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Author Topic:   Dr. Robert T. Bakker's thoughts on ID and Atheism in schools.
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2611 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 1 of 111 (231763)
08-10-2005 9:03 AM


We recently had a brief visitation by a poster called Dr. Robert T. Bakker. I have to admit that I am not familiar with Dr. Bakker's work other than through the prominence of theories with which he has had close association such as endothermy in dinosaurs and the evolution of birds.

Dr. Bakker made a post in reply to the first, and long forgotten, OP in the thread formerly known as 'Abusive Assumptions', unfortunately this thread had long ago gone terminally off topic and was being speedily rushed towards the flexible but terminal wall of the ~300 posts mark.

Faith was a bit dissapointed on the lack of response to Dr. Bakker's post, and I thought it was an interesting and strongly put comment on the problem of people trying to get the own atheistic or religious views pedalled in science classes.

I thought it might be appropriate to open up a thread in a forum where Faith can actually post so that anyone who is interested can discuss Dr. Bakker's post and any connected thoughts. This will also mean there is somewhere relevant for Dr. Bakker to post when/if he returns.

I have quoted Dr. Bakker's text in full below, let me know if a link to the original post would be more appropriate.

Dr. Robert T. Bakker, Morrison Museum zorilla47@aol.com

Bones Bibles & Creation:

No Public Dollars For Atheism ...(Or I.D.)

While a visiting Prof at St. Johns-St. Benedicts College in Minnesota, I was the guest moderator at the required Freshman seminar. Topic: Richard Dawkin’s books on why evolution proves that the only honest philosophy is……

Atheism.

Dawkins is the Oxford Professor who was so proud of being an atheist that he decided to re-label the category “Atheists.”

“We’ll call ourselves… the ‘Brights.’” By implication, anyone who wasn’t an atheist was "A Dull".

A lot of us working scientists preferred to call Dawkins and friends the “Smugs.”

The kids in the seminar eyed me warily. “….paleontologist….digs fossils….writes for “Scientific American”… I could just barely hear some low decibel interchanges. “….must be a Darwinist……must be a Bible-basher…”

The official faculty leader tried to get the conversation going. No luck. The students fidgeted, avoided eye contact. There was a long pause. Then I slammed Dawkins down on the table and yelled

“This guy is a @#** self-puff artist! He knows NOTHING about the history of science! He’s dead wrong about how evolutionary studies grew up. And when he warbles on about the Church and how it suppresses scientific inquiry…..”

“He makes as much sense as an apoplectic Donald Duck!!!”

The floodgates opened. Turned out that most of the students, Catholic and Protestant and independent agnostic, hated Dawkins’ snobbish tone. Most hadn’t had a college-level bio course. So they couldn’t judge the genetic arguments. But they smelled an overbearing smug-ness on every page. I cited my trump card:

“What about St. Augustine – he wrote lots on Creation. Inspired Catholic scholars – Bible translators, archaeologists, philosophers…”

The kids raised in Catholic schools sheepishly admitted that they’d forgotten what little they’d been given of St. Augustine.

I pulled my battered “City of God” out of my vest and read some neat passages about Doctrine and astronomy. Augustine really sings when he combines Nature with Scripture. He loved spiders and rabbits and saw created beauty even in a biting sand fly. And he lectured new converts that they should appreciate real science, even when taught by a Pagan.

I rattled off a long list of scientists supported by established Churches. Dinosaur-diggers. Geologists. Anatomists.

Since I was in a Catholic school, I emphasized the long, splendid tradition of free inquiry, going back to the first universities in the 12th century, started by Catholics at Paris and Oxford.

Galileo and his Papal problems? Didn’t the Church persecute him because he disagreed with Biblical astronomy?

Not really. Galileo was a brilliant scientist but bad politician. He thumbed his nose at Papal officials when the Pope was engaged in a costly war and delicate multi-national politics. The Papacy was slow to apologize, because it didn’t forget Galileo’s abusive personal style. Still, official Papal astronomers were already using Galilean theories while the guy was in house arrest.

The faculty lead in the Freshman course at St. Johns-St. Bens wasn’t a Catholic – or even a practicing Christian. But he was a fine & fair teacher. He kept the grilling of Dawkins going. He also did the evolutionary biology and paleontology courses.

I don’t whether any student atheist was converted to being an agnostic. Or Lutheran to Catholic. Or Green Bay Packer fan to the Denver Broncos. Or vice versa. But all the kids were given more weapons to expose hype and fraud among scholars.

How To Combat Smug Atheism in Schools:
Laws intended to cool off Darwinism in public schools are aimed at Dawkins-types. Actually, it’s un-Constitutional to use public dollars to pay someone to preach atheism. But it’s also un-Constitutional to use tax $’s to preach Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design IS religious. Its leaders state that. Intelligent Design was invented as a wedge to begin “proving” Christian doctrine from Nature.

In the battle between Dawkins’ Atheism and Phillip Johnson’s Intelligent Design, we’re not allowed to use public money to promote either. Neither is science.

So what do we do?

Teach History!

History gets short shrift. We all need more history – teachers, students, politicians. The St. Johns course is a fine example. Atheist claims were rigorous examined…in historical context. Dawkins’ arguments were defrocked. Good history of science, good history of religion are powerful weapons that empower students.

Darwinism, properly taught, preaches no religion. Nor does it preach for or against religion in general. History does show how politicians and philosophers have distorted Darwin for their own idealistic goals.

Want to make the battlefield of high school and college level and fair?

Get good history into public schools.

Professional Historians & Professional Geneticists and Professional Paleontologists Agree.

Put Intelligent Design in science classes? No. Put it in history classes. Put it in context – the inevitable historical reaction to atheist excess.

TTFN,

WK


Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Faith, posted 08-10-2005 11:10 AM Wounded King has not yet responded
 Message 45 by Brad McFall, posted 08-10-2005 9:10 PM Wounded King has not yet responded
 Message 51 by Ooook!, posted 08-11-2005 5:28 AM Wounded King has responded

  
Admin
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Message 2 of 111 (231782)
08-10-2005 9:53 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 494 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 3 of 111 (231797)
08-10-2005 10:22 AM


out of curiosity, is this ~THE~ robert t. bakker, world famous paleontologist, proponent of warm blooded dinosaurs, extinction due to disease, author of dinosaur fiction, basis for the paleontologist character in the book "jurassic park," and pretty good sketch artist?


אָרַח

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Faith 
Suspended Member
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 4 of 111 (231819)
08-10-2005 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Wounded King
08-10-2005 9:03 AM


Thanks but it wasn't that I had anything to say, just wanted to hear more from him about it and perhaps an exchange with the atheists on board. I doubt I'd agree with him about a whole lot in general but his coming on here to post an opinion against evolutionistic atheism was certainly an intriguing thing to do.

And dinosaurs are always interesting, if that should be touched on.

To Arach, apparently one and the same, at least others here have assumed so.

I saw his name up on the board earlier this morning too so he'll probably check in yet again.

This message has been edited by Faith, 08-10-2005 11:11 AM


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Yaro
Member (Idle past 5012 days)
Posts: 1797
Joined: 07-12-2003


Message 5 of 111 (231833)
08-10-2005 11:37 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by arachnophilia
08-10-2005 10:22 AM


Yup! That's the one! :D

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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6914
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 6 of 111 (231837)
08-10-2005 11:51 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Yaro
08-10-2005 11:37 AM


I think arach was wondering whether this particular poster is really the famous paleontologist or just some clown who chose the name of the world famous paleontologist.

None of the admins have expressed skepticism; is this an indication that they have reason to believe this new member is who he claims he is?

This message has been edited by Chiroptera, 10-Aug-2005 03:51 PM


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Faith 
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Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 7 of 111 (231840)
08-10-2005 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Chiroptera
08-10-2005 11:51 AM


In post #217 on the moderation thread Percy has confirmed that he is *the* Robert T. Bakker everybody is talking about, and says he seems just to post previously published material but doesn't stay around to discuss it.

However, he reappeared on the board twice yesterday after his post, and then again this morning, so I'm not so sure he wouldn't join in discussion.

The third link that Percy posted on the moderation thread brings out more clearly Dr. Bakker's support of Bible-believing Christianity than his post here does, though apparently with room allowed for an ancient earth. So perhaps he himself is an IDer?

This message has been edited by Faith, 08-10-2005 12:04 PM


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Replies to this message:
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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 111 (231841)
08-10-2005 11:58 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Chiroptera
08-10-2005 11:51 AM


Yes, it appears it is Dr. Bakker
Yes. He uses the email address of the real person to register and the post was a cut&paste from the real persons work.

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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2611 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 9 of 111 (231855)
08-10-2005 12:18 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
08-10-2005 11:57 AM


So perhaps he himself is an IDer?

Perhaps in the sense that he believes in the God of the bible, but in that sense he is also a creationist. He certainly doesn't sound like he has much truck with the ID camps 'scientific' theories. What he seems to be more than anything, if we must stick these labels on people's beliefs, is a theistic evolutionist, like many on this forum.

TTFN,

WK


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Faith 
Suspended Member
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 10 of 111 (231861)
08-10-2005 12:28 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Wounded King
08-10-2005 12:18 PM


What he seems to be more than anything, if we must stick these labels on people's beliefs, is a theistic evolutionist, like many on this forum.

OK. I have trouble keeping all the categories straight. Still don't exactly know what ID is trying to say.


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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6914
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 11 of 111 (231862)
08-10-2005 12:28 PM


Thanks, Faith and jar. I confess that I haven't been reading the moderation thread since it became a forum for members to complain about other members.

And I will add to the chorus of people exclaiming how happy we are that such an eminent person would drop in here.

Now for the post itself.

First, let me remind people that I used to be a fundamentalist, and not only that but I occassionally read the AiG website. Nothing that Dawkins says about Christians is very different than what some Christians, even prominent Christians, say about evolutionists or atheists. This, of course, isn't a defense of Dawkins -- two wrongs rarely make a right -- but I think it does help put things into perspective. Another thing is to remember that there is a small sect of Christians who wish to legislate their morality and religious expressions onto other people -- it is entirely understandable that this would lead to a backlash, as regrettable as it is. Again, this isn't a defense of Dawkins since he is British and only remotely affected by this almost uniquely American phenomenon.

That said, I do find it regrettable that Dawkins seems to have contempt for people who have an explicit set of spiritual beliefs. (By the way, I am only going on quotes that other people have posted -- I haven't read much of Dawkins' work myself, and I haven't read anything directly that indicates that he has this contempt. If this view of Dawkins is inaccurate, then I apologize and will state that I am speaking of the type of person that is being represented here.)

On the other hand, there are certain type of beliefs that I have trouble feeling any respect for. One is when a person is so committed to any particular belief or set of beliefs that they simply will not or cannot learn anything new. In the worst possible case, this type of person is unable to even read anything without distorting it in their mind, and so not be able to even understand what the point is.

The other type is when a person allows another person or institution to be the final authority on what is allowed belief. That a fallible human or human institution can possible be said to be the final word on the divine seems incredible to me.

But this should lead to a blanket condemnation of all Christianity, or even all modes of spiritual belief.


Replies to this message:
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Faith 
Suspended Member
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
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Message 12 of 111 (231866)
08-10-2005 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Chiroptera
08-10-2005 12:28 PM


On the other hand, there are certain type of beliefs that I have trouble feeling any respect for. One is when a person is so committed to any particular belief or set of beliefs that they simply will not or cannot learn anything new. In the worst possible case, this type of person is unable to even read anything without distorting it in their mind, and so not be able to even understand what the point is.

Sure describes certain EvC evolutionists when faced with creationist arguments.

And did you mean to say the following or did you leave out a "not?"

But this should lead to a blanket condemnation of all Christianity, or even all modes of spiritual belief.

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PaulK
Member
Posts: 16211
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 13 of 111 (231867)
08-10-2005 12:35 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
08-10-2005 11:57 AM


I think it is clear that Bakker is not an ID'er

quote:

In the battle between Dawkins’ Atheism and Phillip Johnson’s Intelligent Design, we’re not allowed to use public money to promote either. Neither is science.

Bakker's position is quite clearly pro-evolution and anti-ID. So he's certainly against the YEC version of "Bible-believing Christianity".


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6914
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 14 of 111 (231869)
08-10-2005 12:38 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Faith
08-10-2005 12:34 PM


quote:
And did you mean to say the following or did you leave out a "not?"

But this should lead to a blanket condemnation of all Christianity, or even all modes of spiritual belief.

Oops. Yep, you caught it before I could correct it, heh. And "or even" should really be "and certainly not" (since Christianity is a proper subset of all modes of spiritual belief).


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Faith 
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Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
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Message 15 of 111 (231872)
08-10-2005 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by PaulK
08-10-2005 12:35 PM


In the battle between Dawkins’ Atheism and Phillip Johnson’s Intelligent Design, we’re not allowed to use public money to promote either. Neither is science.

Bakker's position is quite clearly pro-evolution and anti-ID. So he's certainly against the YEC version of "Bible-believing Christianity".

Theistic evolutionist is the term WK came up with to explain the fact that he appears to be a Bible believer of some sort. But I'm a YECist who isn't for promoting YECism in the public schools either, so it isn't all that cut-and-dried who believes what.


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