that describes most Public High School history curricula as well. Typically in America, history is taught simply as a bunch of facts with little to string them together. Analyzing historical data isn't taught until college - if even then.

    I have mixed feelings about the ruling. I personally feel a college should be able to dismiss out of hand anything it feels like. That license comes with a caveat though - I don't support public funding in education to begin with. All universities should be private - the UC shouldn't exist in the first place :)

  55. David Evans

    @Bill Fresher

    "That's a very aggresive stance to take against people, who aren't harming anyone as far as I can tell, simply because they have different beliefs than you."

    Actually, by demanding access to courses that their *ahem* "education" makes them thoroughly unsuited for, they are wasting time, money and potentially damaging the education prospects of other students. And that's before we get on to the basic corrosiveness of fundamentalist dogma no matter which version of sky fairy worship they follow. So yes, they are harming people and "wankers" covers it quite nicely.

  56. Daniel

    Oh, and for the reading impaired

    those are High school credits from a curriculum designed by a University. They are NOT University credits as some commenters seem to believe.

  57. ekimdam
    Coat

    @Jonathan Adams

    "Belief with no room for compromise _ON EITHER SIDE_ of the argument is irrational."

    While your statement is true about arguments of a rational nature, belief in any religion without compromise is, by it's very nature, an irrational argument and therefore cannot be argued.

    Not believing is not a belief, rather a rationalization that the belief is false.

    Coat please... The one with "Truth" on the front and "Science" on the back.

  58. Phil Standen

    @Bill Fresher

    "That's a very aggresive stance to take against people, who aren't harming anyone as far as I can tell, simply because they have different beliefs than you."

    If only that were true. They are harming mant many children that are being indoctrinated into belief rather then critical thinking. How much more harmful do you want?

    Even if the kids aren't being forced to accept the bible as the one true source of knowledge, not questioning the need to kill all the terrorists is pretty harmful too.

    Shaking ones long held beliefs is a good way to annoy someone too, so when they do come accross others who do not believe or take seriously their indoctrinated faith they are more likely to react violently.

  59. Phil Hare
    Stop

    As much fun as dumping on the pulpit sheep is...

    ...let us not forget the people who will actually be affected by this: the students. These guys have based years of work on Christian propoganda text books because that's what they were told to do, by their school and usually by their family. This is not their fault, but they're the ones that are paying for it.

    I realise that in the long run this kind of action could (but let's face it, won't) drive Bible-bash based schools towards a broader and more objective curriculum, but that doesn't help these poor kids, who after all have been learning *something* over the past few years, however speculative / scientifically questionable / outright false it may be. It could, at the very least, form a grounding for asking questions, even if many of us feel that they'll be the wrong ones.

    If UC has any sense it will at least look at putting an access course together for these students to try and rescue them from the path of the zealot they will otherwise undoubtably follow.

  60. Jared Earle
    Happy

    @AJStiles - Split infinitives?

    We don't speak Latin; splitting infinitives is acceptable in English. Pedantry is only valid when it's right.

  61. alafair

    Jones texts are scary.

    finally logic prevails. I looked at a private Christian school for my son. They used the "Bob Jones" texts. Scariest moment was when the teacher said "we teach evolution the same way we teach other myths...something you'll go to hell for believing in".

    Needless to say, my son doesn't attend that school.

  62. Big Dave

    @Richard Scrather

    "I bet they recognise and give credit to the diligent study of other mythologies"

    I would hope that depends on what is meant by 'study'. Unfortunately for BJU, memorising the bible and church dogma/doctrine and using out-of-context, 2000-year-old theological arguments is not 'study'.

    Most modern further education requires students to show understanding, the ability to draw logical conclusions from evidence and the creativity to extend knowledge toward useful theories.

    The judge's comment is very easy to understand (even for a BJU grad) "adequately teach critical thinking and modern historical analytic methods". You could study anything, including the bible, and meet the judges requirements - BJU obviously does not. Perhaps they suggest one simply reads and believes rather than 'studies' at all?

  63. Chris
    Coat

    Happy or Sad?

    I'm not sure whether I should be happy or sad about this judgement.

    I'm happy because the right decision was made.

    I'm sad that this case even got to court in the first place.

    In a healthy and open society this would have been laughed out of court, but in the 'states they are too afraid that they might offend the idiots...

    Mine's the one with 'unbeliever' written on the back.

  64. Gordon Pryra

    @Bill Fresher

    Yes it may seem aggressive, but they ARE hurting me and mine.

    Any powerful group with the ability to influence the thinking of governments and the media are a threat to true freedom of belief, expression and movement.

    Ignore the nutters talked about in the article; they are just the idiotic fringe surrounding religion. The scary ones are the ones who sit in the background, making policy, controlling and influencing people and keeping the general populous as uneducated/empowered as possible to maintain their stranglehold

    This may sound paranoid, but you can lay most evil in this world at the feet of the various religious groups. The fact that the world is still in an affective feudal state is just one way that the various control mechanisms (hell/secular hatred/ownership of women etc) have failed the human race.

    I apologize for the use of the word empowered - it is a silly word

  65. Dapprman
    Joke

    Pastafarian Credits

    Does this mean the credits I've gained through my research in to the influences of The Great Flying Spaghetti Monster on 17th century colonial expansionism are now worthless :(

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    If you want debate then have one...

    Don't just claim that the theories you like are true.

    Macro evolution is yet to be proven, as are all creation theories.

    Without time travel we can never prove what happened, we can only theorise.

  67. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    @Richard Scratcher

    If Jupiter's Witnesses ring my doorbell and try to sell me a leaflet, they will get the same treatment as the other JW's. If some people try to push Yggdrasil Design into the school curriculum, they will have to explain clearly what their theory is and abandon it when it is shown to be contrary to the results of experiments.

    I am not picking on Christians any more than I would on any group that tries to convince me that their invisible friend is real.

    "God is as real as I am." he assured me, and my faith was restored, for I knew Santa would never lie.

  68. The Serpent
    Coat

    I'll get my coat

    It's the one the Roman soldiers are gambling for

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Sanity???

    Aren't we putting too much *faith* in this decision?

    Bearing in mind that this was the rather more liberal California we are talking about - what would the ruling be in, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Kansas....etc...

    Ahhl be gettin mah coat now y'all

  70. Lukin Brewer

    Astronomy 101: Earth is centre of Universe

    ... and the mundane universe extends a few tens of thousands of miles in every direction, where it is enclosed by the Sphere of Fixed Stars. God's truth, signed the Pope.

    History:

    The kings of England ruled by divine right, until Oliver Cromwell came along. God was with him to a greater extent than He was with Charles I, so Cromwell was able to defeat and execute Charles on a balance of God's will... ...When Oliver Cromwell died, his son took over, but he was a totally lame little prat and God wasn't with him at *all*. Thusly did the Commonweal come to its end.

    What actually happened:

    Charles I was no fun at all, and Oliver Cromwell promised to make the New Model Army dress in pirate costumes and install a small sacramental beer fountain in Parliament Square after the Civil War ended. However, he and his cohorts broke both promises and eventually the Flying Spaghetti Monster ran out of patience with them.

    ---

    As a point of interest, the restriction on teaching religion at US public (state) schools was nothing to do with humanism or liberalism or protecting the little dears from the nasty Old Testament. Compulsory education in the US came in, uncoincidentally, at the time that the growing industrial base was flexing its muscles and working out how it was going to control the working population and market its products to them. Religion had a strong hold over the people, but was considered too unreliable and uncontrollable to be useful to business (consider what the drinks industry thought about the Prohibition movement), so business wanted to curtail its influence.

    ---

    Fair's fair, Christian institutions are quite capable of teaching most educational subjects very well. In those cases where they don't, their students will have to go on the discard pile, along with the guys with the mail-order diplomas and the scientologist with the certificate in thetan-thumping.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Bill Fresher

    "That's a very aggresive stance to take against people, who aren't harming anyone as far as I can tell, simply because they have different beliefs than you."

    Ok, I agree that Gordon Prya had an aggressive stance, but I'm going to take issue with your view that they aren't harming anyone. They are most definitely harming their children. In forcing children to be indoctrinated in a religious viewpoint before they are old enough to take that decision themselves, and then denying those children a mainstream eduction because it doesn't follow their indoctrination principles, then surely they are affecting their children. I'm not going to go as far as Richard Dawkins and call it Child Abuse, but it is certainly unfair.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @Mythjudgment by Richard Scratcher

    it is impossible to pick upon a christian given a true christian would turn the other cheek. As such those that get upset about this are not true christians. A true christian would see this as ignorance in others and show pity knowing that God will judge them all in the end. To complain and moan about it, is paramount to impersenating God and the christian values, which would technicaly make you a non Christian and indeed somebody who says there a follower of God yet does not follow the words of God is worse than somebody who is ignorant of the words and indeed God.

    Remember to complain in a negative way is worshipping the devil which if you believe in God you also believe in. Frankly I blame the sun and cave-man science for alot of this whole god thang. Oh and do I believe in the devil - nope, only in stupid and non-stupid people, choice is always yours to make.

  73. Mark

    Re: Mythjudgment

    If you're going to complain about how they are picking on Christians, it would be a good idea to use facts rather than "I bet" as reason for your offense.

  74. david wilson

    @Roger Pearse

    >>"It's a reminder of how politicised the US court system is. After all, if the course is properly accredited, to ignore it merely because it's taught from a religious point of view is merely discrimination. The purpose of the judgement is to make it impossible to run (e.g.) Roman Catholic universities by derecognising their courses."

    What the judgement is saying is that it's legitimate for an educational (as opposed to an indoctrinational) institution to set what it considers worthwhile academic entry standards even if some of the people whose toes that treads on want to whine "religious discrimination".

    It's not about derecognising Universities or their courses, just dubious history courses taught in *high schools*, as was obvious from the very first sentence of the article.

  75. This Guy

    @ "Mythjudgment "

    Not BJU credits, credits from high school courses using a "textbook" produced by BJU.

    And mythology study is fine, but the history course given as an example (in which the BJU book was used) supposedly ignored historical figures as people and only analysed them as believers, which leads to "Hitler was bad because he was an atheist"-level cognitive failure.

  76. The Gritter

    It's simple, let Darwin sort it out

    Let them go to a Christian University where their high-school courses will be recognized. Then it will be up to future employers to decide if they want to employ someone with a degree founded on critical thinking or wishful thinking. Those with degrees awarded by a religious uni will soon learn they are unfit to be unemployed in the real world, they'll suffer economically, and learn to send their kids (if they can afford it) to a non-religious uni.

    Mines the cliche that's so way past it's sell-by date, it's come back into fashion.

  77. Mark

    Re: Infallibility of scripture

    Better than that, did God really dictate it in English? Or are they using the original Hebrew text?

    Maybe the translator was told what to say by God.

  78. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    I was never a big fan of the old Soviet Bloc states, but...

    ...at least they tried to do one decent thing, and that was to stomp out religion.

    I've always loved Bob Jones, though; the guy's name sounds like it should have the words "Texaco Station" after it instead of "University".

  79. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Oh no!

    A university which wants to have students who are able to think for themselves!!

    I have no objection to people beleiving in a religion, I was religious myself untill around 16. But at university, accepting any view as incontrovertably accurate should never be allowed. This does not disqualify religious candidates, I have know several people with good scientific abilities who maintain their strong religious beliefs. But if you havent been taught the required material for the prerequisites of a university course, you don't get in.

    I can just imagine their interviews:

    Interviewer) What can you tell me of the rulers of Egypt?

    Candidate) The rulers of Egypt were blashphemous heathens. The Pharoah enslaved the Israelites for a lot of years, until God punished him.

    Interviewer) And what of the Romans?

    Candidate) They killed our Lord and saviour, nailing him to a cross

    Interviewer) Actually, it is a known historical fact that crux immissa, or cross, was unlikely to be used at the time of Jesus' execution. Historical records state that the crux simplex was used.

    Candidate) BLASPHEMER!!!!

    Just the sort of thing that would get you into a university...

  80. Tim Greenwood

    Homeopathy

    Ferry boat seems to imply that Homeopathy is faith based and may not work. This seems to stem from a lack of knowledge and lack of critical thought. A thorough check of ALL the data would reveal that in general there is sufficient evidence of the success of Homeopathy but at best some very sketchy theories on how it actually works.

    An understanding of how something works is useful but you don't need to understand how and why gravity works to appreciate that stepping of a high building is a bad idea.

  81. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Pirate

    The scary thing is that there was even a court case

    Fucking hell fundamentalist nutters take on the University of California and the case was accepted by the court! No matter what the outcome the case itself is fucking worrying. Of course it never had a chance in California but in the Bible Belt it could be a very different matter. And these extemists are increasing in number - they have the highest birthrate among whites in America. We'd better all start buffing up on scripture...

  82. Iain
    Thumb Up

    freedom of speech

    The American constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion, the corollary to that is that American's are free to believe and speak any old tosh, and many of them do.

    Can't have one without the other unfortunately.

    However, that doesn't mean that people who don't share your beliefs are somehow bound to accept them.

  83. Bob Gulien
    Alert

    religeous education

    Religeous education is child abuse forced upon the children by their parents.

  84. This post has been deleted by its author

  85. David Hicks
    Paris Hilton

    @Richard Scratcher

    Nobody believes Norse Mythology or claims it as the ineerant basis of history.

    Im sure the university recognise courses in Christian Theology, just not it biblical science or other unfounded crap.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Richard Scratcher (fnarr fnarr)

    I think you're being ironic here, but in case anyone misunderstands: the scholars of ancient cultures and their associated works of "fiction" are not the same as the students of BJU who appear to have been taught that an answer or opinion on anything can be derived from the bible. Religion can be a part of education, but not a substitute for it.

    Anyway; a victory for the "real" America where the rule of law is paramount and (mostly) free from religious interference (as the founders intended).

    Paris, because she may well have been to BJU...

  87. Craig Vaughton
    Black Helicopters

    Lack of evidence

    I've long wondered how we could base virtually a whole civilisation on a book that can't be backed up with any concrete evidence to back up the story.

    I'd also like to bet a different verdict would be reached in say Utah?

    Black helicopters for when the Spanish Inquisition arrive!

  88. Matthew Greet

    Something's wrong

    There is something wrong when a court declaring that a university can indeed maintain their academic standards is news. This is so frivilous, the judges shouldn't have let it get to court in the first place. The idea that religions correctly described the natural laws was squashed in the Age of Enlightenment and that finished centuries ago. How these schools even exist boggles the mind.

  89. Chris Hunt

    Why go to court?

    Surely the truly faithful would PRAY for the university to change their minds, rather than running straight to the lawyers (who are generally assumed to bat for the other side anyway).

    If the heather university's walls don't come tumbling down, maybe the almighty doesn't actually agree with them, or even - heavens [not] above - doesn't exist?

    Mind you, I think he's a bit busy at the moment, bringing petrol prices down: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/05/30/ST2008053003189.html

  90. Jules

    @Richard Scratcher

    Erm.. read the article. The problem wasn't the Christianity, it was the fact the course "failed to adequately teach critical thinking and modern historical analytic methods."

  91. James
    Paris Hilton

    Americans: World

    The rest of the world plays football & America plays soccer.

    The rest of the world plays rugby & America plays American Football.

    The rest of the world plays cricket & America plays baseball.

    Americans do this because it makes them feel like they invented something rather than tinkered with (subverted) it. & then they can be the best at it.

    So it is with Christianity in America. This cult of fundamentalism is irrelevant to global Christianity.

    You may know the old saying, "The Gospel Truth". Ever wondered why not "The Bible Truth"? Because throughout history, until now in American cults, Christians have never been expected to have a literal interpretation of the whole Bible.

    These nutters need bringing down.

    Paris makes more sense..

    @NB

    There's nothing 'symbolic' about the eating of the cosmic zombie Jew's flesh. (just wanted to clear that up)

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    If you believe in God you also believe in the Devil

    Bottom line if people believe in God then by definition they also believe in the devil. I for one choose to ignore our new World underlords :).

    Must admit, its refreshing too see some sanity prevailing. Indeed in say 2000 years time if somebody dug up a old copy of a Dallas script would we be worshiping JR.

    Oh question for the religious types:

    If only God can create souls and he created Adam and Eve; Then why do we have more than two people on the planet and are they indeed worthy of worshiping god by there own standards?

    Another question is:

    How many religious people take there sick child to a doctor first instead of a priest, is that not showing disrespect towards God's plans?

    Oh and remember people if you hear the voice of God your religious, but to hear a voice by any other name your a nutter; Hardly fair in a democratic World now is it.

    JOKE ALERT - or is it!

  93. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    'Secularize private religious schools'

    It appears that Jennifer Monk has less intelligence than Paris Hilton's dog, and possibly less intelligence than Paris herself, difficult thought that may be to believe.

    The UC system isn't 'secularizing private religious schools' (known around here as 'cracker academies', because that's where white racist bigots stick their children so that said children won't have to be near black children; Bob Jones University itself is pretty much the ultimate cracker academy). The UC system is merely saying that if you want to get into one of its universities, you have to know actual real science, history, etc., not Bible-based bullshit.

    This strikes me (and, more importantly, the judge in the case) as being the point. It is perfectly legal to fill your private, religious, schooled students' heads with nonsense... just don't expect anyone else to pay any attention to that nonsense.

    And, in any case, it is perfectly possible to go to a private, religious, school and still have a _real_ education. I know because that is what I did; I went to schools run by the Roman Catholic Church from elementary to high school, and to a university closely associated with the RCC (and, unfortunately, 'Merkin feetball, which is the thing worshiped by most 'Merkins on weekends from August to February, and the Bible-bashers can go and pout.) Fr. McClusky, SJ, ran physics class in high school with an iron fist and did not mention the Bible even once... after opening prayers, that is. Newton and Curie and Thompson and Dirac and Einstein got mentions. Biology class was wall-to-wall Darwin and Mendel and Crick and Watson. Tales of large barges filled with animals (and animal poop, as anyone who's ever been _near_ a stable can easily work out...) need not apply.

    But then one of the other things that cracker academies are there for is to avoid contact with non-Christians, and to those nutbags Catholics ain't Christian. There's a cracker academy about three miles down the road from me and even the grounds-keeping staff there are white. Pretty much everywhere else in Palm Beach County (except other cracker academies) the grounds-keepers are mostly Hispanic and Haitian... which means not only are they not white, but they're mostly Catholic, too. Vade retro, Satanas!

    Paris, 'cause, well, I respect her opinions more than I respect those of those jackasses.

  94. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Whilst were on the subject of religion...

    I must add my favourite quote from the TV series Firefly:

    River: "So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah's ark is a problem..."

    Book: "Really?"

    River: "We'll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. It's the only way to explain how to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat."

  95. Dave

    BJU

    Anyone who ants to do further research on the matter, start here:

    http://www.bju.edu/about/creed/

  96. David Mantripp
    Paris Hilton

    BJ University

    "To prepare students to excel intellectually and vocationally by offering diverse academic programs rooted in biblical truth and centered on a liberal arts core"

    Huh ? Some definition of "liberal" which has previously escaped me....

    Paris, 'cos she's graduated from BJ University will full honours

  97. D. M
    Flame

    WTF?

    that's all I can say. How stupid US has become.

    Some idiots poison youth with bullshit, yet, they sue the uni which doesn't agree with them?

    The sooner we get rid of those idiots, the better this world will become.

    Ban all religions.

  98. A J Stiles

    @ Jared Earle

    I see you too appear to have fallen for the propaganda peddled by the producers of "Star Trek" when the BBC refused to show their series with such an obvious grammatical error in the opening title voiceover.

    You'll be telling me next that a preposition is a good thing to end a sentence with!

  99. Mark

    Macro evolution is yet to be proven, as are all creation theories.

    Well what is macro evolution? Where does proven evolution change into unproven macro evolution and why is the line there?

  100. Mark

    Re: A gentle reminder

    And the 9th Circuit is the most overturned because...?

    They have the most cases.

    As a %, the 9th Circuit is better than the average.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    California and Kansas ...

    ... they're not just separated by half the width of the country, they're on opposite sides of the world!

    RAmen!

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    drones culled between high school and university ...

    Brilliant news ! Maybe now all will still be well even if US schools insist on teaching creationism to their students .. they just won't get into university ! Perhaps this will eventually lead to the evolution of an American sub-species that finally realises that to do anything useful in the world requires you to actually THINK, as opposed to just perpetuating mythical rubbish like the bible ....

    <flames because I have it on infalliblle authority that there's a lot of them in my future....>

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    @Roger Pearse

    It's pretty clear you don't know what you are talking about. Just because a course is accredited shouldn't mean that a particular higher education institution should accept it as credit towards entry. Oxford and Cambridge for example do not accept all A-level qualifications as being equal. Some they have determined to be insufficiently academically rigourous and do not accept as an entrance requirement. This is no different. They have deemed that this particular qualification by virtue of teaching dogma rather than critical thinking either does not fit with their methods of teaching, or lacks the rigour necessary for their courses. In either case, they are perfectly reasonable to reject the qualification, and the judge is perfectly reasonable to agree to this. If the judge had overturned things, then I think it would be clear that he would be rejecting free thinking in favour of religious dogma, and the political movement that is the Christian right in the US would have won. At that point, the judiciary would most definitely have been politicised.

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    People are dumb but the judge rocks.

    My colleague wants to visit japan, when shown a map he couldn't tell me where it is, neither korea, new zealand or Georgia (big in the news) so people are dumb all over the world for differing reasons, not just Americans. Problem is Americans went to court over it after being told they were dumb.

    If someone wants to believe a book written in chinese whispers by someone of a different faith that courses allegedly 6000 years of history and ignores things like fossils and science and questions like Adam and Eve had two male children, where do the other people come from... (Don't mention outside the garden as that means those that sin are part of us all - furthering why we shouldn't read the bible in the first place) :)

    Let them believe what they want, just ban them telling others and let them live in one place so they can be tagged and monitored easily.

    @Richard.

    Everyone accepts now that the greek and norse myths are myths. Unfortunately you can't tell christians that it is myth, never mind the other religions, so you need to be a little more creative in how you get the message across.

  105. David Hicks
    Alien

    @ Anonymous Coward

    "Macro evolution is yet to be proven, as are all creation theories."

    False, speciation has in fact been observed in extant species. Macro evolution has been proven beyond doubt.

    Alien, because fundaMENTALists are as wilfully ignorant of reality as the conspiracy theorists.

  106. Jonathan Adams
    Happy

    @ekimdam

    Is there no way you would compromise in your argument? ;P

  107. adnim Silver badge

    @Richard:Mythjudgment

    The university dare because as a university the onus on them is to teach and support fact and not perpetuate nor encourage fairy tale belief systems.

    I do agree with you that one religion should not be singled out. This judges ruling and the university of California admission policy should apply the same lack of acceptance to ALL faith based teachings where the fantasy contained within "the book" contradicts established fact and do so without bias.

    Perhaps the judge singled out Christians because that was what the case concerned. Should a similar case arise where the teachings of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Scientology at al are called into question, I hope the university and the judge show the same level of integrity and common sense.

  108. Ruana
    Dead Vulture

    @ Jonathan Adams

    I see where Gordon is coming from, and I agree. What, exactly, do you think is 'irrational' about not wishing to compromise with a worldview which is inherently not evidence-based? Is it so unreasonable of me to be bothered about the fact that, in the 21st century, many of the UK's decision makers pay at least lip service to the arbitrary rules set out in a collection of ancient books?

  109. Gulfie
    Flame

    @Roger Pearse

    How typical of a god botherer to distort the ruling to their own ends. I am not religious but I'm happy to tolerate religious people who don't come out with statements that boil down to 'my god says back is white, and in defiance of all the facts, I agree with them'.

    The point here is that the material used to teach did not present a balanced point of view, and I think the judge made that clear. You can teach all you like from a religious point of view but it still has to be balanced and take the facts as they stand into account. The course material quoted clearly failed to do this, as all reasonable people would agree.

    As others have said, believe what you want but don't expect it to count when you apply for higher education.

    There are plenty of C of E and RC schools in the UK that churn out perfectly acceptable science and history courses and there is no reason why this should not continue. Please don't confuse discrimination against a religion with discrimination against deeply flawed (educational) teaching methods.

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Jared Earle

    <pedant>

    Whether a split infinitive is valid or not is still a matter for debate. Although I accept that most grammar guides now permit split infinitives. My position on this can be summed up as follows:

    1) In spoken English, it is hard to argue against a split infinitive, especially if it enhances meaning. In many ways one can see it as a similar grammatical construct to a tmesis for example.

    2) In written English, where a split infinitive can be easily avoided, it can be sensible to avoid it. However, I will never ambiguate meaning in order to avoid a split infinitive.

    </pedant>

  111. Jason The Saj
    Thumb Down

    For all the BS talk on scientific method....you idiots have shown none.

    Really, you guys are nothing more than religious fanatics. You rejoice in the news, you mock, you gloat. You exclaim Darwin, the scientific method, etc.

    I don't think I read one post where anyone even bothered to look into the book being used before dismissing it. Sounds to me like most of you worship the scientific method in name, but are just like most christians in being unchristlike, you are very unscientific in your methods. Simply acting out on your personal bias'.

    *shrugs*

    That's humanity for you...

  112. BGrant

    Facts are not believe

    "Belief with no room for compromise _ON EITHER SIDE_ of the argument is irrational."

    I'll believe that 2+2=4, speed of light is constant, gravity exists & that there is no past or present evidence of any god, from any belief system.

    Fath is the oppposite of fact. It is that the belief that there is something beyond fact. The judge allowed the universities' throwing out of the course that tried to dictate that fath _was_ fact.

    As for all of the US bashers : us yanks ain't all under-edjukated. we knows how to cook us up some sweet tastin' possum.

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thank God for the courts

    The longer I live in the US, the more grateful I am for the sanity of (most of) its judges.

    By the way, another Code Word to watch out for from the Religious Right is "activist judges". That's the smear they pull out whenever a judge upholds the Constitution over patently unconstitutional laws passed by pandering or pusillanimous politicians. The attack usually is along the lines of "unelected judges overturning the will of the people"...

  114. adnim Silver badge

    @AC:1307

    "I'm not going to go as far as Richard Dawkins and call it Child Abuse"

    I will, religious indoctrination IS child abuse, and I believe this to be fact.

    I know this from experience, it took me a long time to shake off the guilt trip and fear that a religious and superstitious Catholic mother programmed into me. Between her and Sunday school my mind was well and truly fucked up. I am fortunate that I have never been afraid to question, can think in a logical manner and have a somewhat rebellious nature. Otherwise I would still be suffering from the mental illness that an irrational belief system instills in a fresh impressionable mind.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    JESUS SAVES...

    ...my carpet.

    A god squadder knocked on the door with horrendous dissentry. Luckily i was able to remove his head from, and ram his crucifix up his arse and plug the flow before it stunk the place up. "holy shit" he said

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Tim Greenwood RE: Homoeopathy

    I think Ferry Boat is not saying Homoeopathy is faith based but rather that believing it works is equivalent to thinking the world is only 6000 years old. There is a difference between believing in something and saying something is the result of belief.

    In any case homoeopathy is a complete load of crap. As far as I know there is no scientific evidence that it is any better than a placebo at curing anything. Plus try taking a look at some of the mixtures that are sold, there are those where the so called active ingredient has been watered down so much there are only a few molecules per bottle. Please tell me how a single molecule of active ingredient can cure a problem?

    Even though there is a complete lack of evidence of its effectiveness these alternative health professionals, aka conmen, still manage to sell homoeopathic remedies in enormous quantities to the unsuspecting public.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    hohohoo

    http://www.sickipedia.org/search.php?q=jesus

  118. Rachel

    The only problem I see here...

    This is honestly kind of unfair to the students. Usually, kids who are going to religious schools don't have a choice in the matter - even most religious kids I know would go to a public school, given the choice. It's usually their parent's choice to send them to a private religious school, and it's the school's choice, not the students', of what cirriculum to use, and so in the end, the people who are missing out are the ones who had the least amount of control over the whole thing. And, let's not mention how well public schools teach things like critical thinking.... perhaps the schools in question here should just have remedial courses for anyone who's school's courses failed to meet their standards, or for anyone else who can't cut it in their 'normal' college classes.

  119. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  120. The Other Steve
    Boffin

    @Tim Greenwood w/r/t Homoeopathy.

    Actually, the (few) instances in which Homoeopathy appears to be effective are easily explained by the well known 'Placebo Effect'.*

    In fairness, the actual mechanisms of the placebo effect are, AFAIK still the subject of investigation and are not fully understood, but that doesn't mean that we should ascribe some mystical significance to one particular instance of this broadly observed phenomenon.

    As the great PTerry says "Some people will get better from anything."

    *As at least four peer reviewed studies have stated :

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/aug/26/health.medicineandhealth3

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Morons....

    While the greater majority of the Reg Reading population is spouting there pitchforks against the Bible... remember this.

    So I guess its ok for me to go to an Islamic School and be taught that its a good thing to blow up the "infidels" and then get accepted into a Californian university. And say the Koran is perfect and infallible... including the Hadeef.

    Better yet... what about the KKK.... oh hell.. why stop there...any thing religious that involves some sort of prejudice or something dangerous like witchcraft or the occult.

    My point if you don't have enough brain cells to comprehend this.... while they reject the Bible... they will NOT reject the above mentioned items. Oh but don't let in the people who believe in the bible! They are dangerous! So dangerous it would disrupt our poor little liberal world!!! Egads! Oh but let in everyone else thats against the Bible.. no problem at all! Even if your going to kill us or something stupid! We don't care!

    And if you people can't figure that out.... you shouldn't be in the IT Business let alone making judgments on something so simple that your low IQ brains can't figure out.

    That.. is called Discernment.

    PS: And this Bible believing "idiot"... is going to enjoy his day.

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Is the UK much different?

    Maybe it's just me, but it seems like almost any religion EXCEPT Christianity is being promoted by the UK Government - if anybody says anything that some go-sah Intellectual in their ivory tower thinks *might* offend a Sikh, Muslim, Buddah or anyone else *except* a Christian, said "anybody" can expect a visit from one of NuLabour's Thought Police within a short timeframe.

    Me, I'm off to see if I can summon Cthulhu and his minions, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, to have a word on my behalf with our (in)glorious Government and his Politcally-Correct religious zealots.

    (Note to the Thought Police; my codename is HASTUR - got that? Not sure? Say it twice more to be certain ;-)

    .

    .

    Mine's the one with the Elder sign on the breast pocket and "Cthulhu - Why Vote For The Lesser Evil" on the back.

  123. david wilson

    @Mark

    >>"Well what is macro evolution? Where does proven evolution change into unproven macro evolution and why is the line there?"

    In the arguments of creationists/IDers, proven 'microevolution' turns into unproven (and therefore suggestibly impossible) 'macroevolution' at the point where they can start pretending it didn't happen with something approaching a straight face, reckoning that Satan and/or a prankster Jehovah created all the fossils, clear similarities in DNA between related species, etc just to confuse people.

    Basically, if they didn't see it happen, then they can pretend it never happened, and that they are still specially created by a deity. The desire to believe *that* seems to be what much creationism comes down to, even among those who'd loudly claim to be ever so 'umble.

  124. Throatwobbler Mangrove

    erm

    "The rest of the world plays cricket & America plays baseball."

    This is Ross McToss, I'm afraid - it's only a few British ex-colonies that play cricket, and quite a few countries (although hardly the rest of the world) that plays baseball: Japan, Cuba, Korea, Dominican Republic...

  125. RRRoamer

    @Mr Mouse

    "But at university, accepting any view as incontrovertably accurate should never be allowed."

    Does this include the current favorite religion of AGW????

  126. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fairy tales

    Having studied both theology and economics, I can say they are both fairy tales.

  127. Michael
    Pirate

    First science,(Darwin)

    Then history, how about economics next?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Essay_on_the_Principle_of_Population

    It's author might have something to say on the issue.

  128. John Armstrong-Millar

    Faith Hope and Charity

    Well Faith based is exactly that... It's all a bit sad.

  129. frowbart

    @Tim Greenwood

    You have to be kidding me. You know that homeopathy is based on dilutions to infinity and how rediculous the premise is and you are actually defending it?

    It's a joke.

    Any credible studies give it the same effect as a placebo.

  130. Anton Ivanov

    It's simple, let Darwin sort it out

    You forget something. It is US. It is a place where there are companies that hold mandatory prayers at the beginning of meetings and this for some f*** reason is not considered discrimination.

  131. RW
    Boffin

    What's really going on

    The prominent leaders of the fundies — the Oral Robertses, the Bob Joneses, the Jerry Falwells, the Jim Bakkers, the Billy Grahams, the Pat Robertsons, and their ilk — are clever men who figured out that there's lots of money to be made from suckers, so they have exploited long-preëxistent religious stupidity in the US to line their pockets.

    Money and power, that's what it's all about.

    It's necessary to forestall their followers from learning to think critically because subjected to careful examination, fundie theology turns out to be a wet paper bag. It won't hold up to the slightest scrutiny. As a result, fundie educational institutions are primarily focussed on stamping out independent thought while pumping the minds of their gullible students full of nonsensical propaganda.

    How does this differ from, say, the RC church? My Catholic friends tell me that contrary to the impression il Papa would like to give, the RC church is far from being a monolith. Within it are many different schools of thought and belief circumscribed by a surprisingly limited number of fundamental dogmas. The Jesuit order is an example of this, being the brains trust of the church (though Jesuit academic work is generally somewhat second rate).

    Note too this difference between the fundies and the RC hierarchy: the wealth accumulated by fundie leaders passes down in their family, whereas in the RC church (and, for that matter, most non-fundie sects) whatever wealth has been accumulated is clearly institutional, not personal.

    The fundies have figured out that though they have managed to acquire an undue political influence (really intended to further their accumulation of personal wealth and power), it's helpful to pretend to be victims of oppression. With few exceptions, most readers of El Reg probably agree that, if anything, the fundies are far more often oppressors who make every effort to impose their own narrow ideologies on society as a whole.

    Hence, in the case at hand, it's important to play the role of poor downtrodden Christians subjected to official discrimination.

    Money and power, that's what it's all about. Keep that slogan in mind.

    I have long suspected that the leaders of the fundies and their chief henchmen (including politicians such as Bush Jr. who exploit the gullible) are complete hypocrites: they don't believe a word of fundie teaching, but are smart enough not to be caught laughing about it on the way to the bank with another bag full of money.

  132. Daniel

    The Alternative...

    Book Description - From Crayons to Condoms: The Ugly Truth About America's Public Schools.

    What's really going at your local public school? In From Crayons to Condoms: The Ugly Truth About America's Public Schools, Steven Baldwin and Karen Holgate let parents, concerned teachers and students speak for themselves about the dismal state of government education in America today.

    The conclusion? Today's schools are laboratories for disaster, where failed methodologies and policies continually find new life thanks to bureaucracies more interested in maintaining power than in educating.

    Lavishly armed with your tax dollars, government at every level encourages mass social experimentation on our kids - success optional. In From Crayons to Condoms you'll discover...

    * The lesbian gym teacher who hands out a paper called "101 Ways To Do It Without Going All The Way" in every class.

    * The "Inventive Spelling" curriculum which demands of parents that they "avoid giving in to our natural desire to correct the mistakes" because it's "harmful to the children"

    * The "innovative name-calling" program for kindergarteners and first graders that teaches new words and concepts like "dyke" and "faggot."

    * The required courses in "death education" that actually encourage teen depression and suicide.

    * The math classes in which students write down how they "feel" about math problems...as opposed to learning fractions, algebra and multiplication tables.

    Today's public schools are not just rife with bizarre, inaccurate textbooks and failed teaching practices - they encourage classroom activities that produce dangerous, even deadly, results.

  133. Michael

    Church & State?

    In all fairness, this equates to the state telling private christian schools what they can and can't teach. They may not be doing it explicitly, but by refusing to accept a history class with a religious slant, they're effectively dictating curriculum, and meddling in the affairs of the religious organization. By this same reasoning, most biology classes should be ignored by the University because they (the classes) consider the THEORY of evolution to be infallible fact, when in truth, it's unproven - but is still taken as fact which "fail[s] to adequately teach critical thinking and modern [scientific] analytic methods."

    I should have expected this, however, because apparently, separation of church and state only applies when the government wants to HELP a religious organization, not when they want to kick one in the groin.

    What concerns me is that the state university bases their objection on the notion that this history class is slanted in its world view. The problem with this ruling is that it sets a dangerous precedent wherein publicly funded state universities have the power to decide that any or all religious group or groups' students cannot pursue higher education unless they go to a religious school, which would further entrench the slanted world view the university is concerned about. Does it make any sense to say that a university will only teach those who already know? Certainly not! As an institution of "higher" learning, perhaps the impetus should on the university to take these students in, and EDUCATE them in a balanced world view, rather that telling them to bugger off to a christian university, only to further slant them so they can experience their rude awakening in the much less tolerant "real world". Denying admission because of a biased history class will only serve to further bias those students toward their skewed view of the world, when what they need is to have their world view balanced out by an institution willing to teach them.

  134. AJ MacLeod

    Re: Religion is BAD

    AC: Your statement shows your utter dearth of knowledge and understanding of history. You have simply regurgitated a myth which is popular, displaying precisely the lack of critical thinking and research which this item was allegedly reporting.

    As for the supposed incompatibility between Christianity and real personal freedom... just see how free the people living under anti-theist communist rule have been and are now.

  135. ian
    Unhappy

    Biology versus Intelligent Design

    One of the states (Iowa or Kansas, I can't be arsed to remember which) has decided not to teach that pernicious claptrap, evolution.

    More nutters preparing for the "end times" with their finger on the launch button.

  136. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Throatwobbler Mangrove

    "This is Ross McToss, I'm afraid - it's only a few British ex-colonies that play cricket, and quite a few countries (although hardly the rest of the world) that plays baseball: Japan, Cuba, Korea, Dominican Republic..."

    Actually you are also wrong. Only a few ex-colonies play test match cricket, but there are lots of countries which play cricket. 154 countries play cricket to one extent or another, over half of these are members of the ICC (in some capacity), and about 3/4 have formal national league structures. The Netherlands (and also the USA) have pretty active cricket leagues.

    As I understand it, about 160 countries in the world play baseball to some extent, with a huge amount of overlap. Finally, there are more people in the world who actively play cricket than baseball (mainly because of the effect of the sub-continent of India).

    Now, what does this have to do with a rant on God?

  137. This Guy

    @ Jason The Saj

    "I don't think I read one post where anyone even bothered to look into the book being used before dismissing it. Sounds to me like most of you worship the scientific method in name, but are just like most christians in being unchristlike, you are very unscientific in your methods."

    Did you see alafair's post before you pronounced judgement?

    And not all of us have the time to research every news story that lands in front of us. So we accept that when the college says the course isn't rigourous enough for their requirements, they're telling the truth.

    Plus, who worships the scientific method? It's just a way of doing things. It's worked better than anything else, that's all.

  138. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    something done right?

    just a bit of a thought here...

    since these applicants have firm belif in infalable bible and it had taught them everything why do they even apply?

    these spots can and should go to people who actually can use them instead of people who know everything already.

    as for the judge good for him! but i feel very sorry for him at same time since now christians everywhere will be chasing him with pitchforks and torches wherever he goes.( if they catch him alive i am sure there will be a stake with his name on it somewhere)

    also let us celebrate this small victory of common sense in war against religious nuts!

    paris because even she can see that religion is wrong!

  139. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    @Tim Greenwood

    Sorry mate, homeopathy has been shown to have no greater rate of success than the placebo effect - i.e. it's a load of old tosh I'm afraid.

  140. Dave The Cardboard Box

    Judge judging "Judges"

    My head just exploded.

  141. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What?

    "claims from a group of Christian high schools and Christian high school students that the 10-campus University had suppressed free speech and discriminated against religious views in rejecting such course credits."

    So I suppose it's not suppressing free speech and discriminatory to "[fail] to adequately teach critical thinking and modern historical analytic methods".

    Nor I suppose is it suppressing free speech or discriminatory to "[instruct] that the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events, [to attribute] historical events to divine providence rather than analyzing human action, [to evaluate] historical figures and their contributions based on their religious motivations or lack thereof and" -- most damningly -- to "[contain] inadequate treatment of several major ethnic groups, women, and non-Christian religious groups."

  142. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    @AJ MacLeod

    "As for the supposed incompatibility between Christianity and real personal freedom... just see how free the people living under anti-theist communist rule have been and are now."

    yes, because communism is the only alternative to a christian theocracy right?

    Honestly, it boggles the mind...

    @Michael

    "What concerns me is that the state university bases their objection on the notion that this history class is slanted in its world view."

    Then be concerned no more, because they based it on the fact that the course did not adequately prepare the students to take their degree course.

    It's that simple. It's not worldview or bias, it's that the educational material in these schools, teaching belief in the inerrancy of the bible and of fundamentalist religions, is directly opposed to the critical thinking required in a real academic history department.

    Simply put, what they've learned is useless.

    And to those who pity the children - if enough universities follow this example then maybe the parents will get the message and stop sending their children to these third rate indoctrination camps.

  143. Chris G Silver badge

    Judge Otero

    Name like that sounds like a Catholic heretic, HE'S A WITCH! A WITCH! BURN HIM

  144. Herby Silver badge

    Praise the Lord...

    For this great ruling.

    No other comments necessary!

  145. Mark
    Happy

    @David Hicks

    Although, to be fair, there *is* an effective placebo effect.

    So it's not that homeopathy doesn't work, it's just that forgetting about it and getting on with things works just as well. As does wearing a wet chamois on your head and chanting ancient welsh poems.

  146. Mark
    Alert

    @AJ MacLeod

    "just see how free the people living under anti-theist communist rule have been and are now."

    Generally a fair bit better than those under religious laws.

    You see, not believing in the Sky Fairy means several things. Some of them not so good, but out of the good ones, most are able to make a more free society:

    a) critical thinking. you don't just believe, you want proof

    b) God doesn't tell you what is moral, you do, so it's a lot easier to see other people as just "other people" rather than "not people" as so many religions seem to manage

    c) if there is no afterlife, this is all you've got. so don't waste it

    d) if there's no afterlife, this is all anyone else has got, so don't waste it for them

    e) without religion there's less that binds people as a unit (which CAN be bad) and this means there's less divisiveness. At least, all the divisions are not stored up to make boundaries between populous religions and are divides the same total variation amongst the same population but with more (and smaller) gradients between

  147. Mark
    Alien

    Re: Church & State?

    "this equates to the state telling private christian schools what they can and can't teach"

    No. Quite the opposite.

    This decision is telling the US that the government isn't going to MAKE a university accept credits on a subject that they do not believe to show aptitude to what the university is teaching.

    After all, if I had a first in basket weaving, could I use this to get into an engineering university for an MSc?

    This decision is the OPPOSITE of what you say it is.

  148. PunkTiger
    Heart

    Two worlds, one mind

    Religion does have its place in today's world as part of the _spiritual_ side of humanity. Meditating upon the tenents of your chosen religion, finding wisdom while coping with day-to-day life, finding the strength of will to get you through adversity, and gaining inner peace in today's modern society are all well and good, and perfectly suited for religion.

    But, if you need to learn about the workings of everyday life. the "why"s and "how"s, the real, deep-down system of this thing called Life, then you need to learn about Sciences, History, and analytical thinking. Believe me, reality is complex enough without introducing Supernatural red herrings into the mix.

    If more prople understood this, we'd ALL be better off.

    The heart, because Science without heart is just as bad as Religion without brains.

  149. Mark
    Boffin

    @RRRoamer

    No.

    However the denialists have not yet managed to prove any of their alternative theories correct.

    And that's for the very few times they *have* a theory.

    So when you only have testable proof for one theory and all other theories have much less (or no) proof, you accept, as a working hypothesis, the theory that has the best proofs backing it up.

  150. Mark
    Boffin

    re: Morons....

    Please let me know where I can go to this KKK University that (according to you) is completely and utterly allowed by the governments of the US.

    Or are you talking complete wank?

    (onanism awaits you)

  151. Mark
    Coat

    Re: BJ University

    "Paris, 'cos she's graduated from BJ University will full honours"

    Magma cum louder?

  152. Long John Brass Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @Morons....

    I was going to try to point out that most of the comments here seem to be arguing against religion generally and not against Christianity specifically.

    I was going to ask how you got from Anti-Religion = Anti-Christian, therefore pro all other religious fruitcakery, I had a really nice quip about your sat-nav leading you astray :)

    But then Eris mentioned to me "Thou shalt not feed the troll" and I felt all better

    (Good troll BTW, almost very nicely done)

    http://www.principiadiscordia.com/

    All hail Eris!

    Paris, cos she looks like Eris, and just wants us all to be happy

  153. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    So many atheists

    I was really shocked to see how many atheists read The Reg. I myself am Protestant Christian. My three children go to public school because my wife and I did and we turned out ok. I agree with the judge's decision that the university should have the right to accept or reject whichever curriculum they choose so long as the decision is not based on any form of discrimination.

    As for all of the Christian bashers I really don't know what to say. Someone said earlier that a "true" Christian would turn the other cheek. I myself might look to Jesus' example when he threw the money changers out of the temple in righteous anger. Then again, I'm not sinless like he was. So instead I will turn to scripture:

    "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12)."

    "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12-13)."

    "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4)."

    And you guys said the Bible isn't relevant today. :)

  154. Badinoff
    Dead Vulture

    "It appears the UC is attempting to secularize private religious schools,"

    Funny, but in reality what they were trying to accomplish is exactly the opposite. A religion trying to force a university to accept their dogma as accredited education. The "religification" of a secular entity.

    Just goes to prove that there's nothing worse then a lying Monk.

  155. Agent420
    Paris Hilton

    @morons

    I have never heard of anyone describing themselves under the guise of trying to tear down people that can think for themselves. You use the term morons and idiot to describe yourself, I can not improve on that.

    For those interested in one of the greatest descriptions of christion heaven was written by Mark Twain in his book, "Letters to the Earth." Included is a tale of the history of the earth compared to the Ethel Tower.

    To just about everyone: Please proof read your posts and try that newfangled invention, although it is probably unchristian, a spellchecker.

    Paris because I'd like to poke her in an unchristian way.

  156. Charles Manning

    @Michael

    The state is not telling the Christian schools what to teach, they are just saying that the universities don't have to accept the credits.

    To be fair though, many other disciplines also lack critical thinking these days.

    * History and social sciences etc have been politically corrected to hell to the extent that they lack critical thinking.

    * Global warming, "think of the polar bears" etc has lost all critical thinking and is taught as being scientific.

  157. Adair
    Coat

    We're ALL dead in the long run.

    Clearly bigotry is alive and well on the godless side of the fence just as much as it is over here on the godly side; presumably love is over there too but it's hard to tell through the hail of bile and ignorance that's flying both ways.

    BTW, I'm with the judge on this one.

    Mine'll be the holey one---from all the flaming darts!

  158. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    There Will Be Blood!

    I love that movie because I live in what can only be called the "Belt Buckle" of the goddamned "Bible Belt" of the US, right here in the Houston Texas area.

    People 'round here have absolute delusion when it comes to JC everything can be rationalized via the Bible. From killing Iraqi civilians to destroying the environment by the use of Cars, Plastics, Fertilizer, and Coal.

    Here, all the streets are huge! For big fat SUV's that carry big fat people on their way to and from WalMart and the gas station. Kids never play outside, there are no playgrounds in the neighborhoods and no sidewalks! People are miserable, fat, and angry. They will kill you with their vehicles if you get in their way.

    To me all of this is PROOF that the bible is complete bullshit and should be considered a harmful psychosis inducing toxin.

    Yet there are Churches

  159. Jason The Saj
    Thumb Down

    Scientific method...seldom used by christians or atheists...

    @BGrant

    You're proof of my point

    "I'll believe that 2+2=4, speed of light is constant, gravity exists & that there is no past or present evidence of any god, from any belief system"

    There are quite a few starting to contemplate whether "C" is constant. It may be, but some scientists are no longer quite so sure.

    IMHO, it's people like you who will never make it to the stars because you're too closed minded.

    @Anonymous Coward

    "Religion as caused ONLY pain and suffering since the down of man and is a source of constant violence and as NEVER helped any human in in good way."

    Really love this... so much scientific method is applied to the above statement. Totally ignoring the numerous activities motivated by religious beliefs that were positive. Let's only accept negative data in our judgment. Forget orphanages, charities, hospitals, many of these first existed only within the confines of the religious before becoming more supported by the secular world.

    Let's also forget that the two most notable atheist regimes (Soviet Russia & China) are probably the only two entities to compete and possibly exceed the those murdered in the name of religion.

    Now, being scientific and using the scientific method and noting that we have people of both religious and atheist persuasions have committed heinous and charitable acts. So if both groups demonstrate such abilities, then it's root probably lies on a higher order - like mankind itself.

  160. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Christians getting desperate aren't they

    To the Christian commenters: Those that don't believe in Christianity aren't "atheist"

    The fact that Christianity exists doesn't make those non-delusional people atheists

    Please keep your dark age labels to yourself

    About the article:

    Lets see if I can get this straight...

    The Bible supposedly teaches these kids that all that matters is Jesus and believing in him provides one with an assurance that once dead they will reside in Heaven for all of eternity.

    If this is the case then who gives a rats ass whether or not their high school coursework is recognized?

    For that matter, who gives a sheee-iit whether or not Jesus is mentioned every five minutes in the f?cking "Public Square"

    Are you following me here? Doesn't the promise of eternal life (however weird) make this life irrelevant?

    One starts to understand that its not the "message" that matters but the number of delusional believers that matters, these people provide the "income stream" that the commercial enterprise called "Christianity" requires.

  161. Mark

    Re: So many Atheists

    Why did it surprise you that not everyone believe in Sky Fairies?

    "As for all of the Christian bashers I really don't know what to say." Well, how about looking at all the atheist bashers here and telling them to quit it? "As ye sow, so shall ye reap" as your pamphlet says. I mean, we have

    a) someone telling us that evolution is complete bunk (attacking atheism)

    b) someone telling us that we're hypocrits because we wouldn't do the same to otehr religions

    c) science without a heart is bad (but why must our heart from the bible, not our own sense of humanity's worth?

    d) atheists are cruel despots when we're in charge

    e) atheists are nothing more than religious fanatics

    and then you come along, complain about us picking on you and then spout out how this is going to get you a good seat in heaven. AND YOU NEVER THANK US FOR IT! And you say that we are idiots too.

    Didn't your Graven Idol say something about they who are without sin can cast the first stone?

  162. David Barr

    Grr

    I'm well aware my opinion makes me a nutjob, but I honestly feel that religious education in schools is child abuse.

    In New Zealand they banned parents calling their kid "Tula Does the Hula From Hawaii". I'd argue it's far more harmful to take an innocent child and pump their head full of religious shite.

  163. David Evans

    @So many atheists

    "And you guys said the Bible isn't relevant today. :)"

    Yes, yes we do. And quoting Skyfairy stories written several decades to several hundred years after the fact isn't really going to convince an atheist of your cause. That's kind of the point. We've come to an informed decision based on available information. Its kind of our thing.

  164. Tim Blair
    Thumb Down

    are you godophiles real?

    if you believe your god is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. head down to the local cancer wards and shut your fat ignorant gob's up and hear the sound of a little child screaming to death as their cancer metastasises into their bones. you tw"ts worship the worst paedophile in history.......

  165. Tim Blair
    Thumb Down

    WHAT?

    "bigotry is alive and well on the godless side of the fence just as much as it is over here on the godly side"

    "over here on the godly side"

    What god? the god of abrham/ibrahim who tried to kill his son? did you vote for bush?

  166. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Re: So many atheists

    Why should you be shocked at seeing so many atheists? There are no specific surveys to quantify how many of us there are, but a 2006 Encyclopedia Britannica survey into this reckons that worldwide about 11.9% of the population are non-religious and about 2.3% identify themselves as atheists. This compares with about 2-3% of England and Wales who are practicing Church of England.

    As for quoting scripture at me, I always like the way scripture is quoted selectively. That way you avoid all the bits of the bible that are downright bonkers. Has anyone read Leviticus lately?

  167. Elrond Hubbard
    Happy

    Hope for us yet...

    In the context of Amy Winehouse's up-and-down life, someone remarked a few weeks ago that there was nothing funnier than looking at the geeks on here trying to comment on art.

    I disagree.

    In fact, nothing is funnier than watching the wanking chimps on here, who haven't been near a church in three generations, trying to comment on matters religious...ROFL

  168. Tim Blair
    Unhappy

    fek this god squad shite

    please ban these retarded posts

    send them to a jesus/mac site

  169. J
    Happy

    @This guy

    "which leads to "Hitler was bad because he was an atheist"-level cognitive failure"

    That is definitely true. Specially given Hitler was NOT an atheist. By the way, so what if he were?

  170. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Hmmm.....

    Whether your teacher told you, you read it in a book or you reckon a beardie man up a mountain told you, 2+2 will = 4. Why say that becaue someone believes a god told you it then it can't count?

    The best thing about deceit is you never know you're the victim.

  171. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @P. Lee

    What piece of @#$ school did you go to? Any place decent would have fried the Prof for giving a Multiple guess test in Comp Sci.

  172. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This does not suprise me

    What people don't know is that there is subtle war going on between the UC/State college system and public high schools in California. While HS is dumbing down (thank you, you as holes) the UC and state system is hold stead fast. 3 years ago the UC/State system looked at HS chemistry . They were so dissatisfied with it that they said that it does not cout for jack. So every one entering the system must take an intro to chem class unless you had honors Chem.

    So if the California UC/state system is willing to reject HS classes taught in California for not being up to par , why wouldn't they reject other substandard course from from a religious HS/college

  173. RW
    Boffin

    @ Michael 16:15

    "this [decision] equates to the state telling private christian schools what they can and can't teach."

    By no means.

    The University of California is a public institution and if you want to be a student there, you must have mastered certain bodies of knowledge. The cracker academies can teach whatever they want, but if it isn't the stuff UC requires for entrance, you won't get in.

    Any applicant excluded for this reason is entirely free to go take a summer school or night school course in the requisite material. Most school systems offer these.

    However, I wish the state *would* tell cracker academies what they can and can't teach, including mandatory subjects such as critical thinking, logic, how to recognize propaganda when you see it, how to deconstruct advertising, and so on.

  174. adnim Silver badge

    scripture more truth than I thought

    @AC:So many atheists.

    "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4)."

    Sounds like a bible class to me.

    "They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths".

    I couldn't want for a better insight into religion.

    The funny thing about scripture and religious works in general is that they are open to interpretation. This is why so many religions are fractionalised. The truth and fact are not, they just are.

    There are some lessons to be learned from the Bible, as there likely are from most if not all so called holy books. There are parts that promote fair socialist and humanitarian values. It is just a book though, a story book, fiction in the most part. It is not a book of facts nor the word of an imagined god and should be treated as such, held in no more reverence than the stories of the brothers Grimm or Tolkien.

  175. Neoc
    Stop

    Tsk, tsk, tsk...

    Now, now,

    No fair belittling those who believe in a religious-based universe. After all, belief that there is no god (or God) could be seen as a religion of sort.

    Me? I'm a liberal atheist (there may or may not be a higher power, but I do not care... how I live my life is ultimately up to *me* and I will face - or not - the consequences of my choices when I die) who spent time in a Christian Brothers high-school (who may have had problems world-wide, but teach an rip-roaring and open-minded Religious Education course. Where else does your course-work include having to define the tenets of a self-consistent new religion?).

    My problem with most religions is the fact that they want to impose their views on everyone else. And if you don't agree, it's obviously religious persecution. Look at Creation (sorry, "intelligent design") versus Evolution. The church-goers clamour for Creation to be taught as a viable alternative in school... But heaven help (sorry couldn't resist) *anyone* who suggest that perhaps their Sunday Schools should teach Evolution as a viable alternative. Goose, meet Gander.

    Science in the classroom, religion in the churches. Don't mix them, or else you're asking for troubles the likes of which we haven't seen since the Spanish Inquisition (no Monty Python jokes, please).

  176. Richard Scratcher
    Jobs Halo

    @ El Reg - Can iHave an iRony iCon iCan use?

    The need to point out irony seems rather ironic, perhaps I'm just not very good at it.

    Split infinitives? That concept comes from comparing English to Latin. Since the infinitive is one word in Latin, the suggestion is that we should never separate the two elements of the English infinitive by inserting other words. To really understand how silly this idea is, one really needs to understand how silly it would be to change "to really understand" into "to understand really" in order to satisfy this bizarre rule. The only good reason for not splitting an infinitive is in case some ignoramus, in a position of power, decides to wrongly mythjudge your aptitude.

    Homeopathy? I like the idea of "treating like with like", it seems similar to the idea of vaccines. However, since many homeopathic remedies are diluted to the point where no molecule of the "cure" is likely to exist in an ocean of the product, it must be bollocks. The more one dilutes the "cure", the more effective it becomes. Therefore, I should be able to buy product X, water it down and sell it on as super X.

    I don't believe in God but I would describe myself as a spiritualist. I believe that there is some supernatural "force" at work in the universe. Some sort of energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.....

  177. Brendan Murphy

    Did many people actually read the article?

    An awful lot of comments seem to indicate that the posters believe that the University of California is somehow refusing to allow religion to sully its secular establishment. This is not the case. The court ruling applies to one particular credit because it is not academically rigorous not because it is religious based.

    A quick google reveals that the University of California offers courses in "Theology, Divine & Relgious Studies". Sorry to burst some bubbles.

  178. Tim Blair
    Happy

    test..!!!

    please will that god thing prove his existence by killing me in the next 10 hours (going to bed) {jerkin the gherkin)

  179. Thomas Hildebrandt

    Roger Pearse..

    "if the course is properly accredited, to ignore it merely because it's taught from a religious point of view is merely discrimination"

    No it's not - It's legit for an institution based on science to deny recognizing courses based on teachings that are opposite to everything scientific...

  180. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    For the benefit of the bible bashers

    Many of you have commented about how atheists 'believe' in science. This just shows you have no understanding at all of what science is. Somebody used the fact that some scientists now consider that c is not a constant to bolster your argument however that is one of the benefits that science has over religion. Knowledge is constantly being refined based on new evidence and scientific theory is re-evaluted to see if it still stands up to scrutiny. With religion (no matter which) you are not allowed to do this as you are either a heretic or a blasphemer and you have to accept what you are told at face value even when it is plainly obvious what you are being told is wrong (ie torturing and killing people is fine in the name of god)

    It boils down to this

    Science doesn't care if you believe something or not. Your disbelief is not going to stop gravity from working, evolution from happening, electrons from flowing etc. You can accept that it is true or choose to ignore the evidence, but it doesn't stop it from happening.

    Religion is based on your belief, without it your religion would fade and die to be left as nothing but a footnote on the pages of history. Just like the ancient egyptian gods, the greek gods, the norse gods etc. Once a religion has no believers it is dead. Usually it is replaced by some other nonsense fairy story which is unrecognizable from the one before and yet God has still not manifest himself to smite us all because we turned away from the 'true' path

  181. Moz
    Boffin

    @ Tim Blair

    << please will that god thing prove his existence by killing me in the next 10 hours >>

    Genius. I bet no-one's thought of THAT one before.

  182. NT
    Flame

    'Christianity' Does Not Equate To 'Religion'

    It's like flicking a light switch. Give a mention to Christianity in an article, and out trot all the Dawkins wannabes, rattling off the usual repertoire of oh-so-intellectual derision of the religious. And not one of them - just as in the case of Dawkins himself - bothers to analyse their own complaints before making them.

    Gordon Pryra: straight in there with, "anyone who believes in a deity is suspect". Suspected of *what*? Lack of intelligence? Lack of scientific objectivity? Lack of education? So often these assumptions are rolled out - yet the number of scientists professing one religion or another is ample refutation for that idea. Even Dawkins couldn't make those charges stick, try as he might. I wonder if the truth is more likely that religious people simply annoy you? And perhaps that, in turn, is because you can't be bothered to differentiate between the intolerant fundamentalists and the vast majority of the world's religious people who simply believe something you don't?

    Paul Gray: As a 'religious type' I still can't answer the first question you asked - about Adam and Eve - because it relates to a religion I don't follow; and even if I did, it'd require that I took a fairly literal view of that religion's holy book - an interpretation that relatively few of its followers adhere to. In answer to your second question - about how many religious people would take their sick child to a doctor - I couldn't possibly say. But I'd venture the number would be pretty high. I know I certainly would. As for whether going to a doctor is a violation of some supreme being's Divine Plan, I'd wonder why you suppose that doctors are excluded from having a place in that Plan.

    Charlie Clark and others: I assume that your objection to the fact that this case saw a courtroom at all stands only while you disagree with the appellants' point of view. Presumably you'd be similarly outraged if you made a claim to the court and had it rebuffed out of hand because your viewpoint was unpopular? Are religious people so evil that they must be denied the right to legal recourse in the democratic USA?

    Dapprman: Well done to you, sir, for being the first person I've seen in a *long* while to use the Flying Spaghetti Monster for the purpose it was created for. Namely an argument of reductio ad absurdum challenging the notion that literalist Christianity alone amongst religions should be given attention as an 'alternative' to proper science. Unfortunately, more often than not the FSM is trotted out merely as derisive mockery of religion in general - a use which seriously diminishes its impact.

    Adnim: the truth is that not only is this "think of the children" argument against religious 'indoctrination' rather facile, but it also waters down the meaning of the term 'child abuse'. If a supposedly rational person feels so appalled at the idea of a parent teaching their child according to their own conscience, then surely the only moral alternative is to make all children wards of state at birth until adulthood. After all, such people, being generally superior, could presumably be trusted not to allow their *own* beliefs and opinions not to influence the child in any way at all.

    D.M.: "Ban all religions". It's been tried. And each time, the attempt to dictate what people can believe and what they can't has created a somewhat less-than-utopian society. And again, I note you say "all religion". With what justification do you seek to remove humanity's right to free belief?

    Anonymous Coward: "Any form of religion should be confined to *church*"? Very telling, that - and serves to make my point. What place does a non-Christian religion have in a church? Do you know that 'Christianity' and 'religion' are not synonymous? And what was that? "Religion as [sic] caused only pain and suffering since the down [sic] of man"? You could argue far more safely that religion *has caused* pain and suffering than you can that it's caused nothing but. Even then, the truth is that it's usually the misapplication of religious principles that result in pain and suffering. For example, Jesus teaches Christians to be tolerant and humble - yet when they're *not* tolerant and humble, their religion still gets the blame. And whatever else it's done, religion has also inspired great works and wonders throughout history. Of course, whether you recognise any value in such things, or even acknowledge their reality, is up to you.

    As you can probably tell, I'm a religious person. I'm not a Christian. More specifically still, I'm not a fundamentalist Christian who considers the Bible literal truth in its entirety. But, to listen to all these knee-jerk reactions above, surely just being religious means I must dispute the court's finding here?

    Well, as it is, I welcome the decision. Contrary though it might be to cherished prejudices, I have a lot of time for science and scientists. Incidentally, I also know that the vast majority of Christians would themselves prefer to keep Bible literalism out of classrooms and colleges, because most Christians *don't* view the Bible (at least in its entirety) as literal truth. For them, it might well *contain* truth - but then, I'd say so do many works of literature, whether recording historical fact or not.

    Had the critics on this page stuck to criticising the religion in question - or better yet, the *specific people* in question - I'd have had no issue with any of them. As it is, the criticism is less about opposing the evils of religion than it is about self-indulgence. It's a way to feel superior - a motive that, interestingly, also drives many of those prone to trying to force their religious beliefs on others.

  183. P. Lee Silver badge
    Linux

    Away with the SkyFairies!

    Do you believe in someone who can do stuff we can't - the Skyfairy? nope, nada, never, its unscientific. Believing all that stuff about someone who died years ago who inspired people to write down the things he did. Its just a fairytale! It didn't happen because I don't believe it. I've tried the water-to-wine thing and it doesn't work.

    Do you believe the frog literally turned into a prince? Yup, definitely. Some chap called Darwin, who died years ago, wrote a book which has been passed down to the present day and I believe it. I've tried the life-from-nolife thing but even though it doesn't work, I've extrapolated the fact that finches come in different colours to conclude that it must be possible. I just need more time, perhaps a few billion years or so.

    Lets hear it for rationality!

    If there were an all powerful, all-present and all-knowing God, do you think he should wipe out all pain and suffering on earth? Before answering, consider if you have ever lied to anyone, dumped anyone, accidentally hurt anyone, offended anyone, or damaged the environment in any way. Have you ever benefited from someone-else's appalling working conditions or shown someone a gesture designed to upset them? How much of your freedom to act would you give up to allow this "perfection"?

    How much tolerance and love has been shown by the posters above?

    If there is no Skyfairy and you are merely a random set of molecules, why does your opinion matter?

    The judge was right on this one - people are only too ready to give up critical thinking in favour of emotional self-righteousness.

  184. Adair
    Thumb Up

    @Tim Blair, re We're ALL dead in the long run.

    ' "over here on the godly side"

    What god? the god of abrham/ibrahim who tried to kill his son? did you vote for bush?'

    I rest my case---bile and ignorance. And we wonder why peace between Georgia and Russia, Palestine and Israel... is so hard to find!

    It's not 'religion' v. 'sane rationality'---there are fools and rogues on both sides. It's people vs. people when their fears, hatreds, arrogance, ignorance, and greed overpower any willingness to listen, to show humility, to trust, to have hope, and (the biggy) to 'love' the people they hate and fear (note 'the people', not what they do). Where ever people start to do that good things start to happen; whether they profess a faith in 'god' or not.

    --

    Personally I wish that 'faith schools' in this country were forced to take all comers and simply teach the 'national curriculum', regardless of faith, simply on the basis of locality, if they wish to receive state funding. If they want to teach their faith and pick and choose who they will take, they should jolly well fund themselves, and take their chances in the rough and tumble of life.

  185. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Maths is in the Bible

    Its the kids I feel sorry for on this one. They did years of "pseudo-education" and found out at the last minute that it was, unfortunately, all a complete waste of time. Still, as they'll find out, at least they get a leap forward on flipping burgers for Jesus!

    Anyway, back to the maths. Linking to the 2+2=4 issue and other such things we can say that the Bible does include one basic mathematical fact. One that was well known in Biblical times. Unfortunately, as with all other checkable things in the Bible (i.e. not the fairy stories), its wrong.

    Quick... everyone that's bothered go to 1 Kings 7:23

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+7:23

    Hang on.... That'd make pi = 3. Which the Egyptians knew full well several hundred years earlier wasn't true.

    Resolving this one is difficult without losing some bits of extremist fundamentalist dogma. Maybe they rounded.... Which kills the idea of the Bible being a literal document. Or maybe they got it wrong... which takes out omnipotence... Or maybe its an allegory... which takes out literal interpretation again.

  186. Mark

    @Moz

    "<< please will that god thing prove his existence by killing me in the next 10 hours >>

    Genius. I bet no-one's thought of THAT one before."

    Done several times. Once, when nobody was near enough to get offended, said it in a church.

    I still remain alive.

  187. Mark

    @NT

    "Give a mention to Christianity in an article, and out trot all the Dawkins wannabes, rattling off the usual repertoire of oh-so-intellectual derision of the religious."

    And with anything about Christianuty not being given what they want, stuff about evolution or similar, you get the christian nutjobs (rather like yourself) saying "you wouldn't do this if we were moslem (sic)".

  188. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    @David Hicks

    David Hicks has stated that, "Macro evolution has been proven beyond doubt."

    Macro Evolution is the genetic net gain in DNA information in a species. This could lead to a new species, could it lead to a new kind? I doubt it.

    Could the honourable David Hicks provide just one example of this genetic increase, when Richard Dawkins couldn't?

    I doubt it.

  189. Mark

    @Anonymous Coward

    Yp, it has been proven. Moths, I think are one (there is another one to do with bacteria). They were separated and change forced upon them and they changed so far they couldn't reproduce between these two groups.

    That is one of the earliest definitions of "species".

    Bacteria likewise had been put in a solution of something they can't use and mutated so that they could use this material as an energy source. Thus creating a new species (in the same way as the thermophile worms are different species from the cold-water worms that have the same ancestor).

  190. steve

    Fighting Back

    It seems to me it was a group of Bible believing folks that kicked your butts and started the great nation of the USA. Sadly even we have forgot what America was founded on.

  191. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Fighting Back?

    Eh what? Not so much kicked our butts as ran away tails between their legs because people in the UK thought they were insanely over religious. Plus you only got independence because we were too busy fighting elsewhere to bother sending enough troops to adequately deal with the situation...

  192. Jimmy

    God help us all !

    Christian fundamentalists have long been recognized as a clearly identifiable demographic by the advertising industry and political propagandists in the US. Their defining characteristics include gullibility, non-critical acceptance of hyperbole, and a passionate belief that they have the right to impose their beliefs on the rest of society.

    No one exploited these weaknesses better than Karl Rove, President Bush's advisor and campaign strategist, who with some additional help from the infamous 'hanging chads' twice managed to get his boss elected to the most powerful office in the world.

    No doubt the fundies, gullible to the last, regarded Bush's crusade in the middle-east as some kind of payback for their loyalty instead of the ruthless grab for oil that it was.

    While Bush may have been constrained to some extent by the constitution and the courts in America here in the UK we do things rather differently. Blair, the closet Catholic, just handed out large dollops of taxpayers money to any lunatic who wanted to set up a faith-school to further the spread of ignorance and uncritical thinking.

  193. Robert Moore
    Flame

    Bible

    Weird thought: Bible == A blog.

    Typed by a person who went to a private Christian school for four years.

    Yeah, I know... I am going to hell. But at least I am having fun.

  194. adnim Silver badge

    @NT

    I have no problem with parents teaching their children about their own faith, I would say that it is even expected and a duty of the parents to do so. After all it is part of what made them what they are.

    Teaching children about all religions and faith on an equal footing, parents telling their children "This is what we believe, you are welcome to come to church/synagogue/mosque with us should you wish, you will not be chastised if you don't. We have no proof that what we believe is fact, you are free to choose your own path" is not abuse.

    What is child abuse is to deny to a child that any other faith or religion is as valid or invalid as the one they practice. Telling children lies to make them behave and follow the faith of the parent is abuse. Telling children "You will pray to this god, you will go to church/synagogue/mosque, if you don't you will burn in hell. If you behave this way you will burn in hell, if you don't behave this way you will burn in hell" is child abuse, and there is nothing you or any religious person can say or think that will change that fact.

    If you cannot see this then all I have to say is the indoctrination and conditioning you may well have received as a child had the effect that those who raised you desired.

  195. This post has been deleted by its author

  196. Doug Lynn

    As a born again Christian I see alot of discrimination in your hearts and minds

    Hi, writing a history book from a Christian perspective is not wrong. It basically is American History with the addition of comments about he the faith of the participants. Most secular history books never touch on the beliefs of the historical people they talk about. A Christian history book will talke about it to explain historical motivations. Face this fact, the USA was started by the Christian majority for Christians. However we welcomed others as a tolerant people who love their neighbors and love God with all their heart. If you can't do this you might as well not follow God at all. These two commandments by Jesus basically sum up the 10 commandments. This whole subject reminds me of the book Robinson Crusoe which was written by a Christian author about a man stranded on a desert island. It talked in length about Robinson Crusoe's faith in the original book. Now we have movies and revised books that don't mentioned it... Secular schools have done much the same thing with their history books.

  197. Scott

    All things great and small

    Just so you all know I am an American but I like to be refered to as part of the human race. All should know that all Americans are not these over-zealous christians who take the bible literally. After 45 years on this Earth I am still trying to figure out why grown adults behave in such a way as to add more excuses of killing, segragation, false science, etc... in the name of god. There is no proof that there is a god yet people who I find are weak minded and suseptible to "brain-washing" seem to beleive that there is based on "faith".

    Faith is not "FACT" nor is it theory. It's more of an extra human emotion that people use to act as a crutch on or to refrain from excepting resposibilities. I find that 99.99% of all religious people are the most degenerate, vile, polluted, and scary people I have ever met. My dad, who is not a god fearing man is the most upstanding, and moral person I know, as with other people like him that I know. On the other hand, people who are of the church, both muslim, christian, jewish, are the most mixed up people I ever met. One guy I know is always abusing his kids and when I say thats not very christian of him, he gets angry and says not to bad mouth his religion. So, in his mind, his religion is more important than his kids...imagine that! You can get the same answer from "born again" christians.

    I just do not understand how we,as human beings who are "self aware" can have such faith in something that is totaly non-existant. I would prefer to have faith that some other human would stop and help me if I got into a car accident rather than pray for me. I would like to have faith that another human would not murder me because I do not beleive as he or she does. I have a lot of faith, but its faith based on real things that might actually happen rather than something will never happen, such as god coming back to this rock inhabited by humans who shit in their drinking water, kill for paper money, power, fame. It just boggles the mind.

    If technology permitted, I would be off this rock in the blink of an eye and let all these idiots kill each other in the name of a f***ed up god--both good and evil gods.

  198. kain preacher Silver badge

    @micheal

    What concerns me is that the state university bases their objection on the notion that this history class is slanted in its world view. The problem with this ruling is that it sets a dangerous precedent wherein publicly funded state universities have the power to decide that any or all religious group or groups' students cannot pursue higher education unless they go to a religious school, which would further entrench the slanted world view the university is concerned about. Does it make any sense to say that a university will only teach those who already know? Certainly not! As an institution of "higher"

    Are you aware that State schools are accredited by a non government agency ?? They are subject to review. If they except course work that the accrediting agency deems as not not up to par they risk losing the accreditation . When that happens every one that graduated from the system has a toilet paper for a degree. Other colleges will refuse course .

    So Micheal, is it a case of the State trying screw a hand full students for a religious slant or is it the state trying to keep their accreditation and not screw over thousands of students.

  199. Mark

    @Colin

    "And secular is a narrow point of view too! If we can't explain it, it doesn't exist.HMMM!"

    Nope, that's not the secular point of view.

    The closes re-phrasing that gets to the truth is "If it doesn't exist, we can't explain it".

    For example, I do not know if there's life after death. But that merely means that I can't explain what will happen after my death. It also means that I won't live THIS life for the next one, I'll live it for THIS one.

  200. Mark
    Boffin

    @steve

    Oh boy.

    Someone who hasn't studied their own countries' history.

    The founding fathers were NOT Christians. They moved to the US to get *away* from christians who were angry at the fact that they weren't following the "right" god and were persecuting them.

    So they left the country to get away from it.

    Which is WHY the constitution demands that the state does NOT put religion into the system. Because that's what they ran away from: Christians who had gotten the government of the day to outlaw their way of living.

    Really weird how some people act all patriotic but have NO FRIGGING CLUE about their own country and its' origins.

  201. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    A history lesson

    When homo erectus was still wandering around the savanna, a race of intelligent beings passed by our quadrant of the galaxy and solar system. As they performed a bio-scan of Earth, they saw potential in h.erectus. A wise and ancient race, they sought to encourage the creation of intelligence on every viable planet. On Earth, they decided to modify the genetics of h.erectus and eventually created two species: Homo sapiens and the neanderthals. H.sapiens were created to be generalists. The neanderthals were specialised, created to deal with harsh environmental conditions. In both species, the aliens placed an imperative in the proto-human's brain:"Do not forget us; your creators. Believe." Is it any wonder that even neaderthals had burial rites?

    In time, the generalist h.sapiens became the dominant intelligent species on Earth. Within our minds, however, still lies a portion of the brain that believes in the supernatural, religion, our creator. Recent research seems to confirm this.

    Believe in Intelligent design! You know it makes sense. Our alien masters and creators will return in 2012...

  202. Mark
    Stop

    @Doug Lynn

    "Hi, writing a history book from a Christian perspective is not wrong."

    But going on a course to teach you HOW to get history right (or as right as possible wiht the limited knowledge available and the assumptions that must be made to fill in the gaps) when you've already been told that the bible is not only right but the ONLY right source IS wrong.

    Rather like going into teaching after having been taught and now believing that women should not be educated because they should only have babies.

    Because, (in both cases) if they are wrong, they are damaging the very thing they are supposed to be serving.

  203. NT

    @ Mark and adnim

    @ Mark

    You said: "christian nutjobs (rather like yourself)"

    As I read that remark, you've made my point for me exactly. I want to be clear: my complaint is NOT that people are attacking religion per se - despite one of the favourite claims of Dawkins et al, I don't believe my religion should be proof against criticism. In fact, valid criticism exercises the mind and is a positive thing. What I object to is *invalid* criticism. Attack my religion for what it is, by all means (and note I haven't told you, primarily because I don't believe you're obliged to share it - again despite certain assumptions, religion doesn't automatically demand proselytisation). Attack me for what I believe, if you wish to attack me.

    I quite clearly said in my original comment that I am NOT Christian - and yet here you are with "christian nutjobs (rather like yourself)". Some people in defending religion argue that atheism is a religion in itself. It's not. I know that. But certainly, some people are fanatically opposed to religion is precisely the same blind, narrow-minded way that *some* others fanatically follow a faith. When these supposedly more sophisticated minds attack something without knowing, and often without apparently caring, what they're attacking and why, then of course I question the intelligence and the rationality that they claim.

    I'm willing to be corrected if you'd like to tell me that you meant something else by "christian nutjobs (rather like yourself)" - but as it is it looks pretty clear. To you, 'religion' does indeed equal 'Christianity'.

    Oh, and for the record, I'm not Muslim either, but in principle I've no problem with someone criticising Islam, and I'm sure most Muslims wouldn't have either - provided, again, that the criticism was valid and not just an indiscriminate blaze about the evils of 'religion'.

    @ adnim

    You said: "Teaching children about all religions and faith on an equal footing, parents telling their children 'This is what we believe, you are welcome to come to church/synagogue/mosque with us should you wish, you will not be chastised if you don't. We have no proof that what we believe is fact, you are free to choose your own path' is not abuse [...] If you cannot see this then all I have to say is the indoctrination and conditioning you may well have received as a child had the effect that those who raised you desired."

    I can see it. And as you describe your attitude here, I've no objection to it at all. As you described it before - "religious indoctrination IS child abuse, and I believe this to be fact" - I wasn't at all sure that you could. 'Indoctrination' is a weighted term - very subjective, and very often used by those opposed to religion to describe exactly the sort of process you now define as acceptable. So I'm glad you've been willing to clarify that.

    I repeat: in general I have no objection to the criticism of religion as a whole or individual religions. What I do object to are the assumptions so often made that 1) religion equals superstitious stupidity; 2) religion is evil; 3) that religion as a concept is broadly equivalent to fundamentalist Christianity; 4) that atheists are by definition more intelligent than religious people; 5) that scientific endeavour invariably leads to atheism; and 6) that religion makes a person opposed to science. Together with the strong implication that humanity would be living in peace but for religion (a common theme running through much anti-religious rhetoric), these are *all tenets of faith*. By which I mean that they are all assumptions adopted on the basis of individual conviction and without empirical evidence to support them. All these assumptions can be found in The God Delusion, and all of them are regularly preached by those who ape the author of that book.

    It's not atheism that I object to, and it's certainly not science or the scientific method. What I object to (from religious people and atheists) is hostility based on blind faith and prejudice.

  204. adnim Silver badge

    @NT

    Yes, I should have perhaps qualified my use of the word indoctrination. Forcible indoctrination or brainwashing whether into a religion or indeed atheism is child abuse and is not acceptable. Every child has the right to free and informed development. What shapes a child's mind during the formative years has a huge influence on their path through life and how they interact with the world around them. Forcing a child a particular way severely limits their horizons and potential to experience what should be a wondrous existence.

  205. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    What is educational about "faith" anyway?

    Why is the sky blue?

    Because God did it that way.

    Why do the birds make that noise?

    Because God did it that way.

    Why are we here?

    Because God wants us to worship him.

    etc.

    Not a lot of "education" there.

    Same thing with "irreducable complexity" for IDers: when you've decided that something is irreducibly complex, you stop checking to see if you're right. So where do you go after that? Something else not irreducibly complex? Well, you'll run out of them soon enough. So how will ID lead to improvements in the knowledge of living things if something becomes too complex to be natural?

  206. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reason is new and hard - Religion is old and easy

    1) religion equals superstitious stupidity;

    True.

    Either that or plain old mental problems.

    2) religion is evil;

    True.

    Religion is lies, therefore religion is evil.

    3) that religion as a concept is broadly equivalent to fundamentalist Christianity;

    Ah-ha - this is the bit they always get wrong - they equate religion with creationidiocy, which it is not - Creationidiocy (and its bastard child ID) is the preserve of a tiny band of very weird and scary morons.

    4) that atheists are by definition more intelligent than religious people;

    True.

    Surveys show this to be a fact, and it is completely logical - people with more intelligence will be more analytical and therefore less likely to be satisfied with the uninformed hogwash that religions spout.

    5) that scientific endeavour invariably leads to atheism; and

    Not sure anybody makes this claim - sounds like a rather pathetic strawman to me.

    6) that religion makes a person opposed to science.

    Religion makes a person resistant to reason, if not blatantly opposed, so this statement has a grain of truth despite the misleading strawman wording you've given it.

    The bottom line is that human society has a pedigree extending back through tens of thousands of years, all of them tainted with a myriad of stupid and uninformed superstitions.

    Human Reason is only hundreds of years old.

    It stands to reason that NOT ALL humans are born with the capacity to live by Reason, when Reason is such a very young part of Human Society.

    So, many humans cannot grasp Reason and grasp Religion instead - it's not necessarily a bad thing for them, although there is no doubt it impoverishes the intellectual Landscape of Humankind.

  207. Michael
    Go

    Silly daddy, there is no air.

    I have to laugh, or I'd be dismayed, at the hypocrisy of the typical atheist. They have as much faith as a true believer, as much tolerance of others as a Southern Baptist, and even "buzz words" or jargon private to their religion: "Fucking hell fundamentalist nutters..." and "flying spaghetti monster".

    That's good. Show us the value of secular education.

    I am reminded of my daughter when she was little and declared, "silly daddy, there is no air!" I wondered how to prove "air" and decided to wait a bit. You see, it didn't NEED proving right then.

    Eventually I used an inverted glass cup in a sink of water, the invisible air in the cup pushing down on the water. Like any convert, my daughter has no memory of ever NOT believing in air. But the evidence of air is somewhat indirect, someone could propose that the glass cup has a special property that pushes water down. In the end, the exasperated parent simply says WHATEVER is pushing the water down, is AIR.

    So it is with religion. I do not need to prove god to you, and you do not need to disprove god to me. Should you persist, and many of you do, I will tend to agree that the "straw man" god you have created exists only in your mind and therefore has no other existence.

    I love science in any flavor. The possibility that humans are more than mere assemblage of chemicals gives my life joy and purpose. I read National Geographic and Scientific American to see HOW things operate, but nothing in them is WHY they operate.

    (Icon "GO" hoping that narrow minded, linguistically offensive persons of any flavor will go somewhere else).

  208. weirdcult
    Coat

    How the bible was won

    Roman soldier: Who's that bloke then?

    Jewish Priest: I don't know, some nutter.

    Roman Soldier: Seems to be drawing a crowd though

    Jewish Priest: Yeh, not sure i like the look of that....they seem to be hanging on every word.

    Roman Soldier: Whats he on about?

    Jewish Priest: Some "be nice" bollocks..not anything important.

    Roman Soldier: Shame we havent got someone like that. Think of the money we'd save. We could close down the barracks and just have this bloke tell them what to do.

    Jewish Priest: Actually, we could have a few blokes scattered about telling people what to do...speaking on his behalf and that..

    Roman soldier: Brilliant! Now all we have to do is get rid of this one and the world is ours

    Together: mwahahahahahah!!

  209. Mark

    Re: Silly daddy, there is no air.

    What? Disregarding the inanity of the majority of your message, we have these:

    "The possibility that humans are more than mere assemblage of chemicals gives my life joy and purpose."

    Why MUST your life have purpose other than "to live"? You have little faith in things if you must have a reason for it. What's "God"'s purpose in living?

    "I read National Geographic and Scientific American to see HOW things operate, but nothing in them is WHY they operate."

    So why is it that some book that gives one rather weird reason as to WHY that this must be promulgated in an institution dedicated to telling you the HOW?

  210. Alan Fisher

    Secular Education

    I do agree to a certain level with Michael, I do see no problem with an education which leads the student to question everything; which faith, in effect does not allow one to do. By defination it does not allow one to question certain things. Does god exist? You believe he does, by faith he 'factually' does and therefore it is beyond question. It reminds me of a famous Douglas Adams quote.......

    So a secular, non-religiously biased education encourages the questioning of everything, that no facts are concrete unless proven. Faith and education do not mix, in my opinion, education is a matter of facts and proven science, faith is a matter of personal choice but the two do not mix.

    I believe, personally in a number of psychic phenomenon and ghosts but neither of these may be proven scientifically. They are, therefore, my beliefs but I cannot try to convince others they are fact. I cannot disagree with things others teach because of my opinion/belief. But I can, myself, explore the possibilities. If I submitted a paper, explaining an unknown phenomenon making use of my belief I would, and expect to, fail. The same should apply for all belief systems. Just because mine is not one of the Big Three does not make it any way superior or inferior to them, or any other.

    You see? Athiesm is, however, simply the Cult of Science in most cases and not Nihilism.

    Keep religion and education apart unless it is Religious Education you are teaching. Keep Secular Education and let people make up their own minds.

  211. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    210 comments already !!!! WOW.

    "inadequate treatment of several major ethnic groups, women, and non-Christian religious groups" - silly me, I've been looking for the right argument all this time and it was staring me in the face...

    THINK of the children people... ban the bible - it is manipulative sexist and racist literature.

    ...and let (s)he who is stoned cast the first sin.

  212. Michael

    The Circularity of "Why"

    "(1) Why MUST your life have purpose other than "to live"? (2) You have little faith in things if you must have a reason for it. (3) What's "God"'s purpose in living?"

    1. One must ask the maker of life why life must have purpose. If you believe there is no maker, then the question loses meaning as there can be, for you, no purposer and hence no purpose.

    Realizing this requires "critical thinking", the thing that the University of California said was missing from religious instruction but which obviously is also missing from atheist instruction. Absent a god, we are *nothing* but an accident, with no purpose, no right, no wrong, no good, no evil. What will replace it is what is good FOR YOU and society will fail PDQ when large numbers of its members think that way.

    If I make a pot, the reason for it is known only to me, the maker. I don't care if my pots believe in me; they need only to fulfil their purposes.

    2. I suppose that by some definitions of faith this is a true statement. I do prefer to have reasons for things and my particular theology embraces knowledge with the motto "the glory of God is intelligence".

    3. God's purpose in living is defined by God's maker. Only created things or made things can have a purpose, and the purpose is established by the maker. It is possible for a thing to have different purposes according to each observer who imagines what he or she might be able to do with the thing observed.

  213. Michael

    Purpose by Observation?

    I am reminded of Schroedinger's Cat that is, until the moment of observation, simultaneously alive and dead.

    Thus while I hold that the objective purpose of a thing exists only in the mind of the purposer, concurrent valid alternate purposes might well exist in the minds of observers and this superposition (multitude of interpretations simultaneously present) does not collapse to a single purpose until the authoritative purpose is made known by the maker.

    Therefore I modify my assertions and allow for an *atheist to arrive at a personal (ie, non-binding on anyone else) conclusion as to the purpose of life.

    *(In this instance, "atheist" will mean a person that denies the existence of a maker, hence, there can be no authoritative, objective "real" purpose of life).

    Since each observer's judgement is non-binding on others, there is not much point ultimately in revealing private, non-binding judgements; while there may yet be value in revealing the *objective* purposes intended by the maker of the object.

    As an example, consider the movie "Crockodile Dundee" in which he is trying to figure out the purpose of a bidet. He creates his own interpretation of the function of a bidet; but value exists in finding out what REALLY (objectively) was intended for the purpose of a bidet.

    Thus we can suppose that life may have an objective purpose established by its maker, and many alternative purposes envisioned by observers.

    The Wikipedia article on Schrodinger's Cat is rather interesting and explores some alternative interpretations; one of which is that quantum mechanics is deterministic (predictable) all the way back to the Big Bang; that everything that has happened or ever will happen has been determined from the very beginning. Maybe not *predictable* but determined. Other interpretations include the many worlds scenario where ALL outcomes simultaneously exist in non-communicating worlds which would be rather infinite in number. Science fiction plays to that theme quite a bit but if these worlds are not communicating then we have a problem with *mass* as each world would need its own mass (to avoid interacting with any other world whose mass might be somewhat different -- we shoot a rocket to Mars in one world, but not another; the mass of the Earth and everything on it will be subtly different).

  214. Mark

    re: The Circularity of "Why"

    "1. One must ask the maker of life why life must have purpose"

    This presupposes a maker.

    My mummy and daddy made me. I don't think they have the definitive answer to the reason for life.

    Why MUST there be a maker? Why MUST there be a reason for life? Why MUST WE have a reason for life but not anything else (as, for example, alien overlords or deities)?

    You didn't answer that except by assuming there MUST be a reason why there MUST be a reason for life.

  215. Mark

    re: Secular Education

    Two weird quotes from you:

    "I do see no problem with an education which leads the student to question everything"

    "You see? Athiesm is, however, simply the Cult of Science in most cases and not Nihilism."

    Nope. You start off OK but then make the assumption that the ONLY people who question are those who have faith.

    Why is it belief in God means you question but non-belief is a cult and is nihilistic?

    Endemic bias on your part: you don't know WHY you must believe but to make sure that you aren't questioned on it, you must demonise those who do not believe.

    As you did there.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019