What’s The Matter With Colorado

While Kansas has made steps to rejoin the 21st century, there remains people who prefer the dark ages all over the country. PZ Myers asks, Whats the Matter with Colorado? He writes about Ken Poppe, a teacher in a public middle school, who brags about teaching his students creationism instead of evolution. Myers quotes a church newsletter which brags about Poppe’s despicable actions:

Although his belief in an intelligent designer (God) as the origin of life went against the standard teaching, Ken continually found ways to present both sides. It is one of the ways he feels called to serve God, despite controversy and job security. “Too many of my own biology students who professed faith were stumbling over the ‘monkey-to-men’ pictures in the books I’d give them. For their benefit, I would bring Darwinism into question, but tread softly because of the disfavor voiced by administration and an occasional parent.” How did Ken find a way to help his students? “I began writing short essays on Darwinian failures for optional outside reading.” Those essays eventually formed into the backbone for Ken’s first book, Reclaiming Science from Darwinism.

As Myers says, “this incompetent scumbag is lying to his students, wandering from the established curriculum to confuse the kids with this absurd crackpottery, and the parents and administrators in the Longmont school district are letting him get away with it.” Poppe also teaches that established scientific views on climate change are incorrect. Myers wonders why parents and administrators in school district are letting him get away with this, as opposed to the people of Dover who threw out those who wanted to teach creationism.

What is especially useful about the blogosphere is that there is the opportunity for back and forth between both sides. Poppe actually responds to Myers’s post (assuming it is really him and not a troll having fun). He begins:

You know what’s great about God? Whatever happens, I can always say that He’s either trying to teach me a lesson or He’s rewarding me. Secular humanists can’t prove otherwise, but it’s amusing to watch them try.

The nature of his argument is clear. Sure he can always claim that God is either rewarding him or teaching him a lesson, but so what? I can’t disprove his fantasies, and wouldn’t bother trying, any more than he can disprove it if I claimed that there is a unicorn reading this over my shoulder saying that Poppe is an ignorant idiot.

If fired from his teaching job he says he’ll find a job elsewhere, such as the Discover Institute or a private school, writing, “There are plenty of excellent private schools where Christians aren’t persecuted (I know you atheists here hate to admit that such places even exist).” I doubt there are any atheists, or anyone else concerned with keeping religious education out of science classes, who doubts that there are Christian shcools where his beliefs are taught. Of course we would not consider insisting that science teachers teach science and not religion to be persecution.

Poppe has one more idea:

Or else I’ll write a book. I have a title for my next one: “American Atheists: Revelation of the New Fascism.” I think I’ll sell a bunch, especially with my newly acquired martyr status.

Yes, making a buck by selling lies to the gullible on the right is always a possibility. There are already plenty of people doing just that.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    carl says:

    Thank you for the quote, it says more about the left than anything else, thanks to the teachers union, the only articulation he can make is “scumbag”, that helps to clarify the issues. Myers says, “this incompetent scumbag is lying to his students, wandering from the established curriculum to confuse the kids with this absurd crackpottery, and the parents and administrators in the Longmont school district are letting him get away with it.” Myers sounds as if he is disappointed that all directives do not come down from the Central Committee in accordance with the 5 year plan.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Expecting teachers to teach science and not religious beliefs which are contrary to established science is hardly like expecting directives “from the Central Committee in accordance with the 5 year plan.”

    The last place that tried this, the Soviet Union, had directives against the teaching of established scientific knowledge on evolution as it conflicted with their “religion.” What Myers advocates is the exact opposite of this in teaching science, not the beliefs of either religious fundamentalists or Communists.

    While Myers’s use of the word “scumbag” isn’t the most elloquent, it is also unfair to him to say that this is “the only articulation he can make.” Myers has written extensively on the teaching of evolution as opposed to creationism.

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