Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sweden Separates the Church and State

Sweden has recently banned the teaching of creationism in schools. This ban is aimed at stopping teachers in faith based schools from presenting creationism alongside evolution. It is a move directed towards religious based teaching here in Sweden. The government will not be banning prayer, and will still allow for religious education but what gets taught will be regulated. Science is king here; or God if you will.

Obviously, this has caused a bit of a stir here in Sweden. I first read about it at thelocal.se and Swenglishman has written a couple of posts on the topic and brought up some good points. After having just visited Uppsala yesterday for a quick little day trip I decided that I was also going to weigh in. My inspiration comes from the castle and cathedral in Uppsala, and of course ATM who noticed it first. Both impressive structures, both easily seen from miles away, but interestingly enough there seems to have been some strife between the two. In fact cannons are pointed at the cathedral from the hill atop which the castle stands. The battle between church and state in a very visual way.

I am not a religious person. I’ve had plenty of discussions with people who are and plenty with people who aren’t. You can believe whatever it is you want to believe. I just don’t really buy it. Just as I’m sure believers don’t buy my ideas. That’s fine. Sweden is an interesting country when it comes to religion and the discussion of these beliefs.

Most people in Sweden are very hesitant to talk about their religious beliefs. While they may not adhere to organized religion, many Swedes are spiritual in some way. It’s the whole “I don’t believe in God, but…” argument. They believe in something, just not God. That’s just too old fashioned and not nearly progressive enough for the Swedes. It’s an interesting attitude and one which I really have no problem with.

With this attitude in mind though it is important to understand another important cultural phenomenon here in Sweden. Everyone in Sweden is allowed to speak their minds. No one is ever really wrong, they just have a different idea. Everyone is worth listening too. No matter how crackpot their ideas.

Now couple these two attitudes together and look at the recent ruling banning the teaching of creationism in schools and you have a bit of a problem. Suddenly, that ‘everyone’ who should be allowed to express ideas has become ‘everyone, but…’ kind of like Sweden’s attitude towards religion in the first place. It seems that being progressive sometimes gets in the way of a society open to any and all ideas. Somewhat contradictory. It plays to this attitude that can be seen at all spectrums of politics that “I’d love to hear what you have to say, as long as you agree with me.”

I don’t buy creationism, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a subject that should be taught in public schools. At the same time though skeptical of the complete banning of a subject or idea. I never learned about creationism in my biology classes. Had I been taught this I have the utmost faith in my ability to disseminate science from religious fundamentalism. Suddenly, the Swedish government is taking that decision away from young people. Instead of allowing for the development of critical thinking, it spoon-feeds young Swedes exactly what the government deems acceptable.

This ruling is stopping the teaching of creationism in faith based schools. And that’s where I have a problem. These people have chosen to attend a faith-based school. These students, as it stands now, have had the opportunity to learn both creationism and evolution, and so have been presented with ideas which they should then discuss, debate, and finally decide on. To have the government suddenly crackdown and say that despite your religious leanings, despite your freedom of choice when it comes to both religion and education, despite you living in a country that prides itself on accepting all ideas, there are just some things you shouldn’t be allowed to learn.

Swenglishman argues that this ruling will help to integrate because it keeps people from segregating themselves within schools that focus on their religion. He makes a good point, but at the same time I worry that completely outlawing something like this will only exacerbate problems. Suddenly, the part of the population that considers themselves religious, or has a strong religious history in their cultural background will feel attacked and segregated by the very government that is hoping to integrate.

We’ll see what kind of backlash this has. I wouldn’t be surprised to see very little actually considering the Swedish attitude towards religion. But, as the world saw with the Mohammed Roundabout Dogs, religion can be a powder keg issue. Maybe we’ll see some sort of protests in Stockholm. But I doubt it. Not everyone’s ideas are worth listening to it seems.

*I felt it necessary to clarify what I have written. Having returned to this post after numerous comments I felt like my opinion became muddled. And no one likes a muddled opinion. So. I do not believe that creationism should be taught as science in public schools. However, this ruling, as I wrote about it, refers to the banning of creationism in faith based schools. Schools which people who believe in a higher power, people who base their life on faith, have chosen to attend. This is an active choice, not one forced upon people in the public school systems. My problem is that Sweden is banning this teaching of creationism alongside evolution in these very faith based schools. To do so smacks of prejudice in that creationism (as ridiculous as it seems to me) is viewed by many as legitimate, or at least something to be coupled with evolution. It is important to note that evolution is still being taught in these schools.

Hopefully that clarifies a bit.

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51 comments:

  1. the picture tells it all. love it. an age old battle.

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  2. it never ends does it. kind of interesting. seems that religion often times leads to a whole lot of violence and war. probably the exact opposite of what the religious founders wanted. blind faith in anything is dangerous. blind faith in faith seems to particularly dangerous.

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  3. My main problem with these faith-based schools is that they're funded by our taxes. If people want to have religious schools, that's fine, but I don't want to pay for them. Let the churches pay for them, or the people who want to send their kids to these schools pay for them, then they can do whatever they want.

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  4. That's fair enough. But that opens up a whole new can of worms. I'm sure there are a lot of people in Sweden who don't want their tax money going to pay for certain programs. It would be a nightmare to allow every citizen to dictate where and to what means ones tax money should be used.

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  5. Terrible indeed....that a country like sweden who pride themselves as free and liberal state could decend so low in shoting off the religious voice and ideas in its citizen is simply dreadful.
    No doubt the state had been hijacked by the atheist and demons.....and the sure reparcussion is simply moral decadence in the youth.........mark my words....this is a coup against the ethics and the dreams of the founding fathers of the country.....Let the demons enjoy their bounty!!!
    ADIEU SWEDEN!!!
    PRINCE.....30TH DEC 2007

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  6. I know this is a really old post but I just have to comment on this one.

    No one has said that no one can't believe in creationism or talk about it. The point that the government is making with this ban, though, is that religion and school shouldn't be mixed. If someone wants to learn about creationism they can look on the Internet or go to a creationist church, if there is one... But the schools shouldn't teach something that 99,999999% of the scientists say is bogus. In schools you should be taught facts not beliefs. I would have no problem is students were taught about creationism as a religion but this was a ban against teaching creationism in biology classes. Creationism isn't biology so why should it be taught as biology? I think it's wonderful that Sweden, as the first country in the world, has realized this.

    You say that "Had I been taught this I have the utmost faith in my ability to disseminate science from religious fundamentalism". Well... Science is what you learn at biology classes in school and religious fundamentalism is what's banned from biology classes in school. Or at least, so it is, in Sweden.

    While religious parents might want to pass on their religion and faith and what not to their children the parents shan't get to decide what their children shall be taught at school. If they want their children to believe in that religion they are more than free to pass it on to them - but not in school.

    Robban

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  7. And to anonymous (not me...): how the hell do you know what the founding fathers of Sweden wished for? And why do you insinuate that devils and atheists are the same thing? I'm not calling you a devil just because you're religious (just guessing...) but schools are made for teaching science and not religion. Churches, mosques, synagogues etc. handles that department.

    again, Robban

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  8. Ok, I don't know if Sweden is the first country, as USA, oddly enough, already had that ban in public schools. but at least, we are the first country to ban it from all schools.

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  9. some interesting comments and before anything else is said let me point out that I believe in evolution and not creationism.

    that being said I have a problem when entire theories are being stricken from record. While evolution in my opinion is a fact some people still see it as a theory and it would follow then that other theories should be presented. it is very easy to present creationism in such a way that it acknowledged while stil focusing on evolution as the widely accepted idea. which I believe to be a good way to expose people to different ideas and also to get them to think critically about issues. a science class is an excellent place for that due to the very nature of science and the always changing theories and ideas about everything from string theory in physics to global warming and everything in between.

    I'm not entirely sure it's banned in public schools in the US. I never learned about it in my biology classes though.

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  10. Science do change and different theories come up but if a theory has no support among serious scientists and is basically a branch of christianity masquerading as science. While some people may see the evolution only as a theory and not a fact that doesn't mean that these people's opinions about this should decide how the school see it. The view and the education of the school should be decided by what an overwhelming (as in this case of evolution) majority of the scientists, the ones who actually know something about science, thinks and says. I mean, some people are satanists and the maybe believe that satan created the world. Should that be taught, even in the shadow of Darwin's evolution theory, in biology classes?

    There's a lot of people with a lot of different opinions and beliefs about a lot of stuff. I guess you could call some of these thoughts, ideas and beliefs theories. But the thing is that science is hard, complex and years of work and experience. It took a lot of time for Newton or Einstein to get their theories accepted among the majority of the scientists, but eventually it happened. This was due to years of hard work and thinking and experiments, all of which led to evidence of these theories. But can you tell me one evidence that creationism or intelligent design is true? No, as you said you don't believe in it. Neither can the scientists, nor even the people who came up with creationism. Should it then be considered science and suitable to teach the students as science?

    If it is science and if it is a theory that's worth teaching students in biology classes it will eventually be accepted. There's probably other people who have different theories which can't stand the critic view or investigation, if you will, by someone who KNOWS about science. Those theories can't be called science and thrown upon students as scientific truths when a ridiculously large majority of the scientists says it isn't. You can't just call every idea or theory from every nut be called science and teach it to the students, unless they hold for many closer investigations and lots of experiments and are accepted by a majority of the scientists as facts. Creationism doesn't hold for a closer look, there's simply no proof of it but there's a lot of proof against it. Therefore creationism isn't science, it's belief and may therefore be called a religion and taught during religion classes and not in biology classes.

    And by the way, it is banned in public schools in USA. At least judging by what a lot of people on the internet said, in which there was Americans, as well.

    Robban

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  11. So you're all for banning anything that doesn't jive with the majority of society? That's a scary way of rooting out ideas that don't fit with your societal views.

    As I have said, I don't believe in creationism and despite my arguing a bit with you Robban, also have a problem with it being taught in public schools. Of course, I also have a problem with banning it completely in public schools. I'm confusing like that.

    Anyway, my post focused on the decision to ban creationism in faith based schools. And to do so in faith based schools is unacceptable. Faith based schools are just that - faith based. And whether you like it or not creationism makes up a big part of a faith based curriculum. This is blatant religious discrimination in my mind.

    And the teaching of creationism is definitely not banned in all of the US. There is no federal law banning it. Some states ban it but the decision is made state by state after the so called "Scopes Monkey Trial" after John Scopes attempted to teach evolution in Tennessee in 1925. Can't always trust the internet...

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  12. Seriously?... How is it religious discrimination? That they can't say that a religion is science? That they can't teach religion as science? Ohh, how mean the government are to them...

    What faith based curriculum are you talking about? Obviously not the Swedish one.. Btw, as I said if they teach creationism (which is belief, faith, religion or whatever..) in religion classes, in it's right context. After all, it's a religion and not science.

    I mean, how can you not see that? And as I said before, I think religious schools should shut down permanently. Whether you like it or not the government has taken the first step towards doing just that.

    robban

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  13. Btw, as I said if they teach creationism (which is belief, faith, religion or whatever..) in religion classes, in it's right context, then I have absolutely no problem with that and neither should they. (left a sentence unfinished...) It's not discrimination to say that religions are religions and should be taught during religion classes and not during biology classes. just because it's a religious school doesn't mean that they can lie to their students.

    robban

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  14. And i'm not for banning everything that "doesn't jive with the majority of society". But that's how science work, you see, that's the beauty of it - if a theory proves to be true or at least partly true then it will eventually become accepted. It can take many years but eventually science will sort out the bad and take in the good. Kind of like evolution, really.If creationism proves to be true, which hasn't happened yet (surprise, surprise) then it will eventually be accepted. if it can hold for close investigations and critical questions then it will be taught in as biology eventually. Until then, it has nothing to do with biology.

    What's scary is that religious fundamentalists can masquerade a religion as science and get it to be taught in schools as science!

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  15. it is religious discrimination because you are saying a group of people can not teach something that is a part of their religion.

    and the faith based curriculum is the one taught in most faith based schools. which involves creationism. just not in sweden anymore because they decided to ban it completely. to discriminate against a group of people because of their beliefs and make it illegal to teach that belief.

    but why is it ok to teach creationism in religion classes but not in a faith based school that basis its curriculum on religious teachings?

    what is scary is that you don't seem to see that you are for the outright banning of something that has been neither proved or disproved in the eyes of millions of people throughout the world.

    science does evolve, and eventually roots out everything that turns out to be false for the most part. but the outright banning of a theory by a government can be viewed as controlling and frightening.

    making sure that certain things are not taught is a form of control, especially something like creationism that is seen as contoversial to so many people throughout the world. and is seen as believable to so many people.

    and just because I dont believe in creationism doesnt mean that I think that it should never be discussed. thats ridiculous. to disprove ideas, to let science and ideas evolve, all theories and ideas must be open to discussion, not just banned.

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  16. I never said it shouldn't be discussed. It's not about that, I'm actually pro discussing it and investigate it, in a scientific way, that all theories have to go through to be considered science and then be taught in school as science. If it can hold for that investigation and be proved scientifically then it should indeed be taught as science. But the creationists doesn't seem to be pro discussing it, only pro teaching it. Neither do you seem to be pro discussing creationism, but if you are can you tell me a way to prove it? Not that you are a scientist but I hope you get my point.

    It has already gone through investigations and just the idea of the earth being so young as the creationists say contradicts pretty much every scientific research. So there actually is proof against it, even if, allegedly, millions of people don't know this.

    To say that it shouldn't have to go through scientific and critical investigations, discussions etc. and get proved scientifically before it get taught at schools, as science, is just stupid, and to say that it's discrimination to demand this, is a false accusation.

    Then why shouldn't a christian also be able to teach the creation story of the bible as science. It's just the same thing, I would say that a lot of people believe in it, and considers it the true story fo how the earth and the life on it developed, an I would certainly say that it is part of their faith and religion. Or hell, why not the buddhist creation story in a buddhist school?

    Robban

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  17. "but why is it ok to teach creationism in religion classes but not in a faith based school that basis its curriculum on religious teachings?"

    I hope you "skrev fel" or do you actually think that I meant that it's ok for public schools to teach it during religion lessons but not for a religious school? What is aid is that they shouldn't teach it during biology lessons but of course, they should be able to teach it during religion lessons, and they are. The governmental ban banne dit from biology classes but not from religion classes, of course, since it is a religion but not science.

    robban

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  18. I am all for discussing creationism. but as with any subject you have to have a good understanding of that which you are discussing, which would suggest some sort of teaching somewhere along the line.

    and again, I really do agree with you. I don't buy it, theres plenty of stuff that science has explained. but Im sure there are plenty of scientists themselves who can argue that there is plenty that science has yet to explain. it's amazing what a little bit of doubt can do for someone who already believes in god. I don't agree with it Im just saying its important to acknowledge.

    what it comes down to is the wholesale banning of an idea. in a school that is faith based. and an independent one at that. should the black hole theory of the creation of the world be taught? it hasn't been proven yet. or the string theory creation? you say that it must be proven scientifically, but plenty of things have yet to be completely proven but are accepted by as true. but still not completely proven. it's a fine line.

    and you're right... I misread what you had written about the religious scools and religious classes. my fault.

    I think you make some good points. I agree with a lot of what you say. my real problem comes with completely banning an idea. banning of an idea does not lead to an open discussion. whatever the idea.

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  19. Flat Earth Theory should not be banned. It should be taught in history lessons. It should NOT be taught in geography lessons. Any plans of doing so should be banned. (There will be none, though.)

    Creationism should not be banned. It should be taught in lessons of history or religion. It should NOT be taught in biology lessons. Any plans of doing so should be banned. (And there are such plans, not only in Sweden but also in Switzerland where they have been dismissed, fortunately)

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  20. it seems I am in the minority in my defense of what faith based schools should be allowed to teach.

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  21. After reading the post and the comments added to it i think there is a need to clarify what a scientific "theory" is. As most people here seam to have a vague understanding of its meaning in science.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory#Science

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  22. you're right, technically creationism shouldn't be seen as a scientific theory. but I would imagine that those people who are teaching it in those faith based schools believe it to be more than just a theory. regardless of the scientific definition.

    I'd like to point out though that from the very definition you take us to on wikipedia we get the following: "The term theory is regularly stretched to refer to speculation that is currently unverifiable. Examples are string theory and various theories of everything"

    I imagine that many believers or even those on the fence might stick creationism into that definition.

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  23. I'm with the Hairy Swede. Live and let live. The topic has nothing to do with creationism per se. It's how far will you stomach other people having different opinions from you.

    People so casually desire to control others. They see others as objects, and free will as dangerous.

    Let schools teach what they want. The bad ones die, the good ones flourish… but after reading comments on a number of posts, it seems that ideas like "freedom" and "moral agency" is anathema in Sweden. "Only bland cookie-cutter ideas allowed. Our people are not smart enough to decide for themselves. Our children will be forever injured if unapproved ideas come them."

    I do not believe this. Swedes are as strong as they choose to be. I hope in the future they will stand up and be strong.

    Rithban

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  24. my problem is really that this ban was focusing on religious based schools.

    people are choosing to go to schools with a religious curriculum. let them teach creationism and let the students decide for themselves.

    like you say, the bad ideas will die out.

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  25. But creationism is complete nonsense!
    The universe is not 5-10 000 years old! That's rediculous! Evidence: Carbon dating, the fact that we even see other stars that are millions of lightyears away tells us the universe has been here for more than millions of years. And so on and so fourth, why fool people into thinking the world is that young despite all the evidence, that's not education. That's more like trying to control people, like some of you commented above.

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  26. agreed. creationism is nonsense. but my problem is that this decision is focusing on private religious based schools. it kind of goes with the territory. and they are private organizations that should be allowe dto decide what they want to focus on and teach.

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  27. I just want to say that I agree with Hairy Swede. There is a danger in forcing sameness too much. Different people, raised differently, believing differently, and therefore having a different approach and thought pattern to problems is what spurs a country's ability to be dynamic, able to handle changes, problems, sudden upsets...Companies and universities (at least in US) try to get people from all walks of life and all backgrounds. Because they know that when one person's background and ideas do not get the job done, someone different will have an idea that works. Sometimes we realize that we were wrong about certain things. If no one learns other ideas how would they know to challenge them? I think one of the reasons the US is so strong globally and in business is because the mass culmination of backgrounds -diff. people from all around the world, with diff. educations, religions, lifestyles, etc. all working together. A unique idea/perspective is never missed with that kind of diverse group. I just worry that Sweden does not understand that value. It does not matter if you believe in creationism. We have no clue, really, how we all came to be. We think evolution, but, there are still many gaps. Until we have A LOT more proof, you must not close the doors on creationism. Esp. in faith based schools.

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  28. especially in faith based schools. thats the kicker for me. its a faith based school.

    and while I dont believe in creationism, some people see it as an imortant part of their religion. and to be perfectly honest, there is value in learning from that as well.

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  29. Let me rephrase the issue, because I think that you, Hairy Swede, are putting weight to creationism because it's supported by established religions, not due to its intrisic educational merit.

    Would you be in favour of allowing political schools, that taught kids (who, at age seven and onwardsm, willingly chose to attend these schools) the different values of different races? Would you consider it fine that the schools presented, along with the established theories of the past century, the fringe theory suggesting that the Holocaust was made up to make the Nazis look bad?

    I've read (dunno its validity) that there are more historians that dispute the holocaust than there are scientists that believe in creationism.

    When a seven year old child attends school (or anything required really) it's usually not because he's made a rational choice and wants to do it, but rather because his parents have decided for him that he should do such.

    Couple that with the notion that the creationism theory (or ID, which is equally inane and aberrant from the truth) is not necessarily presented as "an alternative view" to be considered without bias (if it was, it would be thoroughly rebuked by anyone who didn't believe in the bible literally) but is rather championed as the real truth. The danger lies in schools not teaching two theories equally and side by side, but indoctrinating pseudo facts about how the world was brought about via creationism and a "how to" guide to counter argue evolution (with arguments that usually only stump non-scientists).

    I'd be fine with any school that taught creationism if every student there were also required to read "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins and "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson (mostly cause I really like Bryson). But the next best thing is disallowing people f-ing up their kids. I wouldn't be for parents sticking their kids in Nazi or Stalinist schools, and I'm not to happy about religious folks indoctrinating their children.

    Indivual freedom is important, but the wellbeing of the children is of greater importance.

    Just my 2 cents...

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  30. In terms of your various scenarios. First, I’ve actually never heard of political schools, and don’t really see how race plays a role in politics the way you present it. But no, probably wouldn’t support that. But yes, probably would support the Holocaust thing. I think there is a lot to be learned in those fringe theories and how people can deny things like the Holocaust. There are absolute nutjobs who believe it didn’t happen. Why? There is something to be explored and learned in that fact alone.
    Obviously you are right that teaching things side by side can lead to one side being given credence over the other. But I have a whole lot of faith in even young students ability to think critically about things. Especially by the time they are being taught about evolution.

    But, as has been discussed, evolution is taught side by side with creationism in these schools. Or was. So your claim that it would be ok if they were required to read just one or two books being enough to placate you seems to be counter to your earlier fears that the schools will not teach them equally. But forcing a child to read a book will somehow be enough? And they will be able to use reason and critical thinking while reading by not while listening to a lecture? Im just not entirely convinced.

    Really I just struggle with the whole idea of banning something that can start a discussion about so many issues, can teach kids to think critically, can help kids analyze their religion and the scientific world. There are benefits. That being said, I’m perfectly ok with never having had to learn about creationism in school. But I never went to a religious school.

    On a side note, I’ve read a decent amount by Bill Bryson… and for some reason keep doing so even though he drives me nuts.

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  31. The thing is, I would not trust a religious school to teach creationism and evolution in an unbiased and objective manner. Because the argument for creationism runs down to one thing only. Faith. Creationism is true because we believe it is true. There is no evidence, no logical way of supposing that the theory of creationism took place. None.

    Evolution is true. It is. For all practical purposes it is. There are things about our past and about evolution that scientists haven't been able to explain. A science class can teach evolution AND its weaknesses WITHOUT adding a crack-pot theory in the mix. And yes, that's not me being demeaning because I dislike religion, but because its scientific validity or merit is nill.

    In that case, we might as well include pastafarianism, Norse beliefs, all three movies in the Matrix series and my personal theory that I am the master of all and your only lord and savior.

    Science is for science class. I've never heard of any swedish politician who wanted to ban creationism from religious studies classes.

    There is a reason we don't subject kids to things we allow adults can and should tolerate (or even enjoy). And kids are not born naturals at thinking critically. They're taught to do so (in their schools hopefully).

    That is why it is important that we don't allow adults to take advantage of their children. If you want to teach your kids about the glory of your god, then you can take them to church, or give them a bible. But our education system cannot go out lie to the kids. Even if that is what their parents want.

    School should be a place of discussion. Philosophy is grossly underrepresented in the swedish curriculum. But there should be a correct taxonomy of things. And the kids should know what is given to them as "truth" and as "ideas".

    Creationism might be interesting to discuss, but devoting time to it during biology class would be as useful as discussing the flat earth theory during physics. I say, if we want to lead on the class discussion, take on those topics that are being discussed by those in the forefront of their field.

    There is a reason why scientists are not discussing the validity of creationism with each other and it is not because they lack diversity of thought.

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  32. What I am about to say is going to make very little sense…

    But for the most part I agree with everything you say. Its just I cant convince myself that it is ok to ban creationism from a private, religious based school that is also teaching evolution. I don’t know. Maybe that’s my Americanism coming out and the whole idea of private organizations having a lot of self control over what they can and cant do.

    Its silly… I know. But its one of those things that just kind of sits in my gut despite plenty of misgivings and actually not agreeing with the issue at hand. Like creationism.

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  33. @anon - You have to learn that life is not black and white, not always one side or the other. In fact, it is often in the "grey area" somewhere in between. Therefore you cannot use the most extreme examples to make a point. You said teaching that the holocaust didn't happen would be the same as teaching creationism. Whoa! Really? Do you honestly see no difference? That is offending a group of people who were tortured and suffered greatly. There is no evidence to disprove creationism, even though there is evidence supporting evolution. Many believe creationism and evolution worked together and nothing can disprove that so far...

    I think if something teaches hate, violence, something that is anti-peace or that is offensive to other people is not ok, obviously. Teaching kids to be racist at a private school would not be acceptable as it teaches a negative and harmful attitude towards others. However, teaching alternative theories in history or medicine, such as the possible validity in alternative medicine would be acceptable. Like stories of recovery from massage therapy, accu-puncture or herbal cures, or that Columbus was from Greece and not Italy (the evidence is quite interesting)... See a difference? A non-offensive alternative theory that has not and/or cannot be proved or disproved should be allowed.

    It is unwise to throw out alternative ideas so large as creationism without real proof that it did not happen. For decades doctors said that margarine was healthy, better than butter. Some natural scientists continue to investigate because they did not believe the "accepted proof" that is is healthy. Sure enough, 40 years later they proved that margarine (transfat) is deadly, cancer-causing, and should be avoided ENTIRELY. Big change. Thanks to an alternative idea not giving up in the face of supposed overwhelming proof....

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  34. well said. well thought out. well written.

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  35. Creationsim has been disproven several times. The most obvious proof of it being false is carbon dating. The world is simply not 6,000 years old, even if an old book tells you so. Would you be in favor of school teaching their kids that Columbus was chinese? Or that the world was flat?

    As for other theories (such as ID) they have no proof besides philosophical or religious ideas. Which in my opinion should be taught in philosophy or religion, not a science class. Otherwise we might aswell teach ID in math class, or in english.

    Noone is against teaching religious theory in schools... it's when it's masked as science and fact that people start caring.

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  36. @anon - Wow, you don't need much to be convinced do you? Carbon dating. That is it? That is all the evidence you need to disprove creationism? Did it ever occur to you that creationism is not limited to just the Christian religion and those who follow the Bible? Or to those who don't realize the Bible was written in riddles making it difficult to interpret directly, and was copied by hand until recently, translated many times, etc? Creationism is much larger than Bible thumping Christians.

    And I am glad you mentioned carbon dating. Did you know at first they were doing it wrong and over stated the age of certain rocks/artifacts? I learned this in my normal, public high school science class. That does not mean all carbon dating is wrong, but they made mistakes with it too.

    And please tell me your evidence for why Columbus in Chinese, and find me a scientist with an actual degree who believes the world is flat. You can't. Follow my logic, please. I said there is a DIFFERENCE between stupid, made-up, dis-proven ideas from ideas that have support. I put that part about Columbus being Greek because a lot of evidence says he was. I read research written by anthropologists/historical scientists about it. Things such as his family's names being Greek, some of his ship logs were written in Greek, and other things. It is not something I or anyone pulled out of their ass such as Columbus being Chinese. It is unfair to compare ass theories with those having evidential support. Also, the world has been proven not to be flat, we have gone to space and seen it, have numerous photos, etc. We have also dis-proven that sailing west from Spain will land you in India. Find me one scientist today who thinks the world is flat or does no believe the Americas are between India and Europe. You can't. I am asking you to understand the difference if possible.

    Creationism has not yet been dis-proven and it is not fair to tell people who want to teach it that they cannot. At least not so far...

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  37. Find me one scientist that believes the world is 6,000 years old. Creationism has no support amongst scientists.

    "It is unfair to compare ass theories with those having evidential support."

    This I agree with completely. In fact I agree with the entire paragraph. This is why I don't think schools should compare darwinism with creationism in schools. Because it's quite unfair. One is a theory with evidential support and the other is an "ass" theory. And it's not just a random muumuu wearing, parliament smoking internet poster that has this opinion. Line up the scientists and see for yourself. Heck, you'll have trouble finding a Nobel Prie winning scientist who is religious, much less believes that the world is 6,000 years old.

    The parts of creationism that can be proven have been proven wrong a long time ago. The parts that can't be proven are as relevant in a biology class as in a maths class.

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  38. @ anon -The world is 6,000 years old does NOT equal creationism. Again I will tell you this. Other religions besides Christianity believe in creationism. Just because the Christian Bible's time line is wrong does not mean creationism is wrong. There are other religions supporting creationsim. Additionally, many Christians know that the Bible was written metaphorically. It also said the universe was made in 7 days. I don't think it meant 7 Earth days, but 7 days in the time line of the Universe. A mis-interpretation of the Bible's description of how old the Earth is does not disprove creationism. And I know many scientists believe creationism. My college physics professor included. I understand you think religion is for asses. But you are simply not the only person. And your ideas do not have to be everyone's. If the simple problem of certain Christian's time line is enough to disprove creationism entirely for you, fine. But don't tell other people who find that evidence to be very sparse that they must think like you...

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  39. @anonymous and m8surf - this is why I love blogs. the iscussion. and I know this has absolutley nothing to do with the actual discussion but I'm just enjoying reading both of your comments

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  40. I refrained from posting a responce since, in the end you shouldn't waste all your time arguing on the internet and I felt like it was taking up more time than I was willing to delegate to the activity.

    However, I would just like to say 2 things. This is directed as much towards you, m8surf and Hairy Swede as any lurkers out there.

    First: Evolution is only a "theory" and hence there's no evidence to support it. "Intelligent Design" is also a theory and hence equally probable.

    This is false. The word "theory" has a different meaning in a scientific setting than in regualr english. It does not mean that there is no evidence that supports the idea. Actually there is a large amount of evidence that supports the theory of evolution. ID, in comparison has no evidence supporting it. By evidence I mean proof gathered under scientific circumstances/conditions. I cannot prove this, however any doubter can disprove it by presenting evidence (i.e a published study in a scientific, peer-reviewed journal).

    Second. To teach both theories in class is not the same as helping kids get "both" sides of the issue, or come closer to the real truth. Quite the opposite, since one side is true (or at least probable, based on scientific evidence) while the other is false (or very improbable based on the lack of evidence and evidence that counters its ideas). Hence, if both are presented as being equally true (which, considering the bias of the schools that wish to teach ID in the first place, would be unlikely) it would create a false conception of reality amongst the students, the opposite of what education is all about. It's not a way to be open minded, but in fact to preach gullability.

    A few videos that explain my position (not my videos, but I agree with their arguments) in better detail. If you have an open mind (an inate curiosity in the matter) watch them and formulate an honest response to their arguments.

    Evolution explained:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vss1VKN2rf8

    Why we shouldn't teach ID/creationism in schools:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6e4I1hODqg&feature=related

    A few more, relevant to the general discussion (though not neccessarily this particular argument of ID/creationism in schools).

    Open mindedness explained:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI

    Why ID and evolution aren't two equally plausible theories:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5NPpoM5lIQ

    One major logical problem with ID, that is supported by evolution:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW_2lLG9EZM

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  41. As I have said so very many times. I believe in evolution.I understand the difference between everyday theories and scientific theories. My problem is the banning of creationism from a private religious based school. The whole basis of the school is religion. And creationism plays a large role in religion. At least that’s what Ive heard.

    And I don’t know if Ive said it or not. But I have no problem with creationism getting less time than evolution. It should. But to ban it outright from a religious school is just too much for me.

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  42. It seems to me you are concerned with it being banned, since then people are denied knowledge. Well, the thing is some things have to be excluded from education, because we simply can't do all/teach all. The rule of thumb that has been working so far, is that science or social merit is the cut off line. Other things (private theories) doesn't make it. Sure if someone wants to tell others who are willing to listen about his personal theories on the creation of earth, he may. But education is guaranteed by the goverenment. And as such standards should apply.

    I personally believe that society/the government has an obligation to its children to educate them (reasonably and equally), but where I to withhold that viewpoint for a moment I'd still disagree with religion taught in school as science. Why? Because the edcation is guaranteed by the government to be relatively equal. In that case remove the license for these schools, let them teach what they will and follow their own curriculum. But in the states eyes (when it comes to getting a spot in a real high school or a position at university) they shouldn't be qualified.

    Pretending that you've been educated doesn't mean you've learned something.

    But if they are using our tax money, getting access to our system, and benefiting from our guarantees, then they should live up to our standard. And that does not include fairy tales.

    A final link, expressing the finite resources of the school system and the absurdity of wasting time with nonsense:

    http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/

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  43. the funny thing is that I agree with you. except that this decision was targeting private schools. private meaning that government money isn't really playing much of a role.

    public schools, then yes, I completely agree. this is a private school though. a private education. and one that is centered on religion. completely banning creationism in that situation seems to be too much.

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  44. I'm not too familiar with the school laws in sweden but I do believe that most private schools receive quite a bit of money from the government. If that is true, then my point holds (where I think you agree) that if the state pays i gets to decide the rules.

    If it isn't true and the private schools get their money elsewhere, then I still think it's wrong because I believe that the government/society has a moral obligation towards our children's education that overrides the freedom of the parents to teach their kids what they want. I guess here is where you disagree.

    It's a difference in values, me valuing the public good/health higher, while you value individual freedom higher. So I guess it all depends on which parties/values get elected I suppose.

    If I've summed up you position wrongly, it wasn't my intent. I've not tried to make a strawman out of ya.

    And to those still unsure about the merit of teaching Id in public schools (i.e. not directed at you Hairy Swede) I have one final quote before I'm off to another corner of the internet:


    “As a scienctist, I think that ID is a form of pseudoscience–nothing more, nothing less. Pseudosciences lack the well-designed and carefully-interpreted experiments which characterize the true sciences. ID is popular because it provides the general public with an easily understood “answer” to nature’s complexity. Why is it human nature to try to fill the gaps in science with some form of a deity? Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, in his response the Challenger disaster, wrote, “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” It is too bad that many in the USA have fallen into the ID trap, and are making emotional rather than logical decisions.

    That being said, and the more I consider ID and the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) theory, the FSM theory has a lot going for it. First, it should satisfy even the most ardent ID detractors. Secondly, since everyone needs to eat and to believe in something, the FSM theory fulfills these desires. Finally, FSM neatly ties together the many ideas about the creation of the universe. I plan on exposing my students to the FSM theory over a pasta dinner. “
    –Elizabeth Cowles, PhD

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  45. my understanding is that because they are private, they receive very little, if any, money from the government. I could be wrong.

    But I think you hit it on the head. It's the individual vs. public values. And I think this is something that happens a lot in Swedish-American relations. Many Swedes are much more supportive f the public good while Americans are more for individual freedoms. It's an interesting difference in values and attitudes that is probably rooted in the historical development of each individual country.

    But before you run off to other corners of the internet, feel free to comment on some other posts. I quite enjoyed the discussion and your links.

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  46. i see you got quite the wall of comments. the law dosent actually mention creationism as far as i know, it says that you cant teach that something which is not accepted by the scientific community as science fact. basically you cant present creationism as an equally valid biological hypothesis with out some form of backing from the biological community. so all in all its a law against lying. you cant say creationism is biology when none of the biologists agree. youre free to bring it up in social studys though. check the law, it should be on some government homepage, it might put your mind at ease. its not about silencing dissent, its about misrepresenting a field.

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  47. @anonymous – Ill check it out but I just seem to remember all of the articles I read mentioned creationism specifically.

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  48. The debate continues:

    http://www.gudfinnsnoginte.se/debattera/?p=7

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  49. it seems like it never ends...

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  50. But um, didn't they jus ban it in biology, but we stil have the subject religion from school start to university which teaches it anyway? why have it in 2 subjects? if you want the devate jus make some kind of inter subject connection, we did it all the time in my class if there where 2 things that was close to eachother...

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  51. they banned it from religious schools.

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