Conviction versus Tolerance

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My wife showed me an article this week; I *think* it was from the Museum of Natural History, but I can’t be sure. The article was mostly well-written and talked about how by a very early age, 6 months, humans begin rational thinking. Babies know that hidden objects haven’t disappeared but are still there, that sort of thing.

Then the author went into how some knowledge is influenced by our environment and is wrong, though it takes critical thinking to see the flaws. Children know that object fall down, but trying to picture us on a spherical planet is harder, and children want to know why people on the other side of the planet don’t fall off.

Then the author discussed how also at a very early age we learn to trust adults over other children and some adults more than others, and how we trust our parents over scientists.

Then came the twist. Most Americans believe Darwinism has flaws, and God created the world. Children believe God created animals, even if they are the children of atheists.

The conclusion was that humans that doubt Darwin must be flat-earthers and must be trained to trust scientists over their parents. Obviously I have a problem with that.

Dr. Young has a wonderful essay today in the Houston Chronicle about the intolerance of the psuedo-tolerant and how we can stand by our convictions and yet be tolerant of those intolerant toward us. But part of his essay lists scientists who doubt Darwin.

Darwinian evolution is a major doctrine in the humanist religion at whose altars so many of America’s supplicants of political correctness bow. The keepers of the high PC religion apparently don’t want students to know that scientists like Henry Schaefer (nominated five times for the Nobel Prize), Fred Sigworth, Robert Kaita, Dean Kenyon, Carl Koval, William Dembski, Siegfried Scherer, David DeWitt, Theodore Liss, William Pelletier, Muzaffar Iqbal, Walter Bradley, Theodore Saito, Marvin Fritzler, Keith Delaplane, Clarence Fouche, Hugh Nutley, Fazal Rana, and 82 others signed a statement reading, “I am skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

I would suppose, if the museum article had read this, that the author would then suggests that not all scientists are trustworthy and must be vetted against Political Correctness first. Which is also Dr. Young’s point, that those with convictions are systematically being excluded from the secular debate because people with convictions infuriate those that call themselves “tolerant.”

This is why I am not only against government intrusion in my life but I also want a realistic alternative to government funded public schooling. The government will choose what our children are taught, regardless of whether the parents care for that teaching. *And* we’re forced to pay for it through our taxes. I want to redirect my taxes toward schools that reflect the morals and values I hold.

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16 thoughts on “Conviction versus Tolerance”

  1. It is amazing how the government feels they need a hand in every little part of our lives, when there is only One who has total controll over us. The school system you hit right on! Great post.


  2. When you write “I also want a realistic alternative to government funded public schooling,” it makes me wonder if you’ve ever spent time in your sister’s classroom.


  3. Tommy, thanks. 🙂

    Joe, you’re right, I have not. Based on my sister’s character, though, I have no doubt she’s a fine teacher, imparting knowledge and morals and discipline. But I give no credit to government funding or government direction for that, but in spite of it.


  4. Odd argument, that: I suppose we could pay our bills at our house if the awful government didn’t give your sister a salary to teach six-year-olds to read, but there are a lot of public school teachers who support themselves with their paychecks.

    I hear a lot of similar blather from others who have little or no understanding of the public school system.

    I suppose I expect more from you, because of your character and because of your relationship to one of the world’s best governmentally-funded first grade teachers. You have no idea how good a teacher she is. No idea.

    Your sister doesn’t make pronouncements about engineering, in part, because she doesn’t know anything about engineering. You’re the family engineer. It’s foolish of you to assume you know something about teachers in a public school setting. You do not.

    Nor, really, do you know much about how public schools work, how they are “directed,” or how they are funded.

    Don’t buy into the idiotic spew that passes for the media’s opinions on this issue (or on any other issue) without trying to understand the issue, without talking to those involved in the actual work. It belittles you.


  5. I oppose efforts by the NEA and TSTA to nationalize our education. The agenda promoting sexual health, revisionist history that promotes a bigger government and diminsishes the role of religion in the founding of our country.

    I see the effects that California teacher’s union have on the budget of California. I see the benefits earned by the teacher’s unions going mostly to adminstrators and not to the teachers who deserve more. I see the teachers unions getting cozy with government until they are indistiguishable to me. I see the NEA having the same effect on the education of our kids as the UAW has on our automobile industry.

    I admit not knowing how good a teacher my sister is. I make the assumption she’s excellent, measured in any way. I think our children desparately need more teachers than my sister. I also do not believe I’ve uttered one word of criticism against her. I don’t intend to criticize teachers any more than somebody criticizing cap-and-trade or criticizing the Valdez oil tanker spill means to criticize me.

    I have two close friends who are teachers in HISD that I talk to far more than I talk to my sister. The difference in quality between the HISD babysitting service that seems to be concerned only that the young thugs don’t kill themselves on school property and that they have an ample supply of condoms. The private schools with concernered parents are teaching personal responsibility and morals along with a solid 3R’s education.

    I would have sent my son to a school that celebrates Christmas instead of Winter holiday, a school that teaches there is a right and wrong instead of teaching them moral relevance. However, my tax dollars went to the former. That is the system I oppose, being forced to pay for such government-sponsored indoctrination.

    With that, I’ll continue to spew my similar and idiotic blather based on my own understanding of the issues, as my understanding seems to be the only understanding I have. If that belittles me in your understanding, then I gain some understanding of how you feel about me and my opinions. Thank you for sharing that.


  6. I support your right to say anything you want on this, your website, or anywhere else. It would be helpful if you spoke about things you understand. But I support your right to have and publish opinions about things you do not understand, too. That’s the beauty of public discourse.

    That being said, I can disagree with you and still like you. I can find your opinions curmudgeonly and still think you’re a fine and decent fellow, just as I hope you can think me a fine and decent fellow if I think your opinions are odd.


  7. I have no problems with your disagreement, nor if you find my opinions odd or curmudgeonly.

    I bristle at the implication (or outright statement) that I’m ignorant, spew idiocy, or otherwise belittle myself simply because I have an opinion that differs from you. You may dismiss my opinion because I “do not understand,” but I would rather discuss the issue – government indoctrination our our children at the compulsion of the unwilling taxpayer – rather than whether I have sufficient understanding to have a worthwhile opinion.


  8. This argument always perplexes me. Public schools aren’t teaching morals, nor should they. That’s my job, as a parent.

    But the scariest part of the debate is how much it highlights what a terrible job our schools must be doing of teaching science.


  9. Darwinism is just about the worst thing that ever happened to our schools. Darwin as a psychotic madman who had all sorts fo mental troubles. People who are following Darwinism are following the ramblings of a schizophrenic and the sad part is they will be paying for eternity by following his teachings. They follow them because the have no love for God.


  10. Since I know both of you gentlemen, I thought I would comment.

    Don’t want to intrude into a family argument, but I hear this same thing with my father’s wife, who is a professor of education at NTSU and former teacher and principal of elementary children in several districts in Dallas.

    Any hint of criticism at public ed systems tends to elicit a conflagration of invective leveled at my head, and in her case a placing of blame squarely on George Bush’s head.

    A definite intolerance of criticism is strongly evident from her. She displays an almost besieged garrison mentality. I tend to expect a negative reaction from her when the topic of education is brought up. I don’t shy from it, except perhaps at the dinner table.

    Note, like Michael, I think that the teacher, Ms. C., mentioned here would be exactly the type of person I would want with my daughter. This is not a personnel problem, it is a systemic curriculum problem.

    I had earlier experience with the problem. The problem, as told to me by my mother in 1984, was that the system has nationalized and unionized to such an extent that individual teachers and now communities have almost no say in classroom teaching topics and methods.
    My mother’s hands were tied to such an extent she took a 30% pay cut to teach at private schools in the last four years of her career of almost 25 years as a teacher. She did this so she could remain true to excercising her skills as a teacher, teaching students in ways that she knew worked. Great dependence upon individual teacher’s initiative seems to me to have been replaced with centralized lesson plans, and a general fear of legal action from parents. It is all so PC now. To an outsider (and I am not claiming to be in any way an expert) it appears that public education is extremely confining for a teacher today.

    My mother’s need to flee this attitude so she could pursue her calling is not isolated. Some of the best teachers at my daughter’s private school are self-described refugees from the public system. I pay a lot of money to send my daughter there. I also pay a lesser amount to fund my civic duty to the public education system. In this, I disagree with Michael, as a public school and the obligatory tax to support it in the community is a civic duty, as per Jefferson. However, if the schools in question are not supporting local communal feelings about education and especially morality, I do have the right to express a negative opinion regardless of my familiarity with the teaching of elementary schoolchildren. Intolerance from public educators is still intolerance. My opinion matters as much as the next man who pays for this effort.

    I send my daughter to a private school because I cannot trust public education to protect values I have inculcated in her. Case in point: M3 attends a parochial school. Teachers are not required to be Catholic. However, I am assured that while discussions on issues may be wide-ranging, the moral component is always presented, and that component will be generally Christian in nature. I believe that this was generally the case in my education, and it was in IMHO a very good one in public schools. I do not believe the same result would be as easily had today.

    Today, something has changed. Teachers are still called to excellence, tax dollars still flow to public education, but what is it that has changed in the last 30 years to bring about

    a.) Mike’s and my general distrust of public education


    b.) Flaming invective at criticism of same.

    Why are we hit with brickbats from all quarters when expressing what I (and I think Mike) believe to be a self-evident reality – towit:

    Public education will not support moral issues held by parents in general or the community in general.

    These are non-rhetorical questions:

    Has the system changed in the last 30 years for the worse so that the level of criticism has increased?

    Will schools support community morals and parental morals?

    Why are proponents (used in a general sense) so quick to anger over criticism?


  11. Jo, our schools shouldn't be teaching theory as fact. A simple sentence like “careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged” seems to give some schools fits.Tammy, thanks for the encouragement. :)Sean, I think you understand my point, both my criticism and my encouragement. I've not met a teacher I didn't like. We both concur on the distrust of public education. I would prefer parents be given a choice of where their tax dollars are spent. You are spending money on school taxes for a public schooling you disapprove of. Wouldn't you like those dollars redirected to a school you approve of?


  12. As said: all creation knows of His existence. Why is this news? The Lord calls all of us by name to His heart.Remember: true religion is this – the care of widows and orphans. do you really do this? and do you want to continue to complain when your government takes up your slack? Or the slack of any one else who preaches and is not a participant? It's not “correctness,” it is what is right. government is not the best, but who the styx is gonna do it? Galations 5:22.The Spirit be with you.


  13. Kevin, I do care for widows and orphans through the benevolence of a God-fearing church. (This month's encouragement is called Christmas in July and details can be found here:…And I do wish to complain when the government “takes up my slack.” The government is not a benevolent charity. The larger government gets, the more liberties it takes from us.


  14. For now, I say nothing, but i wish many blessings and success on Christmas in July – shoot, we could use one here too.Keep up the good work.Kevin.


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