Sunday, August 21, 2011

US judges rule for teacher who called creationism 'superstitious nonsense'

“Aristotle … argued, you know, there sort of has to be a God. Of course that’s nonsense,” Corbett said according to a transcript of his lecture. “I mean, that’s what you call deductive reasoning, you know. And you hear it all the time with people who say, ‘Well, if all this stuff that makes up the universe is here, something must have created it.’ Faulty logic. Very faulty logic.”

He continued: “The other possibility is, it’s always been there.… Your call as to which one of those notions is scientific and which one is magic.”

Wait a minute. He didn't just call "Creationism" nonsense--he called theism, belief in God as such, nonsense. But neither he nor the headline writer are making what they must assume to be niggling fine distinctions between theism and "creationism." It's all very simple. There is Science, which presupposes atheism, and everything else is magic, nonsense and faulty logic.

This guy wouldn't know logic if it kicked him in the teeth. He seems to think that deductive reasoning is a particular kind of fallacy. But I'm sure he passes as one of the grand intellectuals of the San Juan Capistrano public school district because he spouts this crap in his AP history class.

This story has gotten play all over the internet as an inspiring victory for freedom of speech over the narrow-minded bigotry of conservative evangelicals. And of course neither the media nor the public make fine distinctions: all religious believers are tarred with the same brush. No one dares criticize this guy for fear of being tagged as an ignorant, bigoted fundamentalist.

But there are very good reasons why this guy's performance was unacceptable. It was first of all gratuitously insulting. But more importantly he doesn't know what he's talking about but sets up as an authority awakening kids from their dogmatic slumbers. "Faulty logic"--I'm sure the kids, and their parents are impressed. What an intellectual! And he mentions Aristotle. What an intellectual!

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